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Lalong Charges Pilgrims To Pray For Nigeria To Overcome Insecurity

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Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has urged the 2020 Christian pilgrims to Jordan to pray for the nation to overcome  its security challenges while in the Holy Land.
Lalong also urged the pilgrims to pray for the improvement of the nation’s economy.
He made the call while officially flagging off the 2020 Christian Pilgrimage last Saturday at Yakubu Gowon Airport , Heipang near Jos .
“You are embarking on this spiritual exercise at a time when our nation is in dire need for prayers and rejuvenation because of the myriad of security and economic challenges we are facing.
“ It is very important that you present our nation before God and solemnly reflect on your role as believers in building a better Nigeria.
“Indeed, when we turn to God with a sincere heart, our land will be healed. Please pray earnestly for Plateau and Nigeria while you are there,” he said.
The governor also urged the pilgrims to see the trip as an opportunity to develop themselves spiritually, and have a closer relationship with God.
He described the event as historic, as it was the first time the state was hosting the departure of intending pilgrims to the Holy Land.
Intending pligrims from Plateau, Bauchi and Gombe states were transported from the Yakubu Gowon Airport.
He said the event was an attestation of the restoration of peace in Plateau and its place as a tourist site.
“It reaffirms the fact that Plateau State is back to its pride of place as the Home of Peace and Tourism.
“Secondly, it shows that the efforts of our Rescue Administration in restoring peace, confidence and stability are yielding the desired results,” Lalong said.
He said even though the initial plan was for direct airlift of pilgrims from Jos to Jordan, which was not actualised, their airlift to Abuja would ease the rigours for intending Pilgrims of traveling to their designated take off points from their states.
“Hopefully, all the outstanding issues should be sorted out before the next exercise to make the dream of direct flight come true,” he said .
He expressed optimism that the development would herald the Yakubu Gowon Airport to international service, considering that it had already been designated as one of the cargo airports in the country.
The governor lauded Rev.Yakubu Pam, the Executive Secretary , Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission(NCPC), for seeking holy sites in Jordan as an alternative to Israel before its lockdown directive is relaxed .
“I am told that a total of 600 intending pilgrims from Plateau will be performing the pilgrimage during this exercise.
“Out of this number, 200 were carried over from those that were not airlifted to the Holy Land to participate in the 2019 pilgrimage, as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Mr Adamu Bulkachuwa,urged the Pilgrims to strengthen their spirituality from the exercise, saying ‘Do not return the same’.
Bulkachuwa, who was  represented by Sen. Nora Daduut, the Senator representing Plateau South Senatorial District, prayed for the pilgrims’ faith to be deepened, while urging them to pray for the country and the world.
2,500 Nigerian pilgrims will perform the 2020 pilgrimage in Jordan.
Special Prayers were conducted for the intending Pilgrims by clerics, led by the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, who is also the spiritual leader of the Pilgrimage.

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Senate Gives NIMASA 48-Hr Ultimatum To Provide $5m Fees Evidence 

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The Senate Public Account Committee has given a 48-hour ultimatum to the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to show a document involving payment of $5 million in legal fees for service not rendered.
The panel had invited the management of NIMASA to explain why the $5 million was paid for services not rendered.
At the resumption of the committee meeting on the issue on Tuesday, the representative of NIMASA, OlamideOlusanya,  told panel that the matter was in court.
But the committee rejected the submission and asked the agency to present information at its disposal on the payment of legal fees to the law firm.
The official of the NIMASA told the lawmakers that the agency was directed by the then Attorney General of the Federation to pay $5 million for the legal fees.
The Chairman of the Committee, however, asked the representative of NIMASA to present any letter mandating it to pay $5 million for legal fees.
Responding to whether the Presidency directed the agency to pay the legal fees, the representative of the NIMASA’s Managing Director said there was no such letter, adding that they only had a letter from the Senior Special Assistant to President on Administration authorising the payment.
The Chairman, therefore, ordered the agency to present documents relating to the payment by Thursday this week before the committee would take a final decision on the matter.
He said, “We need the details of the payment, you go back to your archives and bring it out. Also, let us know the transaction between you AGF before you paid the money.”
Another member of the Committee, Senator AbdullahiDanbaba, said there was no basis for making that payment, adding that the money should be recovered from the law firm.
The committee had invited NIMASA up to three times for an explanation for the payment of $5 million as a professional fee and details of the $9.3 billion loss by the Federal government, but the agency had declined the invitation.  The chairman had then ordered that an arrest warrant be issued on the NIMASA boss at the last panel sitting.

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Desertification: Bauchi Rotary Club Plants 100 Trees

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In its effort to fight increasing cases of desertification and promote a friendly environment, the Rotary Club of Bauchi Central has planted 100 species of trees at the new Dungal Housing Estate, a suburb of the Bauchi metropolis on the Bauchi-Jos highway.
Speaking to journalists at the venue of the exercise, Assistant Governor, Rotary International, District 9125, Rotarian Gabriel Omachi,  said that the Club was keen on environmental protection considering the adverse effects of climate change.
Omachi stated that the exercise was part of the contributions of the Rotary Club as a humanitarian organization with the well-being of the people as a major activity.
He said: “We are particularly glad that these trees are being planted in this estate, apart from protecting the encouragement, it is also medicinal. You can see that we have achieved double points”
Omachi noted that the trees when they are grown would give the residents of these areas pure and natural oxygen needed for healthy living and other benefits.”
The Assistant Governor then explained that the Rotary International District 9125 covers 23 states which are the 19 Northern states, four states in the South West excluding Lagos and Ogun as well as the FCT.
Speaking earlier, the President of the Rotary Club of Bauchi Central, NonsoNwobi, said that environmental protection was one of the cardinal agenda of the Club being a humanitarian service organization.
He said: “Today, we have planted 100 trees. Tree planting is one of the humanitarian services that Rotary offers to save the environment.”
Nwobi explained that “one of the purposes of these trees is to beautify the new estate, provide shade and serve as the windbreaker.”

He added that there is no cause for fear over the survival of the trees noting that they said have outgrown nurturing, hence won’t require continued watering more so it is rainy season.

He also assured that NPK fertilizer and other chemicals for protection from pets have been applied to the trees while baskets for protection from stray animals would be provided.

The President urged other well-meaning citizens to join the Club in giving back to society and humanity, adding that the Club has other lined up humanitarian services for the year.

These, he said, included cleaning of drainages, building soak-away and other environmental services assuring that a more positive impact of Rotary Club would be felt by residents of the state.
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Fashola Tasks COREN Board On Professionalism

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Minister for Works and Housing,  Babatunde  Fashola,  has inaugurated  a nine- member Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), with a charge to maintain professionalism.
Fashola, while inaugurating the COREN members in Abuja, Tuesday, stressed the need for the members to imbibe professionalism as well as ensuring that the ethics guiding the engineering profession were upheld.
While reiterating the commitment of the Federal Government to the development of infrastructure in the country, Fashiola said it would also demand Professionalism on the part of the engineers to achieve the stride.
Fashiola said “Our government has committed to infrastructure and you all know infrastructure brings development to the country,  it boosts our economy,  creates employment and enables the nation to compete for continental and global space.”
The minister said  members of the   profession had been and would continue to play a significant role in this regard and stressed the need for COREN to ensure that professionalism was at  its peak.
He charged them to uphold the moral and ethical standards of the profession,  adding that true professionals always did the right thing no matter the situation and would not compromise standards in the face of pressure.
Responding, one of the council members and immediate past President of the Nigerian Society Of Engineers (NSE),  MrBabagana Mohammed, said the new council members were coming with a lot of experience and dedication to protect the ethics and standards of the profession.
“We are going to emphasise on the do’s and don’ts because so many things are happening. Some  people do not understand the regulations, so we need to make people understand and obey the regulations.
“That will form the focus of the ongoing conference of COREN,” Mohammed said
Also speaking, another member, Prof. ZekeniYelebe,  praised the infrastructural drive of the Buhari administration and  pledged that they would ensure that standards were upheld in the profession.
”We can see that this government is serious in terms of infrastructural development and as a council, we will make sure that  engineering activities especially  infrastructural development is done with all  engineering ethics.
“The council will also look at the curriculum of  institutions offering Engineering courses to see if there is need for changes or improvements to be made.

“Accreditation issues will also be appraised to ensure that the products of the Engineering Institutions can compete with their counterparts in any part of the world,” Helene said.

The newly inaugurated council members include DrMuhammed  Jibrin, representing North West; DrIdiatArogundade,  representing the North Central; and Prof. Baba Waziri, representing the North East.

There’s also, Prof. Zekeni  Yelebe, representing the South South, Prof. Gabriel Shonaike, representing the South West. andMrBabajideOjedele representing the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.

Others are Mr  Ademola  Olurunfemi also representing the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing; as well as MrTasiuWudil and MrBabagana Mohammed both representing the Nigeria Society of Engineers.
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