UNGA: Tinubu Cuts Cost,Shortlists Govt Officials Travelling To US

President Bola Tinubu has directed the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discontinue the processing of visas for all government officials seeking to travel to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

The directive which came from the President this afternoon is believed to be part of a broader effort to reduce the cost of governance in Nigeria, a statement by his media aide, Ajuri Ngelale noted.

It added that the directive is especially to those without proof of direct participation in UNGA’s official schedule of activities.

The presidency also noted that to prevent any sharp practice in this regard, the U.S. Mission in Nigeria is accordingly guided on official visa processing while Nigeria’s Permanent Mission in New York is further directed to prevent and stop the accreditation of any government official who is not placed on the protocol lists forwarded by the approving authority.

“By this directive of the President, all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies are mandated to ensure that all officials, who are approved for inclusion in the UNGA delegation, strictly limit the number of aides and associated staff partaking in the event. Where excesses or anomalies in this regard are identified, they will be removed during the final verification process.

“The President wishes to affirm that, henceforth, government officials and government expenditure must reflect the prudence and sacrifice being made by well-meaning Nigerians across the nation,” the statement added.

Axxela Explains Global Credit Ratings

Axxela Limited (“Axxela”), one of the leading gas and power companies in Sub-Saharan Africa has announced the reaffirmation of its national scale long-term and short-term issuer ratings at A-(NG) and A2(NG) respectively, with the Outlook revised to Stable by Global Credit Ratings (GCR).

Its Chief Financial Officer of Axxela, Timothy Ononiwu said: “We are delighted by GCR’s latest affirmation of our rating at high investment grade. It is a validation of our commitment to maintaining a strong financial position with a solid performance record across all our operations regardless of prevailing market conditions. The rating confirms Axxela’s resilience despite a challenging economic environment and its sustained efforts to optimise operational efficiency and ensure liquidity.

“We remain dedicated to our growth strategy while upholding the highest standards of financial management. We are confident in the track record we have built within the sector and our ability to navigate the dynamics of the market”.

The ratings solidify Axxela’s position as a leading energy solutions provider, its well-diversified customer base, and its strong asset quality.

The company continues to demonstrate its commitment to delivering reliable and sustainable energy solutions to meet Nigeria’s growing energy demands.

Rejected Nominees:Faceless Group Planning To Attack Obasa,Lagos Lawmakers Allege

Mohammed Shosanya

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday disclosed that there are plans by some people to attack Speaker Mudashiru Obasa and other lawmakers over the recent screening and rejection of some cabinet nominees sent by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The House said its action concerning the nominees was in line with the constitution, which stipulates its responsibilities and, as such, would not succumb to threats and intimidations, including planned sponsored protests and analysis by some civil society groups and activists.

It also said it had restraint from revealing all that it discovered during the screening of the nominees while warning that “those who live in glass houses should be conscious not to throw stones.

During plenary on Monday,Obasa said:”Before today, I had been reliably informed of the plan to attack the Speaker based on the decision of the House concerning the nominees of the Governor, particularly the rejected ones”.

He added that he had been inundated with calls from people and members of the House.

According to him,the House does not have any fight with Sanwo-Olu or the executive arm as projected by some people, who may not be aware of the actual reasons for the rejection of the nominees.

He said:”There is this erroneous belief that we are waging war against the Governor. There is no basis for me and the House to fight the Governor. I will continue to say that the Governor is a brother and colleague in the Lagos project and service to the people of our State.

“The Governor and I have been around in the system for long. While he was SA to the former Deputy Governor, Femi Pedro, I was in this House as chairman, Committee on Rural Development. He was SA on Establishment and Pensions and I was chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts (Local Governments). While he was heading LSDPC, I was chairman, Committee on Economic Planning and Budget. Then, I became the Speaker and when he became the Governor, I remained the Speaker. So it’s been a long journey together.

“But I wonder why anytime the House says no to a particular request of the Governor, it is taken by some people to mean there is a fight with the Governor. This House has passed so many resolutions that the executive arm refused to carry out, but people don’t see that as something to talk about and the House does not raise eyebrows. So I don’t know what brings the erroneous belief that the House is fighting the Governor, who is our brother and who we will continue to work with.

“However, we have a constitutional responsibility. Just as the Governor has the responsibility to inform the House about his nominees, the House has the responsibility to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ which we have exercised by confirming some and denying some and we have our reasons for saying ‘no’ to some of the nominees.

“The House, as a body, has refrained itself from exposing what it discovered during the screening exercise and we are not going to be forced to spill to the public,” Obasa said.

Speaking on the rejection of Prof. Akin Ababyomi, former health commissioner, Obasa said considerations went beyond his efforts in the fight against COVID-19, which he described as an isolated issue in the challenged health sector of the State.

He said:”Before Prof. Abayomi, there were Leke Pitan, Dr. Jide Idris and others. COVID-19 was an isolated case that was considered. Before COVID-19, we had Ebola which was also taken care of under Babatunde Fashola.

“Beyond all these, we are the representatives of the people, their mouthpieces, eyes and ears. The health sector of Lagos is not just about COVID-19. We have general hospitals and other health care centres around the State. What can be said about them?

“Before Engineer Aramide Adeyoye, we also had Engineer Ganiyu Johnson and Dr. Obafemi Hamzat as Commissioner for Works and under whom the Ikoyi-Victoria Island link bridge was built while Babatunde Fashola was Governor. Under Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as Governor, there was masaive infrastructural development too.

“So we must stop making allusions concerning some things we do not understand. They mentioned the former Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotosho and his experience. But how about actions in office?” Obasa asked.

He added that as a politician whose party is in power, the priority of those in government should be the interest of the people.

He implored those planning to sponsor actions against the House to realise that protests and sponsored articles would not make the House rescind its decision.

“The civil society that is threatening to protest should do so because it is a constitutional right. But we are not going to be threatened or intimidated. We have said no, but if there is a convincing or germane reason for us to reverse our decision, we will, but not by threats.

“It is because we are successful as politicians that is why the technocrats are being appointed. And to our own estimation, if they have not done well, we have right to say no and we have said no.

“We don’t want instigations and conflicts, the executive and the House are working together; we are brothers and colleagues; we will continue to work together but we need to caution fourth columnists not to instigate crisis. And those that are living in glass houses need to be careful,” he warned.

Report: Nigeria’s Energy Sector Falls Into Recession First Half Of 2023

Mohammed Shosanya

A report by the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise,says Nigeria’s oil refining,crude petroleum and gas sector fell into recession in the first half of the year.

The oil refining dipped by 35.6%;while crude petroleum and gas, dropped by13.4%; according to the report signed by the Enterprise’s Chief Executive Officer,Dr.Muda Yussuf

Livestock sector contracted by 2.3%; and Textile,4.4%,the report added.

According to the report,growth in these sectors continued to be subdued by heightened inflationary pressures, exchange rate volatility, spiking energy cost, insecurity and the political economy of the oil and gas sector.

On the sectors that grew in the first quarter,the report said the sectors include Quarry and Minerals which grew by a staggering 39.2%; financial institutions 29.2%; Rail Transport, 16.9%; Insurance, 7.3%; Trade, 2.4%; Construction, 3.5%; Manufacturing , 2.2%; Education, 1.4%; Real Estate, 1.9%; Chemical and Pharmaceutical, 6.4%; Food and Beverage Sector, 4.3%; Cement 3.3%; Plastics, 2.7%; Iron and Steel, 2.3%; Agriculture, 1.5%; Fishing, 0.29%.

On the sectors that slowed down during the period,the report said they include ICT, 9.7%; Air Transport, 4.3%; Crop Production, 1.8%; Wood and Wood products, 2.4%; Paper and Publishing, 1.4%; Water Transport, 5.4%;

Some sectors contracted during the period are those that recorded negative growth in the second quarter.

The report added that,the output in the sectors contracted because of the prevailing economic and investment climate conditions.

Road transport sector recorded the biggest contraction of 55% in the second quarter.

Other sectors that contracted include Coal Mining which contracted by 15.7%; Motor vehicle Assembly, 3.9%; Music and Motion Pictures, 2%.

Commenting on the report,Muda Yussuf remarked that The Nigerian economy is still going through corrective reforms to remove some fundamental distortions and restore the economy back to the path of recovery and growth.

He added:” But implementing the reforms is an arduous task. The trade offs are profound and the social impact has been devastating. Given the inevitability of the reforms, the implementation calls for a delicate balancing act and strategic sequencing to ensure an inclusive economic transition.Dealing with the issues of insecurity, spending priorities, corruption, productivity and competitiveness, regulatory environment and macroeconomic stability are paramount to rebuilding the momentum of economic growth and development”.

Court Will Soon Declare Peter Obi President Of Nigeria-Labout Party Chairman

The National Chairman of the Labour Party, Julius Abure, has told supporters of the Labour Party in the United States of America that Peter Obi, the party’s presidential candidate in the February 25 elections, would soon be declared the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

His voice came ahead of the judgment of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT).

PEPT, since the end of the poll has heard the arguments of Obi and the Labour Party, over the declaration of the APC frontrunner, Bola Tinubu, as winner of the election, and substantive president of Nigeria.

Abure, who is on a tour of the United Kingdom and United States to encourage party members and other supporters, and who has been enmeshed in a fierce legal battle with a faction led by a Deputy National Chairman, Lamidi Apapa, said, “Following Peter Obi’s participation in the 2023 general election, we changed the political narratives in Nigeria.

“We gave them a run for their money. They have murdered sleep and they will sleep no more. They have stolen what is not for them and they will not sleep until we recover it all.

“We are expecting judgment between now and 16th of September. And I am very sure Peter Obi will become President.

“Without sounding immodest, since they took over, things are now worse. The only party and the only candidate that has solutions to the challenges of the country is Labour Party and Peter Obi.

“And so we still believe that things will change in Nigeria. I want to say that we should not lose hope, we should not be discouraged. The hope is still alive and I am confident that Peter Obi will be president.”

Violations: FCTA Demolishes Late Oba Lipede’s Building In Abuja

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) demolished a fmultimillion naira duplex on Monday for being built on an illegal plot of land.

The building is reported to belong to His Royal Highness Oba Oyebade Lipede, but it was unlawfully taken over by Alhaji Ibrahim Mohammed Kamba and Alhaji Ademu Teku, who illegally constructed the duplex despite all warnings.

Tpl Mukhtar Galadima, the Director of Development Control, stated that his team had to do thorough investigation to determine the original owner of the land, considering the many claims made by the parties.

He claims that the administration will not consider the status of any defaulting developer, once development rules and regulations are violated.

He said: “We demolished the duplex because somebody built without valid title and building plan approval on someone else land. Investigation revealed that the developer is not the owner of plot, that is why we had to remove the building.

” We allowed the building to this stage before demolishing it, because we had to follow all the processes. He was served all the notices to stop work, but being a recalcitrant developer, he continued without heeding to the notices we served.

” After our investigation we ascertained the original allottee, so we have to remove it. We are going to consult the legal department to know the next action against the developer”

We’re Ready To Nurture Young African Leaders-US Govt

Mohammed Shosanya

The United States (U.S.) government, through the Young African Leaders’ Initiative (YALI) Network, has expressed commitment to nurturing the potential of young African leaders who are driving positive change in their communities.

A statement by the U.S. Mission in Nigeria, Abuja,disclosed the successful conclusion of YALI Network’s 6th annual National Conference, themed: “Beyond Limits: Innovation for Sustainable Development.”

It noted that the two-day event brought together over 400 young Nigerian leaders from 36 Nigerian states between the ages of 18-35, to foster collaboration and drive sustainable development across the nation through keynote speakers, panel discussions, and interactive activities all focused on the participants’ role in sustainable development.

Affirming that the conference left five YALI Network members with on-the-spot job offers and HP gave away eight laptops to the winners of a business pitch competition, the statement said that “The YALI Network National Conference served as a testament to the strong partnership between the United States and Nigeria in supporting youth empowerment and sustainable development.

“The United States provides online courses and materials to the YALI Network of over 200,000 members in Nigeria and throughout Africa; while connecting members with global leaders in their fields to help members develop leadership skills through speaker programmes and by supporting conferences, such as the one that took place August 25-26 in Abuja.

The U.S. Embassy’s Public Diplomacy Officer, Julia McKay, at the event, delivered a keynote address, which highlighted how the U.S. government supports young people in advancing the shared goal of achieving sustainable economies and inclusive communities in Nigeria.

She stated that:“Studies have shown that nations with gender parity and inclusion experience more economic growth and development, less conflict, and higher literacy rates.

“Our commitment to inclusivity is reflected in our initiatives and programmes, like YALI Stands for All…as well as the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), and the Tech Women and Tech Girls’ exchange programs. And these are just some examples of how we work with our Nigerian partners to advance our common goals and interests because we believe that by strengthening our people to people ties, we can build a more prosperous, secure, and democratic future for both of our countries.

“And we recognize the important role that young people like you play in the future of Nigeria. We will continue to provide opportunities like the YALI Network to equip young Nigerians with the skills and connections that they need to foster change in their communities.”

The YALI Network Summit’s “Beyond Limits: Innovation for Sustainable Development” theme aptly captured the spirit of collaboration between the United States and Nigeria in building the capacity of Nigerian young leaders to advocate for a more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable future for Nigeria, she said.

The U.S. Embassy remains committed to supporting initiatives that empower the youth and drive sustainable development in Nigeria, McKay added.

197m Nigerians Not Insured,Says NAICOM

Mohammed Shosanya

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM),says 197million Nigerians have no insurance,lamenting that only three million Nigerians are insured.

Dr Usman Jankara, NAICOM’s Assistant Director, Corporate Strategy and Special Duties, disclosed this in a paper he delivered at the recently-held journalists’ seminar in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, titled: “Insurance sector and the Nigerian Economy: Impact, Challenges and the new Frontiers”.

He stated: “Concerning the number of those insured, it is put at three million. As at last year when the figure was taken, Nigeria is assumed to be 200 million.

“From 2015 till date, when you look at Gross Premium Income of the industry, we were at N282 billion in 2015, and today it is N736 billion, representing average growth of 15 per cent”

“That is not to say the industry couldn’t have done better, but to point to the fact that things are not as bad as they were today. There has been no economy that has grown 15 per cent over a 10-year period. None of the sub-sectors have done that.

“As of 2015, assets grew from N917 billion to N2.32 trillion in 2022, an exceptional growth of about 60 per cent.Our insurance penetration rate, that is insurance to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 0.4 per cent, and the insurance density, that is, how many Nigerians are insured, is 1.5 per cent, he revealed.

He maintained that Life insurance grew from N86 billion in 2015 to N309.1 billion in 2022.

He added:“Also, non-life insurance grew from N198.3 billion in 2015 to N417.3 billion in 2022”.

Speaking earlier,NAICOM’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sunday Thomas, said efforts on to deepen insurance sensitisation to achieve huge penetration.

I’m Now A Father-Phyno

Nigerian rapper, Chibuzor Nelson Azubuike, also known as Phyno,Monday disclosed that he is now a father.
He shared a picture of himself as he cradles his child in his arms via his Instagram page on Monday.
He said:”I took some time off to be a Father and also work on new music / album and it’s been a wholesome experience. Now it’s time to get back to what I do best”.
My Wife Didn’t Sleep With Our Bodyguard-Steve Harvey

Media personality and actor, Steve Harvey, has addressed rumours alleging that his wife Marjorie Bridges, 58, cheated on him with their bodyguard and chef.

Harvey, 66,cleared the air on the rumour while speaking at Invest Fest 2023 in Atlanta on Sunday.

He said: “Before I get started, just let me say, I’m fine. Marjorie’s fine.I don’t know what you all doing, but find something else to do ’cause we fine. Lord have mercy. Man. I ain’t got no time for rumours and gossip. God’s been good to me, I’m still shining.”