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Road crashes: FRSC bans Dangote trucks from night haulage

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Road crashes: FRSC bans Dangote trucks from night haulage

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he Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has banned haulage trucks belonging to Dangote Group from embarking on night trips, warning that henceforth, trucks found on the road between 7p.m. and 7a.m. will be impounded.

The ban is part of the ongoing efforts by the FRSC to reduce incidents of fatal road crashes involving heavy duty trucks and other vehicles on roads across the country.

 

The corps has also tasked Dangote Group on prompt removal of broken down vehicles and the need to intensify efforts towards achieving professionalism in the recruitment, training and certification of its drivers as a critical measure to reducing crashes on the highways.

 

Corps Public Education Officer, Bisi Kazeem, who disclosed this yesterday, said the decision came at a meeting between top management of the FRSC and representatives of the Dangote Group. According to Kazeem, the meeting is part of the ongoing efforts by the Corps to reduce the rate of crashes involving articulated vehicles and  ensure prompt removal of broken down vehicles on the highways.

 

The Corps Marshal, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, who spoke extensively during the meeting, lamented the spate of crashes involving Dangote trucks and called on the group to make the training, retraining and certification of drivers a major priority in the operation of their fleet.

 

 

“There is need for the company to be strict in its recruitment process for drivers; requirements such as age for both entry and retirement should be made a priority issue to avoid underage driving and maintain a fixed age for retirement,” he said.

 

Oyeyemi charged the group to establish more driving schools and also make it open to the public so that drivers and would be drivers can apply for training as this will go a long way in making the highways safer for all to use.

“FRSC and Dangote Group to commence a joint effort to ensure that all abandoned or broken down Dangote trucks are towed within the next 30 days commencing from 18th September to 17th October, 2019; all Dangote trucks to have at least a mini first aid box; Dangote trucks not allowed to drive from 7p.m. to 7a.m. Any of the company’s truck found around that time will be impounded at sight; foreign number plates on the company’s trucks to be replaced with Nigerian number plates before 31st December, 2019; and periodic and random driver’s eye check should be conducted for the fleet drivers,” Kazeem said.

 

 

Head of the Dangote Group delegation, Mr. Juan Carlos Rincom, expressed appreciation to the FRSC for what he described as “its unwavering commitment to sanitising the highways” and pledged the company’s willingness to carry out all resolutions made at the meeting.

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Boxer Day dies after suffering brain injury

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Boxer Day dies after suffering brain injury

Boxer Patrick Day has died aged 27 – four days after suffering a brain injury in a fight against Charles Conwell.

The American was put into a coma on Saturday after he was knocked out in the 10th round of his super welterweight bout in Chicago, reports the BBC.

Promoter Lou DiBella confirmed Day had died on Wednesday “surrounded by his family, close friends and members of his boxing team”.

“He was a son, brother, and good friend to many,” said a statement.

“Pat’s kindness, positivity, and generosity of spirit made a lasting impression with everyone he met.”

Day was taken from the ring on a stretcher after the conclusion of the fight on the undercard of Oleksandr Usyk’s heavyweight victory over Chazz Witherspoon in the US.

“Patrick Day didn’t need to box,” the statement from DiBella Entertainment continued. “He came from a good family, he was smart, educated, had good values and had other avenues available to him to earn a living.

“He chose to box, knowing the inherent risks that every fighter faces when he or she walks into a boxing ring. Boxing is what Pat loved to do. It’s how he inspired people and it was something that made him feel alive.”

Fellow American Conwell, 21, wrote an emotional letter to Day following the fight.

“I never meant this to happen to you, all I wanted to do was win,” he said.

“If I could take it all back, I would. No-one deserves this to happen to them.”

Day won 17 of his 22 fights, with four defeats and one draw.

In July, Russia’s Maxim Dadashev and Argentina’s Hugo Santillan both died following injuries sustained during fights.

“It becomes very difficult to explain away or justify the dangers of boxing at a time like this,” the statement continued.

“This is not a time where edicts or pronouncements are appropriate, or the answers are readily available. It is, however, a time for a call to action.

“While we don’t have the answers, we certainly know many of the questions, have the means to answer them, and have the opportunity to respond responsibly and accordingly and make boxing safer for all who participate.

“This is a way we can honour the legacy of Pat Day. Many people live much longer than Patrick’s 27 years, wondering if they made a difference or positively affected their world. This was not the case for Patrick Day when he left us.”

Boxing announcer Michael Buffer was among the first to pay tribute to Day, describing him as a “wonderful young man”, before adding “everyone in the boxing community is crushed”.

WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman said boxing had lost a “brave, kind and wonderful friend”.

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Boxer Day dies after suffering brain injury

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Boxer Day dies after suffering brain injury

Boxer Patrick Day has died aged 27 – four days after suffering a brain injury in a fight against Charles Conwell.

The American was put into a coma on Saturday after he was knocked out in the 10th round of his super welterweight bout in Chicago, reports the BBC.

Promoter Lou DiBella confirmed Day had died on Wednesday “surrounded by his family, close friends and members of his boxing team”.

“He was a son, brother, and good friend to many,” said a statement.

“Pat’s kindness, positivity, and generosity of spirit made a lasting impression with everyone he met.”

Day was taken from the ring on a stretcher after the conclusion of the fight on the undercard of Oleksandr Usyk’s heavyweight victory over Chazz Witherspoon in the US.

“Patrick Day didn’t need to box,” the statement from DiBella Entertainment continued. “He came from a good family, he was smart, educated, had good values and had other avenues available to him to earn a living.

“He chose to box, knowing the inherent risks that every fighter faces when he or she walks into a boxing ring. Boxing is what Pat loved to do. It’s how he inspired people and it was something that made him feel alive.”

Fellow American Conwell, 21, wrote an emotional letter to Day following the fight.

“I never meant this to happen to you, all I wanted to do was win,” he said.

“If I could take it all back, I would. No-one deserves this to happen to them.”

Day won 17 of his 22 fights, with four defeats and one draw.

In July, Russia’s Maxim Dadashev and Argentina’s Hugo Santillan both died following injuries sustained during fights.

“It becomes very difficult to explain away or justify the dangers of boxing at a time like this,” the statement continued.

“This is not a time where edicts or pronouncements are appropriate, or the answers are readily available. It is, however, a time for a call to action.

“While we don’t have the answers, we certainly know many of the questions, have the means to answer them, and have the opportunity to respond responsibly and accordingly and make boxing safer for all who participate.

“This is a way we can honour the legacy of Pat Day. Many people live much longer than Patrick’s 27 years, wondering if they made a difference or positively affected their world. This was not the case for Patrick Day when he left us.”

Boxing announcer Michael Buffer was among the first to pay tribute to Day, describing him as a “wonderful young man”, before adding “everyone in the boxing community is crushed”.

WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman said boxing had lost a “brave, kind and wonderful friend”.

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Minimum Wage: Labour puts hold on strike

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Minimum Wage: Labour puts hold on strike

…as negotiations inconclusive, FG, labour adjourn meeting till 7pm Thursday

Regina Otokpa, Abuja

After nine hours of intense deliberations and several team breakout sessions, the Federal Government and organised labour were unable to reach an agreement on the consequential adjustment for the new minimum wage on Thursday morning.

Negotiations had continued on Tuesday after the last breakdown which saw to an ultimatum for strike should fail to meet labours demands on or before October 16.

But despite assurances from both government and labour to reach a logical conclusion on Wednesday, the meeting which started around 5pm Wednesday, dragged till about 2: 06 am on Thursday still ended inconclusive and was adjourned to continue by 7pm later on Thursday.

Addressing newsmen, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, noted that both sides had unanimously agreed to use the whole day to undertake some important tasks that would aid the process of the ongoing negotiations to deliver a positive and sustainable outcome.

In his words: “Finally, we agreed on so many areas, which hitherto we go into agree on, and we’re adjourning the meeting, we’re giving assignment to some people on both sides and we’ll go and do the work and get back to us.

“The work is enormous so, we’re giving them the entire day to get back to us. Issues of money and wage adjustment as per different wage structures we have in the country.

“We don’t want to make mistakes that could be fertile and thereby putting the whole exercise we’ve done in jeopardy. Therefore we’ve consensually agreed that we’ll reconvene this meeting at 7pm today, like I said earlier those that were given assignment to complete their assignment and bring them back to us.

“The meeting has been moving on smoothly, as you can see from here there is progress, it is very cordial, nobody is fighting.”

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said there was no point embarking on the proposed strike, since negotiations were still ongoing.

According to him, progress has been made in many areas of implementation and the consequential adjustment, and both parties were working towards concluding negotiations with a concrete agreement.

“Some committees need to do some competition, you can see that they have worked up to the early hours of today, that is, in the true spirit of collective bargaining is give and take and that is what we’re trying to do and ensure that we get the process concluded.

“You can see that the meeting is adjourned, collective bargaining is still in progress that is not our practice.

“Our practice is that until we’re able to conclude the issues and that we’re able to inform them appropriately but not midway when there is no date that we’re making progress to say that we should abruptly disrupt the process of collective bargaining.

“For now, we’ve adjourned to reconvene by 7pm today, therefore progress is being made and in the appropriate time we should be able to give the details.

“Yes certainly, the 16 is to convey a meeting and address the issues. If we’re already at the table trying to sort out the issue, every dispute would actually be concluded on a round table and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Wabba, who declined comment on details of negotiations and the percentages agreed by each party for the different officers’ grade levels, said that if there was a strike in Delta State, it was in clear violation of instructions handed down by labour to all states in the country.

“I’m not sure of what you’re saying because we give instruction to all our members in the same manner. And clearly speaking the instruction we gave if it is only a state then it is a misinformation,” he added.

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Buhari cuts foreign trips, estacodes for ministers

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Buhari cuts foreign trips, estacodes for ministers

…orders military to settle deceased families

 

…insists Nigeria’s unity not negotiable

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a sharp reduction on foreign trips and estacodes for ministers and other top government officials.

Henceforth, all the affected government functionaries must submit their travel plans to the Presidency for clearance.

The move is part of a new measure to curb leakages and ensure efficiency in the management of government’s scarce resources.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, in a statement by his Director of Information, Willie Bassey, said the measure is aimed at instilling financial discipline and prudence, particularly, in terms of official travels.

According to the directive, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are henceforth required to submit their Yearly Travel Plans for statutory meetings and engagements to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and/or the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation for express clearance within the first quarter of the fiscal year.

Apart from seeking approvals for trips well in advance, all public funded travels (local and foreign) must be strictly for official purposes backed with documentary evidence.

“In this regard, all foreign travels must be for highly essential statutory engagements that are beneficial to the interest of the country.

“They are further required to make their presentation using the existing template and also secure approvals on specific travels as contained in the plan, from the appropriate quarters.

“Except with the express approval of Mr. President, Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen of Extra-Ministerial Departments, Chief Executive Officers and Directors are restricted to not more than two foreign travels in a quarter.

“Also, when a Minister is at the head of an official delegation, the size of such delegation shall not exceed four, including the relevant Director, Schedule Officer and one aide of the minister.

“Besides, every other delegation below ministerial level shall be restricted to a maximum of three,” the statement said.

For Class of Air Travels, the President has approved that Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants to the President, Chairmen of Extra-Ministerial Departments and Chief Executive Officers of parastatals who are entitled, to continue to fly Business Class while other categories of public officers are to travel on Economy Class.

In addition, Mustapha warned that all travel days will no longer attract payment of estacode allowances as duration of official trips shall be limited to only the number of days of the event as contained in the supporting documents to qualify for public funding.

According to him, the Auditor-General of the Federation has been directed to treat all expenditures that contravene these guidelines as ineligible.

New Telegraph learnt that the current measure was in response to some disturbing trends where some ministers and other top government officials have been embarking on frivolous foreign trips with huge estacodes as the underlying motivation. 

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Bayelsa guber: PDP, APC clash at stakeholders’ meeting over IDPs

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Bayelsa guber: PDP, APC clash at stakeholders’ meeting over IDPs

Tempers rose yesterday at stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, to interact with political parties and civil society groups, for the November 16 governorship election in state.

The two leading parties in the state, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), disagreed sharply over existence of internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in Bayelsa State.

The event, which began on a peaceful atmosphere, was later disrupted for about five minutes, forcing the organisers to hurriedly bring it to a close to prevent unpleasant circumstances.

Trouble began when a representative of the PDP, Francis Doukpola, in his presentation, drew attention of INEC to displaced persons from some communities in Nembe Local Government Area whom, he said, are in IDPs’ camps in Yenagoa, due to electoral violence.

According to him, “For me, the worst election we had in Bayelsa was the 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections. We had very bitter experience, as a result of that election.

“I regret to inform you that half of the communities in Bayelsa now are in IDPs’ camps; they are no longer in their communities simply because they belong to certain political party.

“Efforts to return those people to their communities so that they can exercise their franchise in the forthcoming election are beginning yielding result.

“The name of the community is Basambiri in Nembe Local Government Area.”

But he was immediately interrupted by Dennis Otiotio of APC, who disputed the claim. Other political parties present took sides, depending on interest.

Attempts by security agencies and INEC officials to calm frayed nerves failed, forcing the organisers to call for the national anthem.

Otiotio had earlier, in his presentation, accused the Chairman of the Inter-party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Bayelsa State, Eneyi Ziduogha of non-consultation.

He also demanded for centralisation of security personnel deployed for an election, and for proper training of INEC presiding officers deployed for elections.

“I have discovered that most of the innocent mistakes leading to litigations in an election were committed by ad hoc staff,” Otiotio observed.

INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, in his remarks, decried incidences of violence that characterized previous elections in the state.

Yakubu further warned of actions and utterances likely to breach peace during the campaign, on Election Day and during the collation of results, adding that the Commission would not accept attacks on its personnel and materials.

“We want to remind candidates and their supporters that attacks on officials of the commission will, this time, attract severe sanctions.

“It has happened before where we refused candidates who attacked our staff their certificates of return.

“In one of such cases, the court ordered that we give the candidate his certificate of return (COR) and as a respecter of court order, we did.

“But we are determined to follow the matter to the Supreme Court to ensure that the matter is decided once and for all,” he assured.

But Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of Operations, Abdumajeed Ali, described the incident as normal thing in politics.

Ali, who represented the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammad Adamu, promised that the police would provide peaceful environment for the election.

He disclosed that over 30,000 personnel would be deployed for the election.

“We have made adequate deployment for the election. We are deploying no less than 30,000 policemen including other security agencies. It is our responsibility as police to protect the people, INEC officials and election materials.

“We are also aware that some people are planning to wear police uniforms. That, I can tell you, will be met with strict resistance. Our men will be on ground three to four days to election.

“The police will not be here for a tea party. Campaigns must be done according to rules and regulations. We will provide enabling environment for all the aspirants,” he promised.

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Aisha Buhari apologises over embarrassing leaked video

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Aisha Buhari apologises over embarrassing leaked video
  • Govs’ wives pay solidarity visit to First Lady

First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has apologised to her children, members of her immediate family and all well-meaning Nigerians over the embarrassment that a leaked video circulating on social networks may have caused them.

The apology came yesterday when the wives of state governors across the country paid her a solidarity visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The visit is coming on the heels of the recent battle between Mrs. Buhari and the family of Mamman Daura, the president’s cousin whose daughter, Fatima, has accused the First Lady of attacking her inside the Villa.

An amateur video went viral at the weekend, raising concerns about the safety of the first family. In the video, the First Lady is heard shouting on top of her voice, complaining about being denied access into one of the apartments within the Presidential Villa. The short video clip apparently exposed the perceived battle between her and the much dreaded cabal for the control of Aso Rock, the seat of government in Nigeria. 

Director of information in the office of the First Lady, Haruna Suleiman, in a statement, said Mrs. Buhari used the opportunity of the solidarity visit to apologise to her children and the first family for the embarrassment caused as a result of the leaked video.

According to the statement, she used the opportunity to commend the first ladies from the states for the good work they have been doing in their various states.

She lauded their successful collaboration on the Future Assured Programme and urged them to replicate it in their respective states.

The First Lady admonished them not to succumb to distractions by social media.

Speaking on the advocacy project for the improvement of maternal and child health, which is supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented by Future Assured Programme in partnership with the states’ First Ladies, Mrs. Buhari said it will come to an end in December 2019.

She expressed her resolve to construct a regional secretariat for the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM).

The Mission, which was established after the Beijing Conference of 1995, has been in the custody of Nigeria, with leadership rotating among African First Ladies.

“I have successfully secured 2.7 hectares of land in Abuja for this purpose and the foundation laying will soon be conducted in the presence of African First Ladies,” said Buhari.

She expressed appreciation to the president for approving a new set of aides to assist her in carrying out her various responsibilities.

Earlier, the First Lady of Borno State, Mrs. Falmata Umara Zulum, representing Northern First Ladies Forum and Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, representing Southern First Ladies Forum, spoke at the occasion.

Mrs. Zulum said they were at the Villa to welcome her back after a long absence and expressed their unalloyed loyalty and support to her initiatives, especially through the Future Assured Programme, which she said has made her a role model, even to other African women.

On her part, Mrs. Obaseki said they received news of the First Lady’s return with great excitement, praying God to continue to protect her.

She used the opportunity to thank the president for approving additional special assistants for her, saying this is an indication of the regard he has for her work.

The event was attended by wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, wife of the Senate President, Mrs. Maryam Ahmed Lawan and wife of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mrs. Salamatu Gbajabiamila, as well as wives of governors and wives of legislators.

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IMF to Nigeria: Be prudent, cautious with loans

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IMF to Nigeria: Be prudent, cautious with loans

…urges country to widen tax base

…says interest payments very high

 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday welcomed the move by Nigeria to embark on more borrowing but stressed that such funds be used for infrastructure and social spending even as it urged the country to broaden her tax base.

Assistant Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF, Cathy Pattillo, made this call yesterday at the ongoing World Bank/ IMF meeting in Washington D.C.

“What is key is what countries such as Nigeria are doing with those borrowed funds. Undertaking structural reforms to develop the economy is also key at this point in time,” Adrian explained.

Nigeria’s total public debt increased to N25.7 trillion as at the end of June  2019 from N22.38 trillion as of June 2018, according to the Debt Management Office (DMO).

This means that the country’s debt, which has continued to raise concerns locally, increased by N3.32 trillion in one year.

The debt stock is made up of N8.32 trillion ($27.16 billion) external debt and N17.38 trillion borrowed domestically. 

Ironically, the Fund had in January warned Nigeria and other highly indebted countries against “a legacy of excessive debt”.

Also during its meeting last month, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) noted that the rising public debt was one of the factors hindering the nation’s growth prospects.

But the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said in August that the country did not have a debt problem, but faced the challenge of generating sufficient revenue.

However, Adrian noted that the current global financial conditions are favourable to countries such as Nigeria.

“Issuing bonds in hard currency and the domestic currency is possible because of favourable global financial conditions.

“Both domestic and external debts markets are important for economic growth and development and both markets should be well developed; but of course, any borrowing has to be managed in a responsible manner. There are both costs and benefits.

“So, borrowing can be helpful for economic growth and investment, but it can also be dangerous when negative shocks arise. So we have done a lot of work in the IMF on debt sustainability and debt management and we have a host of recommendations of how to manage debt in a responsible manner.”

Similarly, responding to a question at a separate media briefing on the IMF’s Fiscal Monitor, Pattillo reiterated the need for a comprehensive reform package in Nigeria, in order to increase non-oil revenue.

This, according to her, would also provide the opportunity for more investments in infrastructure.

“For Nigeria, that is very important for a couple of reasons, one because right now, interest payments as a share of tax are very high. Around a third of overall Federal Government revenue is for interest payments, which is particularly high. Nigeria has one of the lowest tax to GDP in the world. It is not because Nigeria does not have big development problems,” Pattillo said.

Nigeria’s tax collections grew by 53.9 per cent from N3.3 trillion in 2016 to N5.32 trillion in 2018, being the highest collection ever in the history of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Nigeria has also made efforts to boost her revenue base by proposing to raise Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent in 2010.

Moreover, Pattillo said Nigeria has a large need for education and health spending. “It has some very low indicators in that areas and the demographic projections; Nigeria is projected to be the third most populous country in the world by 2050. So addressing those challenges is really important,” she said.

Also, the Deputy Division Chief, Monetary and Capital Markets Department, IMF, Mr. Evan Papageorgiou, stressed the need for the Federal Government to ensure prudent debt management.

“Nigeria has a large exposure to non-resident holders of domestic debt, particularly with central bank bills; and then as we understand in the central bank bills, there are lots of higher redemptions or those that have to deal with more rollovers in the coming quarters, and so managing those risks, particularly with respect to local currency and the behaviour of non-resident investors is very important,” he said.

Additionally, Papageorgiou noted that the debt itself creates problems. “We examined some issues that debt has to be used for productive purposes, but usually debt that is given under non-Paris Club or multilateral types of agreements, more broadly in a lot of low-income countries, particularly a lot of African countries, the issue of debt vulnerabilities is becoming more prescient,” he warned.

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Minimum wage: Uncertainty over FG, labour negotiation

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Minimum wage: Uncertainty over FG, labour negotiation

Few hours to the expiration of the ultimatum issued by organised labour to down tools, negotiation between the Federal Government and organised labour over full implementation of the new national minimum wage still appears to be dragging.

New Telegraph recalls that organised labour had threatened to embark on a nationwide strike should government fail to meet its demands on or before October 16.

But as at 10p.m. when our correspondent filled this report, both teams who were yet to reach an agreement, were reconvening from another round of breakout where they were engaged in team deliberations.

As at last night, it was uncertain if labour would see through its threat to embark on strike, or continue negotiations to arrive at a compromise with government.

Although a source who pleaded anonymity disclosed that government has changed the tone of discussion and introduced payment formulae, it was difficult to ascertain details of the ongoing negotiations as both government and the labour leaders kept mum over the details.

Unlike previous negotiations, organised labour and the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Committee (JNPSNC), came prepared for negotiations with an enlarged team including President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, the present and immediate past Presidents of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Quadri Olaleye and  Bobboi Kaigama respectively, and heads of affiliate workers unions.

At an earlier meeting which held on Tuesday, both parties had shifted positions. While labour lowed its position to 20 per cent and 25 per cent for officers on salary levels 07 to 14 and grade levels 15 to 17 respectively, government upped its proposal with an offer of 17 per cent for workers on levels 07 to 09, 15 per cent for those on grade levels 10 to 14 and 12 per cent for workers on grade level 15 to 17.

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Why FG can’t recover $62bn from IOCs –Sylva

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Why FG can’t recover $62bn from IOCs –Sylva

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timiprey Sylva, yesterday declared that it is impossible for the Federal Government to recover a total $62 billion from International Oil Companies (IOCs) being revenue lost to oil exploration since 2003.

The minister stated this while briefing State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Nigeria is seeking recovery of $62 billion from the oil companies including Total, Eni, Shell, Chevron, and ExxonMobil using a 2018 Supreme Court ruling, which enables it to increase its share of income from production-sharing contracts (PSCs).

The Federal Government, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), had demanded various sums of money from the oil companies on the basis of an October 17, 2018 judgement of the Supreme Court.

The apex court had, in the said judgement, ordered the Federal Government to immediately take steps to recover all revenues lost to oil-exploring and exploiting companies due to wrong profit-sharing formula since August 2003.

About five suits are currently before the Abuja and Lagos divisions of the Federal High Court stalling the Federal Government’s move to recover about $62 billion from international oil companies.

Sylva said although the government has started discussions on the matter, it remains a lost opportunity.

“Well, we have started discussions. Let us consider that as a lost opportunity, the money was not in a cupboard, they have taken it. Nobody can bring out that kind of money. I mean, we can’t get $62 billion.

“We can maybe get something from them, but not $62 billion. It’s an opportunity we have lost. We have already started discussions with them, but that is what is clear that it is a lost opportunity really,” the minister noted.

The minister explained that the existing Deep Offshore Act in the country, which is very old, is part of the problem and needs to be repealed if the government can get it right in terms of Production Sharing Contracts with the oil majors.

He said: “Most of these laws are old already and they need to be amended. The amendment of these bills really portends a lot for us. There are a lot of missed opportunities already. The previous law provided that when oil prices went beyond $20, we are supposed to negotiate and get some additional revenues.

“We didn’t take advantage of that and of course, when we approached the oil companies, the oil companies said, look, this is a lost opportunity, it’s not lost money because this money is not just there, it is not being kept in some cupboard.

“So, of course, it is a lost opportunity, we have to do something quickly to ensure that we don’t lose this opportunity in the future. That is why we have to ensure that this bill is passed. With this bill now, there will be some adjustments in the fiscal regime and we believe that the government will get a lot from the oil companies, especially their deep shore exploration activities.

“You know that the PSCs means that they invest the money, they recover their cost before the government begins to get some revenues from it. Unfortunately, the recovery, each time they keep investing and they keep recovering. So, if you don’t take time, you never really get to the point where you benefit at all, because, the oil companies are perpetually recovering cost. So, with the Deep Offshore Act Amendment, all those things are taken care of,” Sylva added.

Asked if such laws will take a retroactive measure, the minister explained that: “The amendment of the bill cannot be retroactive. Laws cannot be retroactive, we have to look forward.”

When the law came into effect 26 years ago, crude was selling for $9.50 per barrel. The oil companies currently take 80% of the profit from these deep-offshore fields, while the government receives 20%.

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Poor diet increases depression risk

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Poor diet increases depression risk

Australian researchers said the consumption of poor diets  by young adults could result in moderate-to-high symptoms of depression.

According to the findings of a small study of young adults published in the journal ‘PLOS ONE,’ those who embraced healthier food choices reported less anxiety and much better moods within weeks.

Study lead author, Heather Francis, said: “There is certainly evidence that eating a diet high in processed foods increases the risk of depression.” Francis is a lecturer in neuropsychology at Macquarie University in Sydney.

Explaining the link between poor diet and depression, Francis said, “Depression is associated with a chronic inflammatory response, and poor diet both increases systemic inflammation and is also a risk factor for depression.”

Depression, a major depressive disorder is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.

Lead author of the study, Sylvie Mrug, professor and chair of the psychology department, said adolescents’ emotion regulation was still developing and it was possible that diet and other environmental factors have a strong impact on their depression levels.

According to Mrug, “Food such as fruits, vegetables and yogurt contain low levels of sodium and high amounts of potassium and should be encouraged as part of a teen’s daily diet.”

Although the studies show a potentially positive impact of healthy eating on symptoms of depression, researchers urged caution.

“While diet may be able to improve outcomes, at this stage we would not recommend that it replace medication,” said Francis.

The study involved 76 university students between 17 and 35 years of age. All were reported to have eaten a diet heavy in processed foods, sugar and saturated fats, while also reporting feelings of sadness, decreased ability to feel pleasure and lack of motivation in the previous week.

The ‘NewsmaxHealth’ published that half of the participants were coached to add fruit, vegetables, fish and olive oil to their diet and reduce processed foods. The others received no coaching and continued their regular diets.

After three weeks, the researchers found that those who consistently ate better reported much better moods. Their scores on a scale measuring depression levels were normal and they reported less anxiety than the regular diet group, whose depression levels remained in the “moderate to high” range.

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