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Minority Reps caucus tasks Buhari to avert shutdown of airline operations

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Ndudi Elumelu

The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take immediate steps to avert an imminent shutdown of flight operations in the country as such would have grave consequences on national life.

A statement by Ndudi Elumelu, the Minority Leader, said the call “is predicated on the notice by Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) to shut down flight operations in the country by Monday, May 9, 2022 due to the unbearable high cost of aviation fuel (JetA1) from N190 to N700 per liter.”

It said the worrisome development in Nigeria, a major producer of oil, “is another very sad commentary on the unpardonable failure, corruption, incompetence, negative policies and lack of capacity of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration to effectively manage our national economy.

“As representatives of the people, the Minority Caucus is concerned because aviation is pivotal to the operation, sustenance and survival of other key sectors of the economy and any shutdown of flight operations will have devastating spiral effect and worsen the excruciating economic hardship and further escalate insecurity in the country.”

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It said this is because apart from the direct disabling of thousands of aviation related jobs and ancillary businesses, a shutdown of the sector will also have grave negative impact on critical government and public sector activities which are sustained by air travelling.

“It is instructive to note that the aviation sector is no longer an exclusive reserve of the elite, but plays central role in the movement of personnel and equipment that drive and sustain services and operations which benefit the masses in healthcare, manufacturing, education, food production, telecommunication, retailing, banking and finance, hospitality, entertainment, power, security and other key sectors.

“A shutdown of the aviation sector will therefore cripple millions of businesses as well as economic and commercial activities thereby increasing unemployment, worsen the economic hardship, put pressure on our already ailing roads and exacerbate insecurity in our country.

“Moreover, the situation is a huge threat to our national integrity as it erodes the confidence of the International Community and foreign investors in our country thereby encouraging the movement of investments to neigbouring countries.”

The Minority Caucus therefore called on President Buhari to wake up, “note the grave import of the situation and save the aviation sector from imminent collapse by immediately addressing the fuel crisis and other challenges in the industry.

“Mr. President should critically address the crisis in the petroleum industry by reviewing the counter-productive policies and curbing the corruption in his administration so as to save our national economy from collapse under his watch.”

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NNPC to inject fresh N1tn into road projects

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited is to provide additional N1tn for road projects in Nigeria, NNPC Group Chief Executive, Mele Kyari, has said.

Kyari, in a video clip seen in Abuja, disclosed this on Thursday during a tour of the ongoing construction work on the Agbara-Badagry road, Lagos.

He said the N1tn would come through the Federal Government road infrastructure tax credit scheme.

He said, “We are very happy about the state of this road development. We are very happy with this intervention across the country not just in this place. We are doing 1,800km across the country. We are taking another set of over N1tn of investments in road infrastructure in the country.

“We believe that this tax credit system which Mr. President has put in place is the game changer for our country.

“We believe that in the next 24 months, there will be massive change to the entire road network in this country and this is why the NNPC is your company and working for all of us.

“We think that it is the best way to intervene and bring up our infrastructure. We are adding another set of cash, we have not reached the final numbers, but I know it is over N1tn.”

According to a Punch report, the NNPC in the third quarter of 2021 announced its intention to provide funds for the reconstruction of selected road projects in order to ease the movement of petroleum products.

This was executed under the tax credit scheme that was funded by the NNPC through the Federal Inland Revenue Service in accordance with the President’s executive order 007.

The construction exercise was under the management of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, as the NNPC provided funds for the construction of 1,804.6km of roads at a cost of N621,24bn.

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Military under pressure to compromise elections, says CDS Irabor

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Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, has disclosed that the security agencies and the military have been under pressure to compromise general elections through financial inducement.

He however assured Nigerians that the military would maintain neutrality in the whole electoral process.

He spoke at the weekly ministerial press briefing on Thursday in Abuja and gave updates on strides made by the military in the fight against insurgency, terrorism and banditry.

He stated that military personnel were being trained to follow the codified rules of engagement before, during and after the elections.

The CDS disclosed that over 300,000 persons had been freed from the hands of abductors since 2016 while refugees who fled the North-East owing to insurgency were already returning.

General Irabor who admitted there were few sabotaurs within the military asserted that they had not succeeded.

He debunked a recent allegation by an international news media which accused the military of carrying out over 10,000 illegal abortions on female victims of the war in the North-East.

According to him, it is impossible for the military to have been engaged in a planned abortion programme since 2013 and as the military commander in charge of Operation Lafia Dole between 2016 and 2017, he never heard of any such thing.

The CDS also revisited the alleged Lekki tollgate massacre in 2020, insisting that the Nigerian military is not interested in killing its own people, but more concerned about protecting the citizens.

He added that the efforts of the military in the fight against crude oil theft had been yielding positive results with the increase in the crude oil production of 1.6 million barrels per day.

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FG recovers N120bn from crime proceeds —Lai Mohammed

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Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government has said it had realised at least N120 billion as proceeds from criminal financial operations since the bill on Proceeds of Crime Recovery Management was signed into law earlier this year by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the disclosure at a news briefing where Minister of Environment presented the scorecard of the ministry under the Buhari administration in Abuja, yesterday.

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Mohammed said:  “I have an update on the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act (POCA), 2022. In line with the new law, all relevant agencies of government have now opened ‘Confiscated and Forfeiture Properties Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

“I can confirm that so far, the Federal Government has realised over N120 billion, among other currencies, from POCA. This money will be used to fund the completion of ongoing critical infrastructure projects in the country such as the Second Niger Bridge as well as Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kano Expressways. We will continue to update you on this,” he added.

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