By Eric Elezuo
The Lagos arm of Skal International, a professional organization of tourism leaders around the world, saddled with the responsibility of promoting global tourism and friendship, has celebrated its 60th year anniversary with pomp and pageantry.
The all important event which took place at the Red Carpet Hall, Oniru, Lekki, Lagos, brought together the who is who in tourism, travels and hospitality industry in a warm atmosphere of networking, exhibition and class.
Kicking off the well-attended event, the President of Skal International Lagos, Mrs. Rita Obidike, gave a warm welcome to all members, who are better known and recognized as Skalleagues, as well as clients, friends and family members present, noting that without their support, little would have been achieved.
“Without the encouragement and support from members and friends of this great club, today wouldn’t have happened…In Skal, we are foremost friends before colleagues or skalleagues,” she said.
She applauded every member for the landmark achievement of hitting 60 without blemish while specially thanking past presidents, officials, members and even those on ‘sabbatical’ who have made the club’s continual existence a reality.
The never a dull moment programme was further enlivened with soulful performances by the Lady of Song, better known as the Elegant Stallion, Onyeka Onwenu. She literarily got everyone present on their feet as the sing and dance along with her in rapturous estacy.
Giving their keynote addresses, the two special guests of honour; Director, Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies (CIAPS), Prof. Anthony Kila, and Founder, Akwaaba African Travel Market, Mr. Ikechi Uko, shed extreme light into the tourism and travel business as the next frontier in foreign earnings.
The body, in its usual of rewarding excellence, honoured distinguished members of the club and public who have contributed immensely to the development of travels and tourism as well as hospitality in general.
Among those honoured and presented by plaques and certificates were the President of NANTA, Mr. Bankole Bernard; Lagos State Commissioner for Arts and Tourism, Mr. Steve Ayorinde; CEO, Akwaaba African Travel Market, Mr. Ikechi Uko; Mr. Efetobe Awanga, Mr. Olufemi Adefogbe and the Goge Africa Creators, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac and Nneka Moses.
Rounding off a programme filled with glitz and fanfare, the President of Skal International, Mrs. Lavonne Wittmann, who was represented by Mrs. Julie Skol, presented a goodwill message. She regretted her inability to be present and urged all Skalleagues to keep up networking as that is the only way to remain relevant in the industry.
“The African continent with its 54 countries urgently needs to have a bigger footprint in Skal International and a concerted effort by each member in Africa must be implemented as soon as possible as tourism in most African countries is their most important economic activity,” she noted.
The event was graced by the presence of very important personalities including a handsome representation of the Lagos state government.
The Skal Club Lagos was formed on February 4, 1959 as the 182nd member of the International Skal Club.
Police Arrest Six Cultists While Fighting over Gun Deal
Four Lagos-based suspected cultists and two others have been arrested by men of the Ogun State Police Command in Odogbolu.
The suspects were arrested while allegedly making arrangements to purchase a locally-made pistol for an operation.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, disclosed this on Wednesday in a statement.
Oyeyemi said Oluwadamilare Aboyeji, Matthew Adebiyi, Jacob Solomon and Iliasu Jubril were based in Ikorodu, Lagos State, while Segun Olubanjo and Samuel Olaniyan were based in Odogbolu.
According to the PPRO, the suspects were arrested on November 27, 2020 in Odogbolu when the four Lagos-based alleged cultists came to meet Olubanjo and Olaniyan to foment trouble as a result of a gun transaction between the two groups.
Oyeyemi said, “Investigation revealed that the Ikorodu-based suspects contracted Samuel Olaniyan to purchase a locally-made pistol for them, and when the gun was delivered, they discovered that the pistol was not serviceable; hence they came with full force to deal with the Odogbolu-based cultists for betraying their trust.
“While the pandemonium was going on, a distress call was made to the Odogbolu Division, consequence upon which the DPO, SP Awoniyi Adekunle, quickly led his men to the scene, where the six suspects were apprehended.
“Recovered from them were one locally-made pistol and two live cartridges.”
The PPRO added that the Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, had directed that the suspects and exhibits be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for further investigation with a view to charging them.
Nigeria’s Problem is Not Restructuring, But Hunger, Poverty, Says Amaechi
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, says the problem of Nigeria is not restructuring but hunger and poverty, which have led to insecurity in the country.
Speaking on Channels Television programme, Sunday Politics, Amaechi said he does not see anything wrong with calls for the restructuring of the country but insists that the Federal government is more concerned about tackling hunger and poverty.
“If to you, what is important is restructuring, I don’t see anything wrong with restructuring but I am saying it is not the most critical problem we have.
“The most critical problem we have is that hunger and poverty are breeding insecurity,” Amaechi said when asked his take on restructuring.
The former governor of Rivers State added that the President Muhammadu Buhari-administration is more concerned about reducing poverty in the country, and believes that creating jobs for the people will keep them away from crime.
“If you are able to create employment, you create security. If you like, hire as many men as you want to hire that are policemen, you would do nothing until you put food in the hands of people.
“When you do not create a legitimate economy, the people will create for themselves an illegitimate economy and be able to feed themselves.”
No More Drivers License without NIN, FRSC Tells Nigerians
Boboye Oyeyemi, Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), said the corps will introduce the National Identity Number (NIN) information for vehicle registration by the first quarter of 2021.
Mr Oyeyemi revealed this when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja on Friday.
The corps marshall said the essence of the NIN was to enhance road safety through the use of technology.
The FRSC boss also said that from December, driver’s licence would no longer be issued without the NIN information.
“I must commend the government. With the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), now we have one national database, one identity. You cannot use double identity now and with the biometrics, you cannot be funny.
“You know before some people have about five different identities but now you are forced to pick one. Once you pick one with NIMC that is what you will be using because it is now going to be as from next month (December). It is going to be compulsory.
“Now if you want to renew your driver’s licence or you want to obtain a fresh driver licence, you must provide your NIN. NIN is the first thing and with that, no biometrics will be done again they will import it from NIMC.
“So I am talking about using technology now to enhance security so with this I think we make progress we are really on course.”
The FRSC boss, Mr Oyeyemi, explained that only the Vehicles Inspection Office (VIO) was authorised to test applicants before prescribed fees could be paid to the state government through their internal revenue service.
He added that the VIO would, in turn, refer applicants for capturing which would be transferred to the database of the country.
“Now a lot of things have been occurring, you cannot get a licence by proxy, anybody that does not go for the physical capture for the first issuance of a licence is not a genuine licence, it is fake.
“I am happy when I came on board, I came on board in 2014, the first thing we did was to establish a verification portal. Where the portal is now done, all those with fake licences disappeared, they now had to go and do a new one.
“A fake licence is N25,000 to N30,000, an original licence is N6,350 but I won’t blame them, it is the ‘bigmanism.’ People are not ready to follow the process and along the line too this NIN information for drivers licence the same thing will come on board before the end of the first quarter next year for vehicle registration.
“If you want to register your vehicle, it is going to be compulsory for you to provide your NIN. These are parts of the security checks. So once you provide your NIN, it makes the matter to be simpler,” the FRSC official said.
He urged the country to take a cue from China and other developed countries that made use of technology to fight crime.
He commended the security agencies for making use of their unrestricted access to the database in checking corrupt practices in the system.
“I must commend all of them from EFCC, NFIU, ICPC, the military intelligence unit of the Army, Navy, Air force and DSS. This is what they are now using, the paperwork is no more because they have access to the database and they are utilizing it effectively.
“The country is growing even though I need to let people know the efforts of Mr President, the country is developing as par 21st technology innovation and we must just catch up with best practices.
“The best practice is for you to have the database that you can use to fight crime,’’ he said.