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N-Power Beneficiaries Secure Presidential Intervention, Receive Nine Months’ Stipends

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N-Power beneficiaries across the country have achieved a breakthrough as President Bola Tinubu ordered the immediate payment of their long-pending nine months’ stipends.

This decision comes on the heels of persistent concerns raised by the beneficiaries over the nonpayment of their stipends, prompting a plea to the President to address the issue.

The National Association of N-Power Beneficiaries, Batch ‘C’, took the initiative to write a letter to President Tinubu, urging him to summon the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, for questioning regarding the prolonged nonpayment of their stipends.

The beneficiaries expressed their frustration over the failure of the N-Power management to disburse stipends for the past nine months, leading to financial uncertainty and despair among the program participants.

Responding to the beneficiaries’ plea, President Tinubu swiftly took action, directing the immediate release of funds to settle the outstanding stipends.

The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Minister, Mr. Rasheed Olanrewaju Zubair, confirmed that the President’s order was a result of a thorough verification exercise conducted by the Ministry.

Minister Betta Edu, emphasizing President Tinubu’s commitment to Nigerian youths, stated, “I stayed awake with the N-Power team till 3 am at the office to ensure N-Power beneficiaries get paid before Christmas in line with the directive of the President. Now, I can confirm to you that the payment of NPower beneficiaries has commenced, and the evidence is in their bank accounts.”

The beneficiaries, who had endured months of financial strain, welcomed the development with relief, expressing gratitude for the President’s intervention.

As the stipends find their way into the bank accounts of N-Power beneficiaries, a renewed sense of hope permeates the program, providing financial support during the festive season.

President Tinubu’s decisive action underscores his administration’s commitment to addressing the concerns of Nigerian youths and ensuring the success of social development initiatives.

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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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