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Job creation, security our major aim in FCT, Wike tells British Envoy

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Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Barrister Nyesome Wike has said security and job creation for the residents, are key priority areas on the list of his agenda in the territory.

He made this known when the British high commissioner to Nigeria, Richard Montgomery paid him a country visit in his office in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to him, the United Kingdom and Nigeria had a long relationship since the colonial period to Independence the relationship has been stronger and stronger.

Wike who was responding to the request of the commissioner on priority areas of the administration, said his interest is centered on the priority of President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda which is anchored on eight priorities.

Tinubu on assumption of office in 2023 listed 8 priority areas of his administration which include food security, ending poverty, economic growth and job creation, access to capital, improving the playing field on which people and particularly companies operate, rule of law and fighting corruption.

Wike said the problems have not been all solved but there is significant progress in addressing them.

He explained that security in Abuja seems to be different because of the boundary states of Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi and Kaduna.

The minister stated that the states have high activities of bandits and it appears that when they are getting it hot in those states they run to Abuja.

Wike said, “Two months ago, it did appear to be too hot but you can now see that the level of criminal activities has come down very well because of the level of support and the commitment of security agencies, particularly the police.

“We gave the police and other security agencies a lot of logistics support and that is how I help them effectively to support the fight, this helps to calm particularly banditry and kidnapping, I can tell you that we have made tremendous progress in terms of arresting the kidnappers.

“There is no part of this world that there won’t be any form of criminality, what is important is the swiftness of security agencies to apprehend and also try to prosecute those that are involved, so am happy with what we have done.

“We also realized that before now it does appear that no activities in Abuja, many people complain that Abuja is down but as we came on board activities have come on board.

“We are proud to say that we have turned Abuja site which was not the case in the last past 8 years to construction site.

“Creating of job is a priority, what that will mean to the teaming youths is that, more creation of job is not only where it is white cola job, by these activities youths are involved, if you go to the area councils today there are a lot of jobs going on there, that has created way for the youths to be employed.

In his remarks, British high commissioner to Nigeria, Richard Montgomery, said the visit was critical because of the important role the minister and his team play in the commission.

He said, “I have come to seek your view and understanding of approaches to the development of the Federal Capital Territory considering the many initiatives we have seen in the press which will lead to the prosperity of FCT.

“There have been security issues in the recent past, especially kidnapping, we want to get an update on the issue, also in a closed-door meeting I will give you more updates on UK and Nigeria’s bilateral relationships.

“In the last few days, we have step up our engagements to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and a few weeks ago, the UK hosted the Nigeria defence on security and defence partnership, we shall be looking at how the business environment can be better as well”

Montgomery said the British Commission was interested in understanding the areas of priority to help in the bilateral relationship.

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Electricity Tariff: Speaker Abbas Says Increase Must Be Fair, Equitable, Beneficial To Citizens

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By Gloria Ikibah 
 
 
 
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, has said that any adjustments made in the electricity tariffs must be fair, equitable and beneficial to all the stakeholders. 
 
 
The Speaker stated this at a special public hearing on the increase in electricity tarrifs organized by the joint House committees on power, commerce, national planning and delegated legislation on Tuesday in Abuja. 
 
 
Naijablitznews.com recalled that the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) recently increased electricity tariff, a development which sparked great displeasure and attracted strong opposition from different groups across the country.
 
 
Speaker Abbas who was represented by the deputy speaker, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, said the public hearing was to ultimately examine all issues of concern with a view to proffering solutions. 
 
 
He said: “The fears expressed by many are valid – that such a sharp increase in electricity tariffs will only exacerbate the economic hardships already faced by our people. There are genuine concerns that higher utility bills resulting from this tariff hike could have a ripple effect on operational costs for businesses, potentially leading to increased prices for goods and services
 
 
“Electricity as we know, is not just a commodity; it is a lifeline for many households and businesses across our nation. Any significant rise in tariff could have far-reaching consequences for our economy and the livelihoods of our people. Therefore, it is essential that we carefully assess all factors before making any decisions that may affect the affordability and accessibility of electricity for our citizens. It is imperative that we engage in constructive dialogue to address these issues and ensure that any adjustments made are fair, transparent, and ultimately beneficial to all parties involved.
 
 
“It is in the light of the foregoing that the House convened this public hearing. As representatives of the Nigerian people, it is our duty to carefully consider the implications of such policies on our constituents’well-being and livelihoods. 
 
 
“Our goal is to ensure that any adjustments made to electricity tariffs are fair, equitable, and ultimately beneficial to all stakeholders involved.
 
 
“We must strive to strike a balance that safeguards the interests of consumers while also enabling sustainable growth and development within the energy sector.”
 
 
He assured that the House will continue to work with the executive arm of government, even as he urged the stakeholders to make valuable submissions that will help the parliament make an informed decision on the issue. 
 
 
“I urge all stakeholders present here today to engage in constructive dialogue and provide valuable insights that will guide us in finding a balanced solution to this pressing issue. Let us work together towards ensuring that electricity remains affordable for all Nigerians while also aupporting the growth and stability of our energy sector. Let us use this public hearing as an opportunity to listen to all stakeholders,understand their perspectives, and work towards finding a sustainable and equitable resolution to this pressing issue. 
 
 
“I want to emphasize our commitment to working closely with the executive to transform the Nigerian power sector into a model of efficiency and sustainability as outlined in our Legislative Agenda. We are dedicated to providing legislative support to the efforts of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s Administration in reforming the power sector by addressing all legal and legislative impediments accordingly”, he added. 
 
 
Speaker Abbas however expressed displeasure at the failure of the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to honour the invitation of the committees to make their respective presentations. 
 
 
He urged them to submit their memoranda to the secretariat of the committees, saying that positive results can only be made when all the stakeholders come into a partnership.
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Democracy Day: Senator Dafinone Felicitates Tinubu, Deltans, Nigerians, Calls For Unity

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

The Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District, Senator Ede Dafinone has called on Nigerians to take time out as the country marks 25 years of unbroken democratic rule to remember sacrifices of those who fought valiantly for the democracy we now enjoy.

The renowned accountant, now a lawmaker while congratulating President Bola Tinubu, the people of Delta Central and Nigerians in a signed statement, noted that Nigeria’s 25 years of unbroken democratic rule is a testament to the resilience, dedication, and unwavering commitment of the Nigerian people to the principles of democracy and freedom.

The Delta Central lawmaker also called on Nigerians to embrace unity, love, and respect for one another and to deepen their engagement in participatory democracy, and to guard against antidemocratic tendencies and ensure that our democratic values and culture are firmly entrenched at all levels of society.

Senator Dafinone’s media release titled: “Celebrating 25 Years of Unbroken Democratic Rule in Nigeria,” reads.

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and to all Nigerians as our beloved country commemorate 25 years of unbroken democratic rule. This significant milestone is a testament to the resilience, dedication, and unwavering commitment of the Nigerian people to the principles of democracy and freedom.

“As we celebrate this historic day, let us remember the sacrifices of those who fought valiantly for the democracy we now enjoy. June 12th is not just a date; it symbolizes our collective struggle for justice, equity, and the rule of law. It is a reminder of the power of the people’s voice and the strength of our democratic institutions.

“I urge every Nigerian to embrace unity, love, and respect for one another. In our diversity lies our strength, and it is only through mutual understanding and cooperation that we can achieve the greatness we aspire to as a nation. Let us set aside our differences and work together towards a common goal: a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Nigeria.

“Furthermore, I call on all citizens to deepen their engagement in participatory democracy. It is our collective responsibility to guard against antidemocratic tendencies and ensure that our democratic values and culture are firmly entrenched at all levels of society. Let us hold our leaders accountable, participate actively in the democratic process, and foster an environment where every Nigerian feel valued and heard.

“As we celebrate this momentous occasion, let us renew our commitment to building a Nigeria where democracy thrives, where every citizen enjoys their fundamental rights, and where the future is bright for generations to come.

“Once again, congratulations to President Bola Tinubu, the Urhobo Nation and to all Nigerians. Together, let us continue to strive for a more united and democratic nation.

“God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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Senegal Joins Oil-Producing Countries In West Africa, Produces Oil For The First Time

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

Senegal has become one of West Africa’s oil producing countries as the country started producing oil for the first time on Tuesday.

As President Bassirou Diomaye Faye promised that profits from the sale of the country’s oil and gas would be “well managed”, Australian energy giant Woodside described the oil production in Senegal as a “historic day” and a “key milestone” for the company and the country.

BBC reports that the Sangomar deep-water project, which also has gas, aims to produce 100,000 barrels of oil per day.

It is expected to generate billions of dollars for Senegal and boost the country’s economy.

The general manager of the national oil company Petrosen, Thierno Ly, said that the country had entered a “new era” when production began on Tuesday.

Ly was quoted as saying, “We have never been so well positioned for opportunities for growth, innovation and success in the economic and social development of our nation.”

It was reported that Petrosen has an 18% stake in the project while Woodside owns the remainder.

Elected in April this year, President Faye has been keen on renegotiating the deal as part of reforms he promised during the election campaign.

The President, while speaking to students on Tuesday, said that the earnings from the oil and gas production would be “well managed”, and that an “inter-generation fund” had been set up for the benefit of “your generation and those to come.”

The country’s move to renegotiate oil and gas contracts has been seen by some analysts as making investors jittery, but government supporters have reportedly said that it is vital for the West African state to increase its stake in projects so that the nation benefits from its natural resources.

A former opposition politician, Prime Minister Ousmane Sonko, who was a key figure in the president’s election campaign, recently insisted that contracts signed by previous administrations were ”unfavourable” to the country, and would be reviewed.

Sonko was quoted as saying on Tuesday, “We’re the ones who promised you we’d renegotiate the contracts, and we’re going to do it. We’ve started already.

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