Amb. Bolaji Akinremi, Director, Trade and Economic Relations in the Ministry (R) and Ms. Hanneke Schuiling, Vice-Minister for Foreign Trade of the Kingdom of the Netherland at the opening of the Economic Consultation on Tuesday
By Lizzy Okoji
The Federal Government and the Kingdom of Netherlands have engaged in an Economic Consultation to modernize the existing bilateral investment treaty between both countries to strengthen economic interest and opportunities.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Adamu Lamuwa, at the opening of the Economic Consultation on Tuesday in Abuja, said that discussion would also be opened or the establishment of a joint Bi-national Commission.
Lamuwa, who was represented Amb. Bolaji Akinremi, Director, Trade and Economic Relations in the Ministry, said that the Economic Consultation was timely as rebuilding the nations economy is the focus of the new administration.
This gathering of professionals would foster productive dialogue on Nigeria-Netherlands Economic Cooperation, the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA), Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement (ADTA), and other legal frameworks.
During this Economic Consultation, Nigeria is willing to explore further, areas of economic cooperation with the Netherlands in Agricultural value chain, secular economy, renewable energy, waterways management and water scarcity.
Other areas are Oil and Gas, Special Economic Zones, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Trade facilitation in Western Africa, Science, Technology and Innovations (STI) Education and Health
Mines and Metallurgy, Arts and Crafts, Tourism, Creative and Entertainment Industry, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Aviation, Anti-Money Laundry and Counter Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) / General Security matters. Digital Economy and FINTECH,
He noted that in spite of the longstanding bilateral relations between Nigeria and the Netherlands there was no Joint/Bi-National Commission Agreement between the two countries.
Negotiation for the establishment of a Joint Commission has been inconclusive since 1987.
Against this background, the Government of Nigeria would like to reopen the negotiation for the establishment of a Joint/Bi-National Commission Agreement, as this would further consolidate and boost the relations between the two countries, Lamuwa said.
Ms. Hanneke Schuiling, Vice-Minister for Foreign Trade of the Kingdom of the Netherlands said the Dutch government attaches importance strengthening bilateral economic relationship with Nigeria, its fifth trading partner in Africa.
Schuiling said that updating and modernizing the investment agreement between both countries will create a more stable and predictable investment environment.
In this regard we see a high potential in four areas in particular: agriculture, IT, healthcare and renewable energy.
As you may be aware, the current treaty was signed in 1992. Since then, both countries have experienced significant changes in their approach to international investments which can be adopted into a new treaty.
It is important to modernize our treaty to reflect these changes. A modernized treaty can also foster stronger economic relations between our two nations.
I hope we can seize the opportunity to mutually agree on a new investment treaty, that reflects the evolving economic landscape and guarantees a fair and transparent investment climate for both parties.
Firstly, we recognize the importance of promoting and protecting investments in both our countries. It is important that we facilitate investments and that we provide a transparent legal framework to investors. This will be crucial to fostering investor confidence.
At the same time, we need to ensure that our respective governments right to regulate is enshrined in the treaty.
Secondly, incorporating sustainable development and responsible business conduct in this treaty is another element that we feel is very important. These topics are increasingly important in trade and investment agreements. .
Thirdly, it is our ambition to include provisions for transparent and predictable dispute settlement procedures. This will provide both governments and investors with greater certainty and confidence in the investment process, Schuiling said.
Dr Bashir Jamoh, Director-General, Nigeria Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said that the Agency looked to partnering with the Netherlands as a maritime nation to develop Nigerias blue economy to becoming the nations main source of revenue.
What we are advocating now is the issue of the blue economy, and already, the Federal Government has inaugurated a committee to look into ways of harnessing our blue economy.
The Netherlands having being a maritime nation, they owe it a duty to join hands together and see how we can continue to build and expand our own fleets, the ships, small ships, the fishing trollers, passenger ferries, instead of using small canoes that every day we record accidents.
The fishing industry used to give Nigeria the second largest income, today, because of the extinction of these fishing trollers we no longer have any sizeable income from our fishing.
We are doing what we can explore from the over 2.5 trillion dollars worth of ocean resources, Jamoh said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 35 Ministries, Department, and Agencies (MDAs), the Lagos State Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN) would be participating in the three-day economic consultation. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Isaac Aregbesola
Source: NAN News
Mrs Jane Ahmed, Competition Secretary of the Women Section of IBB Golf Club (First Left)
By Collins Yakubu-Hammer
The Ladies Section of the IBB International Golf and Country Club says 30 female caddies will be engaged to enhance professionalism in the game.
Lady Captain of the club, Mrs Comfort Olateju, said this at the celebration of the International Women Golf Day on Wednesday in Abuja.
The celebration, with the theme: Be the best version of yourself that you can be, was organised by the Ladies Section of the Club.
Olateju said to achieve the theme of the celebration, there was need to involve caddies to play with.
This is because we want to empower and celebrate female golfers around the world and we want a kind of empowerment that will be sustainable.
There is going to be a lecture and programme where each woman player will be encouraged to adopt a caddy and empower her in the area of mentorship.
Let me also add that playing golf is an exercise; as you walk and go round, you are seeing the trees and nature that improve our health,Olateju said.
Similarly, the Vice Lady Captain of the club, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, said there were young girls that played as professionals and some playing to become professionals.
Here in IBB, we encourage as many young girls as possible to come out and play golf as their male counterparts, and as a matter of fact, we are going to sponsor some of them, she said.
In the same vein, the competition Secretary for the Ladies Section, Mrs Jane Ahmed, said the celebration of the International Women Golf Day started in 2017.
The whole idea of this years celebration is to empower girls and for ladies to network; so the day is for uniting, bringing in new golfers, networking and empowering the young ones.
So we in the IBB and Ladies Section have chosen to empower female caddies, because, you must start from your immediate environment.
We have 30 female caddies and we have chosen to see how we can sit together and help them in their individual circumstances.
This is the first time we are doing this, and we hope it will yield fruits, Ahmed said.
One of the female caddies, Miss Hanatu Timothy, a champion for Carddies from Adamawa, said she was happy to play in the Ladys Day.
She expressed optimism thatOlateju, Okah-Donli, Ahmed and others would empower her and her fellow caddies to take their game to the professional level. (NAN)
Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Idris Abdulrahman
Source: NAN News
Promoting disease control through hand hygiene culture
By Racheal Abuja, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
According to UNICEF nine out of 10 schools in Nigeria have no handwashing facilities for students. This, according to the UN agency, does not augur well for the fight against infectious diseases.
UNICEF said in a report that in 2018, only 21 per cent of Nigerians had access to basic handwashing facilities at home adding, that the figure dropped to 16 per cent in 2019.
The global response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented hand hygiene culture, yet, progress remains far too slow for the most vulnerable and underserved communities, UNICEF said.
A Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, UNICEF said, showed that while more than half of Ghanaian households have designated places for washing hands, only about one household out of every five has water or other cleansing agents available at home.
Nigerias statistics is even worse when compared to the less developed countries, where only 7 out of 10 schools lack basic hand washing facilities.
Experts say hand hygiene reduces the transmission of communicable diseases. Therefore, poor hand hygiene practice in schools, workplaces, homes and marketplaces even in hospitals remains a public health challenge.
The World Health Organisation states that 50 per cent of healthcare facilities worldwide lack basic hygiene, while about 32 per cent of healthcare facilities in Africa do not have access to hand hygiene facilities at the points of care.
Public health experts suggest that hand hygiene should be entrenched as a routine clean care habit for everyone, especially in health care facilities, schools, crowded public spaces, camps, and prisons.
According to Dr Jean Kaseya, Director-General, Africa Centre for Disease Control, hand hygiene practices are critical in reducing the transmission of infections, particularly during disease outbreaks such as Ebola, SARS, Influenza, and currently, COVID-19.
Kaseya said in a goodwill message in commemoration of 2022 world hand hygiene day that improving hand hygiene could also reduce the occurrence of diseases like diarrhoea and respiratory infections.
According to Dr Chris Eleoma, Director Community Health Services, National Primary Health Care Agency, handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of diseases and save lives.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Nigerians should build on the handwashing gains of COVID-19 to make hand hygiene a culture.
He said that there was need for more investment in water, sanitation and hygiene to help prevent the outbreak of communicable diseases in communities.
Dr Tochi Okwor said it was important to recognised that workers were at the forefront of the countrys response strategy to prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases.
Okwor is the Assistant Director, Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
Okwor said it was unfortunate that some health workers did not pay attention to health hygiene.
He advised them to wash their hands before touching a patient, before a clean/aseptic procedure, after body fluid exposure risk, after touching a patient and after touching the patients surroundings.
The patient is at the centre of the care. The patient could be you or me. We are either patients today or patients in the future.
We need to empower healthcare workers to do regular hand hygiene and we also need patients to get involved.
Maintaining hand hygiene does not come by accident, it is cultivated.
Dr Rita Okonkwo, Global Health Security Manager and Research Scientist, Institute of Human Virologist Nigeria (IHVN) said that there were two sides to building a culture of hand hygiene.
Okonkwo told NAN that health workers were expected to maintain a culture of hand hygiene during while giving care and support.
IHVN is using empirical data to create targeted hand hygiene interventions. Based on our assessments, we see the need to create more holistic efforts towards improving systems that sustain the culture of hand hygiene, she said.
According to experts given its importance in disease prevention and control and seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, stakeholders should take advantage of the traditional and new media to promote hand hygiene culture in Nigeria.
They also advocate that handwashing should be included in the curriculum at primary and Junior Secondary School levels so that Nigerians would inculcate the culture from young age.
They further advance that hospitals and health centres should provide handwashing facilities and make it mandatory for care givers to use them before and after attending to patients. (NANFeatures)
**If used please credit the writer and News Agency of Nigeria.
Source: NAN News
By Ibukun Emiola
Prof. Olukayode Ogunsanwo of Forest Products Utilisation, University of Ibadan (UI), has described the death of his friend, Prof. Opeyemi Ajewole, as an irreplaceable one, considering his loving nature toward all.
Ogunsanwo recounted his last moments with his best friend, Ajewole, also a lecturer in the same university, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Ibadan.
NAN reports that Ajewole was killed on Monday evening by yet to be identified gunmen.
Until his death, Ajewole, aged 61, was a lecturer at the Department of Social and Environmental Forestry at the university.
NAN also reports that friends, staff members as well students, who accompanied Ogunsanwo, to the office of the deceased at the Department of Social and Environmental Forestry to pick one of his pictures for condolence register, were wailing and weeping uncontrollably .
Late Prof. Opeyemi Ajewole
Sympathizers were seen in pensive mood at the deceaseds Department and his house, as people were trooping in to mourn and testify of his good nature and lovely demeanors.
Ogunsanwo told NAN that they were both at the UI Staff Club until the deceased was ready to go home around 7.30 p.m, on the unfortunate day, saying that they could not leave together because he had a visitor from Cameroon.
When we departed, Ope went to the Department and helped to switch off my air conditioner, closed my office windows and locked the door.
He told me not to bother coming back to the office that he had helped me closed for the day, he said.
He said that he was called around some minutes to 8.00 p.m that his friend had been shot and kidnapped. I then alerted the Oyo State Security, who swung into action immediately.
I rushed to his house and met a relative who helped in buying his car, coming back with his family.
He called me aside and informed me that the police have found his body.
He said he saw his picture and confirmed to the police that he was the one they were looking for and that he was dead by then.
Ope was shot twice, the first shot was when he was abducted in front of his house and the second time was while he was being dragged into his car.
The traces of blood in front of his house was enough to have killed him, but he was shot a second time and was dropped by the roadside.
When I saw his corpse at Adeoyo, where the police took him to, he was soaked in blood from head to the toe, Ogunsanwo said.
Late Prof. Opeyemi Ajewole
He said that Ajewoles killers went away with his Toyota Camry Car, which has not been found.
I had to call his pastor and some other professors from UI at about 11.00 p.m to break the news of his death to his wife and children.
This is because they were told at the police station to go home and bring the original of his cars papers, as police did not want to break the news there, he said.
Ogunsanwo described the deceased as an easy-going, kind-hearted and warm person who does not lust for the things of the world, but always cheers people on,admonishing them to take things easy.
According to him, his death was not because he was in any shady business or had dealt with someone.
Meanwhile, Rev. Kayode Oluleye, on behalf of his family, said that further details on the burial arrangement would be announced later by the family.
With surrendered heart to God, we announce the passing to glory of Prof. Opeyemi Ajewole.
He was born on March 6, 1962 and died on June 5, 2023, Oluleye said. (NAN)
Edited by Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Olagoke Olatoye
Source: NAN News
By Jacinta Nwachukwu
An NGO, the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) says it is necessary for government to continuously engage with relevant stakeholders to ensure that the dividend of democracy reaches the average Nigerian.
Mr Shittu Jubril, the Chief Executive Officer, PPDC, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
Jubril said the most transparent and governable society was possible when citizens were actively informed and engaged.
As civil society, our expectation is that the consultation which the new administration has started will continue to be all inclusive and engaging in a more transparent and cohesive manner.
This will ensure that the dividends of democracy and governance reaches the average Nigerian.
Access to information, access to the decisions that are being made and being part of the decisions are things we try to promote, he said.
Jubril said that PPDC had been in existence for 20 years as a civil society organisation promoting good governance and citizens engagement.
He added that one of the centres thematic areas was procurement covenant, saying this was about how government resources were utilised for the provision of health care, transportation and infrastructure such as schools.
According to Jubril, for government to be effective, it has to deal with the allocation of resources.
What we then do is to ensure that these allocations are transparent and accountable, and that would not exist where there is a rule of law and there is no impunity.
He, therefore, commended President Bola Tinubu for stating clearly in his inaugural speech that his administration would adhere to the rule of law. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Oluyinka Fadare/Folasade Adeniran
Source: NAN News
Prof.-emeritus Umaru Shehu Maiduguri, Chairman, Board of Directors, IHVN
Abuja, June 6, 2023 (NAN) The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) celebrated a momentous occasion on Tuesday as it officially commissioned its newly constructed IHVN Campus.
At the ceremony in Abuja, Mr Rolf Olson, Acting United States Deputy Chief of Mission, said the commissioning of the campus provided an opportunity to reflect on past accomplishments and also set goals for what the U.S. Government would work towards within these walls in the future.
Olson said that the U.S. Governments current sub-Saharan Africa strategy reiterated its commitment to health security in the region.
He said that through its agencies like US Centre for Disease Control, it was able to work towards the vision of a world where people lived healthier, safer, and longer lives.
The US CDCs mission is to protect and improve health globally through science, policy, partnership, and evidence-based public health action.
These actions, driven by science and data, are a core component of the U.S. Governments global health diplomacy efforts in Nigeria. he said.
He said that the U.S., through its collective investments, research and programming, aimed to first impact on the health of Nigerians in a positive way and strengthen health security in the country and in the region,
He said that the third was to establish the country as a leader in public health science and practice.
Through partnerships with the Government of Nigeria, civil society partners, and communities, we work towards that first goal- to save lives, improve health outcomes and foster healthy populations, he added.
The Chief Executive Officer, IHVN, Dr Patrick Dakum, expressed gratitude to all those who contributed to the realisation of the ambitious project.
Dakum highlighted the growth of IHVN since its establishment in 2004, emphasising its leadership role in providing quality health services, capacity building and research in the country.
The IHVN Campus, located in the heart of the country, would now serve as the headquarters of the institute.
The first phase of the project, which was officially completed and opened during the ceremony, includes a seven-story edifice comprising the International Research Centre of Excellence (IRCE), administrative offices, and lettable spaces.
Tower A of the building houses state-of-the-art laboratories, including a bio-repository with liquid nitrogen facilities, a genomics resource centre, and various clinical and diagnostic laboratories.
It also features a Clinical Trials Unit, which will facilitate the conduct of crucial clinical trials to study the effectiveness and adverse effects of vaccines and drugs on the Nigerian population, it said.
He said that Tower A also accommodated offices for researchers and a restaurant for staff and visitors.
He said that Tower B, on the other hand, offered office spaces, a boardroom, banking facilities, a gym and a creche.
With the completion of Phase 1, IHVN now sets its sights on the subsequent phases.
Phase two involves the construction of a multi-level car park capable of accommodating 200 vehicles, currently underway adjacent to the newly commissioned building, he said.
Meanwhile, Prof.-emeritus Umaru Shehu Maiduguri, Chairman, Board of Directors, IHVN, said the commissioning of the campus gave hope that the country could curb todays emerging diseases of publich health concern.
I feel fulfilled because I have been a witness and participant in Nigerias efforts at stopping Epidemics like Smallpox, Polio, Ebola, HIV, and COVID-19; so this is a major contribution to Nigerias healthcare efforts.
Other things being equal, I predict that with facilities such as the ones you find on this campus, Nigeria will soon become the destination for medical tourism, clinical diagnostics, treatment, and care for people with infectious and non-infectious diseases.
I see more young scientists inspired and emboldened by the facilities on this campus to develop and execute research projects under the mentorship of more experienced investigators at the institutes International Research Centre of Excellence.
As chair of the Board of Directors of the Institute, he said he was a witness to the active participation of the indefatigable and resourceful colleagues on the board, banks, donor agencies, corporate organizations and management of IHVN to the development of the campus project.
Seven years ago, this untiring Board of Directors teamed up with Access Bank and Dangote Foundation to organise a fundraising dinner at Eko Hotel, Lagos to raise N5 billion.
About 700 million Naira was raised from this drive and other savings and contributions from partners.
At that time, it was a dream but today it is a reality, he said.
Edited by Idris Abdulrahman
Source: NAN News
Desk Officer, Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) programme, Kaduna SUBEB, Mrs Josephine Michael, addressing participants at a one-day sensitisation on the enrolment of out-of-school children in Kafanchan
By Philip Yatai
The Kaduna State Government has pledged to provide adequate school furniture, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and other facilities to encourage school enrolment and retention in public primary schools.
The Executive Chairman, Kaduna Basic Education Board (Kaduna SUBEB), Alhaji Tijjani Abdullahi made the promise in Kafanchan, during a one-day sensitisation campaign on the enrolment of out-of-school children in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the campaign was organised by the Kaduna SUBEB, under the World Bank-supported Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) programme.
Abdullahi, who was represented by Malam Kabiru Lawal, acting Director of Social Mobilisation, said that the government was also working to improve security in schools and improve teachers capacity for quality teaching and learning.
He called on the School-Based Management Committees (SBMCs) to step in, particularly in the provision of WASH facilities when necessary before while awaiting government intervention.
He explained that the enrolment campaign was to mobilise relevant stakeholders to support the government to mop-up out-of-school children in the streets, motor parks, farms, houses, markets, and other places.
Also speaking during the campaign, Mrs Josephine Michael, Desk Officer of BESDA, Kaduna SUBEB, said that the effort was to ensure that no child was left behind in the government drive to provide quality education to all.
Michael appealed to the stakeholders to support the state government efforts to address the menace of out-of-school toward building the needed human capital that would move the state forward.
BESDA, a Programme for Result (P for R) was initiated by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) with support from the Federal Ministry of Education, designed to address the menace of out-of-school children.
The programme began in 2019, with a 611 million dollars loan from the World Bank, which the Federal Government gave 17 participating states with the highest number of out-of-school children as grant.
Also, Malam Magaji Mohammed, Community Participation Officer, Kaduna SUBEB, urged the stakeholders to strengthen advocacy and sensitisation to ensure that no child was left behind.
He noted that the government was doing the best it could to provide the needed facilities in schools to enable children to learn in line with the states free and compulsory basic education.
Earlier, community stakeholders from Jemaa, Kaura, Zangon Kataf and Sanga Local Government Areas of the state commended the government efforts to enrol out-of-school children in school.
They, however, urged the government to improve security in schools and provide adequate school furniture and WASH facilities.
One of them, Mr Peter Owaze, said that the provisions of school furniture and other facilities would encourage children to enrol in school and remain in school.
On his part, Mr Ango Arkilawus, lamented that some teachers and pupils were struggling for space in bushes around public school due to lack of toilet and water facilities.
NAN reports that religious and community leaders at the meeting pledged to sensitise community members on the importance of education and work with parents and caregivers to enrol their children in school. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Sadiya Hamza
Source: NAN News
Newly inaugurated executive members of Ndigboamaka Progressives Markets Association (NPMA)
By Kingsley Okoye
Prof. Obiora Okonkwo of the University of Abuja has urged governments at all levels, especially Lagos State, to intensify support for traders, given their contributions to the growth of the economy.
Okonkwo made the call in Abuja on Thursday at a meeting with the new executives of Ndigboamaka Progressives Markets Association (NPMA).
NPMA is the umbrella body of Ibo Traders in Lagos , made up of 58 market groups across the state.
It has the mandate to facilitate trade for its members, improve volume of trade for further growth of the economy of Lagos and Nigeria in general.
Okonkwo, said the call became necessary given the high volume of trading activities and turn out by the traders and the impact to the economy of Lagos and Nigeria in general.
This people who are representing a turn over of trillions in this our economy, as simple as they might look, they can not be taken for granted.
This people here have millions of youths who are engaged over their mentorship in different markets in Lagos, they should be recognised, and that is going to be our objective.
So they need all the support to add more to grow their business because the bigger their business becomes, the more trillions of turnover they are turning in, the more customs duty, the more taxes to the nation.
A good number of them are moving from trading to manufacturing, to assembling and not Just buying and selling.
The association is a very important group to the life, future and economy of the nation because these people consist of about 60 to 70 per cent of Lagos economys Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Okonkwo, who is a professor of Business at the University of Abuja Business School, said the group has worked out a way to create mutual working relationship and understanding with government.
There is an improved relationship within my leadership; last year, there was a special event where they gave a special award to the Lagos governor based on association and collaboration on improved relationship.
And the governor for the first time appointed a member of the association into the Lagos State Market Advisory Council.
At that meeting, the governor received an open endorsement of the association for his second term in office.
Okonkwo, who is the National Grand Patron of the association, commended the association for the transparent and peaceful conduct of election of the new executives .
He urged them to consolidate on the peace amongst members of the association.
For the fact that they are organised and for the fact that they organised their election peacefully, is a manifestation of unity among them.
And we shall continue to work for peace, and consolidate on the unity and understanding,
They have been men of credibility and integrity, having successfully served in their various business, and that is what the society we have now needs and unfortunately it is a scarce commodity.
I am committed to working with everyone of you in whatever markets with pride, with joy to the glory of God, to attain the objectives of these associations for the benefit of members.
The new President of NPMA, Mr Chinedu Ukatu who is also a member of Lagos state Market Advisory Council, said the association was having a cordial relationship with the Lagos State Government.
According to him, the priority of the new executive is to intensify trade facilitation among members for the benefit of traders who consist of different races.
What we are concerned is about facilitating trade for all traders in Lagos by uniting the traders, the markets on issues like multiple taxation, and untimately further promote welfare of traders by collaborating with government and other well meaningful stakeholders. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Idris Abdulrahman
Source: NAN News
By Bushrah Yusuf-Badmus
According to him, the dredging of the three rivers will check the perennial flooding in affected areas and ease difficulties faced such communities.
Yelwa disclosed this at the 2023 stakeholders meeting on flood mitigation and other related issues in Ilorin on Thursday.
He said it would be difficult for the Federal Government to handle without intervention from international donor agencies.
He said that the estimated cost for dredging of the rivers as at 1983 was 2 billion dollars, adding that the cost had gone up over 10 times.
The dredging of River Niger or Benue, as the case may be, has always been repeatedly suggested in all the places we have visited.
We have visited about five states including Kwara, almost all the states were asking for dredging.
In 1983, when the former President, Shehu Shagaris government asked for the cost of dredging of River Niger and Benue, a bill of billion was given.
You can imagine the scope now, even if the dollar had remained the same, the scope would have gone up 10 times. That is why it is difficult.
It is not what HYPPADEC nor the federal government can do without making recourse to international organisations for intervention and that is what we are working towards to mobilise international donor agencies for intervention, he said.
To mitigate the 2023 flood prediction by the Nigerian Metereological Agency (NIMET), Yelwa said the commission would embark on aforestration programme, where trees would be planted in five hectares of land in each of the five local government areas in Kwara North senatorial district.
Also speaking, one of the civil society organisations at the event, Global Hope for Women and Children Foundation (GLOHWOC), called for multi-sectoral approach towards mitigating flood in Kwara.
The foundations CEO, Mrs Christy Abayomi-Oluwole, said that Rapid Response team on flooding should be reviewed towards addressing challenges associated with flooding and their effects on dwellers of riverine areas.
The Kwara Commissioner for Environment, Mrs Remilekun Banigbe, who was represented by the Director of Ecological Services, Malam Ilyasu Yahaya, said the high risk of the imminent flooding predicted by NIMET could cause high rate of disease and displacement of people.
The state Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr Segun Adeyemi, said the way we manage our environment pre-diposes us to flood.
He said the NOA would work in all local government areas to sensitise people on what is ahead of them.
The Kwara Coordinator, World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Salihu Abdullahi, said the rapid response team should be reviewed to involve necessary stakeholders that would look into different aspects of the flooding.
On his part, the Emir of Shonga, Dr Halliru Yahaya, who spoke on behalf of traditional rulers at the meeting, called for the mapping of the flood prone areas to reduce the impact.
Yahaya also advised government agencies to enforce all environmental laws to ensure sanity in the communities.(NAN)
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola
By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari has granted automatic employments in the Federal Civil Service to 65 former members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Speaking at the NYSC 50th Anniversary Honours Award held at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja, on Thursday, the Nigerian leader also highlighted numerous achievements of the scheme since its establishment 50 years ago.
The president said out of the 65 recipients, 52 individuals received the Presidential Honours Awards, while the remaining 13 were physically challenged ex-Corps Members recognised under the NYSC Hope Alive programme.
In addition to the employment, Buhari also disclosed that both groups would be awarded scholarships to pursue their education up to the doctorate degree level at any university of their choice within the country.
He also announced a cash prize of N250,000.00 for each of the top award winners, N200,000.00 for other award recipients, including the physically challenged ex-Corps members under the NYSC Hope Alive Programme.
Consequently, the president issued a directive to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, the Federal Civil Service Commission, and the Minister of Education to ensure adherence to the employment offers and the granting of scholarships.
Buhari also used the occasion to pay tribute to corps members from the batches being honoured, who lost their lives under various circumstances while serving the nation.
But for their transitioning, some of them might have been here today as part of the honourees. May God grant their souls peaceful repose. They remain our heroes and heroines.
The nation shall continue to remember their sacrifices towards building a strong, indivisible and egalitarian entity, he said.
The president also sympathised with those sustained varying degrees of disability during the service year, acknowledging their significant sacrifices for the progress of the country and assuring them that the nation stands in solidarity with them.
Your labour shall not be in vain, he said.
He also congratulated the founding fathers, past and present managers of the NYSC on its Golden Jubilee, commending their enduring faith, which has maintained NYSC as a vital platform for mobilising the youth towards national unity and development.
Buhari praised all Nigerians who have answered the call for National Service in the past fifty years for their patriotic zeal and commitment to the NYSC mandate.
According to him, it has justified its establishment as an interventionist agency, with a core mandate to foster national unity across the country, thereby breaking down ethnic suspicions and divisions.
The multiplicity of marriages contracted over the years by Corps Members, cutting across the boundaries of ethnicity and religion in no small measure, justifies my assertion, he said.
Buhari also expressed his deep appreciation to retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon, the founding father of the scheme, who conceived the idea of the corps and brought it to fruition on May 22, 1973.
The NYSC has continued to afford successive batches of Corps Members as the veritable platform to make meaningful contributions, in the various spheres of our national life, he said.
The president specifically commended the corps members for their role in combating the COVID-19 pandemic by producing and distributing essential items such as face masks, hand sanitizers, liquid soap, and providing food and other relief materials to the needy people across the country.
He also applauded their discipline and neutrality when serving as adhoc personnel for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), including during the 2023 General Elections, which contributed to enhancing the credibility of the electoral system.
The president acknowledged their contributions to the successful implementation of Social Intervention Programme,s such as N-Power and the School Feeding program through beneficiary enumeration.
I hasten to state without equivocation that with the quality of youths such as these, the future of this country, which rests upon their shoulders, is guaranteed.
I give kudos to my dear diligent, patriotic and virile youths. You have done very well; and the Nation is very proud of you.
The success story of the fifty-year-old noble scheme will be incomplete without conspicuous mention of your outstanding contributions, he said.
While recognising the crucial role of the NYSC Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development program in diversifying the national economy towards a more production-oriented model, Buhari assured continued government support for youth initiatives.
He highlighted the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF), with a budget of N75 billion, as an example of empowerment initiatives aimed at promoting youth-related activities and fostering a better Nigeria.
The president commended the NYSC Management for its efforts in revenue generation and encouraged them to sustain its commitment.
He also appreciated the Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers implemented by the NYSC and recognised the support of the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, who donated a well-equipped ambulance for the operation of the NYSC Mobile Clinic.
Buhari called on individuals and corporate bodies to emulate this gesture to enhance access to quality healthcare, especially in rural communities.
On the need to reinvent the NYSC through the establishment of a Trust Fund, Buhari said he had been briefed adequately on the matter and commended the Management for the initiative.
He pledged his support for any genuine effort aimed at assisting the scheme in achieving its time-tested objectives.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, while commending the former corps members chosen for the presidential honour, said their sacrifices and commendable contributions, reflected the positive values they embodied during their service year.
By distinguishing yourselves among hundreds of thousands of Corps members, you embody the nations pride and serve as a source of inspiration for other young people in Nigeria.
Your strong sense of discipline, selflessness, dedication to work, exceptional community service, innovation, and leadership qualities enhance our hope for the countrys future.
I am confident that this award will motivate you to render even greater service to our homeland.
To the current corps members and other young individuals, it is my sincere hope that you will emulate these awardees by embracing higher ideals of patriotism.
In everything you do, always prioritise Nigeria and let it manifest through sacrifice and dedicated service to our beloved nation, he said.
Dare listed the N75 billion NYIF, the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme (P-YES) and the National Young Farmers Scheme (NYFS) as enduring legacies of the Buhari administrations deep commitment to the well-being and development of the Nigerian youth.
He said the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development had actively pursued initiatives such as Digital Skills Acquisition, Employability, Entrepreneurship, and Leadership (DEEL), as well as the Work Experience Programme (WEP), among others for the benefit of the youths.
According to the minister, the progress achieved through the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) program of NYSC is being consolidated by the current management.
He urged corps members and other young people to participate in these programmes, which would enable them to become self-employed and contribute to the growth of the nations economy. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Source: NAN News