Hong Kong’s embattled leader, Carrie Lam, leaves for a visit to Japan on Monday as the Chinese-ruled city struggles to recover from a night of violence in which tens of thousands took to the streets, with further protests planned later in the day.
Lam is to attend Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony in Tokyo’s imperial palace on Tuesday and return home that evening, reports Reuters.
Early on Monday, Hong Kong embarked on a massive clean-up after a largely peaceful protest degenerated into violence across districts on the Kowloon peninsula, where protesters torched stores and sprayed grafitti on roads, amid skirmishes with police.
After two weeks of relative calm in the five-month long political crisis, Sunday’s large turnout reflected strong support for the anti-government movement despite police branding the march illegal, because of concerns over public safety.
Families and the elderly took to the streets of the Asian financial hub in what began as a peaceful march, many wearing masks or carrying umbrellas to shield their faces, despite the threat of being arrested.
However, a more radical faction of mainly young protesters later clashed with riot police.
They targeted banks and other businesses perceived to be linked to China, damaging some store fronts and setting fires on the prime shopping and commercial street of Nathan Road in the heart of the Kowloon peninsula.
The events followed an annual policy speech last week by Beijing-backed Lam in which she did not address protesters’ demands, but sought to ease tension with measures aimed at resolving a chronic housing shortage.
Protesters say they will keep up pressure on the government to act on their demands for universal suffrage, an independent inquiry into police behaviour, amnesty for those charged, and an end to describing protesters as rioters.
Metro operator MTR Corp said it would shut the rural Yuen Long station by 2 p.m., ahead of a protest planned there later on Monday.
Several subway entrances and exits would also be shut, and the entire network would close by 10 p.m., or two hours early, to allow time for the repair of facilities, the operator said.
In Sunday’s clashes, police used water cannon trucks to disperse protesters, spraying jets of blue dye into the crowds and sending hundreds fleeing.
In one instance, a water cannon fired a jet towards the front gate of the Kowloon mosque, Hong Kong’s most important Islamic place of worship.
Blue dye still smeared the road as worshippers gathered for prayers on Monday, with many saying they did not understand why police had targeted the mosque as there had been few people nearby.
The mosque entrance and front gate had been accidentally sprayed, police said in a statement.
“Police respect religious freedom and will strive to protect all places of worship,” they added.
The mosque incident is the first time the protests have affected religious groups, but the unrest has hammered much of Hong Kong’s business, retail and tourism sectors.
Visitor numbers have plummeted as tourists stay away, further hampering an economy facing its first recession in a decade.
The government was trying its best to support small and medium sized enterprises as the economy has been hit hard, Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan said on Sunday.
“We are studying the launch of the third round of relief measures,” he wrote on his blog.
Businesses will probably have to foot the bill for the vandalism, as few had insurance for riot damage, industry insiders said.
FG ready to solve your infrastructural, funding challenges, Fashola tells Surveying School Rector
In recognition of the series of infrastructural and funding challenges being faced by the management and students of the 111-year-old Federal School of Surveying, Oyo, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has promised Federal Government’s readiness to provide succour in order to make the Geoinformation and Mapping institution more relevant to the growth and development of the country.
The minister gave the exciting news during his speech as the Visitor to the institution at its 20th convocation ceremony where 10 sets of graduates from 2008 totalling 971, were awarded certificates of Ordinary Diploma (ND), Higher National Diploma (HND) and post HND degrees. In her address, the Rector of the institution, Surveyor (Dr.) Dupe Nihinlola Olayinka, an associate professor from the University of Lagos (UNILAG), who secured accreditation for all the courses being taught in the school within six months of her assumption of office, had complained that the school was lacking in funds and infrastructural facilities in spite of some giant strides she had made.
She had pleaded with the minister to include the school in TETFUND; “like other institutions to take care of the welfare of students and the staff, raising the budget ceiling from its current N450m to about N1.4bn demanded by the Procurement Unit; completion of new Administrative building for staff offices, among others.”
In his response, Fashola who was represented by Dr. Famous Eseduwo, with the Surveyor-General of the Federation and Chairman, Governing Council, S. A. Taiwo, in attendance, said that his ministry; “is aware of some of the challenges of the School such as infrastructure deficit, funding deficit, absence of TETFUND support, deficiencies in the enabling Act, under-funding and so on. We have started relating with the appropriate stakeholders towards finding lasting solutions to the identified challenges of the School.”
Court upholds Nsuke election as MOSOP President
A Rivers State High Court sitting in Nchia, Port Harcourt, has upheld the election of Fegalo Nsuke as the president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). The court presided by Hon Justice B. B Green struck out a suit seeking to upturn the election of Nsuke as MOSOP president following an affidavit of withdrawal from the complainants, Mr Gideon Amba, Chief Theophilus Dike and others.
Gideon Amba and Theophilus Dike, former Kingdom Coordinator of Eleme and former Financial Secretary of MOSOP respectfully, had approached the court to seek the extension of Legborsi Pyagbara’s tenure by one year. They also prayed the court to declare Nsuke’s election as invalid because the electoral committee, which conducted the elections, was set-up by the deputy president of MOSOP in the absence of the then president, Legborsi Pyagbara.
NLNG, JVs Train 7 project to create over 10,000 jobs
The Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) has sealed Gas Supply Agreements (GSA) for the supply of feedgas to Train 7, a move that would create over 10,000 new jobs and increase the country’s gas production capacity from 22 Million Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) to around 30 MTPA. A statement signed and made available to newsmen on Friday in Abuja by the NLNG General Manager, External Relations, Eyono Fatayi- Williams, NLNG noted that GSA’s entered into with Joint Ventures (JVs), signals the commencement of the project, which was expected to increase the company’s production by 35% and improve competitiveness in the global market upon completion. According to the NLNG, the Train 7 Project which was coming at the heels of the company’s 30th anniversary of incorporation and 20 years since exporting its first LNG cargo in 1999, was in line with its corporate vision of ”Helping to build a better Nigeria.” It further stated that the construction period after FID will last approximately between four to five years.
The statement reads in part: “The NLNG has signed the first Basic 20-year term of Gas Supply Agreements (GSAs) for NLNG Train 7 with Joint Ventures (JVs) for the supply of feedgas to Train 7, closing out another condition necessary for taking of the Final Investment Decision (FID).
“The Company also signed the second Basic 10-year term of GSAs for its Trains1, 2 and 3. The JVs are Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), Total Exploration & Production Nigeria (TEPNG) and Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited (NAOC).
“The milestone is coming after the issuance of a Letter of Intent for the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contract to SCD JV Consortium in September 2019 as well as the signing of the Nigeria Content (NC) plan with Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in March 2019. SCD JV Consortium is made up of Saipem of Italy, Japan’s Chiyoda and Daewoo of South Korea.
‘‘The Train 7 Project will ramp up NLNG’s production capacity from 22 Million Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) to around 30 MTPA. The Project will form part of the investment of over US$10 billion including the upstream scope of the LNG value chain, thereby boosting the much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) profile of Nigeria.
“The Project is anticipated to create over 10,000 new jobs during its construction phase, and on completion, help to further mop more gas that would have been flared, and diversify the revenue portfolio of the Federal Government and thus increase its tax base.” NLNG is owned by four Shareholders, namely, the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (49%), Shell Gas B.V. (25.6%), Total Gaz Electricite Holdings France (15%), and Eni International N.A. N. V. S.àr. l (10.4%).
Insecurity: Bandits now forcing farmers to part farmlands, SOKAPU alleges
The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) yesterday alleged that bandits terrorising residents in the area are now forcing farmers to hand over some parts of their farm to herdsmen before they are allowed to harvest their crops. The union also condemns the recent attacks in the area, saying that five persons have lost their lives while others remain critically injured. Addressing a press conference yesterday in Kaduna, SOKAPU President, Mr. Jonathan Asake, said: “We have been told by wary and frightened villagers on the Kagoro-Gidan Waya flanks that they have been enduring severe suppression, molestation and extortion before they harvest their crops.
“Those who have farms far from their communities are forced to surrender parts of their crops to serve as fodders for herdsmen’s cows to graze. Failure to do so results in untold consequences.” Asake, who was flanked by other executives, also “condemn in very strong terms the unprovoked, underserved barbarity unleashed on Zunuruk community by evil men. We equally sympathize with the families of those that lost their loved ones and pray for the quick recovery of those that were injured.
“We believe that all our communities must be free, safe and secured for every resident of Southern Kaduna irrespective of tribe, religion, political or cultural affiliation.” While narrating how the attack that left five persons dead took place, the SOKAPU leader said: “About 6pm on December 8, an annual football tournament to foster peace and unity between three communities had just came to an end at the football field of LEA Primary School, Zunuruk – a peaceful, farming community of Oegorok natives, close to Kagoro town in Kaura LGA of Kaduna state.
He said: “By our independent findings, it was just when the last whistle was blown, signalling the end of the match around 6pm that the rattling of what sounded like gunshots was heard followed by torrents of bullets fired at the crowd, raising a gust of dust, confirming to spectators and players alike that the deafening sounds were not just some ‘knockouts’.
MultiChoice opens ultra-modern office in Ibadan
As part of its drive towards delivering value to customers and shaping its business to respond to customers’ needs, MultiChoice Nigeria, yesterday, commissioned an ultra-modern office in Ibadan, Oyo State. The state-of-the-art facility will provide services such as sales, product activations, hardware maintenance, swops, reconnections and general customer services.
Addressing guests at the commissioning ceremony, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, who was represented by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatunbosun, said the state government was proud to associate with MultiChoice. The governor stated that the state is a conducive environment for tourism and other businesses.
He said: “We have over 100 tourism sites in the state and we urge corporate bodies like MultiChoice to help promote this industry in the state.” On his part, the Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Saliu Adetunji, reiterated that the people of Ibadan and Oyo State will continue to patronise MultiChoice products and services because they have affordable content that promotes the rich cultural heritage of the Yoruba people.
NIS: Visa on arrival to facilitate regional integration
The Comptroller-General of Immigration (CGI) Mr. Muhammad Babandede, has said the planned visa on arrival at the point of entry, is part of Federal Government’s efforts at accelerating integration in Africa. In a statement yesterday by the spokesperson for the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), DCI Sunday James, the CGI noted that the policy, which would take effect in 2020, would remove barriers hitherto militating against free movement on the continent.
He also added that the beneficiaries would be holders of passports of African countries.James said: “The Comptroller General of Nigeria Immigration Service Muhammad Babandede directed that clarifications be made regarding Visa on Arrival at the point of Entry for holders of passports of African countries.
“Nigeria’s strategic decision is taken to bring down barriers that have hindered free movement of our people on the continent by introducing the visa at the point of Entry into Nigeria with effect from January 2020. “The Comptroller General of Immigration is assuring Nigerians of the service’s commitment to ensuring high level professional ethics in delivering the services without compromising national security.”
Constituency project: ICPC declares lawmaker wanted
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has declared a serving House of Representatives member, Shehu Mohammed, wanted. According to the commission, the lawmaker, who represents Maiyama/ Koko/Besse Federal Constituency, was declared wanted for allegedly failing to appear before it in respect of an ongoing investigation. Spokesperson for the ICPC, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, who said this in a statement last night, said: “Shehu Koko Mohammed is hereby declared wanted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for his failure to appear before the Commission, for an ongoing investigation against him.
‘‘Mohammed, an indigene of Kebbi State, is currently serving as an Honourable Member representing the Maiyama/Koko/ Besse Federal Constituency at the National Assembly. He was born on 16th June 1978 (41 years old) and is dark in complexion. “His current address is Wamban Koko Campaign Office, Jega Road, Maiyama, Kebbi State. Anyone who has useful information on his whereabouts should report to ICPC Headquarters Abuja, any of the ICPC State Offices or the nearest police station.”
Masari, Tambuwal, Wike, others for SME awards
Stakeholders including no fewer than five governors are expected to grace Nigeria SME Summit and Awards 2019 (SMESUMA 2019), scheduled for Abuja, on December 19. The stakeholders are gathering to brainstorm on the challenges facing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria with a view to charting the way forward. Stakeholders who make the difference in the sector will also be recognised at the event, according to the organisers.
The theme is ‘Nigeria’s Prosperity through SME Prism’ while keynote speaker is Prof Akpan Ekpo, a former Vice Chancellor of University of Uyo and immediate past Director General of the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM). Expected to share their experiences on SME and youth empowerment at the occasion are Governors Aminu Masari (Katsina), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano) and Nyesom Wike (Rivers), who would also be honoured as ‘SME Governors of the Year’ for their contributions to the development of SMEs in their respective states. Also expected are the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan; the Speaker of the House of Representatives; Femi Gbajabiamila, Senator Tolu Odebiyi, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, Chairman of the House of Representatives on Niger Delta Affairs and Union Bank Plc. Announcing activities kick-starting the event, the organisers, Lakewhyte Communications, in a statement, said the event, endorsed by the Small and ter user navigation system and a referral system to introduce new users and earn points in their WakaPurse.
“Plentywaka’s sole mission is to provide hassle-free transportation to the everyday Nigerian and we will stop at nothing to achieve that.” Enagwolor explained that one of the most celebrated features was the ability for app users to perform group bookings with its new multirider feature. He noted that the new and improved app was already available for download on the Google Play Store and iOS App Store. Also, Onyeka Akumah, who is a co-founder of the company said that the app would provide an opportunity for partners with vehicles that could move more than six people at a time. According to him, Toyota Sienna’s, 14-seater buses, coaster buses, e.t.c. could also sign up as Plentywaka partners.
He said: “By signing up, they can list their vehicles on the platform and earn decent revenue as riders commute. Plentywaka is targeted at providing its riders with convenient, safe and comfortable bus rides at pocket-friendly rates. Medium Enterprises Development agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), would also recognise outstanding SME operators, individuals, government bodies and corporate bodies who have been at the forefront of the efforts to promote SMEs in the country.
Nigeria imports decrease, other oil exports gain in 3rd quarter –NBS
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), said total imports into the country in the third quarter of 2019 decreased by 2.70 per cent, while exports of other oil products rose by 6.14 per cent. The bureau, which made this known in a report made available to journalists in Abuja yesterday, said the value of percentage of imports decreased by 2.70 compared to the second quarter in the year with a total rise by 8.20 per cent.
It explained that the value of imported agricultural products was 4.01 per cent lower than in the second quarter which was 5.79 per cent. Similarly, the NBS said the value of raw material imports decreased by 4.64 per cent in the third quarter of the year.
The bureau further said the value of solid minerals imports was 31.73 per cent lower than the value of second quarter 2019 but 7.05 per cent higher than the value recorded in the third quarter 2018. The NBS however, stated that value of energy goods imports increased by 243.92 per cent in the same period.
GOV YAHAYA BELLO: THE MAN THAT CHANGED THE NARRATIVE
Governor Yahaya Adoza Bello born and brought up in Agasa, a suburb in Okene Local Government. He had a stinch of both his primary and secondary school in Okene Local Government. He went to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he obtained B.Sc. Accounting and MBA respectively. He is a chartered accountant. He is an embodiment of both public and private sector experiences. He combined so many schorlalistic candour that is equivalent to global leadership trait. A performer par excellence. Before his tenure, right from when Kogi State was created, we have been saddled with quagmire of poor leadership and ineptitude, these brought about poor state of infrastructural development in the state for over a decade. His coming to throne has brought succour to all the ethnic divide in the state. What a detribalised man! He came to unite the three major ethnic groups in the state and other minority ethnic group. The Igalas, Ebiras and Okuns that were hitherto at dagger-drawn when it comes to politics are now friends and dispute become a thing of the past.
This was done by the power of Almighty God through the indefatigable Gov. Yahaya Bello. Various machineries were put in place for these to be achieved, too numerous to mention as time will not permit, but of importance and significance are: 1.) Open door and all-inclusive system of his administration. 2.) Infrastructural development across all the three senatorial district– Kogi East, Kogi west and Kogi Central i.e. Construction of road, construction and expansion of water dam, construction of new primary school buildings and renovation of dilapidated and obsolete primary, secondary and tertiary institutions institutions in the state, construction of primary healthcentres, provision of scholarships to our indigent students across higher institutions in the country and abroad, revamping of Kogi State Transport Services, total restructuring, innovation and beautification of Lokoja to a befitting state capital, massive construction of office buildings in Lokoja i.e. Kogi State Internal Revenue Board edifice, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affair building, Kogi State Transport building etc. Upgrading of traditional rulers across the state and their involvement in the leadership of the state as a critical stakeholders is worthy of mention.
Insecurity across the state became part and parcel of us as theindigenes of the state became hapless as there was nobody to curb the menace. But the advent of Governor Yahaya Bello took the bull by the horns and resolved the issue of insecurity across the state. With this, the indigenes of the state can now go to bed with their two eyes closed. People can now go out to do their normal businesses without any harassment and molestation – “A secure state is a prosperous state as the saying goes” His business experiences and successes has been of great asset to the young state. He has used his business acumen to bring foreign investors to the state in the area of agro-allied investments. With this, the state can beat its chest as one of the highest harvesters of rice, cassava and edible food crops in the state. He has equally given soft loans to small and medium scale entrepreneurs in the state. In Kogi State Civil Service, he eliminated ghost workers which made more money available to the state for development. Meritocracy and even distribution of appointments across the state, which was a mirage before his tenure was thrown into the dustbin and became a history. The future generation will be kind to him in this regard as a man who came to put an end to injustice and inequalities. The non-payment of salary was a child of inheritance from the past government, glory to God, with the money made available from the Federal Government to the state, non-payment of salary is now a thing of the past as all salary arrears had been paid by the able and capable governor. With the above stated few of his achievements, within just close to four years of his administration, you would agree with me on the need for Kogites to rally round him for his second tenure, for us to continue to enjoy his developmental stride. Long live Gov Yahaya Bello!! Long live Kogi State!!!
(Jatto Kabiru, Lagos)
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