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NSC, FG committed to reducing shipping cost -Jime



Onne Port

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, has reiterated Federal Government’s commitment through the council to reduce the cost of shipping in the country.

Jime told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the most important component in doing business, particularly trade “is the cost factor’’.

“The Shippers’ Council is in some cases involved in advocacy and at the present time, we are lucky that the Federal Government in its wisdom set up an inter-agency platform called Nigeria Port Process Manual (NPPM).

“And the Shippers’ Council was given the leadership on that particular platform. That is the platform that is now gradually beginning to introduce some kind of sanity in the business place as far as our ports are concerned.

“Any infractions, particularly those that are bothering on corrupt tendencies; we have a responsibility of putting a stop and ensuring as much as possible, we are eliminating incidence of corrupt practices in our ports.

“Whether it is engendered by officials of government or by other private members or private citizens who are doing business in our ports.

“This, and a couple of other things, which if you look at our website, you will be able to appreciate the extent to which Shippers’ Council is involved in ensuring that the cost of doing business in Nigeria is brought to its lowest minimum as far as we possibly can,’’ he said.

According to the NSC boss, if the cost of doing business is high, there are implications in the inability for the business to be conducted in a profitable and efficient manner.

He said that the high cost of shipping, which was not peculiar to Nigeria, necessitated the Union of African Shippers Council (UASC) to organise an experts committee meeting to suggest ways of mitigating it.

“Therefore, as a key requirement for trade, the Shippers’ Councils in Africa, particularly within the West Africa and Central Africa sub-region have recognise the need to engage in cost mitigating measures.

“It is clear that Africa in the sub-region has woken up to the reality to do something fundamental to change that particular factor of doing business in a way that can positively affect the doing of business across our borders.

“We are working together with sister nations to provide solutions as to how we can we mitigate the cost of doing business.

“Now we are waiting for the reports from the committee of experts to come out so that we can speak more directly to the issues that have been canvassed.

“But as a nation, from our own country’s experience, I can say without any question of doubt in my mind that there are several factors that are making it impossible for us to conduct businesses at cost effectiveness,’’ he said.

Jime said that the cumbersome clearance process in the ports, lack of infrastructure, corruption and the like, made it difficult for investors to do business, thus posing a challenge.

He said that the council was however working with the Nigerian Customs to ensure speedy clearance process through electronic means.

“The other issue that the Shippers’ Council is handling is the Border Information Centres that we are establishing all around the border towns.

“This will link us with our neighbours whether it is at Seme, whether it is in Jimia and of course, around the Cameroon-Nigeria border.

“We are putting those border information centres because our belief is that traders need to be offered the information that they may need for them to be successful in trading across our borders.

“ At the moment, there is a lot more informal trading that are going on. In other words, we don’t have a very formal trading network that is in place to assist our traders to be able to maximise the doing of business across our border.

“ In the wisdom of the Shippers’ Council, we felt the need to establish this border information centres so that they are able to assist traders with the necessary information that they may need.’’ (NAN)

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I made mistake in picking Atiku as my Running Mate in 1999 – Obasanjo laments



Former President Olusegun Obasanjo


Ex-President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has disclosed that when he served as a head of state in 1999 as a civilian, he had made a mistake picking his vice.

Obasanjo made this statement while fielding questions from secondary school students at a program at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Obasanjo admitted to making many “genuine mistakes” in his life while interacting with the students, but claimed that God helped him overcome them.

“Choosing my number two when I wanted to be president was one of the errors I made. But God saved me because it was an honest mistake, said Obasanjo.

Obasanjo while interacting with the students revealed that he had made many “genuine mistakes” in his life; saying, however, that God made him overcome them.

“One of the mistakes I made was picking my number two when I wanted to become the president. But because it was a genuine mistake, God saved me,” Obasanjo said.
According to reports, Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential contender, served as Obasanjo’s second-in-command from 1999 to 2007.

Obasanjo and Atiku clashed with one and other for years while in government over matters they couldn’t agree on.

When discussing his second error, Obasanjo claimed that it occurred when General Sani Abacha, a late military ruler, was going to arrest him and the American Embassy offered him asylum which he refused.

Obasanjo claimed that had God not intervened, he would have perished during his time in prison.

“When Abacha wanted to arrest me, I was told by the American ambassador that they will arrest me and that America has asked that I should be given an asylum. I said no. It could have been a mistake because I could have lost my life.”

The Balogun Owu stated that God had saved him from many things that could have been a mistake.

When asked whether the youths could be allowed to rule the nation, Obasanjo expressed worries, stating that youths may never come into power should the current trend in Nigeria continues.

The former president regretted that in spite of the “Not Too Young to Run” campaign, people contesting to rule the nation are between 70 and 80 years old.

“How can the youths run,” he asked, adding that the amount of money involved in going into politics would not allow youths to get to leadership positions.

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu

No fewer than 5000 Lagosians are to be enrolled in the Ilera Eko Social Health Plan – courtesy of the Lagos State Executive Council.

The gesture is to celebrate Governor Sanwo-Olu’s 57th birthday on June 25 and in the spirit of his compassion for the indigent and vulnerable.

Beneficiaries will have access to quality health care services and drugs under the ILERA EKO Standard Plan at no cost to them.

Nominees will be selected from the Lagos State Social Protection Register. An equal number of the 5000 eligible beneficiaries are to be selected from the five IBILE divisions of the State and will enjoy Universal Health Coverage.

These beneficiaries have been identified using a multi-dimensional poverty index tool, which includes the poverty means-testing to ensure accuracy, reliability and validity of the data generated.

ILERA EKO is the State Social Health Insurance Plan managed by Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), which offers the basic minimum health plan that provides quality and affordable healthcare for all Lagos residents, especially the middle and low-income earners as well as the vulnerable.

Services on the Plan include: General consultations; Specialist Consultations; Management of uncomplicated chronic diseases (Diabetes, Hypertension, Asthma); Maternal and Newborn Care; Normal Delivery and Caesarean Section; Dental Care (with Composite filling) and Eye Care, including glasses.

There are also minor and major surgeries; laboratory tests and scans; HIV/TB Testing services; Emergency Health Services; Cancer Care and the provision of prescribed drugs.

A policy cycle under the ILERA EKO Health Insurance Plan runs for 12 calendar months in which an enrolee’s policy is due for renewal before the 25th day of the 12th month to enable such subscribers have access to care the next month (Start of renewed policy cycle).

The selected beneficiaries will commence access to care from July 1, 2022.

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Wife remanded as UK Court denies them bail



Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife


An Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in the United Kingdom did not grant bail to Ike Ekweremadu, former Deputy Senate President, and Beatrice, his wife, who were apprehended over attempted harvesting of organs.

It was gathered that the Nigerian couple was detained by the Metropolitan Police when they tried harvesting an unnamed child’s organs.

When the Senator was arraigned on Thursday, the court refused to grant him bail but ordered that he should be remanded till July 7

The Metropolitan Police while confirming the arrest said in a statement that the pair were charged to court on Thursday following an investigation by the police’ specialist crime team.

“Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55 (10.9.66) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting,” the statement read.

“Ike Ekweremadu, 60 (12.05.62) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.

They have both been remanded in custody and will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court later today.

“A child has been safeguarded and we are working closely with partners on continued support.”

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