Iran’s Supreme Leader rejects talk with U.S.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on Tuesday, said that Iranian officials had unanimously ruled out talks with the U.S.A at any level.

Khamenei was quoted by his official website as saying that“Through negotiations, the Americans are seeking to impose their demands on Iran and prove the effectiveness of maximum pressure campaign.’’

He said Washington’s maximum pressure campaign against the Iranian nation had failed to achieve its goals.

According to him, talks with the U.S. will only be possible within the framework of P5+1 group consisting of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

Khamenei said Washington should return to the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal that it abandoned in 2018, if the U.S. wants any talk.

“Otherwise, no talks at any level will be held between Iranian and American officials, neither in New York nor in other places.’’

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman on Monday also ruled out the likelihood of any meeting between the Iranian and U.S. presidents in the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May 2018 under the pretext that the deal was not comprehensive.

Subsequently, the U.S. administration launched a “maximum pressure campaign’’ and reinstated sanctions on Iran’s economy, mainly on Iran’s oil exports. (Xinhua/NAN)

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Gov. Udom hosts IOCs over move to end gas flaring

………Plans over 5,000 new jobs with gas initiative

Gov. Udom Emmanuel with representatives of the IOC during the inspection on the intelligent Building in the state
Gov. Udom Emmanuel with representatives of the IOC during the inspection on the intelligent Building in the state

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, on Tuesday hosted multinational companies comprising Mobil Producing Nigeria, Vitol and BlackRhino in Uyo and expressed desire for more partnership to create job opportunities in the state.

This is even as he expressed optimism that the planned partnership with the IOCs to tap the gas that was hitherto flared wold come to fruition soon and create over 5,000 jobs.

Speaking at the meeting with IOCs led by the Lead Country Manager, Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN) Mr. Paul McGrath, Gov. Emmanuel appreciated the companies for accepting to partner the State.

He assured that the enabling environment would be created in the state for he IOCs, while reiterating that his administration’s determination to create job opportunities through industrialisation which he noted was only possible when investments thrive.

The Governor explained that the state had taken steps to build the necessary gateways for investors and appealed to the Federal Government to assist in the realisation of its vision.

“We appeal to the Federal Government to give us enough support for the investors that are coming in because people that will work here are not only Akwa Ibom people.

“The day we start the Ibom Deep Seaport project at least 5000 people will be on board handling different jobs, skills will be transferred and training will be offered.

“We will develop capacity and the rest of the things will come up so the chain effect of that positive impact is what we cannot overlooked, he stated.

The Intelligent building in Akwa Ibom still under construction
The Intelligent building in Akwa Ibom still under construction

Justifying the partnership with Vitol, the Governor explained that the company would partner others ” to stop gas flaring then channel the power to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and other uses”, explaining that ” we cannot have gas then complain in this country”.

The Governor who embarked on inspection of the 21 Storey Intelligent building shortly after the meeting, said the building has been a demonstration of government’s commitment to partner with the Corporate Organisations in the provision of conducive working environment, adding that residence for staff will be added.

Earlier, the Chairman and Lead Country Manager, Mobil Producing Nigeria, Mr. Paul McGrath, thanked the Governor for the opportunity given the company to partner in the development of the state .

Mr. McGrath pledged the company’s readiness to eradicate gas flaring and produce more Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) using Vitol and BlackRhino as facilitators.

Also, the African Head, Vitol, Mr Pierre Barbe, said their major focus in their investment in Nigeria is to end gas flaring and sanitise the ecosystem, saying that the initiative will make gas available for power generation and production of LPG for domestic consumption.

On his part, the President BlackRhino, Brian Hertily, assured that when the necessary modalities are put in place for conversion of gas into energy the state will attract more industries for job creation.

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Alleged N400m theft: Army court martial former GOC

Alleged N400m theft: Army court martial former GOC
Alleged N400m theft: Army court martial former GOC

By Sumaila Ogbaje

The Nigerian Army has commenced the trial of the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Division, Sokoto, Maj.-Gen. Hakeem Otiki, over alleged stolen N400 million by some soldiers under his command.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, while inaugurating the General Court Martial on Tuesday in Abuja, said the trial was in line with the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 Laws of the Federation 2004.

The General Court Martial is to be presided over by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Nigerian Army Headquarters, Maj.-Gen. Lamidi Adeosun, as the president of the court.

Members of the court are Maj.-Gen. A.A Tarfa from the Headquarters Training and Doctrine Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. F.O Agugo from Department of Army Transformation and Innovation and Maj.-Gen. J.S Malu from the Headquarters Nigerian Army Engineers.

Others are Maj.-Gen. M.A. Muhammed from the Headquarters Nigerian Army Signal, Maj.-Gen. C.T Olukuju from Land Forces Stimulation Centre while Maj.-Gen. C.C Okonkwo will serve as a waiting member.

Buratai also appointed Maj. A. Muhammed from the Headquarters Directorate of Army Legal Services as the Judge Advocate of the court.

The prosecuting officers are Maj. J.A Orumo, Maj. J,A Obot, from the Office of the National Security Adviser, Maj. I.A Suleman from Guards Brigade.

According to the convening order issued by Buratai, the General Court Martial as composed is to assemble at Army Headquarters Command Mess Abuja for the purpose of trying the accuse person.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the army authorities had in July begun the interrogation of the former GOC over the missing N400 million.

Five soldiers had been confirmed to have carted away a consignment containing the money, while on an escort duty from Sokoto to Kaduna states in July. (NAN)

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Patient safety: FG tasked to curb healthcare errors, preventable deaths

Patient safety: FG tasked to curb healthcare errors, preventable deaths
Patient safety: FG tasked to curb healthcare errors, preventable deaths

By Abujah Racheal

As the World marks Patient Safety Day, some Nigerians in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have called on the Federal Government to ensure that healthcare errors that cause unwarranted deaths are curbed.

The Nigerians spoke to our correspondent on the sidelines of an event to mark the first World Patient Safety Day, a day set aside to create awareness on the importance of safety of patients in all developing and developed countries of the world.

Mr Solomon Onuh, a Psychologist said that the celebration should focus on creating awareness regarding the factors that contribute to preventable deaths and to ensure proper patient safety in our hospitals.

Onuh said that there was need for government to focus on the main factors that contribute to preventable deaths such as healthcare associated infections.

According to him, the infections are considered to be the most harmful cause of deaths around the world, adding that both developing and developed countries suffer such deaths

Mrs Tobias Dasat, a Teacher said that the government should conduct awareness campaigns to promote the effects of unsafe healthcare practices and the importance of ensuring proper safety.

Dasat described poor patient safety as a global threat and urged healthcare providers to emphasise the importance of proper hygiene, washing of hands regularly before and after contact with a patient.

A Cleric, Rev. Fr Timothy Chukwudi who also attributed high mortality and morbidity rates in the world to error in medication called on government to punish medical practitioners for avoidable errors.

“Doctors and nurses tend to make errors while prescribing medications which can cause harm to the patient’s life.

“ Surgery, for instance, is the most common and preferred technique for eliminating disabilities and critical injuries.

“It is estimated that surgeries are done mainly for cardiovascular diseases, cancer and orthopedic injuries, but unsafe surgical practices can lead to fatal errors and significant complications,” he said.

NAN, reports that World Patient Safety Day will be observed yearly on September, 17 .

The World Health Organisation launched a global campaign to create awareness of patient safety and urged people to show their commitment to making healthcare safer. (NAN)

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Group lauds removal of VAT on cooking gas

 

Group lauds removal of VAT on cooking gas

By Solomon Asowata

The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM), says the removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) on cooking gas by the Federal Government will deepen market penetration, boost the country’s economy and protect the environment.

Mr Nosa Ogieva-Okunbor, President , NALPGAM, stated this during the association’s Governing Council Meeting held in Lagos on Tuesday.

He noted that the removal of VAT on the gas supply to marketers by Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) would attract more investors and reduce importation of gas into the country.

“This removal of VAT on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), popularly known as cooking gas, has crashed the price of cooking gas by about 30 per cent in the market.

“Currently, a 12.5kg bottle of gas which was N4,300 now sells for between N2,500 and N2,700 and has also deepened household usage of gas,’’ he said.

Ogieva-Okunbor said the association would take effective steps to deepen the use of LPG and increase local consumption from the current 700,000 metric tonnes to 1,000,000 metric tonnes annually.

He said that the target can increase to about five million metric tonnes by 2025 if stakehokders in the sector adhere to standards.

“If achieved, Nigeria will join the league of nations with high level of LPG consumption,” he said.

The President also stressed the need for the reduction of import duty on LPG equipment so as to encourage more investors to come in and deepen LPG consumption in the country.

He, however, expressed concern over growing indiscriminate establishment of gas plants in filling stations, which he said pose a great danger to the citizenry and the economy.

Ogieva-Okunbor said that the association is not against establishments of such plants but insisted that they must operate with the same Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) applicable to standard gas plants as laid down by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

He noted that the right procedure for petrol filling stations to dispense cooking gas was for them to retail already filled gas cylinders.

Ogieva-Okunbor added that the DPR had given a directive for the removal of gas plants in filling stations by December 2020.(NAN)

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Xenophobia: S/Africa finally allows Air Peace to evacuate 2nd batch of Nigerians

Air Peace flights
Air Peace flights

By Fortune Abang

South African authorities have granted landing permit to Air Peace Flight B777 to enable it to evacuate some 320 Nigerians escaping from xenophobia in that country, a Nigerian consular officer has confirmed.

Nigeria’s Consul- General in Johannesburg, Mr Godwin Adama, made the confirmation in a telephone interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday.

Adama spoke against the background of a complaint by the Managing Director of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema.

Onyema had said  that the refusal of South Africa to grant the permit made it impossible for the flight to leave Lagos at 1 a.m. for Johannesburg to convey the second batch of returnees.

But Adama said the permit had been granted the airline and that the flight would be late in the night of Tuesday.

Adama said, “They want Nigerians to arrive during the week, they are taking-off from here midnight.

“I do not know the exact time but they will be leaving (South Africa) midnight.

“I do not know why they were denied the landing permit. I think it is an airline operational issue. They did not get it yesterday but they told me that it came late yesterday (Monday).

“It was weekend and they were going to get it this morning; the airline did not tell me it was deliberate, but they explained to me that they have gotten it.

“Our manifest arrived last night towards the close of work and they were to take-off 1a.m. Nigerian time yesterday (Monday) but they did not because it was late.

“I have gotten it now so they will be able to make me know the time of their arrival here so that we can know when to take-off.”

Adama said buses provided to convey Nigerians wanting to return home were still at the mission premises and everyone was there.

“We are still really working on the number (320) to see how we can fill up the airline capacity with anyone that is readily available.

“We have more than enough, we are even trying to ensure that the aircraft is filled up that is why we are readily taking people who are on ground now.

“We have more than enough to fill the aircraft, the delay has also helped us because as we call names to board we see some people cleared at the last minute.

“The truth is they are people who have not been cleared, those who are ready to go are all here and we are trying to queue them up.

“We may not even be able to take all of them who are hopeful,” he added.

Adama said that the next batch of evacuation would be based on the Federal Government’s directives.

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NAFDAC warns against consumption of non-iodised salt

NAFDAC
NAFDAC headquarters building in Abuja

By Aderogba George

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has advised Nigerians to stop the consumption of non-iodised salt as “it is dangerous to human health.”

Dr Abubakar Jimoh, the Director of Public Affairs of the agency, gave the advice in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.

The director was responding to information that people in rural communities were still consuming  local salt, which was not processed.

He said that the consumption of such local salt could lead to goiter and other dangerous diseases and called on Nigerians to avoid the product.

According to the director, there are four areas in Nigeria where traditional salt is still being traded, particularly in Nasarawa State.

“NAFDAC is making effort to stop the trading of this salt in these states but some of them have refused.

“With the creation of NAFDAC in 1993, that was the first time and there was still major work to be done on salt consumption.

“We have organised sensitisation workshop on universal salt iodisation.

“We have been educating Nigerians that we should not be consuming this local salt because it is not iodised.

“We began a programme in collaboration with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Micro Nutrient Initiative, Global Alliance and other development partners on the issue.

“We flagged off a campaign against that and it was held in Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, in 2004 under late Prof.  Dora Akunyili as the Director General of the agency.

Jimoh said based on the work NAFDAC did then, Nigeria was declared universal salt iodisation compliant in Turkey and also won numerous awards in that regard.

“Nasarawa is one of the identified four major endemic areas, they have insisted that it is their traditional source of making livelihood, it is commerce for them.

“They told NAFDAC at that time that if they must leave the trade, what they will be trading on must be provided for them,” the director said.

He, however, called on those still trading and consuming non-iodised salt in Nasarawa State to stop as the act was capable of bringing setback to the country.

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China, US clash over ‘belt and road’ credit at UN Security Council

 

China and Russia clashed with the US and other United Nations Security Council members on Monday over Beijing’s insistence on including a reference to its U$1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative in a resolution on the UN’s political mission in a resolution on the UN’s political mission in Afghanistan

The mission’s six-month mandate expires on Tuesday, and council members met behind closed doors for more than 2½ hours, unable to agree on a text after China’s demand.

Russian ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, council president, said that diplomats were working on a compromise text. He said the council would meet on Tuesday in the hope of reaching unanimous agreement.

This is the second time in six months that the resolution to keep the UN political mission in Afghanistan operating has become embroiled in controversy over belt and road language.

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Minimum Wage: Again FG, JNPSNC fail to reach agreement

NLC leads protest against Kaduna government
NLC to work against governors opposing new minimum wage

By Tosin Kolade

The Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) and the Representatives of the Federal Government have again failed to reach an agreement over relativity and consequential adjustment for the implementation of the new minimum wage.

Mr Alade Lawal, JNPSNC General Secretary, Trade Union Side, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the organised labour will decide on a next line of action towards the issue of the minimum wage, saying in due time, Nigerians would be informed.

“The meeting is deadlocked, we found out that the Federal Government officials are not serious about it at all, we are suspecting fowl play or a hidden agenda somewhere.

“We have decided to report the development to our principals, including the Labour unions, Nigerians will be adequately briefed of our next line of action very shortly.”

Chairman of the Labour team, Mr Simon Anchaver, said labour negotiating team has also resolved to write to the Nigeria Labour congress and the trade union congress, TUC on their advise to consider an industrial action.

He said government’s foot dragging is an invitation for industrial action, since workers are already engulfed in fear and agitations whether their accumulated arrears will be paid when talks are finally concluded.

NAN reports that the Head of Service, Winifred Oyo-Ita, chaired the meeting, and the acting Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, as the Secretary of the negotiating council.

NAN recalls that the new minimum wage bill was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in April.

However, deliberations continued as the issue of relativity/consequential adjustment of salaries still persisted.

The Federal Government had on May 14 inaugurated the relativity/Consequential Adjustment Committee which in turn set up a Technical Sub-Committee to work out the template for the adjustment of salaries of Public Service Employees.

In a meeting between the government and labour last month (August), government proposed a 10 per cent increment for level seven to 14 and a 5.5 per cent increment for level 15 to 17.

Egbule, immediate past Chairman, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, had attributed the delay in the implementation of the “consequential adjustment” of the N30,000 new minimum wage to the unrealistic demands of labour unions.

Egbule explained that the current demand of the labour unions would raise the total wage bill too high and that was why government could not accept their proposed salary adjustments.

But labour turned down government’s offer, proposing 30 per cent increase for levels seven to 14 and 25 per cent for levels 15 to 17.

The JNPSNC declined the offer, saying that since the increase in wage from N18, 000 to N30, 000 was 66 per cent, they wanted 66 per cent increment across board for all workers.

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Affordable Houses: Stakeholders advocate good governance

 

Housing Esaste

By Franca Ofili

Mr Yemi Adelakun, Managing Director, Nigeria Integrated Social Housing (NISH) Affordable Housing Ltd has advocated good governance and a robust savings scheme to enable the country to deliver a proper cooperative housing scheme.

Adelakun made the call in Abuja on Monday at a stakeholders’ quarterly workshop on cooperative housing in Nigeria with the theme, “’Aggregating Off-takers’ Savings for Affordable Housing in Nigeria’’.

He called for a special savings scheme to ensure inclusive growth and development.

“The success factors of cooperative housing are good governance, trust, transparency and accountability, capacity building, respect and strict adherence to rule of law, checks and balances with continuous monitoring and auditing.

“Others are robust savings scheme, electronic data management and information communication technology,’’ Adelakun said.

He said the objective of the workshop was ‘’to organise, empower, and acquaint cooperative leaders with Innovative Cooperative Housing Principles.

According to him, the workshop will sensitise them to aggregate members’ equity contributions through saving for effective and sustainable delivery of affordable housing to co-operators.

Adelakun said the workshop was designed to strengthen the governance capacity, transparency and accountability of housing cooperatives through information and communications technology.’’

“The core inspiration behind the workshop is for NISH and partners to use this method to ensure that they develop a very strong and effective housing cooperatives system in Nigeria,’’ he said.

He identified six most critical challenges of affordable housing as land, technology, expert knowledge and skilled manpower; building materials, infrastructure and finance.

Adelakun said the lack of off-takers’ access to credit line was the major challenge that must be tackled for the country to achieve a successful affordable housing delivery.

Mr Anders Lindquist, Chief Business Development, EchoStone, said that every country had housing deficit but that Nigeria had the highest deficit.

EchoStone is an international provider of affordable housing solutions.

Lindquist called for more workshops to educate buyers and promised to work with the stakeholders to achieve their goals.

He called on government to be more interested in ensuring that affordable houses were made available to Nigerians.

Lindquist said that good governance was vital to achieving affordable housing.

He urged the workshop to ensure that action would be taken not just talk. (NAN)

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