US Grand Prix: Hamilton Shades Vettel In Final Practice

Lewis Hamilton. Mark Thompson/Getty Images/AFP

Lewis Hamilton completed a sweep of all three practices when he topped the times for Mercedes ahead of Sebastian Vettel in Saturday’s third and final session for the United States Grand Prix.

The 32-year-old Briton, hoping to clinch his fourth title this weekend, clocked a fastest lap of one minute and 34.478 seconds on a cloudy and windy morning at the Circuit of the Americas, outpacing his Ferrari rival by 0.092 seconds.

Hamilton can take the championship if he wins and Vettel fails to finish in the top five.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was third quickest, but two-tenths off the pace, after a tricky session in which he was frequently fighting to retain control of his car.

His compatriot Kimi Raikkonen was fourth in the second Ferrari ahead of Dutchman Max Verstappen, who on Friday signed a new three-year contract with Red Bull, and Felipe Massa of Williams.

Verstappen faces a 15-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race after Red Bull installed new power unit parts in his car.

Nico Hulkenberg was seventh ahead of his new Renault team-mate Carlos Sainz, making his debut with the team after switching from Toro Rosso.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo endured a messy morning’s work on his way to ninth in the second Red Bull ahead of Sergio Perez of Force India.

Debutant Brendon Hartley, the first New Zealander in F1 for 33 years, wound up in a respectable 15th place in his Toro Rosso.

Like several other drivers, he faces a grid penalty – in his case 25 places — for Sunday’s race.

Verstappen will drop 15 places, Hulkenberg 20 and Stoffel Vandoorne of McLaren five places, all for similar installation of new power unit parts.

The session was affected by a heavy wind and closely contested, as expected, by Mercedes and Ferrari, with a brief pause in the action when a Virtual Safety Car was used while the track was cleared after Romain Grosjean went off and into a gravel trap at Turn 14.

AFP

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Huge Crowds Protest As Spain Moves To Sack Catalan Govt

Protesters wave pro-independence Catalan Estelada flags during a demonstration in Barcelona 
LLUIS GENE / AFP

Hundreds of thousands of protesters flooded Barcelona’s streets Saturday as Spain took drastic measures to stop Catalonia from breaking away, announcing plans to dismiss the region’s separatist government and call fresh elections.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and his regional executive — who sparked Spain’s worst political crisis in decades by holding a banned independence referendum — will be stripped of their jobs and their ministries taken over under measures laid out by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Barcelona police said 450,000 people had joined a protest in the regional capital, many of them chanting the words “freedom” and “independence” and waving Catalonia’s yellow, red and blue separatist flag.

“I feel totally outraged and extremely sad,” said Meritxell Agut, a 22-year-old bank worker.

“They’ve trampled on our rights and our ideas as Catalans,” she told AFP, adding: “They can destroy everything they want but we’ll keep on fighting.”

Madrid could take direct control over Catalonia’s police force and replace its public media chiefs, with Rajoy saying he had no other choice, faced with a grave threat to Spain’s national unity.

Elections for the semi-autonomous region must be called within six months, he added.

The measures must now pass through the Senate — a process that will take about a week — but Rajoy’s conservative Popular Party (PP) holds a majority there and his efforts to prevent a break-up of Spain have the backing of other major parties.

Autonomy is a highly sensitive issue in Catalonia, which saw its powers taken away under the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

Home to 7.5 million people, the wealthy northeastern region fiercely defends its language and culture and has previously enjoyed control over its policing, education and healthcare.

– ‘The game could end badly’ –

Puigdemont, leading the crowds spilling out from Barcelona’s Paseo de Gracia boulevard in a protest originally called to urge the release of two detained separatist leaders, was due to give his response at 9:00 pm (2100 GMT).

Though she opposes the independence drive, Barcelona mayor Ada Colau also deplored Madrid’s decision, tweeting: “Rajoy has suspended the self-government of Catalonia for which so many people fought. A serious attack on the rights and freedoms of everyone.”

Under Article 155 of Spain’s constitution, Madrid has the power to wrest back control of rebellious regions, but it has never used it before.

Rajoy said the measure was a last resort as Puigdemont refuses to drop his threat to declare independence based on the results of the October 1 referendum, which had been ruled unconstitutional.

“This was neither our desire nor our intention,” Rajoy said.

“We are applying Article 155 because the government of a democratic country cannot accept that the law is ignored.”

Oriol Bartomeus, politics professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, said the central government was taking a huge risk.

“The game could end badly, very badly for Rajoy’s government,” he told AFP.

“It’s going to be like a colonial administration, and independence supporters will see it as an occupation.”

Allowing 54 days for campaigning, new elections would fall in mid-June at the latest.

Separatists of all political stripes, from Puigdemont’s conservatives to the far-left, have dominated the Catalan parliament since the last elections in 2015, holding 72 seats out of 135.

Prosecutors said Saturday they would take mop-haired former journalist Puigdemont to court for “rebellion” if he makes any attempt to declare independence, a crime punishable with up to 30 years in jail.

– Football giants weigh in –

The president of FC Barcelona, one of the world’s best-known symbols of Catalan identity, threw his weight behind the region’s institutions.

“We must reiterate our absolute support for the democratic institutions of Catalonia chosen by its people,” Josep Maria Bartomeu said, urging a “civil and peaceful” reaction to Rajoy’s decision.

Puigdemont says 90 percent backed independence in the referendum, but turnout was 43 percent as many Catalans who back unity stayed away while others were hindered from voting by a police crackdown.

Catalonia is roughly evenly split over whether to break away from Spain, according to polls, with supporters saying the region pays too much into national coffers but their opponents arguing it is stronger as part of a bigger country.

The crisis has worried the European Union as it struggles with Brexit and taken a toll on one of Spain’s most important regional economies, with nearly 1,200 companies shifting their legal headquarters elsewhere in a bid to minimise the instability.

AFP

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Osinbajo Charges African Leaders To Fight Poverty

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has tasked African leaders to tackle the rising surge of poverty among several others for the continent to achieve its 2063 agenda.

He gave this admonition in Owerri, the Imo state capital during the 48th Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

According to him, “Africa must take practical steps with urgent collaboration amongst African leaders to tackle threats of weak education and healthcare system, poverty, social safety, climate change and issues of resource-based revenues if Africa wants to achieve the Africa Agenda 2063.”

On the need for an enhanced collaboration, the VP added, “We need to collaborate and unite for Africa’s development” maintaining that “encouraging the understanding that an attack against democracy in any African state is an attack against democracy in every African state, building intra-continental infrastructure for easy movement, strong economic integration and recognition of full inherent potential of its human capital.”

In her remarks, Chairperson of CPA, Lindiwe Maseko, hinged on parliamentarians across Africa making sure that come up with legislation to tackle scourge of gender-based and domestic violence, shared poverty, unemployment, and inequality  and work together to find mechanism for conflict resolution, peacebuilding and development of African countries if the Africa Agenda 2063 is to be achieve.

On his part, the state’s Chief Executive, Governor Rochas Okorocha said, “The conference is apt and timely especially with the socio-economic issues affecting the development of African countries at the moment, he said he’s optimistic that in no distant time, Africa will sing a new song and join other continents of the world to celebrate economic greatness.”

The 48th conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Africa is an event that draws parliamentarians from across the 55 African countries.

However, this year’s event is being held in the Imo trade and investment centre state on the theme, “Africa Agenda 2063: Vision Masterplan.”

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Anambra Guber: ‘Why Ndi Anambra Will Vote UPP’ – Chidoka

As More Christian Leaders Pray For Him

Lead contender and candidate of the United Progressive Party (UPP) in the November 18, 2017 Anambra governorship election, Chief Osita Chidoka has called on the people of the state to continue in their support for the UPP as it champions its self-determination ideology.

Chidoka and the delegation

A statement by the Director Media, Osita Chidoka Campaign, Viola Ifeyinwa Okolie, said “Chidoka, whose popularity has continued to soar following his first-rate plans and programmes for the state as well as his courageous pan-Igbo stance, stated this while receiving a delegation of Christian leaders and Anambra youths who visited him in his country home, Obosi on Saturday.”
Urging the people to vent their agitations and aspirations through their votes, Chidoka said electing the party and candidate that best represents their voices is a sure step towards achieving those aspirations.

“I commend ndi Anambra for identifying with the UPP. The UPP is that one party that understands and stands with the people in their aspiration. It is the only party that has chosen the idea of self-determination as an intrinsic right of Nigerians to determine by choice, their residency and their citizenship.

“By voting for the UPP, ndi Anambra would have with one loud voice, voted for the referendum. A vote for the UPP will be a vote that says to the whole country, this is the Nigeria we want and that message will not be lost on Nigeria.

“If we fail to vote, then we betray and put ourselves inside the lock and key of those who marginalize and repress us: those who give us operation python dance and those who relegate us as mere 5 percent”, he said.

Agreeing that the major reason for voter apathy is the fear that votes don’t count, Chidoka however maintained that this time, all votes will count and that nothing short of the mandate of the people will prevail.

“In this election, all votes will definitely count. We will ensure that INEC kept its promise to use electronic transmission of results directly from the polling centers. By that, only the will of the people as expressed in the ballot will determine the outcome of the election”, he said.

He therefore urged ndi Anambra, especially the youth to use the election to determine the future of the state by enthroning a government that best represents their interest, which he now embodies as the candidate of the UPP.

Earlier, leader of the delegation, Ven. Dr. Oswald Ezekwere, the Archdeacon of Obosi Anglican Archdeaconry said the group was in Chidoka’s house to encourage and pray with him.

He later led the group in praying for God’s guidance, strength and grace on the UPP candidate ahead of the election.

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How we tackled recession, by Okowa

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa spoke on how Delta State rose above recession in his 2018 Budget speech to Delta State House of Assembly. Excerpts:

FROM LEFT RT.HON.SHERIFF OBOREVWORI SPEAKER DELTA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY,GOVERNOR IFEANYI OKOWA AND RT.HON.FRIDAY OSANEBI DEPUTY SPEAKER DURING THE 2018 BUDJECT PRESENTATION AT THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY FRIDAY [PHOTO NATH ONOJAKE]

The positive economic indices emerging from the National Bureau of Statistics for the second quarter of this year may have signalled an end to perhaps what has been the longest running recession in the country.

In addition, peace has returned to the Niger Delta and oil export from Forcados trunk has commenced. We are hopeful that the Federal Government will put measures in place to enforce its directive to oil companies to locate their head offices in their areas of operation. If implemented, this will not only enhance our internal revenue generating capacity, it will also create employment opportunities, engender trade and commerce and give the needed fillip to the State’s economy.

Overall, the fiscal outlook is promising and Nigeria may well be on the path of economic recovery and growth, with all the favourable implications that this has for us to fully realise our vision as encapsulated in the S.M.A.R.T agenda. As you are well aware, the vision and values of the S.M.A.R.T agenda form the building blocks of the Delta State Medium Term Development Plan (2016-2019) with the following policy priority areas:

Combat the perennial problem of youth restiveness by adopting cross-sectoral, multi-pronged approach to job and wealth creation with strong emphasis on raising entrepreneurial leaders to drive the economic diversification of the State;

Promote civic engagement in our communities and create the peaceful atmosphere necessary for development to take place;

Make agriculture regain its pride of place in the economy through specific policies and programmes geared at making farming more attractive to the youth, stimulate and boost farm yields, and develop the agricultural value chain;

Lead in the provision of universal healthcare coverage and cutting edge technology for broad-based and excellent service delivery essential for a healthy and productive populace;

Build an educational system that will raise products whose educational advantage will help them to become thinkers, innovators, leaders, and managers that will excel globally;

Partner with relevant stakeholders/investors to attract infrastructural funding to build liveable cities and towns for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations;

Develop leadership skills across all strata of the civil service establishment and among the political class; and Build organisational capacity through good governance structures in the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government for efficient, effective and timely service delivery.

Rising above Recession: One of the major achievements of our administration is stabilising the ship of state in the wake of the recession that swept through the country.   Confronted with dwindling receipts from the Federation Account and Internally Generated Revenue vis-à-vis inherited contractual obligations, the first challenge we faced was the payment of salaries to the huge workforce.

To put it in context, the total staff strength of the Federal Civil Service is about 89,000.   As at the time we assumed office on May 29, 2015, Delta State had over 60,000 workers on its payroll. However, we were able to meet our obligations to the workers through debt payment re-scheduling, cutting waste, contracts reviews, and prudent management. As part of the on-going biometric exercise to weed out ghost workers, the State has been able to prune the size of the workforce to 55,000, which is still very high compared to that of peer States.

Considering the recessionary shocks that reverberated through the economy, it is no mean feat that we have not defaulted in paying our staff since the inception of this administration. We have paid all salaries to date and supported Local Government Councils in their constitutional responsibility of the payment of salaries in excess of N5b. We have also consistently made monthly provision towards the payment of the State’s obligation to the Contributory Pension Scheme and, indeed, paid out the sum of N2.5b in two tranches to cushion arrears. All other outstanding liabilities are being given priority attention even as we proactively engage with organised labour to reconcile whatever discrepancies may exist in terms of actual outstanding liabilities.

Wealth Creation: Job and wealth creation is the centrepiece of the S.M.A.R.T agenda, and the critical point of reference on which this administration will be assessed now and in the future. As a Special Purpose Vehicle, the Job Creation Office was created to design programmes to equip unemployed youths (graduates and school leavers) with the vocational skills, mind-set and resources to become self-employed and employers of labour. The design and implementation of the Job Creation Scheme is trainee-centred, service-oriented and results-based. The Scheme is being implemented along four paths namely:

– Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP)

– Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP)

– Special Programme for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs)

– Graduate Employment Enhancement Programme (GEEP)

So far, a total of two thousand three hundred and twenty four (2,324) unemployed youths including fifty one (51) Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) have been trained and established in enterprises of their choice. Another 4,000 youths were trained in vocational centres across the State. Under the State Employment and Expenditure For Results (SEEFOR) project to which the State has contributed N600m as counterpart fund, 5,312 youths were employed and trained on building their self-esteem, savings culture and entrepreneurship to sustain their livelihood. When we add these figures to the over 42,000 private sector jobs that were created by programmes and projects of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, we can clearly see that a new era beckons in Delta State.

These job creation programmes are transforming the lives of previously unemployed youths. Across the State, there are testimonies of successful start-ups and viable small businesses by those who were trained and established under the programmes. Some have grown to become employers of labour and are training other youths to become self-employed. Others have innovatively diversified into other businesses and trades to enhance their incomes and survival.

In addition, through GEEP, the State Government has created the first-ever electronic database of unemployed youths in Delta State. This database is now accessed by private sector organizations and employers of labour on an on-going basis. All of these developments have immense potentials for improved living standards for a substantial number of Deltans. As further testimony of the success of the Job Creation Scheme, it has been validated for partnership with the World Bank European Union funded SEEFOR project.

The Philosophy and Thrust of 2018 Budget:

Mr Speaker, the proposed 2018 Budget is formulated within the context of the successes – and challenges – of the past two years. It seeks to essentially consolidate the gains of the past as we strive to build an economy that works for everyone. As I did say in my inaugural address, people have very high expectations from this government. That has sometimes exerted serious pressure on political office holders and other top government functionaries.

We are determined to make good our commitments to the people of Delta State. That should never be in doubt. However, we can only do that within the limits of available resources. Therefore, not being swayed by sentiments or emotion, the proposed 2018 Budget is derived from the Fiscal Strategy Paper projections for years 2018 to 2020 and in compliance with International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). It is a Budget of Hope and Consolidation.   I am confident that in the unlikely event of any internal or external shocks, we will be fine as long as we continue in our tradition of fiscal discipline, prudence and accountability.

2018 BUDGET ESTIMATES

I wish to announce a budget proposal of N298.078bn for the services of Delta State Government in 2018. This amount comprises the sum of N147.5bn or 49.48%  for recurrent expenditure, and N150.5  or  50.52% for capital expenditure.

INTERNALLY GENERATED REVENUE

The reforms we are undertaking in revenue collection, the plugging of leakages in all revenue sources, as well as the anticipated return of oil producing companies to Delta State is expected to impact positively on our IGR in the forthcoming year. It is, therefore, our projection to generate the sum of N71.3bn as internally generated revenue in 2018, representing 23.94% of the total projected revenues. The IGR estimates for 2018 is higher than the 2017 approved estimates by N1.1b  or  1.67%.

STATUTORY ALLOCATION

Using the forecast derived from the State’s Fiscal Strategy Paper as a guide, the sum of N178.1bn  or 59.73% of projected total revenue for the 2018 fiscal year is expected to come from Statutory Allocation. This amount is more than the sum of N148.9bn projected for the 2017 fiscal year by N29.1bn  or 16.35%.

The increase is based on the optimism that the current peaceful atmosphere in the Niger Delta region will be sustained and that, with the relative peace being experienced, some of the oil companies who vacated the region will return to the State. It is also our realistic expectation that the gradual improvements the Federal Government has recorded in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors will continue to impact positively on the overall expected returns in the 2018 fiscal year.

OTHER CAPITAL RECEIPTS/MISCELLANEOUS

The proposal for Capital Receipts for the 2018 budget has been scaled down from the sum of N64.8bn in the 2017 budget to N37.9bn or 71.09% in 2018. The reduction is hinged on the overriding objective to reduce the loan burden on the State.

RECURRENT EXPENDITURE

The proposed recurrent expenditure estimates for 2018 of N147.5bn is made up of personnel costs of N64.3bn  or  43.36%,  and overhead costs of  N46.8bn or  31.56%.  The Consolidated Revenue Fund Charges has a proposed sum of  N37.23bn or 25.09%.

The proposed capital expenditure estimates for 2018 is N150.6bn. The proposal is N14.1bn  or  9.39%  higher than  the 2017 capital budget of  N136.4bn.

Conclusion

In concluding, Mr Speaker, I wish to reiterate that we are determined to build a State anchored on inclusive economic growth and sustainable development. This administration has not wavered from its promises to the people of Delta State. In line with those promises, many programmes/projects have been executed; several are on-going while few need urgent attention and follow up.

As we celebrate the notable achievements in the last two-and-half years, we are also mindful of the fact that there is still plenty of work to be done.   Many families are still reeling from the harsh effects of the recession. Many of our youths are leaving school without the skills they need for the 21st century marketplace. Many small scale businesses are struggling to stay afloat. Therefore, we must give serious attention to putting our people to work and providing the enabling environment for small enterprises to thrive. This administration is determined to build a more prosperous, inclusive and secure Delta State.

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Mali edges Ghana out of FIFA U-17 World Cup, plays 2-1 to reach semi-finals

Abuja – Mali on Saturday held on to defeat Ghana by 2-1 to reach the semi-finals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.

The result followed victory over their West African rivals in this year’s CAF U-17 Africa Cup of Nations final, and moves them into a last-four meeting with either Iran or Spain in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday.

In a very wet weather at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, both sides played well through the conditions, with Mali dominating the opening half.

The Eaglets took the lead on the quarter-hour mark, as Hadji Drame broke in on the Ghanaian goal before putting his shot past Black Starlets Goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim, for his third goal of the tournament.

Ghana then had the ball in the opposite net just before half-time.

Ibrahim Sulley’s effort was disallowed for a foul by team-mate Kudus Mohammed in the build-up.

Just after the hour mark, Mali scored their winning goal through Djemoussa Traore.

He beat the back-tracking Danlad Ibrahim with a long-range effort, after the Ghana goalkeeper misjudged his rush off goal line to make an attempted clearance outside his box.

With 20 minutes to go, Ghana halved the deficit through a penalty played by Mohammed after substituted Sadiq Ibrahim was fouled in the Mali’s box.

In the end, the Eaglets held on to secure a second appearance in the last four at a U-17 World Cup in as many tournaments.

Their only disappointment was a suspension to Mali Captain Mohamed Camara for the semi-finals following his accumulation of yellow cards. (NAN)

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Aare’s title highly spiritual, I have handed over my destiny to God – Gani Adams

Lagos – Chief Gani Adams, the Aare Ona Kakanfo-designate of Yorubaland, on Saturday dismissed superstitious belief that taking the title may lead to his early death.

Gani Adams

Adams, the National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC), told newsmen in Lagos that not all those who held the position in the past had died young as is being speculated.

Adams will become the 15th Aare Ona Kankanfo of Yorubaland, when installed.

“Let me say that death belongs to God. Only God can decide and determine when anyone can die and until God decides, I will not die young as the defender of my people.

“Aare title is highly spiritual and I have handed over my destiny and tenure to God.

“The position in the past meant that you have to continually fight wars to protect your people, and may be killed in the process, but that was before Nigeria became a sovereign nation.

“The job in the modern era is limited in terms of physical defense because there are security apparatus to settle disputes.
“However, it has become a position to unify the Yoruba race, defend their interest and believe in their cause, “ Adams said.

The 47 year-old leader of the OPC also put to rest speculations that he would dump the group following his new status, saying
he would continue to oversee its activities.

“The OPC is my sweat. I will delegate some powers to some members to continue to run it while I oversee it.
“The OPC gave birth to the Oodua Progressive Union which I have established in 78 countries to cater for the interest of Yoruba people in Diaspora.

“I will continue to have a stake not only in the OPC, but in all groups in Yorubaland.

“I intend to use my position to unify and strengthen all factionalised pressure and cultural groups in Yoruba land,” he said.
Adams added that in spite of his elevation to a higher office, he would continue to render selfless service to all Nigerians based on fairness and justice.

The Aare Ona Kakanfo to be said that the title was not too big a shoe for him to fit into.
“I have managed millions of people in Yorubaland.

“I began to fight for my people at a tender age of 29 years since 1999.
“I have never been in government. I have always fought for the Yorubas.

“I know the terrain of all Yoruba people and their culture. I only ask God for wisdom to unify my people more, and see that there is unity, justice and fairness for and among my people.

“This title is a reward from my people on the basis of honour and not salary, “ he added.
On the issue of the true federalism, the OPC coordinator said that the difference between true federalism and restructuring was semantics.

“I totally support either restructuring or true federalism because it would ensure equity and fairness for all Nigerians.
“We will continue to agitate for a more prosperous Nigeria,” he added. (NAN)

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Terrorism: Opposition aware of my achievement, says Buhari

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said his administration had degraded the Boko Haram sect to the point that even “the opposition party” recognises that there is a considerable improvement of security in the North East under his leadership.

He did not name the political party he was referring to but the Peoples Democratic Party is believed to be the major opposition party in the country.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke during a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Shahid Khakan Abbasi of Pakistan, on the margins of the ninth D-8 summit in Istanbul, Turkey.


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Buhari was said to have told the Pakistani Prime Minister that Boko Haram terrorist group remains degraded.

“We have moved them out from their strongholds in the North East, we have denied them space and even their attacks on soft targets are becoming less often.

“Even the opposition (party) recognises that there is a considerable improvement of security in the North East,” he said.

The President said the Nigeria-Pakistan Joint Commission would be revamped as a veritable platform to strengthen economic and trade relations between both countries.

Buhari who expressed satisfaction at the level of defence and military cooperation between both countries, however, agreed with the Prime Minister that there was still room to do more.

He regretted that same could not be said on the economic and trade fronts, which he said had fallen far short of what can be achieved by both countries.

“Nigeria-Pakistan cooperation is very historical. Military training has been very consistent and I am impressed by the efficiency of officers trained in Pakistan.

“But the performance of our countries in relation to trade and industrial cooperation had been very disappointing,” Buhari said.

While noting that Nigeria had failed to use past earnings to create a commensurate level of socio-economic development, the President assured that his administration had identified the problems, and was ardently working to promote national development through international trade, industrial growth and the improvement of infrastructure.

He then urged Pakistan to take full advantage of the new climate of investment promoted by his administration.

“There are a lot of opportunities, for us to harness, in the manufacturing sector, agriculture, commerce, solar energy and the electricity sector,” the President said.

In his remarks, Abbasi said both countries had similar prospects and challenges, including large population, key regional players in economy and security; the fight against terrorism, improving governance and the domestic economy.

He said Pakistan would continue to share experiences with Nigeria in the fight against terrorism towards developing effective strategies and results.

In line with this promise, the Pakistani Prime Minister presented a manual on strategy and tactics of dealing with terrorism to the President, which he said, had been put together by his country’s army.

On the Joint Commission, which next meeting falls on Pakistan to convene, the Prime Minister said his country is now ready, adding that he would personally receive the Nigerian delegation any time.

He also requested Buhari to undertake a state visit to Pakistan at the earliest possible time.

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MAPOLY lecturers suspend ‘work to rule’ for two weeks

Samuel Awoyinfa, Abeokuta

The academic staff of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Abeokuta, Ogun State have said they are suspending their ‘work to rule’ industrial action for two weeks.

It will be recalled that they had embarked on the industrial action over a month ago.

With this development, full academic activities are expected to begin at the institution on Monday.


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The chairman, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, MAPOLY chapter, Kola Abiola, disclosed this on Friday in Abeokuta.

He said the union took the decision at its congress held that day.

The union leader, however, hinted that the work-to-rule was only suspended for two weeks to enable the authorities to meet certain demands.

The communique issued at the end of the meeting partly read, “After exhaustive deliberation on the aforementioned, the Congress hereby resolved that the work-to-rule industrial action embarked upon since 15th September 2017 be suspended with immediate effect given that the conditions stated below are met within the next two weeks (Monday 23rd October – Friday 3rd November 2017).”

The lecturers had embarked on the industrial action shortly before the scheduled second-semester examinations of the polytechnic fixed for September 15, 2017.

This was a fallout of controversy which greeted the upgrade of MAPOLY into the Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology and the creation of Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia.

Abiola further explained that they suspended the strike to honour the newly appointed Acting Rector, Mr. Ayodeji Tella, who had held a meeting with the academic staff of the institution and made “various promises”.

The union leader, however, lamented that 60 per cent of staff salaries for the month of September was yet to be paid, and there was no hope that October salaries would also be 100 per cent.

He said, “We have seen the need to shift ground to enable them to agree to some of the things. When it is two weeks and these things are not met, congress will decide the next line of action.

“Our decisions were not borne out of intimidation. At the end of the two weeks, if these conditions are not met, then the union would have no choice but to declare industrial dispute with the management of MAPOLY.”

When asked on the new the date for the commencement of the stalled examinations, he replied, “it is the prerogative of the management to arrange the calendar and decide when to start examination.”

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text-align:left;

}

.socialmedia h3 span {

font-size:14px;
font-weight:normal;
line-height:1.5em;

}

.socialmedia h3 span a {
color:gray;
}

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source: Punch

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