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NoisePollution:Lagos Tackles Churches, Others

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Ahead of efforts of the state government to reduce noise pollution in the state, the Lagos State Government has appealed to various religious organisations and other concerned groups like musical centres and video clubs to minimise the volume of noise emanating from their activities in the interest of public health.

According to the state authorities, the health and convenience of other people it was noted, should be put into consideration in the course of their religious or business activities.

The warning was contained in a communiqué issued at the weekend after a 3 day Performance Review Retreat organised by the State Ministry of the Environment at the Peninsula Resort, Ajah to appraise the performance of the ministry in 2009 and reposition it for the challenges of 2010.

 Earlier in his welcome address, Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Muiz Banire explained that the 3 day retreat was designed to assess performance so as to see areas that would need improvement to enhance efficient service delivery.

He stated further that the on going re-engineering of the environment is a fundamental factor in the Mega city project of the state government, stressing that the environment must be totally rejuvenated and protected against any form of degradation.

 Banire disclosed that the state government has adopted a holistic and sustainable approach in recovering the environment from the rot it was to its enviable status through a systematic implementation of various programmes on beautification, effective waste management and sanitation.

 Participants noted at the retreat that following enlightenment campaign on the negative consequences of noise pollution on the health of the people such as human hearing impairment, restlessness, high blood pressure, lack of concentration, body fatigue, loss of sleep, resultant hypertension and subsequent death, the ministry had been inundated with complaints from the public about noise pollution.

 Surveys conducted by the state government, in some public schools in the state indicated that more than 60 percent of pupils in schools have their hearing impaired as a result of their daily exposure to noisy environment.

While condemning the current degenerating level of noise pollution in the state and its implications on the health of the citizens, the participants urged the state government to urgently put the level of noise generated in the state under check to reduce the health bill incurred by the government on the over 15 million residents on daily basis.

On the constant perennial flooding in some parts of the state despite government’s huge investment in the Flood Free Lagos (FFL) programme, participants decried the encroachment and degradation of the wetlands in the state.

“A situation where the wet land which serves as buffer for storm water when the tides are high in the lagoon are sand filled, compounds the flood management problems of the state.

The communique therefore “implored the government to do everything possible to protect the wetlands and separate any illegal structures or contraventions from its drainage alignments or on wetland areas that could undermine the current de-flooding effort of the government”.

On global warming and climate change, the state government said “it was taking the campaign against desertification to the international arena by sponsoring an expedition to London through the Sahara Desert”.

“The expedition tagged Desert Warriors will see 15 people embark on the journey to London by road. They will be educating communities along the route on the importance of planting trees to protect the environment and curb desertification. They will also plant trees as they go on.

The flood-free campaign of the state government, Banire noted has been very successful as it was evidenced in the less flooding experienced last year despite the intensity of the rain. He assured that the year 2010 would be more interesting as his Ministry has lined up various activities and programmes to further make Lagos environment more conducive for economic growth, healthy living and exploration of its tourism potentials.

Considering the enormity of the task that must be done on daily basis and the need to manage stress effectively, the commissioner advocated that gymnasiums and fitness facilities should be put in strategic locations in the high blood pressure and sudden death Secretariat to give workers enough time to rest while at work. This he said would help to reduce incidence of high blood pressure and sudden death often occasioned by restlessness.

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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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