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NoisePollution:Lagos Tackles Churches, Others

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Ahead of efforts of the state government to reduce noise pollution in the state, the Lagos State Government has appealed to various religious organisations and other concerned groups like musical centres and video clubs to minimise the volume of noise emanating from their activities in the interest of public health.

According to the state authorities, the health and convenience of other people it was noted, should be put into consideration in the course of their religious or business activities.

The warning was contained in a communiqué issued at the weekend after a 3 day Performance Review Retreat organised by the State Ministry of the Environment at the Peninsula Resort, Ajah to appraise the performance of the ministry in 2009 and reposition it for the challenges of 2010.

 Earlier in his welcome address, Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Muiz Banire explained that the 3 day retreat was designed to assess performance so as to see areas that would need improvement to enhance efficient service delivery.

He stated further that the on going re-engineering of the environment is a fundamental factor in the Mega city project of the state government, stressing that the environment must be totally rejuvenated and protected against any form of degradation.

 Banire disclosed that the state government has adopted a holistic and sustainable approach in recovering the environment from the rot it was to its enviable status through a systematic implementation of various programmes on beautification, effective waste management and sanitation.

 Participants noted at the retreat that following enlightenment campaign on the negative consequences of noise pollution on the health of the people such as human hearing impairment, restlessness, high blood pressure, lack of concentration, body fatigue, loss of sleep, resultant hypertension and subsequent death, the ministry had been inundated with complaints from the public about noise pollution.

 Surveys conducted by the state government, in some public schools in the state indicated that more than 60 percent of pupils in schools have their hearing impaired as a result of their daily exposure to noisy environment.

While condemning the current degenerating level of noise pollution in the state and its implications on the health of the citizens, the participants urged the state government to urgently put the level of noise generated in the state under check to reduce the health bill incurred by the government on the over 15 million residents on daily basis.

On the constant perennial flooding in some parts of the state despite government’s huge investment in the Flood Free Lagos (FFL) programme, participants decried the encroachment and degradation of the wetlands in the state.

“A situation where the wet land which serves as buffer for storm water when the tides are high in the lagoon are sand filled, compounds the flood management problems of the state.

The communique therefore “implored the government to do everything possible to protect the wetlands and separate any illegal structures or contraventions from its drainage alignments or on wetland areas that could undermine the current de-flooding effort of the government”.

On global warming and climate change, the state government said “it was taking the campaign against desertification to the international arena by sponsoring an expedition to London through the Sahara Desert”.

“The expedition tagged Desert Warriors will see 15 people embark on the journey to London by road. They will be educating communities along the route on the importance of planting trees to protect the environment and curb desertification. They will also plant trees as they go on.

The flood-free campaign of the state government, Banire noted has been very successful as it was evidenced in the less flooding experienced last year despite the intensity of the rain. He assured that the year 2010 would be more interesting as his Ministry has lined up various activities and programmes to further make Lagos environment more conducive for economic growth, healthy living and exploration of its tourism potentials.

Considering the enormity of the task that must be done on daily basis and the need to manage stress effectively, the commissioner advocated that gymnasiums and fitness facilities should be put in strategic locations in the high blood pressure and sudden death Secretariat to give workers enough time to rest while at work. This he said would help to reduce incidence of high blood pressure and sudden death often occasioned by restlessness.

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CBN Assures On Depositors’ Fund Safety 

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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reassured the banking public of the safety of their deposits and the banking system’s resilience.
CBN’s Acting Director of  Corporate Communications Department, Mrs Hakama Sidi-Ali, gave the assurance in a statement on  Monday in Abuja.
The statement, a response to concerns raised about the stability of some Nigerian banks in the wake of Heritage Bank Plc’s license revocation, faulted claims that the CBN was considering revoking the operating licences of Fidelity, Polaris, Wema, and Unity Banks.
It also clarified that a circular issued by the Bank on January 10, 2024, notifying the public about the dissolution of the Boards of Union, Keystone, and Polaris Banks, was currently being circulated as though it was freshly issued.
According to the Director, Heritage Bank’s case was isolated.
“Allegations of further revocation of licences prior to the completion of CBN’s recapitalisation exercise are mere fabrications aimed at creating panic within the system”, Sidi-Ali said.
She stated that bank customers, particularly those of Heritage Bank, need not worry about the safety of their deposits, adding that the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) had commenced payment to the bank’s insured depositors.
The spokesperson urged members of the public to continue their regular banking activities without fear, dismissing any false reports regarding the health of specific Deposit Money Banks.
“The CBN, with its robust regulatory framework, is proactively ensuring the stability of Nigeria’s financial system, thereby guaranteeing the safety of depositors’ funds in all Nigerian financial institutions”, she said.
Sidi-Ali reiterated the assurances of the CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, that the recapitalisation of banks in Nigeria was intended to bolster the banking system and safeguard the sector against risks.

She urged all stakeholders to cooperate in ensuring the success of the process, which she said would be for the overall growth of the Nigerian economy.

“Without prejudice to the ongoing recapitalisation process, I want to restate that the Nigerian banking industry remains resilient. Key financial soundness indicators remain within current regulatory thresholds.

“Customers are, therefore, encouraged to proceed with their transactions as usual, as the CBN is committed to ensuring the safety of the banking system”, she said

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NERC Approves New Tariff Hike For Port Harcourt DisCo

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In spire of calls that the recently hiked “Band A” tariff be reversed, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has approved a new tariff hike for the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (DisCo).
NERC permitted the PHED to raise tariffs for Band A customers categorised as Maximum Demand 2 Special (A – MD2 Special).
MD customers are customers that have a load of 45kVA and above. They also operate and maintain their dedicated transformers.
From N206 per kilowatt-hour, this category of customers within the Port Harcourt franchise will now pay N225/KWh.
In a regulatory instrument tagged June 2024 Supplementary Order to the Multi-Year Tariff Order – 2024 (“June 2024 Supplementary Order”) for Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Plc, the NERC said the tariff approval was under the Tariff Review Application by PHED.
“Further to Section 23 of the MYTO-2024, this Supplementary Order seeks to reflect the changes in the pass-through indices outside the control of licensees including inflation rates, naira/dollar exchange rate, available generation capacity and gas price for the determination of Cost-Reflective Tariffs”, NERC stated.
The electricity regilator emphasised the basis for the review, saying the Naira to the US Dollar exchange rate of N1,469.06 per dollar has been adopted for June to December 2024. It said this has been determined by adding a 1 per cent transaction cost to the average foreign exchange rate of N1,454.52 during the period May 1 to 24, 2024 as obtained from the website of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
It also added that the Nigerian inflation rate of 33.69 per cent for April 2024 as published by the National Bureau of Statistics was applied to revise the Nigerian inflation rate projection for 2024.
“Under Section 116 of the Electricity Act and extant regulations, the commission has considered and approved for PHED, the tariffs (in Table 2) effective 1st June 2024. The approved tariffs shall remain in force subject to monthly adjustments of pass-through indices including inflation rates, naira/dollar exchange rates and gas-to-power prices.
“In line with the policy direction of the Federal Government of Nigeria on electricity subsidy, the allowed tariffs for Bands B – E customer categories shall remain frozen at the rates payable since December 2022 subject to further policy direction by the government.
“With this policy, the estimated subsidy benefit for customers under the PHED franchise in 2024 is approximately N11.49bn monthly”, the NERC stated.
In April, the NERC announced a new tariff for customers in Band A, from N68/KWh to N225/KWh.
It later reduced the tariff to N206.80/KWh based on the rebound of the naira.
Meanwhile, organised labour and manufacturers have kicked against the Band A tariff.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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AMJON Partners School To Train Journalists On Maritime Operations 

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The Association of Maritime journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) has gone into a mutually beneficial collaboration with School of Eloquence to strengthen the capacity and reporting skills of Maritime journalists.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Chairman, AMJON Organising Committee, Mr. Segun Oladipupo and made available to our correspondent in Lagos on Monday.
According to the statement, “This year’s edition, tagged “Special Edition”, is a collaborative effort between the foremost Public Speaking training School,  School of Eloquence and AMJON”.
Oladipupo said the training is slated to hold on Friday at the School of Eloquence premises at Osborne Road, Ikoyi.
“Experts from the Nigeria Customs Service, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and School of Eloquence have been lined up to train journalists on the rudiments of their own operations”, according to the statement.
Speaking, the President of AMJON, Paul Ogbuokiri, said journalism required constant training to be in tune with evolving trends in the industry.
According to him, journalism has taken a leap from what it used to be and journalists need to equip themselves with modern journalism tools that will help them to catch up with the trends.
“We need constant training and restraining to be relevant in this age of journalism. If we fail to update ourselves, we will soon fizzle out,
“This partnership with the School of Eloquence is a right step in the right direction. It will no doubt, energise our knowledge of reportage”, he stated.
On his part, the Chairman, Organising Committee, Segun Oladipupo, said the event would afford members the opportunity to take their reporting to enviable height
He, therefore, enjoined participants to seize the opportunity to learn new trends in journalism and also learn the business side of the job.
He thanked the School of Eloquence for providing a platform for Nigerian journalists to take a flight in their daily assignment.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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