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IWD: NEITI seeks women inclusion, decries 18% participation in oil, gas sector

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The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has decried 18 per cent participation of women in the oil and gas sector, and called for inspired inclusion and gender justice.

The NEITI said its oil and gas industry report showed that all top high level management positions in the industry were dominated by men.

Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, Executive Secretary/CEO, NEITI, said this at the commemoration of 2024 International Women’s Day (IWD) by NEITI on Friday in Abuja.

The International Women’s Day is celebrated globally every March 8 by advocating for equity, inclusivity, gender justice, wider opportunities for women, career advancement without discrimination and security in work environment.

The 2024 IWD campaign has the theme: “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress.”

Orji said in NEITI’s 2021 oil and gas industry report, employment data from 56 out of 70 oil companies indicated that out of 19,171 employees, 15,639 or 82 per cent were men while 3,532 or 18 per cent were women.

“The disclosure is far from the national average of 35 per cent. From the same gender balance data, all top high level management positions in the industry are dominated by men.

“And in NEITI, out of five Chairs of NEITI Board so far, one and in-fact the founding Chair is a woman. And of four Executive Secretaries/CEOs so far, one is a woman.

“And to highlight the special accomplishments of women, only the two women that headed NEITI, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili and Dr Zainab Ahmed were elevated from NEITI to ministers, while one landed top positions later at the World Bank.

Orji said NEITI organised the event to domesticate ideals of the IWD into its operations, in line with global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) requirements, while promoting public awareness on the importance of women participation.

He said it deliberately created a special unit, under the Policy, Planning and Strategy Department called the Gender and Environmental Unit to ensure women’s inclusion in extractive governance and EITI processes, report on gender distribution and participation.

He said the EITI standards required implementing countries to promote greater diversity in decision making; document and publicly disclose women participation, gender, social, environmental issues in the extractive Industries.

According to him, EITI reports are also required to highlight the risks that women are confronted with in rural host communities where oil, gas and mining exploration activities take place.

This, he said, would ensure that the natural resources endowments in those communities did not deny women and other vulnerable groups access to basic sources of their family existence, health care facilities and environmental safety.

“And where this is the case as it is in most communities in resource rich countries in sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria, EITI Reports are required to recommend and document measures to address such risks,’’ he added.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event featured Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Director General, Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) as the Special Guest of Honour to mark NEITI’s 2024 IWD celebration tagged, “Inspired Inclusion.”

Orji, who described her as a remarkable woman, a renowned broadcaster, widely travelled, experienced journalist, a technocrat-politician, a parliamentarian and woman activist, said her story/experiences could inspire others.

“She has joined us to speak to NEITI ladies and guests, answer questions on career development, work-life-family balance, privileges/challenges women face in work environments, risks, opportunities and the way forward,” the executive secretary said.

Dabiri-Erewa, in a presentation tagged, “Women in the Work Environment – Opportunities, Risks and Challenges,” said being a career woman could be very challenging but women should always aim to overcome with determination.

She encouraged women to avoid being held down, inferiority, not to entertain fear in the line of duty; rather to uphold integrity, self-respect, discipline and show determination and strength.

Dabiri-Erewa, who urged women to strive for inclusiveness and equitable society, said women should deal with principles and should not be afraid of criticism as they pursued their goals in life.

Also speaking, Falmata Kwaku, Head, Gas Processing Plant and Installation, Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), called for mentorship, support and building a community that could uplift women and creating inclusive environment.

In her remarks, Mrs Stephanie Etareri, Assistant Team Lead, Gender and Environment, NEITI, reiterated its commitment to promote gender justice across the value chain in the extractive sector.

Etareri said she hoped that Dabiri-Arewa’s speech would inspire changes in the dynamics of the gender inclusion.

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Emirate crisis: FG will be held responsible for violence in Kano – Atiku

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Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, the 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has said that the President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government would be held responsible if violence breaks out in Kano State over the emirate crisis.

Atiku said Tinubu’s government was inviting anarchy to Kano State by providing security for the deposed Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado-Bayero.

On Friday, Governor Abba Yusuf had deposed Bayero while reinstating Lamido Sanusi as the 15th Emir of Kano.

Posting on X, Atiku cautioned the federal government against destabilising Kano State.

According to Atiku: “The action of the Federal Government in deploying soldiers in Kano in the tussle over the throne of the ancient city is an upset to the peace and security of the state, and also in breach of the 1999 Constitution as Amended.

“The foregoing circumstances happened within the confines of the law and in compliance with the powers conferred on the governor as provided by Section 5(2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended; and also in consultation with the kingmakers of Kano, reappointed Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (also known as Muhammadu Sanusi II) as the 16th Emir of Kano State and accordingly handed him a letter of appointment.

“It is surprising that in the early hours of today, exactly at about 5:30 am the former Emir of Kano, His Majesty Aminu Ado Bayero, backed by Federal might made their way into the Nasarawa Palace of the Kano Emirate while the reappointed Emir, Muhammadu Sanusi II was at the Gidan Dabo, which is the main residence of the Emir of Kano.

“In this wise, the former Emir could not have made his way into the Nasarawa Palace without the support of the Federal Government having done so with the support of the army and other security personnel in his company. The deployment of soldiers in extra constitutional matters such as this undermines the integrity of the Nigerian military.

“We need to remind the Tinubu administration that Kano State is known for peace and harmony spanning thousands of years and any attempt to destablise the peace of the Land of Commerce shall be resisted. Recall that Muhammadu Sanusi II was dethroned on 9th March, 2020: dethroned, Kano forged on in peace without any fracas.

“We wish to state unequivocally that if for any reason, law and order breaks down in Kano State, particularly Kano Municipal, the Federal Government should be held responsible as the act of providing security cover to the former Emir, Aminu Ado Bayero to come back to Kano is an invitation to anarchy.”

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Justice’ll prevail – Deposed Kano Emir Bayero breaks silence

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The deposed Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado-Bayero, has said justice will prevail over the issue surrounding the emirates in the state.

Bayero urged relevant authorities to ensure justice because nobody is above the law.

Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano State had dethroned Bayero as the 15th Emir of the state.

Speaking on Saturday, the deposed Emir urged residents to maintain law and order. He spoke at the mini-palace where he has since returned to after his dethronement.

According to Ado-Bayero: “I call on the people to remain law-abiding while awaiting the outcome of the legal process in this tussle.

“We call on the authority to do justice in this matter. Kano is a very influential state in Nigeria. Whatever affects Kano affects Nigeria. May peace reign in Kano. We pray for Allah to bless Kano with responsible and just leaders.

“Justice is the way to go on every issue. There will be justice. Nobody is above the law. We will accept whatever the law says. I appreciate all the people who have shown concern. As I said, justice will take its course. We will keep on praying for peace in Kano State. May Allah the Almighty protect us.”

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Nigerian airports most expensive globally – NAHCO

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Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc has set an N100 billion revenue target within the next five years.

The projection was made known by the Group chairman of the company, Dr Seinde Fadeni, at the sideline of its Annual General Meeting held in Lagos on Saturday.

In achieving this, the company noted that it had concluded plans to diversify its investment portfolio to create new jobs and contribute significantly to resolving the country’s foreign exchange crisis.

NAHCO which was established in 1979, provides aviation cargo, aircraft handling, passenger facilitation, crew transportation, refuelling and aviation training services from its base at Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

According to Fadeni, the company is convinced that the food export holds significant potential for foreign exchange earnings because of its impact on the livelihoods and prosperity of Nigerians.

He said though the company is navigating safely around the myriad of challenges confronting the air transport space, he urged the government to look at ways to improve airport infrastructure and reduce the financial burden for airlines and passengers to keep pace with the future growth plan.

He said ” NAHCO believes that the government at the centre should work towards reducing the financial burden for airlines and passengers by reviewing applicable taxes. This way, more payees would be brought into the tax net. Not too long ago, the International Air Transport Association declared that Nigerian airports charge foreign airlines about 27 levies.

“This makes Nigerian airports the most expensive in the world, discouraging airlines from flying into the country. This is not the kind of laurel Nigeria should be proud of. It is a disincentive to investment for both active and prospective investors. The government should address this situation. Government should also heed the industry’s calls for the harmonisation of the regulatory environment, particularly at the ports in a way that aligns with global best practices. The nation’s Ease of Doing Business mantra should be in practice and not in theory only.”

He further said that though multiple cost-related challenges characterised 2023, the increased cost of handling an aircraft cannot be easily passed on to the airline by ground handling companies because any proposed rate hike would require the approval of the industry regulator – Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

He said, “The very act of getting new rates approved has its challenges as well. It is therefore not uncommon to see ticket prices rising geometrically while ground handling rates charged by service providers to airlines remain solidly stagnant.

“Our push towards birthing a global integrated logistic giant is taking good shape with the coming into operations of new subsidiaries.”

Also speaking, its Group Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Indranil Gupta said the company intends to diversify investment into other sectors of the economy to grow.

“We will continue to leverage our strength and market insights to pursue organic and strategic growth initiatives to expand our market presence and revenue streams

“We plan to comprehensively refresh our fleet of ground support equipment to replace ageing equipment and increase the numbers in our fleet to meet the ever-increasing customer needs and expectations.

“We are already embracing digitalisation and innovation, investing in cutting-edge technologies and solutions to enhance our service offerings, operational efficiency and competitiveness. By harnessing the power of data analytics, automation and predictive maintenance, we aim to stay ahead of the industry trends and deliver superior value to our clients ”

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