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N-Power Beneficiaries to Embark on Nationwide Protest Planned for Overdue Stipends

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In a fervent bid to voice their discontent over the prolonged non-payment of stipends, N-Power beneficiaries across Nigeria have rallied together to announce a nationwide peaceful protest scheduled for Wednesday, December 13, at 10:00 AM.

Expressing their disappointment and frustration, the beneficiaries, represented by Adamu Yusuf Fari, the National Assistant Secretary General of N-Power beneficiaries, released a statement on Friday outlining their grievances and the urgent need for resolution.

“It is with deep regret that I must inform our teeming beneficiaries that the Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation has not paid our monthly stipends for the past nine months,” stated Fari.

“This is a serious issue, and we have tried to work with the N-Power management to resolve it, but they have not responded to our concerns despite our numerous attempts to address the issue. The promises made are nothing but failed projects.”

The beneficiaries, who form an essential part of the N-Power initiative, emphasized their commitment to peaceful advocacy and respectful means of resolution.

Fari underscored the importance of maintaining a peaceful protest, devoid of any violent or illegal activities.

“We remain committed to resolving this issue through peaceful and respectful means, and we urge the minister and her members to take immediate action to pay the outstanding stipends,” Fari added.

The beneficiaries are determined to bring attention to their cause, emphasizing that the protest serves as a call for fairness and justice.

They contend that the prolonged delay in stipend payments goes beyond a mere bureaucratic issue, impacting the livelihoods of those relying on the N-Power program.

As the beneficiaries gear up for the nationwide protest, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation faces increased pressure to address the concerns promptly and fulfill the financial commitments owed to the N-Power beneficiaries.

The planned protest highlights the challenges faced by the N-Power program and underscores the need for effective communication and timely actions to maintain the program’s integrity and its impact on beneficiaries nationwide.

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Education

Federal Government Shortlists 5,000 for Oil and Gas Sector Overseas Scholarships

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The Federal Government has shortlisted 5,000 candidates for its prestigious overseas scholarships.

The announcement was made through the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) in Abuja.

Bolanle Agboola, the Head of the Overseas Scholarship Scheme at PTDF, disclosed that the selection process for the 2024 scholarships had reached its final stage.

She revealed that the shortlisted candidates had participated in rigorous examinations across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.

“The purpose of this initiative is to empower Nigerians with high-tech skills required in the oil and gas industry,” Agboola stated. “The selection process was conducted simultaneously in various universities across the country.”

Highlighting the importance of the scholarships, Agboola emphasized the need for Nigeria to indigenize its oil and gas sector.

“Our target is to select the best candidates for the overseas scholarships,” she said. “This initiative aligns with the government’s goal of building local capacity in the oil and gas industry.”

When asked about the number of participants to be selected, Agboola explained that each state of the federation would receive an equal allocation of successful candidates based on the budget for the year.

However, she refrained from disclosing the exact budget allocated for the scholarship scheme.

Agboola defended the decision to send scholars abroad, citing the high-tech nature of the oil and gas industry and the need for hands-on experience with cutting-edge equipment and technology.

She also mentioned PTDF’s in-country scholarship program, where participants are trained in Nigeria.

The overseas scholarships will be offered in various universities in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Malaysia, providing Nigerian scholars with access to world-class education and training in the oil and gas sector.

With this initiative, the Federal Government aims to equip Nigerian professionals with the expertise needed to drive innovation and development in the nation’s vital oil and gas industry, ensuring its sustainability and competitiveness on the global stage.

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Travel

Safety Concerns: UK CAA Reports Air Peace to Nigerian Aviation Authority

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The United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA) has raised concerns over alleged safety violations by Nigerian carrier Air Peace.

This revelation comes merely three months after Air Peace commenced its Lagos-London route.

According to reports, the UK CAA forwarded two mandatory occurrence reports to Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), highlighting alleged breaches of aviation safety regulations by Air Peace.

These reports, titled ‘United Kingdom SAFA Ramp Inspection Report’ and ‘NATS Management System Safety Report,’ highlighted specific operational irregularities observed by UK aviation inspectors.

The crux of the issue revolves around the operational approval of Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) functions and it is critical for ensuring the safe operation of aircraft.

The UK CAA purportedly flagged the absence of a mounting device for EFB, charging points, or backup battery, raising concerns about navigational practices onboard Air Peace flights.

In response to the UK CAA’s communication, the NCAA swiftly initiated correspondence with Air Peace, seeking clarification on the reported safety lapses.

The letter, signed by the NCAA General Manager of Operations, Capt. O.O. Lawani, underscored the urgency of addressing the alleged infractions to uphold aviation safety standards.

Air Peace, which recently expanded its operations to London Gatwick from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, operates under the Bilateral Air Services Agreement between Nigeria and the UK.

The airline’s foray into international routes had been hailed as a significant milestone in Nigeria’s aviation industry, promising enhanced connectivity and convenience for travelers.

However, the safety concerns raised by the UK CAA cast a shadow over Air Peace’s international operations, prompting calls for swift remedial action and heightened regulatory oversight.

As stakeholders await Air Peace’s response to the allegations, questions loom over the potential impact on the airline’s reputation and operational integrity.

Efforts to reach Air Peace’s spokesperson, Stanley Olisa, for comment were unsuccessful at the time of reporting.

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Aliko Dangote Calls for Visa Reforms Across Africa to Boost Investment

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Aliko Dangote, the President of Dangote Group and Africa’s wealthiest individual, has embarked on a campaign for reforms in visa policies across the continent.

His impassioned plea comes as he addresses the pressing obstacles these policies pose to investors and business leaders looking to navigate the African landscape.

Speaking at the Africa CEO Forum Annual Summit in Kigali, Dangote shared his personal frustrations while expressing unwavering optimism for Africa’s future.

He took the opportunity to shed light on the challenges he has encountered due to restrictive and inconsistent visa policies that hinder intra-African travel and investment.

“As an investor, as somebody who already wants to make Africa great, I have to now apply for 35 different visas on my passport and I really don’t have time to go and drop my passport in embassies to get a visa. But you see, the most annoying thing is that if you are treating everybody the same, then I can understand but I can assure you, some people don’t need 35 visas,” lamented Dangote.

Highlighting the urgency of the matter, Dangote revealed that even Nigeria’s influential political figures are voicing their dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs.

He disclosed that President Bola Tinubu has expressed similar concerns and is committed to initiating reforms to streamline visa processes into Nigeria.

“On Monday, there was a cabinet meeting, President Tinubu was not happy about this same visa issue and I can assure you that in the next couple of weeks, you will see a massive reform in terms of visas going into Nigeria,” assured Dangote.

Dangote’s clarion call for visa reforms resonates with growing sentiments across the continent as African countries recognize the imperative of fostering a conducive environment for investment and economic growth.

Restrictive visa policies not only deter potential investors but also impede the free movement of talent and resources vital for Africa’s development agenda.

Expressing his unwavering commitment to Africa’s potential, Dangote said, “I am very excited because the growth going forward in the future is Africa. We have whatever it takes to make Africa great and that is why I am not only putting in my own money, I am putting my soul and life in Africa to make it great.”

Dangote likened Africa to a scratch card, symbolizing its untapped potential. “Nothing is impossible in Africa, it is like a scratch card. Unless you scratch it, you won’t know what number it is or be able to use it,” he remarked, underscoring the need for concerted efforts to unlock Africa’s vast opportunities.

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