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We’ll give equal opportunities to women –FCTA

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has assured Nigerians that the administration would ensure all women within the nation succeed in their various fields of endavour.

FCT Permanent Secretary, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa gave  the assurance when the Social Development Secretariat (SDS) hosted De-lis Blackely, facilitator of support for women and youth in Africa, to a dinner in Abuja.

Ohaa said the administration runs an inclusive system that provides women with the same opportunity that any other person enjoy.

The Permanent Secretary, who was represented by a Director in his office, Mr. Udo Samuel Atang, explained that in line with the spirit of fairness most of the top positions at SDS are being occupied by women, not men.

“Here in FCT women have the same opportunity with men; most of the directors at the social development secretariat are women, this show how keen we are about gender balance, the administration is committed to do more.

“There are other areas that the women have been given right to participate, we believe that involving more of them in scheme of activities will encourage them to do better. Women contributions in time memorial cannot just be jettison,” he said.

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Ohaa said women history in all African countries and beyond show their outstanding contributions to the success of the society which they must be given the opportunity.

In her remarks, De-lis Blackely fondly known as ‘Queen mother Africa, urged the FCT Administration to always give women the necessary support to excel.

She stated that the future depends on what the female especially the mothers have put in place.

“Women deserve equal opportunity in any given society, so that they can add value to what men do, therefore women must live the back seat and take the front seat,” she said.

The Queen mother of Africa called on the women to be agent of better society at all times irrespective of the situation that may arise, than compromising for reasons that would not bring meaningful development.

Business News

IGP Orders Full Enforcement Against Naira Note Hawking

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The Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Mr Usman Baba, has ordered full enforcement of the CBN Act, 2007 that criminalises the hawking and selling of naira notes.

The Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

He ordered the arrest and prosecution of all individuals engaged in the sale or abuse of the Naira notes issued by the CBN.

Baba said the order was in line with the provisions of Sections 20 and 21 of the CBN Act, 2007 that criminalises amongst others, the hawking, selling or otherwise trading on the naira notes.

He directed all supervisory Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Commissioners of Police in charge of Commands and Formations to carry out the full enforcement.

The I-G also ordered the placement of officers and men of the Force Criminal Investigations Department and the Force Intelligence Bureau on high alert.

He directed the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department and the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Force Intelligence Bureau to effect the order.

According to him, the order is in furtherance of the Federal Government’s policy and drive to uphold the provisions of the CBN Act, 2007 and dignify Nigeria’s currency.

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He reiterated the mandate of the Nigeria Police Force to enforce all laws and regulations without prejudice to the enabling Acts of other security agencies.

Baba called on the public to cooperate with the Nigeria Police Force in the enforcement of the CBN Act against violators. (NAN)

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Business News

Progressives Govs Meet Buhari Seek Another Extension for Naira Swap

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By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has met with the Progressives Governors Forum of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as they pleaded for the review of the redesigned currency notes to run concurrently with the old notes and gradually phased out due to the scarcity of cash in the country.

The President also urged citizens to give him seven days to resolve the cash crunch that has become a problem across the country from the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria to change high value Naira notes with new ones.

Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu said the currency re-design will give a boost to the economy and provide long-term benefits while expressing doubts about the commitment of banks in particular to the success of the policy. 

According to the Progressive Governors, the cash crunch was threatening the good records of the administration in transforming the economy.

The President also indicted some bank Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) on the scarcity of the naira notes in circulation, accusing them of selfishness and inefficiency.

“Some banks are inefficient and only concerned about themselves. Even if a year is added, problems associated with selfishness and greed won’t go away,” the President said.

He said he had seen television reports about cash shortages and hardship to local businesses and ordinary people and gave assurances that the balance of seven of the 10-day extension will be used to crackdown on whatever stood in the way of successful implementation.

“I will revert to the CBN and the Minting Company. There will be a decision one way or the other in the remaining seven days of the 10-day extension,” Buhari assured.

The Governors told the President that, while they agreed that his decision on the renewal of currency was good and they are fully in support, its execution had been botched and their constituents were becoming increasingly upset.

They told the President that, as leaders of the government and party in their different states, they were becoming anxious about a slump in the economy and the series of elections that are coming. They requested the President to use his powers to direct the concurrent flourish of the new and old notes till the end of the year. 

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The President said when he considered giving the approval to the policy, he demanded an undertaking from the CBN that no new notes will be printed in a foreign country and they in turn gave him assurances that there was enough capacity, manpower, and equipment to print the currency for local needs. He said he needed to go back to find out what was happening.

President Buhari told the Governors that, being closer to the people, he had heard their cries and will act in a way that there will be a solution.

An unconfirmed report has it that some bank CEOs had taken a huge chunk of the new naira notes to the house of some politicians.

It was gathered that the APC Governors had expected to get a direct response from the President to allow both the old and new naira notes to circulate concurrently to ease the suffering of Nigerians.

The Governors met with President Buhari over the hardship Nigerians are facing as a result of the naira swap introduced by the CBN.

Briefing some journalists in the Hausa language, Governor Nasir el-Rufai, of Kaduna State, alleged that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, mopped up over N2 trillion of the old note but printed only N300 billion, which he said was not enough and has contributed to the hardship the masses are facing.

el-Rufai, flanked by his Kano State counterpart, Abdullahi Ganduje, said even if the CBN had wanted to implement the cashless policy, they should have printed at least half of what they mopped up, which is N1 trillion. 

The governor said the Progressive governors had informed President Buhari that the masses are suffering and traders are losing their goods due to lack of patronage. 

He gave the example of a tomato seller that travelled to Lagos with their goods but all got wasted because people have no money to buy, so they appealed to the president to reconsider his stance. 

He said, “We the governors of the All Progressives Congress under the aegis of Progressive Governors Forum have met with the President and informed him about the issue that is bothering us and the problems the people are going through because of the currency redesign policy. 

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“The President explained to us what they have told him and we have seen that the Central Bank Governor (CBN) and the Minting and Printing did not tell Mr. President the truth about the things that are happening in the country. 

“What’s the truth? Firstly, we are told that they have mopped up over N2 trillion of the old notes and printed only N300 billion of the new notes. Why will you retrieve such an amount of money and then print only N300 billion? That is why there are problems, the money is not enough. 

“If you also look at some state and local governments that don’t have banks and the problems they are facing from POS.  People don’t have money to buy things in the market, but they can’t go shopping, tomatoes sellers took their products to Lagos and could not sale till they spoiled. 

“We have narrated all these issues to Mr. President and he said he will meet with CBN, other stakeholders, and even the deposit money banks. He will see what they will tell him before he takes a decision. But he didn’t indicate to us that this issue has ended, there will be no extension and he did not tell us that he will extend it. 

“He only told us that until he gets certain about what is going on. We have told him about things that are happening in our states and the trouble people are encountering. 

“Our fear is that, if there is no solution to this, it may cause a crisis and affect the general elections and the election may not even hold completely. The President said he will look into it.”

Asked what precisely the APC governors want the president to do, he said, “What we the governors want is to give an extension on this policy so that everyone can exchange his money. Because of N300 billion, there is no how it will be equal to N2 trillion. N1 trillion should be printed not N300 billion. The money is not enough that is the problem. 

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“Our advice is that both the old and new notes should be used until the old notes are gradually faced out. They should print new notes that will be enough, for now, they are not enough for circulation. Those who say the printed new notes are enough are telling lies to the President.”

Further asked on what he will tell those accusing him of looking for a godfather that is why he is criticizing the President, he said, “I don’t criticize President Buhari. I have never criticized President Buhari, it’s only those working with him who are telling him lies, they don’t tell him the truth, and they don’t tell him what the people are going through on these policies or decisions that are taken. 

“What President Buhari brought, we support it. We know the reason he wants to do something but this thing they are not doing it right and they don’t tell him the right thing. We the true followers of Buhari are not using him to get money for shopping, we are mandated to tell him the truth, and that’s what we’ve done. 

“President Buhari himself knows me, he knows how we have been together. All these allegations I’m used to hearing them. Which godfather am I looking for? 

“Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is our Presidential Candidate we want him to win the election. I have told Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu ten times I don’t want government work, I don’t want to work with him. He is the one saying he wants to work with them at all costs. I swear, I’m bigger than saying he is my godfather, I’m not seeking work, I’m not seeking shopping money, what I am seeking is from God and not man.”

el-Rufai said the president did not tell them yes or no, adding that the chairman of Progressive Governors Forum, and governor of Kebbi state, Atiku Bagudu, had gone back to meet the President privately with the hope to convince him.

However, the Kebbi state governor did not brief members of the State House Press Corps that had waited for him on the outcome of his meeting with the President.

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Economy

NPA Expects Ship Carrying Petrol at Lagos Ports

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Friday said that out of the 22 ships expected to arrive at the Lagos Port Complex, one was carrying petrol.

It said that the remaining 21 ships expected to arrive at the port were carrying soya bean meal, bulk sugar, bulk gypsum bulk urea, bulk salt, butane gas, general cargo, diplomatic, bulk wheat, container, frozen fish and bulk fertiliser.

The NPA said that the ships were expected to arrive at the Lagos Port Complex as from Feb. 3 to Feb. 14.

NPA reports that another three ships had arrived the ports waiting to berth with general cargo, container, truck and petrol.

Also, the organisation said that 18 other ships were at the ports discharging bulk wheat, general cargo, frozen fish, container, base oil, soya bean oil, bulk gypsum, soya bean meal, bulk urea and petrol. (NAN

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