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    Environmentalist tasks oil firms on onshore pollution cleaning
    By Nathan Nwakamma

    An environmentalist, Dr Nnimmo Bassey, has urged oil firms in the Niger Delta to clean up polluted onshore sites before moving their activities offshore.

    Bassey made the call in Yenegoa, on Friday at an oilfield dialogue with the theme, Building Community Resilience against Fossils Extraction.

    The event which was organsied by Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) for oil communities in Bayelsa was held at the banks of Taylor Creek, Agbia, Yenagoa.

    The environmentalist noted that the Niger Delta region enjoyed clean and natural environment before the discovery of oil about 60 years ago.

    He said oil firms gradual shift to offshore posed greater danger to the fishing vocation of people.

    Bassey said Niger Deltas rich biodiversity with freshwater and marine ecosystems such as rivers, lakes, streams and creeks had become more threatened.

    According to him, no fewer than six million persons may be pushed out of their fishing occupation due to the activities of the oil firms in the region.

    It is of national interest to protect the artisanal fishing industry. It is, however, regrettable that most fresh water bodies have been lost to oil pollution, he said.

    Bassey further expressed worries that many international oil firms were already divesting from their onshore assets and moving their operations offshore.

    Their claim is that the Niger Delta no longer suits their business model. They are trying to avoid responsibilities arising from their environmental misbehaviour.

    They are leaving after sucking the region dry and destroying the environment, if this pollution is replicated offshore, the impact will be very tragic, he said.

    Also speaking at the event, Mrs Alas Talani, described the damage on the freshwater bodies as colossal.

    I started fishing at the Taylor Creeks as a young girl, I got married and continued fishing with my husband, we used to have bountiful catches.

    Fishing was rewarding before the oil pipelines were laid, all one needed was to throw the net and tie it across, a few hours later you have a full net.

    Things have changed, as the oil leaks continued, fishing activities here at Taylor Creeks produced little or no catch, we are endangered, Talani said.

    Also speaking, Chief Washington Odoyibo, a community leader and fisherman, accused oil firms of indulging in unfriendly environmental practices.

    Oil spills have rendered us unproductive, the pollutions from oil exploration and production did not also spare our farmlands, Odoyibo said.

    In her contribution, Chief Ayibakoro Warder, a woman leader, commended HOMEF for organising the dialogue, describing it as well intended.

    We commend you for organsing this event, it has educated us on how to deal with the environmental challenges that have been affecting us for a long time.

    The call for the cleanup of polluted sites on the land and the need for stiffer penalties to conserve the environment is in order, Warder said. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Bingham University matriculates 1, 376 for 2020/2021 Academic Session
    By Naomi Sharang

    Bingham University, Karu, Nasarawa State on Friday matriculated 1, 376 students for the 2020/2021 Academic Session.

    The Vice-Chancellor of the Institute, Prof. William Qurix, who administered the Oath of Matriculation on the students, noted that the event was the 16th since the inception of the school.

    Qurix said that a total of 2, 364 candidates applied to the university to study various courses out of which 1, 376 were granted admission.

    In the same vein, today (Friday) also marks the matriculation of 387 of our postgraduate students into various postgraduate programmes offered by the university, he said

    He said that since the commencement of academic activities in 2006, the university had maintained a steady academic calendar and continued to churn out high-quality graduates into the nation and world labour market.

    The vice-chancellor said that the institution currently operated 64 academic programmes with 46 established in the last three years.

    On the rate of insecurity in the country, Qurix called on the Federal Government to pay special attention to schools to curb the menace of kidnappings.

    We pray that they will pay special attention to schools to enable normal academic life to continue.

    Security measures are not measures you tout around in the open. We are conscious of the happenings around society. We are also doing our best to secure the students, he said.

    In a paper presentation, Prof. Raymond Bako, Faculty of Education, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria urged the students to reflect on their lives and make a renewed commitment to serve God and make the right decisions that would make them succeed in life.

    He spoke on the topic Balancing your academic, social and spiritual life on campus.

    Bako also called on the students to shun all social vices including sexual immortality and get-rich-quick activities.

    One of the students, Tuta Joseph, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) appreciated God for leading him through primary, secondary and now university.

    At 17 years, I feel honoured. Its a great privilege to be in Bingham University, he said. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Sultan, shariah council want solution to indigene, settler crisis
    By Jessica Onyegbula

    Some prominent Nigerians attending a Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) organised symposium in Abuja have called for the resolution of the recurring indigene-settler crisis in the country, while reiterating that the unity of the nation was non-negotiable.

    They made the call on Friday, at a two-day symposium jointly organised with the Supreme Council for Shariah in Nigeria (SCSN) and Jamaatu Nasril Islam (JNI), under the theme: Threat to the unity of the Ummah and the future of Nigeria, citizenship and nationhood.

    The NSCIA President and Sultan of Sokoto, Dr. Muhammad Saad Abubakar III, represented by the Emir of Keffi, Nasarawa State, Alhaji Shehu Chindo Yamusa III, said that the unity and peace of the nation was important for its survival and the wellbeing of its citizens.

    All deliberations must be harmonised without bias. All conflicting factors must be addressed and resolved. We must contribute in such a way that it would be positive for the development of the country, he said.

    Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Baze University, Abuja, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, spoke on The Nigerian Federation and the management of our diversity: A critical evaluation.

    Baba-Ahmed said that any responsible discussion on basic identity in Nigeria was bound to stumble around the irony that it is the one issue which today represents a major impediment to the nations progress beyond the precarious stage where it seemed to be stuck.

    Which is that, virtually none of Nigerians chose his faith, ethnicity or region, is also the basis of much of the most damaging conflicts in which the citizens are engaged.

    Violence and threats remind us that our politics have failed to engineer a citizen, and leaders who benefitted from exploiting identity politics are incapable of containing its expanding influence.

    Indeed, they are riding harder on our weak points, and they leave many of us to wonder how they plan to govern a wrecked country, assuming that they even manage to keep the country together enough to have elections in 2023, he said.

    Elder statesman and the candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) in the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, urged Nigerians to elect the right people in forthcoming elections.

    Tofa, who was the chairman of the event, said, We have polluted ambitions, you know the ordinary Nigerian wants to live a life quietly and pursue their daily bread.

    But politicians and elites are the problems of the country. We have to realise that and do something about it. Next time, elect the right people, he said. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Pinnicks position in FIFA beneficial for Nigerias football devt  Buhari
    By Ismaila Chafe

    President Muhamamdu Buhari says membership of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President Amaju Pinnick into the FIFA Council will provide benefits that will lead to the advancement of football in Africa.

    The president stated this on Friday in Abuja, when he had an audience with the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare and Pinnick, at the State House.

    He, once again, congratulated the NFF boss on his election victory into the strategic body that sets the vision for global football, assuring him of Nigerias support in his new position.

    The position on the Council of the worlds football governing body, FIFA, comes at a time when Nigeria is determined to turn the fortunes of her sports development around through better infrastructure, more investment both public and private government incentives.

    Without prejudice to the continental nature of your assignment at the Council, I urge you to use your position to ensure Nigerias sporting image receives a boost.

    I know this position will assist Nigeria get technical and financial support from FIFA; and your position should create a platform for other Nigerians to enter into the FIFA family and other international Sports Federations, he said.

    While emphasising his belief in the potential of sports to promote peace, unity, enhance good health and stimulate the economy, Buhari said: One of the greatest sports is football and Nigeria is a great football nation.

    I am myself a keen follower of football.

    On his vision for Nigerian football, the President told the minister and the NFF President:

    I want to see Nigerias football develop and move in a more dynamic trajectory from football administration to youth and grassroots football, talent hunt and use of Nigerias home based talents.

    Nigeria also needs a more privatized and better organised football regime that can rival others in Europe and America, he said.

    The president, therefore, urged the NFF to work with the Sport ministry and football stakeholders to provide Nigeria with a 10-year Football Master Plan that would ensure youth football development, in line with FIFAs commitment.

    He urged corporate organisations to invest in sports development, and pledged his administrations commitment to turn sports into business.

    He added that the expected reviewed Sport Industry Policy will be the catalyst that turns football activities associated with it into key contributors to the national economy.

    In his remarks, Dare thanked the President for his support for sports development in the country, and for approving the reclassification of sports as business, instead of mere recreation.

    He promised that a new draft policy on the sports industry was almost ready, as well as a 10-year master plan for football at all levels.

    The new FIFA Council member, Pinnick, equally lauded President Buhari for his support for football, saying: without you, I couldnt have won election into the FIFA Council. Your name is highly respected across the continent.

    Pinnick pledged to be a worthy Ambassador of the country, adding I will use the office to build Nigerian football, in conjunction with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.

    He was on March 12, elected into the FIFA Council after a landslide victory, defeating Malawian FA President Walter Nyamilandu by 43 votes to eight at the CAF General Assembly held in Rabat, Morocco.

    He becomes the third Nigerian elected into the prestigious council after Oyo Orok Oyo (1980-1988) and Amos Adamu (2006-2010). (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    FIFA Referee urges youths to be focused, dedicated to goals in life
    By Stanley Nwanosike

    A Nigerian-born FIFA Badge Football Referee, Ndidi Madu, on Friday urged Nigerian youths to be focused and dedicated to the pursuit of their goals in life.

    Madu gave the advice when she paid a courtesy call on CSP Ebere Amaraizu, National Coordinator of Police Campaign Against Cultism and Other Vices (POCACOV) at the POCACOV Resource Centre in Enugu.

    According to her, hard work, dedication, discipline, focus and defining your goals early in life have a lot to do for one to be a champion in his or her field of endeavour.

    Madu, who is a POCACOV Ambassador, urged youths to shun cultism, substance and drug abuse as well as other negative tendencies that usually derail them from remaining focused and making it as champions.

    Becoming a champion has a lot to do with adequate discipline, dedication and focus.

    As a person, you must marshal out and define your goals in life and pursue them with the right mindset to become a champion, she said.

    Madu, who recounted her sojourn into the football referee duties as an athlete, said that today, her exploits had made Nigeria and indeed African proud.

    She urged all to join hands with the Nigeria Police through POCACOV to stand against cultism and other vices in the country for strategic leadership direction and self-discovery for youths.

    This is a nice programme by the Nigeria Police Force for the youths and we need to fully support it, she added.

    Responding, Amaraizu, who also doubles as the South-East Director of Nigeria National League One, appreciatedMadu for her hard work and dedication which had taken her to the FIFA level.

    He encouraged her to maintain the tempo as it is not easy to get to the top and to remain there.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Madu is an Enugu-based female referee of the Nigerian Football Referee Association that has made marks for Nigeria and Africa in football officiating hence her badging by FIFA.

    She has also been appointed by FIFA as a football referee to officiate at the up-coming Tokyo 2021 Olympic in Japan. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    SWAN North Central congratulates new FCT chapter exco, as NAN staff emerges Fin. Sec.
    By Emmanuel Afonne

    The North Central Zone of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), has congratulated the newly-elected executive members of the FCT chapter of the association for emerging victorious at its elective congress held on Friday in Abuja.

    The message was communicated in a statement jointly signed by the Zonal Vice President, Danmusa Mohammed, and Secretary, Abubakar Hassan.

    They applauded members of the FCT SWAN for the maturity exhibited throughout the process and for reelecting Ndubueze Chidoka and Ikenna Okonkwo as Chairman and Secretary respectively.

    The statement added that the reelection of the two Full Council members by Members of the chapter was an indication that they have performed well in their first tenure which paved the way for their emergence.

    The Leadership of the North Central zone of the Association called on the new executive members to carry all members along and to also intensify efforts to reach out to the aggrieved members of the association who were misled to bring them back on track, but with caution.

    It also urged members of the chapter to support the newly-elected officials to move the association to greater heights, as they can hardly achieve meaningful progress in the chapter without the support of all members.

    The statement also called on all stakeholders and partners of SWAN in FCT to give the FCT SWAN leadership every necessary support and cooperation that would enable them to succeed.

    It would be recalled that Ndubueze Chidoka, a sports manager with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), was re-elected the chairman of Sports SWAN FCT chapter.

    The election which was supervised by the SWAN national body, led by Honour Sirawo, saw Chidoka defeating his opponent, Bumi Haruna of Nigeria Info, by 76-4 votes.

    Also reelected was an Online Editor with Blueprint Newspapers, Ikenna Okonkwo, who returned as the Secretary.

    Okonkwo polled 78 votes to defeat his rival Chris Onokpegu of The Hunters Magazine, who garnered only one vote, while Muhyideen Jimoh, a Sports Editor with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), emerged the Financial Secretary.

    Jimoh got 77 votes to beat Omo Unubun of Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) who picked three votes.

    For the post of Vice Chairman, Salifu Usman of the Leadership Newspapers secured 78 votes to defeat Maxwell Nwachukwu who secured only two votes, while Albert Akota of Peoples Daily polled 76 votes to snatch the Assistant Secretary seat from Remi Solula of the Cable.

    The Treasurer position went to Ayomide Makinde of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) who defeated Uche Nwudoh of Kiss FM 75-4.

    Busayo Olowokere of the Nigeria Customs Broadcasting Network (NCBN) was elected unopposed with 80 votes to occupy the seat of Welfare Officer.

    The newly-elected executive members were immediately sworn-in for a three-year tenure.

    SWAN Vice President, South South, Bonny Nyong, Vice President North Central, Danmusa Mohammed, and Foster Chima, an ex officio, were the SWAN national officers who supervised the election.

    However, a faction of SWAN members that abandoned the electoral process, organised themselves at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), and elected Bumi Haruna as Chairman, while all the failed contestants at the other election were elected.

    NAN reports that the group, led by former Chairman of FCT SWAN, Kayode Adeniyi, protested the involvement of the Sirawo-led national SWAN leadership in the FCT election.

    They also claimed that the SWAN Electoral Committee (SWANECO), led by Ezeocha Nze, was not transparent in the conduct of the election. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Facebook suspends Trump for 2 years
    By Cecilia Ologunagba
    Facebook has suspended former U.S. President Donald Trump on Facebook and Instagram platforms for two years effective Jan. 7.

    Facebook, in a statement by Nick Clegg, Vice-President of Global Affairs, cited severe violation after Capitol Hill riots of January 6 and that Trumps accounts would only be reinstated if conditions permitted.

    Last month, the Oversight Board upheld Facebooks suspension of former U.S. President Donald Trumps Facebook and Instagram accounts following his praise for people engaged in violence at the Capitol on January 6.

    But in doing so, the board criticised the open-ended nature of the suspension, stating that it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension.

    The board instructed us to review the decision and respond in a way that is clear and proportionate, and made a number of recommendations on how to improve our policies and processes, it said.

    We are today announcing new enforcement protocols to be applied in exceptional cases such as this, and we are confirming the time-bound penalty consistent with those protocols which we are applying to Mr. Trumps accounts.

    Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Trumps suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols, Facebook stated.

    We are suspending his accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7 this year.

    At the end of this period, we will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded.

    We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest.

    Facebook stated that if the Oversight Board determined that there was still a serious risk to public safety, Facebook would extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk had receded.

    When the suspension is eventually lifted, there will be a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Trump commits further violations in future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts, it added.

    In establishing the two year sanction for severe violations, we considered the need for it to be long enough to allow a safe period of time after the acts of incitement, to be significant enough to be a deterrent to Mr. Trump and others from committing such severe violations in future, and to be proportionate to the gravity of the violation itself.

    We are grateful that the Oversight Board acknowledged that our original decision to suspend Trump was right and necessary, in the exceptional circumstances at the time.

    But we absolutely accept that we did not have enforcement protocols in place adequate to respond to such unusual events. Now that we have them, we hope and expect they will only be applicable in the rarest circumstances.(NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    President Buhari extols late Gen. Dogonyaros virtues
    By Ismaila Chafe
    President Muhammadu Buhari has extolled the military qualities of late Lt.-Gen. Joshua Dogonyaro, a one-time Chief of Defence Staff, days after describing him as one of the finest soldiers the Nigerian Army has ever produced.

    Malam Garba Shehu, the Presidents spokesman in a statement, said Buhari made his feelings in a funeral oration read on his behalf by the Minister of Defence, retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, at the burial ceremony of the late Dogonyaro in Lantang, Plateau, on Friday.

    Buhari said Dogonyaro was an icon of professionalism, bravery and discipline as amply demonstrated in the attributes he displayed in his national and international military assignments.

    The late general was a reference point for us and will remain a source of inspiration for several officers, serving and retired.

    He was a great son of Nigeria, widely known for his uncommon loyalty to his country, a virtue which at this critical period of nationhood, Nigeria needs from all of us.

    In a letter of condolence delivered by the Presidential delegation to Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau State, Buhari said:

    Laying down ones life for the country is one of the greatest sacrifices any citizen can make to his country.

    His (Dogonyaros) many contributions will be remembered for years to come.

    I pray that Almighty God will grant his family and the entire people of Plateau State the fortitude to bear the loss.

    Speaking on behalf of the family, one of the late Generals children, Ibrahim thanked the President for his love and care for the Dogonyaro family.

    Accompanying the Minister of Defence in the Presidents delegation were the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen and the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    FG suspends Twitters operations in Nigeria

    By Rotimi Ijikanmi

    Twitter had removed a post by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari for violating its rules.

    The tweet referred to the 1967-70 Nigerian Civil War and to treating those misbehaving today in the language they will understand.

    It follows a recent spate of attacks on offices, mainly in the south-east, blamed on regional secessionists.

    Nigerias information minister called Twitters move unfair, labelling it double standards.

    This is the first time a tweet from the president was deleted.

    Buhari tweet on Tuesday reads:Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War.

    Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.

    A Twitter spokesperson said the post was in violation of the Twitter Rules.

    The account owner will be required to delete the violative Tweet and spend 12 hours with their account in read-only mode.

    The statement gave no further details.

    The minister of information had said that Twitter may have its own rules; its not the universal rule, adding that if the president felt concerned about a situation, he is free to express such views.

    He said Twitter had not banned incitement tweets from other groups.(NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Sulaiman-Ibrahim assumes office as head refugees commission
    By Aderogba George
    Mrs Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, former Director-General of National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), on Friday assumed office as the Federal-Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI).

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that her assumption of office followed the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 27, that she should swap with the former head of NCFRMI, Sen. Basheer Mohammed.

    The President had in a statement issued by his spokesman, Mr Shehu Garba, approved the movement.

    The statement read: President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the swapping of positions by two heads of agencies under the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

    This is to realise and sustain the governments abiding desire for effective and efficient service delivery in the two organisations.

    Sulaiman-Ibrahim, speaking while being received by management and other staff of the commission in Abuja, promised to compliment all efforts that had been put in place to move the commission forward.

    The Federal Commissioner also pledged to work as a team and family to achieve the goals of the commission.

    I will work in peace and harmony, equity and justice to achieve our mandate as a team and as individuals.

    My expectation is to compliment the efforts of those I met on the ground to ensure we strengthen our effort as commission, on behalf of the country.

    Expect equity and fairness from me, we will work with stability and we will double up effort, she said.

    Princess Gloria Akobundu, National Coordinator, New Partnership for Africas Development (NEPAD), who was at the event, described Sulaiman-Ibrahim as a good team player.

    Akobundu called on the management and staff of the organisation to play their role to make her stay successful.

    She also described the refugees commission as a friendship organisation, adding that her experience with it had been pleasant.

    Everybody must play their role, refugees commission is a strategic department, challenges must be identified promptly for us to solve, the Federal Commissioners stay will be a comfort for all of us, she said. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Lets fight terrorism, poverty, not ourselves  Gov. AbdulRazaq
    By Olubukola Aiyedogbon

    Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara has called on Nigerians to unite in the fight against terrorism, banditry and mass poverty.

    AbdulRazaq made the appeal at the closing ceremony of 2 Division Inter-Brigade Corporals and Below Competition 2021, at the Sobi Barack Ilorin on Friday.

    The governor described these challenges as our common enemies and urged citizens to stop seeing one another as enemies.

    According to him, these are elements bent on terrorising the people and tearing the nation apart.

    He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his patience and support for the security agencies to discharge their duties as well as commitment to national peace and security.

    The security agencies, particularly the military will continue to symbolise the unity of the people and the strength of the Nigerian state.

    Everything must be done to continue to keep the Nigerian state united, stronger and more successful.

    Our diversity should be deployed to maximum advantage, while we join hands to fight our common enemies, the governor urged.

    He commended the military for its increasing and professional roles in internal security and in protecting the territorial integrity of the country, adding that they remain a symbol of national unity.

    He also appreciated the troops and other security agencies in the fight against terrorism and banditry, observing that they are sometimes caught between strict adherence to evolving rules of engagement and keeping the country safe.

    Maj.-Gen. Gold Chibuisi, the General Officer Commanding, 22 Armoured Brigade, said the platoons were selected from each of the divisions to compete in five areas of military competence, including drill, weapon handling, point-to-point and obstacle crossing.

    Chibuisi said that the competition was organised to prepare the officers for the present security challenges in the country.

    We are in very serious times now, almost all the regions of our beloved country are having challenges and it behoves on us to ensure that this is brought to the level where everybody will go about their lawful duties without being molested by criminals and other enemies of the state.

    So, with the training you have done, I believe you are better fine-tuned for the present-day challenges, he said. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    2 die, 2 others injured in Bauchi auto crash  FRSC
    By Ayinde Olaide

    Two people were killed on Friday in an auto crash involving a car and a truck in Zangoro village, along Bauchi- Maiduguri road, according to Mr Yusuf Abdullahi, the Sector Commander of FRSC in Bauchi.

    Abdullahi told with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that two others were also injured in the crash that occurred around 2pm.

    He explained that a Peugeot 406 car with plate number, TRN36XL collided into an oncoming DAF truck with plate number, PKM77XA killing two of the victims instantly .

    The FRSC commander blamed the accident on over speeding and dangerous driving, calling on road users to always obey traffic rules and regulations in order to prevent avoidable road crashes.

    Two people died immediately at the scene of the crash and their bodies have been deposited at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi, for identification.

    The injured were also taken to the same hospital for medical attention. Our men responded swiftly, getting to the scene of the crash in less than 15 minutes.

    They were able to rush the survivors to the hospital for medical attention and clear the crash site, he said.

    He assured that the corps would not relent in its effort to sensitise the motoring public about the dangers of neglecting the traffic rules and regulations.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that four persons were killed and four others sustained injuries in another accident that occurred at Wailo village, Darazo Local Government Area of the state, on Thursday.(NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    ECOWAS Parliament inaugurates street children initiative, parliament
    By Lizzy Okoji

    The ECOWAS Parliament, in its bid to curb the rise in the number of children on the street as well as lifting them up, has unveiled an initiative to aid them.

    Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Tunis, at the inauguration on Friday in Abuja, said that ECOWAS also launched a Parliament for Street Children to serve as the voice for the deprived and abandoned kids

    Tunis, who commenced the inauguration with the induction of the Bureau of the Street Parliament, said that Childrens rights were to be protected as backed by the UN.

    Tunis was represented by the Second Deputy Speaker, Sani Boucary.

    He said that it was in a bid to protect children all over the world that the UN set aside a day to celebrate children, adding unfortunately that the number of children on the street was now on the rise.

    We observe an increase in the number of children that are attracted to the street for various reasons, particularly the death of their parents or instability created by violence and wars.

    Street children are deprived of all of their rights and it is up to the government to ensure that these children reach their full potential, he said.

    According to him, curbing the wave of violence and other factors that contribute to the number of street children is a collective responsibility.

    I am happy to identify with ECOFEPA and other partners in recognising their role to give a fresh life to these children by establishing this parliament for street children.

    We should support the children. Street children without homes and families, represent the greatest challenge for us to tackle because they need long term intervention, he said.

    The Speaker added that this was a very important stage in the efforts of rehabilitation for the children to participate in governance and democratic life without resulting to violence.

    Also speaking, the Vice President of Liberia, Mrs Jewel Taylor, stressed that no child should be abandoned.

    Mrs Taylor, who spoke through video conference, stressed that no child should ever be deserted or harmed by those, who have the duty to protect them.

    I laud the Speakers and Members of ECOWAS Parliament, especially female members for using the ECOWAS parliament to advance the cause of Children living in the streets, Taylor said.

    She stressed that such street children must be taken out of the streets and prepared for the future ahead of them.

    Mrs Tanko Almakura, Special Adviser to the Nigerian President on African First Ladies Peace Mission, said that the street only offers the children gangsterism, cheap labour, sex abuse, low self-esteem among others.

    These children are easily taken advantage of and become prey to child trafficking, drug peddlers and ritual killers.

    Indeed the street children syndrome is an ill wind that blows no one any good, it is a dangerous phenomenon and we must take every drastic step to reverse the trend.

    This, we must do for the love of the street child and the love of ourselves, lest we forget, the kidnappers, bandits and robbers of today were mostly street children of yesterday.

    Also, the criminals of many years to come are the children of today, who are not rescued from the street. So the vicious cycle will not stop unless we take conscious steps to do so.

    At the African First Ladies Peace Mission, we believe that the most potent step to stop street children is to attack the conditions that breed them in the first place, she said.

    A high point of the event was when one of the street children displayed his soccer and ball control skills on the floor of Parliament.

    Other speakers, who delivered good will messages, also cautioned that the menace of street children was like a time bomb that would hunt all in the nearest future.

    They stressed that the good life which many were building for their kids may not come to be if the challenge of street children was allowed to fester. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Stop seeing children as objects of evil, Don advises parents
    By Olawale Akinremi

    Dr Mutiyat Oladayo, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of History, University of Ibadan, has advised parents and guardians to stop labelling their children as being fetish due to superstitious beliefs.

    Oladayo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Friday that such profiling amounted to child abuse and a violation of Child Right.

    NAN reports that the United Nations had onAug. 19, 1982, at its special convention,first announced June 4 of every year as the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression.

    She spoke on the 2021 International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression, expressing sadness over the subjection of innocent children to hash punishment over little mistakes they committed.

    Oladayodescribed the maiming and sometimes, the killing of children by guardians, foster parents and other adults for any form of offence, as barbaric.

    For this celebration to be truly worthwhile, everyone in the society must stop seeing children as objects of labour, conflict and symbol of evil spirit.

    Furthermore, we must constantly introduce mechanisms that will ensure that international protocols that protect the rights of children against violent aggression are complied with, she said.

    The university lecturer reiterated the importance of the African continent in recognising that series of conflicts had erupted in the continent within the last 100 years which made children to become victims of war and aggression.

    Oladayo added that war and violence could go a long way in negatively affecting childrens perception about the development of the society.

    She, therefore, advocated for a universal master plan for a better future for the children.

    According to her, the master plan will include ending all forms of violence against children across all regions in Africa and preventing them from neglect and exploitation.

    The lecturer said that there must be proper care from the parents, being the first contacts with the children.

    She also urged parents to avoid exposing their children to psychological and physical abuses by not allowing them to beg and hawk around when they should be in schools. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Nestle, Lagos Govt plant indigenous trees to preserve cultural heritage
    By Oladapo Udom

    Nestl Nigeria Plc and the Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources have commenced the planting of indigenous trees as a way of preserving the cultural heritage of some communities.

    The tree planting projects are part of Nestls activities to mark the 2021 World Environment Day, with the theme as: Ecosystem restoration.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event commenced with a tree planting exercise at the African Church Primary School, Ifako Ijaiye, Lagos State on Friday.

    Speaking at the event, Dr Hassan Sanuth, Director, Sanitation Services, Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, said that the programme was important.

    This event is established to leave a mega advocacy on the importance of nature in relation to the survival of mankind on earth.

    The theme stands for an opportunity for us to reflect on the activities of man on nature and how it has affected the environment negatively.

    It opens up possibilities to how we can act to make sure that we improve the situation and restore the environment to serve us better, he said.

    The director said that some communities had been named by some indigenous ecosystem like trees, rivers, birds and animals which had been identified and notified to be part of that community.

    For instance, Idi Agbon (place of coconut) is named because the founding fathers of this community identified the prevalence of coconut trees in the community.

    Whenever they were describing their domain, they would describe it using agbon (coconut) as a way of description thus people ended up naming the community Idi Agbon, he said.

    Sanuth said that we had many communities in Lagos State that were named after landmark ecosystem noting that many of the biodiversities had been destroyed by the activities of mankind.

    These legacies need to be protected for the future generations so that they will know their origin.

    We must ensure that we resuscitate these plants on our communities so that our legacy will not die but live through the future generations.

    These programmes is to last for a decade and the government in collaboration with corporate organisations have decided to imbibe these indigenous plants, rivers and animals in the community, he said.

    Mrs Edidiong Peters, Public Affairs Specialist, Nestl Nigeria said the day was set aside to draw attention and galvanise action in promoting awareness of the environment.

    Peters said safe guarding the environment was a collective responsibility.

    It is not meant for the government or the private sectors alone but it is a collective efforts meant for us all.

    That is why we are delighted to be collaborating with the Lagos State Environment on this World Environment Day.

    The theme for this years celebration is significant because it comes at a time when the environment needs to be restored, she said.

    Peters said climate change was one of the greatest challenges facing society today and that a lot needed to be done in combating its negative effects.

    Natures own solution is a useful channel in combating climatic change.

    The planting of trees is significant not only for the aesthetic values but also for the purification of air around us.

    The trees will help us to absorb the carbondioxide and release more oxygen for us, she said.

    Peters noted that Nestl remained dedicated to protecting the environment for future generations.

    We believe that this is very important and over the years we have taken a lot of actions regarding our sustainability journey.

    We have embarked on sustainable packaging, water replenishment activities, water conservation and the education of young children, she said.

    Also, Mr Adeyemi Olalekan, Education Secretary, Ifako Ijaye Local Education Authority, said the environment needed to be protected because it was where humans lived and got their food from.

    Olalekan said a tree planted around any community would give that area serene look and improve its air quality and aesthetic composition.

    I am happy that tree planting is being extended to schools because this will make it easy for us to educate our children on the different trees and their importance.

    What a child sees and feels is knowledge that will last a life time, he said.

    The educationist said teachers had been teaching students about trees abstractly but with the programme, it would be more practical. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    World Environment Day: Kaduna Govt to plant 1.2 million trees
    By Ezra Musa

    Kaduna State Government has pledged to plant 1.2 million trees within the year in an effort to tackle climate change.

    Mr Ibrahim Husseini, Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, stated this on Friday while inaugurating a tree planting campaign ahead of the 2021 World Environment Day in Kaduna.

    According to him, to restore the biodiversity of the environment, massive tree planting must be encouraged to tackle climate change as humans depend on trees for a sustainable environment.

    Husseini urged people of the state to imbibe the culture of keeping their environment clean and always avoid felling trees.

    He said that government would continue to sensitise people using the media on how to protect the environment through tree planting.

    He called on individuals and organisations to plant trees and flowers to help save the environment.

    Mr Lawal Jibrin, General Manager Kaduna Environmental Authority (KEPA), said that the agency would ensure the proper nurturing of the trees planted as part of its mandate.

    He charged the people to desist from indiscriminate waste disposal and always clear their drains in order to avert flooding.

    Jibrin said that the Gov. Nasiru El Rufai-led administration had taken measures to address issue of flooding in the state by ensuring that roads were constructed with standard drainage system.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that KEPA also sensitised students of Government Day School in Rigasa, and gave them trees to plant at the event. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Nigeria rallies global community to combat corruption
    By Cecilia Ologunagba

    Nigeria on Thursday in New York, called on the global community to take measures to prevent and combat corruption as well as strengthen international cooperation against illicit financial flows.

    Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, Executive Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) made the call at UN headquarters while delivering Nigerias statement at the Special Session on Corruption.

    The three-day UN General Assembly Special Session on Corruption focuses on Challenges, Measures to Prevent and Combat Corruption and Strengthen International Cooperation.

    He spoke of the need for a multifaceted approach to addressing illicit financial flows as recommended by the High Level Panel Report on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda (FACTI Panel).

    Bawa said the Report (FACTI Panel) provided paths to financial integrity for sustainable development, strongly showing how to redirect the resources lost from illicit flows to finance the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs.

    Nigeria further calls for the simplification of evidentiary requirements and other mutual legal assistance procedures to seize, confiscate and repatriate proceeds of corruption as appropriate, to enhance international cooperation for timely recovery and return of assets.

    Let me reiterate that the fight against Illicit Financial Flows is urgent and important in our collective efforts to address corruption.

    We remain committed in our efforts to track, investigate and prosecute corrupt individuals and entities and repatriate such funds and assets to their countries of origin, the EFCC Chairman said.

    He said Nigeria looked forward to the full implementation of all the commitments expressed in the Political Declaration, particularly on asset recovery and return, to support development financing as well as the implementation of the agenda 2030 for sustainable development.

    The EFCC boss told the international gathering that Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari had made the fight against corruption one of the cardinal objectives of the administration.

    He said Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) and whistle blowers were encouraged to join the fight against corruption and contribute their quota in that regard.

    The EFFC Chairman explained that one instance of such whistle blowing led to the recovery of m.

    Public corruption is being exposed by the day and several Politically Exposed Persons have been and are being prosecuted and divested of their illicit assets.

    We have been engaging with International Law Enforcement Agencies around the world and some of the collaboration has led to the recovery and repatriation of stolen funds.

    It has led to recovery and repatriation of stolen funds, including the recent return of the 4.2million pounds by the UK Government that was stolen from Nigeria by a former governor.

    In addition, Bawa said procurement processes had been strengthened and activities of the gate keepers were being monitored through the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering to serve as deterrence to the stealing of public funds.

    Policies have been introduced to mitigate revenue leakages including the development of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS).

    The NACS is developed with five identified cardinal pillars on prevention, public engagement, ethical re-orientation, enforcement and sanctions and recovery and management of stolen assets/proceeds of crime.

    The strategy is aimed at providing a national road map in the fight against corruption, he said.

    Also, he said Nigeria had sustained its commitment to the social re-use of recovered assets as demonstrated in the funding of major road infrastructure projects and other social initiatives consisting of cash transfers to the most vulnerable groups, school meals and funding of micro-credit schemes. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    U.S. health official dismiss Wuhan lab leak theory of COVID-19
    Director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health Francis Collins appeared to have dismissed the Wuhan lab leak theory of COVID-19 as a conspiracy in an email in 2020.

    This was according to recent media report on Friday.

    Citing a newly released email in April 2020 from Collins to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, U.S. magazine Newsweek reported on Wednesday that the subject line of Collins email to Fauci was titled conspiracy gains momentum.

    Most of the message was redacted, aside from a link to an article related to a claim that COVID-19 could have originated from a Chinese lab, said Newsweek.

    Faucis response email was also redacted, according to the report.

    In an interview published in May 2020 by National Geographic, Fauci said, If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and whats out there now, (the scientific evidence) is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated. (Xinhua/NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Top bishop resigns from German Catholic church
    The German Catholic Church has been rocked by a fresh crisis following the shock resignation of one of its most influential bishops over the Churchs sexual abuse scandal.

    In essence, for me, it is a matter of sharing responsibility for the catastrophe of sexual abuse by church officials over the past decades, Cardinal Reinhard Marx wrote to the pope in a letter released on Friday.

    A former president of Germany BishopsConference, Marx is one of the nations most influential church leaders.

    The German Catholic Church is one of the wealthiest in the world.

    Marx, the bishop of Munich, said the investigations and expert reports over the past 10 years consistently showed that there had been a lot of personal failure and administrative errors, but also institutional or systemic failure.

    Marxs letter was sent to the pope nearly a fortnight ago but was only made public on Friday.

    His resignation offer came after the pope last month stepped into the scandal that has engulfed the Catholic Church in Cologne byordering a review of the west German citys handling of a sex abuse scandal.

    The pope plans to dispatch a so-called apostolic visitation to Germanys largest diocese this month to investigate possible errors carried out by Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki in handling the claims of sexual misconduct by priests.

    Marx described in a newspaper interview last year the decision not to publish a probe into clergy sexual abuse undertaken by the Cologne Archdiocese as devastating for the entire Catholic Church.

    An expert report on cases of sexual abuse in the Munich and Freising archdiocese is expected to be completed in the coming months with the probe focused on how sexual abuse by priests in the diocese was possible and whether high-ranking clergy protected perpetrators.

    In his letter to the pope, Marx said he had repeatedly considered resigning from office in recent months.

    Events and discussions of recent weeks play only a secondary role in this, Marx wrote, saying his plan to resign was a very personal decision.

    I want to make it clear: I am ready to take personal responsibility, not only for my own mistakes but for the church as an institution, which I have helped shape and mould for decades.

    Marx plans to continue his work as a bishop until a decision is made on his resignation. (dpa/NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Agricultural enhancement: IFAD-VCDP, NiMet sign MoU
    By Felicia Imohimi

    The International Funds for Agricultural Development-Value Chain Development Programme (IFAD-VCDP) and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet)

    have signed a Memorandum of Understand (MoU) for agricultural sustainability and enhancement.

    Prof. Mansur Matazu, NiMets Director-General, at the ceremony in Abuja said that the IFAD-VCDP and NiMet project would enable the agency to have direct contact with the lead farmers as well as the climate change agent at the community level.

    Matazu emphasised that weather and climate forecast was very critical to the agency for easier monitoring of the performance of forecast for farmers as well as feedback.

    He added that the agency through the partnership would be abreast of the demand of farmers.

    The director-general noted that the agency had set up technical committee for the implementation of the project.

    According to him, it has been established in the global altitude for weather information for agriculture that agriculture enhances over 80 per cent per yield.

    Therefore, climate risk can be reduced by 90 per cent under this partnership. Our partnership with IFAD-VCDP is a great thing by helping us in fulfilling part of our mandates.

    We need to reach out to farmers especially at the grassroots and some partners that have already been on the field.

    The partnership makes us do the downscaling activities smoothly, we use this platform to provide services to farmers easily and you.

    Earlier, Alhaji Garba Bala, IFAD-VCDP National Programme Coordinator, noted that the project would be piloted in nine states which included Anambra, Ebonyi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Taraba, Niger, Benue, Ogun and Enugu.

    Bala said that the VCDP programme was targeted at the poorest of the poor farmers farming below one hectare of land.

    He identified climate-related issues and support as key performance indication for VCDP project describing the partnership as timely due to the commencement of the rainy season.

    Bala said that the project would provide climate weather information to VCDP farmers.

    According to him, the MoU is to get technical assistant from NiMet on climate information for farmers to boost production of rice and cassava in the targeted states.(NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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