President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday expressed sadness over the death of a mother and her child in the tanker accident at Onitsha, Anambra State.
Buhari called on the Ministry of Transport under the leadership of Rotimi Amaechi, the Federal Road Safety Commission and other stakeholders to ensure safety standards are adhered to on Nigerian roads.
Recall that a truck loaded with petroleum product had exploded at Upper Iweka, Onitsha in Anambra State.
The truck was said to have lost control and rammed into the wall of the popular Toronto Hospital at Upper-Iweka before exploding.
The State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Haruna Mohammed confirmed the incident.
Reacting to the incident, a statement by Buhari’s Media Aide, Garba Shehu quoted the president as saying: “I am profoundly touched by the sight of the charred remains of an innocent mother and her child who are victims of this tragedy.
“I also extend my sympathies to other victims of the explosion whose houses, shops and other property were destroyed in the mishap.”
The President explained that “while I express sadness over this tragedy, I must at the same time call for urgent action on the part of those concerned to stem these frequent fatal disasters on public roads.”
Buhari added, “safety precautions and routine maintenance are taken for granted by vehicle owners.”
“I call on the Ministry of Transport, the Federal Road Safety Commission and other stakeholders to urgently address the issue of safety standards in the country, with a view to stemming the embarrassing frequency of these tragedies
Nigerian Govt Applying For Another $5.3bn, $3bn Chinese Loan — Amaechi
Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation has disclosed that the Nigerian government has applied for a $5.3 billion loan and also in the process of applying for another N3 billion loan from the Chinese Government.
The Minister who disclosed this while speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday, said that the $5.3 billion loan will be used to execute the rail from Ibadan to Kano, while the $3 billion loan is planned to be used in executing the rail from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.
“The reason why I said that is because we have already applied for $5.3 billion to execute the rail from Ibadan to Kano. We are about applying for about $3 billion to execute the rail from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri,” Amaechi revealed.
Nigeria is still in the process of clearing the $500 million Chinese loan borrowed for infrastructural projects.
According to the Minister, the country has already paid up to $98 million and is still owing over $400 million.
Despite the country’s growing debts, he said that Nigeria is only able to successfully embark on infrastructural projects because of available loans, adding that the country’s only challenge is its debt to revenue ratio.
However, there has been public outcry over the rising debt profile of the country.
Controversy has trailed the conditions in which these loans are obtained, including a much-debated ‘wave of sovereignty’ clause that exits in the $500 million loan agreement between Nigeria and China.
But Amaechi has maintained that such clauses are natural developments in any business transactions between two countries.
“It’s a standard clause, whether it’s with America you signed it or with Britain or any country, because they want to know they can recover their money. What the clause does is to say to you, I expect you to pay according to those terms and conditions. If you don’t pay, don’t waive your immunity on me (the lender) when I come to collect back what is the guarantee you put forward,” the Minister had earlier stated.
According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), between 2010 and March 31, 2020, Nigeria Government has taken 11 loan facilities from the China Exim Bank.
FG Raises Hate Speech Fine From N500,000 To N5 Million
The Federal Government has raised the fine for hate speech for broadcasting stations in the country from N500,000 to N5 million.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this during his speech at the launch of the Reviewed Broadcasting Code in Lagos today.
He said that an amendment to the 6th Edition of the code was necessitated by a Presidential directive, in the wake of the 2019 general elections, for an inquiry into the regulatory role of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as well as the conduct of the various broadcast stations before, during and after the elections.
“Following the inquiry, Mr. President approved many recommendations that will reposition the NBC to perform its regulatory
role better. Key among the recommendations is the need to amend the provisions in the Code and Act.
“The amendments are mostly in the areas of political broadcasting, local content, coverage of emergencies, advertising and anti-competitive behaviour,” Mohammed said.
The minister noted that Section 2h of the NBC Act specifically empowers the Commission to establish and disseminate a National Broadcasting Code and set standards with regard to the content and quality of materials for broadcast.
Explaining the provisions in the Reviewed Broadcasting Code, the minister said, “There are many desirable provisions in the new Broadcasting Code:
“The provisions on Exclusivity and Monopoly: This Antitrust provision will boost local content and local industry due to laws prohibiting exclusive use of rights by broadcasters who intend to create monopolies and hold the entire market to themselves. It will encourage Open Access to premium content…
“Sub-licensing and Rights sharing create opportunities for local operators to also gain traction and raise revenue for their services
“The law prohibiting backlog of advertising debts will definitely promote sustainability for the station owners and producers of content
“The law on registration of Web Broadcasting grants the country the opportunity to regulate negative foreign broadcasts that can harm us as a nation. Such harms could be in the area of security, protection for minors, protection of human dignity, economic fraud, privacy etc.
“The provisions on responsibility of broadcast stations to devote airtime to national emergencies: This provision obviously mandates terrestrial and Pay TV channels to make their services available to Nigerians at time of national emergencies – like the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic – for their education and enlightenment.
“The provision raising the fine for hate speech from 500,000 Naira to 5 million Naira.”
Mohammed explained that to arrive at the new Broadcasting Code, NBC explored democratic channels to engage and factor in the views of stakeholders.
“What I have observed in the reactions to the last amendment are interests who believe that their singular business interest is superior to the national interest.
“Therefore, they have resorted to all kinds of blackmail, using hack writers,” the minister said.
Mohammed added, “The Broadcasting Code is not a static document. As we often say, broadcasting is dynamic. Therefore, even the 6th Edition of the Code shall be reviewed at the appropriate time.
“But, as it currently stands, the 6th edition and the amendments, which we are unveiling today, remain the regulations for broadcasting in Nigeria. Our intention remains the good of the country. We need to catalyze the growth of the local industry. We need to create jobs for our teeming creative youths. The opportunities must be created and we believe that effective regulatory interventions are a sure way of attaining this. That’s why we will not waver.
“For those who still have misgivings about the amendment to the 6th Edition of the Code, we expect you to meet with the regulator and present your views.
“As I said, there are opportunities for constant review of the Code, but please note that this latest amendment is signed, sealed and delivered, and we are committed to making it work for the good of the country.”
Petrol May Sell N150 Per Litre As Marketers Seek Hike
Following increase in the prices of crude oil, marketers are pushing for the upward review of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) petrol N150 per litre for the month of August.
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) last month announced increase of the product to a band of N140.80 to N143.80 per litre.
It was the first time the agency approved a new price after removal of petrol subsidy.
Prior to the July 1 hike, the agency had on May 1, approved price band of N121.50 to N123.50 per litre for the product.
Meanwhile, a reliable source at the meeting on Tuesday told The Nation that the marketers were seeking a further increase in the price owing to the soaring priced of crude oil in the international market.
The Brent Crude that sold for $43.24 per barrel in July sells for $44.03 per barrel.
She said: “We are now in the meeting to fix a new petrol price for the month of August.
“We are asking the PPPRA to approve N150 per litre because the prices of crude oil have increased and there is no subsidy on the product.
“You will hear the announcement of the new price around four o’clock today (Tuesday).”
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