From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it would stop illegal SIM card registration agents from operating, having given a new directive to communication companies on how to register SIM cards.
Mr. Salisu Abdullahi, assistant director (enforcement) of the NCC, dropped this hint yesterday in Abuja during the closure of the offices of illegal SIM card registration agents at Wuse Market, Abuja.
Abdullahi, who refused to name the culprits, disclosed that the suspects would be handed over to the police for investigation. He stated that, at the end of investigation, the suspects would be charged to court.
According to the assistant director, since the NCC started visiting markets, many unregistered SIM cards have been impounded.
He said: “We have been trying to locate shops where they sell these cards. We decided to buy SIM cards and discovered that most of them were registered before sale.
“We have issued a notice/directive to all communication companies to do away with all unregistered registration agents they use. We have given notice to all operators that NCC has the intention of flushing out illegal registration agents.”
For some time now the NCC has been trying to apply the SIM regulation so that all SIMs are duly registered. But there have been reports that people were registering SIM cards and selling them to the general public.
“There are serious dangers in doing that because it compromises national security. We have got the report of this development in so many locations in Abuja and other parts of the country”, he said.
AGRICULTURE: Bird flu: FG bans inter-state movement of birds
From Magnus Eze, Abuja
Ahead of the dry season, the Federal Government has agreed with state governments to ban inter-state movement of birds to forestall the spread of avian influenza in poultry farms across the country.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who made the disclosure at a meeting with Commissioners of Agriculture from the states in Abuja, said the nation had to take the pro-active measure in the face of the food shortage being experienced in the country.
Ogbeh further disclosed that government was determined to engender all-year agriculture in all parts of the country, and it would, in partnership with the state, provide at least three earth dams in every state and the Federal Capital Territory.
Christened, Project 1037, the minister explained that the projection was that a dam would be developed in every senatorial zone in the country.
“We are planning with you in the states, so that an average of three earth dams would be developed in each state, say, one per senatorial zone. That is Project 1037; we shall be in touch with you to see which river can be dammed,” he said.
The minister was upbeat that, if the government’s plans were fully implemented, there would be enough food for local consumption and the current food shortage would be over latest by 2018.
INDUSTRY: Abuja Chambers boss makes case for modular refineries
From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
President of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Tony Ejinkeonye, has called on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, build modular refineries to avoid further increase in fuel price.
Ejinkeonye, who spoke against the backdrop of comments by Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, ruling out hike in price of fuel, said the only way to avoid asking Nigerians to pay more for petroleum products was to build modular refineries.
Ejinkeonye said it was impossible not to have a price increase, with the current forex situation, but such measures as building more refineries would help.
He advised the Federal Government to let Nigerians know where it is heading on the issue of fuel, adding: “Government should face reality and not flip-flop on decisions.”
According to him, it is better for Nigerians to understand where we have found ourselves and not delay what we ultimately know must happen.
“Government should, as a matter of urgency, build modular refineries as we have urged for years, instead of building more petrol stations,” he said.
BUDGET: Nigeria’s under-5 mortality rate second largest worldwide – Perm Sec
From Basil Obasi, Abuja
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Nana Fatima Mede, has disclosed that Nigeria is the second largest contributor to under-five mortality worldwide, as two out of five children are not properly fed.
The Permanent Secretary, who spoke in Abuja yesterday during the maiden edition of Nutrition Week, organised to draw the attention of government to policies affecting nutrition in Nigeria, noted that available data revealed that malnutrition remained an underlying factor in over 50 per cent or 3.1 million child deaths annually.
Speaking on the theme, “Nutrition, Key to Sustainable Development,” Mede described rights to food and nutrition as the most basic human rights.
According to her, the critical role of food and nutrition in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was quite compelling; “hence we need to intensify awareness on the importance of food and nutrition on child’s survival as well as its impact on development, productivity, economic growth and national development.”
Also speaking, the Advocacy and Campaign Coordinator, Save the Children Nigeria, Mr. Ifedilichukwu Ekenenwa, called on the federal, states and local government to earmark adequate funding for nutrition interventions.
EDUCATION: TRCN to begin clampdown on unregistered teachers
From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) has expressed worry over the growing number of unregistered teachers in the country’s education system, stressing that it had concluded plans to begin a clampdown in private and public schools whose details were not captured in the database of the council.
Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of the Council, Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday, noted that the state offices had been briefed on the best way to achieve success in the new task.
He said: “Our state structures are better positioned and strengthened for the task ahead. The Ministers of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and Prof. Anthony Anwukah, as well as security agencies and other relevant stakeholders have also thrown their support behind our plan and success is inevitable.”
Ajiboye challenged the unregistered teachers to take advantage of available opportunities to come into the fold, in order to avoid humiliation by the TRCN.
“The era of quackery in basic education is gone forever. It is not going to be business as usual. Whoever is going to be a practising teacher, apart from meeting all the requirements, must also be a registered member of the council, as that would help us monitor the activities and welfare of our members,” he said.