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AfriHeritage, IPCR-Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Advocates for Social Inclusion and Proactive Partnership with Leaders of Local Communities for Peace-Keeping in Nigeria

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Africa’s leading think-tank and research institute, African Heritage Institution (AfriHeritage) in collaboration with the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs converged to deliberate on the way forward with the Nigeria’s national and human security challenges.

The plenary session, themed ‘Trends and dynamics of armed banditry: making sense of the problem,’ brought together industry captains, academicians, government representatives, and thought leaders in areas of security and peace keeping to deliberate and proffer innovative ideas for sustainable solutions to Nigeria’s incessant security challenges.

In his welcome address, Prof. Ufo Okeke-Uzodike, the Executive Director of African Heritage Institution stated that “after over six decades since independence, Nigeria is struggling to achieve basic human security needs of its people. Average Nigerians are consistently afraid of assorted security uncertainties. Nigerian parents and their children worry about personal safety at the markets, schools, churches and other places of worship. Even farmers worry about their personal safety because of reputed hoodlums or bandits as they attend to their farms or livestock.

“These challenges persist because Nigeria remains a country of culturally disparate and unintegrated people who are still finding it difficult to work together with the view to solve common problems. Sadly, effective national and human security usually require meaningful and inclusive participation and ownership by citizens. While Big Ideas Podium events convene stakeholders for effective collaboration on critical issues, it is with the view to proffer big and unbiased ideas that could help policy makers formulate impactful public policies”.

Also, the Director General of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Dr. Bakut Tswah Bakut, Ministry of Foreign Affairs — represented by Mr. Andy Nkemneme (Deputy Director, Internal conflict Prevention and Resolution) — emphasized the need for all to work together in harmony to achieve and maintain peace.

“The Big Ideas Podium would not have taken place at a better time than now considering the devastating impact of the conflict that is closing in on the nation’s safety spaces. Armed banditry has become one of the biggest threats to peace and security in Nigeria. The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs exists to strengthen the adoption of peace and conflict resolution mechanisms in Nigeria and across Africa. The IPCR has played and will continue to play vital roles in peace and conflict resolution in Africa and we thank AfriHeritage for this impactful collaboration in entrenching peace and security in Nigeria”.

During his keynote address, Dr. Chukwumemeka B. Eze – Executive Director, African Network for Peace Building, Accra, Ghana stated categorically: “Moving forward, there is first of all the need to re-examine the existing strategies of mitigating the threat of armed banditry, identify the gaps and chart a new pathway towards sustainable peace. I want to state emphatically that armed banditry is not a problem that will be solved through the barrel of a gun. There is the need to revitalize activities that promote social inclusion and human security, which will provide prospects for transformative changes, peace and development in Nigeria”.

Dr Eze added that “We must all realise that every environment has its peculiarities. These myriads of social cleavages can only be effectively taken care of if we collectively fashion out an efficient strategy to meet them. This we believe strongly can only be actualisable through engagements like this. If you look around here we have women and men from all the six geo- political zones and who from their academia, CSO or hybrid has been a big player in the issues that confront us. I have no doubt therefore that we will be having stimulating discussions and the outcomes and conclusions would be contributory in designing and envisioning the future
we desire and deserve”.

Furthermore, the discussants reflected briefly on different dimensions of the subject matter and proffered ideas on relevant solutions for Nigeria. Anthony Odo Agbor of the Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State, highlighted the impact of armed banditry on families, livelihoods, and Human Security; Dr. Kingsley Udeh, Esq. — Special Adviser to the Governor of Enugu State on Education — outlined the impact of armed banditry on education and human capital development; and Eng. Umar Ibrahim of Kano Electricity Distribution Company explicitly highlighted the impact of armed banditry on communities, human life and socio- economic development.

Over the years, AfriHeritage has influenced transformative public policies in Nigeria by providing effective platforms like the Big Ideas Podium for objective discussions on salient issues that affect the public in Nigeria. The Institution remains deeply committed to bridging the ideas and data gaps in the formulation and implementation of transformative public policies in Nigeria and across the continent.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Travel

Singapore Tops Passport Power Rankings, Overtakes European Rivals

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Singapore has reclaimed its position as the holder of the world’s most powerful passport, surpassing European countries such as France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

According to the Henley Passport Index, Singaporean citizens can now enjoy visa-free access to 195 destinations globally, placing the city-state at the top of the rankings.

The Henley Passport Index, which uses data from the International Air Transport Association, evaluates 199 passports and their access to 227 destinations.

The latest update sees Singapore leapfrogging previous leaders, with the European quartet and Japan now sharing second place.

In third place are Austria, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, South Korea, and Sweden, whose passport holders have visa-free access to 191 destinations.

This is the first time seven nations have occupied this spot together.

Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners, emphasized the significance of passport strength in today’s globalized world.

“The ability to travel visa-free is more than convenience; it’s a powerful economic tool driving growth, fostering international cooperation, and attracting foreign investment.”

While Singapore rises, the United States continues its decline, now ranking eighth, a drop from its former position at the top alongside the UK a decade ago. The UK, meanwhile, has slipped to fourth place.

At the bottom of the list, Afghanistan remains the weakest passport, offering visa-free entry to just 26 destinations.

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Netflix’s Premium Plan Sees 40% Price Hike Amidst Nigerian Inflation

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Netflix

Netflix has increased its subscription prices in Nigeria with the Premium Plan seeing a 40% hike from ₦5,000 to ₦7,000 per month.

According to the updated pricing on Netflix’s website, the Standard Plan, popular for its HD quality and multi-screen options, now costs ₦5,500, up from ₦4,000—a 37.5% rise.

Meanwhile, the Basic Plan increased by 21% to ₦3,500, and the Mobile Plan saw a dramatic 83% jump from ₦1,200 to ₦2,200.

In April, Netflix adjusted its Premium Plan from ₦4,400 to ₦5,000 and its Standard Plan from ₦3,600 to ₦4,000. The Basic Plan remained unchanged at ₦2,900 during that period.

The company stated these changes were part of a broader strategy to enhance revenue and support its expanding content offerings.

This latest hike comes amid soaring inflation in Nigeria, which has significantly impacted the cost of living.

As food and essential goods prices rise, many Nigerians find entertainment subscriptions increasingly unaffordable.

Netflix’s price adjustments are not limited to Nigeria; similar increases have occurred in major markets like the United States, United Kingdom, and France.

In October 2023, both the Basic and Premium plans experienced hikes in these countries as part of Netflix’s global pricing strategy.

The frequent price hikes have sparked concern among Nigerian subscribers who already face economic challenges. Many are reevaluating their subscriptions as home entertainment costs continue to climb.

As Netflix continues to adjust its pricing to sustain growth and content expansion, Nigerian consumers are left weighing the value of their streaming subscriptions against other financial priorities.

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Travel

Airline Stocks Tumble as Ryanair Cuts Summer Fare Forecast

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Ryanair’s announcement of a significant cut in summer fare expectations has sent ripples through the airline industry, causing stocks to fall sharply.

The no-frills airline reported a nearly 50% drop in profits for the quarter ending June 30, attributing the decline to lower passenger fares and frugal consumer behavior.

Ryanair’s profit before tax fell to €401 million, a stark contrast to the same period last year. This slump is primarily due to a 15% decrease in average passenger fares, as travelers continue to tighten their budgets amid ongoing economic uncertainties.

Chief Executive Michael O’Leary highlighted the shift in consumer behavior, noting that “fares are now moving materially lower than the prior year and pricing continues to deteriorate.”

The company’s previous forecast of stable fares has been revised, with expectations now set for a “materially lower” fare structure between July and September.

The announcement triggered a sell-off in airline stocks, with Ryanair’s share price plummeting by 17%.

Other airlines, including EasyJet and Wizz Air, also experienced declines, reflecting broader concerns about the industry’s financial health as customer spending contracts.

Experts are questioning whether the entire sector is facing a downturn, especially as consumers delay booking trips and opt for more budget-friendly options.

Despite the profit drop, Ryanair reported a slight increase in passenger numbers, which helped mitigate a more significant fall in overall revenue.

However, the airline emphasized that its summer performance heavily relies on last-minute bookings, particularly in August and September.

The trend of delayed bookings is partly due to the cost-of-living crisis, which continues to influence consumer spending habits.

This trend aligns with observations from other airlines like Jet2, which noted only modest price increases amid late bookings.

Ryanair’s struggles are compounded by external challenges such as air traffic control strikes and a global IT meltdown, which have led to delays and cancellations.

These issues have further dampened consumer confidence, potentially impacting last-minute booking numbers.

Moreover, Ryanair faces operational hurdles with aircraft deliveries. Boeing has warned that some 737 Max planes expected by next spring will be delayed until summer 2025, posing a threat to Ryanair’s capacity during peak travel periods.

The airline industry is grappling with the end of a post-pandemic boom in pricing, as evident from warnings by other carriers like Lufthansa and Air France-KLM.

As economic pressures mount, the sector must navigate a landscape of cautious consumer spending and logistical challenges.

Ryanair’s latest figures underscore the fragile nature of the current travel market, prompting airlines to reassess strategies to attract budget-conscious travelers while maintaining profitability.

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