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Subsidy removal: Tinubu reassures Nigerians of coming palliative

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President Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday in Abuja, assured Nigerians that the framework for palliatives to remedy the effects of fuel subsidy removal was being worked out.

Tinubu explained that the decision to phase out the subsidy was taken in the best interest of the country, and to guarantee future prosperity.

The president gave the assurance when he received members of Class of 1999 Governors ,who paid him a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa.

18 of the former governors were present at the Council Chambers where the President met them.

Tinubu and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume, also belong to the class.

While appreciating his colleagues who served during the birth of the Fourth Republic in 1999, Tinubu appealed for more patience from Nigerians, saying the government would increase efforts to alleviate the pains of the subsidy removal speedily.

He said the government would ensure a fool-proof social security structure that would not be compromised, especially in cash-transfer.

“I understand that our people are suffering, yet there can be no childbirth without pain. The joy of childbirth is the baby.

“Relief comes after the pain, Nigeria is being reborn, it is a rebirth of the country for the largest number, over a few smugglers.

“Please tell the people to be a little patient, the palliative is coming. I am doing the arithmetic, I don’t want the cash-transfer to fall into the wrong hands. I know it pinches and it is difficult.

“In the end, we will rejoice in the prosperity of our country,’’ he told the governors, who were led by former Governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Igbinedion.

Speaking on the importance of national unity and citizens’ cooperation to forge a stronger country, Tinubu stated that only Nigerians could build their country.

“We must put the country in the right direction. No European, no Bretton Woods Institution will do it for us.”

The governors visited the President to congratulate him on the victory at the polls, his visionary decisions on the economy, and election as Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Government.

“We served as governors and sat in this Council Chamber. All I wanted was democracy and the salvation of the country, I never thought I was going to be here as President, but God Almighty has brought me here,’’ Tinubu stated.

The President assured the governors and Nigerians that he would work towards “unity, equity, stability, and prosperity of the country’’.

“My commitment to that democratic value is unwavering. I am overwhelmed and honoured by this large number present here.

“I have an open door policy, you are my advisers. We went into the pond and wrestled with the pig, we got dirty, and cleaned up. That is why I am here today.’’

Tinubu noted that the country would not make meaningful progress without fixing electricity, assuring that his administration would harness gas resources and explore every opportunity to ensure stable power generation and supply.

On security, the President who had earlier met with Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno to review situation in the North-East, appealed to Nigerians, especially Plateau State, to sheath their swords and use dialogue in resolving conflicts, adding that issues of borders were man-made and not created by God.

The former governors urged the President to pursue his vision for a greater Nigeria with vigour, steadfastness, and resilience.

They expressed their support for development policies, and promised to provide the necessary social structure for actualization.

“We are here with you, we are your foot-soldiers, and you can tap into our experience. You are a person who believes in Nigeria, with your good leadership, Nigeria will take its place,’’ Igbinedion, the Chairman, Class of 1999 Governors said.

He affirmed that they were 20 at the meeting, including Tinubu, who was former Governor of Lagos State and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), George Akume, former Governor of Benue State, while 10 of their mates had passed on.

Other governors at the meeting were; Niyi Adebayo, Ekiti, Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu, Abia, Sen. Sam Egwu, Ebonyi, Adamu Muazu, Bauchi, Donald Duke, Cross River, James Ibori, Delta, Obong Victor Attah, Akwa Ibom, Chimaroke Nnamani, Enugu State, Saminu Turaki, Jigawa, and Sen. Adamu Aleiro, Kebbi.

Others were Olusegun Osoba, Ogun, Adebisi Akande, Osun, Sen. Joshua Dariye, Plateau, Attahiru Bafarawa, Sokoto State, Ahmad Yarima, Zamfara and Rev. Jolly Nyame, Taraba.

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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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