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Traffic fizzle out, roads deserted as Ibadan residents bemoan fuel price

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The sudden increment in the price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petroleum by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, NNPCL, is having negative consequences on social activities in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.

Newsmen recalls that the NNPCL on Tuesday announced an increment in the price of PMS.

In Ibadan, the price of PMS has moved to between N580 and N650.

Newsmen correspondent, who went round some parts of Ibadan, the state capital on Wednesday, observed that the sudden increment is having negative consequences on social activities in the ancient city.

Many of the residents decided to stay indoors, while others abandoned their vehicles and decided to board commercial vehicles.

Some of the areas visited included Eleyele, Dugbe, Jericho Aleshinloye market and Iyaganku. Others are Mokola, Sango, University of Ibadan, Samonda, Apete and Awotan.

It was observed that heavy traffic, which usually occurred in those areas during the peak periods, has fizzled away.

A trader, Mrs. Lawal said that many of the people in her area had abandoned their vehicles at home due to the sudden increment.

“People are now going to the most important events. It has also affected human relations. People do not visit their relatives now, instead, they will send messages or call,” she said.

A civil servant, Mrs Bukola Dare explained that she had decided to prioritise her movements in order to save money.

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NDLEA arrests 3 wanted kingpins, seizes 51.90kg heroin

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested three members of an organised criminal organisation which specialises in illicit drug trafficking across Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Europe and America.

The Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Mr Femi Babafemi, said this in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja.

Babafemi said the suspected drug traffickers had been declared wanted for over two months by the agency.

He said their arrest followed the recent seizure of the single largest consignment of heroin intercepted at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, (MMIA) Ikeja, Lagos.

“A total of 51.90 kilograms of heroin had been recovered from members of the drug cartel in an operation that began on  Feb. 10 at the Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) Import Shed of the airport’s Cargo Terminal.

“The consignment was concealed in 15 cartons of 2300-watt metal cutting machines, with no less than 45 blocks of the illicit substance weighing 49.70kg recovered from the equipment.

“Also, an additional 2.2kg was seized at the syndicate’s warehouse in Ayobo area of Lagos, “he said.

According to Babafemi, the agency has secured interim forfeiture court order on hotel, mansions, vehicles and funds traced to members of the syndicate after arresting them.

“Then, a manhunt was also launched for others who went underground.

“The effort, however, paid off on Friday, April 19, when two of the wanted kingpins: Onyinyechi Irene and Frankline Uzochukwu were arrested in Lagos and Awka, Anambra, respectively.

“Another wanted member of the syndicate, Osita Obinna was equally nabbed in Lagos,” he said.

In the same vein, NDLEA operatives thwarted an attempt by a suspect, Festus Iheakara, to export a drug consignment.

Babafemi said the drugs were exported through the terminal 2 of the Lagos airport to Muscat, Oman via Ethiopian Airline flight on Thursday, April 18.

“When his luggage was searched, 20 big parcels of cannabis weighing 9.80kg were discovered concealed in his bag.

“In his statement, the suspect who lives in Muscat, Oman and returned to Nigeria on April 1,  confessed he was hired to courier the drug.

“This, he said,  came with an agreement to get paid N1,200,000 upon successful delivery in Oman,” Babafemi said.

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JAMB sanctions officials for asking candidate to remove hijab

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has sanctioned some of its accredited officials for demanding that a hijab-wearing candidate at Saturday’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination must remove her headgear.

The officials, at one of the examination centres in Lagos, had insisted that removal of the hijab by the candidate was a prerequisite for her to have access into the examination hall.

“The Board deeply regrets the incident and, on investigation, discovered, that this particular incident, or others in the past, is not linked to any of its examination guidelines.

“It was rather a product of the misplaced priority of some of the accredited partners or officials who claimed ignorance of the Board’s guidelines on accreditation.

“The guidelines ensure that all candidates are screened, allowing only female officials to screen female candidates before allowing them to gain entrance into the hall.

“The situation was instantly addressed by a senior official of the Board at the centre and the candidate in question was allowed in after the usual checks with her hijab.

“Since ignorance of the law is not an excuse, the officials have been sanctioned to serve as deterrent to others,’’ the board’s Public Communication Advisor, Dr Fabian Benjamin, stated in Abuja on Sunday.

He noted that the culpable officials acted in ignorance as JAMB had no policy barring candidates from wearing the religious paraphernalia peculiar to their faith.

Benjamin stated also that about 1.2 million candidates would have successfully taken the examination by Monday, April 22.

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NCDMB emerges as best performing agency in FG’s efficiency ranking 

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The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has retained its position as the best performing Federal Government agency in the transparency and efficiency ranking for the year 2023.

Dr Jumoke Oduwole,  Special Adviser to the President on Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) and Investment, stated this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

Oduwole stated that ranking was published in the overall Business Facilitation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Acts (BFA) performance results for the year 2023, which was released in Abuja.

According to her, NCDMB topped other Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in the Federal Government’s compliance ranking scale with 70.07 per cent score.

She quoted the BFA Compliance Report for January to December, 2023 as showing the top five MDAs with commendable performance to include NCDMB 70.07 per cent and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) 66.9per cent.

Oduwole said the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) had 65.12per cent to place third, while Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) had 65.04 per cent to occupy the fourth position.

“The Nigerian Export- Import (NEXIM) Bank finished the year on 63.51per cent to place fifth,” she added.

The PEBEC boss urged MDAs to take concrete steps to improve efficiency and transparency ratings before the end of the 2024 reporting period, as only 10 MDAs out 39 scored above 50 per cent.

“With only 10 MDAs scoring above 55 per cent and a weighted average score of 334.8 per cent across the 39 MDAs, strategic measures to enhance sector-specific metrics will need to be prioritised.

“MDAs must take concrete steps to improve efficiency and transparency ratings before the end of the 2024 reporting period.

“Most importantly, MDAs should as a matter of urgency set-up BFA Implementation Reform Committees.

“These committees will be responsible for steering BFA implementation initiatives in the MDAs, accelerating the strides taken in promoting a culture of transparency and accountability,” she said.

Oduwole urged the MDAs to draw insights from empirical data and past BFA reports (since 2018) to drive essential improvements in efficiency and transparency.

“The high-performing MDAs demonstrated commendable performance in both efficiency and transparency through diligent adherence to their Service Level Agreements (SLAs) during the 2023 reporting year.

“The overall performance of MDAs highlights the need for massive improvement in key BFA compliance metrics.

“Over the past seven years, PEBEC has consistently published Compliance Reports, providing an empirical analysis of the monthly reports from MDAs,” She said.

According to Oduwole, MDA’s EO1 performance score is based on efficiency and transparency measures, with a 70 per cent to 30 per cent ratio, respectively.

She said transparency, on the other hand, was assessed based on website updates, online service portals, detailed service information, timelines, costs, statutory requirements, and customer service contact details.

The PEBEC was established in July 2016 by the Federal Government to oversee Nigeria’s business environment intervention.

It had the dual mandate of removing bureaucratic and legislative constraints to doing business and improving  perception of the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

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