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ITF canverses for more apprenticeship scheme

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In a bid to address the alarming unemployment crisis in Nigeria, particularly among the youths, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has said there is need for more educational options to boost apprenticeship scheme in the country.

Ari who said this at the 2nd National Skill Summit held on Thursday in Abuja, said the present educational system has failed to meet the requisite skills needed in the country.

Ari said this at the 2nd National Skills Summit held on Thursday in Abuja with theme, “Institutionalizing apprenticeship and traineeship for national development.”

The event was attended by the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment Mariam Katagum, the Minister of Women Affairs Pauline Tallen, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry Evelyn Ngige, and other stakeholders involved in skills acquisition.

He said the present educational system has failed to meet the requisite skills needed in the country.

He said: “With the high unemployment rate in the country, it will not be farfetched to conclude that our current model of learning has failed to live up to its purposes and therefore, the need to consider additional educational options that will serve to boost our national apprenticeship scheme.

“I believe that this summit will provide us with the platform to finally articulate strategies for a robust apprenticeship scheme in the country”.

With the theme “Institutionalizing apprenticeship and traineeship for national development”, the ITF DG said the choice of the theme was deliberate because of soaring unemployment and poverty rate in Nigeria.

“According to the National Bureau of Statistics Unemployment and Underemployment Report of Q4 2020, the number of unemployed persons in the economically active or working age (15 to 65) was put at 122,049,400. Of this number, 69, 675,468 Nigerians were willing to work, but only 46,488,079 in paid employment.

“The report showed that over 23 million Nigerians that were qualified and willing to work were without jobs.

“It also showed that the unemployment rate among the youth (people between 15 to 35 years) was up by eight per cent from 34.9 per cent to 42.5 per cent, which was the highest among other age groupings within the period under review.

” Despite this high unemployment rate, especially among the youths, a Skills Gap Assessment of Six Priority Sectors of the National Economy conducted by the ITF in collaboration with the United Nations Development Organisation (UNIDO) revealed that rather than the absence of jobs, vacancies still exist in several sectors of the national economy that either could not be filled by Nigerians because of the lack of requisite skills or were being filled by foreigners.

“The question that arises from this paradox is, how can we plug these gaps using apprenticeship? The answer to this question can be found in countries such as Germany, China, Australia, USA and others that at various times faced similar challenges such as we are contending.

“What they did was to pour greater investments in skills acquisition and apprenticeship training,” Ari said.

The ITF DG said the agency it its fifty years of existence, has pursued its mandate of empowering Nigerians with single-mindedness and vigour, training over 22 million Nigerians.

He said the contributions of these 22 million Nigerians to the growth of the various sectors of the national economy cannot be easily quantified adding that between 2010 and 2019 alone, the agency liaised with a total of 1,353 companies for the promotion of in-company apprenticeship activities, visited and appraised 1,146 companies to determine their potential to conduct apprentice training in identified trade areas.

In addition, Ari said the ITF harmonized 444 existing In-company apprenticeship schemes of companies in line with the ITF National Apprenticeship scheme, installed the scheme in 286 companies as well as monitored 831 companies, leading to the training of 36,397 most of whom are gainfully employed.

On his part, Richard Otunba Adebayo, Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, noted that there was a huge vacuum of skilled power force in the country.

Adebayo represented by the Minister of State Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb Maryam Katagum, said apprenticeship and traineeship, which is one aspect of skills acquisition will play a key role given the numerous advantages it offers and its efficacy in solving some of the challenges we are facing in climes it has been fully explored.

“Among its many comparative advantages, successful apprenticeships and traineeship have the potential to generate and build new skills, provide the most efficient way to train all-round craftsmen to meet present and future needs, assure an adequate supply of skilled workers to fill employment opportunities, assure the community of competent craftsmen, skilled in all aspects of their trade, provide the versatility necessary to meet changing conditions, open the door to new opportunities, improve your employability status, earn while you learn, gain industry-recognised qualifications, get a feel of the work environment, and gain hands-on experience,” Adebayo said.

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BREAKING: Appeal Court Sets Nnamdi Kanu Free, Challenges High Court’s Jurisdiction

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Nnamdi Kanu
Nnamdi Kanu
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The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja has discharged the embattled leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

Kanu is being prosecuted by the Federal Government at the Federal High Court in Abuja for 15 count charges bordering, including treasonable felony and terrorism, offences he allegedly committed in the course of his separatist campaigns.

A three-man panel of the Court of Appeal said the Federal High Court lacks the jurisdiction to try him in view of his abduction and extraordinary rendition to Nigeria in flagrant violation of the OAU convention and protocol on extradition.

The court held that the 15-count charge preferred against Kanu did not disclose the place, date, time and nature of the alleged offences before being unlawfully extradited to Nigeria in clear violation of international treaties.

The court further held that the Federal Government failed to disclose where Nnamdi Kanu was arrested despite the grave allegations against him.

The court noted that the act of abduction and extraordinary rendition of Kanu from Kenya without due process is a violation of his right.

It added that the manner in which Nnamdi Kanu was procured and brought before the court was not evaluated by the lower court, before assuming jurisdiction to try him.

The lower court having failed to address the preliminary objection challenging its jurisdiction particularly the issue of abduction and extraordinary rendition from Kenya to Nigeria, the lower court failed to take cognizance of the fact that a warrant of arrest can only be executed anywhere within Nigeria, the appeal court judgement said.

The court further held that the trial judge was in grave error to have breached the right to fair hearing of Nnamdi Kanu

The African Charter on Human and People’s rights are part of the laws of Nigeria and courts must abide by the laws without pandering to the aim of the Executive, the appeal court said.

Treason charges

Mr Kanu has repeatedly called for the breakaway of a significant chunk of southern Nigeria to form the Republic of Biafra.

On October 2015, he was arrested by Nigerian authorities on an 11-count charge bordering on “terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others.”

He was granted bail on April 2017 for medical reasons.

However, Mr Kanu fled the country in September 2017 after an invasion of his home by the military in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State.

He was then sighted in Israel and later continued to rally his supporters in Nigeria to employ violence in achieving secession.

“He has, upon jumping bail, been accused of engaging in subversive activities that include inciting violence through television, radio and online broadcasts against Nigeria and Nigerian State and institutions,” Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said after Kanu was rearrested and brought back to Nigeria in June 2021.

“Kanu was also accused of instigating violence especially in the Southeastern Nigeria that resulted in the loss of lives and property of civilians, military, para military, police forces and destruction of civil institutions and symbols of authorities.”

Mr Kanu has denied any wrongdoing.

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3rd time in a row CBN raises lending rate to rein in inflammation

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday raised its main lending rate by 150 basis points to 15.50%, its highest level yet and more than forecast, forging ahead with efforts to rein in inflation and ease pressure on the currency.

The lending rate decision comes after annual inflation rose for a seventh straight month in August, to 20.52% from 19.64% in July.

The decision by the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was the third time in a row the Apex bank would raise its interest rate.

With the inflation at its highest in 17 years, the CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele at the end of the meeting said the Committee had to continue with an aggressive stance.

According to the CBN governor, using the interest rate hike is the easiest and most preferred option, stressing that the option has been adopted globally.

“If you want to rein in inflation, the option is to raise the interest rate to a level that is equal or possibly higher than the inflation rate, so that inflation rate must lag policy rate,” Emefiele told a news conference

He further stated that if the inflation rate does not lag the interest rate, it becomes a negative interest rate and a disincentive to investors.

The Apex bank Governor is of the view that as long as inflation keeps rising, not raising interest rates will retard growth and leave the people poorer than they could have been.

“Therefore it is imperative that you must raise interest rate in order to rein in inflation,” Emefiele further said.

He, however, admitted that though raising interest rates may retard growth all the same but the reason for raising interest rates is not to help slow down inflation but compensate for an aggressive rise in inflation.

According to him, if the CBN does not raise the rate, consumption and expenditure would be affected because the purchasing power of individuals would be eroded or dissipated.

He added that the quantity of goods people will be able to buy would also shrink and this will invariably increase the level of poverty.

He, therefore, concluded thus: “You don’t have a choice but to raise interest rates.”

The Apex Bank adjusted Asymmetric Corridor at +100 & -200 basis points around the MPR (interest rate), raised the Liquidity Ratio to 30 per cent and also increased the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) of banks to a minimum of 32.5 per cent and stressed that commercial banks will be debited from their reserves by Thursday at the most.

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Export Rejects: NEPC, other Inter-Agencies on a fact-finding mission to UK

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In a bid to curb the incidences of export rejects, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) is leading an Inter-Agency team to the United Kingdom (UK) as part of strategic effort to address the issue which constitute a major constraint to the growth of the non-oil export sector.

The National Food, Drug and Administration Control (NAFDAC), Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), National Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Skypower Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL) Federal Produce inspection Service (FPIS) and Federation of Agricultural Commodities Association of Nigeria (FACAN) are among the Agencies participating on the fact-finding mission.

The Executive Director/CEO of NEPC, Dr. Ezra Yakusak who led the team lamented that these cases of rejection had resulted in stricter inspection regime on Nigerian exports in the importing countries and in some cases led to the suspension or ban of some products.

According to him “It also attracts unfavourable international media attention, gives the country a negative image as well as constitutes financial burden to the exporters who have to bear the cost of either reshipping the banned product to Nigeria or destroying the product.”

A statement by Ndubueze Okeke, the Head Cooperate Communication of the NEPC, the objective of the 5-day visit is to provide Nigerian export-regulatory and facilitating agencies the opportunity of observing the processes of agricultural commodities import procedures and interface with Port Health and Food Import Regulatory Agencies at the Border Control Points (BCPs) in the UK.

Other areas to be visited by the team are, Southampton Port (the second busiest port in UK), Spitafield Market – a one-stop aggregation and distribution centre for imported food in the UK as well as the Food Standards Agency (FDA), the parliament among others.

The team also held an interactive session with some Nigerian food importers in UK as part of effort to address the challenges encountered in importing food items from Nigeria to UK. It will be recalled that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) Otunba Niyi Adebayo recently inaugurated a Technical Committee to address the incidences of export rejects with view to proffer solutions to the problem.

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