By Modupe Gbadeyanka
As part of efforts to empower its residents, the Lagos State government has distributed various empowerment tools to 1,000 persons.
The distribution was done by the Ministry of Women and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) and the beneficiaries were mainly vulnerable women and indigent residents in the state.
Some of the items shared with the aim to reduce poverty in the metropolis included grinding/milling machines, sewing/whipping machines, hairdressing appliances, sterilising sets, popcorn production machine, generators and android phones for digital marketing.
At the distribution on Wednesday, the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mrs Folashade Sherifat Jaji, explained that the gesture was in line with his administration’s objective to alleviate poverty, through the implementation of empowerment programmes targeted at women and other vulnerable groups in society.
He expressed optimism that the items will help immensely in overcoming the effect of the current harsh economic realities occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors in the state.
“This programme was initially held once a year, but we have increased it to four times in a year. This is because we want to increase the number of beneficiaries.
“With the empowerment programme, we have been able to positively impact the lives of our women, who have become economically productive with the resultant improvement in their quality of lives and that of their families,” he said.
Mr Sanwo-Olu urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the resources made available to them with taxpayers money, noting that the motive was to make them economically and financially independent.
“As a government, we will continue to give our support to initiatives aimed at developing the human capacity, innovation and entrepreneurial skills.
“We shall continue to improve the capacity of our vocational skills acquisition centres to impact relevant skills on a current and emerging economic environment,” the Governor said.
Governor Sanwo-Olu advised that young women should take advantage of the tuition-free vocational training programmes to learn skills that will give them opportunities of becoming entrepreneurs and employers of labour in the nearest future, irrespective of their academic qualifications.
“I assure you all that the State government will continue to give you its support through supplies of empowerment tools to boost your businesses,” he said.
On her part, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Bolaji Dada, stated that the empowerment initiative serves as a means of improving the political, social, economic and health status of Lagos residents, stressing that the programme was also essential for the achievement of a sustainable development order within the state.
“Beneficiaries of today’s programme are indigents, vulnerable residents, graduates and widows, whom fate had rendered financially incapacitated across the 20 Local Government and 37 Local Council Development Areas of Lagos State.
“As a Ministry created to oversee women affairs, we see a mirage of problems presented by various case studies on a daily basis.
“Evidently, our indigent residents especially women, need so much support to carry out a multidimensional role often requiring empowerment for effective execution,” the Commissioner said.
ECOWAS Court Restrains Nigeria From Imposing Sanctions On Twitter
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice in Abuja has restrained the federal government from imposing sanctions or harassing, intimidating, arresting or prosecuting Twitter.
It also restricted the government from carrying out such actions against any other social media service provider, as well as media houses, pending the hearing and determination of a suit challenging the government’s suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria.
The court gave the restraining order following the suit filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 concerned Nigerians.
In the suit, the applicants argued that the suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian government was illegal
The federal government on June 4 said it has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service in Nigeria as its operation threatened national security.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement issued by his office in Abuja.
The statement cited the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
According to the statement, the Minister said the federal government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.
The suspension came a few days after Twitter deleted a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari’s official account.
The tweet had referenced the Nigerian civil war as the President threatened to treat Nigerians “misbehaving” in “the language they understand”.
It sparked reactions from many Nigerians who interpreted the statement as a threat to commit human rights violations.
On Tuesday, the federal government set up a team to engage with Twitter over the recent suspension of the operations of the microblogging and social networking service in Nigeria.
The approval was announced in a statement in Abuja today by Mr Mohammed, who will chair the team.
The committee comprises the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Works and Housing, Minister of State for Labour and Employment as well as other relevant government agencies.
Buhari Constitutes Team to Engage Twitter Over Ban
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A team has been put together by President Muhammadu Buhari to engage Twitter, popular social media platform, over the suspension of its operations in Nigeria.
Twitter was banned in Nigeria by the federal government in early June after it deleted a tweet of President Buhari for violating one of its rules.
The President had posted a series of tweets and in one of them, he threatened to treat those fomenting trouble in the South-East in a language they understand.
He had earlier said those agitating to leave the country were too young to know about the losses the region suffered in the Nigerian Civil War that last 30 months between. Millions of Igbos were said to have died during the war.
A few days before Mr Buhari’s tweet, the heroes of the war were honoured on May 30 across the region and there was a stay-at-home order given by the Indigenous People of Briafra (IPOB), which was strictly adhered to.
So, when the President posted about dealing with people from the region in a language they understand, it was taken to be a genocide threat, which Twitter frowns at.
The federal government, which was angered by the action of the microblogging website, retaliated by suspending operations of the company in Nigeria, making it impossible for residents of the country to have access to the platform.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, who announced the ban, has been going around to explain the reason for the action.
He had said the indefinite suspension was because the platform to undermine the “corporate existence” of Nigeria. He later said Twitter has approached the government for talks.
On Tuesday, his media aide, Mr Segun Adeyemi, disclosed in a statement that Mr Buhari has “approved the composition” of a team to have discussions with Twitter over the issue.
He said the team is to be led by Mr Mohammed with the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama; the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola; the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo; as well as other relevant government agencies as members.
Second Niger Bridge to be Ready 2022—FG Assures
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has reaffirmed its determination to complete the construction of the Second Niger Bridge next year.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, gave this assurance at a forum of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday, June 20, to mark the sixth year anniversary of the present administration.
According to Mr Fashola, the bridge, which will serve as a major link between South-East and South-West Nigeria, will be delivered between the second and third quarter of 2022.
Records show that construction of the bridge commenced on September 1, 2018, with construction cost put at N336 billion when the contract deal was signed.
The minister, however, made no mention if the construction cost of the facility had changed since the commencement of work.
He said that the project would facilitate the influx of investments to the South East when completed, noting that the construction work had gone beyond the water level, explaining that most bridge works were done underwater.
“So, what you see currently is the final work. The sub-structure which entailed building cement structures underwater often costs a lot of money.
“We should finish the bridge next year between the second quarter and third quarter,” he affirmed, saying that construction time was lost because of COVID-19.
The bridge is 1.6 kilometres long and furnished with other ancillary infrastructure, including a 10.3 kilometres highway and an inter-change expected to be completed next year.
The bridge spans from Asaba in Delta State to Ozubulu, Ogbaru, and other communities in Anambra State.
The existing Niger Bridge linking Onitsha and Asaba was completed in December 1965. It was built by the French construction giant, Dumez.
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