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    IGP present N6.5m cheques to 14 families of deceased policemen in Kaduna
    By Mohammed Tijjani

    The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Usman Alkali, has presented cheques worth N6.5 million to 14 families of deceased policemen who lost their lives in the line of duty in Kaduna State.

    The Commissioner of Police, Kaduna Command, Umar Muri, presented the cheques on behalf of the IGP, on Thursday in Kaduna.

    A statement issued by the commands spokesperson, ASP Mohammed Jalige, said that the money was from the IGP Family Welfare Insurance.

    Alkali said that the insurance policy was aimed at supporting families of deceased policemen who died in defending the country.

    The initiative is not only to support the immediate families of the fallen heroes, but also to boost the morale of other gallant Officers who are in active service in all nooks and crannies of the country.

    In order for them to do more in reclaiming public spaces as their welfare remains paramount to the current administration of the Force, he added.

    The IGP advised the beneficiaries to judiciously use the money to ameliorate their financial situation and cater for their children.

    The beneficiaries appreciated the gesture accorded by the Inspector General of Police and prayed for his success.(NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Constitution review: Again group seeks better working conditions for NASS staff
    By Taiye Agbaje

    As zonal public hearings on the constitutional review continues, a group of lawyers have again sought better working conditions for the office of the clerk to the National Assembly (NASS) and staff members.

    The legal practitioners, under the auspices of Alpha and Rohi, a legal firm, made their presentation at the three-day public hearing of the House Committee on the Review of 1999 Constitution on Thursday.

    Some of the lawyers, who made the groups position known, included Wole Abiola at Akure Centre; Oladimeji Ekengba, Lokoja Centre; Maude Abdulkareem, Kano Centre; Kamal Kabir, Bauchi Centre and Adeola Adedipe at Uyo, Centre, among others.

    Delivering the paper, Lawyer Abdulkareem called on the need for harmonious redesignation of the office of the National Assembly clerk as contained in Section 51 of the constitution and Section 9 of the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) Act.

    He argued that designating the clerk as Head of Legislative Services was one of the right steps towards strengthening the National Assembly and steering it towards its rightful place as a co-equal arm of government.

    According to him, it is only apt that the office should rank next to that of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and Accountant General of the Federation.

    Abdulkareem said the clerk is the chief accountant of the National Assembly and the institution s backbone.

    The office is a lubricant machinery for an efficient administration, with patent and inherent complexities.

    He said although this consideration was already recognised by Section 9 of the NASC Act, it was not wholly integrated by the constitution.

    It is the grundnorm, he stated.

    The Managing Partner of the firm, Mr Adedipe, also clamoured for the upward review of the service year and retirement age of the clerk and the staff members of the National Assembly and National Assembly Service Commission.

    The lawyer, who restated that the service year of the clerk and staff members should be put between 40 and 45 years, said their retirement age should be reviewed upward to 65 or 70 years in the new amendment to the constitution.

    According to him, the parliamentary support service and legislative management is a specialised field that is developed over time.

    Undoubtedly, training and re-training of staff members over time, is an investment, the benefit of which must be maximised, he said.(NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    COVID-19: No declaration of victory yet, FG tells Nigerians
    By Ismaila Chafe
    The Federal Government has enjoined all citizens to continue to observe the COVID-19 non-pharmaceutical protocols, saying there is no declaration of victory yet over the pandemic.

    Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, made the call at the weekly Press briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team in Abuja on Thursday.

    Ehanire said: We are not yet out of the woods; there is no declaration of victory yet. We are still going to continue all the measures needed to keep our country and citizens safe.

    These are called the public health measures; non-pharmaceutical interventions wear your masks and avoid all forms of public gathering and congregations that will make people too close to each other especially where you have enclosed space, which usually have a super spreader status.

    We want to particularly advise religious congregations, sporting congregations, markets and all those places where people gather.

    We have been improving therapeutics and the government has been very supportive with that.

    While commenting on the proposed oxygen plants approved by the Federal Executive Council on June 2, the minister said 38 of such plants would be built, with Lagos State having two while the remaining 35 States and the Federal Capital Territory will have one each.

    Just yesterday, the Federal Executive Council approved 38 brand new oxygen plants for the country.

    One will be sited in the States of the country and the Federal capital Territory but Lagos, because of the high proportion of illnesses that they have suffered, they are going to have two. So the supply of oxygen will be assured when the plants come on board in 20 weeks time, he said.

    On the expected supplementary budget for the purchase of vaccines, the Minister said the prices for the vaccines had not been ascertained yet.

    There are different prices for the vaccines and we do not really know exactly which one were getting.

    In addition, we know that the ones we are getting from COVAX are at no cost to us.

    So what youre doing is that the additional ones that were going to get will take care of 50 million Nigerians, COVAX will take care of 20 million. They are even offering to take care of more than that, maybe up to 30 million.

    The prices vary, some vaccines are in the neighborhood of 20 or 30 dollars, and others are five or six dollars.

    Therefore, to make a budget, we are working on a rough sketch, some money earmarked.
    However, Mr President has also announced that there will be a supplementary budget. But we want to get a clearer picture first, before we actually submit a budget, he said.

    The Nigerian government says it will strongly collaborate with religious and traditional leaders, to convince more citizens to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

    The Executive Secretary of the National Primary Healthcare development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, who also spoke at the event, stressed the need to enhance collaboration between government, religious and traditional leaders in convincing more citizens to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

    According to the NPHCDA boss, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, and called on those who have not yet taken to do so.

    Shuaib revealed that already over 1.9 million Nigerians had so far taken the first jab of the vaccine while over 148,258 had taken the second jab.

    In terms of specific numbers, as of today, 1,961,883 of the targeted eligible Nigerians have been vaccinated with their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

    Similarly, about 148,258 Nigerians have already received their second doses across the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, he said.

    He said Nigerians should embrace the community ownership of the vaccination exercise, saying already the Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Christian Association of Nigeria had accepted to help. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    PAN Chairman pledges educational support to commonwealth society

    By Salisu Sani-Idris

    Alhaji Ahmed Wadada, the Chairman, Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Ltd. (PAN) has pledged educational support to the Commonwealth Society of Nigeria towards upgrading educational facilities in the country.

    Wadada made the pledge shortly after receiving the prestigious Ambassadorial Award in recognition of his selfless service to the nation, by the society, on Thursday in Abuja.

    Represented by Alhaji Umar Danyaya, who holds the traditional title of Dan Amanan Keffi, Wadada said that the award had motivated him to do more for the countrys educational sector.

    The former two-term member of the House of Representatives revealed that he had been contributing to the nations educational sector with the proceeds realised from his annual Keffi Polo Ranch Tournament.

    Wadada, therefore, gave assurance that members of the Commonwealth Society of Nigeria would be included in future projects of the Keffi Polo Ranch tournament and his foundation.

    According to him, the decision to include the society in his foundations programme was to enable more indigent students to achieve their dreams in education.

    The PAN boss argued that the ravaging youth restiveness and other criminalities could be curtailed by empowering the younger generation with sustainable means of livelihood.

    Earlier, the Secretary-General of Commonwealth society, Mr Musa Abubakar, explained that the award was in line with the annual commonwealth agenda to honour deserving individuals during the opening ceremony of the Africa Inter Tertiary Schools Debates Competition.

    According to Abubakar, the nomination of Wadada for the award is in recognition of his contribution to national development.

    The extensive verification of your record and credentials confirmed your exceptional and unblemished stewardship of service to the nation.

    Your selection is also in recognition of your inestimable contribution to the wellbeing of mankind, Abubakar said.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was attended by students from all member countries.

    Source: NAN News

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    Minister reiterates calls for more slots for women in governance
    By Aderogba George

    The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, has reiterated calls for more slots for women in the governance, adding that such provisions must also be accommodated in the Constitution.

    Tallen made the call at the opening of a two-day public hearing of the Senate committee on the review of the Constitution.

    Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Anthonia Akpabio, the minister said that not much had been achieved to improve womens participation and gender equality in leadership.

    She said that in spite of formal support for this position in the National Gender Policy of 2006 which recommends a 35 per cent benchmark, the government was yet to approve the recommendation.

    The return of Nigeria to democracy in 1999 has not improved the level of inclusion of women at all levels as the proportion of women in both elective and appointive positions has remained low.

    This is in spite of the 2006 National Gender Policy (NGP) and the various regional and international instruments that the government has signed on to.

    Over the years, Nigerian women and other critical stakeholders have continued to mobilise and strategise to seek interpretations of the 1999 constitution as amended with the sole objective of getting legal backing for deliberate inclusive governance in Nigeria, she said.

    She further said that Nigeria as a member of the international community had signed and ratified a number of international and regional human rights instruments, and was yet to respond to the directive.

    Tallen mentioned those documented instruments which promote human rights as, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 and CEDAW of 1979.

    Others are the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights 1981, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights 2003 and Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa 2004 among others.

    She said that Section 12 of the 1999 constitution required the domestication of those treaties before they can be made to work in the country, adding that Nigeria was yet to domesticate any of such treaties that protect and promote womens rights.

    She, therefore, called for the review of the 1999 Constitution, noting that the constitution was the most important document that directs the affairs of the government and the people.

    She stressed that the Constitution processes and procedures should be inclusive and take cognisance of all expectations and concerns of all and also ensure people-centered legislation.

    Tallen, however, called for a constitution that truly represents the yearnings and the preamble of the women and Nigerians at large.

    According to her, a critical look at Nigerias electoral positions shows that they are male-dominated, in spite of the fact that the countrys constitution guarantees the right of every citizen to participate in politics.

    She, particularly, called for the review of Sections 14(3), 14(4), 147(3), 171(5), 192(2), 208(4) and other sections of the Constitution to accommodate the rights of the women. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Presidency says magazine article on Nigeria unfair
    By Ismaila Chafe

    The Presidency has described as unfair and distorted opinion the latest article on Nigeria published by the Foreign Affairs (Magazine) titled, The Giant of Africa is Failing.

    Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, made the condemnation in a statement in Abuja on Thursday while reacting to the article.

    In a letter addressed to the publishers of the magazine, the presidential aide frowned at the way and manner facts were being bent to support distorted opinions.

    The letter read in part: The latest article on Nigeria in Foreign Affairs titled The Giant of Africa is Failing is unfair both to a magazine with such an esteemed pedigree and to its readers.

    Ambassador Campbell has been predicting the collapse of Nigeria for several years. He is of course entitled to his opinions, even where events consistently prove him wrong.

    But facts should not be bent to support distorted opinions. Let me give you one example.

    The authors write: At an April meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Buhari reportedly requested that the headquarters of the U.S. Africa Command be moved from Germany to Nigeria so that it would be closer to the fight against jihadi groups in the countrys north.

    President Buhari did not request that AFRICOM move to Nigeria. The transcript of the call with Secretary Blinken is available on the State Departments own website.

    Its not just a question of the invented addition of to Nigeria with regard to AFRICOM. It sums up a piece that attempts subtly but revealingly to shift facts to suit an argument.

    According to Shehu, Nigeria faces multiple challenges, not least of which is the dissemination of fake news and prejudiced opinion.

    He said: This is something we have come to expect from partisan blogs and politically motivated lobbies.

    It is still a surprise, and a disappointment, to see them joined by Foreign Affairs. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    APC urges Nigerians not to judge Buhari on artificial insecurity
    By Emmanuel Mogbede

    The All Progressives Congress (APC) says Nigerians cannot judge the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government on the countrys security situation would soon be brought to book.

    He advised Nigerians and the media not to pay attention to those blackmailing the government and its appointees in the social media.

    For example, a lot of educated young people aremisled to believe that SARS is an evil organisation within the police through the social media.

    And today, we are having pockets of insecurity everywhere because the effects of SARS has really weakened the morale of the police, he said.

    The APC scribe noted that while there were some bad eggs in the police, it must be understood that the Police has disciplinary system in place.

    Akpanudoedehe stressed that there was need for the police to reorganise, restrategise and re -energise itself to defend Nigerians,not minding what mighthave happened in the past.

    I want to use this medium to plead passionately to the new Inspector General of Police to get back the spirit of effective policing, he said.

    Source: NAN News

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    FG achieves 35% in-country value growth via local content
    By Edith Ike-Eboh

    The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, says the country has achieved significant growth in-country value addition from less than five per cent in 2010 to 35 per cent in 2021.

    Sylva, who disclosed this at a virtual African Local Content Round Table on Thursday, said that the feat was achieved through the implementation of local content policy.

    We have set an ambitious target to achieve 70 per cent local content in the oil and gas sector by 2027.

    Our success story in the oil and gas industry has led to a bold step to extend local content to other sectors of the Nigerian economy.

    As a caring African country, we have also considered it necessary to amplify the benefits of local content to our fellow African countries and that is the essence of the African Local Content Roundtable, he said .

    He noted that decades of hydrocarbon production in Africa had not translated to the desired economic growth on the continent, adding that over 15 African nations were still producing and exporting crude oil.

    He said that the sad reality was that the people had not benefited maximally from the natural resource, either because the proceeds were not optimally managed, or failure to domesticate the core operations of the industry.

    We must, therefore, use the opportunity of this RoundTable to initiate conversations around local content, share success stories, challenges and come up with policies that would deepen local participation and domiciliation in our respective countries.

    One of the pathways for this desired collaboration and cross-country development is the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and I am pleased that we have a representative of AfCFTA in this forum.

    Indeed, AfCFTA provides an opportunity to create a single market through the facilitation of free movement of goods, services and investment within the 54 member states of the continent, creating access to 1.2 billion customers, with a cumulative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over 3.4 trillion dollars.

    It is imperative that African oil-producing countries and their companies cooperate closely in developing and sharing capacities and capabilities to optimise the hydrocarbon deposits and achieve economic growth and development, Sylva added.

    He further noted that the establishment of the biggest FPSO integration yard in Lagos, Nigeria and so many other facilities could be used by other African countries.

    The minister said that it made better business sense to partner with an Umbilicals producing plant in Angola, or a bolt manufacturing company in Niger Republic instead of going all the way to the United States and Norway for the same products.

    We must take firm decisions and develop policies and projects that would position our industry competitively and sustain our economy under the emerging energy transition.

    The Federal Government of Nigeria took firm steps in this regard very recently, funding two strategic energy projects in Nigeria.

    A 10,000 tons per day methanol plant and 500 million standard cubic feet per day gas processing plant in Brass, Bayelsa State and the Ammonia and Fertilizer plant in Akwa Ibom State.

    It is my expectation that the ALCR will become a signature event, leveraging on the wonderful foundations already built by APPO and rotating among all the African oil producing countries.

    I look forward to actionable outcomes from this Roundtable and I earnestly hope it would contribute towards increased regional collaboration and development of Africas hydrocarbon industry, he said (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    FG pledges sustained support to innovations
    By Fortune Abang

    Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government will continue to play its role to realise major innovation goals in Nigeria.

    Osinbajo made this known in his address at the closing ceremony of the Innovation Fellowship for Aspiring Inventors and Researchers (i-FAIR) programme on Thursday in Abuja.

    Osinbajo was represented by Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, the Minister of Science and Technology.

    For too long, we have allowed our economy to depend on conditions driven by oil and we have seen that, that is not good for our economy.

    Our nation is a great nation, we can do far better than what we are doing, we have abundance of natural resources and some of the most intelligent people in the world.

    This is acknowledged everywhere, so there is no reason why our economy should not be based on knowledge that is innovation driven, he said.

    The vice-president disclosed that since December 2020 i-FAIR Centre was opened and admitted its fellows, the federal government had always given support.

    He noted that many of the start-ups were been matched by investments, urging all Nigerians to support the ongoing drive for innovation to achieve targets.

    Osinbajo said: We want all Nigerians to know that if you have a dream government will support you.

    To become a reality and such ideas will be transformed into a product or service useful to meet our needs as a nation to create more jobs.

    We have the largest population in Africa and largest market concentration globally, if China with population of about 1.4 billion can give employment to its citizens, we should do it.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the I-FAIR programme which started from on Dec. 1, 2020 to April, 2021 centered on on-line trainings.

    The participants developed prototypes and business plans, while learning about intellectual property protection, marketing options, communication and pitching to potential investors, at the i-FAIR innovation labs and workshops.

    High point of the ceremony was presentation of certificate to 21-graduates of the fellowships programme.

    Source: NAN News

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    Nigeria to produce smartphones for African continent  Pantami
    By Emmanuel Mogbede

    Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, says Nigeria has the capacity to produce SIM cards and Smart phones for the African continent.

    The minister said this at an event organised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) Professional Forum on Thursday, in Abuja, at the partys national secretariat.

    The event was organised by the forum for government appointees to give account of their stewardship in office to Nigerians.

    Pantami, while speaking at the event, assured that henceforth, importation of SIM cards and other 60-70 per cent of items needed in the telecommunication sector would be produced locally.

    According to him, Nigeria has the capacity to produce a minimum of 200 million SIM cards annually.

    We came up with a policy that in the next two to three years, a minimum of 60 to 70 per cent of what we need in the telecommunications sector is going to be produced locally and we have started it.

    When this administration came on board, even SIM cards were imported into Nigeria.

    But, as it is today, the Federal Government has provided an enabling environment for the private sector to produce SIM cards, not only for our consumption, but for the entire African continent.

    We have the capacity to produce a minimum of 200 million SIM cards annually and have provided an enabling environment for the private sector to start the production of smart phones.

    Today in Nigeria, we are producing smart phones, the minister said.

    Giving account of his stewardship, Pantami said strategies were being deployed by the sector, under his supervision, to support the three point agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government that include: security, anti corruption and economic development.

    He added that the ministry was implementing over a dozen policies, to enable the digitalisation of Nigeria in line with global best practice.

    Pantami said that as at March, 2021, the sector had successfully saved over N22.4 billion for the Federal government by executing its mandate in support of the anti-corruption drive of the Buhari administration.

    He said this was achieved through the implementation of the Information Technology (IT) Projects clearance policy.

    Under this policy, over 727 institutions have complied with over 323 projects cleared in accordance with laid down guidelines, the minister said.

    Pantami cited the policy on virtual engagements for public institutions as providing the impetus to fighting corruption and reducing the cost of governance and promoting e-governance.

    In the area of economic development, Pantami said that enabling policies enacted in the sector to support the digitalisation of the economy had empowered it to provide and enhance digital capacities among citizens.

    He noted that the National Policy on Entrepreneurship and Start-ups and the Digital Literacy and skills pillar of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria had given impetus to the acquisition of digital skills and job creation in the sector.

    The minister added that under the Digital Nigeria portal, over 210,000 citizens, including women, youths and the physically challenged, had been equipped with various digital skills for economic empowerment.

    He noted that the sector had established over 300 ICT Centres, fully funded by the Federal Government across all states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

    On security, Pantami noted that though it was not a direct mandate of his ministry, it was a priority of government and the sectoral policies to aid security agencies in the discharge of their duties had been developed and implemented.

    He cited the National Policy on SIM registration and the revised Policy on NIN/SIM linkage as a huge boost to the nations security.

    This, he said, was especially so that it would no longer be business as usual for criminal elements who, hitherto, used stolen identities to perpetrate crime unhindered.

    Source: NAN News

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