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Challenges Of ESI Women Drivers In Rivers

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Transportation sector has been described as one of the lucrative business areas in both developed and developing countries of the world. Its activities span across land transportation which includes wheelbarrow, bicycle, truck, tricycle, motorcycle, motor vehicle and chariots.

Sea transportation covers  canoe, flying boat and ocean-moving vessels classified as marine transport. While air transportation known to be the aviation sector deals with movement aircrafts.

The major objective of the transport industry is centred on the movement on human and materials from one destination to another, with a view of accelerating interaction, relationship and transactions between individuals, communities, states and countries.Transport business in the world has been largely dominated by the male sex, creating gender equality in the system.

And in a bid to bridge the gap posed by gender inequality, the wife of the Rivers State Governor, Her Excellency, Dame Judith Amaechi roled out her pet project known as Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI) aimed at empowering and encouraging women partake in the transportation business.

Besides, the project also tend to reduce poverty, improve their income base, create job and make them self reliant. No wonder Her Excellency insisted that women should drive the vehicles allotted to them, to ensure that the gender inequality gap is bridged, as well as proof to the world that women can compete men favourably.

Speaking with the beneficiaries of the scheme, the woman driver who gave her name as Patience, told The Tide that she found joy competing with men on the road as driver of her own car, noting that she make as much as N6,000 to N7,000 daily.

She said that, she programme her business time to suit the domestic affairs of her household so as to maintain a balance in the flow of income.

The woman driver lauded the initiator of the scheme Dame Judith Amaechi for empowering women in this magnitude of a saloon car other than the usual gas cooker, sowing machine, hair dryer etc experienced in the past administrations.

Another beneficiary of the transport scheme Mrs Ibiene Orupabo who ply Lagos bustop-Aggrey-Borokiri route told our correspondent that inspite of the fuel scarcity and like in the price of the product, she said that somedays the income margin stands at N10,000, while some other days between N8,000 and N9,000 depending on how serious. According to her, “I never knew that transport business is so lucrative and with my experience as a taxi driver, I intended to expand to full time transporter as soon as I pay the agreed sum (the cost price of the car).

We are in a capitalist world where competition and hardwork form the foundation of our survival, therefore, women should stand firm and contribute to the economic growth of our respective families and the state at large”, she asserted.

She said that Rivers State Government has done so much to rekindle the potentials in women through the wife of the Governor by wooing them into the driving profession which is worthy of emulation by other states.

Mrs Orupabo expressed her pleasure over the level of patronage accorded them on their route by the passengers, saying maybe it is because we are women drivers or that their cars are neat, new and air conditioned.

Speaking on the daily challenges facing the operation of the women drivers in the state, Mrs Janet Ihunwo noted with dismay the incessant harassment of the woman drivers by the traffic marshals, citing the recent assault meted out on a woman driver along Aba road by the staff of the Federal Road Safety Commission which she said the case is in the court.

She said that they are always envied by the male counterpart who dominated the sector, adding that sometimes they are quirked, abused and threatened. Also, “you have to meet your domestic obligations, take the children to school, bring them back, cook and maintain the domestic affairs of the family as well as go out for the days business”, she noted.

She urged government to increase the number of the beneficiaries this year and improve the road network to ease the flow of traffic within the Port Harcourt metropolis and its environs.

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Buhari Seeks UK, EU Countries’ Partnership On Green Energy Policy 

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President, Muhammadu Buhari, has stressed the need for a long-term partnership between Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and the European Union (EU) on green energy policy.
Buhari, who made the call in an interview with Bloomberg News, said the UK and EU countries should invest in the planned 4000 km pipeline meant to bring Nigerian gas, regarded as the largest reserves in Africa, through Morocco, to Europe.
According to the President, when completed, the gas pipeline project would help to address gas supply crisis in Europe.
“We need long-term partnership, not inconsistency and contradiction on green energy policy from the UK and European Union.
“Investment is hampered by their broad-brush moratorium on overseas gas projects, while at home the same projects are classified as green.
“It does not help their energy security, it does not help Nigeria’s economy, and it does not help the environment. It is hypocrisy that must end.
“To change, the UK and EU countries should invest in our planned 4000 km pipeline to bring Nigerian gas, the largest reserves in Africa, via Morocco, then onto Europe”, he said.
The President explained that the gas pipeline project, connecting Nigeria to Europe, which was conceived four years ago, had since been unveiled.
Recalling that on June 2 the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) entered into an agreement with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for its construction, he said, “concurrently on July 1, the NNPC will become a Limited Liability Company and be subject to more robust auditing and commercial disclosure obligations.
“It will help stimulate investment and boost transparency, where corruption has deterred the former and stymied the latter.
“My administration is the first to pass this landmark reform in our oil and gas sector, after two decades of predecessors’ failure to do so, no doubt due to vested interests,” he stated.
Buhari, however, noted that criminality and terrorism in Nigeria’s oil-producing regions had continued to hamper oil production.
Consequently, called on the Western allies to sanction all terrorist groups operating in the Niger Delta region and other oil-producing states in the South-East and South-South zones.
“It would help if our western allies designated IPOB as a terrorist group, given their complicity in damage to pipelines and infrastructure,” he said.
Buhari also revealed that the country had invested in the security forces, including the one billion dollar military deal with the U.S. for the acquisition of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft.

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Nigerians Collect 3m Passports From 2019-2022 – Aregbesola

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Minister of Interior Affairs, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, says a total of three million passports were issued to Nigerians between 2019 to 2022.
He used the opportunity to warn officers and men of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) against extortions and hoarding of passport booklets to create an undue scarcity in the system.
The minister, who disclosed this at the official launching of the Enhanced e-Passport in Benin, Asaba and Warri passport offices, and the commissioning of the passport production centre at the Benin Passport office, Edo State Command, lauded the achievement of the NIS.
“It will interest you to know that between 2019 and now, as difficult as that era was, the Nigerian Immigration Service has issued over three million passports to Nigerians. It is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.
“Last year alone, 1.3 million passports were issued. Also, last time I checked, over 250,000 passports remained uncollected by applicants”, he said.
He assured that the exploitation of Nigerians seeking to get their passports will no longer be tolerated by him, saying that erring officers will be seriously dealt with.
“Whoever disregard any Nigerian,  whoever exploit any Nigerian in their quest to get this document will be dealt with personally by me. This is the last time I am going to warn”, he said.
Aregbesola said President Muhammadu Buhari expressed regrets on hearing that Nigerians are always denied passports, stressing that with the enhanced e-Passport, denial of passports will no longer be experienced.

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NDLEA, NAGAFF Collaborate Against Illicit Drug Importation

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National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has called for a working relationship with 100 percent Compliance Team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) in order to curb the Illicit importation of drugs through the seaports.
Speaking at a courtesy visit to the secretariat of the 100 percent Compliance Team in Lagos, Commander, Tin Can Island Port NDLEA, Mr. Aminu Abubakar warned freight forwarders and their importers to desist from Illicit drug clearance from the ports stressing the need for proper sensitisation of importation.
While calling for the support and cooperation of the NAGAFF Compliance Team, Abubakar urged freight forwarders to desist from the spread of hard drugs through the seaports by sticking to their legitimate duties.
He noted that since the NDLEA launched the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) in Abuja, several seizures have been made during cargo examination at the ports, with freight forwarders arrested and jailed for their  involvem in the importation of hard drugs.
The NDLEA boss stated that from January 2022 till date, the agency has intercepted 1500 Kilograms of Tapendatol with a value of over N6million amongst others at the seaports.
According to him, Tapendatol is another type of Tramadol drug which is more potent and dangerous than the usual Tramadol.
“The agency has different units and strategies through which we fight the menace and monster of drug abuse, and trafficking into our country.
“This is the suppression of the supply of drugs, which we do at the seaports. We profile some containers at the seaports, and based on the profile, we target such consignment and ensure we conduct proper examination.
“Sometimes we work with intelligence information or on the basis of profile which informs what we do.
“The agency has some strategies, which include counselling drug abusers and public enlightenment on the effects and prevention of drug abuse. There are also rehabilitation centers”, he said.
It will be recalled that the Chairman of the NDLEA recently launched call centers which would soon be operational, where one can report issues or seek for help.
“We have gotten 1500 kilograms of Tapendatol drug worth over N6million from Apapa and Tin Can ports.
We can only imagine what it will do if it gets to places where it is intended. Nigeria is already in crisis. We have the problem of banditry, kidnappings and youth restiveness and the root cause of these acts emanate from abuse of drugs”, he stated.
On his part, the National Coordinator of the 100 Percent Compliance Team, NAGAFF, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, explained that most freight forwarders become liable to the crime of hard drugs importation because 60 percent of freight agents at the ports use their company names to import consignments on behalf of the importers.
While assuring NDLEA of the group’s support, the NAGAFF Compliance boss noted that about eleven members of NAGAFF have been innocently detained in prison due to such acts.
Tanko, however, stressed that freight forwarders should desist from using their company’s name to ship in consignments in favour of the importers to avoid being liable when there are infractions.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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