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FG Bans Alcohol In Sachets, Polythene …Shifts Talks With NLC, TUC, Others To ’Morrow

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The Federal Government has indicated plans to completely phase out high concentration of alcohol in sachets and small Polyethylene Terephthalate and glass bottles in the country.
The moves are contained in a statement by the Director-General of the National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, last Saturday titled: “NAFDAC Cautions On Alcohol Abuse”.
She said, “NAFDAC under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Health, once again, wishes to bring to the attention of the general public, concerns relating to the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in sachets, small volume glass and PET bottles.
“These concerns relate to negative effects of irresponsible alcohol consumption on public health and on the safety and security of the public, alcohol being a toxic and psychoactive substance with dependence producing properties.
“Uncontrolled access and availability of high concentration alcohol in sachet and small volume PET or glass bottles has been put forward as a factor contributing to substance and alcohol abuse in Nigeria with its negative impact on the society.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that alcohol consumption contributes to three million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people.
“NAFDAC with full support of the Federal Ministry of Health has continued to exercise its regulatory responsibilities by ensuring that all alcoholic beverages and other regulated products approved by the agency meet set standards of quality, safety and wholesomeness.
“The Federal Ministry of Health is concerned about the high incidence of substance and alcohol abuse in the country and NAFDAC, being the competent authority and working with relevant stakeholders, is increasing efforts to stem this.
“With regard to alcohol, major stakeholders have been engaged at the highest level and are already sensitised to the issue. To this end, several interventions jointly agreed upon by major stakeholders are being undertaken and as a first step, no new products in sachet and small volume PET or glass bottles above 30 per cent ABV will be registered by NAFDAC.
“Furthermore, to reduce availability and curb abuse, effective January 31, 2020, producers of alcohol in sachets and small volume PET and glass bottles are to reduce production by 50 per cent of capacity prior to January, 2020. The overall goal is a complete phase out of high concentration alcohol in sachets and small PET and glass bottles in line with the agreed roadmap or earlier.”
Meanwhile, the peace talks between the Federal Government, organised labour and the civil rights groups on the recent hike in petrol price and electricity tariffs would now take place tomorrow in Abuja.
The meeting was originally scheduled for Friday but had to be postponed to enable as many interest groups as possible to take part in it.
The Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, confirmed the development in a text message, yesterday.
He said the meeting will come up at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Labour and Employment Minister, Dr Chris Ngige, first informed reporters of the talks, last Friday, as he emerged from a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ngige said the meeting, called on behalf of Buhari, would provide the government team an opportunity to open its books to organised labour and explain why it took recent decisions.
President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, had told newsmen moments after the minister’s announcement that the notice of the meeting went out late, and that labour leaders from different parts of the country would not be able to reach Abuja under 24 hours for the talks.
He said labour had proposed that the meeting be rescheduled.
Akpan, confirming the meeting’s postponement, last Saturday, said the leadership of organised labour and other civil society organisations were not likely to be available in one fold.
He said: “The meeting has been rescheduled to Tuesday, September 15, at 10 am. Venue is Banquet Hall of Presidential Villa. This is to accommodate all participants.”
In a separate interview, last Saturday, Wabba said organised labour would soon come out with a position on the recent increases in prices of various essential commodities, including petrol and electricity.
He said organised labour would not protest until the Central Working Committee (CWC) had met and agreed on appropriate action.
“Labour takes one battle at a time; it does not make announcement without backing its action,” the labour leader said.
Wabba noted that NLC had remained consistent on neo-liberal policies, and would take appropriate action in respect of the increases in order to achieve desired result.
He also said that it was high time Nigeria started refining products locally to solve importation challenges.
On the suspended planned protest against the Rivers State Government, Wabba said that there was the need to mend fences between the state government and labour to ensure harmonious relationship.
According to him, the will of the people should not always be taken for granted “as injury to one is injury to all”.
The NLC president called on other state governments to take appropriate steps toward addressing labour issues so as to avoid the wrath of the organised labour.
“We will take up any state that undermines the rights of workers. Workers should be conscious of their rights.
“There is synergy and we will confront recalcitrant employers to respect the law so that we don’t give room for sudden situations to rise,” Wabba said.
He further said that the Rivers State Government and labour had concluded negotiations on minimum wage, and the enabling circular would be released for a collective bargaining agreement to be signed.
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), had increased the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) to N151, 60 per litre from N145 with effect from September 2.
Also, electricity tariff was increased effective September 1, by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) from N30.23 per kwh to N62.33 per kwh.

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FG Alerts On Massive Flooding In Rivers, FCT, Others

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The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), an agency of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, has predicted more devastating floods from the end of August to early October in some states of the federation, including Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Already, the agency said in line with its earlier predictions, Lagos, Nasarawa, Anambra, Abia, Kwara, Kaduna, Rivers, Enugu, Borno and Ondo states had witnessed severe flooding as a result of heavy local rainfalls compounded by poor drainage system.
The Director-General of the agency, Engr. Nze Clement Onyeaso, in an interaction with some journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said all areas earlier identified as flood prone this year as well as those along the Rivers Niger and Benue might likely begin to experience more devastating flooding from the end of August.
“Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin which is occupied by nine countries namely Benin, Burkina- Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivore, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. Nigeria is located at the lowest position of the Basin and this means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding. The period of flooding in these upstream countries is August and September of every year,’’ he said.
The DG said his agency was monitoring the development as we approach these critical months, adding that it will also continue to monitor Cameroonian authorities with regards to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin.
Nze warned Lagosians against the practice of dredging and sound filling the Atlantic Ocean, to build what they usually call model cities like those in Lekki and Banana Island, saying such may, in the future, pose serious threats.
As part of the preparation for the expected floods, the DG called on Nigerians, especially the state governments to be fully prepared by ensuring cleaning of blocked drainage system and canals remove refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats on water channels.
The agency had earlier predicted that 121 LGAs in 27 states and FCT might experience severe flooding this year.

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Rivers Police Confirm Killing Of Disbanded OSPAC Leader In EMOLGA

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The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the killing of one Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, the leader of disbanded OSPAC in Umudioga community in Emohua local Government Area of the state, last Tuesday.
The spokesperson of Rivers State Police Command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, who confirmed this in a telephone interview with The Tide, said the dismembered body of the victim has also been recovered and deposited in the mortuary for preservation.
The police spokesperson further stated that the police has restored normalcy in the community while the Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday, has ordered for full investigation into the incident.
It would be recalled that gunmen suspected to be cultists, last Tuesday, invaded Umudioga community, and killed Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, who was said to be the leader of the disbanded OSPAC, a local vigilante group in the area.
A native of the community, who pleaded anonymity for fear of the unknown, disclosed that the gunmen, who were armed with sophisticated assault rifles, stormed the community in the afternoon and went for their target.
The source further revealed that the gunmen shot Isaac dead before beheading and dismembering his body, and later paraded the head of their victim in the community while urging natives not to panic as they came for the deceased and not for the community.
The Tide gathered that some other members of the disbanded OSPAC have already fled the community as a result of the killing of their former leader and fear of being attacked by the cultists who are hunting members of the defunct OSPAC in the area.
It was learnt that many suspected cultists were arrested and killed in the community while others fled during the reign of the deceased OSPAC commander in the community in 2019.
The Tide further learnt that the killing comes barely three weeks after the Chairman of Emohua Local Government Council, Dr Chidi Lloyd pronounced the dissolution of all vigilante groups in the LGA, and asked communities that make up the council area to submit five names of natives who would be screened and admitted into a new security outfit to be established and funded by the council in no distant time.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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JAMB Fixes Mop-Up UTME For 18,000 Candidates, Aug 6

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has rescheduled examination for more than 18,000 candidates who experienced biometric verification challenges and those who genuinely missed the just-concluded Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) as a result of a clash with this year’s National Business and Technical Examinations Board examination.
The mop-up UTME is scheduled for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the country.
JAMB Spokesperson, Fabian Benjamin, made this known in a statement, yesterday, titled, ‘Mop-Up UTME Holds Friday, 6th August, 2021…JAMB’.
The statement read, “Following detailed investigation and careful analysis of the highly-successful 2021 UTME, and with due consultation (resulting in gracious concession) with the National Examination Council (NECO) concerning the timetable of the council’s on-going SSCE, JAMB has scheduled a Mop-up UTME for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the nation.
“About 18,000 candidates slated for the examination are being notified through both text messages on their designated phone numbers and their JAMB profiles. In addition, the candidate can check using their registration number on http://www.jamb.gov.ng/2021mopup.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no candidate whose result has been duly released will be rescheduled for another examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are in the following categories:
“Candidates who could not be initially scheduled for examination owing to their inability to timely procure and supply their mandatory NINs or profile codes until after the close of the registration exercise and, therefore, had to purchase Bank Drafts (as against the usual vending of PINs) after the scheduled period for the examination and were later registered.
“Few candidates who encountered peculiar biometric verification problem, or who failed biometric verification on the examination date (and were recaptured) but were not allowed to partake in the examination. (Adequate screening arrangements have been made to re-verify such claims and any candidate found to be involved in any form of impersonation will be identified for prosecution).
“Candidates who were unable to sit for the UTME owing to the clash of timetables of the UTME and the then on-going NABTEB examinations and whose particulars have been verified and supplied directly to JAMB by NABTEB.
“Candidates who have been ascertained by JAMB to have experienced genuine rescheduling/technical problems as was the case in 30 of the 760 centres used for the examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are to print fresh examination notification slips containing the venue and time of the examination. The slips are to be printed from the JAMB website https://www.jamb.gov.ng using the candidates’ registration number from Sunday, August 1, 2021.
“The board strongly advises candidates to avoid supplying their vital information, including registration number to fraudsters who abound especially in cybercafe(s), tutorial centres springing up almost everywhere in the nation as a result of the illicit activities of examination syndicates. CBT centres approved by JAMB which are consistently monitored are relatively more secured for printing examination notification slips by candidates who cannot print such on their own.”

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