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FG Rejects Govt Media, Regulatory Bodies’ Merger

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The Federal Government has rejected proposals by the Oronsaye Committee for the merger of the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as well as mergers of Federal Government (FG) owned media organizations.
The rejection was contained in the Federal Government’s White Paper on the Oronsaye Committee Report on the rationalization and restructuring of Federal Parastatals, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
The Oronsaye Committee was created to advice on the restructuring and rationalization of the FG’s public institutions with overlapping functions in some cases without regard to their efficacy in the attainment of the socio-economic agenda of the Federal Government leading to escalation in cost of governance.
The White Paper from the Federal Government accepted, rejected and noted some of the recommendations of the committee’s report.
The Federal Government rejected all recommendations made for the NCC, including that the NCC, NBC and the regulatory functions of NIPOST be brought together under a unified management structure to be known as the Communications Regulatory Authority of Nigerian (CRAN); and that, at least, three directorates be created under the proposed CRAN to perform the functions of broadcast, tele­communications and regulatory functions of postal services.
Other recommendations include that the enabling laws of NCC and NBC be repealed and another enacted for the proposed Communications Regulatory Authority of Nigeria (CRAN); and that the enabling law of NIPOST be amended to reflect, among others, the transfer of its regulatory functions to the proposed CRAN.
The Federal Government also rejected most of the recommendations made by the committee for the restructuring of the Federal Ministry of Information.
The committee proposed that the Federal Radio Corporation Nigeria (FRCN) and Voice of Nigeria (VON) be merged; the enabling law of the FRCN be amended to accommodate the merger with VON; and the enabling law of VON be repealed.
It also proposed that the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), FRCN/VON be merged into one body to be known as the Federal Broadcasting Corporation of Nigeria (FBCN); a single governing board be established for the merged FRCN/VON and NTA; and the new entity have, among others, two departments, one each for Radio and Television, each to be headed by an executive director one of whom should be appointed chief executive of the proposed FBCN.
The proposed FBCN should have a managing director and executive directors for each of the broadcasting departments; the selection process for the positions of the managing director and executive directors be transparent and competitive; and the enabling laws of the NTA and FRCN/VON be repealed and a new one enacted to accommodate the proposed consolidation of the agencies.
It also suggested that the proposed FBCN be partially commercialized which was rejected by the Federal Government though it directed that NTA be fully commercialized by 2013.
The Federal Government also rejected the recommendations made on National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
The committee recommended the functions of NITDA be transferred to the Ministry of Technology as a Department and the enabling law of NITDA be amended.
The Federal Government rejected the recommendation to amend the NITDA Act and directs that NITDA continues to remain as an Agency under the Ministry of Communication Technology.
Under the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) the Federal Government accepted the committee recommendation that the commission should serve as the repository of all biometric data capture for the management of identity in the country for proper coordination and harmonization: and that all relevant agencies that perform biometric data capture mandatorily interface with NIMC for the purpose of identity management and administration.
The Federal Government rejected the recommendation that the NIMC be appropriately located in the Ministry of Interior with a view to preserving institutional legacy and ensuring effective synergy among all the data collecting and collation agencies or alternatively, in the proposed Ministry of Special Duties.
The committee recommended that the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) continues to be funded by the government to enable it carry out its assigned functions of developing, administering and enforcing transparency and accountability in the extractive industry in Nigeria, under the supervision of the Ministry of Special Duties. This recommendation was accepted by the Federal Government.
The committee also recommended changes for Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and Galaxy Backbone Limited (GBL).
The committee further recommended that NITEL be liquidated without further delay which was agreed by the Federal Government, stating that the liquidation process was ongoing.
It was recommended for GDL to be appropriately restructured to meet its set objectives and the Federal Government should issue a directive that all MDAs consult with GBL on all ICT related issues.
The Federal Government noted this restructuring recommendation and further directed that the supervisory ministry should clearly define and delineate the status and functions of GBL.
The committee recommended and the FG accepted that it should sell off its shares in Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSat) Limited and the functions of NigComSat that relate to space development be reverted to the National Space Research Development Agency (NASRDA).
It was also suggested that the budgetary allocations to the NigComSat cease from the 2013 Fiscal Year.
It was recommended that the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) be commercialized with effect from the 2013 Fiscal Year, but with Government seed funding; and the Corporation should continue to be domiciled, in the Federal Ministry of Information.
The Federal Government accepted this recommendation but directed the Minister of Information to reorganize the NFC for full commercialization by 2016.
The Federal Government accepted that the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board be transferred to a department in the Federal Ministry of Information but rejected that that the enabling law of the National Film and Video Censors Board be amended to reflect the new status.
The Federal Government agreed that it will not continue to fund professional associations such as Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) and Nigeria Press Council. It said they are all professional associations and are encouraged to register with the CAC.
However, government said it will continue to support regulatory bodies.
The report also suggested that the Nigeria Copyright Commission and the Commercial Law Department of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment be brought together as an agency and their mandate streamlined to ensure greater efficiency.
The committee proposed that the enabling laws of the Nigeria Copyright Commission and the Commercial Law Department be repealed and a new law enacted to reflect the proposed merger of the two bodies.
This recommendation was noted and accepted by the government. Government also accepted the recommendation that the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) continues to be funded by the Government and remains in the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
It recommended that the functions of National Orientation Agency (NOA) be transferred to the Department of Public Communications in the Federal Ministry of Information and its 774 offices be closed and its staff redeployed within the Federal Civil Service after a staff audit and assessment has been carried out.
The committee proposed that budgetary allocations to NOA ceases with effect from the 2013 Fiscal Year and the enabling law of the NOA be amended. The report also proposed similar recommendations for the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) on its budgetary allocations which it said should stop with effect from the 2013 Fiscal Year.
It added that the Act establishing NICO be repealed and the institute abolished but the Federal Government rejected the recommendation.

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Shell Donates Subsea Training Facilities To UNIPORT

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The Nigeria deep-water arm of global energy giant, Shell, has donated multimillion naira laboratory equipment and software packages to the Offshore Technology Institute of the University of Port Harcourt as part of the company’s Nigerian content human capital development programme delivered in collaboration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Speaking at a ceremony to hand over the facilities to the university, last Thursday, Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo), Mrs. Elohor Aiboni, said, “The donations are aimed at strengthening advanced practical teaching and research in subsea engineering to give the students the required skills and competences for entry level jobs in the oil and gas industry”.
The facilities, valued at over $700,000, are in alignment with the Human Capacity Development Guideline of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
Aiboni, represented by SNEPCo’s Social Investment Manager, Dr. Gloria Udoh, expressed optimism that with the level of investment by NNPC and SNEPCo in deep-water training via the establishment centres of excellence and donation of cutting-edge information and communication technology centres, among others, Nigerian oil and gas industry would surpass its local content aspiration earlier than projected.
“This investment anchored on the maintenance of subsea infrastructure on Nigeria’s pioneer deep offshore field, Bonga, is expected to develop and upskill the cognitive and technical abilities of students who pass through the Offshore Technology Institute for the ultimate benefit of our industry and of our country,” Aiboni added.
With the new laboratory and software packages, according to Aiboni, the Offshore Technology Institute is positioned to deliver effective training in engineering design; construction and installation of offshore and subsea structures; computer simulations; civil and construction tests; 3D printing/engravement capability; Measurement/Metering Technology and Robotics; Alternative Energy Technologies; and Data Acquisition Learning System.
In his remarks, Vice Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Onwunari Georgewill, commended NNPC and SNEPCo with its co-venture partners for their goodwill to the university and particularly to OTI, and canvassed more areas of collaboration between the university and its industry partners.
Georgewell said, “This project’s completion is timely because it latches on to the university’s leadership philosophy, which focuses on advancing education through an integrated learning environment to produce industry-ready university graduates and workforce.
“The current administration of the university places a lot of emphasis on university and industry collaboration and partnership. This donation will therefore enhance the achievement of the postgraduate degree-awarding Offshore Technological Institute in the practical context.”
Also speaking, Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote, described the human capital initiatives of SNEPCo as commendable.
Wabote added, “I commend your remarkable and consistent collaboration and partnership with the NCDMB towards the development of in-country capacities and capabilities.”
Represented by NCDMB General Manager, Corporate Service and Logistics, Mr Halilu Abdulmalik, Wabote said, “Your Nigerian content initiatives are consistent with the objectives and aspirations of NCDMB’s 10-year strategic roadmap, and we hope that necessary adjustments will be made to the curriculum to ensure optimal utilization by students in the university community.”

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Obasanjo, Osinbajo, Wike, Others Bag CAN Awards

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and Mummy Esther Ajayi, were among prominent Nigerians who received awards at the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Sapphire awards in Abuja, last weekend.
Others, including Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, and Chief Arthur Eze, also received awards at the event; while the kidnapped Dapchi school, Leah Sharibu, won in the Young Christian Achiever award category.
Former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, and Goodluck Jonathan, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustafa, and some Christian governors, serving and past National Assembly members bagged awards.
The awards were part of activities for CAN’s 45th Anniversary Sapphire Celebration Dinner and Award Night.
Earlier in his welcome address, CAN National President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, had said that the gathering was to celebrate 45 years of the church in Nigeria.
He said that Governance Category awards were for Christians in politics who had shown excellent and remarkable services.
“These include past presidents, serving governors and senators in our assessment that deserve such award.
“An award ceremony is applause of vision, personal discipline and determination; it is an event like this that makes people feel that their works are valued.
“The award is a catalyst that is expected to reinforce the awardees to serve humanity more and more,’’ he said.
The CAN president said it was heart breaking that majority of those in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps were Christians who were displaced by religious fanatics, bandits and gunmen in their territories.
He solicited the awardees’ financial support in fulfilling some of CAN’s obligations to fellow Christians and bringing to fruition the association’s projects.
Obasanjo, who was represented by the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, was the special guest of honour at the awards.
Obasanjo said that the award was significant in that it would encourage other citizens to serve humanity, adding “I will continue to do the best I can to uphold the principles of justice, love, equity, mutual respect, industry and the fear of God which epitomise the church of Christ until there’s no breath left in me.”
While showing appreciation to CAN on behalf of all the award recipients, VP Osinbajo said Nigerians needed to be more tolerant of other people’s views.
The vice president dedicated the award to those who, daily in different locations, distant and near, propagated the message of the love and reconciliation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, sometimes in difficult and life-threatening situations.
He said that the awardees were not necessarily the most deserving of Christians to be given any recognition but by the special grace of God which placed them in the high capacity they served.
He said, “As we have seen in the past few years, there’s a growing ethnic and religious chauvinism, and almost intemperate, vehement and violent dismissal of the views of people of other persuasions and faith without adequate consideration.
“At the same time, there is also the rise of cultural and identity politics. The answer to hate and intolerance and conflicts is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must believe enough in it, to live it out as our article of faith.
“The gospel commands consideration of the views of others, treating them we would wish to be treated. Our words must be of grace, seasoned with salt.
“We must remain constant and relentless advocates of freedom of worship, respect for human rights, fairness, justice, rule of law because they are fundamental to peace and security. We cannot talk of peace and security without fairness and justice, and compliance with the rule of law.
“We are in the advantageous position that our contribution will be more easily noticed.
“So, this award is dedicated to the men who, daily in different locations, distant and near propagate this message of the love and reconciliation of the gospel of Jesus Christ in sometimes even difficult and life-threatening situations.
“And to many who have suffered deprivations, the families of those who have lost their lives by reason of their belief.
“And we are deeply grateful to the Almighty God for the opportunity and enablement to serve in the positions to which we have been referred.
“I bring, also, the very warm felicitations of the President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government of Nigeria on the 45th anniversary of the birth of this foremost association of Nigerian Christians.
“CAN was formed to, among other objectives, nurture the unity of the church in Nigeria and to work with the leaders of other faith and persuasions to build bridges and forge understanding, peace and unity among the various people and faith in our nation.
“CAN has not only been continually faithful to its founding vision, it has become a veritable force for peace, for unity and for social justice.
“Pursuant to the gospel, CAN has consistently spoken up on behalf of the least of those in our society,’’ he said.
He said that the current and past leaderships of CAN had acted in full realiasation and recognition of their roles as pivotal stakeholders alongside the government and private sector in nation building.
Earlier, Senator Rochas Okorocha, who noted the dire financial condition of the umbrella Christian organisation in the country, advised clerics to tone down their criticism of those in authority.
He said, “I just want to caution some Christian pastors concerning the way we use our pulpit and the kind of fire of insults and abuses that comes from there. When you abuse those who will give you money where will you get the money.
“The Bible says to pray for those in authority. You need to draw your leaders close. When you draw us closer and tell us what your problems are, it will energise us to help. Money will flow more than you need.”
Also, Imam Abubakar Abdullahi, who sheltered no fewer than 200 Christians in Barkin Ladi, Plateau, during an attack, was presented with the Special Recognition award.
The late Obadiah Mailafia, former CBN Deputy Governor, was given a post-humous award of Spokesperson for Oppressed alongside Matthew Kukah, Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Sokoto and Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana.
Awards were also given to best candidates in the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and Senior School Certificate Examination.
Highlight of the event was the cutting of the anniversary cake.

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Bandits Free 10 More Kaduna Baptist Students, Keep 11

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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), yesterday, confirmed that 10 more students of Bethel Baptist School in Kaduna State have been released.
The Vice President of CAN (19 Northern States and Abuja) and its Chairman in Kaduna State, Rev. Joseph John Hayab, said this in a short WhatsApp message to newsmen.
He said, “Ten more students of Baptist High School were released this afternoon. We have 11 now with bandits.
“We are thanking all Nigerians for their prayers and support.
“We are trusting God that the rest will be released very soon. All have been reunited with their parents.”
Earlier, 10 students of Bethel Baptist School in Kaduna were released on Saturday, September 18, after spending 74 days captivity of terrorists, with 22 others still being held.
Hayab had said, “10 students were released this (Saturday) evening and have reunited with their parents. We are now hoping for the remaining 21 who are still with the bandits.”

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