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Don’t Give Up On Country, Baraje Charges Nigerians

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As the nation celebrates its 53rd Independence Anniversary, the Chairman of the splinter Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, has charged Nigerians not to give up on Nigeria as the challenges facing the country would soon be over.
In a statement to mark the country’s 53rd Independence Anniversary yesterday, Baraje said that the leaders needed the support and cooperation of the followers to move the nation to the next level.
“As I salute my fellow country men and women on this special, epochal and historical event of the 53rd Anniversary of our independence and knowing that many of our leaders have spoken to Nigerians on this special day, let me reiterate on behalf of our great party that no matter the obvious shortcomings and challenges facing our nation in areas of education, health, infrastructure, roads, security, governance etc I will suggest that we don’t give up hope as there is light at the of the tunnel,” Baraje said.
According to him, in addressing some of these lapses, Baraje advised President Goodluck Jonathan to “constitute of a critical management team made up of apolitical, eminent technocrats and knowledgeable Nigerians to take over the management of the national economy given the woeful failure of the economic management team of the Federal Government.”
Baraje called “for a similar team to arrest the infrastructural decay that is threatening the nation’s infrastructural base at present.
“In view of the present quagmire in the education sector, particularly in our public universities,” the chairman suggested “a state of emergency, particularly on the area of funding with a view of arresting the present conflict and demands of ASUU as it is becoming very embarrassing keeping our children at home for over three months now.”
He also demanded “the empanelling of a credible, independent and resolute anti-corruption body to cleanse the country of the thick stench of corruption that has overwhelmed it at present,” while further demanding “a re-ordering of the inchoate federal structure we are running with a view to allowing the states and the other federating units more access to resources to attend to the numerous responsibilities placed on them.”
The new PDP also called “for the introduction of state police as an antidote to the worsening security problems, which the present inept and highly politicised Nigerian Police had been unable to deal with.
“We see the clamour for a national dialogue as timely and appropriate as there is an urgent need for Nigerians to come together and discuss matters affecting them as well as the way forward. We, therefore, welcome Mr. President’s announcement in his Independence Day broadcast about the establishment of a committee to advise him on the modalities for the holding of the conference. We, however, wish to warn the proposed conference should not serve the same cosmetic purpose served by previous efforts; it should be empowered to discuss all issues agitating the minds of Nigerians – there should not be any no-go areas except the unity and oneness of Nigeria, which is not debatable.”
Baraje, therefore, urged Nigerians not to lose hope but to remain resolute in demanding good governance, transparency and accountability from government at various levels as that is the only way to force the corrupt clique in power to change their ways.

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DPR Plans Maximum Economic Recovery Strategy For Oil, Gas Industry

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The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says it is formulating a Maximum Economic Recovery (MER) strategy for Nigeria to attain maximum value delivery from its oil and gas resources.

The Director, DPR, Mr Sarki Auwalu, made the announcement during a keynote address at the 2021 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition (NAICE), yesterday, in Lagos.

The conference has as its theme, “The Future of Energy –A Trilogy of Determinants: Climate Change, Public Health, and the Global Oil Market.”

Auwalu said the industry initiative was one of the outcomes of the work of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre (NOGEC), Lagos inaugurated in January by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said, “Following an in-depth assessment of the status of the industry, the department identified the need to formulate the ‘Maximum Economic Recovery Strategy for Nigeria’.

“This is to guarantee the actualisation of sustainable resource optimisation and the economic benefits arising therefrom.

“The framework for this industry action plan outlines six pillars or building blocks.”

Auwalu said the pillars were: Reserves Maturation and Production Optimisation, Exploration and Resources Maturation, Improved Oil Recovery and Enhanced Oil Recovery, Implementation Asset Stewardship, Performance Evaluation and Rewards Risk Management.

According to him, the draft framework has been shared with the industry, including professional associations like the SPE and the National Association of Petroleum Explorationists.

He said this was in preparation for an industry collaborative workshop to co-develop and enunciate this strategy for immediate execution.

“We count on the contributions and buy-in of all stakeholders on this crucial national assignment for our overall benefit and industry sustainability,“he said.

Auwalu said Nigeria was rising to the occasion as the ‘trigger’ for continental growth and economic transformation using its oil and gas resources to drive value for national development.

He said the DPR would continue to foster innovative ideas and create opportunities for investments and sustainability in the industry.

Auwalu said, “As always, we are enthusiastic to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders, including the SPE, toward the realisation of government’s aspirations for the oil and gas sector.

“In our role as business enablers and opportunity providers, DPR will continue to promote efficiency to meet the needs of the industry, creating value, enhancing transparency, reducing barriers and transaction costs.”

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Pensioners Urge PenCom To Implement Unpaid 15% Increment

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Pensioners under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) have appealed to the National Pension Commission (PenCom) to implement their 15 and 33 per cent pension increment and other benefits.

The Contributory Pensioners Union of Nigeria (CPUN), South-West Zone, made the appeal,yesterday, during a peaceful protest held in Ibadan.

The CPUN President, Mr Joseph Idowu, while addressing newsmen said that PenCom has yet to implement the increment since 2007 and 2010 in spite of various promises.

Idowu said that their counterparts, under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS), had been enjoying the increment through the proactive stand of Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD).

“The new consequential adjustment in pension due to the latest increase in workers’ salaries and wages are also being enjoyed by pensioners under DBS, neglecting the CPS pensioners.

“No CPS pensioner has received any interest on their accrued benefits since 2007 till date.

“We require your urgent attention to ensure that arrears on this are calculated and paid at the Federal Government official rate, as at the time of retirement,” Idowu said.

The president said that his members were suffering as some of them collect as low as N3, 000 as their monthly pension which was not accepted.

Idowu also said that his members were not happy with the delay in the payment of their retirement benefits, which the commission now paid after one year of retirement, contrary to PRA Act 2004 (Amended).

He said that Section 16 (5) of PRA Act 2004 says pensioners should be paid not more than three months after retirement.

Idowu, however, commended the commission for prompt payment of their monthly pension, urging them to prioritise welfare of pensioners under the CPS.

Also, a member of the union, Mrs Clara Fumilayo, called on the Federal Government to assist the pensioners,

Fumilayo said that their monthly pension could no more buy any tangible things based on the situation in the country.

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‘Only 29% Of Babies Breastfed Due To Reliance On Breast Milk Substitute’

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A professor of Paediatric and Child Health, Alice Romoke-Nte, says the aggressive marketing of breast milk substitute by manufacturers was responsible for the gap in breastfeeding of children by mothers in Nigeria.

Nte, who is also the coordinator, Baby Friendly Initiative at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) said the advertising of these baby food weakens the confidence of the mothers and makes them feel that these breast milk substitutes are better off.

She said this has left only 29 percent of Nigerian babies breastfed as a result.

Nte said the UPTH, Rotary Clubs in Port Harcourt and other stakeholders were using this year’s World Breastfeeding Week to carry out aggressive campaigns to raise awareness for the need of exclusive breastfeeding.

She said the international code of marketing of breast milk substitutes would be included in steps to ensure full compliance of marketing these artificial body foods.

Rotary Clubs in Port Harcourt that joined in the rally yesterday morning for exclusive breastfeeding to mark the World Breastfeeding Week includes, Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Garden City, Top Health, Seaport, Eco, Atlantic City, and Golf Estate.

Others include, Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Gateway, City Valley, Passport, Creek View, Sky Waves, and Rotary Club of Port Harcourt.

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