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Covid-19: Church Attacks RRS, Journalist Over Govt Directive On Religious Gathering”

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Members of Victorious Army International Church, Ogba, Sunday allegedly attacked journalists attached to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) who were monitoring level of compliance on the restriction on social gathering as a measure to prevent Coronavirus pandemic in Lagos.

The state government at the weekend announced through its official Twitter handle that social gatherings should not exceed 20, a further reduction of the 50 earlier announced after a meeting with religious leaders on Wednesday.

Following this restriction, Commissioner of Police (CP) Hakeem Odumosu deployed personnel across the state to enforce compliance with senior officers assigned to head each delegation.

The RRS men who were led by Commander Olatunji Disu, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) got to the church located along Acme Road around past 9am only to be locked out of the premises.

It was gathered that the journalists including TVC’s Ivy Kanu, a cameraman from the station and one of the media officers at RRS were physically resisted while documenting activities in the church.

As that was going on, other church officials were said to have scampered into the building to notify members of the presence of the police.

“When the entrance gate was opened, some belligerent church members who saw one of the enforcement officers recording the church activities attacked them, seized two mobile phones, a Samsung S8+ and Samsung J4.

“The members equally attacked TVC reporter, Ivy Kanu and almost seized her phone. TVC camera man was equally attacked as they tried unsuccessfully to prevent him from recording in and out of the church premises,” said a source who partook in the exercise.

To avoid escalating the issue, DCP Disu, it was gathered, prevailed on the management of the church to discontinue the service and subsequently prune down attendance to reflect the directive of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Meanwhile, of the two phones seized, only the Samsung J4 was produced by the church members who claimed that was the only phone they saw.

“But they called around 4pm that they have found the Samsung S8+. Because we were going to many places that morning, the Commander asked us to leave them when they insisted they did not seize any other phone. Now the church management has called that they have seen the phone,” the source added.

It was learnt that the team commenced enforcement around 7am and observed total compliance in most of the places visited.

“We visited religious organisations in Alausa, Agidingbi, ACME Road, Akilo, Ogba, Aguda, Yahaya Abatan, Omole, Ojodu, Ogudu, Oregun, Toyin, Ikeja GRA, Allen and Opebi. Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Olowopopo, Jobi Fele Way, Alapere, Oba Akran and Obafemi Awolowo Way.

“There was total compliance at almost all the places visited. Some churches visited had their services online while some had banners tied to their entrance informing worshippers to go back home.

“The Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu has advised Lagosians, club owners and religious bodies to comply with State Government’s directive, as the police would continue to monitor compliance,” DCP Disu told our Correspondent.

Credit: Freelanews

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Disparaging Dangote Uncalled For, Creating Bad Waves For Nigeria – AFDB President, Adesina

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The president of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, has spoken out in defence of the Dangote Refinery, addressing concerns about potential monopolistic practices.

In a statement shared by businessman Femi Otedola on Tuesday via X, Adesina expressed his shock at the controversy surrounding Dangote’s operations, warning that it is “creating bad waves for Nigeria globally.”

According to Otedola’s post, Adesina argued that monopolies often arise in industries with high entry barriers or capital costs, citing railways and large-scale refineries as examples.

He was quoted as saying, “Monopoly often exists where there are high barriers to entry or high capital costs. How many individuals or companies can do railways? How many can do refineries of the scale of Dangote Refineries? In a nation that has been importing refined petroleum products for several decades, the abnormal simply became very normal.”

The AfDB President emphasised the significant investment made by Dangote, stating, “No smart investor would make a $19.5 billion investment and want it to be undermined by importers.”

He highlighted manufacturing challenges in Nigeria, describing the business environment as fraught with policy uncertainties and reversals.

“To manufacture is extremely expensive and risky. This is even more so in Nigeria, given the very challenging business and economic environment, fraught with policy uncertainties and policy reversals, and where the self-defeating default mode of “simply import it” is always so easily rationalized and chorused to solve any problem,” he said.

Addressing concerns about anti-competitive practices, Adesina said, “Competition is good for everyone. But is Dangote refineries anti-competitive? What is the evidence? Has Dangote Refineries prevented any other company from setting up refineries? Why have others not done so? How come they have not done so for several decades?

“Was it Dangote that held them back? But Dangote refineries surely cannot be asked to ‘compete’ with importers of petroleum products. That is not competition. Let the importers set up local refineries and compete by refining in Nigeria. That is fair and justified competition.”

Adesina stressed the broader economic implications of the refinery, stating, “We cannot and must not undermine, disparage or kill local industries, talk less of one that is of this scale — a jewel of industrialisation in Nigeria. It is more than simply delivering the cheapest product to the market.

“It is about domestic supply security, driving (and yes, protecting) globally competitive industries, maximising forward and backward linkages in the local economy, job creation, reducing forex expenses and shoring up the Naira. We must not be myopic.

“This whole disparaging of Dangote is uncalled for. It is self-defeating. And it is very bad for Nigeria. Who will want to come and invest in a country that disparages and undermines its own largest investor? Investing is tough. Pettiness is easy. It sadly sends a signal that the price for sacrificing for Nigeria is to get sacrificed.”

 

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BBC To Cut 500 Jobs As It Attempts To Save £200m For ‘Transformation’ Of The Corporation

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The BBC has announced plans to cut 500 jobs as it attempts to save £200 million to drive the “transformation” of the corporation.

Chief operating adviser, Leigh Tavaziva said it is making the changes to improve its premium video offering and digital capabilities.

It comes as the BBC is already attempting to save £500 million as part of a plan announced two years ago.

Tavaziva said “significant activity” is already underway to make the corporation “more flexible”.

She said: “In March this year we announced a requirement for an additional £200 million of savings and reinvestment plans to drive the continued transformation of the BBC.

“This will support greater investment into premium video content and further develop our digital capabilities.”

She added: “To further build our digital capabilities, whilst targeting efficiencies, over the next two years we will continue to close and transfer roles in some areas and create new roles in growth areas.

“This will result in a forecast net reduction of 500 roles in the public service by March 26, with further growth in targeted areas planned in our commercial group.

“To support these changes we will today be launching a new voluntary redundancy scheme for staff.

“Our priority remains to protect and champion the BBC’s fighting role as the UK’s public service broadcaster, for all our audiences both local and global.

“I would like to thank all colleagues for their continued efforts and commitments over the past 12 months.

“I am immensely proud of the exceptional content creativity, delivery, and innovation that our teams both provide and support every day.”

The BBC announced in March 2023 that it was to cut 1,000 hours of TV in order to save money, with half of that coming from sport.

In the same year, the corporation announced it was scrapping its in-house chamber choir, the BBC Singers, and reducing salaried orchestral posts across the BBC English Orchestras by around 20%.

In December 2022 it said that it was making £11m worth of cuts in local radio, which saw its 39 stations required to share content and broadcast less localised content.

Back in 2016, the BBC said it needed to cut £800m worth of costs, with £80m of that coming from news.

The move saw the Andrew Neil Show axed in 2020, along with 450 jobs in English regional TV news and current affairs, local radio and online news.

 

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I Have No Blending Plant Outside Nigeria, NNPC Boss Kyari Replies Dangote

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The Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari has said he does not own a blending plant outside Nigeria.

Kyari stated this on Tuesday, July 23, while reacting to claims that some officials of the NNPC have blending plants in Malta.

Reacting in a post on his X handle (formerly Twitter), Kyari said he had been inundated with calls from family members and friends, asking if he truly owns a blending plant in Malta.

Kyari stated that he does not own or operate any business directly or by proxy anywhere in the world except a local mini-agricultural venture.

He also said he is not aware of any employee of the NNPC that owns or operates a blending plant in Malta or anywhere else in the world.

“I am inundated by enquiries from family members, friends and associates on the public declaration by the President of Dangote Group that some NNPC workers have established a blending plant in Malta thereby impeding procurements from local production of Petroleum products.

“To clarify the allegations regarding the blending plant, I do not own or operate any business directly or by proxy anywhere in the world with the exception of a local mini Agric venture, neither am I aware of any employee of the NNPC, that owns or operates a blending plant in Malta or anywhere else in the world.

“A blending plant in Malta or any part of the world has no influence over NNPC’s business operations and strategic actions.”

The NNPC boss threatened to sanction any official of the NNPC involved in such acts if they truly exist.

 

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