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Lagos Empowers 450 Unemployed Youths

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A crowd of Rivers people waiting to collect application forms for the Small and Medium-scale Enterprises Scheme of the State Ministry of Commerce and Industry in 2007. Photo: Chris Monyanaga

A crowd of Rivers people waiting to collect application forms for the Small and Medium-scale Enterprises Scheme of the State Ministry of Commerce and Industry in 2007. Photo: Chris Monyanaga

The Lagos State Government has empowered about 450 unemployed youths, who graduated from the states vocational and training centres with tools that will enable them practice their vocation as well as become employers of labour.

Speaking at the ceremony which held at Adeyemi- Gbero Auditorum in Alausa, Ikeja Lagos, Friday, the state Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), described the development as a deliberate policy of government to eradicate poverty from the society. Our correspondence reports that Governor fashola, who was represented by his special Adviser on special duties, Mr Adekunle Odubela, said it was a further manifestation of the fruits of true democracy and good governance with the lives of the citizens receiving the necessary attention by their own government.

According to him, “since the administration of our immedicate predecessor, job creation, empowerment programme has been a key component of the 10-point agenda.”

He added that the present administration has also made it one of the major channels of empowering the people through programmes that will equip them with skills that can make them employers of labour and self-dependent.

He said the youth will be engaged in a more meaningful endeavour that would make them useful to themselves and the society at large, urging them to make the best use of opportunity.

“We believe that the provision of job opportunities and social amenities for the less privileged in the state creates the right environment for our people to realize their potentials, improve and enhance their living conditions,” he stressed.

Fashola stated that the only way to take youth out of crime and other social vices is to create the enabling environment for them to be gainfully employed.

He said the government “expects every resident in the state to be committed, dedicated and determined to support the policy thrust of the present administration on the provision of an enabling environment for the less privileged, especially the unemployed youths.”

The Governor noted that, by so doing, the youths would discover their potentials, enhance their creativity and self reliance.

He called on the many unemployed youths to utilize the opportunity the programme provided, adding that, “the government is ready to take them on board as the over all plan is to considerably reduce the desire for paid employment through constant organization of skill acquisition programmes.

Earlier, the commissioner for Special Duties, Dr Tola Kasali, who was represented by the Director of Finance, Mr Numdeen Salami, disclosed that each of the beneficiaries has the potentials of making an average income of about N20,000 per month after acquiring the necessary skills.

Kasali said the development would help boost government effort in ensuring life long income generation for the beneficiaries.

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Release Kanu, Igboho To Southern Govs, Group Tells Buhari

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The National Coordinator, Concerned Advocates for Good Governance (CAGG), Olusegun Bamgbose, has told President Muhammadu Buhari to release self-determination campaigners, Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho, to the southern governors.

Nnamdi Kanu is currently in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS), after he was a few weeks ago rearrested in Kenya and bundled back to Nigeria while Sunday Igboho was arrested in neighbouring Benin Republic on Monday night and is currently in detention in Cotonou.

Kanu is the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), while Sunday Igboho is a leading advocate for Oduduwa Republic.

Speaking, yesterday, Bamgbose noted that the nation was undoubtedly passing through a very critical moment in its political history and that the future seems to be unpredictable, warning that stakeholders must take extreme caution to avoid disintegration as the unity of Nigeria has never been this weak.

“The truth remains that in any part of the world, where there is unfair treatment, injustice, and inequality, agitation becomes inevitable and legitimate. You can’t push someone and tell him or her where to fall,” the senior lawyer and 2023 presidential hopeful noted.

“We can’t claim to be one nation when there is obvious discrimination in terms of clan or tribe. Agitation is a natural reflection of what goes on in society.

“The Igbos have always complained that they are heavily marginalized in the scheme of things, while the Yorubas are aggrieved that Fulani herders are kidnapping their people, raping their women, destroying their farms, killing them, the one million naira question begging for answers is, how has President Buhari addressed these critical issues?

“President Buhari can’t claim to be the father of the nation when he will treat some as sacred cows and others as sacrificial lambs.

“Clamping down on agitators may not yield a positive result in the long run. The issues must be addressed. Even though I will never be in support of any form of armed struggle, one expects President Buhari to proactively address issues raised by the agitators.

“Jailing the agitators will never put an end to agitation, but escalate it. I will, however, expect the southern governors to rise to the occasion and secure the release of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo as soon as possible.

“This matter can be resolved in eight weeks. President Buhari should equally be prepared to release them to the southern governors. Our nation needs healing not victimization.

“Buhari’s government will be worse off and will be in the black book of the international community if he so decides to mishandle this matter.

“President Buhari should dialogue with the southern governors and release the two agitators to them. I believe this will prove to all Nigerians and the international community that he is indeed a leader to reckon with.

“He should also look into their grievances and address them dispassionately. It won’t be a bad idea if President Buhari will meet with Kanu, Igboho, and the southern governors at the Presidential Villa to resolve this matter once and for all. I wish our President the best.”

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Catholic Bishops Accuse Buhari Of Nepotism; NASS Of Sabotage

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Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, have accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of nepotistic tendencies.

The bishops, after their meeting held at the Domus Pacis Pastoral Institute, Igoba in Akure, also accused members of the National Assembly (NASS), of sabotaging their constituents.

They argued that the spike in insecurity across the country is occasioned by government’s inability to serve on the principles of equity and fairness.

According to the communique signed by the Province’s Chairman and Secretary, Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin, and Rev. Akin Oyejola, respectively, the country is plagued by “inept, uncaring leadership which functions by selective allocation of posts, privileges, and resources and by selective application of justice”.

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‘Without Alternative Energy, Petrol Price’ll Rise on Subsidy Removal’

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The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has warned that the pump price of petrol in the country may rise up to as much as N1,000 per litre when petrol subsidy regime comes to an end without an alternative energy source.

The DPR stated this just as some oil and gas experts have advocated for a measure from the government that will ensure that Nigeria gets commensurate value from its abundant oil and gas resources like its fellow oil producing nations.

The Director of DPR, Mr. Sarki Auwalu, said this while responding to questions and comments generated by a paper he delivered in Lagos, recently, at the Second Quarter, 2021 Business Dinner of Petroleum Club, Lagos.

The topic of the paper was, “A Discussion on the Future of the Nigerian Petroleum Industry.”

The questions and comments came from a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Funsho Kupolokun; political economist and Founder of Centre for Values in Leadership, Prof. Pat Utomi; Production Geologist at Shell Nigeria, Mr. Adedoyin Orekoya; and Chairman of AA Holdings, Mr. Austin Avuru; amongst others.

Responding to the subsidy concerns and the disparity in the petrol consumption figures given by NNPC and the DPR, as raised by Orekoya, Auwalu, acknowledged that Nigeria was spending so much on petrol subsidy.

He said eliminating it would require making alternative fuel available to Nigerians and that failure to do that will plunge Nigerians into paying higher petrol prices when subsidy is removed.

He stated that Nigerians may be paying as high as N1, 000 to buy one litre of petrol in the country when subsidy on petrol is removed and when the alternative energy or autogas gas policy becomes fully operational.

He, however, said the alternative fuel regime comes with initial cost as it will lead to spending $400 to convert one vehicle from running on petrol or diesel to running on either Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) or Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).

Auwalu maintained that converting eight million public vehicles currently present in Nigeria to gas-powered will cumulatively cost $3.2billion to achieve.

He said, “So, to eliminate subsidy, they don’t call it subsidy anymore now, it’s under-recovery of purchase. So, to eliminate under-recovery, what you need is alternative fuel. Without alternative, you will subject people to higher prices and that is why we go for price freedom.

“As at today, there are 22 million cars in Nigeria. Eight million are for public use. Imagine if you want to convert every car into gas, the average cost of conversion is $400. Converting eight million cars requires $3.2billion. To do that, there are a lot of environmental investors which can invest and recover from the sale of gas and we are encouraging that.

“Once that is achieved, you will see that PMS can be sold at N1,000. After all, the average distance covered by one gallon equivalent when you compare it with LNG or CNG with respect to energy for mobility, is 2.7 against one; one for PMS, 2.7 for LNG or CNG.

”So, with that advantage, you will see that it creates opportunity for this industry again. The issue of subsidy, volume will all vanish and that is what we are working towards.”

He, however, warned that the rise in Nigeria’s local refining capacity as seen in the coming on stream of a number of refineries in the country without a corresponding increase in the country’s oil production volume may threaten the country’s membership of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The director lamented that out of Nigeria’s over 7,100 reservoirs and its mature basins, the country was recovering just as low as about 1,000, a situation he said, needed the collaboration of all industry players to find a solution to before Nigeria gets evicted from OPEC due to low contribution.

“How do we now get the national production capacity so that we export more, we consume more? Today, we have huge additional capacity in domestic refining. If we don’t increase the production, we have to get out of OPEC, because you can’t be a net consumer to stay in exporting countries.

“So, the challenge is for all of us. As the refining capacity is increasing, we have to now get production capacity to increase so that we remain the net exporter. We believe this will guarantee and fortify the future,” he said.

Responding to Kupolokun’s question on the need to address the low contribution of the oil and gas sector to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is less than 10 per cent, Auwalu attributed the abysmal contribution to lack of deep investment into the value chain of the sector as well as the export mentality of the players.

According to him, only few players, mostly indigenous companies, have the mentality of ensuring that more output, especially with respect to gas, was given to the domestic market to power the country’s economic growth.

He said there was need to focus on domestic market in order to grow the sector’s contribution to GDP.

He explained what the department and the Federal Government were doing to address the two-pronged challenge of energy transition and the transition from the international oil companies (IOCs) operating in Nigeria, who are divesting out of the country, leaving the indigenous oil companies to take over from them.

Auwalu said the department had foreseen such situation and had planned ahead by setting up the Oil and Gas Excellence Centre to equip local companies to be able to fill the gap created by such transition.

“Now, we are saddled with two transitions: energy transition and transition from IOCs to NOCs. Why did we establish Nigerian Oil and Gas Excellence Centre? It’s because of this. We’ve seen this coming; we thought it twice before now.

“It is our duty to make those companies functional, and to do that, we need to establish a centre of excellence that will help in the migration from IOCs,” he explained.

Also reacting to the need for scenario planning and the possibility of galvanising the private and public sector to work together to increase the value of oil and gas to the economy, as proposed by Utomi, the DPR henchman noted that the agency had transformed from mere regulator to business enabler and opportunity provider and was working to maximise the value of the sector to the economy.

Auwalu maintained that as a business enabler, DPR was after creating an enabling environment for operators to work, produce, make returns on their investments and pay taxes and royalties to the government as while providing employment to Nigerians.

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