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Tariff hike protests: Over 95% of protesters not affected — Adelabu

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…Says electricity supply has improved, appeals for patience from Nigerians

Minister of Power, Oloye Adebayo Adelabu has decried that over 95 percent of individuals that embarked on a protest against the recent increase in electricity tariff are not affected by the increase.

Recall that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) of Nigeria, had on Monday embarked on a nationwide protest over the recent hike in electricity tariffs demanding a reversal of the increase which specifically affected Band A customers in Nigeria’s electricity supply industry and what the described as ‘colossal failure” of the Privatisation in the power sector.

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the two days Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Bola Tinubu at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, appealed to the organised labour not to derail the transformation plan in the power sector.

Fielding questions on the labour’s demand, he said, “My appeal again is that they should please not derail or distract our transformation plan for the industry.”

“We have a clearly documented reform roadmap to take us to our desired destination, where we’re going to have reliable, functional, cost-effective and affordable electricity in Nigeria. It cannot be achieved overnight because this is a decay of almost 60 years, which we are trying to correct.

“Nobody promised us or assured us that the road will be smooth. We knew it’s going to be rough, but we must weather the storm, which is going to be temporary. It’s a lot of sacrifice from everybody; from the government’s side, from the people’s side, from the private sector side. So we must bear this sacrifice for us to have a permanent gain.

“I don’t want us to go back to the situation we were in February and March, where we had very low generation. We all felt the impact of this whereby electricity supply was very low and every household, every company, every institution, felt it.

“From the little reform that we’ve embarked upon since the beginning of April, we have seen the impact that electricity has improved and it can only get better.

“So I’m appealing to everybody that one should not toy with this before that we have embarked upon, we are aiming somewhere and we will achieve it.”

The Minister, who acknowledged that the protesters have the fundamental right to embark on protest, commended them for being peaceful and orderly..

He said, “Let me first make it abundantly clear that we are in a democracy so there are fundamental human rights. I cannot deny people their rights.

“It’s the right of the Labour to protest peacefully and to come up with their demands, from the perspective they saw what we did. It is clearly allowed, it is legitimate and it is understandable.

“So we cannot stop them from organising a peaceful protest or laying down their demands. Let me make that clear. President Bola Tinubu’s administration is also a listening government.

“We have heard their demands, we’re going to look at it, we’ll make further engagements and I believe we’re going to reach a peaceful resolution with the labor because no government can succeed without the cooperation, collaboration and partnership with the Labour unions.

“So we welcome the peaceful protest and I’m happy that it was not a violent protest. They’ve made their positions known and the government has taken in their demands and we’re looking at it.

“But one thing that I want to state here is from the statistics of those affected by the hike in tariff, the people on the road yesterday, who embarked on the peaceful protests, more than 95 percent of them are not affected by the increase in the tariff of electricity.

“They still enjoy almost 70 percent government subsidy in the tariff they pay because the average costs of generating, transmitting and distributing electricity is not less than N180 today.

“A lot of them are paying below N60 so they still enjoy the government’s subsidy. So when they say we should reverse the recently increased tariff, sincerely it’s not affecting them. That’s one position,” he said.

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Oronsaye report: Group appeals to FG to urgently disband Agency

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By Matthew Denis

Concerned Plant Quarantine professionals has appealed to the Federal Government to as a matter of urgently disband Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (N.A.Q.S) an agency under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

This is contained in a Communique signed by the Chairman of the professionals, Alhaji Jaiyeola Olaniran and Secretary, Sallah Ibrahim and made available to journalists on Wednesday.

The communique read, “The plant Quarantine Service is made up of inspectors who are trained Agronomists and plant pathologists who are specifically trained and certified to identify pests and diseases of plants and plants products of exotic origin on international trade.

“Therefore, they are professionally incompatible with veterinary Doctors who deals with Animals diseases and fisheries who look after fishes.

“The bulk of operational activities in the organization are being carried out by the plant Quarantine inspectors issuing import permit to prospective plants importers and phytosanitary certificate to plant products exporters to meet standard on international trade.”

According to the communique all the physical structures that are currently been used for operations, trainings and research belongs to the plant Quarantine Service component of the agency adding that other harmonising professionals units had none.

“With the reverse salary structure in the agency the veterinary doctors are collecting salaries that are threefold to the other professionals colleagues in the agency. This is because they enter the service on GL12 while others enter with GL8 as they are claiming superiority thereby placing themselves in all the stations nationwide despite not having the technical know-how at the agency.”

The statement revealed that the lumping together of veterinary Doctors, Animal Husbandry, fisheries with plant Quarantine Service units were responsible for the rejection of 102 corps by the European Union countries from Nigeria since 2008 till date because these other professionals colleagues impersonate as plant Quarantine inspectors at the point of exits and thereby certified these corps to pass clearance checks without specified protocols of clean health condition on international trade which is done mostly for pecuniary reasons.

“All the infrastructures at the post-entry unit of the plants quarantine services which serves as the engine room where laboratory findings are carried out on plants and plants products for exports and imports are completely deserted and non-existent.

The professionals requested that it’s out of place for veterinary Doctors to be presiding over plants activities as it’s presently constituted in NAQS as the staff members who are Agronomists and pathologists are seriously finding it uncomfortable to work with them.

It stressed that corps are more on the traffic on the international trade and plant Quarantine inspectors are custodians of International standards with specific rules and regulations that guides these trade .

“The agency is relatively four years therefore it’s operating on wastages and continuously increasing burden on cost of governance for the present administration. We plead in the overall national interest for the disbandment of NAQS.”

It further added, “We request that square peg should be in square holes as all the component professionals that are currently constituted in the agency should be reassigned to their parents departments in the Agriculture ministry for optimum functioning.

“The plants quarantine services does not need an agency to operate but a full fledged department in the ministry.”

Several attempts to get the reactions of the agency in question to respond proved abortive at the time of filing this report.

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2024 Lagos Leather Fair set to elevate African Leather ecosystem

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By Omolola Dede Adeyanju

Lagos Leather Fair, an annual showcase of Africa’s Leather Industry, has announced the launch of its 2024 fair with the theme “Levelling Up” to spur on the growth being made across the African Leather ecosystem.

This was expressed through a press release made available to newsmen, according to the press release, in this seventh installment, the fair will gather leather enthusiasts, designers, manufacturers, suppliers, and industry partners from across the globe to deliver a carefully curated experience that spotlights the diversity of African culture, creativity, and craftsmanship.

Alongside its partners and sponsors, this year’s LLF will engage attendees with conversations and initiatives that aim to advance the leather ecosystem. These include improving socioeconomic impact, adopting sustainable and innovative practices, enhancing industry competition and global partnerships, and improving supply chain efficiency within the industry.

Spearheaded by Femi Olayebi, Lagos Leather Fair, stands as the third largest leather fair in Africa, following its South African and Ethiopian counterparts in delivering distinct value across the continent. From the 29th to the 30th of June, at the Balmoral Convention Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, the event will feature workshops, masterclasses, awards, exhibitions of talented leather designers and artists, investor pitches from emerging designers (Pitch-A-Leather-Biz), a runway presentation styled by Toyin Ogundadegbe, The Style Infidel, as well as a special immersive leather installation – Beyond the Hide – curated by Kanyinsade Ademuson, founder of the architectural firm, Seventh Space.

“Over the years, hosting the Lagos Leather Fair has filled us with purpose to do more and advance the African leather industry,” says Femi Olayebi, Founder of LLF. “LLF is a celebration of the potential being achieved through locally sourced craftmanship and this year, we are partnering with extremely talented individuals to create an engaging experience that invites participants and attendees to join us on that journey. We are very thankful to our sponsors and collaborators for helping us curate this valuable tradition that continues to elevate the African leather ecosystem.”

During the fair, expert-led sessions will enlighten attendees on a range of niche topics, from brand positioning and visibility, sourcing and manufacturing solutions, to the art of photography and the power of leveraging AI tools across the value chain. Additionally, innovation and creativity will be recognised through the LLF Awards where designers’ efforts will be awarded across the following categories: Most Innovative Designer Award, Trailblazer Award, Brand Excellence Award, Best Booth Design Award, Best Emerging Designer Award, and Best Curated Instagram Page.

Welcoming over 3,500 attendees in its previous edition, each year, LLF creates a unique and dynamic experience that showcases the talent of leather creatives, and diverse forms of African leather products.

For more information about the Lagos Leather Fair, visit www.thelagosleatherfair.com or www.instagram.com/lagosleatherfair/.

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Bridging the digital divide: Wale Ghazal’s journey in technology and media innovation

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In an exclusive interview with Nigerian NewsDirect, Quadri ‘Wale Ghazal, a rising star in the world of IT and Media Innovation, shares his inspiring journey from his early days in Lagos to becoming a sought-after professional in his field. Born and raised in the vibrant city of Lagos, Nigeria, Ghazal’s childhood played a significant role in shaping his character and values. He began his academic journey at Saint Joseph Secondary School, where he excelled in his studies and developed a keen interest in science and technology.

Ghazal’s thirst for knowledge led him to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Physics at the University of Ibadan, a B.Tech in Computer Science from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), and an MSc in Cybersecurity from the University of the West of Scotland. His diverse academic background positioned him as a well-rounded and highly skilled professional in the IT and Media Innovation space.

Ghazal’s passion for IT was sparked during his time as an errand boy at a local computer school. Fascinated by the potential of technology, he began experimenting with system components and graphic design. His growing expertise led him to repair computers for friends and acquaintances and secure an internship at the University of Ibadan ICT unit. These early experiences laid the foundation for his future success in the IT industry.

Throughout his career, Ghazal has been involved in groundbreaking projects and collaborations with renowned organisations such as Google, Yahoo, WordPress, CompTIA, Microsoft, IBM, Kaspersky, Cisco, and Linux. He has also worked with publications like Encomium Magazine and BeaconX Magazine, exploring the impact of technology on Nigerian society.

Driven by his entrepreneurial spirit and desire to make a difference, Ghazal founded ArtinudaFX, specialising in branding projects and IT consultations for academic institutions and universities. Following the success of ArtinudaFX, he took on the role of Publisher at Pan-African University Press in Nigeria, participating in high-profile projects and collaborating with Professor ToyinFalola on the TFInterviews Series.

Recognising the importance of continuous learning and growth, Ghazal made a strategic decision to transition from being a multi-faceted professional to a specialised expert in Networking and Systems Security Solutions. His current work with the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom involves leveraging his expertise in IT systems, cybersecurity, and data management to support the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Services’ critical infrastructure.

Ghazal has recently been selected to spearhead the “Immersive Nigerian Cultural Heritage Experience Through Media Technology” project, which aims to create a platform that showcases the richness and diversity of Nigerian culture to a global audience. This project targets the Nigerian diaspora as well as UK and European audiences, promoting tourism, economic growth, and fostering a greater sense of understanding and unity between nations.

Looking to the future, Ghazal is committed to using technology for social good, bridging the digital divide, and empowering communities. He envisions a world where technology is a means of empowering people and communities, and he is dedicated to working with like-minded individuals and organisations to create solutions with lasting impact.

When asked what advice he would give to young people interested in pursuing a career in technology and media innovation, Ghazal urges them to follow their passion, work hard, learn continuously, and surround themselves with mentors and collaborators who can help them grow.

Wale Ghazal’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance, hard work, and an unwavering commitment to using technology for good. With leaders like him at the forefront of the technology and media innovation landscape, the future looks bright indeed.

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