The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the sum of N9.2billion as premium to insurance companies that will manage the group life insurance for federal civil servants in the country.
Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed revealed this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council meeting which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said: “On behalf of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, I will like to report that council today approved the award of contract for the appointment of insurance companies for group life assurance for federal government employees, public servants, para-military and the intelligence community for the year 2021-2022 in the sum of N9, 248. 995, 907.
“This premium is for a period of 12 months.
“This is part of the government’s welfare programme for our public employees so that in case of death, they are assured that there would be compensation.”
The minister revealed that the council also approved N18.1billion for development of infrastructure and Kano and Calabar Free Trade Zones, as well as the Textile and Garment Park in Lagos and the Special Economic Zone, Lekki–Lagos.
Mohammed said the approval was of critical importance to the infrastructure development plan of the country.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, who also addressed the correspondents on the outcome of the FEC meeting, said she presented the first quarter of 2021 GDP results and other performance indicators of the Nigerian economy to the Council.
According to her, the estimates and report show that Nigerian GDP has grown to 0.51% year-on-year in real terms in the First Quarter of 2021.
The minister revealed that the agricultural sector posted a strong growth at the rate of 2.28 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, compared to previous quarters.
“Also, there is a further illustration that the slow, but gradual recovery process is indicative of the fact that business operations are returning to normal and that restrictions of movements and commercial activities have been relaxed after extended close-down in the year 2020.
“Also, the agricultural sector posted a strong growth at the rate of 2.28 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, compared to previous quarters. This growth in agriculture signifies the resilience of the agricultural sector.
“Also, the industry sector has recorded positive growth, even though a weak one, but the growth is a positive one and this marks the past quarter of growth over the past one year in the industry sector.
“Services recorded a slight dip, but a small one at 0.39 per cent.
“In addition to the economic activities and the reopening our businesses, growth was also boosted, in fact by increase in crude oil prices as well as increase in production in the first quarter of 2020.
“We have seen this positive growth being contributed by not just the oil sector, but also by economic activities within the metal sector, the cement sector, electricity, telecommunications, food and beverages as well as human health and social services,’’ she said.
The minister, however, stated that some sectors had recorded negative growth, saying such sectors included quarrying and other minerals, oil refinery, road transport, air transport, rail transport, education, as well as hospitality sectors.
On inflationary trends, Ahmed noted that throughout 2020 airline inflation had maintained an upward trend.
The minister also maintained that prices of food items might not come down as fast as the other aspects of inflation.
She said: “For the first time in 19 months, inflation has shown a slight dip. It’s a very slight dip, but it’s a positive point for us, we had indicated that our projection is that inflation will begin to flatten in the month of April 2021 and this is an indication.
“So, subsequent periods we are looking at inflation beginning to trend downwards. Food inflation will not come down as fast as the other aspects of inflation.
“But it is important to also see that the rate of food inflation also showed a slight dip and the rise in food index, which you will see if you check the detailed report, is driven by foods such as coffee, tea, cocoa, breads, cereals, soft drinks, milk, cheese, not basic food items like rice, maize and millet.
“So this is what we reported to Council today.”
The Minister of Environment, Alhaji Muhammed Mahmud, told the correspondents that the Council approved a revised national policy on climate change.
According to him, the revised policy is aimed at a Nigeria that is sustainable environmentally.
“Its implementation strategy is to be all encompassing. We have met with several MDAs, agencies and civil society organisations and even the media because this is something that requires all hands on deck as we are all potential polluters of environment causing climate change.
“Eventually and ultimately the objective is to help Nigeria that is climate resilient and also gender sensitive in the future and that is the vision of this policy intellectuals because the world is moving towards carbon neutrality.
“It is assumed that by the year 2015, we should have carbon neutrality.
“Now is the time to get prepared for that so that is what the policy is all about to drive towards a Nigeria that is sustainable environmentally,’’ he added. (NAN
Bauchi Blasphemy: We ‘ll not accept this brutal way of murder – CAN
Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN) in Kaduna State, Rev.Joseph John Hayab has raised concern over the allegation of blasphemy in Bauchi, saying the challenge now is for Government authorities and security agencies to act fast to address abuse of the constitution before it leads to a more serious conflict that can not be handled.
He said in a statement on Saturday, that allegations of blasphemy have now become the new excuse by fundamentalists in Northern Nigeria to kill the remnant that bandits and terrorists have not yet killed.
“How can you justify the period of what happened in Sokoto, the allegation in Borno, the fake allegation on Babachir Lawal by one northern actor who we have on record how he made blasphemous remarks about
Jesus Christ but quickly went and brought it down on the internet to cover himself before coming out to falsely accused Babachir Lawal the former SGF and today we are seeing another carnage in Bauchi under the excuse of blasphemy, “He said.
“We know and have evidence of how some of these allegations of blasphemy are false and just for blackmail or settling scores with perceived enemies or well-mannered young girls who have refused sexual advances by the opposite sex from another religion.”
“We are also aware of how fanatics have in the past raised lies in the name of blasphemy.”
“CAN wonder if the recent sermons we are getting from some Islamic clerics on what the Holy Quran says about what should be done if anyone is accused of blasphemy is unpopular amongst followers?”
“The challenge now is for Government authorities and security agencies to act fast to address this abuse of our constitution before it leads to a more serious conflict that can not be handled.”
“Nigeria Christians most especially those of Northern extraction have for ages exhibited tolerance despite many provocations and lack of reciprocation of our love and friendship but these new tactics for killing our people from any and every accusation of blasphemy are unacceptable to CAN and all Christian faithful.
We will not accept this brutal way of murder and inhuman treatment of our followers to continue.”
“Government and security agencies should come out to enforce the law on every murderer hiding under religion.
We will also wish to appeal to Christian leaders and parents to guide their children to resist any ungodly provocation that will make them says things that blood-thisty fundamentalist can easily use to kill them.”
“CAN is appealing to religious leaders from both religious divides to intensify teachings about the evil of taking the laws into one hand and killing another person for whatever reason.
Allege offenders should be reported to security agencies or taken to any competent court of law for judiciary pronouncement.
Nigeria is not a banana republic but a nation we believe should be governed by the rule of law,” he said.
Oyetola bags Vanguard 2021 ‘Governor of The Year Award’ for Good Governance
LAGOS EXPLAINS OKADA CLAMPDOWN
Lagos State Government has described the ongoing enforcement of restrictions on the operations of commercial motorcycles, popularly called okada, in certain parts of the State as a necessary step to curb their indiscipline, save lives and improve security.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, spoke on Channels TV Sunrise Daily about the new enforcement order given by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the backlash recorded in a part of the State.
According to Omotoso, the resurgence of Okada operations and acts of indiscipline being exhibited by riders have become a serious source of concern as many people have lost their limbs and lives through Okada accidents.
His words: “Our doctors are complaining that more and more people are coming with Okada-related emergency. About 1,712 accidents have been recorded in Lagos in the first quarter of this year. Out of this figure, about 45 percent; to be precise, 767 of the accidents were caused by Okada. And it is shocking to know that about 54 percent of the victims are between the ages of 30 and 39. These are our able-bodied young people who are getting cut down like that all because they mounted okada.”
Attributing the high fatality rate of riders and passengers to plying about 500 highways, major roads and bridges, which the Road Traffic Law prohibited, Omotoso affirmed that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s order was to reinforce the law and give the riders an opportunity to move out and find some other things to do.
He said: “There is a Law that lists all the routes commercial motorcycles are restricted from plying. The Law is still there; it has not been repealed. So, the enforcement is not new and it is going to continue as the June 1st deadline stands.”
Describing as unfortunate the insecurity in some parts of the country that has forced many people to migrate to Lagos to make ends meet by riding Okada, the Commissioner explained that the development led to complaints from residents who have expressed their rejection of okada.
“Lagosians are worried about the mystery of Okada; they don’t know where they come from; the riders are unknown; they don’t even have number plates. They don’t come for LASRRA registration, so we can’t account for them,” he said.
Speaking further, the Commissioner described the approach to the renewed enforcement as well planned and strategic because the State expected the kind of backlash the exercise has generated, but assured all that it was an experience the law enforcement agents were used to.
On possible increase in crime rate, following the enforcement, Omotoso said “everything the law enforcement agencies need in terms of equipment, welfare and encouragement would be provided for them to step up enforcement and security of lives and property.”
The Commissioner expressed the determination of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to ensure full enforcement and allayed fears that the government would want to go back because of politics.
He said: “Mr. Governor is a man of integrity; he is a man of his words. He is going to ensure that whatever it takes to enforce the law will be done. We have been encouraged by Lagosians who have seen the danger and who feel that moving with Okada from one place to another because it is very fast cannot be compared to the security threat they pose. The goal is to have a Lagos without motorcycles because there is no megacity in the world that you go to and find this kind of mode of transportation.
“It is also preposterous for anybody to say for our votes come and mess up Lagos. No, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor, is not going to do that. This is the last time we are going to have this as the bikes are being crushed to show people that we are very serious, and communicate to those bringing them in, that enough is enough.”
Omotoso advised okada riders to look for something else to do as there are so many opportunities in Lagos for anyone who wants to stay in Lagos and wants to be law-abiding.
“You should go and collect your LASRRA card and be an official resident of Lagos and find something to do. Artisans who left their jobs to ride Okada should find a reason now to go back to their jobs,” he said.
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