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Europe generation equipment tenders activity fall 33% in Q3 2019

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GlobalData
GlobalData

THERE were 35 generation equipment tenders announced in the Europe region in Q3 2019, marking a drop of 33% over the last 12-month average of 52, according to GlobalData’s power industry tenders database.

T&D Equipment stood at first place when compared with other power tender categories in the Europe region in Q3 2019 with 75 tenders and a 36.6% share, followed by T&D Project with 54 tenders and a 26.3% share and Generation Equipment with 35 tenders and a 17.1% share during the quarter.

The proportion of tenders by category tracked by GlobalData in the quarter was as follows:

  1. Supply & Erection: 28 tenders and an 80% share
  2. Repair, Maintenance, Upgrade & Others: seven tenders and a 20% share.

Thermal is top technology for Europe generation equipment tenders in Q3 2019

Looking at generation equipment tenders by the type of technology in the Europe region, thermal accounted for 23 tenders with a 67.6% share, followed by nuclear with eight tenders and a 23.5% share and solar with two tenders and a 5.9% share.

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 10:09 GMT |

Voice of Ogun Women shocked over Abiodun’s cabinet list

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Abiodun
Abiodun

A non-profit gender organisation, Voice of Ogun Women (VOW) has expressed shock, deep concern and displeasure over the inability of Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun to fulfil his  promise of having a gender sensitive cabinet.

The Governor had promised shortly after assuming office  that if not 50 per cent that at least 40 per cent of his cabinet members would be dominated by women.

VOW  recalled  Governor  Abiodun as quoted in the media as saying  this while responding to questions from stakeholders at the town hall meeting on 2020 budget held in Ilaro,  Yewa South local government area of the state.

The women group  said the cabinet list forwarded to the State Assembly  fell short of the  significant role of women  in the growth and development of the society , particularly Ogun state.

Mr Governor, during the said town hall meeting acknowledged the immense contribution of women to the growth of the society and  “noted that women played significant role in the growth and development “

It wondered why politicians will continue to take the electorate for a ride by making promises they knew from the onset would be unfulfilled by them.

With just 2 out of 18 nominees as women  representing  11.1 percent, VOW views this  as  a gross under representation of  the women folk as promised by the Governor  describing it as highly disappointing.

VOW urged the Governor   to ensure he keeps his promise in order to give women a sense of  belonging in the affairs  of the state.

VOW demands that Mr Governor walk the talk by appointing more worthy women into his cabinet and to head various MDAs in Ogun State.

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 10:12 GMT |

FOWOSO’s paradigm shift about the roles of women in today’s Nigeria

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Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu
Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu

By Dr. Joel Ademisoye

HAVING read the “FOWOSO: A new approach to women empowerment, ” report and in addition to my personal attendance at the organization’s many economic empowerment events for women and girl-child programs in the 18 Local Government Areas of Ondo State, I am a living witness to many of the stated contributions to, accomplishments and a successful testimonies directed at improving the quality of life for the most disadvantaged, under-appreciated and marginalized gender- women in the history of our state.

The positive impacts of FOWOSO’s economic empowerment efforts, skills acquisition and literacy education for women and girl-child as recounted in the report on the FOWOSO’s just concluded Second Anniversary in the International Cultural Center at the Dome in Akure, are compelling and overwhelming to ignore, considering the robust scope, visibility and meaningful effects of their programs on societal progress so far. Let me seize the opportunity to congratulate the founder and leader of FOWOSO, Arabirin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu and kudos to the members of this unique organization, for their dedication, commitment and support to the successful story of the past two years in Ondo State. The truth is, that the new state and status of women and girl-child as recorded, is unprecedented and historical in our state.

Yes, indeed, FOWOSO is the new ‘Sheriff’ in Ondo State with its ideology, approach and programs in efforts to address, treat and solve the perennial challenges facing women using a holistic or comprehensive approach to shine lights on the historical problem of treating women from an inferior perspective in the Nigerian society.

Of interest in this new approach, is FOWOSO’s inclusion approach involving the focus on the family and girl-child as an important parameters in the conceptualization, defining and understanding of what constitutes a woman’s challenges in Nigeria. For instance, I think FOWOSO pulled the ‘bull by the horn’ in debunking the cultural myths on the acceptance, menace and nuisance of rape of young girls in Ondo State thru it’s organized awareness lecture for secondary schools’ girls from different parts of the state and the well attended public protests against rape in Akure and in the 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state. As the crawlers competition showed that a married man with his wife constitutes a family. Hence, the man-woman relationship fosters a building block for a strong family in Nigeria. Any relationship outside this acceptable cultural and social norms is destructive to a stable and rewarding family condition in the country.

In addition to FOWOSO’s economic empowerment efforts, its activism and educating strategy in promoting the women’s interests and rights in Nigerian politics and as an enabler of women seeking and holding political offices in Ondo State. I found this political reorientation of women to be a new frontier for a gender gap, who is perpetually shutout of the country’s political system, their denial of active participation and the freedom to exercise their constitutional given rights to seek political offices like men in Nigeria.

FOWOSO as a ‘change agent’ in the past two years, it has been busy mobilizing, organizing and fielding women candidates for political offices in the state. Imagine in Nigeria where female constitutes 49.34% (Source: World Bank, 2016 population figures) of the country’s population, a seizable figure to pay attention to in terms of male to female ratio in the country. But, this seizable figure is not reflected in the country’s political sphere, for example, out of the 36 state governors, there is no woman executive governor at all. All the state government houses are occupied by men, meaning that women are shut out of governance at the state level. A similar picture is painted at the national level of the country’s political structure. Thus at the federal level of governance and in the National Assembly, involving the positions of the president of the country, president of the Nigeria Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives in Abuja are held by men. Note: The most powerful political positions in Nigeria are held by men, who make policy decisions and shape the government policy outcomes for the citizens. This is a political paradox facing the Nigerian women, who hold about half of the country’s population, but yet didn’t hold any important position of political leadership nor play a significant role in Policy making in Abuja. Against this backdrop, women are known to be outside and in the peripheral of the political loop of government and national decision making process in Abuja. In the past 2 years, FOWOSO has devoted its attention, publicity and concerted efforts thru a political education for women in order to create a sensitization and a ‘level playing field’ between men and women in the country’s political arena.

In the two years of FOWOSO’s existence, it is a truism that the organization has taken bold steps, constructive actions and implemented many viable and beneficial empowerment programs to change the women’s irrelevant and pathetic status in the country’s scheme of things.

FOWOSO’s arrival and its short time of existence in Ondo State, it has became a social institution, which made a paradigm shift in the public perception, philosophy of and government’s treatment of women in the Sunshine State. Today, it is a new dawn for women and girl-child in many areas of societal life as characterized by progressive ideals, values, social and economic mobility in a society, where the men are fully in control and dominant in every aspects of the Nigerian society. FOWOSO has been instrumental and effective in tearing down the gender or sex barriers, which are limiting the progression of and constraining the opportunities that are available to women and young girls in the state. In a nutshell, FOWOSO through its goals, public statements and programs, is dedicated and committed to reducing gender inequality and enhancing social justice, which are currently skewed in favor of the Nigerian men.

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 10:05 GMT |

Top 100 Women CEOs in Africa inaugural list announced by Reset Global People and Avance Media

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Top 100 Women
Top 100 Women

RESET Global People in partnership with Pulse and Avance Media has announced the inaugural list of the Top 100 Women CEOs in Africa, a ranking which highlights and recognizes the accomplishments of women CEOs from across 24 countries across the continent.

The TOP 100 Women CEOs in Africa is compiled by Reset Global People and Pulse editors with support from the PR and Ranking Agency; Avance Media, who consider four criteria: the size and importance of the woman-led business in the economy, the health and direction of the business, the arc of the woman’s career (résumé and runway ahead), and social and cultural influence. Eligibility is also based on the geolocation of the business.

With the belief that recognition of excellence inspires innovation in each sector, the list is to recognize and celebrate the performance and excellence of peak women performers in the limitless business world across the vast continent of Africa.

It is an acknowledgement and appreciation of the women leaders who introduce innovation and lead the change. CEOs, GMs, MDs and personalities with executive roles in the businesses or organizations are the focus of the list.

According to Kwame A. A. Opoku, CEO of Reset Global People, the nomination of these distinguished women is in relation to their works and accomplishments as the leader of their team which continues to inspire the next generation of women CEOs in Africa and across the world in alignment with SDGs Goal 5 & 10.

Detailing the criteria used in curating the list, Prince Akpah, MD of Avance Media mentioned that the list highlights profit, impact and sustainability and the overall influence of the individual women over their sector, industry and community as a whole.

With representation from 24 countries, the list features women who are noted to have broken the glass ceiling from across diverse sectors, making a name and case for women leaders on the continent.

As part of the list, Reset Global People will be hosting the annual African Women CEOs Summit scheduled for Lagos, Nigeria in 2020.

The list features some prominent names, including Isabel dos Santos, Juliet Anammah, Tara Fela-Durotoye, Patricia Obo-Nai, Nasim Devji, Estelle Akofio-Sowah, Uche Eze and Linda Ikeji.

Below is the list of 2019 Top 100 Women CEOs in Africa arranged in alphabetical order.

    1. Abimbola Alale || Nigerian Communications Satellite
    2. Abiola Bawuah || United Bank for Africa (UBA)
    3. Adenike Ogunlesi || Ruff 'n' Tumble
    4. Adjoa Kusiwaa Boateng || MicroEnsure
    5. Akua Owusu-Nartey || Ogilvy Africa Group
    6. Albertinah Kekana || Royal Bafokeng Holdings Pty Ltd
    7. Aminata Kane Ndiaye || Orange Sierra Leone
    8. Amrote Abdella || 4Afrika Microsoft
    9. Amy Jadesimi (Dr) || Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base
    10. Angela Ndambuki || Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry
    11. Anta Babacar Ngom Bathily || Sedima
    12. Baronice Hans || Bank Windhoek
    13. Basani Maluleke || African Bank
    14. Bénédicte Janine Kacou Diagou || Groupe NSIA
    15. Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu || soleRebels
    16. Betty Sayinzoga || Saham Assurance
    17. Binta Toure Ndoye || The Orabank Group
    18. Boitumelo Molefe || Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund
    19. Bridget Wachira || GSK Pharmaceuticals East Africa
    20. Carol Abade || EXP Group
    21. Carole Kariuki || Kenya Private Sector Alliance
    22. Catherine Lesetedi-Letegele || Botswana Insurance Holdings
    23. Chilufya Ngoi-Nyirenda || Stanbic Insurance Brokers Zambia
    24. Chioma Sideso || NSIA Insurance Limited Nigeria
    25. Christine Baingana || Urwego Bank
    26. Ciru Miring'u || Nestle East Africa
    27. Clare Akamanzi || Rwanda Development Board
    28. Delese Mimi Darko || Food and Drugs Authority
    29. Devota Mdachi || Tanzania Tourism Board
    30. Diana Mulili || Msingi East Africa
    31. Diane Karusisi (Dr) || Bank of Kigali
    32. Divine Ndhlukula || SECURICO
    33. Dolly Doreen Mokgatle || Peotona
    34. Eghosa Oriaikhi Mabhena || Puma Energy Africa
    35. Eme Essien Lore || International Finance Corporation's (IFC) Nigeria
    36. Esselina Macome || Financial Sector Deepening Program
    37. Estelle Akofio-Sowah || CSquared
    38. Esther Cobbah || Stratcomm Ghana

     

    1. Fatima Beyina-Moussa || Equatorial Congo Airlines
    2. Funke Soyibo || HNK
    3. Funmi Omo || African Alliance Insurance Plc
    4. Genevieve Sangudi || The Carlyle Group
    5. Gwendoline Abunaw || Ecobank Cameroon
    6. Hadiza Bala Usman || Nigerian Ports Authority
    7. Isabel dos Santos || Angola Diamonds
    8. Iza Irame || Crystal Telecom
    9. Jackie Chimhanzi (Dr) || African Leadership Institute
    10. Yvette Adounvo Atekpe || Internet Solutions
    11. Joyce-Ann Wainaina || Citi East Africa
    12. Julie Gichuru || Arimus Media
    13. Juliet Anammah || Jumia Nigeria
    14. Juliet Ehimuan || Google Nigeria
    15. Juliette Weisflog || Citi Gabon
    16. Karen Hendrickson || Rabito Clinic
    17. Karima Rhanem || International Center for Diplomacy
    18. Kate Fotso || Telcar Cocoa
    19. Kate Quartey-Papafio || Reroy Cables
    20. Kofo Akinkugbe || SecureID
    21. Lady Isioma Chukwuma || Nigeria Reinsurance Corporation
    22. Linda Ikeji || LindaIkeji Media
    23. Lorato Morapedi || National Development Bank
    24. M. Leelai Kpukuyou || Minimalls
    25. Mansa Nettey || StanChart Ghana
    26. Michaella Rugwizangoga || Volkswagen Mobility Solutions
    27. Mimi Kalinda || Africa Communications Media Group
    28. Mizinga Melu || Barclays Bank Zambia
    29. Mo Abudu || Ebony Life TV
    30. Monica Musonda || Java Foods
    31. Monique El Grichi || Mosaïk
    32. Mpho Moremong-Gobe || MG Properties
    33. Nangula Uaandja || PricewaterhouseCoopers
    34. Nasim Devji || Diamond Trust Bank Group
    35. Natalie Jabangwe || EcoCash
    36. Njeri Rionge || Wananchi Online
    37. Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita || IchorCoal
    38. Nunu Ntshingila || Facebook Africa
    39. Oluwatoyin Adegbite-Moore || Africa Venture Philanthropy
    40. Patience Akyianu || Hollard Ghana
    41. Patience Mutesi || TradeMark East Africa
    42. Patricia Obo-Nai || Vodafone Ghana

     

    1. Phuti Mahanyele-Dabengwa || Naspers SA
    2. Princess Lalla Hasnaa (HRH) || Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental

    Protection

    1. Priscillah Mabelane || BP Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd
    2. Rebecca Enonchong || Apps Tech
    3. Rebecca Miano || KenGen
    4. Ruth Ncube || First Mutual Life Assurance Company
    5. Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch || Aksal Group
    6. Sarah Arapta || Citibank Uganda
    7. Sherin Naiken || Seychelles Tourism Board
    8. Shirley Machaba || PWC Southern Africa
    9. Sibongile Sambo || SRS Aviation
    10. Sola David-Borha || Standard Bank Africa
    11. Susan M. Mulikita || Liquid Telecoms Zambia
    12. Tara Fela-Durotoye || House of Tara
    13. Temwani Simwaka || Standard Bank Malawi
    14. Toyin Oluwatoyin Sanni || Emerging Africa Group
    15. Uche Eze || BellaNaija.com
    16. Uche Ofodile || MTN Liberia
    17. Yvonne Ike || Bank of America Merrill Lynch SSA
    18. Yvonne Manzi Makolo || RwandAir

    – Dec. 14, 2019 @ 9:55 GMT |

EFCC Arraigns Man for N15.8m Fraud

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Balami Abdullahi
Balami Abdullahi

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office, on Friday, December 13, 2019, arraigned one Balami Abdullahi before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos on a two-count charge bordering on obtaining by false pretence and stealing to the tune of N15,800,000.00 (Fifteen Million, Eight Hundred Naira).

The defendant allegedly defrauded one Alhaji Buba Kimba of the said sum by falsely representing to him that he had 40,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil to sell.

However, the defendant allegedly failed to deliver the product and all efforts by the complainant to retrieve the money from him proved abortive.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Balami Abdullahi, on or about the 24th day of December, 2018 in Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, with intent to defraud, knowingly obtained the aggregate sum of N15, 800, 000. 00 (Fifteen Million Eight Hundred Naira Only) from one Alhaji Buba Kimba under the false pretence that the said sum represented the cost for the sale of 40, 000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil, which you had and ready to sell and deliver to the said Alhaji Buba Kimba and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1) (a) and 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006.”

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge.

In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, Abass Mohammed, prayed the court for a trial date and asked that the defendant be remanded in prison custody.

Justice Dada adjourned the matter to February 3, 2020 and ordered the defendant to be remanded in prison custody.

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 9:55 GMT |

I was not placed under house arrest — Oshiomhole

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Oshiomhole
Oshiomhole

The National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has denied reports that he was placed under house arrest in Edo

Oshiomhole debunked the reports while briefing newsmen at his residence shortly after receiving Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who defected to APC

“I saw that they wrote a story that I was placed under house arrest. You can see l am here and not under any house arrest.

“I stayed away from Ize-Iyamu’s rally to sustain the peace of the party . I did not want to be blamed for any violence.

“God knows my heart, and he will help me and he has been helping me. We will sustain the governance of this state under the APC.

“With Edo people as our principals and our ultimate employers we are grateful for the support they have given us in spite of any weaknesses.

“Our party does not believe in rigging. We have entrenched the culture of one-man-one-vote, and the name of the game is persuasion not violence,” Oshiomhole said.

He, however, urged members of the party to enchew all forms of violence in order to sustain peace adding that there was no limit to being a member of APC.

He noted that while there was limit for being chairman, governor and tenure of president, there was no limit for being a member of the party.

According to him, once the members are united and comfortable, we will sustain the path of peace.

“That is why I stayed away from the rally.” (NAN)

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 9:49 GMT |

Igbo National Stakeholders’ Assembly Worldwide reacts to dilemma of Igbo businessmen

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Igbo Assembly
Igbo Assembly

THE sudden discovery of “Money laundering” and charges against Igbo Illustrious son Barrister Allen Onyema has left Igbo Nation in dilemma. Having come few weeks after his philanthropic gesture to stranded Nigerians in South Africa during the xenophobic attacks in the former apartheid, but now xenophobic country.

The question on the lips of all well-meaning Nigerians is; why now? Is this victimization coming from South Africa? Or is about 2023 Nigerian Presidency?

It could be recalled that the South African government had delayed in releasing Nigerians after Allen Onyema had provided free ride for our people. And on the other hand Allen Onyema is one of those being fingered as qualified to take over from President Buhari in 2023.

A statement  by John Uche, President General, Igbo National Stakeholders’ Assembly, INSA, noted that Allen Onyema’s huge investment in the aviation industry had provided jobs for Nigerians and helped in alleviating poverty in the nation. I believe that he will be vindicated after the investigation as he has been known to be a law abiding citizen.

“I also hope that this is not a set up to rubbish his good image as was attempted on Innoson Motors CEO. If it is, Igbo will use every legal means available to resist it.

“Cletus Ibeto suffered the strangulation in his Cement business in Nigeria because he was seen as challenging a particular Northern businessman. Chief Innocent Chukwuma, Innoson motors Limited, suffered the same thing because he refused to relocate his Assembly Plant to Kaduna or Lagos instead of Nnewi and Ifeanyi Uba also followed suit. Our question is what is the sin of Ndigbo in Nigeria?” he said.

According to him, there is no doubt that strangulation and extermination has been declared on all Igbo businesses and it has been silently and systematically executed in Nigeria.

“Prove my words wrong and otherwise by giving the Igbo businessmen the opportunities given to Ahaji. Aliko Dangote in Nigeria and watch Nigeria to become the most developed and industrial Nation of Africa and the world.

“Every plot by any cabal to further humiliate Igbo Industrialists would be resisted. How many Industrialists in the north have been subjected to this embarrassment? None. Why Igbo every time? Must an Allen Onyema be humiliated because a Northerner wants to open an airline?

“I wish to advice Nigeria media and the general public to desist from giving him media trial. He is innocent until after conviction by a law court.

I wish him well and pray that justice will prevail in his case,” he said.

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 9:45 GMT |

ECOWAS Court declares decision to reduce number of judges of the Court as legal

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ECOWAS
ECOWAS

THE ECOWAS Court of Justice has thrown out as ‘unfounded,’ a suit filed by a former President of West African Bar Association, Mr. Femi Falana, challenging the legality of the 2017 Decision by Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS to reduce the number of judges of the Court from seven to five.

Delivering judgment on Thursday, December 12, 2019 in the suit, the Court declared that Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS are ‘vested with the competence to reduce the number and that the Decision of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government taken at the 51st Summit in June 2017 is legal and effective.’

The three-member panel of the judges in the judgment, which was read by Honorable Justice Januaria Moreira Costa also declared that it ‘has not established that the contested Decision infringed any rights of the Plaintiff,’ and therefore dismissed the action as ‘unfounded.’

Furthermore, the Court held that “the Decision in question was adopted, as a transitional act, in the framework of monitoring the functioning of Community institutions and achievement of ECOWAS objectives, until the amendment of the relevant Community Texts, as can be understood from the text of the Decision having binding effects.”

It rejected the argument of the Plaintiff that the Decision violated Articles 3, 6 and 15 of the Revised Treaty affirming instead that “the contested Decision did not seek to amend Article 3 of the Protocol on the Court but merely to suspend temporarily the effects of such Article by limiting the number of judges to five until the amendment of the Protocol is implemented.”

The Court relied on the translated English version of Decision A/Dec.2/5/17 which read “The number of judges at the Community Court of Justice shall be reduced to five in accordance with the reform of the institutions pending the necessary amendment of the Community texts providing for a reduction in the number of statutory appointed members.”

The Court further noted that the Decision was implemented at the end of tenure of the seven judges of the Court in 2018 leading to the inauguration of five new judges in July 2018 and that the alleged congestion and undue delay in justice delivery were predictions of the plaintiff who did not establish/ prove any violation of rights.

In the suit no. ECW/CCJ/APP/32/18 filed on 7th August 2018, Mr. Falana, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said that the Decision by the two Defendants- the Authority of Heads of States and Government and the Council of Ministers- to reduce the number of the judges of the Court was illegal as it contravened the provisions of Articles 3, 6 and 15 of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty and Article 3 of the Protocol on the Court among others.

The plaintiff claimed that the Decision infringed on his right to fair hearing and access to justice resulting from an increase in pending cases before the Court and delays in delivery of justice.

Also on the panel were Justices Gberi-Be Ouattara (Presiding) and Dupe Atoki.

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 9:39 GMT |

AfDB commits €20m to boost private sector competitiveness in Cape Verde

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AfDB
AfDB

THE African Development Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a €20 million loan to strengthen the private sector’s role in Cape Verde’s economic growth.

Bank funding will support the second phase of the Private Sector Competitiveness and Local Economic Development Programme, PSC-LED-II.  The multi-partner project will extend fiscal 2019 budget support to the government of Cape Verde as it undertakes reforms to boost domestic productivity and the country’s overall economy.

Specific initiatives of PSC-LED-II include promotion of youth entrepreneurship and provision of youth vocational training. The African Development Bank project partners include the World Bank and the European Union, which will contribute $40 million and €15 million respectively, as well as governments of Luxembourg (€2 million) and Portugal (€500,000).

The project advances the Bank’s aim to industrialize Africa and to improve the lives of its people, two of its High 5 development priorities.

Approval of the loan by the Bank’s Board of Directors signaled the successful completion of the first phase of the project which set out a project framework and proposed reform measures.

“The overall performance of the programme is good and we continue to work closely with authorities and with development partners,” said Abdoulaye Coulibaly, Director of the Bank’s Governance and Public Financial Management Coordination Office.

The planned reforms aim to strengthen Cape Verde’s private sector by tackling the Atlantic island nation’s score on a number of competitiveness and economic development indicators. These include increasing credit to the private sector from 63% in 2016 to 70% of GDP in 2020; improving Cape Verde’s score on the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business index; and boosting labor contribution to value added growth from 1.1% in 2014-2017 to 2% in 2017-2020.

A few hours after the approval of the project by the Board of Directors, an agreement was signed at the Bank’s headquarters between Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, the Bank’s Director General for West Africa and the Ambassador of Cape Verde in Ivory Coast, Felino de Carvalho.

“The signing of this loan agreement affirms the Bank’s commitment to supporting Cape Verde’s economic advancement.  We have every confidence the government will continue the vital reforms needed to strengthen the private sector and decentralization.” Akin-Olugbade noted.

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 9:35 GMT |

EFCC docks man for €29m theft

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Jean Codo
Jean Codo

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office, on Friday, December 13, 2019, arraigned one Jean Codo and his company, Transport and Port Management Systems Limited, TPMS, before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos on a seven-count charge bordering on stealing to the tune of Twenty-Nine Million Euros (€29m).

One of the counts reads: “That you, Jean Codo and TPMS Transport and Port Management Systems Ltd, sometime in 2010 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired to commit felony, to wit; stealing of about €29,000,000.00 (Twenty-Nine Million Euros), property of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge.

In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, asked for a trial date and also urged the court to remand the defendant in the Correctional Centre, pending the hearing of the bail applications.

Justice Dada adjourned the matter to December 18, 2019 for hearing of the bail application and January 3 and 13, 2020 for the commencement of trial.

Justice Dada also ordered that the defendant be remanded in the custody of Nigerian Correctional Centre.

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 9:35 GMT |

Army offers free medical services to 802 residents in Enugu community

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Army
Army

The Nigerian Army on Friday offered free medical services to no fewer than 802 residents in Ohom Orba community in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu state.

During the outreach, the residents got 300 free pairs of eye glasses, HIV/AIDS tests, insecticide treated nets, physiotherapy massage and de-worming of children, as well as free drugs.

Speaking at the event, Maj.-Gen. Lasisi Adegboye, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, said that the medical outreach was part of the ongoing “Exercise Atilogwu Udo 1’’.

Adegboye said the exercise was meant to further strengthen civil-military relationship in the 82 Division Area of Responsibility (AOR) in the South East and Cross River.

“The exercise is meant to improve the long standing civil-military relations between the Army and its civil populace as well as promote Civil-Military-Cooperation (CIMIC).

“It is also in line with the Chief of Army Staff vision to cater for the welfare of the host community and win the hearts and minds of the civil populace,’’ he said.

Igwe Everestus Onah, the traditional ruler of the community, thanked the Nigerian army for taking the pain to reach the community notwithstanding its distance from Enugu.

“We are grateful for the army bringing good health, free medication and medical experts to counsel us one-on-one,’’ Onah said.

A beneficiary of the exercise, Miss Kenechukwu Ugwuanyi, lauded the army for the free malaria tests and drug given to her.

“I am also grateful for the treated net and de-worming. It is my first time of receiving free medical care in my community,’’ Ugwuanyi said.

Another beneficiary, Pa Ignatius Nwodo, said that he was surprised to see the Nigerian army providing humanitarian services in the community.

Nwodo, who received a free pair of eye glass, said that his impression of the army as a strict force had changed.

“I now know that they are tender and caring as well,’’ the elderly man said.

The Commander of 82 Division Medical Services, Lt. Col. Ijoma Ijomanta, said that common illness diagnosed during the outreach included malaria, Blood Pressure and dental problems. (NAN)

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 9:29 GMT |

Aisha Buhari urges governors’ wives to advance community health

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Aisha Buhari
Aisha Buhari

Aisha Buhari Foundation (ABF) under the aegis of Future Assured programme has urged  wives of Governors to actively encourage community health in their respective states.

Buhari also urged them to encourage their husbands to invest more in health care services.

Wife of the President made the call in her speech, read by Hajiya Bilkisu Halilu, on Friday in Abakaliki during her visit to the state for a mission outreach organised by the foundation.

Mrs Buhari said that upgrading community health would ensure better healthcare in facilities, adding that her outreach programmes were aligned with her vision of assuring health and well-being of communities in the country.

She said that food items and packs of provisions presented at Mile Four Maternity Hospital and Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital (AE-FETH) both in Abakaliki were for patients at the hospitals as part of the foundation’s vision of support.

“It gives me pleasure to be in Ebonyi for a mercy mission outreach organised by Aisha Buhari Foundation under the future assured programme as a gift for the benefit of people in the hospital.

“I call on governors’ wives to promote community health in their respective states for better life and well-being of people,” Mrs Buhari said.

She, however, commended Gov. David Umahi on the attention being given to health care in the state and his wife for being a pillar of support for the women.

Hajiya Mariam Hadi, leader of the delegation appreciated the hospitality witnessed in the state while she commended the numerous achievements made in the state.

Mrs Rachael Umahi, while commending the delegation and the kind gesture from the  Buhari Foundation, expressed satisfaction with her encouragements to the state that had been regular.

“I am delighted over your frequent support given to patients in the state and assure more upgrade in healthcare services, ” Umahi said

Dr Emeka Ogah, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of AE-FETH, said the governor and wife had been supportive in offsetting medical bills of indigent patients as well as procurement of equipments and vehicles for the hospital.

Ogah who was represented by the Chairman, Medical Advisory Council (CMAC) of AE-FETH, Dr Robinson Onoh, said  the visit of the foundation was unique as it aimed at giving attention to patients in the state.

“For us, the visit to the hospital and gift to patients is unique. We appreciate her coming and support,” Ogah said.

The Hospital Administrator of the Mile Four Maternity Hospital, Sister Charity Munonye, commended the advocacy of the foundation and its support.

Munonye explained that since 1946 the hospital had been focused mainly on health care of mothers’ and children’s well-being and other services rendered for humanity.

She also applauded  numerous supports from the governor’s wife project, Family Succour and Upliftment Foundation, in upgrading and advancing the  well-being of people in the state.

“We have been looking forward to her coming because she has  been coming to the hospital with support,” Munonye said. (NAN)

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 9:25 GMT |

Lagos Assembly screens Sanwo-Olu’s 3 commissioner-nominees

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Sanwo-Olu
Sanwo-Olu

The Lagos State House of Assembly on Friday screened three commissioner-nominees   submitted by Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The eight-member Ad-hoc Committee of the House also screened eight others nominated for the House of Assembly Service Commission and Lagos State Civil Service Commission.

The three commissioner-nominees screened by the House committee on Friday included Mr Ganiyu Ayuba, Mr Olugbenga Oyerinde and Bamigbose Martins.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the assembly had on Aug. 16, rejected three of the cabinet nominees presented to it for approval by Sanwo-Olu, necessitating their replacement.

Those rejected by the house included  Mr Ajayi Bembe, Mr George Obafemi and Prince Olanrewaju Sanusi.

The Committee’s Chairman, Mr Rotimi Abiru (Somolu II) said a total of 11 nominees were submitted by the governor to the assembly for screening and confirmation.

He said the eight other nominees included three for the state House of Assembly Service Commission while five for state Civil Service Commission.

Among those screened for the Assembly Service  Commission included Mr Akeem Bello, former member of the 8th Assembly, Mr Kabiru Lawal,  a member from 2007 – 2011 and Mr Richard Osungboye.

The nominees screened for the state Civil Service Commission were Mr Babatunde Seriki, Mr Avoseh Suru, Mr Adesina Odeyemi, Mrs Olubunmi Fabanwo and Mr Kamalrudeen Olorunoje.

NAN reports that other members of the screening committee were Mr Victor Akande (Ojo I), Mr Akeem Shokunle (Oshodi-Isolo I), Mr Desmond Elliot (Surulere I).

Others were Mr Bisi Yusuf (Alimosho I), Mr Noheem Adams (Eti-Osa I) , Mr Folajimi Lai-Mohammed (Ikeja I), Mr Ajani Owolabi (Lagos Mainland I). (NAN)

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 9:25 GMT |

AfDB approves $124.2m loan for water sector reforms in Akure

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AfDB
AfDB

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a 124.2 million dollars loan to finance the urban water sector reform and Akure water supply and sanitation projects in Nigeria.

A statement issued by the bank on Friday said that the amount includes an African Growing Together Fund (AGTF) loan of 20 million dollars.

It said that the overall project cost is 222.69 million dollars and would span through five years from 2020 to 2025.

The statement added that the project was set to address bottlenecks in critical water supply services to households in the densely populated project area.

Mr Ebrima Faal, Senior Director at the Bank’s Nigeria Regional Office, said that the project would strengthen Federal Government’s capacity to facilitate urban water supply and sanitation reforms.

“It would provide residents of Akure city in Ondo State and its environs access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

“The project will particularly contribute to improving the living conditions of the communities in the project area.

“Involving these communities in the public awareness and marketing activities will increase the project’s ownership and ensure they pay for the water supply and sanitation services,’’ Faal said.

The statement pointed out that the loan would also help to install sanitation infrastructure for schools, hospitals and markets.

It said, “on completion, the project will benefit the 1.3 million residents of Akure city and vicinities.

“At the federal level, the project’s Urban Water Reform component will establish a water and sanitation investment programme that would contribute to scaling up of the National WASH Action plan 2018 to 2030.

“The project which combines “hard” water, sanitation and environmental protection infrastructure with “soft” analytical and institutional reform support, aligns with AfDB’s 10-year strategy and High 5s priority areas’’.

AfDB pointed out that as at Dec. 13, 2019, the bank’s active portfolio in Nigeria comprised 61 operations, of which 54 were national and seven were regional.

“The total commitment to these projects is 4.8 billion dollars and includes water and sanitation projects worth 606.0 million dollars. (NAN)

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 9:19 GMT |

Maintenance: AEDC notifies power interruption in parts of Abuja, Jabi

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AEDC
AEDC

The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC),  says customers in parts of Central Area, Abuja will experience power interruption on Dec. 14 and 15 due to maintenance of its facility. .

AEDC’s General Manager, Coporate Communication, Mr 0yebode Fadipe said this in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

Fadipe said that the areas to be affected by the interruption  which would commence from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. include Wuse Zone 1-7, Maitama and some parts  of Jabi.

He said that the interruption was to enable the Abuja Region of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) maintenance team in conjunction with AEDC undertake the replacement of a punctured 132 kilo Volt  XLPE cable on the Katampe – Central Area 132kV Line 1.

Fadipe  said  that the  scope of work had  been planned to last for three weekends in order to minimise the period of interruption of power supply to  customers within the affected areas.

“The decision to embark on the replacement of the cable is gratifying as it will engender improved service  to customers.

“Our customers who had hitherto been experiencing loadshedding can now look forward to longer hours of power supply after the replacement of the cable, which is situated at the back of the IBB Golf Course

“We appeal for patience and understanding of the affected customers as the replacement of the cable is expected to be completed on Dec. 29,” he said. (NAN)

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 9:15 GMT |

FG reiterates commitment to give priority to development of textile industry

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Mariam Katagum
Mariam Katagum

The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum, said that the Federal Government would give priority to development of the textile industry.

The minister said this in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja by Mrs Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa, the Assistant Director of Press in the ministry.

The minister of state said that it was essential to make Nigeria an exporter of finished products.

Katagum spoke when a delegation of investors from China led by the Treasurer of Kano State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Alhaji Umar Ibrahim visited her in Abuja.

She expressed delight with the Chinese investors who indicated interest to develop the textile industry in Kano.

According to her, Kano is known to be a historic centre for the textile industry, particularly the traditional dying art technology that has been there for many decades.

Katagum further assured of the Federal Government’s commitment to support the Kano State Government and the Chinese investors for the development of the textile industry.

She added that the support was in line with the current administration’s Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (ERGP) policy.

Earlier, Ibrahim said the purpose of the visit was to seek collaboration with the ministry for the development of the country’s textile industry.

He explained that Kano State Government in partnership with Dantata Group of Companies was working assiduously to ensure that Nigeria’s textile industry was developed to support the country’s economic diversification plan. (NAN)

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 9:09 GMT |

World Bank to support SAN yoghourt boost production – Official

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World Bank
World Bank

Adetunji Oredipe, Task Team Lead, World Bank, on Friday assured the readiness of the bank to support Zaria based SAN Yoghourt company to boost its production.

Oredipe stated this during a visit to the factory, a subsidiary of SAJ Food Nigeria Limited located at Zabi on Kaduna-Kano expressway, Zaria, Kaduna State.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the support would come through Agro Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project (APPEALS).

Oredipe said: “What we are trying to do under APPEALS is to enhance productivity of our farmers to fix the value chain in this wise; dairy farming.

“And in fixing the value chain when you take from where you move it to the field till when the farmers is able to raise the animal, produce the milk, then you take it up and turn it to yoghourt as the end product.

“There is a lot of nots along this chain, if any of the nots  is weak, then the final thing you get will not be optimal, so, our job as a team working with your team is to look at all the nots and fix all the problems.

“There are roles that we will play as facilitators, when I say we I mean the project, there are roles that farmers themselves will have to play and as off-takers you also have your roles,” he said.

According to him, the beauty of the relationship is in identifying those roles and everybody playing according to the rules.

He expressed satisfaction that the company agreed to work with the farmers.

“We observed that for you to work with them, they need to be better organised for it to make sense for you, we need to do it in such a way that they all meet you at a collection point and that will make the job a lot easier for you.

“So, those are the little little things that we need to do to make your own job easier and from your end you will be interested in the quality of the milk you are picking, the way the milk is handled and other expectations.

“To do that, we are happy that you have invested here and for this investment to continue to flow every other person has to play according to the rules.”

Oredipe said the programme needed to know what prompted the company to go into the business, knowledge of raw materials supply, and where the targeted farmers are located, within or outside the state.

The TTL also enquired about the company’s programme to support the farmers as well as the profitability of the business so that they could meet them at a point.

“You need to educate us on your understanding of the profitability of this business we are trying to do together, then you can be specific about some of the things you will expect APPEALS to do for you.

“In what we call productive alliance relationship, which is the type you are having between you and those farmers now, there are things that you need to do.

“For example, if because you know that the number of farmers that are willing to do business with you have increased and you need to increase your own line of business.

“May be you are using two lines or three lines, you want to add one, you can discuss that, if we partner with you in doing that, not only because of you but to be able to actually meet the needs of these extra farmers that are coming on board,” he said.

Responding, the Managing Director, SAJ Food, Alhaji Sanusi Abdullahi appreciated the team for what he described as progressive visit.

Abdullahi, who was represented by the General Manager and Dairy Manager SAJ Food, Alhaji Aminu Yahaya-Masanawa said the company was collecting milk from a lot of farmers.

He recalled that SAJ Food started producing yoghourt with powdered milk, adding that initially all their facilities were to accommodate powdered milk only.

Abdullahi said: “But as the dairy sector is changing, Nigeria is changing too, so we need to change our facilities too to the fresh milk collection instead of the powdered milk.

“In that wise, we started to organise the farmers, started to visit them and we started to collect the milk from them. Initially we had a lot of challenges transforming from powdered milk to fresh milk.

“Sometimes even the milk collected from farmers will reach us not in a healthy way, sometimes it will be contaminated, yet, the Managing Director because of his interest in it continued to invest, continued to collect the milk despite the losses we have been making.

“Thank God gradually we started achieving results, as at now we have a lot of farmers, as at today, we are collecting up to 7,000 liters of fresh milk for processing.” the MD said.

He, however, said that the company had the capacity to process 72,000 liters at a shift of eight hours, adding the company gradually grew from collecting 100 to 200 up to the present 7,000 litres.

On challenges, Abdullahi identified the scattered nature of farmers’ settlements and need for a milk bulking truck to ease collection of the product.

He assured that the company was making efforts to produce yoghurt using 100 per cent fresh milk. (NAN)

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 9:09 GMT |

Army advises Nigerians to be security conscious

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Army
Army

Maj.-Gen. Usman  Yakubu, Commander Corps of Artillery, Kontagora has  called on Nigerians to be more security conscious before, during and after the Christmas and New year festivities.

Speaking at the finals of Commander Corps of Artillery Annual Kontagora Youth Football Competition 2019 on Friday, Yakubu said it was only by so doing that the ongoing fight against banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities would be dealt.

He said that this year’s tournament which started on Nov. 25, 2019 with 16 football clubs drawn from the barracks and Kontagora environs, was designed to foster better civil-military cooperation.

Represented by Maj. Gen. MB Msheilia, Commander Nigeria Army Training Centre, Yakubu said that the competition would enable youths showcase their football skills and bring out their rich talent.

He said that the contributions of the military formations and unit in Kontagora have increased the confidence of the people in the activities of the military in Niger State.

“I can categorically say that now the good people of Kontagora will interact more freely with the military and other security agencies as they feel better secured as they go about their daily activities and carry out their civic responsibilities in the state”, he said.

He said that the Corps would continue to use sports in promoting mutual understanding with their host communities.

Yakubu said the Nigerian Army is focused on crushing insurgents, bandits and other criminal elements, to make the country a safe place for all.

He called on residents to assist the Army with required intelligence information that would assist in the ongoing fight against criminal elements in the society.

NAN reports that, Eldeen Football Club Kontagora clinched the 2019 edition of the Commander Nigerian Army Corps of Artillery Youth Football Competition.

The finals, played at Barracks football field Kontagora and watched by hundreds of spectators, was decided via penalty kick after 90 minutes of regulation time.

At the end of the penalty shootout, Firestone FC scored 4 goals to beat Eldeen FC which scored 2 goals, to clinch the cup.

Saidu Nagari of Jikan Shehu FC won the prize for the most valuable player, Kazir Suleiman of Sahaj FC won the highest goal scorer award after netting 6 goals.

Also, Shehu Waziri Babalo of Eldeen FC emerged best goalkeeper while Coach Shuaibu Zabo of Jikan Shehu FC clinched the best coach award.

The champions, Firestone FC received a cash prize of N140,000, the runners up Eldeen FC got N120,000 while the third place, Jikan Shehu got N100,000.(NAN)

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 9:05 GMT |

Cleric advises Nigerians to utilise advantages of border closure

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border closure
border closure

A Cleric, Christopher Qwolabi, on Friday, advised Nigerians, especially youths, to utilise the advantages of the nation’s border closure to be self-productive and reliant.

Owolabi, the General Overseer, Christ Apostolic Church, Ori-Oke Irapada, Omu-Aran, gave the advice during the church’s special service tagged: “Toward a Prosperous 2020 and Beyond”, in Omu-Aran, Kwara.

He said the closing of the nation’s borders to curb banditry, insurgency, incessant dumping of contraband, fake and contaminated drugs, was long overdue.

According to him, the border closure no doubt has started yielding fruitful results and very glaring for the citizens to see.

“There are many things that are being imported that can be produced in large quantity locally.

“It’s an insult on our integrity and intelligence to continue to import toothpicks, food items, furniture products with our array of expertise and intellectual capacity.

“Production of local rice has increased and the commodity has flooded major markets across the length and breadth of the country.

“Patronage of other locally-produced items like beans, cassava, semovita, poultry products have also soared following the closure of the borders.

“It’s high time Nigerians, particularly the youth, utilise this positive development to engage in different aspects of agriculture for their own benefit and advantage.

“With the present high rate of unemployment and non-availability of white collar jobs, the closure of borders is, therefore, a veritable alternative for the youth to be self-productive,” he said.

Owolabi also urged practitioners of traditional medicine to come together and come up with locally-produced effective and well-packaged therapy for common ailments.

According to him, this will be a good replacement for such therapy being imported from neighbouring African countries.

“Alomo Bitters from Ghana is a good example of such highly -preferred imported stuffs being consumed by Nigerians.

“Our practitioners can also come up with such therapy for mass production and local consumption after necessary certification by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

“Our neighbours are just taking advantage of our large population and turned the country to a dumping ground for their products.

“Their recent reactions to the border closure have shown that Nigeria is a big market in the continent, especially in the ECOWAS sub-region.

“With the right attitude, conducive environment, most  essential needs of the citizens can sufficiently be produced locally,” he said.

Owolabi urged parents, community leaders and religious leaders to always use their parental ability, counselling and preaching to sensitise the youths on the need to be self-productive. (NAN)

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 9:05 GMT |

Trump appears to back short Senate impeachment trial

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Trump
Trump

On the day the House Judiciary Committee approved impeachment articles against him, President Donald Trump claimed it is strengthening him politically. And with those articles headed to the House floor next week, he appears to be warming to a quick election-year Senate trial.

In brief but animated remarks, the president defiantly declared of the shape and length of an expected Senate trial: “I’ll do whatever I want.”

The remark could have been a message to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans who favor a short trial with no GOP-White House witnesses; Trump favors the opposite.

But just as quickly, the president appeared to defer to McConnell, adding: “I’ll do whatever they want to do.”

A couple hours after the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to send two impeachment articles – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – to the full chamber, the president called the panel’s action “a very sad thing for our country.”

But he cast the probe in political terms, contending Democrats might have hurt their chances at defeating him next year and winning other races.

“But it seems to be very good for me politically,” he said.

Before Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved ahead with the impeachment inquiry in September, polls mostly showed Americans favoring the president’s impeachment. Since the probe began, public opinion has mostly leveled.

A Monmouth University poll released this week, for instance, found 45 per cent of Americans want Trump impeached and moved out of his job. Despite public hearings in recent weeks, that is only 1 percentage point higher than the same poll found in the two previous months.

An average of polls compiled by FiveThirtyEight found a relatively stable level of opinion about impeachment, with less than half of Americans favoring the House making Trump only the third sitting president to be impeached.

The president also took a shot at Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council Ukraine expert who testified during the impeachment probe and raised concerns about an American president asking another government to investigate US citizens.

“The ‘lieutenant colonel,’” Trump said, bringing up Vindman Friday without being prompted. “He’s another beauty.”

The president also repeatedly slammed Democrats, saying they have misused impeachment, calling it “something that shouldn’t be allowed,” adding: “I’ll tell you what, some day there will be a Democratic president and a Republican House.”

Under such a scenario, he said he suspects his fellow Republicans will “remember that,” referring to his expected impeachment.

In a lighter moment, Trump – who agreed to a still-murky “phase one” trade pact with China as Republican and Democratic lawmakers claimed to have struck a spending deal – noted, “This has been a wild week.”

Next week likely will only be wilder.

The House is slated to take up that year-end spending package on Tuesday that is needed to avert a government shutdown next week. The impeachment articles are expected on the floor Wednesday, followed by his proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade pact on Thursday. (dpa/NAN)

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 8:55 GMT |

Nothing secret, sinister about us — Ogboni Fraternity

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Francis Meshioye
Francis Meshioye

Leader of the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity (ROF), Chief Francis Meshioye, has again debunked public perception that the fratenity was a secret society.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos during flag off of 2019 Founders’ Day Celebration of ROF, Meshioye, said there was nothing sinister in the activities of the fraternity.

“We are far from being a secret society; we are a registered entity that abides with the laws of the land and our objectives are to promote positive values, truth, justice and cultural heritage,” he said.

He explained that contrary to beliefs in some quarters, there was nothing secret or sinister about the fraternity, saying it was founded for the good of the society.

Meshionye further explained that the fraternity was actually founded in 1914 by a Christian, Deacon Jacobson Ogunbiyi, saying the initial objective was to promote Christian values among the people.

He added that the group was later expanded to accommodate people of other faiths, hence the change in name from Ogboni Fraternity to Reformed Ogboni Fraternity.

Meshioye said a number of distinguished Nigerians, dead and living, were members of the group, emphasising that the fraternity was strictly for positive values.

He said that it was note-worthy that the founding fathers of ROF were part of those who fought for decolonisation of Nigeria, developed such establishments as the civil service, judiciary and many functional post-colonial institutions.

He listed some of them as late Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, late Chief Ladoke Akintola and late Sir Adeyemo Alakija.

The ROF leader said every Nigerian of good character could join the group as the fraternity was not for those who were seeking quick wealth.

According to Meshioye, it is important for people to understand what the group stands for, urging Nigerians to embrace the virtues of the fraternity

”The Reformed Ogboni Fraternity (ROF) has the ultimate objective of promoting good values, love discipline, not only in Nigeria but in other parts of the world wherever her members finds him or herself.

”There is a clear distinction between ROF as a fraternity and any other forms of organisations.

”Our fraternity compels her members to imbibe the fundamental injunction of ”do unto others as you wish others to do unto you ”

”However, the fraternity had to overcome many challenges that were rooted in misinterpretations of what we stand for,” the ROF leader said.

He said the celebration of ROF’s 2019 Founders’ Day was to promote the ideals of the fraternity and show the world that the group was all positive.(NAN)

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 8:55 GMT |

32-man Borno delegation understudies Kaduna on participatory governance

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Gov Babagana Zulum
Gov Babagana Zulum

A 32-man delegation from Borno is in Kaduna State on a study of key government institutions in the area of good practices and participatory governance.

Leader of the team, Alhaji Musa Abubakar, said on Friday in Kaduna that the 2-day visit is supported by Mercy Corps Nigeria.

Abubakar said the aim was to apply the experiences of Kaduna state in tackling poverty and build secure, productive and just communities in Borno.

He explained that Mercy Corps is running a peace programme on conflict management and stabilization in 20 communities in Gwoza, Damboa, Dikwa, Maiduguri and Jere local government areas of Borno.

According to him, the programme has three components which includes social cohesion, social inclusion and governance.

“One of the lineups of activities under these components is a learning visit by government officials to see the innovations and restructuring happening in Kaduna public service,” he said.

Abubakar disclosed that at the end of the visit, the team would develop action plans for implementation in Borno.

He said the 32-man team consists of officials from Ministries of Women Affairs, Finance, Justice and Local Government, as well as Legal Aid Council, Borno State House of Assembly and Local Government Councils.

The team leader said they would visit the Kaduna state Ministries of Justice, Human Services and Social Development, and Budget and Planning, as well as the state Peace Commission, Civil Society Organizations and Interfaith Mediation Centre.

Also, the Director Women Affairs in Borno, Hajiya Falmata Gambo, said she was impressed with what the team had seen so far.

Similarly, the Desk Officer, Borno State House of Assembly, Baba Kura Maina, said their experiences in Kaduna would help to add value to the transformational efforts of Gov. Babagana Zulum.

Maina, who described the Borno governor as a blessing to the state, said he has put in place machineries needed for restoration of the lost glory of the state. (NAN)

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 8:49 GMT |

Police confirm killing of 29-yr-old man in Abakaliki

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Police
Police

The Police Command in Ebonyi has confirmed the killing of one Mr Boniface Nwoha, 29, by unknown gunmen at a drinking joint at Amika Abba area of Abakaliki.

Mrs Loveth Odah, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), confirmed the incident to newsmen in Abakaliki on Friday.

She said that full investigation into the murder had commenced and assured residents that the perpetrators of the crime would be arrested and brought to justice.

Odah said: “The case has been referred to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for thorough investigation.

“The police will unravel the cause of the murder and ensure that everyone involved in the act is arrested and prosecuted.

“I wish to use this medium to appeal to citizens to be law abiding, to resist the lure of taking laws into their hands and report any breach of right to the police.

“We assure our readiness to ensure full protection of lives of every resident and there will be no hiding place for criminal elements in the state.”

Meanwhile, a source close to the deceased’s family told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on condition of anonymity, that Nwoha was killed by members of a suspected rival cult group.

According to the source, the group was on a reprisal mission, following a fracas that took place at the compound of the deceased, where some people were reportedly injured.

“The deceased allegedly had an altercation with some co-tenants at their residence at Amike Abba, which led to some persons getting injured.

“In an apparent reprisal attack, the injured persons, alleged to be members of the Aye confraternity, trailed him to a drinking joint, where they shot him severally and fled,” the source said.

NAN gathered that many residents of the area, especially youths, had fled their homes, following ongoing police investigation. (NAN)

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 8:45 GMT |

Ministry, RIFAN collaborate to boost rice production

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Suleiman Adamu
Suleiman Adamu

Ministry of Water Resources and Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), on Friday, signed an MoU for proper utilisation of the irrigation channels of the 12 River Basin Development Authorities (RBDA) to boost rice farming across the country.

The President of RIFAN, Mr Aminu Goronyo, told newsmen in Abuja thatthe Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Adamu, signed the MoU.

He said that the minister described the move as his contribution toward the Presidential Initiative to make Nigeria the rice hub in Africa and to ensure food security.

Goronyo added that the minister said government was determined to reposition and strengthen the RBDAs to become major economic nerve-centres in line with government’s economic diversification policy.

He said for proper utilization, the RBDAs were undergoing structural reforms toward partial and eventually full commercialisation of their operations, as the National Council on Privatisation approved the appointment of a transaction adviser to guide the process.

The RIFAN boss said “the ministry initiated the National Irrigation Programme with the aim of establishing additional 100,000 hectares of irrigated farmland by 2020.”

Goronyo added that the move was imperative “following increased food demand due to growing population.”

He explained that since most agriculture across the country was currently rain-fed, increased availability of irrigation by farmers was essential and in high demand.

He, however, noted that “because the ministry has the capacity to speed up the economic diversification moves, RIFAN seek the assistance of the minister for the utilization of its 116 facilities, including 38 irrigation and drainage projects, 37 dams and 41 water supply projects spread nationwide.”

The facilities include — River Basin Authorities such as that of Anambra-Imo, Benin- Owena, Chad Basin, Cross River, Hadejia-Jama’are, Lower Benue and Lower Niger.

Others are the Niger Delta; Ogun – Osun; Sokoto – Rima; Upper Benue and Upper Niger Basin Authorities.

The rice farmers association president said that the approval would reposition and strengthen  farmers to produce more “and make the country a major economic nerve-centre in rice production line with government’s economic diversification policy.”

Goronyo, who noted that a token irrigation water charge would be paid in bulk to the RBDAs, said the irrigation scheme would help farmers in rice production three times a year with bumper harvest.

He said the minister also promised to meet with heads of all the affected RBDAs to work out modalities for work to commence.

He disclosed that the move was also in line with the promise made by President Muhammadu Buhari that goverrnment would revive all the 12 River Basin Development Authorities to boost agricultural activities across the country.

Goronyo added that “while irrigation is essential for rice productivity improvement, there is need for complementary services, infrastructure and institutions for greater impact on production and wellbeing.”

He, however, said that RIFAN, under the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria, would accompany the scheme as others under the rain fed through the provision of institutional support services and complementary farm inputs.

These include the facilitation of access to farm inputs such as fertilizer and herbicide. (NAN)

– Dec. 14, 2019 @ 8:45 GMT |

FG’ll continue to support global efforts to address climate change – Minister

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Mahmood Abubakar
Mahmood Abubakar

MINISTER of Environment Dr Mahmood Abubakar said on Friday in Abuja that Nigeria would continue to play significant role in global efforts at addressing climate change.

Abubakar made this known in a statement issued by Mr Saghir el Mohammed, the Director Press in the ministry.

According to the minister said this while addressing a Ministerial High-Level Segment at the climate change conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain.

He said it had become obvious that the challenges of climate change were enormous even though Nigeria was already engaged in sustainable joint and collaborative efforts toward tackling the problems.

He quoted the minister as saying that Nigeria was facing social, economic, and environmental consequences of climate change due to its dependence on climate-sensitive resources.

“Climate change impacts are already threatening the survival and livelihoods of our people.

“The devastating loss of range and croplands to desertification each year in the northern part of Nigeria, loss of forest cover, and sea-level rise in the coastline are stark reminders of our vulnerability to climate change,” he said.

The minister said that President Muhammadu Buhari had put in place advanced policies and initiatives aimed at mitigating significant challenges occasioned by climate change.

According to him, some of the initiatives are, reviving the Lake Chad, increasing forest cover, deploying smart renewable energy solutions, as well as halting and reversing desertification.

Others include land degradation, flooding, ocean surge, gender mainstreaming and the engagement of youths in climate governance.

“Nigeria has embraced issuances of Green Bond to raise finance for the implementation of a green project, which has helped the government to fundamentally reorient its financial flows within the economy through the federal budget and capital market.

“It is hoped that the issuance of the third Sovereign Green Bond recently launched will triple Nigeria’s Green House Gas (GHG) emission reductions, stimulate more economic growth, and catalyse investment in social programmes,” the minister said.

Abubakar reiterated the unwavering commitment of Nigeria to fulfilling its obligation under the Paris Agreement and actualisation of goals of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

On expectations of Nigeria from the conference, he said that Nigeria had fully aligned itself with the call by the African Group of Climate Change Negotiators (AGN), an alliance of African member states.

The AGN represents the region in the international climate change negotiations with a common and unified voice.

The group often faces significant barriers to effective participation in climate change negotiations, which in part is due to a lack of strategic and technical assistance on complex negotiating issues tailored to the interests and priorities of Africa.

As a result, the ability of African countries to constructively contribute and influence the UNFCCC process is hindered.

The group, according to Abubakar, plans to take advantage of COP-25 currently ongoing in Madrid to expeditiously and as a matter of priority, conclude negotiations on the special needs and circumstances of Africa.

He stated that Nigeria expects to see the conclusion of the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage as well as the agreement on Article 6 on market mechanism.

He added that Nigeria would expect full implementation of a long-term climate agenda, mobilisation of 100 billion dollars by 2020, and refining of the technical aspects of the transparency framework.

The minister also said that it was Nigeria’s expectation to see capacity building, adaptation and decision on Gender Action Plans, as well as the adoption of quick resolutions, amongst other things, at the end of the conference.

“Nigeria also wishes that all outstanding issues pertaining to the Paris Agreement Rulebook carried over from COP24 would be operationalised and strengthened to ensure a sustainable future for our people and planet.” (NAN)

– Dec. 13, 2019 @ 19:32 GMT |

SON issues certificates, tasks coys on standards

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Osita Aboloma
Osita Aboloma

THE Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has urged three companies issued Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) certificates to adhere to the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS).

Dr Osita Aboloma, Director General, SON made the call while presenting the certificates to the companies on Friday in Minna.

“We are happy that you have worked according to the NIS to earn the MANCAP certification.

“We want you to adhere to the relevant standard in order to increase your production and compete favourably, locally and internationally,” he said.

Aboloma, represented by Mr Charles Nwagbara, North Central Regional Coordinator, SON, said that quality and standard products would boost the country’s economy as demand for good products and services increase.

He said that the aim of MANCAP was to promote good manufacturing practices and economic development in the country.

“On a global perspective, products with the MANCAP logo gains credibility across countries in West Africa and the world at large,” he said.

The Director General noted that if locally manufactured products conform to the NIS, it would ensure that products compete internationally as well as meet the needs of citizens.

He also told the awardees that the certificates were valid for three years, after which the products must be recertified.

“Within the three years, surveillance will be carried out to ensure all parameters of the standards are maintained,’’ the director general said.

He applauded the companies for their commitments in conforming to the relevant requirements of the NIS.

He said that MANCAP was a scheme put in place to ensure that all locally manufactured products conform to the relevant NIS before being presented for sale in the local or international market.

Similarly, Mr Eyitayo Akanbi, State Coordinator, SON said that the MANCAP certification was a guarantee to product acceptance, as the mark creates confidence and increase revenue.

According to Akanbi, companies that receive the certification can testify as their sales target has exceeded what it was before getting the certificate.

He advised the companies not to relent in pursuit for quality products, adding that improvement in the products quality should be a continuous process.

Also, Mr Chinedu Ezeunra, Managing Director, Diamond Carlys Paint Industry, Minna, one of the awardees said that the recognition would spur him to improve more on the quality.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that beneficiaries of the MANCAP certification include Fine Gauge Paint Industry and Ashmady Integrated Services, all in Minna. (NAN)

– Dec. 13, 2019 @ 19:27 GMT |

PDP extols Gov. Wike’s virtues

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Wike
Wike

THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers as an exceptional leader, with extraordinary commitment and sacrifice towards national stability and well-being of Nigerians.

PDP said this in a goodwill message issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, on Friday in Abuja to congratulate Wike on his birthday.

“Wike is a fearless leader, whose staunch stand for justice, equity and fairness to all, has been a boost to the collective struggle by Nigerians for the restoration of democratic values and rule of law in the country.

“The PDP notes with delight that over the years, he has distinguished himself as a leader whose only interest in governance has been the well being of the people,” he said.

He prayed God to continue to bless Wike with many more years in good health for the people of Rivers and Nigerians at large to continue to benefit from his selfless service to the nation.(NAN)

– Dec. 13, 2019 @ 19:25 GMT |

EU member states agree to push on with eurozone reform by June

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EU
EU

LEADERS of eurozone countries on Friday agreed to push forward with stalled negotiations to reform the currency area and deepen its monetary union.

Leaders of the 19 euro countries said in a statement that the technical work on the European stability mechanism (ESM) bailout fund on strengthening the banking union should be finalised.

The statement said leaders should also move forward with their plans for a fledgling eurozone budget.

“Progress in the package of reforms, deemed necessary in the wake of the last financial crisis will also enhance the international role of the euro, which should be commensurate with the global economic and financial weight of the European Union.

“We encourage work to be taken forward on all these issues and will come back to them at the latest in June 2020.’’ the statement read. (dpa/NAN)

– Dec. 13, 2019 @ 19:15 GMT |

UNESCO includes Thai massage on intangible cultural heritage list

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UNESCO

THAI Cultural Minister Itthiphol Kunplome on Friday announced that the traditional Thai massage has been formally added to UN intangible cultural heritage list.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) added the Thai massage in its cultural heritage list, following the traditional Khon dance that had already been listed.

This was announced at the ongoing Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage’s 14th session in Bogota, Colombia.

Thai massage is an aspect of traditional medicinal wisdom that is related to Buddhist teachings and local cultures.

According to Itthiphol, Thai traditional massage is now recognised as a form of alternative medicinal therapy, applicable to modern medicine.

The minister added that the enlisting of Thai traditional massage into UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list would also promote the Thai tourism industry. (Xinhua/NAN)

– Dec. 13, 2019 @ 19:15 GMT |

UN agencies return 5,087 Somali refugees from Yemen in 2 years

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UN
UN

TWO UN agencies said on Friday that some 5,087 Somali refugees had so far returned home from Yemen since it started an Assisted Spontaneous Return (ASR) programme in 2017.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said that 39 organised departures had taken place from Yemen to Somalia since the ASR programme began two years ago.

“IOM provides operational support to refugee return movements through chartering a boat, providing medical support upon arrival and transportation assistance to the refugees’ final destinations’’ said the UN agencies.

The agencies further said that a boat carrying 145 Somali refugees left the Port of Aden on Thursday and was due at the Port of Berbera on Friday in the latest departure.

The UN agencies said that amongst those who departed on Thursday were 20-year-old Naima who is hoping to go back to school in Somalia.

“She had to stop her education 10 years ago when her father got sick.

“Naima was left to help her mother in the house and work in the family business.

“I hope to be able to go back to school, complete my education, study medicine, and one day become a doctor,’’ said Naima.

According to the UN, Yemen hosts the world’s second-largest Somali refugee population, around 250,000 refugees.

It is a long-standing refugee host nation and the only country in the Arabian Peninsula which is a signatory to the Refugee Convention and its protocol.

The UN agencies said after more than four years of conflict in Yemen the situation for civilians, refugees, asylum seekers and migrants has deteriorated.

The ASR program is facilitated by UNHCR in partnership with IOM, and in cooperation with humanitarian partners and authorities in Yemen and Somalia.

According to UNHCR, refugee movements from Somalia to Yemen have been taking place since the 1980s and continued following the outbreak of civil war in Somalia. (Xinhua/NAN)

– Dec. 13, 2019 @ 19:15 GMT |

Umahi presents N178bn budget for 2020

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Umahi
Umahi

GOV. David Umahi of Ebonyi on Friday, presented a budget of N178.1 billion for 2020 to the state House of Assembly. The budget was lower than the 2019 figure of 188.4billion.

Umahi while presenting the budget, tagged ‘budget of growth, consolidation and transformation, expressed appreciation to the House and other critical stakeholders who ensured the effective implementation of the 2019 budget.

The governor said that the budget has a recurrent expenditure of N46.08 billion representing 25.8 per cent and capital expenditure of N132 billion representing 74.1 percent.

“The increase in the capital expenditure is due to the borrowing from the African Development Bank (ADB) for the construction of the state ring road.

“It is pertinent to state that the fund is still with the ADB and not paid into the state’s accounts as the contractors will generate certificate and get paid directly from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),” he said.

Umahi said personnel cost in the budget was N18.4billion with provisions for payment of the new minimum wage for workers in the state.

“I use this opportunity to urge the organised labour to hasten its negotiations with government on the minimum wage for its implementation.

“I have maintained that the minimum wage starts with the Local Government Areas (LGAs) because a chain is as strong as its weakest link.

“Whatever is agreed at the LGA level is what we will pay and I maintain that no LGA should spend more than 60 per cent of its earning on paying salaries.

“The World Bank has instructed that citizens must be part of budgeting which means that they must be accommodated in it with every fund of the state belonging to them,” he said.

Umahi noted that works and infrastructure has been allocated N54.1b (30.8 per cent) education—N27b (15. 21 per cent) health—N15.4b (8.6 per cent) human capital development and commerce and industry—N8.b (4.5 per cent).

“Agriculture will receive N3.7b ( 2.1 per cent) security—N2.6b (1.5 per cent) as the government desires to enhance the agricultural capabilities of the state and improve its general hospitals,” he said.

Mr Francis Nwifuru, the Speaker commended Umahi for painstakingly implementing the 2019 budget and its preceding ones and assured of the House continued collaboration for the good of the state.

“I urge my colleagues to ensure expeditious passage for the governor to consolidate on his infrastructural and other dividends of democracy bequeathed on the people,” he said. (NAN)

– Dec. 13, 2019 @ 19:15 GMT |

Hate Speech Bill: Is Nigeria media under threat?

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Buhari
Buhari

Despite public outcry against the proposed Hate Speech Bill and Social media bill, the National Assembly is pushing for the passage of the two bills since it will please the Presidency. If these bills are finally signed into law, it is the nation’s democracy that is the loser and not only the Nigerian media as is being portrayed by the sponsors of these draconian laws

By Anayo Ezugwu

WHEN President Muhammadu Buhari announced in his Independence Day Speech on Tuesday, October 1, that his administration will deal d ecisively with those abusing free speech in the country, Nigerians didn’t take him serious. But one month after the warning, precisely on Tuesday, November 12, the Senate reintroduced a bill seeking to penalise persons found guilty of hate speech.

The president had in his speech said: “Our attention is increasingly being focused on cyber-crimes and the abuse of technology through hate speech and other divisive material being propagated on social media. Whilst we uphold the Constitutional rights of our people to freedom of expression and association, where the purported exercise of these rights infringes on the rights of other citizens or threatens to undermine our National Security, we will take firm and decisive action.

“In this regard, I reiterate my call for all to exercise restraint, tolerance and mutual respect in airing their grievances and frustrations. Whilst the ongoing national discourse on various political and religious issues is healthy and welcome, we must not forget the lessons of our past – lessons that are most relevant on a day such as this.”

The bill for the establishment of a National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech was sponsored by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, Senate Deputy Chief Whip. While that of the social media is sponsored by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa. The two bills have passed second reading in the Senate.

The hate speech bill proposes death penalty for people whose speech results in the death of another person. And the social media bill empowers government regulators to shut down social media and perhaps the internet for those whose posts are deemed to risk public safety and national security.

Though these bills were introduced under the guise of public interest both are likely by-products of growing attacks on human rights.  For many Nigerians, these bills are not just a matter of new, inconsequential rules. It is a war on their voices, freedom and rights. It is seen as having been designed as a trap for government critics, journalists, lawyers and any opposition to the government.

As rejection and protest continued to trail the bills, Aisha Buhari, wife of the president on Wednesday, December 11, confirmed to Nigerians that the media is really under threat in the country. She narrated the ordeal of her media aides and reporters of Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, in the hands of Garba Shehu, senior special assistant on media and publicity to the president.

Aisha said when she returned from her long visit to Europe a few weeks ago, she granted an interview to NTA at the airport wherein she revealed that it was Mamman Daura’s daughter, Fatima that leaked a video showing her protesting the excesses of the Daura family. She alleged that rather than do his job and clear the air, Shehu ensured that her media aides and NTA employees were suspended for airing the interview.

“Garba then, vented his anger on the NTA management, insisting that the media crew to my office must be sacked. He succeeded in getting them suspended for doing their job. I had to intervene to save the innocent staff from losing their means of livelihood by involving the Department of State Services in order to ascertain roles played by key actors in the saga,” she said.

Aisha’s revelation is one of the reasons why media practitioners, lawyers, human right activists and indeed the general public are condemning the bills.  Since the reintroduction, many interest groups and individuals have called on the National Assembly to drop the bills.

According to Amnesty International, since 2015, attacks on journalists and media activists have continued unabated. “Between January and September 2019, at least 19 journalists and media practitioners have suffered attack. We are closely monitoring these attacks and now reports on how they have contributed to the violation of other human rights in Nigeria. These attacks take the form of verbal and physical assault, as well as indiscriminate arrest and detention by Nigerian authorities.

“These violations are mostly perpetrated by Nigeria’s security forces – the Nigeria Police, the Nigerian Army and officials of the Department of State Service, DSS, and they occur when journalists and media practitioners seek access to information, share information or express critical views that could drive public opinion.

“Oftentimes, dissenting views expressed by media practitioners are criminalized, particularly when they revolve around sensitive issues. Also, the stifling of freedom of expression for these groups occurs in circumstances where journalists are pressured to disclose their sources of information. Those who spoke to Amnesty International confirmed that they came under intense pressure from Nigeria’s security officials to reveal their sources of information, particularly when they published stories that focused on corruption, elections and armed conflict.

“Some of the journalists were kept under surveillance, while others received death threats through telephone calls from unidentified people. Many journalists also came under attack while reporting the 2019 General Elections across Nigeria,” it said.

The Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, also joined many Nigerians in condemning the proposed fake news and hate speech bills. The Guild noted that draconian legislations have no place in Nigeria’s democracy. In a communiqué issued after its 15th All Nigerian Editors’ Conference in Sokoto, the NGE condemned all dictatorial tendencies against the media.

It stressed the need to collectively fight against all media abuses by non-professionals. It also frowned at all the attempts to punish conventional media for the wrongs of non-professionals on the social media platforms. The editors called on the federal government to release of all detained journalists across the country. It stated that democracy thrives better in countries that cherish and promote media freedom.

Uba Gaya, former deputy president, Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, described the bills as illegal. He advised the government to avoid actions that could scare away foreign investors. “’My view is that the government should tread with serious caution, so that it is not perceived negatively by the international community. Every step we take is being watched. There are international groups that monitor the media globally. They are watching every move, every step the federal government takes,” he said.

Gaya called attention to the ”speedy pace” the hate speech bill is going through the National Assembly. He added that he considers the changes to be illegal. “’The social media bill being considered by the National Assembly contravenes Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, which guarantees freedom of expression, opinion.”

He advised the federal government ‘engage the founders of Twitter, Facebook and other social media networks, to get them to filter information that could endanger public interest.

Likewise, the Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, has expressed concern over the bills. Idayat Hassan, director, CDD, in a press statement, said the social media bill reveals a dangerous push by the government to establish powers to determine and declare what news is fake and what is true.

“CDD is deeply concerned that the legislation places an inordinate amount of power in the hands of the government and security agencies. There are also technical issues, as a result of overlapping legislations in Nigeria. The Cybercrime Act of 2015, already has stipulations for the sharing of false information and the Nigerian Communications Commission Act of 2003 grants the NCC powers to oversee the function of telecommunications providers. The proposed bill (social media bill) raises far more questions than it provides answers.

“CDD views the underlying objective of this legislation as being to silence critical voices. While it is indeed true that Nigeria is a country that is, and has been, the victim of disinformation campaigns, the evidence does not seem to indicate the existence of political will towards eradicating false information. Since the gazetting of the 2015 Cybercrime Act, no politician or high-profile figure has been indicted for propagating false information,” he said.

But Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, has said that there is no going back on the plan by the government to regulate the social media in Nigeria. “People are using traditional media to criticise the administration. Why not? This is a democracy and there should be a plurality of opinions.

But our concern has to do with the abuse of the social media by those who are bent on spreading fake news and hate speech, and the dangers inherent in that are for our national peace and unity. We have no hidden agenda. No responsible government will sit by and allow fake news and hate speech to dominate its media space,” he said.

Be that as it may, despite the rejection of the bills by Nigerians with protests, hashtags, editorials and campaigns, it seems the bills could be passed into law sooner than expected. With the unending bad governance, insecurity, looting of public funds, suppression of human rights and liberty, will Nigerians equally allow this government to take away their voices, and by extension, social media?

– Dec. 13, 2019 @ 18:55 GMT |

Ekwunife tasks company on timely completion of Anambra power project

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Ekwunife
Ekwunife

SEN. Uche Ekwunife on Friday charged the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited to ensure timely completion of the 132/33 KV transmission sub-station at Agu-Awka, Anambra.

Ekwunife, representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, gave the charge when she visited the project site for a first-hand information on the extent of work already done.

The lawmaker expressed satisfaction that the project was nearing completion after an interaction with representatives of the company and the project consultant.

She described the power project as “real and practical” and promised to ensure that the National Assembly offered the necessary support for its completion.

She hoped that the project would boost economic activities and speed up industrialisation in the senatorial zone, when completed.

Ekwunife urged the company to put in more efforts in other power projects at Adazi-ani and Obosi areas to further boost business activities in the area.

The Project Manager, Mr Amaechi Chinwuba, said the Agu-Awka transmission sub-station was “technically completed”.

Chinwuba said the project would be inaugurated in February 2020, adding that it was designed to supply power to Awka and its environs.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 132/33 KV transmission sub-station at Agu-Awka Anambra is a Federal Government project being executed under the National Integrated Power Project. (NAN)

– Dec. 13, 2019 @ 18:55 GMT |

Emefiele attributes Nigeria’s economic growth to CBN’s policy measures

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GODWIN Emefiele the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has attributed the country’s economic growth to series of policy measures put in place by the apex bank.

Emefiele made the assertion at the 11th Annual Bankers Committee Retreat with theme: “Delivering Inclusive Growth: Leveraging Digital Finance” in Ogere, Ogun State.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two day retreat, brought together, Chief Executive Officers of Commercial Banks to discuss financial issues bothering the nation.

“The Gross Domestic Profit (GDP) growth has remained positive for 10 consecutive quarters after the recession.

“For the 2nd and 3rd Quarter of 2019, GDP growth stood at 2.1 percent and 2.28 percent respectively.

“The positive growth in GDP has been driven by improvements in Agriculture, Oil and Gas, Manufacturing and Information Communication Technology,” he said.

The governor also said Headline Inflation declined from its height of 18.7 percent to 11.08 percent in August 2019.

He said in October, there was an uptick in Headline Inflation which stood at 11.61 per cent.

According to him, the uptick is partly driven by cost – push factors such as the recent border closure.

He said that the effect would be temporary, as efforts were being made to induce greater production of staple food items.

Emefiele said, however, that the core inflation as of October 2019 was under 9 per cent.

The CBN governor said also that the country’s financial system was in a much stronger position, as capital buffers and liquidity in the banking system continued to improve.

” Industry wide Capital Adequacy Ratio(CAR) has increased from 10.2 percent in December 2017 to 15.5 percent in September 2019.

“The percentage of nonperforming loans in the banking sector has declined from its high of 14.7 percent in January 2017 to under 7 percent as at October 2019.

“Credit conditions in the banking system have improved supported by our new policy measures announced in June 2019, which requires banks to maintain a minimum 65 percent loan to deposit ratio.

“In addition, banks are now able to recover delinquent loans from  customer’s accounts in other banks.

“As a result, gross credit increased by N1.16 trillion between May and October 2019.

“These measures have placed our banks in a much better position toward supporting a stronger economic recovery,” he said.

He said the impact of a tighter monetary policy regime, attractive yields in the money market, and the banks’ efforts at supporting domestic productivity in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors; along with improvements in oil production, had supported continued foreign exchange inflows into the Nigerian market.

He said over 60 billion dollars worth of transactions had taken place in the investors and exporters window since the inception in April 2017.

He said foreign exchange reserves was 39 billion dollars, relative to its low point of 23bilion dollars in October 2016.

Emefiele said Nigeria’s current stock of external reserve will be able to finance nine months of import commitments.

He also said the Naira-dollar exchange rate at the investors and exporters window had remained stable for the past 30 months at N360 – 1 dollar.

He said the country had witnessed significant convergence in the exchange rate across  various market windows.

Notwithstanding these positive indicators, Emefiele said the country was still far from her potentials.

“Our GDP growth rate remains below our estimated annual population growth of 2.6 percent.

“Second, while headline inflation has moderated, it is still above the CBN band of 6 – 9 percent.

“Third, continuous growth in our GDP has not led to significant reductions in our unemployment rate and we intend to continue to support efforts that will create jobs for our growing population,” he said. (NAN)

– Dec. 13, 2019 @ 18:55 GMT |

Chevron announces $20bn Capital, Exploratory budget for 2020

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Michael Wirth
Michael Wirth

THE Chevron Corporation has announced a 2020 organic capital and exploratory spending programme of $20 billion. The 2020 budget supports a robust portfolio of upstream and downstream investments, highlighted by Chevron’s world-class Permian Basin position, the company’s major capital project at TCO in Kazakhstan, and an advantaged queue of deepwater opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico.

Michael Wirth, Chairman and CEO, Chevron, said the company was positioning to win in any environment by ratably investing in the highest return, lowest risk projects in its portfolio. He said this would be the third consecutive year with organic capital spending held flat at $20 billion, continuing the company’s capital discipline through the cycle. Our emphasis on short cycle investments is expected to deliver improved returns on capital and stronger free cash flow over the long-term,” he said.

As a result of Chevron’s disciplined approach to capital allocation and a downward revision in its longer-term commodity price outlook, the company will reduce funding to various gas-related opportunities, including Appalachia shale, Kitimat LNG, and other international projects. Chevron is evaluating its strategic alternatives for these assets, including divestment. In addition, the revised oil price outlook resulted in impairment at Big Foot.

Combined, these actions are estimated to result in non-cash, after tax impairment charges of $10 billion to $11 billion in its fourth quarter 2019 results, more than half related to the Appalachia shale. “We believe the best use of our capital is investing in our most advantaged assets with capital discipline and a conservative outlook comes the responsibility to make the tough choices necessary to deliver higher cash returns to our shareholders over the long term,” Wirth said.

According to the company, in the upstream business, approximately $11 billion is forecasted to sustain and grow currently producing assets, including about $4 billion for Permian unconventional development and about $1 billion for other international unconventional development. It also noted that approximately $5 billion of the upstream programme is planned for major capital projects underway, of which about 75 percent is associated with the Future Growth Project and Wellhead Pressure Management Project (FGP/WPMP) at the Tengiz field in Kazakhstan. Global exploration funding is expected to be about $1 billion.

For the downstream, an approximately $2.8 billion of planned capital spending is associated with the company’s downstream businesses that refine, market, and transport fuels, and manufacture and distribute lubricants, additives and petrochemicals.

Chevron Corporation is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies. Through its subsidiaries that conduct business worldwide, the company is involved in virtually every facet of the energy industry. Chevron explores for, produces and transports crude oil and natural gas; refines, markets and distributes transportation fuels and lubricants; manufactures and sells petrochemicals and additives; generates power; and develops and deploys technologies that enhance business value in every aspect of the company’s operations.

– Dec. 13, 2019 @ 18:05 GMT |

Nigeria imports decrease, other oil exports gain in 3rd quarter — NBS

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NBS
NBS

THE National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), said total imports into the country in the third quarter of 2019 decreased by 2.70 per cent, while exports of other oil products rose by 6.14 per cent.

The Bureau made this known in a report made available to newsmen in Abuja on Friday.

Specifically, NBS said the value of percentage of imports decreased by 2.70 compared to the second quarter in the year with a total rise by 8.20 per cent.

It explained that the value of imported agricultural products was 4.01 per cent lower than in the second quarter which was 5.79 per cent.

Similarly, the NBS said the value of raw material imports decreased by 4.64 per cent in the third quarter of the year.

The bureau further said that the value of solid minerals imports was 31.73 per cent lower than the value of second quarter 2019 but 7.05 per cent higher than the value recorded in the third quarter 2018.

The Bureau, however, disclosed that value of energy goods imports increased by 243.92 per cent in the same period.

It explained that the 286.91 per cent increase in energy goods imports was relative to third quarter 2018 due to increased import of other wood charcoal, electrical energy and charcoal of bamboo.

“The value of imported manufactured goods grew by 12.46 per cent in the third quarter 2019 as against the value recorded in the second quarter, 2019 but decreased by 3.48 per cent when compared to the third quarter 2018.

“The value of other oil products imported decreased by 41.85 per cent in the third quarter 2019 against the level recorded in second quarter, 2019.’’

Meanwhile, NBS said the value of total exports in the third quarter, 2019 increased by 15.02 per cent compared to the level recorded in second quarter 2019 which increased by 1.34 per cent.

“The value of other oil products exported rose by 6.14 per cent in the third quarter 2019 against second quarter, 2019 but fell by 15.19 per cent relative to the third quarter 2018.’

“The value of manufactured goods exports increased by 839.44 per cent in the third quarter, 2019 when compared to the value recorded in second quarter, and over 1,000 per cent compared to the third quarter 2018.

“The notable increase recorded was due to the re-exports of high value Cable Sheaths of Iron, as well as submersible drilling platform, vessels and other floating structures.

The report, however, indicated that the value of agricultural exports decreased by 42.69 per cent in the third quarter 2019 compared to second quarter exports which was 14.66 per cent.

NBS noted that the value of raw material goods exports decreased by 5.74 per cent while the value of solid minerals exports also decreased by 17.08 per cent within the same period.

“The exports of energy goods decreased in value by 40.06 per cent in the third quarter 2019 compared to second quarter, 2019 and 45 per cent when compared with the third quarter 2018.

“The value of crude oil exports in the third quarter of 2019 was 4.79 per cent lower than in second quarter 2019 and 9.62 per cent lower than the third quarter 2018,’’ NBS said.

The Bureau put the value of Nigeria’s total trade in the third quarter, 2019 at N9.1billon representing 6.8 per cent compared to the second quarter which grew by 4.42 per cent. (NAN)

– Dec. 13, 2019 @ 18:49 GMT |

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