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National Theatre: Calzada Petitions CBN, Makes Demands

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Calzada Limited, an investor, has petitioned the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), demanding full compliance with concession bid for the National Theatre earlier conducted in 2015.

This is part of crisis arising from the Federal Government’s decision to hand over the facility to CBN, and the Bankers Committee.

Two other companies, Topwide Apeas and Jadeas Trust had gone to court over the facility with the case being slated for hearing on October 29, 2020.

The management of Calzada Limited, in its petition to the apex bank said it participated in a very competitive concession bid conducted by the Federal Government on ‘The Fallow Land around the National Theatre’ and emerged as the ‘Preferred Bidder.’

The Calzada said it had gone ahead after winning the bid, and began setting up structures and facilities for the project before the current government came into office and unilaterally put a wedge on its progress.

The letter dated July 17, 2020, entitled, ‘Re-Concession of the fallow land around the National Theatre in line with master plan (Nigeria Entertainment City)’ and was written by its legal representatives, Elias Mordi and Co.

The letter with subtitle, “Demand for Justice and Compliance with the bid awarded to Caldaza Limited,” reminded the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele that after the bidding, contested by seven other companies, the then Minister for Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, wrote and notified it (Caldaza) of haven emerged as the ‘Preferred Bidder’ for the project.

“Our client was shocked to learn, upon coming into force of the present government that the project has been taken off her shoulders and given to a third party company which never participated in the bidding exercise,” the petition added.

“More worrisome is the wave of news and information through print and electronic media that the federal government of Nigeria through the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers’ Committee have concluded plans to take over and indeed taken over, the same project which was duly awarded to our client which was driven out thereof in a Gestapo matter.

“We can confirm the assertion under this head as have learnt of suit No. FHC/L/CS/2932/2019 Topwides Apeas Ltd Vs National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria Board & 6 Ors pending before the Honourable Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi Lagos.

“Government is a continuum. And we, by this letter, and on behalf of our client (Calzada Ltd), call on your office and that of the Hon.

“Attorney General of the Federation which is the Chief Law Office of Nigeria to review the steps taken by the Federal Government of Nigeria and its agencies in this complaint and return the issues, subject matter and premises in question to status quo when our client was awarded the concession of the fallow lands of the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.

“We have overtime, searched every available records and cannot find where the selection of our client was faulted by any rightful authority and more worrisome is the way and manner the whole activities are being handled by persons our client cannot identify in the project.”

It warned that it would not hesitate to activate legal proceedings against all concerned if the grievances were not resolved and on time.


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WHO Confirms COVID-19 Vaccines in Phase 3 Clinical Trials

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Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, director-general, World Health Organisation (WHO), Monday, said that a number of vaccines are now in phase three clinical trials to prevent COVID-19 pandemic.

WHO Confirms COVID-19 Vaccines in Phase 3 Clinical Trials

Ghebreyesus who made this known at a virtual news conference at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva, said that: “ We all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection.

“However, there’s no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be; for now, stopping outbreaks comes down to the basics of public health and disease control.

“Testing, isolating and treating patients, tracing and quarantining their contacts. Do it all.

“Inform, empower and listen to communities. Do it all.

“For individuals, it’s about keeping physical distance, wearing a mask, cleaning hands regularly and coughing safely away from others. Do it all.’’

Ghebreyesus said the message to people and governments was clear: “Do it all, and when it’s under control, keep going! Keep strengthening the health system.

“Keep improving surveillance, contact tracing and ensure disrupted healthcare services are restarted as quickly as possible.

“Keep safeguards and monitoring in place, because lifting restrictions too quickly can lead to resurgence.

“Keep investing in the workforce and communicating and engaging communities.

“We have seen around the world, that it’s never too late to turn this pandemic around,’’ he said.

According to him, if we act together today, we can save lives, we can save livelihoods, if we do it all together.

He told journalists that the Emergency Committee on COVID-19 met on Friday and reviewed the current pandemic.

“It was a sobering moment coming six months on from when the committee advised.

“And, I agreed that the outbreak constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

“At the time, Jan. 30, there were fewer than 100 cases and no deaths outside of China.

“When the Committee met three months ago, three million cases of COVID-19 had been reported to WHO, and more than 200,000 deaths.

“Since then, the number of cases has increased more than five-fold to 17.5 million, and the number of deaths has more than tripled to 680,000,’’ the director-general said.


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Confusion as PR Firm Contradicts Shoprite Exit Rumour

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Contradicting statements from Shoprite, Africa’s largest retail chain, and Chastex Consult, public relations firm, have cast airs of confusion over the reported plans by Shoprite to exit the Nigerian market it entered 15 years ago.

Confusion as PR Firm Contradicts Shoprite Exit Rumour

Earlier on Monday, Shoprite, disclosed in a statement titled: “Operational and Voluntary Trading Update (52 Weeks Ended June 28, 2020), that “Following approaches from various potential investors and in line with our re-evaluation of the Group’s operating model in Nigeria, the Board has decided to initiate a formal process to consider the potential sale of all, or a majority stake, in Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Shoprite International Limited.

“As such, Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited may be classified as discontinued operation when Shoprite reports its results for the year. Any further updates will be provided to the market at the appropriate time,” the company explained.

It disclosed that its international supermarkets (excluding Nigeria) contributed 11.6 per cent to the group’s sales and reported 1.4 per cent decline in sales from 2018. South African operations contributed 78 per cent of overall sales and saw 8.7 per cent rise for the year.

It stated that despite difficult circumstances occasioned by the Covid-19 lockdown and accompanying regulations governing trade, transport and operations, the group increased total sale of merchandise for the 52-week to June 28, 2020 (including the impact of hyperinflation in the prior year), by 6.4 per cent to approximately R156.9 billion.

But Chastex Consult, PR firm handling Shoprite claimed that “Shoprite is not leaving Nigeria”

Ini Archibong, country director, Chastex Consult, said Shoprite is only allowing Nigerian investors into the South African retail company, and not packing up from Nigeria.

According to him, the superstore giant won’t shutdown its $30 billion investment as it makes no sense, “Shoprite is not leaving Nigeria.

“We have only just opened to Nigerian investors which we have also been talking to just before now. We are not leaving, who leaves over a $30billion invest and close shop? It doesn’t sound right. We only just given this opportunity to Nigeria investors to come in and also help drive our expansion plan in Nigeria. So we are not leaving.

“I have tried to say this as too many people as I can. There should be no panic at all and all of that. There is no truth in that report.” Archibong told Vanguard in a report.

 


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Why We Sacked Pilots-Air Peace

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Air Peace, Nigeria’s biggest carrier Air Peace has confirmed the sack of some of its staff due to the “devastating effect of COVID-19 pandemic.

Why We Sacked Pilots-Air Peace

The airline said it took the “very painful but rightful decision, in the circumstances the airline has found itself as a result of the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations and financial health.”

In a statement, the airline said: “This decision was taken for the greater good of the company and its almost 3000 workforce, the affected pilots inclusive.

“The airline cannot afford to toe the path of being unable to continue to fulfil its financial obligations to its staff, external vendors, aviation agencies, maintenance organizations, insurance companies, banks and other creditors hence the decision to restructure its entire operations with a view to surviving the times.

“The pandemic has hit every airline worldwide so badly that it has become very impossible for airlines to remain afloat without carrying out an internal restructuring of their costs.

“Anything short of what we have done may lead to the collapse of an airline as could be seen in some places worldwide during this period. “Therefore, we decided to review the salaries being paid to all staff. The new salaries reflect a 0%-40% cut of the former salary depending on the salary grades of every staff.

“Even after the cuts, it was obvious that for us to be able to sustain our operations and survive the times, some jobs must inevitably have to go.

“Air Peace has never, for one day, ever owed salaries to its workers in its almost six years of existence, pilots inclusive. Rather the management of Air Peace has always been known to be increasing salaries of its employees periodically without being prompted by staff.

“In fact, in one fell swoop, Air Peace increased the salaries of pilots by over 100% in one day! Our salaries have always been paid even before the end of the month in the last five years! So we love all our staff.”

According to the airline, the decision is inevitable under the circumstances it found itself. “In order to protect the continuity of the majority of the existing jobs and the possibility of creating new ones in future, the survival of the airline is of paramount importance.

“When everything comes back to normal those pilots affected today will have a place to come back to in the future if they so wish.

“The decision is a reflection of the negative impact of the pandemic on airlines and aviation worldwide. We are in trying times.

“Even the biggest airlines in Europe, America, Middle East, Asia, Australia and, indeed, Africa, are all either slashing jobs and cutting salaries in order to remain afloat or are shutting down. Air Peace is not immune to these challenges.”

 

 

 

 


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