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Airport, Private Sector Partnership Underway

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With the desire to turn around the fortune of the nation’s airports, the Federal Government has reiterated its resolve to partner with the private sector.

Already, the airport concessioning steering committee has began sitting, and have promised to ensure that there is transparency in the discharge of its duties.

The chairman, board of directors of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Ebitimi Banigo, has assured that the concessioning would be pursued with the proper concession of some of the airports and the automation of their facilities to improve on their revenue generation.

He said that this is in accordance with President Umaru Musa Yar’dua’s public private partnership initiative and vision of making Nigeria one of the top 20 industrialised nations by year 20,20.

Banigo, in company of some members of the board, made the position clear at the maiden meeting with representatives of the two industrial unions in the industry, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, and the National Union of Air Transport Employees, at the weekend.

The former minister, whose board recently inspected facilities at some of the airports, including those in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Port Harcourt, lamented the poor state of infrastructure, and therefore enjoined the workers to brace themselves for the challenges of PPP, automation and concession, which are global phenomenon that gives credence to the running of commercial operations by the private sector.

The federal government has already slated the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, Mallam Aminu Kano Airport, Kano, Port Harcourt Airport Omagwa, and the Margaret Ekpo Airport, Calabar for concessioning.

“That is why we are charting a new direction with renewed vigour. That new direction, we believe, should be embraced by all stakeholders. The direction engenders great opportunities and possibilities; opportunities to invest, train and build for our today and future”, he stated.

Furthermore, he stated “that is why we are open for business and partnership; we remain unflinchingly committed to our vision of being one of the best airport groups in the world in line with president’s vision 2020″.

Meanwhile the steering committee on concessioning of four international airports set up by the aviation minister, Babatunde Omotoba, commenced work over the weekend when it held a closed-door meeting with the management of FAAN at the headquarters in Lagos.

Chairman of the committee, Dele-Ore at the meeting promised to take all stakeholders in the aviation industry, including industrial unions, into confidence in its deliberations, with a view to making recommendations that would be acceptable to as many interest groups as possible.

He also assured staff of FAAN that their interest would be well taken care of in the proposed airport programme and listed the committee’s term of reference as driving the process of four international airport authority as in the Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Calabar, and that consultants have been appointed to facilitate the concessioning.

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Farmer Cries Out Over Cattle Invasion

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A farmer in Aluu Community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr Nwo Nna, has cried out over cattle invasion of his farmland and crops.
Nna made this known in a chat with newsmen in Aluu recently.
He said that the most worrisome aspect of the development was the neglect by the herders of the Anti-Grazing Law passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly.
The farmer who discribed such as vexatious and  provocative, appealed for intervention by relevant agencies in order to secure their future.
“I got to my  farm on Saturday morning only to see my vegetables, cassava, yam and the entire farm devastated by cows”, he said.
He  expressed regrets that his farm, which was not at the road  had experienced such  attack for the second time.
The farmer noted that it would have been a different ball game, if he had met the herders in his farm.
“The saving grace was that  I did not meet them. They should be called to order to avoid problems”, he said.
He also sought for urgent intervention of  the Rivers State Government, Myyetti Allah and other relevant authorities to warn the herders to keep off people’s farms in the interest of peace.
The farmer further explained that it was becoming a regular practice for herders to parade their cows along the roads, and such  cows  stray into farm lands and  destroy people’s means of livelihood.
While declaring that Rivers people are hospitable, the farmer warned stranger elements, who do not have respect for the laws of the land as well as terrorise other people’s means of livelihood, to take their lawlessness elsewhere.
Other farmers who also responded  called for the establishment of a system that monitors the  activities of herders.
According to them, it will enable those who take their cows into farms to be identified and adequately sanctioned in the event of any invasion by the cows.
This, they said will bring a lasting peace and as well  serve as a deterrent to others.

By: King Onunwor

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EFCC Blames Frauds In Banking Sector On Insiders

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission last Wednesday said most frauds in the banking sector were perpetrated by insider Information, Communication Technology employees.
Head, Cybercrime Section of the EFCC, Abbah Sambo, made the declaration at a national seminar on Banking and Allied Matters for judges in Abuja recently.
Sambo, who represented the EFCC Chairman, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, at the seminar, said that most banking sector frauds handled by the commission showed that bank employees aided the acts.
He also expressed regrets at the increasing rate of cybercrime in spite of efforts by the commission to tackle it.
Sambo observed that in years past, young people involved in cybercrime were not ICT savvy, but today, it was  ICT graduates that are the champions in perpetrating the crime.
He attributed the increase in cybercrime to moral decadence and peer group influence.
“The rate at which young men are perpetrating cybercrime is seriously alarming.
“When we arrest these criminals, one major reason they give for going into the crime is peer influence.Their friends are into it and they want to run with guys that drive the best cars and have the best girls in town”, he said.
He hinted that most times when  the criminals were arrested, a lot of  assets on them,  are  registered in the names of their parents.
“Cars in the names of their mothers and houses in the names of their fathers. There is a fundamental issue relating to decay in moral coverage in the society,’’ he said.
Sambo said that the greatest challenge in fighting cybercrime was the knowledge gap, and  noted  that the criminals were getting more sophisticated.
According to him, the criminals had the ability to talk to one another seamlessly by sharing knowledge, unlike law enforcement agencies.
“A lot of the people trying to combat the crime in the field tend to lack the drive because they do not have adequate training,’’ he said.
He stressed the need for adequate sensitisation and engagement with youths, especially from secondary school level to let them know the ills of crime.
The two-day seminar was organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria in collaboration with the National Judicial Institution.

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SEC Frowns At Resurgence Of Ponzi Schemes

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The Securities and Exchange Commission has frowned upon the resurgence of Ponzi schemes and illegal fund managers in the country’s financial sector.
The Director-General of SEC, Mr Lamido Yuguda, made the observation of the development at an enlightenment workshop with the staff of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on in Abuja over the week.
Yuguda said  that the unlawful schemes had continued to enjoy massive patronage of the populace and remained a source of concern for regulators in the financial sector.
According to him, the commission was  poised to continue to apply measures and seek the cooperation of relevant stakeholders toward combating the activities of these Ponzi schemes.
He expressed regrets that the upsurge of the schemes had undermined the reputation of the financial markets and dampened investors’ confidence, among other things.
“SEC firmly believes that the country’s capital market can attain its potential if market operators and participants contribute their respective quotas to the growth”, he said.
He also explained that SEC was committed to always ensure and maintain an environment that was enabled by the appropriate regulatory framework, timely and affordable access to market.
“The commission is also committed to zero tolerance for infractions, heightened investor confidence and awareness, innovative product development and good governance practice”, he said
“There is the need to restore investor confidence and improve the participation of retail investors in the market.
He further pointed out that the demography of investors in the country’s capital market showed that the young population do not participate in the capital market, and only a few Nigerians invested in the capital market.
The situation, he said,  created a huge challenge to the market growth and the commission  and added that it was striving to change the narratives by instilling a fair, transparent and orderly market.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, represented by Mr Stephen Okon, Director Home Finance, urged investors to take advantage of the various initiatives in the market.

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