By Adedapo Adesanya
The Rivers State Government has begun the sensitisation of residents of the state on the dangers of expired gas cylinders, describing it as “a suicide mission”.
The state’s Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr Peter Medee, disclosed that every gas cylinder has an expiry date, as it was important for the public to know when their gas cylinders will expire.
Mr Medee said every gas cylinder is built to expire over time, and they are marked with ABCD, which represents the first to the fourth quarter of the year, such that a cylinder marked D21 is expected to expire by the end of the last quarter of 2021.
“There’s also another very critical situation you know which we are also sensitizing people about. The gas cylinder you have in your house has an expiry date. How do you know if your gas cylinder is expired or not? It is important because that’s another suicide mission.
“You have a gas cylinder, it’s already expired and you are using it in your house and if it explodes, how do you get out of it? The whole family is gone.
“So, we are also sensitizing people and the state on that. If you have a gas cylinder, you look at the expiry date you either see A06 or A21.
“Let me explain that; if you have A21 or B21, C21, or D21; since we are in the year 2021, what that means is that if it is A21, it means that, that cylinder will expire in March 2021 that’s the first quarter. Let’s say it is A22 it means that by end of March 2022 that cylinder will expire so, what you are expected to do is to dispose away that cylinder and buy a new one or take it to a gas plant where they will exchange it with a new cylinder.
“If your cylinder is C22, it means it will expire in the third quarter of 2022. If it is D23, it means it will expire in the fourth quarter of 2023. So, people need to be educated to understand this in the handling of these gas cylinders.”
The Rivers State government also warned against decanting of gas in the shop by retailers, urging the public to always refill their cooking gas at the gas plant and not from roadside retailers.
“You can see a situation where people buy gas in a shop. The vendor goes to the gas plant and buys two big cylinders brings them back to his shop and then stay there to decant these gas into smaller gas bottles.
“When you are doing that, you are, it’s like you are taking sniper that wants to die because if that gas explodes, it would have been better for you to take sniper because you would have died alone; but if you are putting your neighbours into a very serious crisis, the lives and properties of Rivers people is in danger.
“So, the ministry, in collaboration with Commission is putting up a sensitization workshop for all those handling gas to see how they can handle it in the safest way.
“You can imagine you sit in a shop a customer comes there, there’s no safety device there to be able to look at what you are doing, you stay there to exchange gas from one big bottle into a small bottle. If there’s an explosion it kills you, it kills the customer, the property is burnt, all the shop in the neighbourhood is gone, the passerby, including the vehicles, so a lot of people are at risk,” it added.
Council Approves Board to Manage Power Sector Liabilities
By Adedapo Adesanya
The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) has approved the board composition and proposed governance framework for the sustainable management and payment of post-privatisation power sector liabilities transferred to the Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) Board.
In a meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the council also approved the fast-tracking of the work plan for the concession of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant (ZHPP).
On the board of the NELMCO board are the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who is the Chairman; while members will comprise the Minister of Power, Mr Abubakar Aliyu; Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Alex Okoh; Director-General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms Patience Oniha; Managing Director, NELMCO, Mr Adebayo Fagbemi; and all its Executive Directors.
It was also resolved that two key members from the private sector be included on the board.
Also at the meeting, it was noted that the key objectives of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant concession include leveraging private sector access to finance and reduce the reliance on government budgetary allocation to fund the China EXIM Bank loan; and leveraging efficiencies and better facility management (maintenance) culture of the private sector for long-term preservation of the asset.
The Council had, in its December 2020 meeting, approved the concession of the ZHPP.
Similarly, the team was briefed on the performance assessment report of the nine Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs), which has been forwarded to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the sector regulator, for further review and action.
At the meeting, it was noted that a thorough performance assessment revealed that most of the set performance targets were not met by the nine electricity distribution companies.
Google Organises Residency Programme for Young Non-mainstream Creators
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Some young non-mainstream creators were recently gathered in Nairobi, Kenya for a two-day residency programme organised by a tech giant, Google.
The bootcamp took place from Tuesday, June 28 to Thursday, June 30, 2022, and helped participants learn how to better connect with their audiences and move the culture forward through platforms like Google Arts & Culture, YouTube and YouTubeShorts.
The program will see the first batch of 25 young Alté creatives from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Botswana, and South Africa attend the residency and be equipped with entrepreneurial skills on how they can enhance the visibility of their brands.
Google explained that it came up with the idea to upskill and celebrate the young creatives, who are normally not given a chance on mainstream media, which resulted in many of them taking to YouTube and others to tell their stories.
“It’s exciting to see creators that identify as non-mainstream find community on our platform. This comes just a few days after we announced a call for applications for the YouTube Black Voices Fund for 2023 aimed at elevating marginalised voices.
“The aim of the residency is to amplify the impact of the Alté movement in Africa and the world. We also want to showcase how products like YouTube and YouTube Shorts and platforms like Google Arts & Culture can help drive the culture forward,” the Communications and Public Relations Manager for Google West Africa, Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, said.
Though it started in Nigeria, it has strongly taken root across the continent. Recent Google Search trends from across Africa show an increase in `Alté’ related searches from 2020, with questions like ‘What is alté?’, ‘Who is an alté?’ and ‘How to dress alte?’, being the most searched alté related questions.
Other top searches in Africa on Alté include alte’ music, alte’ songs, alte’ suit designs, top alte’ vibe, alte’ kids, alte’ Nigeria, alte’ in Ghana Music, and alte’ food.
Google has also invited Alté creatives that have global brands such as Tshepo The Jeans Maker to give career talks to the young creative entrepreneurs on how to further build and monetise their brands.
Reps to Investigate Duplication of Functions Across MDAs
By Adedapo Adesanya
The House of Representatives has inaugurated an ad-hoc committee to investigate the duplication of functions rife across ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) of the government.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, who inaugurated the committee, said that the panel aims to reduce the cost of governance and prevent redundancy.
He said that the government has noticed that there was duplication of functions by the different agencies which has led to reduced productivity.
“An organization’s vision and mission must of necessity be derived from the mandate and functions enunciated by its establishment act or any instrument that establishes it.
“Uncertainty sets in when we have multiple agencies carrying out the same functions, leading to bickering, suspicion, and eventually duplication of efforts and waste of hard-earned government resources and time.
“Governments in the past have put in place measures to ensure effective and efficient service delivery by agencies of government, e.g., SERVICOM, but this could not achieve much without a clearly defined mandate,” Mr Gbajabiamila said.
He stressed that “The House of Representatives is not out to witch-hunt any individual or organization, but we are propelled by our desire to ensure good governance and in the exercise of our legislative oversight powers as enshrined in Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“This Committee is expected to come up with solutions to the apparent continuous conflict of functions and avoidable bickering among established Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s), resulting in ineffectiveness, inefficiency and redundancy in the government workforce.
“The committee is therefore expected to engage relevant stakeholders and members of the public with a view to resolving the areas of conflict among the MDA’s, which may require amending some laws and/or outright repeal, as the case may be.”
Mr Gbajabiamila urged the MDAs and other critical stakeholders to work with the committee to complete its mandate in accordance with its Terms of Reference.
The Chairman of the team, Mr Victor Mela Danzaria, said that most of the laws establishing government agencies were made during the military regime and are not in tandem with democracy.
He said that subject matter has been a thorn in the flesh of previous governments which led to the setting up of various committees in the past.
“It is important to note however that our task is different from that of the Oransanya Committee. Whereas their major concern was to reduce the cost of governance, ours is to streamline, merge and if need be, scrap some in order to bring about efficiency in the governance,” Mr Danzaria said.
He assured Nigerians that the committee would conduct a detailed investigation into the activities of some of the agencies and come up with a report that would have a far-reaching decision that would strengthen the agencies.
Meanwhile, the Chief Whip who moved the motion that led to the constitution of the ad-hoc committee, Mr Muhammed Mongunu, said that during a series of oversight functions, it was observed that there were various agencies duplicating functions.
“It is out of the totality of our oversight functions over three sessions that generated the motion on the floor of the House and the parliament saw that there was the need to come up with something that would address these challenges,” Mr Monguno said.
He added that the committee needs to establish areas of mergers and synergies so that existing laws can be justified.
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