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Southern Govs Plan 90,000MW Power, Want States To Negotiate New Minimum Wage

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The Southern Governors’ Forum, the umbrella body for 17 governors from the three geo-political zones of South-West, South-East and South-South has planned generating 90,000 MW of electricity to cater for the power needs of 90 million residents of the region

The forum said it is embarking on this project using the rule of thumb of 1,000 MW per 1 million population to arrive at its 90,000MW target

The member states have therefore been encouraged to take advantage of the recent constitutional amendment that now allows states to regulate, generate, transmit and distribute electricity whilst also considering renewable sources of energy to bring the dream to reality

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This is just as the governors have also called for the consideration of the cost of living and ability of each state to pay the new minimum wage and therefore beckoned on the Federal Government to allow each state to negotiate the new minimum wage with the labour unions.

This was contained in a communique issued at the end of their meeting held on Monday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital and made available to journalists on Thursday.

The communique was signed by all the 17 southern governors.

The governors are Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, newly elected Chairman of the Forum, Prof Charles Soludo, governor of Anambra State and Vice Chairman of the group, Gov Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Sen Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Abiodun Oyebanji of Ekiti State, Duoye Diri of Bayelsa, Ademola Adeleke of Osun State, and Pastor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State.

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READ ALSO: JUST IN: Tinubu Will Get Nod For Presidential Jet If Requested – Akpabio

Others are Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State, Gov Bassey Otu of Cross Rivers, Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi State, Lucky Ayedatiwa of Ondo State, Peter Mbah of Enugu, Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta and Dr Alex Otti of Abia State

In their 16 points communique, the Forum called for strengthening of fiscal federalism and devolution of powers and expressed concern over current practices where mineral licences are issued and explorations undertaken without recourse to State governments.

It noted that issuing mineral licences without carrying the states along have resulted in criminal activities, attendant negative environmental impact, ecological degradation, and with no remediation commitment or revenue accruing to the States or the Federal Government.

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The governors maintained that being the economic and industrial region of the country, there was need to address the inadequate power supply in the region by taking advantage of the recent constitutional amendment that now allows States to regulate, generate, transmit and distribute electricity whilst also considering optional sources like renewables.

The southern governors said they have resolved to aggressively embark on energy transition plan from fossil fuels (petrol and diesel) to cleaner energy and specifically CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) and ultimately EV’s (Electric Vehicles) to help reduce the cost of transportation, which would lower the cost of food, goods and services of the citizens and residents.

READ ALSO: Drop Your Arms, Seek Dialogue – CAOS Urges Arms Carrying Individuals

The meeting also called on the Federal Government to rehabilitate, repair and reconstruct Trunk A roads and transfer some roads to States that have expressed interest in taking them over.

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They applauded President BolaTinubu for conceptualising and commencing the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road, which cuts across eight states of the region.

The communique hinted that the governors have resolved to commission a regional multimodal transport master plan that would prioritise connectivity of rail, road, air and water transportation, to facilitate interstate, intra-regional movement of persons, goods and services and thereby enhancing the ease of doing business.

It further stated that Southern States Development Agenda would comprise of a team whose primary responsibility is to outline a holistic plan to foster trade and investment, sustainable growth and development, economic prosperity, social harmony and food security for the region would be set up.

The Development Agenda, the governors added would work hand in glove with individual State Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agencies, the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission and other relevant MDA’s and multilateral agencies as necessary.

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On issue of state police, the governors resolved to continue to advocate for the creation of state police against the backdrop of the success of the regional community based security outfits, which have been effective in intelligence gathering.

READ ALSO: Soldiers Repel IPOB Attack On Ebonyi Police Station, Kill Five Fighters

The governors also resolved to remain united and committed to oneness of purpose, noting that the physical boundaries that divide the people of the south could not be compare to the strong bonds of enterprise, resilience and culture that they share.

The forum said it has resolved to be deliberate and intentional about intra region trade, partnerships and investment facilitation and promotion which was agreed would require a structured and coordinated collaborative approach.

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The members of the Forum commended Mr. President Tinubu for the food palliative support to States and the laudable economic recovery reforms and policies through the implementation of the Renewed Hope Agenda pledging to support him in his unwavering resolve to reposition the country and build a greater future for all.

It would be recalled that at the end of the meeting, Prince Dapo Abiodun was chosen to provide the needed leadership as Chairman of the Forum, while Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, the governor of Anambra State waa appointed as the Vice Chairman.

The communique concluded that quarterly meetings of the Forum would be held and rotated among member states.

The communique reads “At the end of the Southern Governors Forum meeting held on Monday, 24th June 2024, the following resolutions were made by the Governors:

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“The Forum paid respects to the immediate past Chairman, late Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN, and extended their courtesies to his family while appreciating the past Chairman for the solid foundation he laid by putting the forum in good stead.

“The forum thanked all member Governors for their support and commitment to the “Asaba declaration” which was a resolve to ensure that Southern Nigeria produced the Presidential Candidate.”

The forum also thanked their counterparts in the North under the auspices of the Northern Governors’ Forum for their unwavering support for the resolution while also commending the laudable economic recovery reforms and policies of President Bola Tinubu and the implementation of the Renewed Hope Agenda (RHA).

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It unanimously reaffirmed their support for him in his unwavering resolve to reposition the country and build a great future for all of us.

The Southern Governors applauded the President for conceptualizing and commencing the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road project, which cuts across eight states.

“The forum noted that this laudable project will create employment in the construction industry ecosystem, boost productivity by drastically reducing travel time, promote tourism, and open up and integrate all the Southern States to more investment opportunities.

“The Southern governors advocated that the Federal government should rehabilitate, repair, and reconstruct Trunk A roads and transfer roads to states that have expressed interest in taking them over,” the Forum added.

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Japa: 4 Ways Nigerians Can Migrate, Get Jobs In Canada

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As Nigeria continues to experience economic challenges, an increasing number of its citizens are exploring opportunities to migrate to Canada.

Canada, known for its welcoming immigration policies and robust job market, has become a top destination for Nigerians seeking a better life. Canada’s comprehensive immigration programs and strategies for job seekers make it an attractive option for those looking to start anew.

Canada’s plan to invite half a million newcomers by 2025, coupled with its need for skilled workers, opens various pathways for Nigerians.

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From the Express Entry system to family sponsorships, these avenues provide hopeful migrants with multiple options to settle and work in Canada.

Here are five key ways Nigerians can migrate and secure employment in Canada:

READ ALSO: Top 10 Most Dangerous Countries In The World 2024

Express Entry

The Express Entry system is Canada’s fastest and most popular immigration program, enabling candidates to receive permanent residence status in as little as six months. By 2025, Canada plans to invite half a million newcomers, with a significant portion coming through one of the three streams of Express Entry. This system evaluates candidates based on factors like age, education, work experience, and language proficiency.

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Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

Throughout the pandemic, Canada’s provinces continued to nominate overseas workers for permanent residence. By 2025, Canada aims to welcome 117,500 new immigrants through PNPs. Each of Canada’s ten provinces and three territories offers unique nominee programs with specific eligibility criteria. Some PNPs require a connection to the province, while others invite candidates based solely on their ability to meet the province’s labor market needs.

READ ALSO: Top 10 Countries With Strongest Militaries In Africa [Latest]

Business Immigration

For those with experience in managing or owning a business, federal and provincial business immigration programs offer a pathway to reside and work in Canada. These programs are designed for individuals planning to be self-employed or start a business in Canada. Business immigration typically requires a significant investment, with specific amounts varying by program and region.

Sponsorship

Family sponsorship is often the easiest route for those with a qualifying family member who is a Canadian permanent resident or citizen. Canada plans to welcome 105,000 new permanent residents through family sponsorship programs this year. The cost of sponsoring a relative is around CAD 1,135, with additional fees for residents of Quebec. Processing times vary, with spousal sponsorship typically taking about 12 months.

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How to get jobs in Canada

Securing a job in Canada can be facilitated through several strategies:

Networking with Experts

Engage with professionals in your field through events and networking opportunities to learn about job openings.

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Continuous Learning

Stay updated with the latest trends and roles in your field by reading articles, watching videos, and gaining new knowledge.

Building Professional Relationships

Attend job fairs, industry meetups, and online groups to connect with potential employers.

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Top 10 Most Dangerous Countries In The World 2024

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The world’s most dangerous countries to visit in 2024 have been unveiled in a recent report by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

The report ranks 163 independent states and territories based on their level of peacefulness, covering 99.7% of the world’s population.

It also noted that there are currently 56 active conflicts, marking the highest number since the end of the Second World War, with fewer conflicts being resolved either militarily or through peace agreements.

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Using the Global Peace Index (GPI), here are the top 10 most dangerous countries in the world in 2024.

Yemen

With a 2024 Global Peace Index (GPI) score of 3.397, Yemen remains one of the world’s most hazardous nations, with its catastrophic civil conflict since 2015 causing immense suffering and turmoil.

Yemen is grappling with widespread famine, disease, and infrastructure collapse amid a prolonged state of war. What began as an internal conflict has escalated due to the involvement of neighboring countries, each backing different factions, prolonging and intensifying the destructive nature of the conflict.

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Sudan

Sudan is widely regarded as one of the world’s most dangerous countries, influenced by a variety of factors that severely affect its safety and stability.

Sudan’s instability stems primarily from the ongoing conflict in Darfur, alongside unrest in South Kordofan and Blue Nile districts. In 2024, these conflicts resulted in over 3,000 deaths and displaced nearly 2 million people, according to UN estimates. The humanitarian crisis is exacerbated by frequent attacks on civilians by government forces, opposition groups, and militias.

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Also, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), about 14 million people need humanitarian aid.

South Sudan

South Sudan, with a 2024 Global Peace Index (GPI) score of 3.224, continues to rank among the world’s most dangerous nations due to ongoing civil conflict, ethnic violence, and political instability since gaining independence in 2011.

Afghanistan

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Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, with a Global Peace Index (GPI) score of 3.448. The country has been experiencing ongoing violence for more than 40 years, making it a center of international concern.

READ ALSO: 7 Countries Who Recently Changed Their Names And Why

Decades of conflict have shaped Afghanistan into one of the most dangerous countries. The Taliban’s seizure of power in August 2021 has intensified instability, with heightened risks of terrorism, kidnappings, and widespread violence.

Ukraine

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Ukraine has experienced the most significant decline in safety and stability, not only within its region but globally as well. This notable deterioration can be primarily attributed to the Russian invasion that began in February 2022.

By 2024, the conflict in Ukraine has claimed over 150,000 lives, including soldiers and civilians. More than 8 million Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries, with an additional 7 million internally displaced, causing widespread destruction of cities and critical infrastructure like homes, schools, and hospitals.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The conflict in Congo has spanned more than four and a half years, has taken more lives than any other since World War II, and is the deadliest documented conflict in African history, according to the International Rescue Committee.

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Russia

In 2024, Russia, with a Global Peace Index (GPI) score of 3.249, ranks among the world’s most hazardous nations, exacerbated by heightened geopolitical tensions stemming from the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

READ ALSO: 10 Safest Countries In The World In 2024

Russia is grappling with internal challenges including organized crime and corruption, which undermine law and order, alongside escalating environmental concerns such as industrial accidents and pollution, posing significant health risks to the population.

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Syria

Syria’s civil war, beginning in 2011, has resulted in a profoundly tragic and complex situation. The conflict has ravaged infrastructure, including buildings, roads, hospitals, and schools, severely impacting the daily lives of those remaining in Syria.

The humanitarian situation in Syria is dire, with over 13 million Syrians, including 6.6 million internally displaced, requiring humanitarian assistance, according to the UN.

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More than half of the population faces food insecurity, and the healthcare system is in disarray, with many hospitals either destroyed or operating at minimal capacity.

Israel

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has escalated regional risks for Western travelers and exacerbated unrest-related dangers.

Mali

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Mali has been in the grip of armed conflict since January 2012, when Tuareg rebels seized control of northern territory and subsequently declared the independent nation of Azawad by April of that year.

The situation escalated further with a military coup in March of 2012, intensifying the turmoil in the region.
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Nigeria’s Public Officials Received ₦721bn Bribe In 2023 – UN, NBS

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A newly released report by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), has said Nigerian public officials received nothing less than ₦721bn as bribes in 2023.

The result was based on a survey conducted with the UNODC.

According to the report “Corruption in Nigeria: Patterns and Trends”, published by the NBS on Thursday, the ₦721bn paid in bribes amounted to about 0.35 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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According to the survey, the average cash bribe was ₦8,284, an increase from an average of ₦5,754 in 2019.

“According to the 2023 survey, the average cash bribe paid was 8,284 Nigerian Naira. While the nominal average cash bribe size increased since 2019 (from NGN 5,754), this does not account for inflation. The inflation-adjusted average cash bribe in 2023 was 29 per cent smaller than in 2019 in terms of what could be bought with the money.

“Overall, it is estimated that a total of roughly NGN 721 billion (US$1.26 billion) was paid in cash bribes to public officials in Nigeria in 2023, corresponding to 0.35 per cent of the entire Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria,” the report read in part.

The report indicates that 56 per cent of Nigerians interacted with a public official in 2023, down from 63 per cent in 2019.

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Despite this reduction, bribery remains widespread, with an average of 5.1 bribes paid per bribe payer, totalling approximately 87 million bribes nationwide. This is a decrease from the 117 million bribes estimated in 2019.

READ ALSO: [JUST IN] Alleged N33.8b Fraud: Court Grants Bail To Ex-power Minister

On payment mode, the report noted that over 95 per cent of bribes were paid in monetary form (cash or money transfer) in 2023.

It said public officials were more likely to demand bribes while private sector actors included doctors in private hospitals, which increased from 6 per cent in 2019 to 14 per cent in 2023.

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Despite this rise, bribery in the public sector remains about twice as high, with public sector contact rates also being twice as high as those in the private sector.

In 2023, 27 per cent of Nigerians who interacted with a public official paid a bribe, a slight decrease from 29 per cent in 2019. Including instances where bribes were requested but refused, over one-third of interactions between citizens and public officials involved bribery.

Similarly, the report shows a growing trend of Nigerians refusing to pay bribes. In 2023, 70 per cent of those asked to pay a bribe refused at least once, with the highest refusal rates in the North-West zone at 76 per cent. All regions recorded refusal rates above 60 per cent. This indicates that Nigerians are increasingly standing against corruption.

According to the report, bribery is becoming less accepted in Nigeria. The percentage of citizens who view bribery requests as acceptable to expedite administrative procedures decreased from 29 per cent in 2019 to 23 per cent in 2023.

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Fewer citizens reported suffering negative consequences after refusing bribe requests in 2023 compared to 2019. This suggests a growing empowerment among Nigerians to confront corrupt officials without fear of repercussions.

In 2023, 21 per cent of bribe refusers indicated they refused because they had other options. Normative concerns (42 per cent) and cost of living pressures (23 per cent) also played significant roles in their refusal to pay bribes.

Furthermore, not less than 60 per cent of public sector workers were hired due to nepotism, bribery or both between 2020 and 2023.

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The report noted that six out of 10 successful candidates admitted to using either nepotism, bribery, or both to improve their chances of being recruited.

Specifically, 27 per cent of these candidates admitted to using only bribery, 13 per cent to only nepotism, and 19 per cent to both bribery and nepotism. On the other hand, 40 per cent of the candidates claimed to have secured their positions without resorting to any such means, based on data collected between November 2020 and October 2023.

The report read, “The selection process used to recruit public officials plays a crucial role in shaping the culture of integrity that should drive the civil service as well as ensure that recruits have the highest standards of professionalism and merit.”

However, the 2023 survey findings indicate that the public sector recruitment process requires closer monitoring, as almost half (46 per cent) of people who secured a job in the public sector in the last three years before the survey admitted that they paid a bribe to facilitate their recruitment – about 1.5 times the share found in the 2019 survey (31 per cent).

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“The 2023 survey also found evidence that a considerable number of people recruited into the public sector secured their posts with the help of a friend or relative, many in addition to paying a bribe: of all successful applicants in the last three years before the 2023 survey, 32 per cent were helped by friends or relatives. Overall, in the three years before the 2023 survey, around 60 per cent of public sector applicants in Nigeria were hired as a result of nepotism, bribery or both – about 1.2 times the share found in the 2019 survey.”

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The report also noted that the use of bribery is notably lower when the recruitment process includes formal assessments.

Specifically, 51 per cent of candidates were not formally assessed, and of these, a significant 53 per cent admitted to using bribery or nepotism to secure their positions.

Conversely, among the 49 per cent of candidates who underwent a written test or oral interview, the use of unethical means such as bribery or nepotism dropped to 41 per cent.

The report read: “The 2023 survey data show that approximately half (49 per cent) of those who secured a position in the public sector in the three years before the survey passed a written test and/or oral interview during the recruitment selection process. Importantly, the data suggest that the means of selection had a role in facilitating or preventing the use of illegal practices during recruitment. Among those who underwent an assessment procedure (written test / oral interview), 41 per cent made use of bribery, while the share was as much as 53 per cent among those who were not formally assessed.”

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It was also disclosed that bribery is more common in rural areas, with rural residents paying an average of 5.8 bribes compared to 4.5 bribes in urban areas.

It was also disclosed that bribery is more common in rural areas, with rural residents paying an average of 5.8 bribes compared to 4.5 bribes in urban areas.

The report stated that corruption was ranked fourth among the most important problems affecting the country in 2023, after the cost of living, insecurity and unemployment.

It added, “This suggests relatively stable and high levels of concerns about corruption over time and compared to other concerns such as education or housing.

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“Nigerians confidence in the government’s anti-corruption effort has been declining over time and across regions. While in 2019, more than half of all citizens thought that the government was effective in fighting corruption, in 2023, the share declined to lessons than a third of all citizens. The downward trend in the citizen’s confidence is observable across the entire country, with all six zones recording reductions of more than 10 percentage points between 2019 and 2023 in terms of the share of citizens who thought the government was effective in fighting corruption.”

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