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Arabinrin Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello: FIRS new capacity has landed

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Arabinrin Aderonke

By Ayodele Bamijoko

With unwavering dedication and a passion for positive change, Arabinrin Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello, an award-winning investigative journalist and 2016 Finalist, CNN African Journalist Award, currently serves as Technical Media Assistant at the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS.

Before this appointment, she has become a symbol of empowerment and inspiration for every girl child seeking to carve their path in this vast universe.

In a world where dreams know no bounds, one shining star emerges to carry the aspirations of countless young girls. Arabinrin Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello, a name that resonates with promise and determination, is a beacon of hope for the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS.

Her level of brilliance is exceptional and intimidating. She’s vocal, experienced and naturally endowed as a woman of caliber who has the capacity to drive FIRS media technicality.

Arabinrin Aderonke exhibited an insatiable thirst for knowledge and a profound desire to make a difference at every given opportunity.

Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello, social worker, administrator, gender, and a graduate of peace studies and conflict resolution, with career spanning over 16 years.

She worked with Nigeria Football League as marketing officer, later promoted to deputy protocol officer, at some point, Country Manager for Kingston university, London; Sports editor and eventually elevated to the role of managing editor at NAIJ.com (now known as Legit.ng). She continued her media journey as Senior Reporter at Premium Times; Reporter, Nigerian Pilot; Northern Bureau Chief, MTN Football; Editor, Online, The Sun Newspaper.

She had a brief stint with the Nigerian Pilot Newspaper, TV Continental, and Africanfootball.com. Her opinion piece has been published by top Nigerian media outlets like Vanguard, Peoples Gazette, Sahara Reporters, Leadership Newspaper, Blueprint Newspaper, Tribune Newspaper, Daily Trust Newspaper, and others. She was a Media and Communications Officer for the Corporate Accountability for Public Participation Africa, where she ran a consistent media campaign on Trans-Fat Free Nigeria.

Outside Nigeria, her level of diligence  gave such a milestone to continued her media career internationally, she worked for TRT World, Turkey; Sports Integrity, Ireland; Play the Game, Denmark, and has been featured on BBC have you say, Wits University Newspaper, South Africa, and Malawi Broadcasting Corporation.

Her journey for girls and child’s advocacy didn’t stop there.

In 2018, based on her advocacy and passion for women and girls, she was specially invited by FIFA to participate in the Women Football Convention in France. She is an Alumna of the ‘Global Sports Mentoring Program’ an exchange program by the US Department of State.

She fully participated in the program at the United States of America in 2019. She is a fellow of the Global Investigative Journalism Network, New York, where she was selected and sponsored to attend the GIJC conference in Lillehammer, Norway. She was appointed to serve as representative and member of the Federal Government Team on the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Line Up Live Up Program (LULU). A project that strengthens the youth resilience to crime, violence, and drug use by enhancing their personal and social skills and increasing their knowledge of the risk associated with these phenomena. She served as a local organizing member at the National Sports Festival.

Rewarding her unprecedented career, she won the ‘Sports Category’ at Wole Soyinka Investigate Award in 2013; Leadership awards from Rotary and Lions club 2015 and 2016 respectively; humanitarian award from Goodwill ambassador awards 2016. A former President of Malawi, HE Joyce Banda in an award, awarded her the Girl-Child education champion in Africa, 2017; African Union/ CEPASD Africa awarded her for the works on women and girls’ empowerment, 2018. She was a finalist in the 2016 CNN African Journalist Award for her report on sexual abuse of female athletes by male coaches.

As a charismatic goal-getter with an indomitable spirit, ventured into the field of activism, she singlehandedly led the 2016 African Champions Super Falcons #PayFalcons (a hashtag that trended on Twitter for 2 straight days) protest to the Presidential Villa when allowances were not paid after winning the African Women Championship, they were paid under 48hours. She has organized, volunteered in, and led several campaigns to advocate for peace and gender rights. She has volunteered at UNAIDS, UNICEF, UN Women, UNDP, and other agencies, events, grassroots, and community outreaches.

In 2017, she founded FAME Foundation www.famefoundationwg.org, an award-winning not-for-profit organization set up to formulate sustainable programs for women and girls in Nigeria. Since its founding, the organization has directly impacted over 10, 000 women and girls and indirectly impacted over 22, 000 Nigerians.

The organization has worked with top local and international NGOs and won grants to carry out projects, UNWomen, MacArthur Foundation, UNDP, US Embassy, Australian High Commission, UN, AFD, USAID, UNAIDS, European Union, Netherlands Embassy, Finland Embassy, Slovakian Embassy, Laureus Sports for Good, US Department of State, French Embassy, and many others. The NGO currently have 9 administrative staff and over 40 volunteers spread across Nigeria.

Wife of the Former Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo attended and launched HerSTEM Initiative for girls with disabilities in 2021, an initiative of FAME Foundation. Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, kicked off her NGO’s Women’s Day Football Tournament in the year 2020 and 2022 respectively.

Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung refereed and Chief Sunday Dare kicked off Women’s Day Football Tournament in 2019 and 2022 respectively, among other high profile attendance at FAME Foundation’s past events.

During her charitable engagements, she has worked with notable Nigerians like Tonto Dikeh, Empress Njamah, Victor Moses, Mikel Obi, Odion Jude Ighalo, John Utaka, Godfrey Oboabona and several others. She is a respected and relevant stakeholder in the sports ecosystem with influence around the world.

With a strong network, and great working relationship in the Diplomatic Community in Nigeria, Aderonke Bello has worked with embassies, envoys and High Commissions, in carrying out sustainable Community based projects in key areas of the Federation since 2015.

She stands for everything that has to do with peace, women, and girls’ rights. She has undergone several trainings on first aid, child protection, fact-checking, digital reporting, public speaking, women empowerment, climate change, advocacy, etc.

Aderonke is a change agent, mentor and life coach who believes in Gender Equality and Equity, an international speaker who has spoken at different events in Denmark 2015, Netherlands 2018, South Africa 2013, Malawi 2019, Tanzania 2019, Mozambique 2019, TEDx Jabi 2015 and other local events. Recognized by UN Women and UNAIDS in Nigeria.

With over 8 authors from around the world including Asia, America, Europe, United Kingdom, Australia, Africa, etc., she co-authored a book titled, Restoring Trust in Sport: Corruption Cases and Solutions. It examines the loss of trust at both national and international levels. Drawing on cutting-edge research, the book includes both on-field and off-field. It’s a solutions-focused collection of sport corruption case studies, leading researchers consider how to re-establish trust both within sports organisations and in the wider sporting public.

She recently served as a Representative of the President-Elect, in the Media and Publicity Sub-Commitee of the Presidential Transition Council that ushered in the current President of Nigeria.

She is a focused and committed individual with sound self-esteem and a sense of identity, a team player with a positive attitude and outlook to life.

There are not enough words to fully describe this ebullient woman of substance who has consistently demonstrated her efficiency and diligence right from her eventful years as journalist, but in Arabinrin, FIRS will sees not just a remarkable, experienced and charismatic woman, but a guiding star illuminating the path for countless women to follow.

Ayodele Bamijoko, is a journalist and Senior Reporter at The PAPERS

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Opinion

FIRS’s New technological drive for tax collection, leakage block

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An efficient tax drive system inarguably, would always serve as the most run-of-the-mill and important government intervention to redistribute income among the population of any society such as Nigeria, with over 200 million people.

Aside from oil, which remains the major revenue source for Nigeria, tax revenue continues to impact the nation’s economy, building government’s fiscal capacity at both national and the sub-national levels to provide the public goods and services that citizens need for growth.

Despite being a veritable alternative system for raising government revenue for development purposes however, not many people are disposed to willful payment of taxes due to a lack of public confidence, official corruption, embezzlement, infrastructure deficit, high levels of evasion, and rising public debt among other issues. Several citizens are still oblivious to the fact that taxation is the key contribution they make towards national development. According to the chairman of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation And Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Mohammed Shehu, less than 40 million Nigerians are presently captured in the tax net and paying taxes.

Like in many African countries therefore, available reports indicate that Nigeria has one of the lowest tax collection rates in the world at approximately 10.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), well below the African average.

President Bola Tinubu appears to be worried about this trend. His decision in July 2023, to set up a presidential committee on fiscal policy and tax reform, is indicative of the government’s readiness to enhance revenue collection efficiency, ensure transparent reporting, and promote the effective utilization of tax and other revenues to boost citizens’ tax morale, foster a healthy tax culture, and drive voluntary compliance.

The current executive chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Dr. ZacchAdedeji who served on this presidential committee, then, as a Special Adviser on Revenue to the President, believes strongly that the administration of President Tinubu is on a mission to reform Nigeria’s tax system and tackle some of the challenges hampering tax collection in the country.

These challenges include multiple taxes and revenue collection agencies, a high prevalence of tax evasion, a complex tax system, and poor accountability in the use of tax revenue. There is the aspect of revenue leakages. Obviously, lack of data in the oil sector for instance has made it difficult in the past to determine the exact number of vessels of crude that is brought into the country and the amount of tax that should be adequately paid.

“Our aim is to transform the tax system to support sustainable development and achieve a minimum of 18% tax-to-GDP ratio within the next three years without stifling investment or economic growth,” Adedeji told reporters at the presidential villa in July, 2023.

The choice of Dr. Adedeji, a consummate tax expert, by President Tinubu to pilot the affairs of the nation’s top revenue agency, may be one of putting a round peg in a round hole. While serving as Presidential aide, Adedeji undoubtedly also played critical roles in the formulation of the economic direction of the new administration.

One of the earliest promises of the FIRS chairman, was therefore, to build a tax administration that enjoys the trust and confidence of all stakeholders. Along this line, the FIRS boss acknowledges that having a data-driven system that makes revenue targets predictable is a precondition for the realization of the fiscal projections of the government for economic development.

This is imperative for the revenue agency, if it must achieve the mandate of collecting a record N19 trillion in the 2024 fiscal year as set by President Tinubu and legislated for in the budget.

To achieve this huge task, the FIRS boss in February this year, during a management strategic retreat in Abuja, declared that working with his team, the agency would be embarking on a structural transformation, to make the country’s tax collection system more tax-payer-centric, seamless, and to encourage voluntary tax payment by both members of the public, as well as, corporate organizations.

A systematic implementation of this reform, would obviously place the agency in a vantage position to raise the unprecedented N19 trillion revenue target, within 12 calendar months.

“The cornerstone of this paradigm shift is the establishment of a customer-centric organizational structure designed to streamline processes and enhance efficiency in our tax operations. We are not merely adapting to change; we are leading it. The forthcoming structure, set to kick off from February 2024, embodies our dedication to modernize and digitize the tax administration landscape in Nigeria.

“In our pursuit for a more efficient and contemporary tax administration methodology, we are embracing an integrated tax approach, leveraging technology at every step. This approach positions FIRS at the forefront of innovation, ensuring that we meet the evolving needs of our taxpayers in a rapidly changing world,” Adedeji told his staff members at the retreat.

The FIRS chief executive is also worried that aside the agency’s innovative strategies including the deployment of technology, the challenge of multiple collection of taxes by several government agencies stares in the face. A well-structured fiscal policy is really essential to provide many of the necessary infrastructure such as healthcare, education, and social services for the country.

While appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, Adedeji explained that the present structure where the collection of tax revenue is done by over 60 government agencies is a major cause of leakage in funds.

Although, the Federal Government is considering a legislation to ensure that every Nigerian gets the one single identification number (NIN), the harmonization of revenue channels using technology to view all government revenue-collecting agencies in real-time, is seen as a welcome development that could enhance increased revenue collection.

These are the words of the FIRS executive chairman in this regard, “the law is very clear as to how to collect revenue. In Section 162 of the Nigerian Constitution, it is clearly stated that there shall be an account called the Federation Account and all government revenue must be put into that account.

“When we talk about harmonization, we are just saying integration of all collecting agencies, that on one platform, we can know what is happening in NIMASA, NPA, NCC, Customs, Federal Inland Revenue (Service)…We will make use of technology to know everything going on in real-time.”

It is heartwarming getting to see the FIRS go the way of technology. Technology deployment as promised by the executive chairman can effectively assist the revenue agency to ramp up tax collection.

Indeed, technology can play a significant role in improving tax collection processes and increasing revenue in several ways. One of which is digitalization of tax administration. Transitioning from paper-based to digital systems can streamline tax collection processes, making them more efficient and less prone to errors. Online platforms can be developed for taxpayers to file their returns, make payments, and access relevant tax information easily.

Another is data analytics: Advanced data analytics tools can help identify patterns, trends, and potential tax evasion cases by analyzing vast amounts of data. This enables tax authorities to target their efforts more effectively, resulting in increased revenue collection.

Automation is another: Automating certain tasks, such as data entry and document processing, can significantly reduce the workload of tax officials, allowing them to focus on more complex tasks that require human expertise. Automation can also help minimize errors and improve overall efficiency.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): AI and ML technologies can be employed to analyze and interpret tax-related data, predict potential tax evasion cases, and even suggest audit strategies. These technologies can also be used to develop chatbots and virtual assistants that provide instant support to taxpayers, making the process more user-friendly.

Integration with other systems: Seamless integration with other government databases and systems can help in verifying taxpayer information, detecting discrepancies, and preventing fraudulent activities. This can result in better compliance and improved tax collection.

Digital payment options: Offering digital payment options can encourage taxpayers to make timely tax payments, leading to increased revenue collection. This can be facilitated by integrating tax systems with online banking, mobile wallets, and other digital payment platforms.

E-invoicing and real-time reporting: Implementing electronic invoicing systems and real-time reporting mechanisms can help tax authorities monitor transactions more closely, reducing the likelihood of tax evasion and improving compliance.

If these technological solutions are utilized by the FIRS, they could help modernize its systems and create a more efficient, transparent, and taxpayer-friendly environment, ultimately leading to increased tax revenue and better fiscal management.

What is most exciting is that the FIRS under Adedeji has since realised the enormous benefits and the efficacy of effective deployment of technology to drive taxation. Nigerians therefore, do expert impressive outcomes in revenue collection especially giving the huge target for the 2024 fiscal year, as many await to monitor events in the nation’s tax industry.

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Opinion

Betta Edu: Jungle justice and where is her father and mentor President Tinubu?

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A few days ago I wrote an article entitled “Betta Edu; the continuity of the President’s courage”. Where I stated that inter alia, that there

A few days ago I wrote an article entitled “Betta Edu; the continuity of the President’s courage”. Where I stated that inter alia, that there must be continuity in the President’s courage. It takes courage to suspend your minister, it takes courage to investigate her, it takes courage to declare what the investigation has found with her actions as minister and it takes courage to reinstate her.

It was as if I got an immediate response to that piece. Someone must have taken my piece as Betta’s attempt to lobby for reinstatement and they considered it strategic enough to counter. The very next day it was all over the internet that the EFCC said they have recovered 30 Billion Naira (some reports said dollars) in the suspended minister’s bank account.

Several persons tagged me to the viral report. I went to EFCC’s page, there was nothing like that there. I told myself, well, at least the awkward silence has been broken. Something is being done. But, alas, the report was false. Dr Betta Edu’s lawyers have written to BBC demanding a retraction and apology, otherwise they will sue for defamation. Nearly, all the news channels which published the false report have taken it down for fear of a lawsuit knowing that the report was not correct.

What is really going on? Who sponsored that viral false report? I think we know the answer but we are all, consciously or unconsciously, victims of a political jungle justice. Sadly, I think even the President is a victim of this emotional whirlpool witnessing a jungle justice evokes. I’m surprised that the President could be a victim of this jungle justice. I will tell you why presently.

Jungle justice.

It is the annihilation of an accused person or suspect without giving him the benefit of a trial or fair hearing. They just want to kill the suspect because they are afraid that if you give him a chance to defend himself he might be set free. Proponents of jungle justice are intoxicated with only their own evidence, they don’t want the accused to supply his; most times they want the accused destroyed because they are afraid they don’t have enough evidence to convict him.

Media trial is jungle justice that went to school.

Those who witness jungle justice are also victims. They know it is wrong but they are afraid to lift a finger to protest. They are afraid that they will be accused of being accomplices. This was my fear a few months ago. If you look at the documents in the public domain including the regulation she purportedly breached, you will see grounds to question the legality and morality of the accusations levelled against Dr Betta. But you can’t. You are afraid they will label you a supporter of corruption. So, you sit down and watch the media trial rage on.

We are all victims of this jungle justice and understandably so, but the President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has no excuse for being a victim of this saga. This is Tinubu for God sake. Tinubu who is a legendary mentor and godfather. Here is the same Tinubu throwing his protege, the youngest member of his cabinet to the jackals.

This is Betta Edu who was the face of Tinubu’s campaign as far as mobilising the women and youths were concerned. When she became the youngest member of his cabinet, the whole world saw it as an opportunity for Tinubu to mentor another world class leader. I mean this is one of Tinubu’s bragging rights: mentoring leaders.

Dr Betta never took this for granted. She easily became the face of the Tinubu’s administration, especially when it comes to poverty alleviation. She was going into slums, nooks and crannies no minister in living memory has ever gone to… This is the same Betta that Tinubu has turned into a pawn in the chessboard of political whoremongers.

Asiwaju is a cabal all by himself, so, I don’t believe any narrative that a cabal is playing the music he is dancing to. Which cabal? Jagaban? Tinubu is not Buhari na. And talking about Buhari and Tinubu, it is interesting to see that we have moved from a Buhari who was over protective of his ministers to a Tinubu who is throwing his ministers under the bus. Tinubu’s ministers look afraid and cagey. No one is bold enough to speak for the Government or you will be the next target. I wonder why those pushing this from within can’t see that it will make the President unpopular among women and youths.

Now, this is not a Betta Edu image laundering piece. Betta and her supporters can do that for her, even though we have not heard from Betta since her suspension. The point of this piece is to point out the dastardly media trial, with concocted falsehood, that Betta is being subjected to. It can happen to anyone. All we want are answers to simple questions: did Betta do anything not approved by the Villa? If no, and if nothing incriminating has been found against her, when will the president find the courage to reinstate her?

As for Betta and Tinubu, na them sabi themselves. Betta used to brag that Tinubu is her father. Na so father dey treat pikin? Will Tinubu treat Seyi like that? She has been left all by herself, for 3 months she has been in solitude, emotionally bastardized, not engaging with anyone, possibly battling mental health issues, with her young career in the balance and her tattered reputation as a legacy for her children… One would expect her “father” to protect her from all these jackals and media trial but it seems Asiwaju, the mentor, isn’t bold enough to stand up for her. Or will he find courage at some point to protect his daughter and end all these media trial?

Young Nigerians who she inspired are watching, women all over the world are watching. This is not the President, Father, Mentor, Jagaban this young woman almost lost her life for during election campaigns. In the end, we will find out if young people are simply cannon fodders for political aggrandisement.

– First Baba Isa (FBI) is Legal Practitioner and write from Abuja.
meandisa@gmail.com.

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Opinion

Why Kwibuka matters to Nigerians

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Why Kwibuka matters to Nigerians

In a few days, Rwanda will mark 30 years since the genocide against the Tutsi. “Kwibuka”, which means to remember, is an annual period of solemn reflection when we come together to honour the victims, unite in our collective grief and renew our commitment to continue to build a better future for Rwandans.

This important act of preserving memory, and ensuring the accurate re-telling of history, matters to Rwandans. The international community played a part in the tragedy while the world watched it unfold. Every nation can benefit from reflecting on the lessons from this preventable genocide borne of division and hatred.

Thirty years ago, in 100 days over one million Tutsi were murdered just because they were Tutsi. Hutus who opposed the genocidal government were also killed. This ‘crime of crimes’ happened in plain sight. The international community was, at best, indifferent to the horrific violence, with some countries being complicit in the killings.

No one came to Rwanda’s aid. The slaughter was only halted when the Rwandan Patriotic Front took Kigali and defeated the genocidaires. The genocide showed what can happen when an ideology built on hatred is allowed to flourish unchecked by those with the power to intervene.

Although foreign governments and international institutions failed Rwanda in our greatest hour of need, there were many brave foreigners on the ground who made heroic contributions: For example, Mbaye Diagne, a Captain in the Senegalese Army who was part of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda. During the Genocide, Capt. Diagne broke UN rules to carry out missions to save those in need, rescuing over 1,000 people before being killed. Rwanda posthumously awarded Capt. Diagne the Umurinzi honour – the Campaign Against Genocide Medal.”

Internationally, New Zealand, Nigeria and the Czech Republic used their positions on the UN Security Council to press for the institution to take action. Permanent Representative Colin Keating (New Zealand) and Chief Delegate Prof. Ibrahim Gambari (Nigeria) put forward separate resolutions calling for greater troop deployment and for the troops to be given a mandate to save civilians. Ambassador Karel Kovanda joined the calls for greater action and was also the first person to use the term genocide within the security council when describing what was happening. These few voices did what they could to raise the alarm with a world that was choosing not to listen.

Beyond remembering the individual stories, this significant commemoration provides an opportunity for the world to reflect on the lessons of the genocide and the battle to preserve the integrity of the historical accounts of it.

There has been a concerted effort to deny the genocide happened in the way we know it did. These genocide deniers use various tactics, ranging from questioning the numbers of victims – despite having no evidence to contradict the verified figures – to blaming the victims for causing the genocide. They even go as far as creating false equivalences by suggesting a double genocide took place.

These tactics are not new. They have been deployed by perpetrators and deniers of other genocides such as the Holocaust. But if we are not careful, this distortion of historical facts – supercharged by social media and AI tools now in the hands of deniers – could be deployed across the world turning true history into contested debate.

Rwanda’s history has shaped Rwandan shared identity – this is why the historical clarity about the genocide against the Tutsi is of national and international importance.

The memorials Rwanda maintains (four of which have been designated UNESCO world heritage sites) are vital to anchoring the truth, and truth is essential to reconciliation and renewal. The artefacts we preserve are our evidence, and the stories we tell are witness testimony.

Our collective memory also provides the world with a warning that the ideology which drove the genocide must not be allowed to flourish and spread ever again. This is unfortunately still happening today in different parts of the world.

How many times must we say ‘Never Again’ before it becomes real? We must learn from past atrocities and apply these lessons to prevent future tragedies.

Rwanda’s transformation, based on unity and reconciliation, offers hope. By investing in infrastructure, education, and women’s empowerment, Rwanda demonstrates the resilience that leads to sustainable development.

On this April 7 and beyond, we ask that Nigeria stand in solidarity with Rwanda. We ask that you do this to honour the memory of all Rwandans who lost their lives, and acknowledge Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and others who did their best to help during Rwanda’s darkest hour. And we ask for your solidarity in preserving the true account of Rwanda’s history so that the world can match the words ‘never again’ with tangible action to prevent history from repeating itself.

 

Source: PUNCH NEWS

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Opinion

How plant-to-grid coordination can help Nigeria’s industrialisation quest

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How plant-to-grid coordination can help Nigeria’s industrialisation quest

As Nigeria grapples with an overwhelming energy demand that has skyrocketed beyond 98,000MW for a population tipping over 200 million, the stark reality of the nation’s energy crisis is laid bare—over half of the population is ensnared by the lack of reliable electricity. In stark contrast to the formidable installed capacity of 12,522MW, the reality is a power infrastructure crippled by rampant outages and grave inefficiencies. Despite the infusion of resources into ambitious initiatives like the National Integrated Power Projects and sweeping privatisation efforts, the anticipated surge in energy provision remains an unrealised dream. However, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas on Bonny Island paints a different picture—one of self-sufficient power generation and substantial community contributions, pointing to the latent potential of a decentralised energy generation approach. A replication of this model, bolstered by comparable incentives, could propel an array of Nigerian industries to the forefront of the energy sector, satisfying their consumption needs and supplementing the national grid.

This presents a golden opportunity for policymakers in Nigeria to recalibrate the role of the industrial sector within the national energy agenda. The landmark ratification of Nigeria’s Electricity Act (Amendment) of 2024 marks a legislative milestone, offering new powers to states, businesses, and individuals for electricity generation, transmission, and distribution. The earmarking of a portion of GENCOs’ operational expenditures for the uplift of host communities is indicative of a seismic shift towards a more equitable and community-centric energy generation model.

Nonetheless, the forward-leaning posture of the Act doesn’t mask the looming challenges. The persistent shortfall in energy access, the underutilisation of Nigeria’s abundant renewable resources, and deep-rooted sector inefficiencies necessitate a strategic re-evaluation. This legislative backdrop amplifies the urgency for a more cohesive, sustainable, and decentralised approach to energy generation. Policymakers are now poised to steer the industrial sector towards embracing plant-to-grid systems, incentivising the amalgamation of renewable energy solutions that could significantly tighten the energy deficiency gap. This strategy ushers in alignment with the national vision of a robust, sustainable, and industrialised future, charting an essential trajectory towards energy sovereignty and economic fortitude.

Plant-to-grid coordination is conceptualised as a revolutionary industrial strategy that recasts manufacturing plants as both energy consumers and producers. It advocates the integration of renewable systems, such as solar PV or wind turbines, into industrial operations. These installations not only cater to the plants’ power needs but also have the capability to contribute surplus energy to the national grid, fostering a mutually beneficial relationship between industrial productivity and energy provision.

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Opinion

What Airpeace’ Lagos-London Gatwick Routes Mean To Nigerians

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What Airpeace' Lagos-London Gatwick Routes Mean To Nigerians

In a historic moment of pride and achievement, Airpeace, Nigeria’s leading airline, defied skeptics and naysayers by launching its own Boeing 777 aircraft for its inaugural Lagos-London Gatwick flight. Amidst the buzz of wet-leased campaigns, Air Peace showcased its commitment to excellence by fielding its own aircraft, bearing registration number 5N-BVE.

The successful landing of the Airpeace Boeing 777 at Gatwick Airport marked a monumental occasion for Nigeria, with the airline making headlines both at home and abroad. What set this flight apart was not just the aircraft itself, but the all-Nigerian crew on board, including the pilots, a senior first officer, and a captain.

With a capacity of 274, the aircraft accommodated 260 passengers on its maiden voyage, symbolizing the eagerness and enthusiasm of Nigerians to connect with the world. Among the distinguished passengers was the Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo SAN CON FCIarb (UK), whose presence underscored the government’s commitment to supporting local operators while upholding best industry practices.

On the inaugural flight were also the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, distinguished Senators, House of Representatives members and prominent celebrities spanning all walks of life.

The journey to London Gatwick was not without its challenges, but the dedication and determination of both the Airpeace management and government officials, led by the Honourable Minister, ensured the success of the venture. Minister Keyamo’s unwavering support during the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) negotiations exemplified his dedication to fostering growth and innovation within Nigeria’s aviation sector.

As the minister emphasized during his speech aboard the inaugural flight, the commencement of the Lagos-London route signifies the dawn of a new era, promising increased connectivity and economic benefits for Nigeria. Furthermore, the minister pledged to facilitate the opening of more BASA routes for airlines demonstrating capacity and consistency, signaling a brighter future for the industry.

Beyond its economic implications, the launch of Airpeace’s London route carries cultural significance, as it reintroduces authentic Nigerian cuisine to international travelers. Passengers can now savor the flavors of home with dishes like Nigerian pepper soup and jollof rice, offering a taste of nostalgia at 30,000 feet.

However, the true measure of Airpeace’s success lies in the support and patronage of Nigerians, both at home and abroad. By choosing to fly with their national carrier, Nigerians can contribute to the airline’s growth and affirm its position as a symbol of national pride.

In conclusion, the inaugural Lagos-London Gatwick flight marks a significant milestone for Airpeace and Nigeria as a whole. It represents not only a triumph of innovation and determination but also a testament to the nation’s potential on the global stage. As Airpeace continues to soar, it carries with it the hopes and aspirations of a nation united in its pursuit of excellence.

Tunde Moshood is the SA Media and Communications to the Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development.

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Opinion

Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund approval: Thank you, Mr. President

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Tinubu suspends N-Power, school feeding, others

By Arabinrin Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello

President Bola Tinubu‘s recent approval of the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund (RHIDF) during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on 25th March, 2024, signifies an important step towards addressing Nigeria’s infrastructure needs.

This fund is a specialized fund established to address Nigeria’s infrastructure needs. It will serve as a special-purpose vehicle aimed at fostering development across key sectors, including agriculture, transportation, ports, aviation, energy, healthcare, and education.

President Tinubu’s decision to merge the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund into the new RHIDF is aimed at making operations more efficient and accelerating the delivery of projects. By merging the two funds, it ensures that the RHIDF’s objectives, such as creating innovative investment opportunities and executing strategic national projects are achieved in a timely and effective manner.

The RHIDF is set to raise $14 billion as start-up capital, with a focus on critical national projects, particularly in transportation. These projects include the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway and Lagos-Kano and Eastern Rail Lines. President Tinubu also underscores the importance of enhancing agricultural infrastructure to boost food security and reduce post-harvest losses, further emphasizing the fund’s multifaceted approach to development.

The Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund (RHIDF) promises to be a game-changer for Nigeria, offering a pathway to address the country’s long-standing infrastructure deficit. This was disclosed after this week’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting by the Tax Boss himself, Dr. Zacch Adedeji, Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

Adedeji emphasizes the transformative potential of the RHIDF in driving economic growth and connectivity across various sectors. With its focus on inclusive progress, the RHIDF aims to leave no community behind, ensuring that all Nigerians benefit from improved infrastructure, job creation, and enhanced economic opportunities. It will also eliminate the need for borrowing for infrastructural development.

For instance, it will prevent situations such as the planned borrowing for the construction of the Lagos-Kano-Maiduguri railway project, which at a point sought funding from China. All this is essential for bridging Nigeria’s infrastructure gap, estimated at over $858 billion, and ensuring sustained national growth and development.

Furthermore, when the projects kick off in earnest, it will create direct and indirect jobs, thereby creating employment opportunities for Nigerians. It will boost production and invariably, the economy of the country will also be affected positively.

As we look ahead to the launch of the RHIDF, following the presentation of a supplementary budget to the National Assembly, our expectations are high for tangible results that will benefit all Nigerians. With the RHIDF as a catalyst for change, Nigeria embarks on a transformative journey toward a future defined by progress, prosperity, and inclusivity.

This step ushers in a new era of hope and opportunity for our nation. Thank you, Mr. President, for your dedication to building a brighter future for all Nigerians.

Arabinrin Aderonke, an award-winning investigative journalist and 2016 Finalist, CNN African Journalist Award, currently serves as Technical Assistant – Broadcast Media, at the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS

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