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AfCFTA: Stakeholders harp on overhauling Nigeria’s transport sector

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Economists and key players in the transport sector have called for a comprehensive overhaul of Nigeria’s transport mechanism to maximise business opportunities inherent in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The stakeholders made the call during in a virtual “AfCFTA Strategy Workshop Series II on Transportation”organised by the Secretariat of the National Action Committee (NAC) on AfCFTA in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment.

Ministers, business leaders from both the public and private sectors, executives of industry associations, representatives of international development organisations were among stakeholders that spoke at the workshop.

Mr Francis Anatogu, the Secretary of the NAC said that the workshop was part of its programmes designed to chart Nigeria’s national strategy for the successful implementation of the AfCFTA agreement.

According to him, the workshop is to develop a national strategy for the transportation sector including road, shipping, aviation and rail segments for implementing the continental agreement when it becomes operational.

Mariam Katagun
Minister of State for Trade and Investment


Amb.Mariam Katagum, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment said that transportation was indispensable in maximising the potential of the AfCFTA and key to the competitiveness of the country.

According to her, there is need to extend the presence of transportation across Africa and have regional linkages to take advantage of logistics infrastructure that already exists.

Katagum said: “As we are all aware, transportation is key to the competitiveness of our businesses especially for trade in goods.

“For a country well-endowed in agricultural and natural resources, an efficient inter-modal transport infrastructure is a critical success requirement.

“The ability of our companies to attract international business depends on time and cost to deliver goods during transit.

“Maximising the opportunities for economic growth and job creation means that we must promote local content across every segment of the logistics value chain.

“Some obvious opportunities include patronising our locally manufactured automobiles and parts, increasing fleet ownership, especially in the maritime space and growing our local share of logistics and transit-related services.

“Considering the capital intensity of transport infrastructure, we must explore innovative approaches, to grow our logistics infrastructure and efficiently connect various modes of transport to take advantage of the trade opportunities offered by the AfCFTA.

Senator Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation said that an efficient transport system would facilitate the movement of goods and services, promote business opportunities, create tourism and generate employment.

According to him, Nigeria has developed a roadmap to enable the industry benefit from the agreement and contribute to growing the country’s gross domestic product appreciably.

“As part of the roadmap, the country will concession some airports, float a national carrier and designate some airports as free trade zones,” he said.

Babatunde Fashola, the Minister for Works and Housing, said four out of the nine trans-African highways connected to the country were either undergoing expansion or construction to enhance trade facilitation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that following the signing of the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the constitution of a National Action Committee (NAC).

The mandate of the NAC is to coordinate relevant MDAs and stakeholder groups to implement the trade readiness interventions detailed in the AfCFTA Impact and Readiness Assessment Report including projects, policies and programmes.

The AfCFTA with its secretariat in Accra, Ghana is a free trade area created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union (AU) nations.

The free-trade area is reputed to be the largest in the world in terms of the number of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.

The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a continental market for goods and services with free movement of people and capital and pave the way for creating a Customs Union.

It is expected to grow intra-African trade through better harmonisation and coordination of trade liberalisation across the continent

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Freedom At Last, as Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame are Release

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Two former governors Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye have been released by the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS).

They were serving jail terms for corruption allegations until they were granted a presidential pardon by President Muhammadu Buhari a few months ago.

The Council of State had approved the pardon alongside 157 other convicts in April this year.

The former governors were convicted by Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal High Court, Abuja in 2018.

Dariye was convicted of stealing N1.16 billion while serving as Plateau governor from 1999 to 2007 and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. But his term was eventually reduced to 10 years by the Court of Appeal in Abuja, while his conviction was affirmed by the Supreme Court.

Nyame, who was Taraba governor from 1999 to 2007, was convicted of stealing N1.6 billion from the state’s treasury and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. The judgment was also upheld by the Supreme Court.

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Former NARSDA Boss, Prof Seidu Mohammed Passes On

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Former Director-General of the National Space Research and Development Agency, NARSDA, and one-time governorship aspirant,  Professor Seidu Muhammed Ogah has been confirmed dead. It was gathered that he died in Abuja.

A statement by Agency disclosed that the former NARSDA boss died at Nisa Premier Hospital in the early hours of Monday. .

”It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the passing of Prof Seidu Mohammed Onailo, our former Director-General, National Space Research and Development Agency, NARSDA which occurred on August 8, 2022, at Nisa Premier Hospital in Abuja,” the statement read.

The 62-year old former NARSDA boss,  a Professor of Space Science,  hailed from Abejukolo in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State and is survived by his wife, children and other relatives.

He was a visiting Professor of Remote Sensing and GIS, Kaduna State University. He obtained his Ph.D. in Environmental Remote Sensing from Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria in 2004, and received his M.Sc. degree in Soil Survey /Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System from International Institute for Geo-information and Earth Observation (ITC) Twente University, Enschede, The Netherlands in 1993, where he studied as a European Economic Commission Scholar.

He also served as a senior lecturer in the department of Geology, University of Jos from 2007-2009. Over the years, he made significant contributions to the development of models for desertification assessment and predictions in the North West region of Nigeria. This model has been applied by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) as well as other Nigerian institutions in studying the menace of desertification in the country. The model is currently being used to study the green belt region in West Africa.

An erudite scholar prolific writer,  he had over 40 publications in applied space science. He has made tremendous contributions to the implementation of the space programme in Nigeria.

Under his leadership at NARSDA, Nigeria launched three satellites. He was the Chairman, Governing Board, African Regional Centre for Space Technology Education, Ile-Ife as well as the Chairman, Board of Directors, GeoApps + Limited.

He was also a Fellow of the Nigerian Association of Radio and Planetary Sciences, the Astronomical Society of Nigeria, the Nigerian Institute of Physics, the Cartographic Association of Nigeria as well as a fellow and board member of the International Academy of Astronautics.

Meanwhile, reactions and condolence messages have been coming in, as the people mourn the demise the thoroughbred intellectual.

Reacting to the death of the foremost academic and researcher, prominent indigene of Abejukolo and Special Assistant to the Minister of Aviation, Dr James Odaudu said the death was a great loss to the people of Omala Local government, Igala Kingdom, the Nigerian nation and the academic world.

Late Prof S. O Mohammed

“Professor Seidu Mohammed was not only a leader of the people of Omala Local government, Kogi State and the entire nation, but an intellectual colossus whose academic works have been of immense benefit to scientific research, especially in the area of remote sensing”.

Director-General of the National Productivity Centre, Dr Kashim Akor in a message of condolence to the family and people of Kogi State described the death of the space and remote sensing expert who developed and advanced space technology across the continent, as a colossal loss to Nigeria.

He further described the space Professor as a rare gem who had distinguished himself both in the academic, administrative and space management across the world.

He said during his tenure he resolved alot of thorny issues in the country with the aid of space technology, as he was still rendering professional advises to the current handlers.

Also reacting, former Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris commiserated with the people of Kogi State, particularly Omala local government over the sudden death of Professor Seidu Onailo Mohammed who also served as Director General, Directorate of Rural Development DRD during his first term between 2003-2007.

Idris who expressed shock over the sad development, described his death as a great loss to Kogi State and Nigeria at large.

He recalled how he contributed greatly to the rural electrification efforts of his administration,  having served as Director General at that point in time, during his administration in Kogi State.

The former Governor stated that his death came at a time when his services were needed both at the state and national level, praying to Almighty God to forgive him his shortcomings while on earth.

His burial is expected to be held at Abejukolo in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State Tuesday according to Islamic rites.

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Hanifa : Court Sentences School Proprietor to Death

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Remember Hanifa the little girl who was abducted on December 4, 2021 on her way home from Islamiyya and subsequently discovered to have been killed by  her teacher and school proprietor, after demanding N6m ransom, at Dakata, Nasarawa Local Government Area of Kano State?

Well, Justice has been served as Kano State High Court on Thursday sentenced the Proprietor of Nobel Kids Academy and North West Preparatory School, Abdulmalik Tanko, the principal suspect who masterminded the kidnap and killing of the 5-year old school girl, Hanifa Abubakar, to death.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Usman Na’abba, sentenced him to death by hanging while delivering his judgment on Thursday.

Details later….

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