Mr Joseph Okeke, President, Agricultural Traders Welfare Association (ATWA), in Abuja on Thursday called on the Federal Government to grant soft loans to enable Nigerians to invest in the agricultural sector.
Okeke made the appeal during the inauguration of the Implementation Committee of the Partnership Venture between the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and ATWA in the Establishment of Agricultural Produce International Markets.
He said that granting of soft loans should be part of the incentives to encourage more investors beside government’s efforts to create a better environment for importers and exporters,
Okeke said that the association had conducted a study of various agricultural belts of the six zones and all the states which had enabled the members to identify crops, animals and farm produce that had comparative advantage in each location.
“It is our plan to construct specialised markets based on the storage, preservation, centrality, accessibility and security of such goods in terms of handling logistics for local and export purposes,” he said.
He said that in order to motivate more participants into the project, the association was granting free registration package to Nigerians between March 7 and Sept. 6.
He said that the project implementation committee would ensure that best technologies and healthy preservation procedures were employed.
Okeke said that the association would liaise with relevant agencies to come up with international packaging and preservation standards to make Nigerian products acceptable in the global market.
He called on the government to facilitate bilateral and multilateral trade relationships.
Okeke said that with proper polices, the country would be able to tackle the challenges of poor market development in onshore and offshore potential for agricultural produce.
He said that developing specialised markets would help to engender preservation, consolidation, packaging and market visibility.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Edet Akpan, said that the partnership was a reflection of the policy thrust of the government to promote and develop the non-oil sector of the economy.
Akpan was represented by Mr Haruna Mohammed, Director, Human Resources Management Department in the ministry.
The permanent Secretary said that the partnership would bring about market access for specialised goods and commodities, add value and employment.
Others are localised benefits, preservation facilities, competitiveness and standard, wealth generation and export drive.
He said that government would provide an enabling environment for the smooth take-off and operations for the markets.
World Environment Day: Association urges Lagos govt. to create more parks, gardens
The Association of Lagos Landscapers on Friday called on the Lagos State Government to create more parks and gardens to actualise the state’s ‘Green Alternative’ drive.
The association, which is the umbrella body of horticulturists working with the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK), made the call to mark the 2020 World Environment Day with the theme: ‘Celebrating Biodiversity’.
Badejo said that the association was working hard to ensure greener parks and gardens in the state; while applauding the numerous national and international recognition so far received by the state.
“The goal and aspiration of the group is to achieve greener parks, gardens and sites as it used to be years ago that earned the Lagos State Government various awards both local and international in the area of environment.
“We call and encourage the Ministry of the Environment to play a vital role by ensuring adequate attention is paid to activities of our supervisory agency.
“There is also need for government to ensure that policies that will promote greenish environment and tree planting to reduce the impact of climate change should be encouraged,” he said.
He said that the development could hinder the efforts put into work to maintain a greener Lagos, which could lead to negligence by members.
“The same horticulturists that worked with the state years ago are still around working. Our association is trying its best but government needs to motivate us.
“In the last five years, payment of members of the association has not been regular. This often affected our performances,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Vice President of the association, Mr Padonu Amosu had earlier encouraged communities to understand the importance of tree planting and to key into the idea of conserving the environment.
Amosu said that tree planting and keeping of gardens were not only for the rich but explained that there were cheaper and available flowering and gardening options for everybody.
He debunked the myth that flowering and gardening was exclusively for the rich.
Lagos Squash Association cautions players as lockdown eases
Tomi Falase, the Chairman, Lagos State Squash Association (LSSA), on Friday cautioned squash players that playing the game was still unsafe, even though the Federal Government had eased COVID-19 lockdown.
Falase in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos said that to help everyone to continue to stay active, the warning had become imperative.
Squash is a racket and ball sport played by two (singles) or four players (doubles squash) in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball.
The players alternate in striking the ball with their racquets onto the playable surfaces of the four walls of the court.
He explained that players always sweat on the squash court because it was physically challenging, fast and with the enclosed environment within which the game took place, players would inevitably sweat heavily over the course of a match.
Falase explained that due to regular close physical contact between players on the court, the infection could spread readily if any of the players was infected.
He said mostly in squash where two or four athletes were in close contact, if any of them was infected and coughed, the droplet had high chances to be inhaled by other athletes, facilitating viral transmission.
“To emphasise that strenuous exercise induces a much more frequent spitting of secretions and this can further contribute to the COVID-19 spread, particularly if the distancing recommendations are not strictly followed,’’ he explained.
Falase, however, urged caution amid concerns of fresh clusters of cases, saying that precautionary measures must be adhered to strictly to avoid the spread of the virus.
He also noted that easing the restrictions by government did not indicate that the virus no longer existed.
He said because the sports was regarded as higher risk of spreading the virus either within the players or to the general public, emphasis should be on the need for players to focus on maintaining their fitness and practice at home.
Falase urged the players to adhere to safety measures including use of face masks, social distancing and washing of hands.
“The main factors taken into account were the amount of contact between players, the distance between them and the protective measures likely to be put in place to mitigate risks both for training and competitive play.
“Squash is played in a confined space, where close contact is unavoidable; which means players cannot be 2 metres (6ft) apart very often during a game.
“We are looking into possible protective measures for players on court to mitigate the risk of inhaling contaminated droplets and avoiding face touching, which would lower the risk of transmission of the virus,’’ he said.
Association to manufacture basic orthopaedic hardware locally by 2021 – Official
He said importation of basic hardware in the practice of orthopaedic made it very expensive.
“Manufacturing it locally will make it cheaper,’’ he said.
Salihu, also a medical director at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Dala in Kano (NOHD) said the association had developed the prototype of the hardware.
“We do have the picture of the first one that has been designed and we are test-running it.
“But we will need a lot of money, rules and regulations in the process.
“We are hoping that after the initial test-run, between now and the next one year, we should be proud to have the first phase.
“We should be proud to say that we are now manufacturing the hardware that we use in orthopaedic practice in this country,’’ Salihu said.
He said that producing the hardware locally was one of the ways to address the challenge of heavy duty equipment used in the practice.
“As a country, we need to come together to ensure we manufacture some of these hardware locally.
“If we do that, we are going to get jobs for the young people and it will improve the economy as well.’’
The director, however, urged the private sector operators and individual investors to partner with manufacturers for production of these things locally.
“The main challenge in orthopaedic and trauma practice is that it is not cheap.
“It is not cheap because we use loads of heavy duty equipment, we use hardware that are not manufactured in Nigeria.
“The equipment and hardware are manufactured in the United States and Europe; so we needed to buy these materials with euros, dollars and pound sterling.
“The challenge of funding; the challenge of heavy duty equipment are real issues,’’ he said.
“So, we need money to buy this equipment and it is only when we are able to buy them that we can move to a higher level of practice,” he added.
Salihu, therefore, appealed to the government and all willing Nigerians to come to the aid of the various departments in orthopaedic hospitals to procure modern equipment.
“In today’s orthopaedic and trauma practice, somebody can have a fracture today and he can walk the following day if we have all these gadgets.’’
Association calls on Edo govt. to protect lives of women, children
The Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Edo branch has called on the Federal Government and relevant security agencies to protect the lives of women and children in the state.
Dr Adesuwa Urhoghide-Edigin, the President of MWAN made the call during a press conference on Wednesday in Benin.
“We stand in solidarity with the family of the deceased in fighting for justice. We thank the Edo government for the prompt intervention as we await the result of the inquiry.
The association president urged parents to put in more effort in training the boy-child to know that “violence and rape are unacceptable in the society’’.
“The worst pain you can inflict on a girl-child or a woman is rape. It’s five minutes for the perpetrator but life time for victim.
She advised ladies not to stay on lonely places at odd times.
Omozuwa, a 100-level student of the University of Benin, died at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital.
Association seeks justice over rape, murder of UNIBEN student
The Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Edo Chapter, has decried the rape and murder of 23-year-old Miss Vera Omozuwa, calling on the authorities to fish out and punish the culprits.
The victim was a 100 level Microbiology student of the University of Benin(UNIBEN) before her death.
Dr Adesuwa Urhoghide-Edigin, President of MWAN in Edo, in a statement in Benin on Monday, described the incident as “devilish acts of unkind beings.”
Urhoghide -Edigin said the actions were condemnable and should not be condoned by any society.
“MWAN strongly condemns what happened to Omozuwa and any other girl child that has gone through this devilish acts by unkind beings.
“MWAN condemns rape,violence of any kind and killings of human beings.
“This case has been reported to our national body and is already receiving the expected actions.
“We will visit the commissioner of Police with the SGBV-RT team in Edo to express our utmost displeasure on this case and demand for justice.
“Every life matters and this should not be treated with levity nor swept under the carpet. The criminals must be caught and prosecuted. They must face the law of the land,” she said.
She urged the Edo government and all relevant security agencies to ensure justice and protection of every life, especially women and children as they were the most vulnerable in the society.
“MWAN stands in solidarity with the family of the deceased in fighting for justice. We thank the Edo government for their prompt intervention as we await the result of the inquiry set up,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Omozuwa, a 23-year-old student of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) was raped by a gang of unknown men on May 27 and died few days later in the University of Benin Teaching Hospital(UBTH).
Social media usage in Germany increases strongly due to COVID-19: association
The usage of social media platforms by German citizens has increased strongly due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey published by the German digital association Bitkom on Wednesday.
“In times of widespread contact restrictions, social media help people stay in touch with friends and family, follow public events and find entertainment and distraction,” said Bernhard Rohleder, chief executive officer (CEO) of Bitkom, adding that “social distancing becomes more bearable with social media.”
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Germany, 75 percent of Germans used platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Xing and Twitter “more intensively.”
Almost two-thirds of German citizens used social networks for news, according to the survey conducted on around 1,000 German citizens above the age of 16 in April.
The use of messenger services also increased in recent weeks since the outbreak of the pandemic. Some two-thirds of Germans wrote messages more frequently while almost every second person also increasingly conducted video calls via services such as Whatsapp, Threema and Telegram.
Earlier this month, a survey published by Verivox showed that the coronavirus lockdown in Germany had boosted digitalization, particularly among younger Germans.
The survey found that 40 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds in Germany used video phone calls for the very first time during the coronavirus crisis, while 20 percent had never used a webcam before.
“The use of digital services in Germany is expandable in all age groups,” said Eugen Ensinger, Verivox telecommunications expert. “This is particularly surprising among the younger generation, who are said to be living a completely digitalized everyday life.”
COVID-19: Association donates 300 face masks to FCDA
The National Association of Nigerian Nurses in North America (NANNNA) on Wednesday donated 300 face masks to the Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS) of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).
Mr Martin Eyube, leader of NANNNA, said that the gesture was to express members’ care and support to their country of origin and to remind Nigerians that Nigeria nurses abroad were still part of the family at home.
“These nurses here are trained and registered in Nigeria, but they are already practising in the North American Continent in USA, Mexico, Brazil and Canada.
“The main aim of this initiative is to remind the entire Nigeria community that the nurses home and abroad are still nurses for Nigeria.
“This gesture is a way of reaching out and build a robust relationship with the practising nurses here in Nigeria,” he said.
Receiving the items, the acting Secretary of the HHSS, Dr Mohammed Kawu, appreciated the gesture, noting that the donation was a plus on the side of the association.
Kawu, who was represented by the the Director, Nursing Services, FCT Hospital Management Board, Mrs Grace Eleri, said that HHSS had received numerous donations from different NGOs as support to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“The health workers will use this protective shields to guide against the spread of the virus. They are in the war front, it is a battle field, they volunteer to be part of the COVID-19 story in order to care for this nation,” Kawu said.
She prayed for God’s blessing and sustainability upon the association, adding that the donation was the beginning of better things that would enhance collaboration with nurses in Nigeria.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)
Int’l Nurse Year: Association suspends celebration in solidarity with fight against COVID-19
A non-profit making organisation, Nigerian Nurses Charitable Association-United Kingdom (NNCA–UK), says it has suspended the global celebration of International Year of the Nurse and Midwife slated for July due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The group said this in a statement by its President, Ms Wendy Olayiwola-Odutola and Director for International Liason, Mr Peters Omoragbon, which copy was obtained by News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.
“Along with doctors and other medical staff, nurses have been on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus-sharing stories of exhaustion and heroism in the face of a disease that has killed so many.
“As at May 25, according to John Hopkins University, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 5.4 million people and killed over 344,000 worldwide.
“The United Kingdom has recorded more than 36,675 deaths with 257,154 cases and Nigeria with over 8, 000 cases and 223 deaths recorded so far.
“In the light of the above, the NNCA–UK, the umbrella association for all Nigerian nurses and midwives in the UK in consultation with the Global Stakeholders at a meeting has painfully decided to suspend the celebration,” she said.
According to her, the event and international scientific training programme slated from July 12 to 19 in Lagos is aimed at commemorating The Year of the Nurse and The Midwife.
The WHO has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife in honour of the 200 birth anniversary of the progenitor of the modern-day nursing/midwifery profession, Florence Nightingale.
The Year of the Nurse designation by the WHO highlights the push to increase the global nursing workforce.
“The action to suspend the celebration is in solidarity with the global fight against this dreaded virus in so doing, we would love to admonish every nurse and midwife in Nigeria.
“We admonish every nurse not only as frontline soldiers against the spread of the infection but to also act as agents of attitudinal change to respect all the directives on COVID-19.
“We urge you to respect all the directives that have been put in place by the government, especially as it relates to social distancing and obeying the lockdown order.’’
The officials, however, commiserated with every Nigerian at this trying time, especially as it related to meeting their financial obligations and hoped that the government would provide palliatives to mitigate the hardship.
“To the family of our colleagues and other Nigerians that have died from the infection, we pray God to grant you peace and gratitude to bear your losses.’’
In addition, they urged the health workers to be focused and take the opportunity provided by the association to improve on their skills.
“We continue to engage them through webinars and social media on fighting the COVID-19, to celebrate and support our colleagues with skills and knowledge transfer.
“We registered over 800 participants at the Webinar and 183 live participants with officials of the Federal Ministry of Health.
“We also had participants of officials of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, World Health Organisation, Lagos State Government with the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria and more than 25 countries were in attendance.
“This will continue on a regular basis,’’ the official assured.
The association represents about 5,000 Nigerian Nurses and Midwives with established chapters nationwide.
The mission of the association is to provide a forum for collective action by Nigerian nurses to investigate, define and determine issues affecting its members.
Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Felix Ajide (NAN)
Real time trading, helping capital market to thrive — shareholders’ association
Akinduro made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan.
He commended the leadership of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) for being proactive in setting machineries in motion for such a time as this.
“As one of the players in the market, I can say that the market is really encouraging.
“It is very active in the sense that we are getting more bullish period (Stock Market characterised by rising share prices).
“Economically, if we should look at it, by now we should not have such a thing because there is not much activity in the economy.
“But when you look at our market at times, what is driving our market is quite different from finance, as we can see it in the market presently,’’ he said.”
“The lockdown has not really affected the market negatively because we can see that some of the companies are really performing well now.
“But one thing we know which I am quite sure of is that we are going to see the likely reverse aspect of the market at the end of the day.
“It may not be in the long term but in the short term because the market is one that is progressing,” he said.
The trend we are passing through presently would affect the market but it would be in the long term.
“When we look at some of these companies that are in the market, they are really making good business now.
“And at the end of the day, the report they will give as their quarterly report will be very encouraging, I am quite sure,” he said.
According to him, the manufacturing companies, beverages and others are earning good money now unlike some other sectors like hotels and the likes.
“Some of the companies will surely give us good reports but we cannot rule out that the market will definitely feel the heat after this period.
“But one thing I know is that, it is not going to be for the long term but for the short term and at the end of the day the market will definitely correct itself.
“This will make investors to keep on enjoying themselves,” he said.
Akinduro also said the electronic means of transactions had been effective and helpful in the capital market.
“It seems our operators of the capital market have helped our economy by going ahead of this current situation.
“The leadership of the Nigerian Stock Exchange at this present time envisaged this and has put every stock broking firm on their toes to ensure that they are up to the task.
“As you can see now, there is no physical trading but trading is going on online and investors are participating.
“That is why when you have leadership they should see challenges ahead before it turns to problem.
“They have envisaged this before now and we thank God that the real time trading is really helpful to investors now and we are enjoying it.
“If I have anything to buy today and I instruct my broker before noon, I get the alert that is to show us the proactiveness of the NSE and the capital market.”
Akinduro said if NSE had planned for such a time as this, he believed there would not be any way the investors could be participating in the market as at now.
“They are aware of this and have put a tough strategy in place so we don’t feel the heat of the lockdown on the market as everything is going on as it ought to be,” he said.
NAN reports that the association has members in Ekiti, Kwara, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo States.
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Ese E. Ekama (NAN)
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- Oman reports 770 new COVID-19 cases, 15,086 in total
- Buhari approves Danbatta’s reappointment as NCC’s boss, says Minister
- Diri calls for joint action from Niger-Delta governors for cleaner environment
- EU to launch 8 new environmental actions with local groups in Lebanon
- COVID-19: WHO publishes updated guidance on use of masks
- Dortmund’s Sancho, Akanji, fined for getting haircuts without face masks
- COVID-19: Refugee Commission distributes farm inputs to 100 farmers in Kano
- LASWA to improve response time to emergencies — GM
- Urgent: 5.0-magnitude quake hits 514 km WNW of Longyearbyen, Svalbard and Jan Mayen — USGS
- 2030 Agenda: NSE boss urges West Africa to embrace green bond finance
- China, Serbia sign memorandum on space technology
- 20 ships laden with petroleum products, food items awaiting to berth — NPA
- Israel exploits United States partiality, coronavirus to impose annexation plan: Palestinian official
- Man, 27, arraigned over alleged assault
- Remain vigilant on COVID-19, group urges govt, public
- Cairo airport to receive 23 flights carrying Egyptians stranded abroad amid COVID-19 pandemic
- World Environment Day: NNPC expresses commitment to biodiversity
- World Bank to fund Maputo urban transformation project