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NRC To Begin Train Services, Soon

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Managing Director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Adeseyi Sijuwade has said that full operational mass transit train services would return in phases in Kano, Maiduguri, Jos, Enugu, Port Harcourt and Lagos before the end of this year.

He said the selection of concessionaires for private sector involvement has already started to ensure that the set target is realistic.

He noted that the ongoing rail rehabilitation projects include Lagos, Jebba to Kano, while the corporation has carried out the rehabilitation and completion of Warri-Ajaokuta standard rail line, Construction  of Abuja – Kaduna, Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge line, refurbishment of 100 wagons and 70 coaches for sustainability of freight and commuter train services, upgrading of signal and telecommunication facilities and re-equipping of workshops.

He thanked the federal government for its commitment to effective train services to Nigerians by giving approval in its 2009 budget for the procurement of 25 new locomotive engines out of which five have been received by the corporation in February, 2010.

Sijuwade said reconstruction work along with landscaping was on-going on the headquarter buildings of the corporation at Ebute-Metta while operational staff would be given uniform as part of efforts to give the corporation a new and acceptable corporate image, adding that the mechanical/electrical engineering workers from all the districts of the corporation are presently undergoing a two-week training course in Lagos while the locomotive engine drivers have gone to South Africa for training.

“As you are all aware transport and indeed the rail transport is a component part of the present administration’s 7 point agenda and a critical element in the nation’s socio-economic development in its drive for Vision 20-2020. This is to say that the NRC has a high public profile window and we as Railway workers be it the managing director, director, loco driver, ticket checkers or spy police have a duty to remain customer-focused and sensitive to good service delivery. This is one way we can truly speak of  Railway rebirth we can sustain.” While promising to improve on the welfare of the workers of the corporation by first of all looking into matters of allocation of staff quarters, Sijuwade enjoined all the workers of the corporation to conform to the spirit of servi-com, which he said was ‘Government’s campaign instrument for positive behavioural change in our places of work.

 ‘Servicom is about good service delivery in terms of service place, time or charges that will elicit customer’s satisfaction’. Sijuwade said, referring to the corporation as the shopping floor for government business.

“Nigerian public deserves to be served better and we must put ourselves in readiness to ensure they are served right”, he told the workers.

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Stakeholders Meet To Assess Nigeria’s Preparedness For AFCFTA

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Stakeholders are expected to converge in Lagos today to take a look at the Nigeria’s preparedness to maximize the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 
The Tide learnt that stakeholders will be converging at the instance of a popular online newspaper, Primetime Reporters, to assess the progress made so far by the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA agreement.
The event which is the Third Annual Lecture and Awards of the online medium has as its theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Preparedness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.” 
The event will also witness conferment of awards on eight eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours.
The Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of Primetime Reporters, Mr. Saint Augustine Nwadinamuo, made this known in a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Monday.
According to him, the event will hold at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos beginning from 10.00am.
Nwadinamuo said that the event would be chaired by a renowned legal practitioner, Barr. Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara of the Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, Lagos, while the Director General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, would be the lead paper presenter.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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EFCC Nabs 419 Kingpin Over N250m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested a leader of a deadly 419 syndicate, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka (a.k.a Awise) over an alleged attempt to swindle an innocent Nigerian of N250 million. 
The Tide learnt that the syndicate operates from a shrine at Ashipa Town, near Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Sunday, by the EFCC, Awise’s arrest followed a petition by his victim, Juliet Bright who lost N250m to the fraudster after she was tricked to provide money for sacrifices and invocations to heal her of an ailment.
The statement said Bright was introduced to Alaka by one Akinola Bukola Augustina (a.ka. Iya Osun) whom she met on Facebook in the course of her search for solutions to her health challenge. 
What drew her to Augustina was the latter’s post under the name, Osunbukola Olamitutu Spriritual Healing Centre.
 Once Bright contacted Augustina, the latter promised to heal her if she could pay N16 million. 
The victim paid the money through an Access Bank account belonging to one Mohammed Sani, who later turned out to be a Bureau De Change Operator.
After paying the money without receiving healing, Augustina transferred the victim to other members of the syndicate, notably Awise. 
Bright revealed that she met Awise at his shrine in Ashipa Town and was hypnotized and subsequently transferred various sum through bank accounts and in cash to the suspect and his syndicate members, until she lost N250 million to them.
Despite all the monies collected from her, her health conditions has never improved.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Expert Wants Farmers To Grow Plant Produce For Export

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An expert in Quarantine Agriculture, Dr Vincent Ozuru, has advised Nigerian farmers to give more attention to growing plants produce that could be exported.
He said that plant like the hibiscus, popularly known as Zobo is on high demand in some countries around the world, today.
Ozuru who gave the advice while speaking to aviation correspondents at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, noted that some plants produce, particularly hibiscus, had yielded huge revenue to the Federal Government through export.
According to him, Nigeria exported about 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone in 2017 and earned $35 million within nine months of that year.
The agricultural quarantine expert explained that the export of the plant had a setback as a result of storage pest discovered by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service in some consignments.
“The issue has now been taken care of and the export is resuming again, and all matters have been resolved with the stakeholders across the value chain.
“Mexico is the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus, and our farmers should brace up to the challenge.
“The good news is that Nigeria has a vast growing belt in hibiscus, and the harvest is available all year round.
“We need to take advantage of this opportunity to earn foreign exchange for ourselves and for the country at large, even with the commitment of the present administration to diversify the economy”, he said.
Ozuru called on Nigerian farmers to show more commitment to the growing of export produce and also endeavor to get ready information on it in order to increase their income.

By: Corlins Walter

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