The rehabilitation of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu State, has been rescheduled to start in December 2019 as the new completion date is April 2020. This was disclosed by the Aviation Minister Senator Hadi Sirika while defending the budget of his ministry before House of Representatives Committee on Aviation.
Recall that Sirika tabled a request of N10 billion before President Muhammadu Buhari for the repairs of the airport. The money got approved and he promised that the airport would be delivered before Christmas.
The Details: However, the Minister has pleaded for more time. According to him, though the money requested was approved, the ministry was still awaiting actual disbursement to do the work.
He also assured the lawmakers that the work would be delivered once and for all, adding that the new timeline is realistic.
Sirika went ahead to give a report on the ministry’s budget. He said, “In the year 2020, the sum of N41,878,371,737 is being proposed for capital expenditure.
“The budget will focus on sustaining the infrastructural renewal at the airports as well as upgrade and provision of necessary air navigation equipment as well as weather forecast. Special attention would be given to safety and security infrastructure.
“There are challenges with the new terminal buildings being built with the N500 million loan from Exim Bank of China. These challenges include but are not limited to changes in the structural designs of the airports, foundation footing and escalators, provision for modern aircraft such as A380.”
According to him, other challenges experienced by the ministry involve change in departure and arrival flow to rhyme with the railway station in Abuja; provision of adequate power supply to ensure all facilities were put to maximum use; relocation of the control tower and the fire station, and issues relating to sewer and water supply for the airports.
“The above has resulted on the need for variation and additional work to the tune of $461,795,551 which has been approved by the Federal Executive Council,” the minister said.
Facebook to open Lagos office in 2021
When the social media giant comes to Nigeria, it will be its second office on the African continent.
Social Media giant, Facebook announced it would open an office in Lagos in 2021, its second office in the continent and the first in Africa to house software engineers.
This was announced by Facebook Program Manager, Chimdindu Aneke on social media. “We are opening a Facebook office in Lagos, Nigeria later in 2021,” he said.
We are opening a Facebook office in Lagos, Nigeria later in 2021. 😍😍😍
— Chimdi Aneke (@chimdinduaneke) September 18, 2020
He added that the office would be the first in Africa by Facebook for the purpose of engineering and “building for the future of Africa and beyond”.
Media aide to the Presidency, Tolu Ogunlesi quoted Facebook saying, “As part of its continued commitment and ongoing investment in Africa, Facebook today announced it will be opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria – its second office on the African continent.”
“Lagos, Nigeria, September 18, 2020/ — As part of its continued commitment and ongoing investment in Africa, @Facebook today announced it will be opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria – its second office on the African continent.”#InvestNigeria 🇳🇬🇳🇬🇳🇬
— tolu ogunlesi (@toluogunlesi) September 18, 2020
In 2019, Facebook’s biggest market in Africa was Nigeria with 33 million monthly active users.
Nigeria among countries to be worst hit by food crisis globally
Nigeria, others were listed as countries with the worst deteriorations in acute hunger in recent months.
Nigeria has emerged as one of the countries to be most hit by food crisis across the globe in the face of the coronavirus pandemic which had worsened the already bad situation.
This disclosure is contained in a report by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The report from the FAO also shows that the Democratic Republic of Congo is emerging as the country with the world’s largest food crisis in terms of absolute numbers, with Burkina Faso listed as the country with the worst deteriorations in acute hunger in recent months.
The food crisis is made worse in Nigeria by the longstanding religious and ethnic conflicts and even organized crimes by some bandits, which has greatly affected farmers working on their farmlands.
In addition to these, the farmers were already contending with the issue of flooding or drought, which has negatively been impacting on the agricultural sector in a period the country is desperate and very desirous of economic diversification. The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a surge in food prices as can be seen in the reports released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in a country that imports over 10% of its food supply.
With a population of over 200 million people, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, which is regarded as the world’s most food-insecure continent. This is made worse as importers of food items struggle to gain access to dollars for their imports due to scarcity of foreign exchange which is triggered by the crash of oil prices and low foreign inflow.
This is expected to be exacerbated by the recent order by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Central Bank of Nigeria, to stop the allocation of foreign exchange to importers of food items.
The Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, warned in April, “We are heading toward famine and starvation.”
The FAO report which states that Congo has about 21.8 million people that are acutely food insecure, also points out that Burkina Faso has witnessed an almost 300% uptick in the overall number of people experiencing acute hunger since the start of 2020.
US government to ban WeChat and TikTok from app stores
Chinese-owned social media apps are facing a ban in the US over national security concerns.
The United States government says it will ban the services of Chinese tech giants, WeChat and TikTok, from online mobile application stores in the U.S. It also plans to prohibit any funds transfer/payment services through the WeChat mobile application.
This was announced by the U.S Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, in a statement on Friday, following President Donald Trump’s Executive Orders (E.O.) 13942 and E.O. 13943, on the 6th of August.
“In response to President Trump’s Executive Orders signed August 6, 2020, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) today announced prohibitions on transactions relating to mobile applications (apps) WeChat and TikTok to safeguard the national security of the United States,” said Wilbur Ross.
He added that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), has proven it has the means and the motive to use Chinese tech apps, to threaten America’s national security foreign policy, and the economy of the U.S.
He said the following transactions will be prohibited from September 20th for WeChat and November 12th for TikTok
- Any provision of service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates, through an online mobile application store in the U.S.
- Any provision of services through the WeChat mobile application, for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S.
Mr. Ross said that with the Executive Order, the US government has taken a ‘significant action’ in fighting China’s malicious personal data breach on American citizens, and also promote democratic rule-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.
The U.S government announced that further prohibitive measures, relating to both companies may be announced in the future.
“Should the U.S. Government determine that WeChat’s or TikTok’s illicit behavior is being replicated by another app somehow outside the scope of these executive orders, the President has the authority to consider whether additional orders may be appropriate to address such activities.”
President Trump has given until November 12, to resolve the TikTok security concerns of the US. He added that the prohibitions may be lifted, if they are addressed.