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    • Is age limiting the Nigerian youth?
    • Some weeks ago, the senate approved some amendments to the 1999 constitution. A part of these amendments was the reduction in the age limits on some political posts. The minimum age limit to contest the highest office in the country, the presidency, was brought down from 40 to 35, while the age qualifications to run for a governorship seat and a seat in the house of representatives were reduced by five years-to 30 and 25 years respectively. As expected, the news of the amendment generated a lot of excitement with many people, especially the youths, expressing optimism about the positive effects the age amendment would have on youth participation in politics. The few youths who have occupied or at the moment occupy public positions have also not acquitted themselves creditably. The house of representatives is known to be home to a number of young lawmakers. But what have these young lawmakers done to enrich the quality of debate on the floor of the house other than shouting ‘Ayes’ and ‘Nay’ when issues are put to vote and “padding” the national budget?
    • FG to consider the establishment of ‘National Guard’ for security
    • The Federal Government is considering the establishment of a National Guard to professionally address emerging security threats and emergencies in the country. Minister of Interior, retired Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja‎ when the Adjutant General of the California National Guard, U.S paid him a courtesy visit. ‎ The National Guard is a security outfit established to tackle national security threats and emergencies like it’s obtained in the U.S‎. ‎ The minister however stressed that a lot of consultations would be done with all stakeholders before any decision is taken in that regard. He recalled that several years ago‎, the government had planned the establishment of a National Guard, but the idea did not come to fruition due to a number of challenges. Dambazau explained that the National Guard would help to fill the gap between the operations of the Military and the Nigerian Police in tackling security challenges and emergencies. ‎ He said that the military is becoming increasingly involved in dealing with some security threats in the country which is outside their constitutional mandate while the Police might be overstretched in dealing with‎ such issues. He added that Nigeria‎ will continue to collaborate with the International community, including sharing experiences with the U.S Army in the training of Nigeria’s security personnel.
    • Paris Club: Council workers lay ambush for govs over unpaid salaries
    •   The National Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE has warned State Governors not to force the union into declaring industrial action in the country by not utilizing the recent Paris Club refund to offset all backlog of its members’ salaries. The National President of NULGE, Ibrahim Khaleel, in an interview, disclosed that the union had already written to all the governors on the immediacy of utilizing the Paris Fund to pay the backlog of salaries to local government workers, threatening that the governors would risk the wrath of workers if they acted to the contrary. He said, “Well a lot of efforts have been in place even before the release of the Paris Club refunds. We visited most of the devastating states particularly in terms of payments of local government salaries and one of these states is Delta state.” We had a direct meeting with the National leadership of NULGE and Delta state governor, and we signed an MoU with him that as soon as Paris Club fund cones whatever belong to the local government will be judiciously used and transparently with our leadership in the state in offsetting the backlog of unpaid salaries of our members. “It was through the collective push of the Nigeria Labour Congress with its affiliates that the governors forum adopted a resolution that this Paris Club is going to be used by all the state government to ensure that they off set the unpaid salaries of all the workers in the state. We have already issued letters particularly to the states owing our workers salary that they must do the needful otherwise the union this time around is ready to engage them in whatever level.” Based on this understanding, NUT, NULGE and NLC signed an MoU in the presence of the two chambers and agreed that a clear provision needs to be provided in the new amendment where the state assemblies will be asked by way of constitutional provision to make laws of what percentage or the proportion of the revenue from a local government in a given state be contributed from the level of FAAC for the payment of primary teachers’ salaries as well as the level of state government contributions in funding primary school teachers.”  
    • Mob lynches wanted kidnap suspect in Delta
    • A mob, yesterday, set ablaze a kidnap suspect, who is said to be on the wanted list of the Police at Oghara, Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State. The suspect, Magbejomo Ejiro, was reportedly identified by a victim who immediately alerted some persons around the area. They over-powered and set him ablaze. Though the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Andrew Aniamaka, could not be reached, an executive of Oghara vigilante told Vanguard that the suspect and his gang had carried out kidnappings at Oghara in 2016 and this year.
    • FG shortlists 300,000 youths for capacity building in renewable energy, others
    • Nigeria’s youth unemployment, estimated at 40 million youths would soon drop as the Federal Government has short listed 300,000 youths for immediate training and engagement. The youths, drawn from the 36 States of the federation were short listed from a total of 2.5 million who applied for the programme this year. The Senior Special Adviser to the Presidency on Jobs Creation and Youths Empowerment, Afolabi Imokhuede, who confirmed the development, said the youths would be attached to reputable organisations with capacity to train them in areas such as renewable energy, oil and gas, construction and agriculture. According to him, the training would last for three months while attachment to organizations would last for about one year. He said that such organisations may grant some of them permanent employment, while others would have to form clusters to enable them offer professional services to operators in different sectors of the nation’s economy. The management of Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL) also disclosed that it would assist to train and build the capacity of youths in many areas, including oil and gas, fabrication and welding. The company disclosed this when the United State Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) its premises noted that has commended the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL) as a safe haven for investment and having great capacity for job creation in the African sub-region. Investigations showed that the action of the government would go a long way towards complementing the efforts of the private sector to enhance capacity building and employment in the nation. It showed that many stakeholders have started to show interest in tackling the issues as a result of its negative impact on the nation’s economy.
    • Stakeholders identify hurdles against oil production
    • The Nigerian oil and gas industry may not make the expected headway unless it imbibes operational excellence, culture of institutionalism, as well as acquire recoverable data and attract funding, stakeholders in the industry have said. Speaking at the Society of Petroleum Engineering, SPE, conference, in Lagos, Mr. Ifeanyi Nwagbogu, Managing Director, MD, Schlumberger Limited, a leading oil services company, who was represented by Mr. Dele Aikhionhare, Director, National Content, Schlumberger, West Africa Oilfield services, said that operational excellence is all about building processes and sustaining such processes. Nwagbogu also identified unavailability of reliable data as drawback to achieving effectiveness in the industry. He stated: “The key issue is data. Without data, we can do nothing and the companies that have succeeded worked with data that is discoverable. “We need to imbibe the culture of institutionalism. It is a shame there is no corporate governance. If you do not have corporate governance, you cannot attract the real money you need to grow your companies. You cannot build corporate organizations in a situation where one man signs every document, cheque, etc. And when he is not around, the company comes to a standstill. Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development Management Board, NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote, who was represented by Mr. Tunde Adelana, a director, said that real transformation can only be achieved with the full participation of Nigerians. “No matter the obstacle, we make in the African petroleum industry, true transformation and progress can only be achieved if there is a deliberate participation and engagement of local manpower. That is local content. Similarly, government as a regulator must show exemplary execution of its mandate by serving as enabler of growth, instead of a purveyor of bureaucratic bottlenecks. By so doing, government helps to position the oil industry for operational excellence,” he said. For Chima Njoku, General Manager, West Assets, Seplat Petroleum Development Company, inadequate funding is one of the major challenges facing the industry in Nigeria. “For independent operators, finance is a major challenge. One way of resolving some of these is by going into mergers. There are so many independents producing little oil. If they can merge, they can rival Exxonmobil. They can rival Total, they can rival Chevron. By so doing, the cost of financing will reduce. There is a bit of a challenge here, because each entity wants to run its own show,” he said.
    • Agatu crisis victims to get 5,000 units of houses
    • Benue State government, in conjunction with African Development Bank, AfDB, is to commence the construction of 5,000 units of houses for victims of communal crisis in Agatu, Ado, Kwande and Guma Local Government areas of the state. The State’s Commissioner for Housing, Mr. John Onoja, who made this known yesterday in Makurdi, said the projects will be located in areas that recorded cases of herdsmen insurgency and communal crisis to alleviate the sufferings of victims. The commissioner said: “2000 of the units will be built in Agatu; Gbajimba will get 1,000 units; Agila, 1,000 and Moon in Kwande will also get 1,000 units. “All we are waiting for at the moment is the right investor.”
    • Entrepreneur advises govt. on ways to tackle unemployment
    • A young entrepreneur, Uchechukwu Elugu, on Sunday told the Federal Government to adopt policies that would engender entrepreneurship to resolve the endemic unemployment in the country. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation is plagued by worsening unemployment; leaving majority of the younger segment of its population without jobs. Speaking in Lagos, against the backdrop of what he described as the worrisome unemployment situation, Elugu said that government must introduce policies that would facilitate job creation. The entrepreneur, who recently launched a publication, “Anambra Icons’’, expressed regrets that various job creation initiatives, introduced by the Federal Government in recent years had not curbed unemployment. He described youth unemployment as central to the increasing crime wave in the country, advising government to come up with original ideas that would make the difference. Elugu suggested that government should engage students while still in tertiary institutions to mentor them on choice of careers before their graduation. “It makes a lot of sense to strike the iron while it is still hot, rather than waiting for youths to roam the streets in search of non-available jobs after leaving institutions of higher learning. “It is clear that various job creation schemes introduced by various administrations are not meeting set goals. “The way out is to think outside the box and engage students directly, rather than engaging them through third parties.’’ He said that engineering students should do up to two years industrial attachments with engineering companies before returning to classrooms to acquire certificates. Elugu said further that government should engage majority of the youths in agriculture by securing farmlands and providing seedlings and other necessary materials for them. According to him, empowerment should not be all about giving handouts or loans that can hardly be repaid because of the tough conditions attached to such credits. He said that Local Government Councils should also be encouraged to introduce vocational training for people at the grassroots, to shape young Nigerians up for the challenges of making a living. Analysts estimate that youth unemployment in Nigeria has increased to an all-time high of 25.20 per cent of the population in the third quarter of last year. Nigeria’s population is currently estimated at about 180 million, majority of them young people, according to the UN Development Programme.

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