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Afternoon NEWS for Today (20/10/2020)

1) Nigerian govt. mulls extension of registration for payroll support

The Federal Government said it may consider the plea by some states for the extension of the registration time for the payroll support system to enable some states to meet their quota.

This is as the government plans to pay over 400,000 staff of already shortlisted businesses by the end of October.


The Special Assistant to the President on Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Mr Tola Johnson, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.

He said that since the closure of the portal on Oct. 15, many states have sent in their appeal for an extension.

Johnson, who is also the Project Coordinator, said he is considering the appeal for recommendation to the Survival Fund Steering Committee.

According to him, only the Steering Committee headed by the Minister of State for Industry Trade and Investment, Hajiya Mariam Katagun, has the power to approve an extension.

“The Project Delivery Office (PDO) which I head, is taking that plea to the Steering Committee, headed by the Minister, to see if the committee will use data and determine either to extend or not to extend.


“The decision to extend or not will be data-based, it will be looking at what we have, the states that have applied, the states that were successful, the states that were not successful and why we need to extend or not.

“The number of states that have met their quota are slightly below 20, so there is a strong cry for extension and in my own opinion it is valid, but the decision lies in the hands of the steering committee.

“As the project coordinator, I have to convince them based on data analysis and we believe that we will get feedback on that shortly,” he said.

He said that over 400,000 businesses had applied for the Payroll Support out of which about 70,000 had been shortlisted.


2) Apart from security sector, no lopsided appointment in Buhari’s govt. – Amaechi

Minister of Transportation Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi said President Muhammadu Buhari has united all regions in the country with his appointments and project.

The minister said lopsided appointments can only be found in the security sector of the country.

Amaechi stated this while explaining the reasons and underlining policy behind the projects in the South-South and South-East region.


He said the people of the South East and South-South pretend not to see the effort made by the Federal Government of Nigeria because it is led by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He, however, called on the people of the South East and South-South to love themselves and work together in unity to foster growth in the regions.

Amaechi made the call during an interactive session with the South East South South Professionals of Nigeria (SESSPN) in Lagos, weekend.

The SESSPN had invited the Minister to address concerns of the people of the South East South South regions in security, power, economic and social integration and representation in government.


Amaechi said, “We fight a lot among ourselves. In South-South and South East, we fight amongst ourselves. I’m saying this so that we can separate emotions from reality. Today it is not about President Buhari, it is about us. This administration is doing a lot, but because it’s President Buhari, we pretend not to see it.

“We complain about lopsided appointments. Apart from the area of security, have you checked other areas side by side? The President will appoint someone from the South East and people from the same region will fight against the appointment, if you are the President, how will you feel.


3) Show fatherly care to Nigerian youths now – Obasanjo tells Buhari

Nigeria’s former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to capitalise on the #EndSARS protests across the country to show that he cares about the people, especially the youth’s welfare.

The elder statesman said the president could make Nigerian youths know that he understood their plight and would make life better for them, particularly as the father of the youths.


According to a statement by Moses Olafare, the Director of Media, Ooni’s palace, Obasanjo, who spoke in Ile Ife, during a visit to Ooni, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi said many youths had struggled to get an education, while the educated ones among them were frustrated over lack of opportunities.


Obasanjo said the protests were a product of extensive agitations by youths that must be attended to by the government, adding that there were windows of opportunities which the government could explore to show that it cared about the people.


4) Lawan Seeks Indian Support On FG’s Poverty Alleviation Programme

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has solicited for support from the government of India towards the Federal Government’s quest to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

Lawan made the request when he hosted the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Abhau Thakur who visited him on Monday in Abuja.


The Senate President said, “presently this administration is working towards taking 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.

“We have this challenge. We believe India has done well in the area of poverty alleviation and we won’t mind getting some of the tips on how we can enhance our approaches to poverty alleviation and make the efforts of government more efficient.


“The government is doing quite a lot in so many areas to address the needs of Nigerians, but of course it will be a long haul.

“If you have to take out 100 million people out of poverty it means you have to have strategic and sustained institutions and efforts to address the needs of the people, and we are determined to do that”.


Lawan commended the Indian government for training the Nigerian security agencies in the area of fighting insurgency and terrorism.

“This is what we share in common. You also have your challenges in Kashmir region. Your experiences will definitely help us in the fight against insecurity, particularly the insurgency in the North East”, he said.


The Senate President also applauded the setting up of the joint working group between India and Nigeria and urged the two countries to ensure that the initiative worked for their mutual benefit.

The Senate President advocated collaboration between the parliaments of India and Nigeria.

“The two parliaments – Parliament of India and Parliament of Nigeria – may be different, there are a lot of things to learn from each other.


5) Show your face – Yahaya Bello tells #EndSARS leaders

Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello has called on leaders of the #EndSARS protest to come forward so the government can interact with them.

Bello stated this on Monday while addressing the protesters.

Bello was addressing the protesters for the fifth time since the protest began two weeks ago.

The #EndSARS campaigners have said multiple times they have no leader and that they’re all leaders.


But Bello said the protesters had demonstrated courage in making their demands known, adding that it was time their leaders engaged with governments.

The governor said it would be difficult for governments to know who to interface with, in resolving some of the issues if there were no leaders, adding that opportunists could hijack the gains of the protests.


In like manner, the real leaders and spokespersons of these protests must also begin to ‘show face’ now to enable governments know who to interface with.


“We cannot even appoint people into the various bodies being set up to address your demands without being afraid that opportunists who have no credibility with you are hijacking it,” he said.

The governor warned that despite their grievances, they must resist the temptation of seeking an undemocratic change in leadership.


6) FG reveals what will happen to Nigeria after End SARS protests

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, has said that he envisions a better Nigeria where fundamental human rights of people will be respected after the End SARS protests.

Mohammed stated this on Monday in Abuja at a Special NAN Forum.

The minister explained that the vision would be achievable if the protesters would end the protest, give peace a chance and allow the government to implement its unprecedented reform of the nation’s security architecture.


Mohammed, who regretted that the peaceful protest with genuine demands had been hijacked by hoodlums and people with a selfish motive to destabilise the country, also described End SARS as “one of the most popular and successful protests in the history of this country”,

According to him, the government had started the process of unprecedented reform of the Police and the entire internal security structure following the End SARS protest.


With every challenge, there is always an opportunity, and the opportunity this protest has given us is to look at a more holistic approach to reforming our internal security.


7) FG to apply for $11bn loan to construct Lagos-Calabar rail line — Amaechi

“I did same analysis for Port Harcourt to Maiduguri rail line and it’s 11 million tonnes. We are currently doing the analysis for Lagos to Calabar to know how many tonnes of cargo can be moved there per year. So, we started with the Lagos to Kano rail line. President Olusegun Obasanjo approved it, President Jonathan started construction on it by doing Abuja to Kaduna and President Buhari told us to complete all previous projects.


“Now, we are applying for $11billion loan to construct Lagos to Calabar rail. There was no design for Port Harcourt-Maiduguri. We knew that the first thing to do was to commence a feasibility study, after that, we’ll do the design. It’s now they’ll start to do the site drawing. In the next three months, they will be doing that, you’ll start shouting again: why are they not constructing? You forget that Ibadan to Kano, they are just finishing the design now, that’s why they’ve not started construction.

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Abuja Federal Government Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Survival Fund Steering Committee Tola Johnson

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