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     Concern grows over situation at beleaguered Ukrainian nuclear plant
    As Russia again accused Ukraine of shelling the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in the south of the beleaguered country, concern grew for the safety of the complex which has seen repeated shelling in recent days.

    An accident at the Ukrainian nuclear plant in Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya would be far worse than the Chernobyl or Fukushima disasters, Yevheny Zymbalyuk, the Ukrainian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in Vienna.

    He warned of severe consequences not only for Ukraine, but all of Europe.

    UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also warned of the danger of the current situation. Any attack on a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing, Guterres asserted.

    What will happen in a radius of 40 or 50 kilometres of the station, that is absolutely not comparable to Chernobyl or Fukushima, Zymbalyuk added.

    Analysts however say compared to the plants at Chernobyl and Fukushima, Zaporizhzhya is better protected thanks to a separate cooling circuit and a special protective layer, although it would probably be unable to withstand a targeted military attack.

    Zymbalyuk again demanded monitors from the IAEA to be sent to Zaporizhzhya along with unarmed international military observers.

    He said IAEA representatives should be on the ground by the end of the month.

    The IAEA has long complained that it is waiting to access the plant and said that any deployment would require the support of both Moscow and Kiev.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov urged the West to put pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as Moscow accuses Ukraine of shelling the nuclear plant.

    We expect that the countries that have absolute influence over the Ukrainian leadership will use this to prevent further shelling, Peskov said, according to the Interfax agency.

    Peskov spoke of a highly dangerous activity with, in the worst case, catastrophic consequences for all of Europe.

    With his call for the West to influence the Ukrainian leadership, he once again made it clear that there is no longer a connection between Moscow and Kiev after peace negotiations were broken off in May.

    New negotiations are not in sight.

    In Washington, a White House spokeswoman Monday said the U.S. continues to closely monitor the activity as the NPP the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration report that the radiation sensors are continuing to provide data, and thankfully we have seen no indications of increased or abnormal radiation levels.

    And we continue to call on Russia to cease all military operations at or near Ukrainian nuclear facilities and return full control to Ukraine, spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre added.

    The Pentagon announced further arms sales to Ukraine, with a billion-dollar package including additional ammunition for rocket launcher systems and 1,000 Javelin anti-tank missiles.

    It also estimates that up to 80,000 people have been killed for or injured on the Russian side in the Ukraine war.

    Meanwhile, the go-ahead has been given for a referendum on accession to Russia in the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya region.

    The regional governor, Yevhen Balytskyi, said on Monday he was signing a decree ordering the Central Electoral Commission to start to prepare a referendum on the unification of the region with the Russian Federation, according to the Russian state agency Ria Novosti.

    Balytskyi spoke at the We are together with Russia forum organised by the occupying forces in Melitopol. Zaporizhzhya, the regional capital, is still under Kievs control.

    It is unclear how such a vote, which Ukraine would not recognise, will be organised.

    Zelensky has already warned that referendums organised by the occupying forces would end all chances of peace talks with Russia.

    Balytskyi did not give a specific date for the planned vote. In the past, the beginning of September was discussed as a possible period.

    Meanwhile, a Russian soldier in the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv was sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of war crimes.

    The court considered it proven that the tank soldier fired on a multi-storey apartment building, carrying out an order shortly after the war began at the end of February, Ukrainian public television reported on Monday.

    The soldier had pleaded guilty and is to be imprisoned for 10 years, but the sentence will only become final after a possible appeal. (dpa/NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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    Edited by Emmanuel Yashim

    Source: NAN News

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     ACReSAL critical to lifting 100m Nigerians out of poverty  FG
    By Fabian Ekeruche

    The Federal Government says that the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACreSAL) project is critical to lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.

    Mr Mohammed Abdullahi, the Honourable Minister for Environment, said this at the ACreSAL technical workshop on Monday in Lagos.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop is organised for the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture and Water Resources in conjunction with the World Bank.

    The ACReSAL Project is one of the central components in President Muhammadu Buharis strategy of ensuring environmental sustainability.

    And improving community livelihoods toward lifting 100 million people out of poverty, Abdullahi said.

    He said that his passion for the ACReSAL project exposed him to further understand the environment portfolio and its link with the broader society.

    I am also very passionate about ACReSAL.

    It is the first project that heralds my assumption of duties when Mr President redeployed me to the Federal Ministry of Environment.

    I saw the political will and desire of the three ministries in ensuring that targets are meant, Abdullahi said.

    According to him, ACReSAL is all about sustainable land management.

    He said that the ministry was deliberate in inviting stakeholders from the National Parks Service and the Great Green Wall Agency to engage with the World Bank to ensure the success of the project.

    The minister urged the Project Management Units (PMUs) from the different states to be diplomatically independent in their relationship with their state governors.

    He added that the ACReSAL project had the mandate to ensure land restoration, wetlands cultivation for the improvement of the land to make them fit for cultivation.

    He added that the ACReSAL would
    strengthen Nigerias long-term enabling environment for an integrated climate-resilient landscape.

    I am here to motivate and energise you.

    And also to encourage you to deliberate on the Draft Annual Work plan prepared by the various PMUs and clears same for onward transmission to the steering committee for approval.

    This is the much-needed step that will kick start disbursement of funds by the World Bank for implementation activities to begin, Abdullahi said.

    He expressed gratitude to Dr Joy Agene and her team from the World Bank on their efforts toward the full implementation of the ACReSAL project. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

    Edited by Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma

    Source: NAN News

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     Status quo remains in share sale by ExxonMobil to Seplat energy  NUPRC
    By Emmanuella Anokam

    The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has affirmed that status quo remains in respect to ExxonMobil/Seplat Energy share acquisition.

    Mr Gbenga Komolafe, Commission Chief Executive (CCE), NUPRC made this known in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, consented to the acquisition of ExxonMobil shares in the U.S.A by Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.

    Responding to media enquiries on latest development about the transaction, Komolafe clarified that NUPRC, in line with provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 was the sole regulator in dealing with such matters in Nigerian upstream sector.

    He said as it were, the issue at stake was purely a regulatory matter and the commission had earlier communicated the decline of Ministerial Assent to ExxonMobil in this regard.

    The CCE said as such, the Commission further affirmed that the status quo remained.

    That position remains the status quo and to the best of our knowledge as a regulator nothing has changed.

    The Commission is committed to ensuring predictable and conducive regulatory environment at all times in the Nigerian upstream sector, he said. (NAN)(www.nanews.ng)

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    Edited by Isaac Aregbesola

    Source: NAN News

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     AfDB to deliver certified wheat, seeds to 20 million farmers Adesina
    By Cecilia Ijuo

    The President, African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr Akinwumi Adesina says the bank is set to deliver climate-adapted, certified wheat and other staple crops seeds to 20 million farmers.

    Adesina said this in a document titled, Averting an African Food Crisis: The African Food Production Facility
    and obtained on Monday in Abuja.

    He said the initiative, which was part of activities by the bank would tackle food crisis in African countries including Nigeria.

    The president said the delivery of seeds and increased access to agricultural fertilizers would be done through the banks African Emergency Food Production Facility.

    Adesina said within the next two years, the facility would allow farmers to produce 38 million additional tonnes of food.

    He said that part of the plan was a 30 per cent increment in local production worth an estimated 12 billion dollars.

    He also said that it would facilitate better global investment in Africas agricultural sector.

    Adesina said that the facility would also support enhanced governance and policy reforms.

    From the onset, the African Development Bank realised the strategic need to tackle the devastating impact of the war on Africas food security.

    It is important to prevent unrest and even more human suffering.

    In May, the bank established a 1.5 billion dollar African Emergency Food Production Facility.

    In less than 60 days, it put into action 1.13 billion dollar-worth of programmes under the facility across 24 African countries.

    Half a dozen more programmes are expected to get underway by September as more governments apply to the facility, he said.

    According to him, food aid cannot feed Africa because Africa does not need bowls in hand.

    Africa needs seeds in the ground and mechanical harvesters to harvest bountiful food produced locally.

    Africa will feed itself with pride because there is no dignity in begging for food.

    The president said that the African Emergency Food Production Facility had benefited from stakeholder consultations.

    He said the price of wheat had soared in Africa by more than 45 per cent since the war in Ukraine began.

    Adesina also said fertilizer prices had gone up by 300 per cent while the continent faced a fertilizer shortage of two million metric tonnes.

    Many African countries have already seen price hikes in bread and other food items.

    If this deficit is not made up, food production in Africa will decline by at least 20 per cent and the continent could lose more than 11 billion dollars in food production value.

    The banks 1.5 billion dollar strategy will lead to the production of 11 million tons of wheat, 18 million tons of maize, sic million tons of rice and 2.5 million tons of soybeans.

    The bank will provide fertilizer to smallholder farmers across Africa over the next four farming seasons.

    This will be done using its convening influence with major fertilizer manufacturers, loan guarantees and other financial instruments, he said.

    Adesina further said it would create a platform to advocate critical policy reforms to solve the structural issues that impede farmers from receiving modern inputs.

    He said it included strengthening national institutions overseeing input markets.

    According to him, the facility had a structure for working with multilateral development partners.

    This he said would ensure rapid alignment and implementation, enhanced reach, and effective impact.

    The president also said it would increase technical preparedness and responsiveness.

    He said it included short, medium, and long-term measures to address both the urgent food crisis and long-term sustainability and resilience of Africas food systems. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

    Edited by Ese E. Eniola Williams

    Source: NAN News

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     MGGN beauty queen to focus on girl child education
    By Muhyideen Jimoh

    Newly crowned 2022 Most Gorgeous Girl Nigeria (MGGN), Ruqayyah Adeboye has pledged to focus on girl-child education during her reign

    Adeboye told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that as a beauty queen, her priority will be to use her platform to create awareness on girl child education across the country.

    NAN reports that the 23-year-old Law graduate who was crowned as the 2022 MGGN in Abuja stressed the importance of education in developing Nigeria.

    As a Muslim, I have a lot of job before me. I have to go all out and preach the importance of education.

    Girl education means that you dont have to offer someone your body before getting anything in return.

    Education will also help young girls communicate better, so educating them is the best gift we can offer them, she said.

    The beauty queen also emphasised the need to strengthen all institutions that will help the country meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

    The Kwara State born Queen called on women to be proud of themselves in any field of human endeavour, adding that femininity means being strong and able to excel regardless of obstacles.

    NAN reports that the queen was presented with a brand new Mazda Cx 9 SUV after her crowning on Saturday by Mr Paul Edeh, President, MGGN.

    Edeh said the pageantry was a unique one designed to celebrate the hard working Nigerian woman and showcase Nigerias rich culture.

    He said the first assignment for the Queen will be to interface with the FCT Education Board to organise the FCT Inter School Festival in September.

    The crowning ceremony was attended by the managing director MGGN and Queens mother Grace Ene, past winners, family members and philanthropists.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

    edited by Sadiya Hamza

    Source: NAN News

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     Muslim cleric tasks youths on nation-building
    By Bridget Ikyado

    Malam Isah Suliaman, the Deputy Imam, Navy Estate Central Mosque, Karishi, Abuja has charged Nigerian youths to brace up for nation building.

    The Imam made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.

    He said the future of the nations youth required that they use acquire skills to earn a living and not allow themselves to be used as political thugs during elections.

    Practically, every youth has one talent or the other, all they need is to develop this talent and explore it to be self-reliant for societal growth.

    I advise youths in the country to use their God-given talents for nation-building and shun social vices capable of giving Nigeria a bad name.

    The cleric said time has come when every Nigerian should elect visionary leaders, who will make the country great and not vote buyers, who have selfish interest.

    He specifically implored the youths to strive toward a better society by imbibing skills that would make them assets to the society.

    Besides, he called on the government to initiate policies that would address the challenges facing young people to give them a sense of belonging.

    The Imam said it would enable them to contribute to societal development.

    He said the management of the mosque had organised a programme where contemporary issues were discusses.

    We chat with the youths, we talk on issues such as social vices and the dangers involved, we also talk about means to develop them the family society at large.

    The Muslim cleric said peace and security for development were dominant at such events.

    The Imam said that Islam, which is an Arabic word, was derived from Salam which means peace, adding that without peace, they would be no progress.

    He called on leaders to come together and discuss challenges facing young people and how to invest in them for development.

    Sulaiman said they had gone out and within the mosque advising their members on the need to vote and be voted for.
    He further advised the youths to strive toward taking over the nations leadership, saying that such could only be possible if they worked very hard to become productive.

    The Imam called on government to restructure the country for inclusive governance, justice and development, which would go a long way to curbing insecurity. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

    Edited by Grace Yussuf

    Source: NAN News

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     Takeout Media Global to award ,000 grant to boost SMEs
    By Perpetua Onuegbu

    Takeout Media Global, an NGO says it will give out 10,000 dollars to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to boost their businesses.

    Mr Elijah Affi, the Creative Director of Takeout Media Global, made this known in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Takeout Media Global (TM Global) is an innovative full-service communication and tech agency.

    According to him, the media company will be offering three Nigerian business owners brand consultation and development services worth 10,000 dollars.

    With proven expertise in research, brand identity, brand strategy, digital branding, PR and strategic communications,

    TM Global has over the years enabled brands to adapt and gain a competitive advantage in both the private and public sectors of the country.

    The team of creative has introduced the TM GoGlobal Challenge to give Nigerian business owners an opportunity to play in the international market thereby elevating their reputation.

    Nigerian SMEs between five and 10 years of market operations are eligible for the challenge, he said.

    He said to participate in the competition and interested business owners should visit GoGlobalChallenge and make a one-minute video introducing the business and how winning the challenge would impact their businesses.

    Show samples of your products. Follow @takeout.media and @tm.con on Instagram and using the hashtag #GoGlobalWithTMGlobal.

    The participants must have a viable product that is available in the market. These products must be made in Nigeria and have the required regulatory certifications.

    They should also be willing to invest a certain sum toward producing the marketing collaterals that the team will create after the branding process.

    The judging criteria for choosing a winner will include your market affinity, product authenticity, product compliance, scalability, passion, must be indigenous and diverse, the creative director said.

    Affi said the winners would be revealed at the TM conference (TM Con), which would take place in Abuja.

    The TM Con is a premiere conference set to connect key players in the tech and media industries.

    He said it would equip the creative community with the knowledge they needed to scale their business and transition from passion to profit.

    Affi said that the company had gained a reputation in the market as one of the most creative and resultoriented agencies in the Federal Capital Territorywith international clientele. (NAN) ()

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    Edited by Grace Yussuf

    Source: NAN News

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     Let us work for unity of Benue  APC guber candidate appeals

    By Bridget Ikyado

    Rev. Hyacinth Alia, the 2023 governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue, has called on the people to work for the unity and the good of the state.

    He made the appeal at his 32nd priestly anniversary and Thanksgivings Mass in Ihugh, Vandeikya Local Government Area of Benue on Sunday.

    His media aide, Mr Isaac Uzaan, stated that the Thanksgiving service was put together by Ihugh Network for Fr. Alia at St. Winifred Catholic Church, Ihugh.

    Alia expressed profound gratitude to God for the privilege to share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ at the service of the people of God for more than 32 years.

    He appealed to Benue people to shun ethnicity and religious issues and come together to build a good Benue.

    Alia said the sitting government had completely abandoned issues germane to the development of the state, leading to untoward hardships for the people.

    He said he chose to enter into the political arena having noticed the poor condition of Benue people and the urgent need to change the unfavourable political situation in the state.

    Contrary to speculations in some quarters that I have been stripped of my priesthood, I am a priest forever.

    I have only taken a sabbatical from public ministration to salvage the political clime in the state, he said.

    Rev. Alia promised to turn around the fortunes of the state for the good of the people and the nation at large.

    Earlier in a sermon, Rev. Fr. Clement Mato, Parish Priest of the church advised Christians to remain resolute in their faith in the belief that God would rescue them in difficult situations.

    He blamed politicians for the general hardship in Benue and called on the people to take advantage of their numerical strength to participate in politics.

    The cleric prayed for Gods guidance and mercies upon Benue.

    Prominent political bigwigs in Benue, support groups, the clergy and many faithful attended the thanksgiving. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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    Edited by Alli Hakeem

    ,

    Source: NAN News

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     First Bank reopens Abuja headquarters office
    By Ginika Okoye

    First Bank Limited has reopened its headquarters (Coomassie House) located at the Central Business District, Abuja.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the office was on Aug. 4, sealed by the FCT High Court Enforcement Unit over its failure to comply with a garnishee order.

    A garnishee order is one of the options open to a judgment creditor to enforce a judgment that has been made in his favour.

    It is a common way of enforcing a judgment debt and is solely used to enforce monetary judgments against a debtor to recover money

    NAN correspondent who monitored the reopening on Monday in Abuja, reports that both the bank staff and customers were seen doing their transactions.

    Some of the customers who spoke to NAN said they heard rumour about the sealing of the bank.

    A customer who preferred to speak under condition of anonymity said, I heard about it but I came to make some transfers today and I am happy that the bank is open now.

    The bank management should do everything to make sure that such issues do not come up again because it is not good for their image, the customer said.

    NAN reports that officials of the FCT High Court Enforcement Unit had on Aug. 4, stormed the banks office with towing vans and cranes and towed some of its valuables.

    Items carted away included stand-by generators, Hilux vans and air conditioners among other valuables.

    However, the Bank in a statement said that their Coomassie House Branch was not sealed.

    On Aug. 4, there was an unlawful enforcement at the banks Coomassie House branch of a garnishee order.

    The order was issued by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja which the bank is still challenging in court.

    While the bank has taken appropriate legal steps to deal with the situation, we wish to reassure our customers of unhindered banking services and unique customer experience in all our branches, the bank said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

    Edited by Ese E. Eniola Williams

    Source: NAN News

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     Minister tasks military on increased awareness on mental health among personnel

    By Sumaila Ogbaje

    The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has urged the military to increase awareness on mental health among its personnel toward addressing impact of post-trauma and stress disorder among troops.

    Ehanire made the call at the opening of a Mental Health Resilience and Wellness Course 2 (MHRWC2) of the Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC) on Monday in Abuja.

    The minister was represented by the National Coordinator, the National Mental Health Programme of the ministry, Dr Tunde Ojo.

    He said that the effort should include programmes that would address stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness, saying it was one of the greatest barriers to accessing care.

    The minister also stressed the need to create conducive working environment including one that promotes mental wellbeing and proactively addresses the mental health needs of officers and men when identified.

    Unfortunately, there is the high tendency to give priority to the physical health needs ahead of mental health which should be looked into.

    I am aware there is dearth of mental health professionals in the country, and more so in the military as there are less than five psychiatrists in the entire military formation in the country.

    May be the statistics is much better for others like clinical psychologists, mental health nurse and medical social workers.

    I want to encourage you to invest more in this area trough recruitment and in service training.

    According to him, there should be a multidisciplinary team to reflect the holistic approach to mental health and not just the biomedical approach.

    The federal ministry of health is available to give you technical support in achieving any of these, he said.

    Ehanire said that the ministry was leading the initiative for the improvement of mental health care services in Nigeria by developing a National Mental Health Bill 2020, for an Act to repeal the Lunacy Act of 1958.

    This, he said was passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly in 2021, and awaiting assent by President Muhammadu Buhari.

    He said that proactive measure had been put in place with the establishment of the National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in March, pending conclusion of the legislative processes on the bill.

    Ehanire said the government had also engaged a consultant psychiatrist to coordinate the national response to the rising burden of mental health, neurological and substance use disorders in the country.

    According to him, the national mental policy is in the process of being reviewed to reflect current realities and global best practices.

    He commended the centre for designing the training being facilitated by the Department of Army Transformation and Innovation, Peace Building Consult and other stakeholders.

    Also speaking, Dr Ojo said that mental health had been a major issue as a result of the security challenges such terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, with officers and men being deployed in the warfronts to defend the country and protect lives.

    He said the personnel were being exposed to a lot of risk factors that might make them to be predisposed to mental disorders.

    The minister said that there was a high level of mental health conditions among troops arising from anxiety, depression and substance abuse.

    According to him, when people are at the warfront, they are trying to get some coping mechanisms and one of that is using drug.

    We are here to help them and also sensitise the stakeholders that mental health is everyones business and that we cannot afford not to talk about it, he said.

    The Director-General of NARC, retired Maj.-Gen. Garba Wahab said the second course was designed to improve the understanding of mental health and build resilience by participants drawn from different facets of the society.

    Wahab said that a lot of people felt that only those who had contact with problematic situation that could be stressed forgetting the fact that the society itself was full of factors that could contribute to stress.

    He said that both the military personnel and their families and other victims had been affected hence the need to bring a crossbreed of every sector of the country to look at the issues.

    Wahab said that rather than being judgmental about people who had mental health issues, there was the need to see how it could be managed as well as reduce the risk involved.

    He said the enormous impact of the first course informed the resolve to bring in participants from all levels of government. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

    Edited by Fatima Sule Abdullahi/Ese E. Eniola Williams

    Source: NAN News

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