The Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line will no longer be completed in April this year as earlier targeted, transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi, said Monday during a monthly inspection tour with the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde. Amaechi said the large chunk of the project; from the mega station in Ebute Metta, Lagos to Apapa, Lagos, is in Oyo State. He added that going by the state of work in Apapa, completing the project in April doesn’t seem feasible, especially the extension of the rail line to the seaport. However, Ameachi said the effort will be redoubled to complete the project and meet set targets. Amaechi had assured, during an inspection in November, that the project would be completed in April, after expressing satisfaction with the state of the work at the time. The rail service between the two cities is expected to have 10 stations from 2020, and the trains will operate at a maximum speed of 150 km/h.
Heavily armed jihadists have carried out an “extremely violent” attack on a vital aid facility housing United Nations workers in northeast Nigeria, the UN said Monday. No aid workers were harmed in the assault, but according to a military source, a soldier and four assailants died in the ensuing gunfight. The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, condemned the attack, which was said to have been carried out by Boko Haram on Saturday in Ngala, a border town in Borno State. The Islamists group in several trucks fitted with machine guns stormed the humanitarian hub near a camp holding 55,000 displaced people in the remote town, humanitarian and military sources said. An aid worker said the jihadists fired anti-aircraft machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades as they engaged soldiers in battle. The attack is the latest to target aid workers trying to tackle the vast humanitarian crisis caused by the decade-long jihadist insurgency in northeast Nigeria. Twelve aid workers were killed in northeast Nigeria in 2019 as the conflict has become increasingly perilous for those trying to deliver humanitarian assistance to the hundreds of thousands of displaced. Two female humanitarian workers are still being held by jihadists after being kidnapped.
The National Pension Commission has directed the Pension Fund Administrators to implement pension enhancement for retirees on programmed withdrawal under the Contributory Pension Scheme. PenCom said that this would be the second edition of the pension enhancement for retirees on the programmed withdrawal mode of retirement. In January 2017, PenCom implemented the first pension enhancement plan for the programmed withdrawal retirees. However, some retirees were not entitled to the increase due to low balances in their RSAs. The number of retirees receiving their pensions under the programmed withdrawal contracts increased by 3.81 percent from 214,538 as of the end of Q1 2019 to 222,712 in Q2. From inception to date, ₦580.05 billion has been paid in lump sums and the monthly programmed withdrawal amounts to ₦9.50 billion.
The CBN has reviewed the messaging format for Point of Sale machine transactions in an effort to get more people to embrace e-payment channels. The CBN Director, Payment System Management Department, Musa Jimoh, said the move was part of its commitment to facilitate the development of the payment system and deepen the adoption of various electronic payment options available to users. Data from NIBSS showed the total volumes of PoS transactions for 2017 was 146.3 million worth ₦1.4 trillion; 285.9 million transactions in 2018 worth ₦2.3 trillion and 187.7 million for six months; January-June 2019 worth ₦1.4 trillion. The regulator ordered that merchant acquirers are required to obtain Acquirer Device Validation certification or the applicable testing completion notification from the CBN licensed card schemes as it identified the predominant use of single messaging format for PoS transactions as an obstacle to the use of pre-authorisation as a mode of payment in Nigeria. The directive, the regulator said, takes immediate effect, but with a deadline of 31 July, for full compliance, after which appropriate sanctions would be imposed for contraventions and non-compliance.