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Children’s Day: Society Must Ensure Children Attain Full Potential, Says Atiku

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Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar yesterday joined other well-meaning citizens to congratulate Nigerian children on the occasion of Children’s Day.

In a message released by his media office in Abuja, Atiku said it was incumbent the society to ensure that they (children) attain their full potential in life.

The former Vice President expressed regrets and disappointments that efforts to make life easy and better for the children were yielding abysmal results.

This, he noted, has not been helped by the ongoing global pandemic ravaging the world, and which has caused many schools to be partially or completely shut down as the world struggles to curtail the spread and find a cure to the deadly coronavirus disease otherwise, known as Covid-19.

The former Vice President recalled a report released in March 2021, by Save the Children Network, which stated that: “children across the world have lost an average of one-third (74 days) of education each due to school closure and lack of access to remote learning” and also corroborated by UNESCO findings, which concluded: “close to half the world’s students are out of school worldwide due to partial or full school closures linked to the coronavirus pandemic”.

According to Atiku, these are not good or encouraging statistics, but reckoned, it is a reminder that a lot of work is needed in this direction to mitigate both the immediate and long-term adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic on education in all facets but most importantly, those of children.

The Waziri of Adamawa went further to say that education is the bedrock of any society, and the pandemic is a wake-up call on administrators and leaders at all levels to do more, by putting in place infrastructure, and making available learning materials in institutions of learning.

The former Vice President noted that the onus is on leaders to create a safe environment for the little ones and it is the duty of parents to inculcate in children good behavior and instill in them, high moral values.

The Waziri of Adamawa concluded by congratulating the children on this memorable day set aside to celebrate them, urging them to be good ambassadors of their parents and country wherever they may be, and wishing them success in their chosen careers and future endeavors.

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Travel

Max Air Flight Suffers Multiple Tyre Bursts, Passengers Safe

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A Max Air flight carrying 119 passengers and six crew members from Yola to Abuja experienced a rare tyre malfunction during takeoff.

The Boeing 737, flight NGL1649, encountered an issue when four of its tyres burst, leading to an emergency halt on the runway.

The Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), Bimbo Olawumi Oladeji, confirmed the incident.

She stated that as the aircraft began its takeoff roll, a loud bang was heard, identified as the bursting of the rear gear tyres.

Initially, two tyres burst, and while attempting to taxi off the runway, the remaining two tyres also burst, leaving the aircraft disabled.

Glory be to God, no injuries were reported among the passengers or crew, thanks to the quick response and professionalism of the flight team.

A go-team, led by NSIB Director General Alex Badeh, is set to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident to determine the cause of the malfunction.

This investigation aims to ensure the continued safety and reliability of air travel in the region.

Max Air has expressed gratitude for the cooperation and calmness of all passengers during the incident and assured the public of their commitment to maintaining high safety standards.

The airline is working closely with authorities to address any potential issues and prevent future occurrences.

As investigations proceed, the aviation community remains focused on learning from the event to enhance safety protocols and maintain passenger confidence in air travel across Nigeria.

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Nigerians Increasingly Reject Bribe Demands, Reports NBS

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70% of Nigerians reportedly refused to pay bribes on at least one occasion in 2023, according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The report, titled “Corruption in Nigeria: Patterns and Trends,” highlights the growing resistance to bribery among citizens.

The study found that 42% of Nigerians cited moral objections as their primary reason for refusing bribes.

Also, 23% were motivated by the pressures of the rising cost of living, while 21% had alternative ways to achieve their goals without resorting to corruption.

The report noted the highest bribery refusal rate in the North-West, where 76% of individuals resisted paying bribes.

All regions across the country recorded refusal rates exceeding 60%, indicating a nationwide trend towards rejecting corruption.

Public tolerance for bribery has also diminished, with only 23% of Nigerians considering bribery acceptable for expediting administrative processes, down from 29% in 2019.

Furthermore, fewer citizens reported facing negative consequences for refusing bribes, with figures dropping from 49% in 2019 to 38% in 2023.

This suggests a growing empowerment among Nigerians to challenge corrupt officials without fear of retaliation.

Despite these positive trends, the NBS report highlighted that over N700 billion was still paid in cash bribes to public officials in 2023.

Corruption remains the fourth most pressing issue in the country, following the cost of living, insecurity, and unemployment.

The report also underscored a decline in public confidence in the government’s anti-corruption efforts.

In 2019, more than half of Nigerians believed the government was effective in combating corruption, but by 2023, this confidence had fallen to less than a third.

The NBS findings offer a glimmer of hope for Nigeria’s fight against corruption, showcasing a public increasingly willing to stand up against bribery and demand accountability from their leaders.

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Travel

High Altitude, Higher Prices: Domestic Airfares Jump 150%

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Nigerian air travelers are reeling from a dramatic increase in domestic airfares with prices skyrocketing by 150% over the past year.

This surge has forced many passengers to reconsider their travel options, opting for road transport despite the risks involved.

Passengers like Dare Adepoju, who frequently commutes between Lagos and Abuja for business and family visits, have expressed frustration.

“It’s unsustainable,” he lamented. “With flights nearing N200,000 for just an hour, I’m exhausted.”

Social media is abuzz with similar sentiments. Akinloa Adejuwon tweeted about the tough choice between costly flights and unsafe roads, highlighting the dire situation many Nigerians face.

The fare increase is attributed to a limited number of operational aircraft. Airline Operators of Nigeria revealed that many planes are grounded due to maintenance needs and lack of access to foreign exchange for repairs.

The current situation sees airlines like Ibom Air and Air Peace charging up to N238,000 for a one-way ticket between major cities.

This price jump, from about N51,000 last year, reflects the severe challenges the industry faces.

Capt. Roland Iyayi, a senior member of the Airline Operators of Nigeria, pointed to the shortage of aircraft as a primary cause.

“Making forex available to airlines is crucial for resolving this crisis,” he stated.

As the industry grapples with these challenges, passengers continue to hope for relief. The aviation sector’s future hinges on addressing these issues, ensuring safe and affordable travel for all Nigerians.

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