Lagos Tops Ogun in Manufacturing Investments for 2nd year in a Roll

Lagos has once again overtaken Ogun State, once touted as Nigeria’s industrial hub, in manufacturing investments. This is coming on the back of a new wave of poor doing business practices that have dogged Ogun in the last two years.

Lagos got 52 percent of total manufacturing investments in 2018 as against Ogun State’s 34 percent, data from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), a group with over 2,500 investors, show.

While Lagos, which includes Apapa and Ikeja industrial zones, got total investments valued at N287.16 billion out of the total N552.64 billion, Ogun got N186.47 billion.

In 2017, Ogun mustered only 28.59 percent of the total N329.94 billion invested that year, whereas Lagos got 50.11 percent.

But this was not so between 2014 and 2016, when 50 to 70 percent of investments in agro processing, heavy and light manufacturing went to Ogun, while Lagos attracted less than 20 percent of the total.

The elephants in the room are multiple taxes charged by Ogun State and poor state of roads left unattended to by the state government, which seems more interested in revenue collection than attracting more investors, manufacturers say.

“I will like to put on record that the only motorable road within the OPIC Estate was constructed by members of MAN within the estate,” Paul Gbededo, group managing director, Flour Mills of Nigeria plc, told Dapo Abiodun, governor-elect of Ogun State, on April 11.

Gbededo’s reference was to the dismal state of roads at Agbara, one of the major industrial clusters in Ogun, which also hosts Unilever, Pharma Deko, Beloxxi Industries and Nestlé Nigeria, among many others.

We gathered that the government in 2018 asked manufacturers operating within the zone to contribute 30 percent while the state contributes 70 percent for the rehabilitation of the roads.

Gbededo said reconstruction of Agbara/Atan road was critical, adding that though manufacturers were willing to collaborate with the government on the project, government needed to take the lead in ensuring its proper and timely completion.

At the meeting, Seleem Adegunwa, chairman of MAN, Ogun State chapter, explained to Governor-elect Abiodun that the activities of government agencies, particularly the Ministry of Environment, were sometimes inimical to investments.

Ogun State is currently Nigeria’s leading industrial hub, with virtually all the large enterprises in Lagos having a factory in the state. But the state is hard hit by insecurity, poor infrastructure and money-chasing regulatory agencies hampering investments. Recently, Procter&Gamble, located in Agbara, which was until July 2018 United States’ biggest non-oil investment in the country, packed up.

In 2018, manufacturers told us that they pay a large number of taxes in Ogun each month, including those demanded by the Federal Government.

They added that things were becoming more predictable in Lagos and less so in Ogun as many government agencies demanded the same fees and levies in Ogun.

“Ogun is gradually becoming less organised,” said Olusegun Osidipe, director of research and statistics at MAN.

“Many things are still handled manually in Ogun, but you can easily check who owns a piece of land on the system in Lagos. You know how much to pay on Land Use Charge in Lagos, but not so in Ogun,” Osidipe said in 2018.

In the first half (H1) and second half (H2) of 2018, Ogun got N95.31 billion (out of total N305.56 billion) and N91.16 billion (out of total N247.08 billion), respectively, while Ikeja got N54.8 billion in H1 of 2018 and N85.76 billion in H2 of 2018. Similarly, Apapa got N93.31 billion in H1 and N53.29 billion in H2 of 2018.

Compare these with previous data. In 2014, for instance, manufacturers invested N691.77 billion, out of which N514.87 billion went to Ogun State, representing 74.42 percent of the total.


Apapa and Ikeja in Lagos contributed N15 billion and N85 billion to the investments, respectively, representing a combined 15 percent of the total.

Also, out of the N180.12 billion invested in the manufacturing and agro-allied industries in Nigeria in the first six months of 2015, N128.3 billion went to Ogun, representing 71.23 percent. Ikeja and Apapa industrial zones got N15.74 billion and N6.98 billion, representing 8.7 percent and 3.9 percent share of the total, respectively.

Similarly, manufacturing investments worth N309.33 billion were made in H2 2015, out of which N302.26 billion went to Ogun, representing 97.7 percent of the total. Apapa and Ikeja shared the remaining less than 3 percent with other industrial zones across the country.

In the first half of 2016, total investments estimated at N54.55 billion were made by manufacturers in the country, out of which N37.51 billion moved to Ogun within the period. This means that 69 percent of all investments within H1 of 2016 were channelled to Ogun State. Apapa and Ikeja shared the remaining 31 percent with other industrial zones such as Edo/Delta, Imo/Abia, Oyo/Ondo/Osun/Ekiti, Kano/Sharada/Challawa, Kano Bompai,

Anambra/Enugu, Bauchi/Benue/Plateau, Rivers, Kwara, and Abia.
In the second half of 2016, MAN survey shows that N313.62 billion worth of investments were directed to Ogun out of the total N448.94 billion. This represents 70 percent of the total.

Source: By Odinaka Audu

Poor Hygiene: Feces Infested Stream Used by FCT Meat Butchers

Some butchers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have called on the FCT Minister Mohammed Bello to intervene over lack of basic amenities in abattoirs across the territory.

The butchers, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kuje, Deidei and Dutse on Thursday decried the poor attention given to abattoirs in the territory.

NAN visits to some of the abattoirs indicates that the butchers operate without water, electricity and good roads as they were seen washing roasted meats in streams.

Alhaji Bala Ismaila, the Head of Butchers of Kuje Abattoir, told NAN that lack of water and the deplorable state of the road to the abattoir had been of serious concern to the butchers.

He said the dilapidated state of the slaughterhouse and the difficulties of conveying meat to the market had been a threat to meat business in the area.

Ismaila said that butchers had resorted to slaughtering of cows in open spaces because of lack of water and the deplorable state of the slaughterhouse.

Some of the butchers washing a butchered cow in an open stream

“We have been trying to discourage meat consumers from coming to the abattoir because most of them will be discouraged from patronising us after seeing our operating environment.

“Presently, we are slaughtering cows in an open environment instead of using the slaughterhouse because there is no water in the abattoir for over four years.

“The most unhygienic part of it is that we have been using stream water to wash roasted meat as you can see the environment, people defecate and throw it inside the stream but we have no option.

“We are appealing to the relevant authorities, especially the FCT Minister and the Chairman of Kuje Area Council to come to the aid of the butchers in the interest of meat consumers,” he said.

Mr Salisu Ahmed, a butcher in Kuje Abattoir, said that the slaughterhouse was built over 25 years ago by Alhaji Jibrin Wowo-led administration of the council.

Ahmed said that Mr Danladi Zhin-led administration sunk borehole and connected water to the slaughter house over six years ago.

“The borehole was vandalised shortly after its inauguration and since then, we have been operating without good source of water despite efforts to get the attention of the Area Council.

“Successive administrations of the council since 2012 have not shown interest in providing basic amenities in the abattoir and yet we pay N500 as revenue to the Area Council for each cow slaughtered.

“So there is no reason why the Area Council should not provide the needed amenities in the abattoir,” he said.

At the Deidei abattoir, butchers lamented the deplorable state of market and the road linking the abattoir.

Malam Sada Muhammad, Head of Butcher of the Deidei Abattoir, said that members and traders in the market suffered losses due to lack of water, electricity and bad road.

Muhammad said that traders and butchers suffer more during the raining season because of the difficulties in gaining entrance into the market.

He said except urgent steps are taken to rehabilitate the road and provide basic amenities in the abattoir, the suffering of the butchers and meat consumers would continue.

He, therefore, appealed to the authorities of FCT and Abuja Municipal Area Council to come to the aid of butchers and meat consumers in the area.

Malam Shehu Abubakar, the Chairman of Deidei Market Association, said that the challenge of providing basic amenities in markets and abattoirs was not peculiar to Deidei market.

He said that most markets and abattoirs in the FCT were facing similar problems but appealed to relevant authorities to find lasting solution to them.

“This is my 42 years in meat business. I have been to some markets and abattoirs and I can tell you that they all have similar problems.

“The problem all over is the problem of water to clean slabs after slaughtering and this has been a major challenge to butchers because of smell and difficulty in managing the slaughterhouses without water.

“Since there is no water in the abattoir, we sometimes go to the river behind to slaughter the cow and use the flowing water to wash the meat.

“We know that the water we are using is not very clean but we are using it because there is no option,” he said.

Abubakar said an average of 300 cows and 3,000 goats were slaughtered daily and for the pay revenue of N2,000 and N200 per cow and goat.

He said that part of the N2,000 revenue was given to AMAC, another part to police for security while the remaining part was used to take care of members.

“We are appealing to the FCT Administration to come to our aid in the interest of the butchers and meat consumers.

“Our major challenge now is the state of the road linking the abattoir because the culvert on the road is in a deplorable state and can cut off anytime.

“Our appeal is for the relevant authorities to fix the road to ensure easy movement of goods and services,” he said.

Malam Yisa Hassan, a butcher in Duste Cattle Market, said the market currently being used by the butchers was not legally allocated to them.

He called on the Bwari Area Council to provide a permanent market for the butchers.

Earlier, Mr Sani Mohammed, Head of Environment, Health and Sanitation Department, Kuje Area Council, said a committee had been set up to look into the challenges of butchers in the council.

dailydispatch

National grid suffers 6 system collapses in 4months

The national grid has suffered six system collapses in the first four months of the year, implying more setbacks for the nation’s power sector, in spite of ample investment by the Federal Government through the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, to stabilise the grid.

This development undermined distribution of electricity to Nigerian households, resulting to intermittent darkness. Electricity System collapse is witnessed when a system disturbance occurs with the grid not being able to withstand the disturbance, which usually leads to a blackout or abnormally low voltage in a significant part of the power system.

A report obtained by Vanguard from the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, PWH, shows that total collapse occurred five times in January, while one partial collapse was witnessed in April. The report also showed that seven Generating Companies, GENCOs in the country are yet to generate any megawatt to the national grid.

The seven GENCOs include Alaoji NIPP, Afam IV-V, Ibom, ASCO, A.E.S, Trans Amadi, Egbin ST6. A source who spoke on condition of anonymity told Vanguard that the major reason why the GENCOs were not able to generate electricity to the grid was as a result of non-availability of gas due to accumulated debts.

Furthermore, a report obtained from the office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, shows that, an estimated amount of N161 billion was lost to an insufficient gas supply, distribution, transmission and water reserves from January to April 15, 2019. Commenting, Chief Executive Officer, All-On, a renewable energy company, Mr. Wiebe Boer blamed this development on bad-grid investment decisions in the power sector value chain. He said:

“There are enormous bad-grid investment opportunities in high-density low-income urban areas in Nigeria. This is not just a deeply rural play. “Nigeria is coming from over four decades of underinvestment in the power sector, resulting in 120 million Nigerians in either a no-grid or bad-grid situation.

“This is more people than the entire population of the next largest African country and almost the population of all of the rest of West Africa. The energy gap serves as the foundation for a lot of the challenges the nation faces; health, education, insecurity, unemployment, environmental pollution, amongst others.

“We have an installed capacity of approximately 10,000 megawatts, MW and a distributed capacity of just over 4,000MW on a good day; to serve a population of about 198 million persons in 2019, despite numerous projections to increase capacity over the years that have not materialized. “This is not acceptable.

We cannot continue to be the nation of perpetual darkness. We cannot continue to normalize this and just accept that in Nigeria power will always be a problem – and the national excuse for why we haven’t achieved what we should have as a nation.

“We need to make sure that the on-grid and off-grid section of the power chain do not drift apart so wide that they cannot seek common ground. The power gap is too massive for either one to solve, and we are better off through collaboration”.

Source: By Prince Okafor

France’s Macron vows to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral within 5 years

The French president has announced a funding campaign to rebuild Notre Dame after it was partially gutted in a fire. A crane and a delivery of timber have already arrived, with a view to starting the restoration quickly.

French President Emmanuel Macron committed on Tuesday to rebuilding Notre Dame Cathedral within five years after the Paris landmark was partially gutted in a devastating fire.

“We will rebuild Notre Dame even more beautifully and I want it to be completed in five years, we can do it,” Macron said in a television address to the nation.

Describing Notre Dame as “the epicenter of our life,” Macron had earlier announced that a fundraising campaign would begin Tuesday and called on the world’s “greatest talents” to help rebuild the cathedral.

Building teams brought a large crane and planks of wood onto the site on Wednesday morning, with plans already in place to begin the reconstruction effort.

A section of the vault collapsed into the interior after the roof and spire were completely destroyed in the fire

French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, who is married to actress Salma Hayek, immediately pledged €100 million ($113 million) towards “the effort necessary to completely rebuild Notre Dame.”

The CEO of the Kering group, which owns the Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent fashion houses, said the money would be paid by the Pinault family’s investment firm, Artemis.

Later on Tuesday, a second French billionaire, Bernard Arnault of Christian Dior SE and the sprawling luxury goods empire LVMH, promised €200 million ($226 million) to the reconstruction efforts. That was followed by a €100-million pledge from French oil company Total.

Germany offers help

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas offered Berlin’s support, saying the fire “struck at the heart of all of Europe.”

“We offer France the assistance it desires,” said Maas. “Specialists in Germany and France are already working together. All of Europe is with France today.”

Peter Füssenich, the architect who led restoration work at Cologne’s Dom Cathedral, said that “just by seeing the images on TV, you know that it will not just take years to deal with the damage, but that it’s going to take decades.

Long probe

Speaking outside the cathedral, Macron said the “the worst had been avoided” after firefighters managed to contain the fire following a collapse of the spire and the wooden roof structure went up in flames. Miraculously, only a small part of the vault appeared to have collapsed into the interior and firefighters were able to save valuable relics and pieces of art.

Paris fire brigade chief Jean-Claude Gallet said the main structure of Notre Dame had been saved and preserved, as well as the two rectangular towers at its facade. The fire service said the blaze had been fully extinguished on Tuesday morning.

Paris public prosecutor Remy Heitz on Tuesday said that an investigation into the causes would be “long and complex.”

Laurent Nunez, state secretary in the Interior Ministry told French broadcaster BFM TV that the next step would be assessing how well the core structure had fared in the blaze and establishing if the building was stable. A group of architects and experts will be convened to decide how best to proceed.

DW

California Home Sales Remain Stable in March

According to the California Association of Realtors, lower interest rates in more than a year have boosted California’s housing market and kept home sales level in March 2019, after an exceptionally strong performance the previous month.

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 397,210 units in March, according to information from C.A.R. The statewide annualized sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2019 if sales maintained the March pace throughout the year. It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

March’s sales figure was down 0.2 percent from the revised 398,040 level in February and down 6.3 percent from home sales in March 2018 of 423,990.

“The lowest interest rates in more than a year gave would-be buyers the confidence to enter the housing market and provided a much-needed push to jump-start the spring homebuying season,” said C.A.R. President Jared Martin. “Pending sales also showed healthy improvement in March, which suggests a brighter market outlook could be in place in the second quarter.”

After hitting the lowest level in 12 months in February 2019, the statewide median home price bounced back and reached the highest point since October 2018. The statewide median home price rose 5.9 percent to $565,880 in March from $534,140 in February and was up 0.2 percent from a revised $564,820 in March 2018.

“The median price has been softening since it reached a peak last summer, and March’s year-over-year price increase was the smallest in seven years,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “The flattening home prices, coupled with low mortgage rates, bode well for housing affordability and may bring more buyers who may have given up back to the market.”

Other key points from C.A.R.’s March 2019 resale housing report include:

  • Sales dropped on a non-seasonally adjusted annual basis in all major regions, with double-digit sales declines in the Los Angeles Metro, Inland Empire regions and San Francisco Bay Area while the Central Coast and Central Valley regions experienced single-digit declines.
  • Non-seasonally adjusted sales in the San Francisco Bay Area were down 10.8 percent from March 2018. Home sales in all of the nine Bay Area counties fell from a year ago, especially in Napa and Sonoma counties, which suffered the largest decreases.
  • The Los Angeles Metro region posted a non-seasonally adjusted year-over-year sales drop of 12 percent, with home sales falling in every county. Ventura had the biggest decline in sales, while San Diego dropped the least.
  • Home sales in the Inland Empire declined 10.4 percent from a year ago as Riverside and San Bernardino counties posted annual sales declines of 9.3 percent and 12.2 percent, respectively.
  • At the regional level, the median home price increased in Southern California and the Central Valley region while dipping in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Central Coast regions. On a year-over-year basis, the Bay Area median price dipped 4.1 percent from March 2018. The decline was the largest year-over-year drop since January 2012 and the first back-to-back decrease since early 2012. Only Napa County recorded an annual price increase.
  • In the Southern California region, home prices increased in San Bernardino, Riverside and Ventura while they declined in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.

  • Active listings continued to climb from the prior year, increasing 13.8 percent from last March. It was the 12th consecutive month active listings rose year-over-year and the ninth month in a row they grew double digits from the prior year. The pace of increase, however, was the slowest since July 2018, and the growth rate has been decelerating since December 2018.
  • The Unsold Inventory Index (UII), which is a ratio of inventory over sales, improved on a year-over-year basis but decreased on a month-to-month basis. The Unsold Inventory Index was 3.6 months in March, down from 4.6 months in February but up from 2.9 months in March 2018. The index measures the number of months it would take to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate. The jump in the UII from a year ago can be attributed to the moderate sales decline and the sharp increase in active listings.
  • The median number of days it took to sell a California single-family home fell from 33 days in February to 25 days in March. It took a median number of 16 days to sell a home in March 2018.
  • C.A.R.’s statewide sales-price-to-list-price ratio* was 98.5 percent in March 2019 compared to 100 percent in March 2018.
  • The average statewide price per square foot** for an existing, single-family home statewide was $277 in March 2019 and $276 in March 2018.
  • The 30-year, fixed-mortgage interest rate averaged 4.27 percent in March, down from 4.44 percent in March 2018, according to Freddie Mac. The five-year, adjustable mortgage interest rate also declined in March to an average of 3.83 percent from 3.65 in March 2018.

Worldpropertyjournal

The Growing Fight in South Africa over Land and Identity

“Not much in life is more beautiful than that, eh?” she asked.

At 51 years old, Hall is a white farmer in South Africa with expansive land to hold her cattle, corn, and pigs. She said it’s what she was meant to do. “Farming was in our bones; it was in our blood,” she said. “This is our passion, this is our life.” Hall is an Afrikaner, descended from the Europeans who colonized South Africa.

“This is my home,” she said. On the other side of the country is Gary Coetzee. He, too, is a South African farmer. He, too, loves his land. “I’m in the Garden of Eden,” he said, on an afternoon drive through Robertson, about an hour outside of Cape Town. His claim to the land is different. He’s part of the Khoisan tribe, the indigenous people of South Africa who were there long before anyone else.

“This land is ancestral land, it’s our land,” Coetzee said. “If you take it from us, we will all die.”

Land expropriation without compensation

This divide is part of a bitter battle in South Africa. It all revolves around a controversial governmental proposal to seize land from white farmers without paying for it — land expropriation without compensation, as it’s known.

“What it means is essentially ‘take land from the white people.’ That’s all that it means,” said Moeletsi Mbeki, deputy chairman at the South African Institute of International Affairs.

Since the end of apartheid — once South Africa’s system of legal segregation — the nation’s leading political party, the African National Congress, has followed a “willing seller, willing buyer” model whereby the government buys white-owned farms for redistribution to black farmers.

Now, the ANC is proposing a constitutional amendment to institutionalize this model. It has been a long and drawn out process, going through several sessions of public review throughout the country, as well as parliamentary hearings.

The ANC and other parties that support the proposal say that they are doing this to right the wrongs of the country’s colonialist past. Before apartheid was instituted, a 1913 law prevented people of color from holding property, a practice that continued to the end of apartheid. Black and colored South Africans were shipped off farmlands to tightly packed townships rife with poverty and violence.

Whites in South Africa own over 70% of the farm and agricultural holdings in the country despite people of color making up 90% of the population, according to a 2017 South African Department of Rural Development and Land Reform Land Audit.

“I am going through this because someone referred to the original sin that was committed in this country — the taking of land from the indigenous people of this country,” Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s president, said last year. “We are all called upon and enjoined to heal the divisions and the pain of the past and this is a collective task.”

‘Where am I going to go?’

For Hall, the policy is not only unfair, it’s immoral.

“Well, [this policy] wouldn’t be fair. I mean, I legally bought this farm,” she told “Nightline” co-anchor Byron Pitts. “I worked to be able to do that. Now you come in. You take this farm and I’ve got to disappear. Where am I going to go to?”

She feels her stake in her land is deeply personal; it is the land that she fought for and where her husband died.

Seven years ago, she and her husband, David, were gearing up for their day, when she saw something on the horizon.

“I saw five black men approaching,” she recalled. “I said to David that they’re coming in, they’ve got guns.”

She then recounted a horrific tale. The men overpowered her and David, tying her husband up and shooting him in the head.

“Unfortunately that is something that you relive every time you talk about it,” she said. “You smell the people, taste the blood. You feel the fear, you hear the voices. It’s literally as if it happens over again.”

She said that it took her some time not to hate all black people for what happened to her husband.

“You go through stages where you see a black face and you hate him,” she said. “It’s his fault, whether they are responsible for what happened or not — but it’s part of a grieving process. ”

“I can’t hate you for what five people came and did here,” she continued. “I can’t hate a whole nation for what five people did.”

But she does believe that racial tensions are real and that the hatred of her race led to her husband’s death.

“There is an absolute hate for white South Africans because we are seen as the people going ahead and leaving them behind,” she said.

“White genocide”

Cases like Hall’s have led to an international outcry that a white genocide is taking place in the country.

In Australia, at a rally in support of South Africa’s Afrikaners, Senator Fraser Anning declared that “this is the start of a genocide as far as I’m concerned.”

Ian Cameron, the head of community safety at AfriForum, an organization that says it protects Afrikaner rights, said that the brutality he’s seen in these farm attacks justifies the term “genocide.”

“I’ve come to the point — and maybe I’m a little bit biased because of a lot of the time that I’ve spent on the ground — where I don’t blame people for using it in certain cases,” said Cameron.

This terminology, often used by nationalist and racist sites like the Daily Stormer, seemed to be echoed by the language of President Donald Trump.

In August, he tweeted that he was asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “study” the expropriations in the country.

In response, the South African government said that his tweet was misinformed.

But experts say that such terminology is dangerous.

“The narrative that is being peddled internationally, which is alarmist, is that there’s a genocide against white people in South Africa,” said Gareth Newham, head of the justice and violence prevention program at the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa. “And that is probably the most egregious statement because there’s no data to support that whatsoever.”

In fact, Newham said, farm murders are down from last year. He said that farmers, regardless of race, are more frequently targeted for violence than other groups because they live in remote areas, often with money and weapons on the property.

“Young black males are far more likely to be victims of murder than any other population group in South Africa,” Newham said.

Last month, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan visited South Africa and met with officials after President Trump ordered an investigation.

“There’s some misinformation in the United States,” Sullivan said. “The issue is very complex, and I don’t think it has translated well across the ocean, and been covered with the depth and the perspective that’s necessary.”

“My plea was for transparency in how this land reform is going to be accomplished,” he continued.

‘Our DNA is connected to this land’

For Coetzee, he said that attention should still be paid to what people of color in South Africa still don’t have. He said that his land, for which he has the title and deed, restricted him from farming or mining on it.

“This is so unfair,” he said. “I feel like I’m in prison.”

When contacted by ABC News, a spokesperson for the Langeburg municipality that oversees his land, said that Coetzee has not been prevented from farming and added that he has only submitted an application to mine. They did not comment on whether his application to mine had been approved. The municipality, according to court filings, has disputed the validity of his deed.

Zanele Lwana, vice president of the militant group “Black First Land First,” said that their struggle is one for equity.

“We are black, we were oppressed and segregated and massacred on the basis that we are black and not white,” Lwana said. “It cannot be that, 24 years into democracy, to be poor means to be to black and to be rich means to be white. It means there’s something wrong.”

For now, the National Assembly has adjourned until after elections in May and it remains to be seen whether or not the constitutional amendment will pass.

With her life on hold, Hall said, all she can do is hope.

“You’ve got to find the beautiful in the morning,” she said. “How do you lift your head up without something to strive for?”

For Coetzee, the promise of land reform beckons.

“They take our language away, they took our culture and traditions away. They took a lot of things away,” he said. “There must be a day where we say ‘today it’s like judgment day.'”

Candace Smith

The 20 Best US Cities to Live in

The United States is filled with world-class cities and under-the-radar attractions worth visiting year-round. But when it comes time to settle down, some spots are better than others.

U.S. News & World Report just released this year’s list of the best places to live in America after evaluating the country’s 125 most populous metropolitan areas. Several factors were considered, including affordability, job prospects and quality of life. Data such as crime rates, availability of health care and median household income was used in conjunction with results from polls. For example, they asked 2,500 people from all over the country where they’d prefer to live to create a desirability index. Net migration — how many people are moving to or away from each metro area — was also a significant factor when coming up with the final ranking.

So, which cities topped the list?

AUSTIN NAMED NO. 1 PLACE TO LIVE IN THE U.S.

For the third year in a row, Austin, Texas, took the No. 1 spot. Although the number of people moving to the state capital has decreased, it scored high in desirability, and its net migration score was still higher than that of most cities.

Colorado cities took the next two spots, with Denver and Colorado Springs ranking second and third, respectively. Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Des Moines, Iowa, rounded out the top five, proving that coastal cities are no longer dominating.

“Our Northeastern cities, which are epicenters of higher education and economic development, are not growing nearly as much as places in Florida, California and Texas,” Devon Thorsby, real estate editor for U.S. News & World Report, said in a statement. “Plus, they are expensive to live in. Top-ranked places have the characteristics people are looking for, including steady job growth, affordability and a high quality of life.”

While the majority of the top 25 best places to live are located in the middle of the country, the Pacific Northwest is still popular thanks to its tech boom. San Francisco — which moved up from No. 20 to No. 7 — Portland, Oregon, and Seattle all took spots in the top 10. Incredibly, only one Northeast city cracked the top 20. Washington, D.C., dropped to No. 19 after ranking No. 8 last year due to a decrease in housing affordability and net migration. Portland, Maine, was the next closest city, coming in at the 23rd spot, while New York City sat way down at No. 90 on the list.

Florida is also a state of note this year as Sarasota debuted at No. 18, with the highest net migration score and increases in desirability, affordability, quality of life and job growth. Tampa also ranked well in terms of housing affordability, net migration, quality of life and job market scores, helping it climb to No. 56 from No. 75.

And there were standouts in particular categories. Huntsville, Alabama, had the best housing affordability, while San Jose, California, had the highest salary.

In terms of the worst places to live, San Juan, Puerto Rico — which is still recovering from 2017’s devastating Hurricane Maria — ranked last again, while several California cities, including Bakersfield, Stockton and Modesto, filled out the bottom of the list. Not surprisingly, New York had the worst commute, with Washington, D.C., a close second.

How does your city rank? Check out the list below.

20 BEST U.S. CITIES TO LIVE IN

1. Austin, Texas

2. Denver, Colorado

3. Colorado Springs, Colorado

4. Fayetteville, Arkansas

5. Des Moines, Iowa

6. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

7. San Francisco, California

8. Portland, Oregon

9. Seattle, Washington

10. Raleigh & Durham, North Carolina

11. Huntsville, Alabama

12. Madison, Wisconsin

13. Grand Rapids, Michigan

14. San Jose, California

15. Nashville, Tennessee

16. Asheville, North Carolina

17. Boise, Idaho

18. Sarasota, Florida

19. Washington, D.C.

20. Charlotte, North Carolina

 

Source: Jordi Lippe-McGraw

Private developers’ encroachment into airport land threatens sec

The continued unchecked encroachment of private developers into the airport land at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos could further weaken security at the airport.

Coming at a time when airline operators and passengers have repeatedly complained about stolen cargo at the airside, industry experts say private developers erecting structures on the airport land could lead to serious security breach.

The experts have been lamenting that the absence of comprehensive security and perimeter fencing at the airport gives unscrupulous people undue access to restricted areas of the airside, heightening insecurity at the airport.

Visit to the airside last week showed a number of buildings have sprung up very close to the airside, while some others still had scaffolding.

This is in gross violation of provisions of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as contained in documents 8973 on Aviation Security, which state that private and public structures including roads should have a space of at least 6 metres from the airport perimeter fences.

Another document as provided by ICAO 11.2.2.9 states: “Whenever possible, the ground on both sides of a perimeter fence should be cleared in order to establish an exclusion zone (a distance of about 3 metres from the fence is recommended) that would remove cover for any intruders, and should be kept clear of obstructions, such as lamp posts, signposts, equipment, vehicles, and trees, that may assist an intruder to climb the fence. The fence may have to be set from the actual site boundary to leave an unobstructed area outside the fence.”

While our correspondent was unable to ascertain how the private developers got the land in the first place, experts say irrespective of how they got it, the development questions the ability of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to adequately secure the airport.

John Ojikutu, aviation security consultant and secretary-general of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), told us that these ICAO provisions are not adhered with at MMIA, “from Ikeja along and Santos Estates to Akowonjo, Egbeda, Shasha, Ejigbo, Ajao Estate, amongst others”.

“How we get over the various ICAO security audits on these, from 2008 when I started getting involved in Nigeria airports security audits, beats my imagination. FAAN needs to do more work that has remained unattended to for nearly 20 years,” Ojikutu said.

The failure to adhere to these provisions is adding to the security woes experienced at the airport as several citizens have had sad tales in recent times.
Atedo Peterside, chairman of ANAP Jets, last week said his jet was robbed on the tarmac of MMIA in Lagos while awaiting approval for take-off. According to him, the incident occurred at about 8:00p.m last Sunday, and he was amazed at the ability of unscrupulous persons to gain access to the airport.

Peterside stressed that the incident showed that the Lagos airport was insecure and as the nation’s busiest airport, concerned authorities should be worried about what happened.
“When they opened the cargo hold, they saw only one bag in it and they took it. They would have taken all the bags if there were more bags there. What this shows is that Lagos airport is vulnerable in terms of security. If the security at the airport is fortified, they should not have been able to enter there at all,” he said.

He also expressed concern over the untamed bushes that grow around the airport and said these bushes provide thieves areas to hide and carry out their unscrupulous acts.
Early in December 2017, there were reports that a private jet was attacked on the runway18R of the airport by unknown bandits while taxiing to the hangar of Evergreen Apple Nigeria (EAN) Ltd. The jet was said to be arriving from Istanbul between 2110 and 2130hrs after landing in Lagos.

READ ALSO: FIRE RAZES SECTION OF IMO AIRPORT

Last year, a private jet conveying two known Nigerian musicians, Tiwa Savage and Wizkid, from Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, was allegedly robbed while taxiing on the runway.

“The airport is within complicated road networks and uncontrolled urban development. Rather than the airport to develop into its own land, unfortunately, the private developers are encroaching into the airport land without restrictions from the responsible airport authorities,” Ojikutu said.

“It is very doubtful if the airport authorities have sufficient documents to prove the extent and ownership of the land said to be designated as either Ikeja Airport or later Murtala Muhammed Airport. FAAN has a lot of work to do to get those who have encroached into its land around the airport,” he said.

He also suggested that FAAN should begin to consider the provision of a secondary fence as security fence if enhancing the perimeter fence as security fence is not feasible because of the magnitude of the violations of the standards along the length of the perimeter fence.

“The perimeter fences are obligations to standards Annex 14 (Aerodrome Standards) while the provision of security fence is an obligation to standards in Annex 17 (Aviation Security). If we cannot or have not enhanced the perimeter of the airports or provide a secondary fence as the security fence, we are not complying with the minimum standards,” he said.

READ ALSO: ECHOSTONE NIGERIA EYES KENYAN MARKET WITH ITS AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROGRAMS

However, Henrietta Yakubu, general manager, corporate affairs of FAAN, told us that the recent cargo theft at the airport has nothing to do with the encroachment of buildings into the airside, adding that there are fences round about MMIA.

“We have done an expansion and the airside is completely blocked and there is no access to the airside. I can tell you that there are no incursions,” Yakubu insisted.

Source: By Ifeoma Okeke

Majority of UK women don’t bathe or take a shower daily

The majority of women in the UK don’t bathe or take a shower each day because they are too tired, new research has revealed.

The survey also showed that as many as one in three women admitted that they had gone as long as three days without washing or wiping their face or body at all.

Some 57 per cent of women acknowledged the importance of hygiene, but said that they didn’t have the time to shower or bathe before bed, and instead opted to freshen up with wipes.

The survey of over 2,000 females by skin care range Flint + Flint also showed that over 60 per cent of women did not remove their makeup before bed after a night out, with 35 per cent of those saying they were worried about getting enough sleep.

Asked whether they washed in the morning, only a fifth of women said they took a shower or bath every day, with over 30 percent revealing they did not wash for three days at time.

However, 92 per cent of participants said they understood the importance of a skin care regime and recognised that life-style factors such as lack of sleep and dehydration can impact the appearance of their skin.

Almost 90 per cent of women surveyed said they didn’t improve their hygiene because they were too tired in the morning or evening.

The NHS advises that to maintain a basic level of hygiene, a person must wash their face and brush their teeth daily; clean their hands after using the toilet; wash their genital and anal area each day; and fully bath or shower at least twice a week.

Flint + Flint owner Maxine Flint said the company was “alarmed” by the survey.

“We were alarmed to hear about the amount of women not looking after their skin by following basic skin care regimes.  It is so important to clean your face daily and moisturize to slow down the ageing process.”

“It’s true that today’s pace of life is fast but surely as a nation we haven’t become too busy to wash!”

Source: Kashmira Gander, Indepedent.co.uk

Nigeria to construct its largest rural solar mini grid

Nigeria is set to construct its largest rural mini grid aimed at electrifying more than 634 households, seven schools, three hospitals, eight religious organizations, and more than 90 businesses in Ode Omi Community.

The announcement comes after Solar Nigeria for the People Limited (Solar Nigeria FTP), the Nigerian subsidiary of Solar Philippines signed a Community Agreement with Ode Omi Community to invest about half a million dollars towards the development.

Largest solar mini grids

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Country Director of Solar Nigeria FTP, Tobi Oluwatola, said the project is due to be commissioned in September 2019. It will supply a peak load of 99kW to the community in its first phase, and up to 500kW in its second phase.

“This is the first of many. We think that with solar today being cheaper than diesel and gas in some countries, it is unconscionable that Nigerians continue to endure power cuts when we can aggressively deploy solar to solve the problem at scale. Our aim is to end energy poverty everywhere it exists,” said Tobi Oluwatola.

 

Mr Oluwatola explained that the company plans to train and employ more than 50 youth from Ode Omi Community in the construction phase and also employ security personnel from the village as well as empower existing recharge card vendors to make additional revenue from selling prepaid meter credits for the mini-grid in the operations phase.

Oluwatola added that the company will also build 100 mini-grids in the first year and to also work with Distribution Companies (DISCOs) to build interconnected mini-grids that will supply previously undeserved urban areas. Nigerians continues to endure power cuts which can aggressively deploy solar to solve the problem at scale. “Our aim is to end energy poverty everywhere it exists”

The solar project will also include installation of free street lighting and better health and education outcomes as hospitals can have necessary cooling, heating and lighting solutions.

“Women also would not have to travel long distances to fetch water and wood as electric stoves and water pumps will replace firewood and stream water and children will have light to study at night,” said Mr Oluwatola.

The signing of the community solar agreement was witnessed by the Chairman of the Ogun Waterside Local Government, Abajo Olabode; the Chairman of the Ode Omi Community Solar Power Committee, Ahmed Surakatu; and Solar Philippines officials, Terence Dy Echo and Carlos Fernandez.

Solar Nigeria FTP

In only five years of its founding, Solar Nigeria FTP is already the largest vertically integrated solar developer-manufacturer-EPC-IPP in South East Asia, with 800 MW manufacturing capacity, 500 MW projects operating and under construction and multiple GW in development in seven countries.

Source: By Teresia Njoroge, ConstructionReviewOnline

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