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     NGO empowers FCT pupils with N1m learning materials
    Jessica Dogo

    An NGO, The Ray of Hope Empowerment Foundation, has empowered pupils of LEA Nursery and Primary School, Kado-Kuchi, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with learning materials.

    The NGO, carried out the exercise at the 7th edition of its Adopt A Child And Educate, empowerment programme for schools in communities across the country, on Wednesday.

    It provided the 393 pupils in the school with materials like exercise books, uniforms, sandals bags, pencil and biros, among other items.

    The National Coordinator, of the foundation, Christybelle Sylva-John, said that the gesture was aimed tlat improving the education of the disadvantaged children in various communities across Nigeria.

    Sylva-John said that the gesture would also build their self-esteem aand improve their academic performances.

    Our goal is to improve the educational growth of the disadvantaged children in various communities across Nigeria by providing the necessary tools needed for their academic pursuit.

    Our vision is to see that no child in Nigeria resumes school without the necessary school supplies needed to help him or her succeed.

    To make sure that no child drops out of school due to lack of school fees, she said.

    According to her, every child deserves to be educated, saying, education is the first early investment for every childs development.

    She said that for nations to develop, their govermemts needed to prioritise budgetary allocations to educational infrastructure.

    Sylva-John said that the gesture had been replicated in Benue, Enugu, Niger, Kaduna, Katsina and Imo states, as well as the FCT.

    The coordinator urged the Federal Government to do more educationally, and increase the budgettary allocation to schools in the country.

    Together, we can make a difference in the lives of the less privileged children in our society by empowering them to get quality education.

    Since the launch of this programme in 2015, with the support of individuals, organisations and corporate bodies, we have visited several schools in the country and still counting.

    The school is dilapidated. It is in need of toilets, chairs, teachers, more classrooms and the existing ones need to be renovated, she said.

    The Headmistress of the School, Mrs Arhanmhunde Edith, said that the gesture has put smiles on the faces pf both the pupils and teachers.

    She called on the Kado-Kuchi community to give its support by taking care of the facilities.

    The rain spoilt our school. The government can help us renovate the school because most of the buildings are dilapidated.

    We always welcome any organisation that is ready to come up with gestures like this. Our doors are always open for such, Edith said.

    Isaac Isola, a pupil of the school, thanked the foundation for sharing the learning materials. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

    Edited by Kadiri Abdulrahman/Bashir Rabe Mani

    Source: NAN News

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     African Law students plans exchange programme with European, American peers
    By Chimezie Anaso

    African Law students, under the aegis of Federation of African Law Students (FALAS), say they will explore opportunities for exchange programmes with their peers in other continents of the world.

    The Head, Diplomacy and External Affairs of the group, Mr Odira Ezeh, said this during an interactive session with newsmen in Awka on Tuesday.

    FALAS is the umbrella body of Law students and young lawyers across the continent.

    Ezeh, a student of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam in Anambra, was elected at the just-concluded Second Annual Conference of the body held between Oct. 3 and Oct. 5 at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

    He said the new leadership would manage the affairs of the federation for one year.

    Ezeh said the collaboration between the group and law students in other continents, like America, Europe and Asia, was aimed at acquainting themselves with new developments in their different legal environments and work towards convergence.

    He further said that the group would further explore scholarship opportunities for members.

    According to him, collaboration with our colleagues in other continents would engender greater cooperation among African law students and ensure continued unification of voices in Africa.

    As the head of Diplomacy and External Affairs of FALAS, I shall work towards better collaboration in the areas of intellectual exchange, sponsorship opportunities and law updates with students across the world, he said.

    Ezeh said that six other officers elected at the conference included Siaffa Kemokai from Liberia (President), Monica Tembo from Zimbabwe (Vice President) and Abigail Ampumuza from Uganda (General Secretary).

    Others were Justice Emeh, Nigerian (Deputy General Secretary), Gerald Uchem, Nigerian (Welfare Secretary) and Nokuthula Songo from South Africa, Director of Information and Protocol. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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    Edited by Sam Oditah

    Source: NAN News

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     2022 maritime cup competition fosters healthy living, recreation  Official
    By Chiazo Ogbolu

    Dr Bolaji Akinola, convener, Ships and Ports Maritime Football Cup Competition, on Tuesday, said that the competition was aimed at fostering health living and promote recreation in the industry.

    Akinola said this at the 2022 Ships and Ports Maritime Football Cup Competition in Lagos.

    According to Akinola, the competition which is the 12th edition is one of the two sporting event in the maritime industry; Ships and Ports Maritime Football cup competition and the Ships and Ports Table Tennis competition.

    This competition is about bringing together everybody in the maritime industry, government agencies, maritime practitioners in a social setting that is different from seminars and conferences that they are used to.

    Apart from bringing the industry together, this encourages recreation and of course, we know the importance of sports and exercise in healthy living. This is what the tournament is all about, he said.

    He noted that due to COVID-19, the competition did not hold in 2020 and 2021.

    Dr Vicky Haastrup, Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), noted that the competition was good for industry operators mental health.

    Haastrup congratulated Ships and Ports for keeping the competition alive, despite the challenging time, particularly COVID-19.

    This is really important for our mental health, it instill unity within the sector; we are a family, everyone in the shipping sector, so it is really so great for all of us to participate.

    Like the previous competition, this is going to be a huge success. The winner will carry the cup and its ENL that will carry the cup because I know my boys are up to the task.

    This is good for the industry and this championship has come to stay. I say a big thank you to Akinola and I wish everyone best of luck, he said.

    Also, Mrs Margaret Orakwusi, Chief Executive Officer, Morbod Fisheries Ltd., said the large turn-out showed that they were there to promote friendship.

    This is a competition, so there will be losers and winners. However, you are all winners because you will make new friends and this is what Akinola is doing in the industry. Good luck and may the best team win, she said.

    Mr Ahmad Umar, General Manager, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), wished the players the best and hoped that there would be no casualties.

    It gladdens my heart to see young men filed out today. We appreciate Akinola, the organiser of this event for doing it every single year.

    I wish everyone good luck, but there is no work without hard work, as you people must have prepared yourselves very well for this competition. You should know that the NPA is going home with this cup, he said.

    Umar urged the young men to understand that this was exactly what they should be doing, engaging themselves in sports as it is good.

    The highlight of the event witnessed the opening match between ENL Consortium and Higher Pacific International (HPI).

    At the end of the opening match, ENL Consortium won by four goals to one from HPI.

    The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the Maritime Cup Football Competition was created by Ships and Ports in 2009.

    It is to encourage recreation and camaraderie among employees of government agencies, private sector operators, and regulators in the maritime industry.

    The competition officiated by approved FIFA-badge referees, has eight teams battle for honours and they are: Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Customs Service, ENL Consortium, Josepdam Port Services and the Nigerian Navy.

    The other teams are the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), HPI Nigeria and Dynesty Ocean Shipping. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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    Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa

    Source: NAN News

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     Scale of oil theft has significantly reduced in Niger Delta region  Kyari
    By Emmanuella Anokam

    The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd), says the cooperation with Nigerian security has significantly reduced the scale of oil theft in the Niger Delta Region, following the discovery of several illegal pipes.

    The Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) NNPC Ltd, Malam Mele Kyari made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at the ongoing Energy and Labour Summit 2022 organised by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).

    Kyari, in a keynote address, spoke on Energy Transition: Positioning the Nigeria Energy Industry for the Future(Government Perspective).

    The GCEO while speaking on a wide-range of industry issues such as Energy Transition, Petroleum Industry Act 2021, a brand new NNPCLtd, tackling crude oil theft, he underscored the need for collaboration to halt the crude oil theft to spur economic growth.

    The situation of vandals action on our pipelines and generality of crude oil theft has reach to the point that it needs all to react. The government security and regulatory agencies, whether service or operating are on the table today, he said.

    Kyari, while expressing optimism that the country will have access to more crude and revenue in the coming weeks said the PIA passage had made the industry competitive, bringing companies back for investments while business decisions were being made.

    Also speaking, Mr Gbenga Komolafe, Commission Chief Executive (CCE), Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) commended PENGASSAN for organising the event which dwelt on Energy Transition and its Effect on Workforce in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Sector.

    Komolafe lauded PENGASSAN on its constructive roles in ensuring industrial peace and harmony, even as the industry was challenged by global and domestic factors like energy transition, climate change, paucity of financing, crude oil theft and a host of other constraints.

    The CCE said remarkably, the oil and gas industry in Nigeria had contributed immensely to the economic growth of Nigeria for over five decades.

    Through this period, he said the industry metamorphosed from one dominated solely by international Operators, to an industry with many indigenous players pulling their weight positively across operations in the petroleum value chain.

    He said the success and growth witnessed in the industry over this period could be hinged on robust government policies such as Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act and PIA 2021 and other regulations, Investments and competent workforce.

    Nigeria could further strengthen the resilience of our resources by considering initiatives to decarbonise existing oil and gas operations and continue to encourage investment in lower-carbon energy infrastructure such as gas pipelines.

    It is expected that gas reserves would be a more resilient energy source under a range of energy transition scenarios, said the CCE.

    He further listed some robust regulatory enablers to facilitate these energy resilience approaches that would make our hydrocarbon projects low carbon emitters and more attractive to investors to include the National Policy on Decade of Gas which is hinged on the Natural Gas Expansion Programme.

    Others, according to him are Natural Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme, Natural Gas Flare Elimination and Monetisation Plan in line with Section 110 of the PIA, 2021.

    He also included Guideline for Management of Fugitive Methane and Greenhouse Gases Emissions in the Upstream Oil and Gas Operations in Nigeria and the inclusion of Gas Infrastructure Fund in PIA.

    He underscored the need to begin to develop local innovative financing solutions to develop our huge gas resources as the number of international traditional investors have dropped drastically.

    To this end, he said the Africa Export Import bank (Afrexim) and Africa Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO) had decided to set up an Africa Energy Bank to provide capital for oil and gas projects in Africa. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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    Edited by Sadiya Hamza

    Source: NAN News

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     Army launches new exercise in Kogi, vows to smoke out criminals

    By Stephen Adeleye

    The Command Army Records (CAR), Lokoja, on Tuesday, launched an exercise aimed at fishing out criminals from their hideouts in Kogi, tagged: Exercise Enduring Peace ll.

    Speaking at the official inauguration in Okene, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya, said the exercise was designed to be conducted in the last quarter of the year to checkmate all forms of criminality as the yuletide season approaches.

    According to him, the exercise is a result of the prevailing security challenges across the country, as similar exercises are also ongoing in other parts of the country under different names depending on the peculiarity of each region.

    The COAS, who was represented by the Commander, Command Army Records (CAR), Maj. Gen. Sunday Igbinomwanhia, said exercise enduring peace II would hold from Oct. 18 to Dec. 22, 2022.

    He explained that the exercise would involve stages of operational activities, including patrols, ambushes and raids of criminal hideouts.

    He added that it would involve some non kinetic activities in form of Civil-Military Cooperation programme, such as free medical outreaches in some selected communities among others.

    Our choice of medical outreach in support of the exercise is deeply rooted in our belief that the support of the host communities is key to the success of the entire operations.

    He stressed that the medical outreaches would ameliorate the existing health challenges within the targeted communities, and foster existing cordial relationship between CAR and host communities.

    The COAS further disclosed that the exercise is a joint venture involving all security agencies in Kogi as well as Vigilante Group to ensure peace across the state.

    Yahaya emphasised that the decision to make it a joint exercise was in line with his vision to have a professional Nigerian Army, ready to accomplish assigned missions within a joint environment in defence of Nigeria.

    Therefore, we must work together to achieve the common goals of safeguarding the lives and properties of Nigerians everywhere, he said.

    The COAS commended Gov. Yahaya Bello for providing the enabling environment for them, while appreciating heads of security agencies for their continuous support and collaborations

    Speaking in his own capacity, Igbinomwanhia appreciated the COAS for providing the resources for the free medical outreaches and the entire exercise.

    Kogi is a peaceful place and very strategic and important to our nation. We must keep Kogi very safe and habitable for residents and passersby.

    We promise that wherever the criminals are, we will make Kogi unconformable for the criminals in whatsoever, he said.

    In his remarks, Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, who flagged off the exercise, thanked the COAS for organising the wonderful exercise to keep criminals out of the state and Nigeria at large.

    Bello assured the COAS of the full support of the State Government, saying the exercise was timely especially coming towards the 2023 general elections.

    He urged all the Local Government Chairmen and the traditional rulers and the entire people of the state to continue to cooperate with the State Government as well as the security agencies.

    He assured that Kogi would remain a peaceful and secure state as far as Nigeria is concerned, saying, if Kogi is in turmoil, the nation would be in turmoil being bordered by nine States, including the FCT.

    Bello, therefore, warned that anyone no matter how highly placed in the society who got himself or herself involved in any criminal activity would face the wrath of the law.

    I will continue to lead this exercise from the front to ensure enduring peace for the people of Kogi. We cone in peace and we mean business, Bello said.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Attah Igala, Mathew Opaluwa, and other royal fathers were present at the occasion.

    The Attah Igala, who is the President of Kogi State Traditional Councils, commended the COAS for the exercise, and assured of the continuous support from the traditional institution for the security agencies and the state government. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

    Edited by Vincent Obi

    Source: NAN News

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     Coalition defends military on destruction of oil bunkering vessel
    By Sumaila Ogbaje

    Our Habitat, an Environment Protection Coalition, has thrown its weight behind the Armed Forces of Nigeria over the destruction of illegal oil bunkering vessels in the Niger Delta.

    The coalition in a statement by the Convener, Davidson Wariboko, on Tuesday, also faulted the call for the sack of the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor by a human rights lawyer.

    Wariboko said that investigations by the coalition had revealed that some of those condemning the burning of the vessel were collaborators of oil thieves in the region.

    According to him, the CDS had defended the destruction of the vessel, saying there was nothing sinister about the swift destruction of an oil bunkering vessel by security operatives.

    Irabor has explained that there were various approaches, various solutions to a problem and at any time based on certain factors, certain considerations, available to those that are at the frontline, actions were taken based on the directive which are contained in the rules of engagement.

    He quoted Irabor as saying, the burning of the vessel, it is because the thief was caught in the act and the procedure, if you are caught in the act, is that everything you are using to undertake that criminal activity should be destroyed and that was done.

    What investigation do you need that you find somebody who decided to deplore several pumping machines and has several hoses that are deployed to a dug out pit where crude oil is stored over a period?

    It was caught in the act. So, the instrument of operation was what was destroyed. I think it is straightforward. Whether that is the best is a different matter entirely but did they act in line with the rules of engagement? Yes, they did.

    The coalition leader said that the armed forces had shown strong determination and courage to tackle oil bunkering more than ever in recent times.

    He said that oil thieves had caused terrible environmental damage to oil producing areas, adding that decisive actions against them was justified.

    According to him, they are causing the country a huge economic losses and at the same time causing environmental degradation in oil producing areas.

    Calling for the sack of the CDS show the oil thieves are fighting back.

    They are hiding behind the law to condemn the destruction of the vessel, while at the same time causing serious environment degradation in the cause of their criminal activities.

    Since assumption of office as the CDS, Gen. Irabor has met stakeholders in the oil sector, security, traditional rulers and others in a bid to tackle the stealing of our common wealth.

    At no time in the history of Nigeria like now, has the leadership of the Armed Forces shown determination and courage to face the economic saboteurs headlong. It seems they are now fighting back, he said.

    The coalition urged residents of the oil producing areas and other stakeholders to cooperate with the military to tackle the criminals and make their environment better. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

    Edited by Isaac Aregbesola

    Source: NAN News

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     Engaging politicians on health financing to achieve UHC
    This is because, it is only when one is well and healthy that he/she will begin to think of any economic, political or social activity.

    However, this has not been the case as ethnicity, religion and other issues have remained on the front burner, forgettingthe popular
    saying that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation.

    This maxim makes it imperative for political office aspirants to articulate a comprehensive health financing mechanism to achieve Universal
    Health Coverage (UHC), where all individuals and communities receive health services they need without suffering financial hardship.

    And to achieve UHC and more, Nigeria Health Watch organised a conference on the Future of Health in Nigeria to remind politicians vying
    for offices in the 2023 general elections to take note, key in and make provisions toward ensuring good health for all Nigerians.

    At one of the events which took place in Abuja, the Managing Director of Nigeria Health Watch, Mrs Vivianne Ihekweazu, said in a few
    months, Nigerians will be going to the polls to decide on the new leadership that will drive all sectors of the economy for the next four years.

    In spite of the health sector being a critical driver of the economy across the globe, it has not received optimum attention across different leaderships.

    Achieving UHC requires strong political will at different levels of governance, including the national and sub-national level.

    Ihekweazu said at the media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) roundtable organised by Nigeria Health Watch in collaboration with Centre for Universal Health that as
    political parties begin their campaigns, it is important that CSOs and the media engage their candidates as well as citizens.

    For the candidates, this engagement will put into perspective, the challenges in the health sector and the required policy interventions that will
    change the narrative.

    According to her, the media as agenda setters should work toward making politicians commit to public health financing a key part of their manifestoes.

    Ihekweazusposition was buttressed by Robert Yates, Executive Director, Centre for Universal Health when he said as media, how can you change the political
    discourse, you can do it, and it does happen, if the politicians and individuals emerge, they will get it.

    This will involve sensational reporting of people dying in the hospitals as they need to be catered for, put your heads together and identify the leaders who are willing.

    Dr Grafar Alawode, the Programme Director, DGI Consult, shared and reviewed the work done by the UHC2023 Forum on Citizen-led Health Agenda.

    He said that Nigeria had made some progress in terms of fighting child and infant mortality, adding that maternal health care required more health system strengthening of having health care workers and facilities in place.

    Alawode, therefore, called for the incorporation of the role of other sectors in health design and implementation.

    He also called for leveraging Human Capital Development as springboard for multi-sectoral and coordinated actions that include health, education, nutrition, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and livelihood sectors.

    Also, Dr Omokhudu Idogho, the Managing Director, Society for Family Health, said it is critical to take UHC to the states level because I see situations where a lot of fundamentals at the federal level are soon coming together, some of the laws are in place and how this work will be determined at the state level.

    Ifeyinwa Yusuf, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Nigeria Health Watch, said there is need to do more in exploring other internal local resources to increase and pool public financing for health.

    She said a human capital development approach should be employed in communication to the government for increased funds allocation and release for health.

    We have to do things differently, by contextualising our interventions and communication to identify influential people/individuals who can bring a change in the health space,
    engage with each other more, the media and CSOs.

    Meanwhile, Prof. Ben Akabueze, the Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, says health investment service is a catalyst for economic growth.

    Akabueze said this at the 8th Future of Health Conference with the theme The Political Economy of Health: Investing on the Future of Nigeria, organised by Nigeria Health Watch
    was germane because it would provide the opportunity to discuss the determinants of health outcomes in various options available for sustainable healthcare financing in Nigeria.

    Akabueze, who was represented by Prof. Olumide Ayodele, the Technical Assistant to the director-general, Budget Office of the Federation, said the event also created an avenue to discuss measures for effective healthcare delivery across the country.

    Akabueze, who gave keynote address on financing healthcare sustainably in Nigeria, said the importance of improved healthcare services for economic growth and development could not be overemphasised.

    According to him, health investment service is a catalyst for economic growth through higher labour force, higher labour productivity, innovations and improved well-being of the population.

    He added that it is generally said that health is wealth; a healthy population engenders economic prosperity.

    It is, therefore, imperative to ensure significant investment in health, effective delivery of healthcare services and equitable access to healthcare services.

    Health is high on Nigerias development agenda; inview of social economic returns of healthcare investment, a key objective of the National Development
    Plan 2021- 2025 is to enable a healthy population.

    Akabueze, who said there was need for primary healthcare to be funded at the local government level, urged stakeholders to be involved to reduce
    mortality rate and enhance workforce.

    He urged government, CSOs and business associates to shape and monitor health interventions to ensure the desired impact.

    He also commended the consistency of the Nigeria Health Watch for organising health conferences focusing on topical issues.

    Also, Prof. Mohammed Sambo, the Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), said it was discovered that the first law establishing
    Health Insurance scheme was not able to take Nigerians closer to UHC.

    He explained that health insurance everywhere in the world is to ensure that everyone is covered, adding that in Nigeria,
    successive administrations have tried to amend the NHIS law for 23 years but not able to get that done.

    However, on May 19 this year, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Act was repealed and the National Health Insurance Authority Law was enacted.

    The implication of the new law is that health insurance will now be for every Nigerian and every resident in Nigeria.

    The law has also made provision for the coverage of vulnerable population. Health Insurance is normally not a free healthcare as somebody has to pay.

    As someone who is not employed has no means of payment because of his economic status, someone has to pay for him or her.

    That is why in this new law, there is Vulnerable Group Fund provision with various innovative financing mechanism employed to ensure that
    vulnerable people receive health services.

    He, therefore, said that funding should come from innovative financing mechanism to bring money into the healthcare delivery system as no country had been able to achieve UHC without public financing.

    On her part, Dr Sarah Alade, the pecial Adviser to the President on Finance and Economy, said discussions on healthcare are ongoing because of its importance, noting, however, that when people are poor, health spending is least because they have to feed first.

    At the same time, however, we cannot have sustainable development without health.

    Also, Dr Obi Ikechukwu, the Commissioner for Health, Enugu State, who spoke on political leadership in health, said that health system governance must be strengthened for accountability.

    Health system governance means strategic frameworks that existed and combined with effective oversight, coalition building, regulation, attention to system design and accountability.

    He explained that strong governance in health systems must be guided by competent leaders with clear vision and the ability to motivate and mobilise other health system stakeholders.

    He called for political leaders who would ensure a complete state of physical, social and mental wellbeing and not just the absence of disease.

    Ikechukwu also said there should be a continuous state of adjustment of physical, social, mental and environmental stimulus.

    He added that there should be a commitment to determination of the cost of healthcare which would drive efficient health benefits package at all levels.

    Dr Hakeem Belo-Osagie, the Chairman, Metis Capital Partners in his opening presentation, said there is need to look into how the government economy is being
    run as a whole and what the money is spent on.

    He said ensure those contesting for 2023 elections have interest in our economy. Health is a priority and it should be health and health.

    Public healthcare is crucial, sanitation is crucial as good sanitation goes far in health.

    During panel discussion on the Economy of Health, Dr Olumide Okunola, Senior Health Specialist, Health Population and Nutrition, World Bank, said without public health financing, achieving UHC would be difficult.

    He explained that for livelihood to improve, the economy must get better as faster growth is needed to create greater opportunities.

    He said if you can reduce petroleum subsidy, you can finance health, education, among others.

    Okunola expressed concern on how local government spending would be accounted for, now that they have autonomy, saying will
    local councils spend on health? How do you ensure more than 95 million Nigerians are able to survive?, he asked.

    He, therefore, said there is need to establish strong foundation for a diversified economy and investing in physical, financial, digital and innovation infrastructure.

    There is need to build solid framework and enhance capacities to strengthen security and ensure good governance and enabling a vibrant, educated and healthy populace.

    Prominence should be accorded to human capital development especially health, education and social protection in resource allocation.

    Another panelist, Prof. Obinna Onwujekwe, Lancet Nigeria Commissioner, said public health is known for at least two decades that good health can be achieved at low cost if the right policies are
    in place.

    We know this from comparative studies of countries at the same level of economic development that revealed striking differences in health outcomes.

    According to the studies, factors that contribute to good health at low cost include a commitment to equity, effective governance systems, and context-specific programmes that address the wider social and environmental determinants of health.

    An ability to innovate is also important. Above all, government needs to be committed.

    Another panelist, Dr Onoriode Ezire, Senior Health Specialist, World Bank, who noted that Nigerias health sector is still largely underfunded, said investment in health is
    directly related to the growth of the economy.

    Ezire said the indexes are still poor, adding that productivity of the country is a function of the state and status of the health of the people in the country.

    According to him, investment in health contributes to achieving other developmental goals like reduction in equity and promoting shared prosperity.

    Government at all levels must prioritise health as lessons from COVID-19 are still fresh in our minds. Government may use a mix of method to prioritise health funding.

    Civil society and health promoters have a role to play. Advocate as may be necessary, provide the relevant evidences and data, improve the quality and timeliness of our data, Onoriode advised.(NANFeatures)

    Source: NAN News

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     Oscars selection: Directors guild advises filmmakers on improved movie production
    By Taiye Olayemi

    The Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN) has advised Nollywood actors on improved film production and jettison all forms of internal conflicts capable of distracting them from submitting qualitative movies for subsequent Oscars awards.

    Mr Victor Okhai, the DGN National President, gave the advice in a statement on Tuesday in Lagos.

    Okhai gave the advice against the backdrop of the recent media exchanges between the Nigerian Oscar Selection Committee (NOSC) and Nollywood filmmakers.

    He said this had generated concern among Nigerians over the countrys lack of representation at the 2023 Oscars.

    He noted that rather than allow this to cause internal rancour, Nollywood actors should remain focused on production of qualitative films.

    Nigerian filmmakers approach their craft differently because they are all driven by the desire to win the Oscars.

    They do this, rather than by the need to ensure that the films they are submitting to the International Feature Film (IFF) category of the Academy Awards are technically and artistically up to par, he said.

    Okhai noted that that Nigerian films were not eligible for submission at the awards ceremony due to a number of factors.

    He said some of the factors included lack of funding for collaborations and technical support from foreign institutions.

    He explained that meeting minimum tech specs and strict adherence to the requirements for qualification and submission instead of whipping up sentiments remained a basic challenge.

    He said prior to the establishment of the Nigerian Oscar Committee in 2013, Nollywood productions frequently failed to meet the technical requirements of a cinema film due to the emphasis on home videos.

    With the emergence of multiple streaming platforms, they appear to be more promising, but it remains to be seen how far and sustainable the current trend will last.

    The Nigerian film industry is attempting to demonstrate that it can compete favourably with other developing film nations throughout the world.

    Even if the quality of Nollywood productions improve, an Oscar nomination or win is not certain as we continue to drag ourselves out there, especially when the Oscars are coming up.

    The Oscars are merely a marketing game in which anyone who can attract attention can win, the quality of films at the Oscars will not depreciate, as good films will always stand out.

    National interests should take precedence over personal interests, as the Oscar is not the beginning and end of the world, Nigerian filmmakers should focus on making good films and avoid dragging ourselves before the Oscars, he said.

    According to him, to be eligible for the Acad emy Awards, a film must also meet a number of additional requirements, such as being dominated by the native language of the country it represents.

    Another requirement is that the film must be released during the calendar period mandated by the Oscars, having appropriate English subtitles, he said.

    He added that the film must have been seen in cinemas or theatres for at least seven days in the nation it represents before being shown on streamers like Netflix, Amazon, and terrestrial television.

    In 2019, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences caused a stir by disqualifying the first Oscar entry from Nigerias massive film industry.

    The submission of the film was seen as a watershed moment for the countrys film industry, a film called Lionheart, which is Genevieve Nnajis first directing debut that met every other requirement.

    And it was disqualified from the International Feature category because the 95-minute film, Lionheart is largely in English, with an 11-minute section in the Igbo language.

    The decision prompted widespread outrage and criticism in the Nigerian, British, and American film industries, with many blaming colonialism rather than Nigerian filmmakers.

    Nigerians expectations were dashed once more when The Milkmaid, a Hausa language insurgency thriller, produced and directed by Desmond Ovbiagele, failed to make the first shortlist of the 15 foreign films chosen for the International Feature Film category in December 2020, he said.

    Okhai noted that in nearly 75 years, just three African films had won the Oscars for best foreign feature.

    He said in spite the enormity of Bollywoods film industry, India had never won the award for best international film as the category had been dominated by Europe.

    Can we begin by winning top film festivals, where we can compete on the global stage with the best, can we focus solely on winning our own top film festivals?

    The world, like our colleagues in music, accepted and applauded our stars before the Grammys, quality comes first, followed by recognition.

    With the kind of production that has been coming out of the business in recent times, we are well on our way.

    The Oscars will find us at the right time if we focus more on the work that we do, the recognition that we get from the work that we do is far more valuable than any validation that will come from any external source, he said. (NAN) (nannews.ng)

    Edited by Folasade Adeniran

    Source: NAN News

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     Sheraton workers protest over severance package
    By Lucy Ogalue

    Workers of Sheraton Hotel Abuja, on Tuesday embarked on a peaceful protest within the hotel premises over nonpayment of severance package.

    The aggrieved workers, under the auspices of the National Union of Hotels, Personal Services Workers (NUHPSA), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that it would be unfair for the management to ask them to quit their jobs without paying them off.

    Mr Leke Success, the General-Secretary of the Union said, the protest is to ensure Marriott International pay the money that we jointly agreed to be paid as severance package in view of the new owner shutting down this place today.

    We just heard about a week ago that the new owner, NIPCO, who just acquired this place, decided that they will short it down and commence renovations.

    We tried to persuade them from shutting down based on the short notice, but that could not fly.

    So we sat down as a responsible union to negotiate severance pay for our members and the agreement stipulated that before the close of business on Oct.17, the money will be paid.

    But up until now, the management is still dilly-dallying and very soon they will lower the banner and shut this place.

    So we cannot risk that happening. It is because the money was not paid that we are here to protest peacefully that this money should be paid or we will not leave this place.

    Agreement is agreement, if the money is not paid, we will not leave. Each day that passes we will change our demands, after today we will demand for damages because they have breached the agreement.

    Our mission is to be paid our money, we have end of year bonus and hampers which members enjoy and the general manager just said they will not pay.

    The action is for both Marriott and the new owner who are here to wind up this place, to come out and tell us why our members should not be paid.

    The unionists also demanded that some workers termed casual staff who were excluded by the management from the payment be treated equally as other staff.

    Whoever works here deserves to be paid because they are workers. No condition of employment will make them (casual workers) not to get their pay, Success said.

    Meanwhile, some of the casual workers while expressing their grievances told NAN that the news came as a shock and if they dont get paid, their families would suffer.

    Mrs Blessing Moses, who said she is a mother of four children said, they did not have prior notice of the new development until two days ago.

    According to her, they call us casual, yet they dont want to give us our money. They chased us out since yesterday but we are still working, you can see I am still in my apron.

    By casuals, does that mean we are not human beings? we have families, we have children to take care of. So they should pay us, so that as we are going, we will go with joy and look for work in another place.

    We cannot go and sit for six months without doing anything, what are we going to use in taking care of our children.

    Similarly, Mr Vincent Ajiji, a university graduate who also works as a casual staff at the kitchen department, reiterated the importance for casual staff to equally be paid as regular staff.

    Graduates in this country that are casual staff are being used as tools, we are being maltreated here, and that is why we are asking that they pay us our money.

    When it comes to work we are all staff but when it comes to payment, we are called casual staff.

    I want my money, I want my entitlements, they should take good care of me before I go home. I have been here since 2021 and still referred to as casual, it is paining me, Ajiji said.

    Meanwhile, a Senior Staff of Sheraton who spoke under condition of anonymity said the Corporate Affairs Unit of the hotel would soon release the respond of the management in due course.

    NAN recalls that Capital Hotel Plc bought majority shares in Sheraton from the Federal Government over 30 years ago and engaged the services of Marriot International in the management of Sheraton.

    Its new owners, NIPCO, which bought 51 per cent majority shares in Sheraton, had planned to shut down the hotel in order to carry out a holistic renovation and repositioning of the hotel.

    As at the time of filing this report, the leaders of the union and the management of Marriot International were holding a closed door meeting. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

    Edited by Ese E. Eniola Williams

    Source: NAN News

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     Rivers maintains top overall fiscal performance position  BudgIT report
    By Abujah Racheal

    BudgIT, a civic-tech organisation leading the advocacy for fiscal transparency and accountability in Nigeria, said Rivers State maintained its overall fiscal performance position, ranking first, just as in 2020 and 2021.

    Mr Iniobong Usen, BudgITs Research and Policy Advisory lead, said this at the presentation of the State of States report for 2022, with the theme, Sustainable Governance Reforms for a New Era, on Thursday in Abuja.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the report assesses and ranks the fiscal performance of all 36 states, from the most sustainable to the least sustainable.

    Usen said for the 2022 edition, all 36 states were ranked using five metrics.

    Index A examines states ability to meet Operating Expenses (Recurrent Expenditure) with only their Internally Generated Revenue; Index A1 looks at the percentage year-on-year growth of each states Internally Generated Revenue.

    Index B reviews states ability to cover all operating expenses and loan repayment obligations with their Total Revenue (Internally Generated Revenue Statutory Transfers Aids and Grants) without resorting to borrowing.

    Index C estimates the debt sustainability of the states using four major Indicators: A. Debt as a per cent of GDP, B. Debt as a per cent of Revenue, C. Debt service as a per cent of Revenue and D. Personnel Cost as a per cent of Revenue.

    Index D evaluates the degree to which each State is prioritising capital expenditure concerning their operating expenses (recurrent expenditure), he explained.

    He said Rivers maintained its overall fiscal performance position, ranking first, just like it did in 2020 and 2021.

    According to him, two states, Kaduna and Cross River, made it to the top five on the overall fiscal performance ranking; Yobe dropped to the bottom five having fallen 13 places from 21st in 2021 to 34th position in 2022.

    Usen said on Index A, two states (Lagos and Rivers) generated enough revenues internally to take care of their operating expenses.

    Comparatively, the operating expenses of Yobe and Bayelsa (the least ranked states on index A) were more than seven times the revenues generated by both states internally, reinforcing the heavy reliance on federal transfers and budget support to fund their budgets.

    On index A1, save for three states, which ranked the least Anambra, Kogi and Kebbi 33 states experienced an increase in their IGR from the previous year, with 13 states growing their IGR by more than 50 per cent.

    Jigawa, Delta, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom and Nasarawa ranked first to fifth respectively on Index C, which assessed the debt sustainability of the 36 states, he explained.

    Furthermore, Usen said Cross River, Ogun, Imo, Osun, and Plateau were the bottom five states on Index C.

    Lagos State, with a capital importation of 31.78 billion dollars between 2019 and 2021, received 99.19 per cent of the cumulative capital importation for 36 states of the federation.

    Interestingly, 11 states received no capital importation between 2019 and 2021, he said.

    Speaking on debt sustainability, Usen said the cumulative debt stock of the 36 states grew by 8.68 per cent from N5.86 trillion in 2020 to N6.37 trillion in 2021.

    A more disaggregated view of the subnational debt shows that 11 states reduced their total debt liability, with Delta having the most impressive decline of 33.84 per cent.

    Four states Oyo, Yobe, Ogun and Sokoto grew their total debt stock by more than 40 per cent from 2020, he said.

    He added that the five most indebted states: Lagos, Kaduna, Rivers, Ogun, and Cross River were responsible for 37.09 per cent of total subnational debt.

    Kogi, with a foreign debt year-on-year growth of 85.65 per cent ranked first among the 17 States that grew foreign debt in 2021.

    The four states with the highest dollar-denominated debt (250 million dollars and above) Lagos, Kaduna, Cross River and Edo are the most susceptible to exchange rate volatility, he explained.

    He said the cumulative expenditure of the 36 states increased by 27 per cent from N5.23 trillion in 2020 to N6.64 trillion in 2021.

    Notwithstanding, while 31 states increased their total expenditure from the previous year, five states reduced their expenditure with Zamfara having the highest decline of 15.59 per cent.

    However, the cumulative personnel cost of the 36 states grew by 5.38 per cent from N1.46 trillion in 2020 to N1.54 trillion in 2021.

    Interestingly, nine states reduced their overhead cost from the previous year, signalling a reduction in the cost of governance.

    Conversely, 11 states increased their overhead cost from the previous year by more than 40 per cent with Akwa Ibom having the highest growth, he said.

    He said commendably, cumulative spending on capital expenditure by the 36 states grew by 52.52 per cent from N1.77 trillion in 2020 to N2.70 trillion in 2021.

    Eight states increased their capital expenditure year-on-year by more than 100 per cent.

    However, just five states including Anambra, Ebonyi, Cross River, Kaduna, Rivers prioritised capital expenditure over operation expenses, signalling the prioritisation of investments in infrastructure, job creation and human capital development.

    On fiscal transparency, the 36 states of the federation currently publish promptly their proposed budgets, approved budgets, budget implementation reports, and audited financial statements for both the States and the Local Governments.

    In the same vein, many states have enacted an Audit Law that grants operational and financial autonomy to the Offices of Auditors-General of the State and Local Governments, thereby empowering their supreme audit institutions to effectively hold governments accountable, he said.

    He stated that 35 states, excluding Taraba, had captured the biometric and BVN data of at least 70 per cent of the civil servants and pensioners on their payroll, and linked the captured data to their payroll management system.

    Cumulatively, 35 states (excluding Taraba), have a total of 848,483 civil servants and 498,097 pensioners on their payroll. As a result, at least 15,397 ghost workers have been identified and eliminated in 13 states across the federation.

    On the flip side, only a few states have been able to establish and operationalise a state-level functional Treasury Single Account (TSA) to ensure that it covers at least 70 per cent of all its finance, he said.

    Similarly, he stated that some states were yet to ensure that all the schedules of contracts awarded for the year were published online as required under the Open Contracting Data Standards and in line with the procurement laws/guidelines. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

    Edited by Salif Atojoko

    Source: NAN News

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     Firm to establish Africas largest farmers market in Nigeria
    By Emmanuel Afonne

    An integrated agro-business company, First Aquagrico Farms Nigeria Ltd., is perfecting arrangements to establish Africas largest farmers market in the country.

    The company said this in statement on Thursday in Abuja.

    The statement quoted the companys Managing Director, Mr Kolapo Talabi, as saying that the market when established would among other things solve the problem of transportation techniques in agric business.

    Talabi said the firm had approached the Bank of Agriculture for support to boost the establishment of the market which would also be a solution to the problem of modern preservation aimed at eliminating post-harvest losses.

    The primary objective of setting in motion Africas largest farmers market in Nigeria is to create an all-in-one agricultural market-hub which encompasses gathering, re-distributing, storing, processing and exporting of agro-products.

    The concept is to enhance the promotion of large scale commercial agriculture in Africa through a process that maximises profit while sustainably satisfying the needs of consumers.

    In addition, the concept will assuredly make a great impact in the countrys agricultural sector by boosting food supply, creating jobs, raising incomes, reducing malnutrition and contributing to the progress of the continents agro-economy.

    First Aquagrico Farms which focuses on galvanising agriculture for national economic development through the creation of markets for farmers both locally and internationally, believes in large scale agriculture produce merchandise, Talabi said.

    According to him, study and survey show that one of the major causes leading to the decrease in growth of the agricultural sector is poor merchandise of the agricultural produce.

    He regretted that agricultural sector performed badly especially in the second quarter of 2022 with a growth of 1.20 per cent as against 3.16 per cent in the previous quarter.

    Talabi noted that flood had of late ravaged parts of the country such as Kogi, Niger, Anambra, Benue, Sokoto, Adamawa, Delta, amongst places known for large production of agriculture produce with hectares of farmlands washed away.

    It is reckoned that the situation will worsen with the hazardous climatic changes and flooding which have major impact on the distribution and marketability of agricultural produce.

    He was optimistic that the farmers market would help the country achieve industrialisation and restore the agricultural value chain in the nearest future as major bridges were cut off by flood, submerging trucks and trailers carrying food stuffs. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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    Edited by Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma

    Source: NAN News

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     Lagos Govt. charges traditional rulers to help curb sexual, gender violence
    By Florence Onuegbu

    The Lagos State Government has urged traditional rulers to use their influence and closeness to the people in their communities to curb sexual, gender and domestic violence.

    Mrs Titilola Viviour-Adeniyi, the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSVA) gave the advice on Thursday, in Lagos.

    She spoke during a One-Day Roundtable With Traditional Rulers On The Prevalence Of Sexual And Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

    Viviour-Adeniyi urged the traditional rulers to use the proactive measures and practices adopted by the state government to ensure that SGBV, if not completely eradicated, was brought to the barest minimum in the state.

    She said that the engagement was deliberate due to the prevalence of SGBV in the society, which required a timely intervention.

    In the context of preventing and ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, traditional rulers are one of the strategic groups that must be considered, because our Royal Majesties, the custodians of our culture, have access to different segments of the population, including those who are marginalised and harder to reach.

    In many regions of the world, traditional rulers, by virtue of their long-standing presence and service in diverse communities, have come to command the trust and respect of local population.

    We understand that in certain instances, traditional rulers sometimes serve as the first port of call immediately after a case of domestic or sexual violence occurs.

    Certain times, such cases end up being resolved at the palaces, without adhering to the state governments referral pathway, she said.

    According to her, this non adherence to government referral pathway, therefore, promotes the culture of impunity as perpetrators are not held legally accountable for their actions, even as survivors are not able to access holistic support.

    It is, therefore, of utmost importance that traditional rulers are promptly and regularly engaged on these issues, their role in preventing and responding to incidents reported and most importantly, the need to have interface with government, she said.

    Vivour-Adeniyi said that in the past one year, the agency recorded a total of 4,860 cases via the Virtual Referral and Response Service (VRRS), and physical report.

    She said that those cases include domestic violence, rape, lack of parental care, threat to life, sexual assault by penetration, emotional abuse, child neglect/abandonment, among others.

    The executive secretary said that breakdown of cases showed that there were 2,710 adult and 2,150 children, showing that within emergency settings, SGBV on women and young girls was critically heightened.

    In her presentation, Mrs Omolola Rotimi, the Administrator-General, Public Trustee, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, said that in order to protect people from people, on the issue of SGBV, the law had to be in place.

    Rotimi said that people must learn to speak out against SGBV, as it would help to reduce the occurrence of the cases.

    Mr Emmanuel Oladele, President, Institute of Marriage Administrators and Counsellors of Nigeria, said that all hands must be on deck, both the rulers and the ruled, at mitigating the incessant occurrence of SGBV in the communities.

    Oladele called on traditional rulers not to hesitate to apply the full weight of the customs and traditions against the perpetrators of SGBV, as long as such was not repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience.

    Oba Asumo Abdul-Ganiyu Aderibigbe, paramount ruler of Odo-Ayandelu Kingdom, Ikosi-Ejinrin, Epe, commended the state government for its efforts at curving SGBV.

    Aderibigbe urged the police to always respond appropriately, whenever issues of SGBV were reported.

    We are glad to have this kind of training today, it imparts more knowledge on us, so that we can go back to our various communities and educate the people the more.

    There are some cases we can treat in the palace and there are some that are criminal. We dont have to harbour or indulge people that involve in violence or criminal activities. We have to expose them, he said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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    Edited by Oluwole Sogunle

    Source: NAN News

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     Stakeholders collaborate to examine economic, social opportunities on energy transition plan
    By Vivian Emoni

    Stakeholders on Thursday collaborated to examine economic and social opportunities that would be beneficial from Energy Transition Plan.

    Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP) called on Federal Government and other relevant stakeholders to intensify effort in tackling environmental issues in the country.

    GIFSEP, in collaboration with Lift Humanity Foundation (LHF), also called on other stakeholders to support Federal Government for effective implementation of of the ETP.

    The stakeholders made the call at a one-day workshop in Abuja, organised by the organisations on Examining the Economic and Social Opportunities from Energy Transition Plan (ETP), programme.

    The Programme Manager of the GIFSEP, Mr Joseph Ibrahim, said that the essence of the workshop was to assess the transition plan and determine the economic and social prospects and the opportunities.

    Ibrahim said that recently the Federal Government inaugurated the ETP, adding that the objective of the programme was to achieve universal energy access by 2030.

    He said that the aim was also to achieve a carbon-neutral economy by 2060.

    The programme manager called on government to involve NGOs and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) for effective implementation of other environmental programmes and policy.

    According to him, more importantly, we need a system of accountability to encourage people who are willing to support and strengthen the system in the implementation of the programmes.

    He advised that government should take environmental issues serious, adding that unhealthy and unsafe environment could lead to poverty and increase spread of diseases.

    Mr Pius Oko, Executive Secretary of LHF, said that the workshop brought together Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and other stakeholders to examine the economic and social opportunities and benefit drive from the ETP in the country.

    Oko said that the inauguration of the ETP was a pathway to Nigerian contribution to address emission from fossil fuel and other non-renewable resources.

    Oko said that it was time for Nigeria to take ownership of transition pathways and design climate-sensitive strategies that would tackle peculiar growth objectives.

    He said that President Muhammad Buhari had made a commitment that Nigeria would achieve zero-net by year 2060 and ensuring that energy, poverty and climate change crisis was tackled.

    He said that the effort would help to deliver Sustainable Development Goal seven (SDG7) by 2030 and net zero by 2060.

    According to him, the plan will, among other things, lift people out of poverty, reduce Nigerias carbon footprint, drive economic growth and create jobs.

    The Director, Centre for Environmental Studies, University of Abuja, Prof. Shuaibu Hassan, said that the evidence-based net-zero compliant energy transition pathway in Nigeria, offered investment opportunities across the value chain.

    Hassan said that the value chain was in multiple sectors, regions, and industries in the country.

    He said that the Federal Government was committed to a robust and timely inclusive energy transition.

    The director said that the transition focused on job creation, growth, and sustainability which seeks to
    support its net-zero by 2060 ambition. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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    Edited by Vincent Obi

    Source: NAN News

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     Prof. Victor Chude emerges President-elect of Intl Union of Soil Sciences
    By Felicia Imohimi

    Prof. Victor Chude, Registrar, Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (NISS), has emerged the President-elect of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) from 2023 to 2026.

    Chude is the first President of the union from an African country elected into the coveted position in the IUSS since its establishment 98 years ago.

    IUSS is the global union of soil scientists that promotes all branches of soil science and supports all soil scientists across the world in the pursuit of their activities.

    The union said this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) by Chude, on Thursday in Abuja.

    According to him, he was elected by the governing council of IUSS at the World Soil Science Congress in Glasgow, United Kingdom held in August.

    The president, according to the statement, provides leadership, focus and direction both within and outside of the IUSS.

    Within the union, the president, working together with the other Presidential Committees and in consultation with the Executive Committee and Council, is expected to develop and implement strategic directions and actions to take IUSS forward.

    It is to ensure that IUSS is recognised as the pre-eminent international body in the field of soil science.

    Externally, the president represents the union in international fora, such as the International Science Council.

    He acts as its spokesperson when dealing with the media, national members of the IUSS, sister organisations, UN entities and government departments as required,

    Chude, who hails from Onitsha, in Anambra, holds a Doctoral and Master of Science degrees in Soil Science from the University of Ibadan, and a B. Science in Plant/Soil Science from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

    He is a scholar of repute with profound leadership experiences that traverse the academia, politics, and professional consulting at national and international levels.

    Chudes professional interests are Soil fertility and Plant nutrition with a strong affinity for Integrated Soil Fertility Management of tropical soils.

    He had represented the Soil Science Society of Nigeria in the unions council for 15 years.

    The Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (NISS) won the 2021 King Bhumibol Word Soil Day Award (WSDA) under the stewardship of Chude.

    Chude had served as a Senior Research Fellow in Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria and was a Professor at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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    Edited by Bashir Rabe Mani

    Source: NAN News

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     Tackling terrorism is everybodys responsibility  DG NARC

    By Sumaila Ogbaje

    The Director General, Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC), retired Maj.-Gen. Garba Wahab, says countering terrorism and violent extremism is everybodys responsibility.

    Wahab said this at the closing of the Second Strategic Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency (CTCOIN) Seminar organised by NARC in collaboration with Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), on Wednesday in Abuja.

    The two-day seminar has the theme, Conducting counterterrorism/counterinsurgency: Utilising a Whole of Society Approach.

    He said the seminar brought together relevant stakeholders from the military, security and intelligence agencies as well as the civil society.

    Garba added that it was to elicit discussions and recommendations that would shape counterterrorism and counter-insurgency operations in the country.

    According to him, the aim is to build the security architecture that will serve the interest of Nigeria.

    It is going to take a long time before we see the effect of this module and we are going to ensure that the report of this seminar is well circulated.

    And I will follow up, ask questions from those who received the report; we are going to do that and we will get people to start working on those things, he said.

    Wahab commended the participants for their commitment throughout the duration of the seminar as well as their contributions and recommendations.

    Prof. Christopher Ogbogbo, Director of Research, NARC, who presented the recommendations, said the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach was required in taming insecurity.

    Ogbogbo said the seminar assessed and then emphasised the place of the whole of society approach in combating terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria.

    Clearly, we have been able to brainstorm on that and we have concluded and resolved that there is need to intensify and deepen that whole of society approach as conceptualised in the course of the seminar.

    All hands need to be on deck, it is not just that of security agencies only, but also civil society groups and all relevant stakeholders must come together to be able to combat and resolve this insecurity that threatened the country, he said.

    Ogbogbo said the civil society and other stakeholders should play active role in the activities of Operation Safe Corridor.

    According to him, the military will be taking repentant insurgents who are surrendering and still be taking care of them and deradicalising them.

    The civil society should come in and play its own role, and that type of role should be mainly by the civil society, not the military, he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

    Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

    Source: NAN News

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     Redeemers University pledges more human capital investments
    By Joshua Oladipo

    Vice-Chancellor, Redeemers University (RUN), Ede, Osun, Prof. Anthony Akinlo, has said that the institution would continue to invest more in world-class infrastructure and human development.

    Akinlo, who said this on the sidelines of the universitys 16 convocation ceremony in Ede, said that this would make the institution to stand tall in its ranking by the National Universities Commission (NUC).

    He attributed the ranking of the university by the NUC as the second best in Nigeria to hardwork and commitment of staff and management of the instruction.

    We are the best private university and the second overall best in Nigeria due to our hard work, according to the 2022 National Universities Commissions latest ranking, he said.

    He said the award and recognition had been dedicated to those considered to have performed their responsibilities creditably within the past one year.

    Also, some deserving non-members of staff of the university will be honoured for their unprecedented contributions to the progress and development of the institution.

    He added that no amount of gift or encomium offered would compensate for what many of the staffers had given to the university.

    According to him, the university will continue to strive higher in a competitive academic environment, especially in research breakthroughs and infrastructural development.

    Akinlo congratulated the recipients of various awards and also implored them to continue to improve in what might have been considered for nominating them for future awards.

    Speaking with newsmen, Mr Dele Alabi, Chief Executive Officer , Ecobank Pan African Center and Chairman, Redeemers University Convocation Diamond Set 2002, said that the university had continued to demonstrate excellent track record in terms of performance.

    Alabi said that the culture of recognising best students and lecturers was in line with global best practices.

    He said that the awardees must maintain high degree of commitment in raising the bar higher in their various places of work, without any complacency.

    Alabi explained that integrity, commitment and dedication were key ingredients of greater achievements, which the university had displayed.

    According to him, the reward for hard work is more work, adding those who were not given awards should persevere to strive and compete with their equals in a competitive academic environment.

    Alabi appreciated the university for recognising the awardees, saying that this was in line with global best practices.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while 48 students bagged First Class honours, representing 7.6 per cent of the graduands, 223 had Second Class Upper Division, representing 35.1 per cent.

    Also, 251 students made Second Class Lower Division, representing 39.5 per cent, while 66 fell under 10.4 per cent.

    NAN also reports that Miss Esther Yemisi emerged the best graduating student for the 2022 diamond set, having scored a cumulative CGPA of 5.0. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

    Edited by AbdulFatai Beki and Wale Sadeeq

    Source: NAN News

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     2023: Group, foundation partner to curb electoral violence through sports
    By Salisu Sani-Idris

    Twenty Bucks Creative and an NGO, Jalo Okwor Foundation, have launched a campaign to discourage youth from indulging in electoral violence through sports development.

    The founder of the group, Mr Charbel Jarrouge made the disclosure during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with the foundation, on Wednesday in Abuja.

    He said the goal was to host a football tournament in Dec. where the youth directorate of all the political parties would take part to promote peace in the country.

    While describing sports especially football as a unifying factor, Jarrouge said it would go a long way to deepen love and peace within the youths that were mostly used as tools to perpetuate violence during elections.

    I would like to start my speech by reminding us all about World War 1 event. During 1914 Christmas Day, when both parties decided to cease fire and played football peacefully. Unfortunately, due to political reasons they went back to war.

    ,Our focus is to campaign against violent elections in Nigeria come 2023 and our goal is to host a football tournament in Dec. and the teams include all political parties in Nigeria,he said.

    On his part, the National Coordinator of Sports for Peace Initiative, Mr Stephen Okwor, said that the initiative would also support youth to overcome the temptation of being used as thugs and tools of electoral violence by some political office holders and seekers.

    He said that the NGO was determined to help youth to develop their cognitive, physical tools and skills through advocacy, sensitization and education.

    We have identified sports as a vehicle which accommodates everyone regardless of your age, tribe, ethnic, religious, economic and social status.

    In view of this, we are using sports and football in particular to identify and redirect youth who could otherwise have followed false paths.

    The aim is to leave youth with the concrete possibility of a social and economic life, devoid of violence and rancour, thereby promoting peace for themselves, their families and dependants.

    The trickle down effect is felt also by the wider society and by Nigeria in particular, Okwor said.

    He said that the signing of the MoU marked the beginning of a new phase in the quest for finding lasting peace in Nigeria.

    Okwor said: We celebrate the birth of a partnership we have entered into this partnership with Twenty Bucks Creative, which is an advertising and marketing agency.

    We believe that they operate using very high standards and have a reach that we desire, in order to create the level of impact that will be most effective in educating and sensitizing youths to promote peace and shun violence.

    We are optimistic that this partnership will result in better exposure to the message we are bringing, which is the message of zero violence before, during and after elections.

    He called on all Nigerians, especially the youth groups of the various political parties, candidates and their supporters, security agencies, the media and CSOs to be deliberate about preaching the message of peaceful elections.

    Okwor commended the efforts of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, led by Prof. Bakut Tewah, as well as all other civil society organisations promoting peace in Nigeria.

    We remain resolute in encouraging all youth to shun violence and be peaceful during the forthcoming elections and try to avoid violence as much as possible,he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

    Edited by Bashir Rabe Mani

    Source: NAN News

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     Advanced tech. tools critical to boosting crop productionNABDA D-G
    By Sylvester Thompson

    Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, Director-General of National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), said it has become necessary to use advanced technological tools in crop production to generate yields.

    Mustapha said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.

    He said using advanced technological tools like genetic engineering in crop production would increase yields at economically viable scales for Nigerian farmers and resuscitate ailing industries as well.

    The NABDA D-G explained that the last three to four decades had seen biotechnology worldwide shifting from being a strategic emerging industry to one of the mainstays of most advanced nations strategic industries.

    According to him, this is a confirmation that biotechnology is one of the key pillars of development of any nation.

    Using cotton as a crop in point, he said that Nigeria commercialised its first genetically modified crop, Bt cotton in 2018, with the aim of revitalising the comatose textile industry and boost economic development.

    Recall that the textile industry in Nigeria was a major employer of labour and revenue-earner in the 70s.

    Statistics indicate that at its peak, between 1970 and 1990, it comprised about 130 modern factories and supported numerous other ancillary firms.

    The industry provided about 350,000 direct jobs and 1.2 million indirect jobs among farmers, suppliers, transporters dealers, traders and exporters.

    Today, however, only about 33 factories remain standing and the local cotton industry is comatose, primarily due to lack of good seeds, low yields and high production costs associated with insect damage, Mustapha said.

    He said that these pests reduce yields by up to 60 percent which has implications on farmers profits and have also been found to be detrimental to the environment.

    The D-G said such development motivated NABDAs collaboration with the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) Zaria, Bayer and Mahyco Agricultural Nigeria Ltd, for development, commercialisation and deployment of new varieties of transgenic hybrid cotton.

    Accordingly, the cotton was then genetically modified to include a gene from Bacillus thuringiensis; a soil bacterium used extensively for insect pest control in organic agriculture to provide pest resistance within the plant itself.

    The NABDA Boss said that Bt Cotton plays a critical role in reviving the nations economy.

    It can produce 4.1 to 4.4 tonnes per hectare, compared to the local variety which yields just 600 to 900 kilograms per hectare.

    Since Bt cotton can resist the devastating bollworm and tolerate sucking insects, it will help farmers reduce their use of pesticides, thus minimising environmental impacts and lowering production costs, he said.

    According to him, these varieties of Bt cotton are suitable for cultivation in all of Nigerias cotton growing zones, and they also offer early maturity, fiber length of 30.0 to 30.5 millimeters among others.

    He said Bt Cotton varieties would save farmers the trouble of contending with the local conventional variety, which was no longer acceptable at the international markets.

    Mustapha added that recent initiatives to improve the contribution of the agricultural sector to economic growth in Nigeria have emphasised the importance of cotton production in stimulating the economy.

    He said that Bt cotton offered the hope that the textile industry in Nigeria could be revived as the commercialisation had started a revolution that would help Nigeria in its cotton shortage.

    Mustapha said, the stage has been set for self-sufficiency in the production of cotton as industrial raw material with the subsequent transformation of the textile industry.

    The productivity data of the improved varieties of cotton obtained from farmers fields has raised the hope that the moribund textile industry in Nigeria would soon come alive.

    Nigerian farmers who would be involved in the Bt cotton business would be empowered to enjoy increased productivity.

    Similarly, he said the value chain of cotton from the farmers to processors, cottage industry workers, to the spinning and textile industry would also create job openings that the government was clamouring for.

    The D-G assured that jobs would be created, wealth generated, the ginneries reactivated, and Nigeria would be able to export cotton to other countries of the world as well as become a global trade player. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

    Edited by Celine-Damilola Oyewole/Bashir Rabe Mani

    Source: NAN News

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     Chartered Institute of Purchasing, Supply Management seeks amendment to act
    By Naomi Sharang

    Mr Ado Jibrin, President, Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria has called on the Senate to amend the act establishing the institute.

    Jibrin made the call when he led a delegation of the institute on a courtesy visit to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Procurement Sen. Emmanuel Bwacha in Abuja on Wednesday.

    He said that the members of the institute were on the visit to discuss areas that we feel is important for the national assembly to come together so that we rescue the problems of purchasing in the country.

    Jibrin said that the institute sought an amendment to the 2007 Act to change the name of the institute from Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria to Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply Chain Management.

    We are pleading with them that we will forward a private bill to ensure we have our name changed, Jibrin said.

    Also speaking, former President of the Institute, Alh. Mohammed Aliyu lamented that people who were not knowledgeable about the functions of the institute were now saddled to do the job.

    That is why we are facing procurement issues in the country.

    We came here to let the distinguished senators know that things are not done right in the sector.

    One of the issues is that the members of the Public Procurement Council are supposed to be inaugurated but this has not been done till today.

    On his part, a fellow of the institute, Abdul Mamman, said that procurement plays an important position in the life of a nation.

    This institute has been established since 2007 through an act of parliament and there are respective mandates granted it by the law and that particular law has to do with purchasing and supply chain management.

    Unfortunately, the way and manner in which it is done today leaves much to be desired.

    The law establishing the institute has been mutilated because the bureau is taking over the job of the professional body and they are not established to train and certify people for procurement because they are not a training institution.

    They are a clearing house representing government to ensure that the right thing are done with regards to procurement process and procedure.

    This is why we are calling for an amendment to the act,Mamman said.

    Responding, chairman of the committee said it would look into their proposal.

    The institute is proposing an amendment to the act. We will look into it when they bring the necessary documents.(NAN)
    (www.nannews.ng)

    Edited by Julius Toba-Jegede

    Source: NAN News

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     FCT N607.9bn 2022 statutory budget scales 2nd reading at Senate
    By Naomi Sharang

    The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) N607.9 billion 2022 statutory budget on Wednesday scaled second reading at the Senate.

    This followed the presentation of the lead debate by Senate Leader, Ibrahim Gobir at plenary.

    Gobir said that the 2022 FCT budget sought to authorise the issue from the Federal Capital Territory Administration Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Capital Territory Administration Account, the total sum of N607 billion.

    He said that N76 billion out of the amount was for personnel cost, while N138 billion was for overhead cost.

    While the balance of N393 billion is for capital project for the service of the FCT, Abuja, for the financial year commencing from Jan. 1 and ending Dec. 31, 2022.

    The senate leader said that the fundamental thrust of the FCT 2022 budget was to ensure an effective and enduring service oriented administration for the completion of ongoing projects and the provision of effective services to the residents of the FCT.

    He said that an appraisal of the 2021 FCT statutory budget indicated that in the 2021, the FCT Administration received an appropriation of N329 billion.

    During the year 2021, a total sum of N74 billion was spent on personnel cost, representing 100 per cent.

    The sum of N52, 737, 251, 744. 00 was expended on overhead cost, representing 79 per cent, while the sum of N72, 730, 869, 849.00 was expended on capital projects, representing 39 per cent.

    Gobir said that the FCT was created in 1976 as one of the major achievements of the Military Government.

    Worthy of note is that the FCT was originally planned for about 3.1 million people.

    The rapid urban growth coupled with the slow pace of development of infrastructure for the teeming population has led to scarcity of infrastructures.

    He said that Abuja was too far behind in terms of achieving the developmental target envisaged.

    Only 20 per cent of the target has been achieved due to scarce resources often made available to the administration over the years.

    He said that the FCT required a minimum of N1 trillion to resuscitate and complete abandoned and on-going projects within the districts that had so far been developed or partially developed.

    Contributing, The Chairman, Senate Committee on the FCT Sen. Smart Adeyemi acknowledged that the budget was far too low.

    This is a budget that is coming some months far behind time. But notwithstanding, effort is made to ensure that those areas that require attention of government which will help to improve the security of life and property of Abuja residents is executed within the available time.

    We will ensure the 2023 budget is ready before the end of this month, he said.

    Sen. James Manager (PDP-Delta) expressed displeasure over the lateness in presentation of the budget.

    How long will they execute these projects and when will they stop. This is October, he said.

    Also, Minority Leader, Philip Aduda said that it was unfortunate that the budget was coming late.

    President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan said that it was unfortunate and unacceptable.

    We have worked so hard to change the budget cycle of the Federal Government. And here we have a state we are receiving the budget of the FCT for 2022 in October.

    This is unacceptable. We are only considering this because innocent FCT residents will suffer. Otherwise we shouldnt pass this.

    If they dont bring it next week, they should keep it themselves, he said.(NAN)
    (www.nannews.ng)

    Source: NAN News

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