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Stakeholders call for strengthening of security in rail stations



Stakeholders call for strengthening of security in rail stations

Stakeholders call for strengthening of security in rail stations

Some stakeholders have called for improved security infrastructure on the trains, rail stations and its corridors to boost the people’s confidence in utilising the rail system around the country.

The stakeholders, who spoke with the newsmen in separate interviews, also urged the Federal Government to prioritise safety of lives and property of Nigerians at all times.

While commending the government for reviving the rail system in some parts of the country, they also urged expansion of the system in other parts to ease movement of people and cargo via the rail network.

A train passenger in Abuja, Mrs Amina Isah said she had been using the train on the Abuja- Kaduna route since commencement of services and it had been of tremendous help to her.

Isah said her family lived in Kaduna, while she worked in Abuja as an administrator in a private company.

“It used to be easy and cheaper and safer for me to travel from Kaduna and to Abuja via the trains before the issue of insecurity on the trains surfaced.

“Since the attack of passengers along the Abuja—Kaduna route, I have stopped travelling every week rather than going once every month. And this is affecting my marriage and my home.

“The rail system is supposed to be one of the safest means of travelling and if citizens are scared to use this means for fear of being kidnapped, then there is a problem,” she said.

Another passenger, Mr Johnson Adams said he stopped using the train after the incident that occurred at the Edo train station.

Adams however reiterated that the Federal Government and all relevant authorities should seriously look at ways of securing train passengers in the country for the betterment of the country’s economy.

“After they kidnapped passengers along the Abuja—Kaduna route, and the promise by the government of an enhanced security system, I resumed using the trains.

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“But since the recent attack and kidnapping of passengers at the train station Edo, I stopped using the trains and don’t intend to resume the services until I’m sure it is safe to do so.

“Aside from the benefit of using the trains by passengers, the government also benefits from its functioning as it generates revenue for it.

“I am sure there are several passengers who like me have stopped using the trains and you know what that means, less revenue to government pockets.

“I honestly pray something is done soon concerning this issue of insecurity in the country as a whole as it is affecting the citizens and their businesses,” he said.

Mr Alex Uche, a trader, also decried a drop in his income due to the reduced number of travellers along the Abuja—Kaduna route.

“I live in Abuja but have a shop at the Rigasa Station where I sell food and drinks and for months now I barely make enough money to remain in business.

“Since the train attack, I think many people have either stopped travelling or rather travel by road because the number of people that stop by to eat at the station has drastically reduced.”

Mr Adams Audu, a Public Servant said the incident at the Edo train station, after many promises by the Federal Government to secure train stations around the country “calls for concern”.

“After what happened at the Abuja-Kaduna train route, I am aware that the Federal Government promised to ensure security measures at all the stations.

“I was surprised to hear of another attack on passengers in Edo. Even though the attack was not on the train.

“Honestly, this is very sad because it will discourage people from using the trains. I don’t even think I will allow any of my relatives to go near any station until something is done.”

Mr Godspower Akuranya, a passenger, commended efforts of the Federal Government and security personnel in the country in ensuring speedy release of the passengers kidnapped in Edo.

Akuranya however urged that rather than curative measures, the government should make efforts to ensure a recurrence was avoided.

“I am happy and commend the government on what they are doing but I think a lot still needs to be done.

“The government ought to go beyond what it is doing at the moment to put an end to kidnapping of passengers and citizens, not just on train routes but around the country.

“This issue of kidnapping and insecurity is gradually turning into a norm and it is not good for the nation.

“As time goes by, it will not only take a toll on citizens but will prevent foreigners too from coming into the country for fear of being kidnapped for ransom.

“So all relevant authorities need to collaborate to put an end to this menace.”

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Mu’azu Sambo, had after the release of the last 23 hostages of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack assured that measures were in place to prevent reoccurrence of the incident.

Sambo said, “the Abuja Kaduna mishap was indeed a very sad one. And by the grace of God, we shall not witness anything like that again.

“Not only because we have committed that to prayer but we have also deliberately taken steps.

“Like you said, yes, indeed, lessons have been learned. And these lessons will be put in place to prevent it from happening again.

Also, the spokesperson of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Malam Mahmud Yakubu, after the release of the kidnapped victims in Edo also condemned the act, while urging Nigerians to be vigilant.

“All hands must be on deck to ensure the security of life and property of all Nigerians.

“The NRC Management enjoins all communities residing along the railway corridors to be security conscious by reporting any suspicious movement that is likely to cause breach of peace within their locality, to the nearest security agency or their community vigilante for quick intervention.

“Reporting to security agencies will help in keeping our society safe and protecting the Federal Government’s critical infrastructure constructed in their communities for their socio-economic benefits,” Yakubu said.

Stakeholders call for strengthening of security in rail stations

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CCNE Applauds Supreme Court for Releasing Local Government Funds




CCNE Applauds Supreme Court for Releasing Local Government Funds

CCNE Applauds Supreme Court for Releasing Local Government Funds

The Concerned Citizens of North East (CCNE), a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting good governance, transparency, and accountability, has welcomed a recent Supreme Court ruling mandating the immediate release of funds earmarked for local government areas (LGAs).

The was contained in a press statement signed by CCNE’s Secretary General Babangida Inuwa Muhammad, marks a significant victory for grassroots development and governance in the region.

The Supreme Court’s decision addresses longstanding issues of fund misallocation and diversion that have impeded local development efforts.

By upholding constitutional provisions ensuring direct allocation of funds to LGAs, the court has bolstered principles of transparency, accountability, and effective governance.

CCNE views this ruling as pivotal, asserting that it empowers local authorities and strengthens the foundation for sustainable development across communities.

“This landmark decision ensures that LGAs receive the financial resources necessary for development and governance, reinforcing transparency, accountability, and good governance principles,” stated CCNE in their press release.

The organization emphasized the ruling’s potential to revitalize local governance, enabling communities to better tackle their unique challenges through empowered local authorities. CCNE called upon relevant authorities to promptly implement the court’s decision, ensuring funds are utilized judiciously to benefit residents.

“We believe this judgment will enhance LGAs’ capacity to deliver essential services, improve infrastructure, and drive socio-economic development,” CCNE affirmed.

CCNE also urged local officials to transparently and efficiently allocate funds, prioritizing projects that directly benefit residents.

They pledged to monitor the judgment’s implementation closely, collaborating with stakeholders to promote accountability and good governance at all levels within the region.

“This ruling signifies a renewed commitment to decentralization and local governance, crucial for addressing community-specific challenges,” CCNE added.

Looking ahead, CCNE reiterated its commitment to advocating for the rights and welfare of Northeastern communities, ensuring local authorities are equipped to drive sustainable development.

They affirmed their ongoing role in safeguarding community interests and fostering an environment conducive to transparent and effective governance.

However, CCNE’s support for the Supreme Court’s decision reflects a broader commitment to advancing accountable governance and empowering local communities.

By championing the efficient use of allocated funds and advocating for sustained development efforts, CCNE aims to foster a region where grassroots needs are met and local governance thrives.

CCNE Applauds Supreme Court for Releasing Local Government Funds

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Minimum Wage: Private sector committed to N57,000 – NECA



Minimum Wage: Private sector committed to N57,000 - NECA

Minimum Wage: Private sector committed to N57,000 – NECA

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), says the private sector remains committed to the N57,000 earlier proposed at the Tripartite Committee meeting on National Minimum Wage.

NECA’s Director-General, Mr Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, in a statement on Sunday, said the amount represented 90 per cent increase in the national minimum wage.

Oyerinde said that this was notwithstanding ongoing challenges, made worst by rising interest rates, astronomical logistics cost, increasing energy tariff and multiple taxes, levies and fees.

“With organised businesses declaring over one trillion naira in combined losses and many shutting down their businesses for different reasons, while others are relocating to other climes, the ability to pay the prevailing N30,000 was already compromised.

“It will be practically impossible to guarantee enterprise sustainability and job security with the current demands of organised labour,’’ he said.

The director-general, however, said that NECA would continue to support the welfare of workers and the protection of their jobs, which could only be guaranteed by the survival of the enterprise.

Following negotiations on the national minimum wage, he urged the tripartite committee to prioritise job creation and job security.

Oyerinde said that the call was in view of the worrisome and increasing rate of unemployment in the country.

According to him, the committee should refocus its effort on protecting jobs, boost the capacity of the private sector to create more jobs and ensure sustainability and ability to pay.

He said that productivity should be a key driver of higher wages.

“According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the combined rate of unemployment and time-related underemployment as a share of the labour force population (LU2) increased to 17.3 per cent in Q3 2023 from 15.5 per cent in Q2 2023.

“In specific terms, the unemployment rate increased significantly in Q3 2023 at 5.0 per cent.

“With these figures, more efforts should be concentrated on keeping more people in employment, while government continues to implement its planned interventions in transportation, food security and general macro-economic stability,” Oyerinde said.

Minimum Wage: Private sector committed to N57,000 – NECA

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Reps seek free medicare for pregnant women



Reps seek free medicare for pregnant women

Reps seek free medicare for pregnant women

The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to mandate public healthcare institutions to provide free medical treatment for pregnant women during and after delivery.

The call was sequel to the adoption of a motion by Rep. Mohammed Shehu (PDP-Bauchi) at plenary on Wednesday.

They also urged the ministry to implement routine checks to ensure continuity, compliance by medical personnel, and sustainability of childbirth processes.

Moving the motion, Shehu said that the government established public healthcare institutions to provide medical services to humanity.

He added that drugs were supplied to the institutions and equipped with modern medical facilities and charged with the responsibility of handling healthcare-related matters.

Shehu said though healthcare services were not restricted to pregnant women, efforts to encourage free treatment for expectant mothers have not been fully realised.

He said that giving the fertility statistics in the country, there was need for free medical treatment for pregnant women to boost the country’s fertility rate.

“Nigeria is grappling with high disease rates, resulting in an annual maternal mortality rate of expectant mothers and children due to pregnancy complications and the polio virus.

“Further aware that government requires public healthcare institutions to have medical professionals, give adequate attention to patients, including pregnant women, during childbirth to address complications and find permanent solutions.

“There is a need for the government to prioritise policy actions aimed at improving healthcare delivery systems, particularly for pregnant women, to alleviate their hardships and boost their confidence,” he said.

In his ruling, the Deputy Speaker, Rep. Benjamin Kalu mandated the Committee on Healthcare Services and Healthcare Institutions to liaise with the Minister of Health and Social Welfare to ensure compliance.

The committee is to report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

Reps seek free medicare for pregnant women

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