• Wednesday, December 06, 2023
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Five things to know to start your Thursday

Five things to know to start your Thursday

Why Nigeria ranks lowest in West Africa’s Logistics Performance Index

According to Afolabi Olowo-okere, managing director/CEO of Analyst Data Service Ltd, Nigeria ranks fifth in the Logistics Performance Index, trailing Ghana, Togo, South Africa, Egypt, the Republic of Benin, and Cameroon.

He said this at an industry breakfast briefing in Lagos hosted by the Nigerian Maritime Law Association (NMLA).

Olowo-okere attributed the ranking to a lack of critical infrastructure, noting that there are too many regulations, no single window, and the country’s ports are import-focused.

Furthermore, the MD stated that Nigeria’s medium-term maritime plan affirms the country’s seaports as heavily congested due to the lack of dry ports and multi-modal transport infrastructure, emphasizing that the country’s inland waterways are grossly underutilized, with only 3000 miles of approximately 10,000 miles currently navigable.

He added that improving security and safety in the sector, leveraging technology to improve efficiency and ease of business, and making inland waterways serve as an alternative low-cost mode of transportation to decongest seaports and deliver cargo closer to the hinterland are all necessary for Nigeria’s port to become the preferred destination in West and Central Africa.

Also, Hassan Bello, the former executive secretary and chief executive officer of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, and Pat Utomi, a political economist who, along with Olowookere, proposed that Nigeria needs to automate its port processes, eliminate bureaucracy, and build human capacities in order to achieve a competitive maritime industry, also spoke at the event.

Osun, NAF join forces to build world’s first and largest aviation city

The government of Osun State has teamed up with the Nigerian Air Force to create Africa’s first and largest aviation city in Ido-Osun.

According to the Oyetola administration, the initiative is part of its efforts to keep the dream of having an airport in Osun alive.

Governor Adegboyega Oyetola yesterday handed over the runway and airport corridor to kick off the project’s construction phase.

The Nigerian Air Force delegation to Osun was led by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Oladayo Amoo, who lauded Oyetola for what he described as a major milestone in the state’s history, describing the partnership as another developmental stride in the state.

According to him, the aviation city will be established following the relocation of the Force’s Research and Development Centre from Kaduna to Osogbo in 2021.

Amoo, who was represented by the Principal Director, Air Force Research and Development Centre, Air Vice Marshall Moses Onilede, said that “the project would include an aircraft manufacturing plant, a maintenance repair organization, and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle production center, among others.”

In addition, the aviation city consolidates the Nigerian Air Force Institute of Safety and a Special Operations Force Group at Ipetu-Ijesha.

Justice: Suspect in Chicago July 4 shooting indicted on 117 felonies

A man named Robert E Crimo III has been charged with opening fire on an Independence Day parade in the United States on July 4, 2022, killing seven people and injuring dozens more.

An eight-year-old boy, now paralysed from the waist down after his spine was severed in the shooting, is one of the casualties of Crimo’s rampage.

On Wednesday, a grand jury in Chicago, Illinois, indicted him on 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder, and 48 counts of aggravated battery.

“I want to thank law enforcement and the prosecutors who presented evidence to the grand jury today,” Eric Rinehart, the Attorney, Lake County State said in a statement. “Our investigation is ongoing, and our victim specialists are working around the clock to support all those affected by this crime, which resulted in the filing of 117 felony counts today.”

Also, authorities said the injured range in age from eight to 80 years old while a memorial has been set up for the victims of the mass shooting, which occurred during the parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois.

Similarly, in the George Floyd case, J Alexander Kueng, 28, and Tou Thao, 36, were sentenced by a US court.

In May 2020, George Floyd, a truck driver and security guard, was killed when Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for 9 minutes during an arrest.

The jury found that the two former cops, denied Floyd medical care and failed to assist him while their colleague Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck with his knee.

As Chauvin pinned Floyd’s neck, Kueng held Floyd’s back, officer Thomas Lane held his feet and Thao kept bystanders back during the killing, which was recorded on video by witnesses.

Chauvin was sentenced in February to 20 years and five months for federal charges related to Floyd’s murder in May 2020.

On Wednesday, US District Judge Paul Magnuson sentenced Tou Thao, 36, to three and a half years in prison and J Alexander Kueng, 28, to three years in prison at a hearing in St Paul, Minnesota.

Last Thursday, a third officer, Thomas Lane, 39, was as well sentenced to two and a half years in prison for his role in the murder of the truck driver and father of five children.

Winter: Europe on it toes as Nord Stream 20 percent cut comes into effect

On Wednesday, Russia’s state-owned gas giant Gazprom carried out its planned reduction in deliveries via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany, turning the fuel tap down to 20% capacity.

However, European Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson assured DW on Wednesday that the EU “will survive this winter.”

Germany’s Federal Network Agency, which regulates electricity, gas, telecommunications, postal services, and railways, also expressed optimism that the country’s gas storage facilities could still be filled by the start of winter, despite the reduced delivery rate.

Although Russia has blamed a faulty turbine for the reduction in gas supplies via Nord Stream 1, Christiane Hoffmann, a German government spokesperson, dismissed Russia’s claims, calling it a “power play.”

Meanwhile, the EU has an emergency deal in place that requires members to reduce their gas consumption by 15% in order to provide a safety margin in the event that Russia cuts off all supplies completely.

Read also: EU seeks gas from Nigeria to replace Russia

Inflation: US raises interest rates again

For the second time in a row, the Fed raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.75 percent. As inflation keeps rising to new highs, the interest rate was raised to its highest level in the past four years.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve increased its benchmark interest rate by 0.75 percentage points, bringing it to a range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent. The interest rate has increased for the fourth time since March, reaching its highest level since 2018.

Furthermore, the decision was made as inflation increased at its fastest rate in 41 years, to 9.1 percent.

The decision to raise interest rates was justified, according to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, by the fact that inflation is still “much too high.” He added that there may yet be another “unusually large” increase in the rate.

The central bank wants to make borrowing more expensive—for a car or a mortgage on a home, for example—so that consumers will borrow less and spend less. The hope is that the economy will then slow down and inflation will decrease.

But with the US economy already slowing down, the interest rate hike may be increasing the risk of inducing a recession.

With the upcoming midterm elections in November, the decline in consumer confidence could be bad news for President Joe Biden and his Democratic Party. The general unhappiness and decline in Biden’s popularity make it more likely that the Democrats will lose control of the House of Representatives and the Senate.