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FG extols Nigeria-India relations to drive technology devt. in Africa



Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, says Nigeria-India relations is strategic to drive technology development in Africa.

Pantami said this in his address at the maiden “India-Nigeria business forum organised by the Indian High Commission on Monday in Abuja.

According to him, the forum is very strategic, especially when looking at areas toward ease of business that is being discussed.

Pantami said: “I commend Indian High Commission for what they are doing in Nigeria; I am so passionate about the achievements and successes recorded by Indian government on digital economy and ICT.

“What the country is doing in the area of digital economy is quite encouraging, from the time I visited India, I have been reviewing what India has been doing in area of ICT.

“We have also benefitted from India in area of capacity building, many young innovators from Nigeria’s public and private sectors have been trained on a six-week professional programme.

“This is also highly commendable, as we have achieved a lot in that area.

“The relationship between Indian High Commission and our ministry has been very cordial; whatever we need from India when we knock at the door, the commission opens and provides for us,” he said.

Also Speaking at the event, Mr Velagaleti Surendra, Deputy High Commissioner of India to Nigeria, described India and Nigeria as large and economically prosperous.

According to him, there is interest by Nigeria in what is happening in India, because what Nigerians see in India is hope, saying if India can achieve anything, Nigeria also can.

“India is concentrating on creation of enabling environment for it citizens, basically through digital economy and to encourage its young population to be more self reliant.

“India’s success so far recorded in Nigeria has been on serious investment; our major success has been in terms of bilateral trade between both countries.

“What India brings into Nigeria relations is seriously technology sharing and capacity building; we have HITEC-programme for training of professionals on technologies in India every year,” Surendra said.

In her remarks, Dr Olufolake Abdulrazaq, Director, Economic, Consular and Legal Department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commended the trade relations between the two countries to mark deviation from the past.

Abdulrazaq, also First Lady of Kwara,  was represented by Mr Ochi Oliver, Senior Counsellor in the Ministry.

According to her, as trade relations continue to grow between our countries, we must explore economic sectors for investments and look forward to Indian companies working with Nigerian companies to promote exports.

“Nigeria is at present India’s largest trading partner in Africa with bilateral trade reaching $13.89 billion in 2018/2019, as against $11.76billion recorded during the year 2017/2018.

“This is clear improvement in volume of trade within the years compared: with this business forum, I am optimistic that our bilateral relations will continue to grow in leaps and bounds.

She described the forum as apt, since President Muhammadu Buhari resolved to ensure industries and businesses thrived through well thought out policies that promoted economic activities in the country.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the high point of the event was power point presentations on India-Nigeria business cooperation, aviation, ICT, defence and security, as well as renewable energy.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi


UN puts Nigeria’s electricity access rate at 57%



No fewer than 110.7 million Nigerians out of a 195.8 million estimated population had access to electricity as of 2018, according to the latest global energy progress report.

This represents a 57 per cent national electricity access rate compared with the global average of 90 per cent, says the report launched at the United Nations on Thursday.

It indicates an increase in the number of Nigerians with access to electricity by 34.6 million people from 76.1 million in 2010.

On the global scene, the report says the world has made “promising progress’’ towards ensuring universal access to sustainable energy over the last decade.

According to the document, the number of people without access to electricity dropped from 1.2 billion globally in 2010 to 789 million in 2018.

This, however, is not the case in Nigeria, where the figure rather increased from 82.4 million people without electricity access in 2010 to 85.2 million in 2018.

The reports states that renewable energy solutions played a big role in the global progress, with more than 136 million people receiving basic electricity services from off-grid sources by 2018.

According to the document, the world saw an improvement in renewable energy consumption from 16.3 per cent in 2010 to 17.3 per cent in 2018.

In Nigeria, the report shows that renewables accounted for 83 per cent of the total energy consumed by the citizens in 2017.

But there was a decline in the renewables to total energy ratio in the country from 86.9 per cent in 2010 to the 83 per cent recorded in 2017.

“Still, unless efforts are stepped up significantly, an estimated 620 million people globally would remain without access to electricity in 2030.

“This number could become even higher with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ the report warns.

Titled “Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report’’, the document is published annually by custodian agencies of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7, which targets energy access for all.

It provides the most comprehensive look available at the world’s progress towards global energy targets on access to electricity, clean cooking, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The report also serves to guide international cooperation and policy making to achieve universal and sustainable energy access by 2030.

It is produced by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in collaboration with the International Energy Agency (IEA), World Bank, Word Health Organisation (WHO) and other relevant agencies.

The report also captures a huge increase in the number of Nigerians with access to clean cooking fuels and technologies between 2010 and 2018.

As of 2018, 20.5 million people or 10 per cent of the population had access to clean cooking energy, up from just 2.7 million people in 2010.

But many Nigerians remained behind on this score with 175.4 million citizens lacking access to clean cooking energy sources in 2018 as against 155.8 million people in 2010.

This also means that the country missed out on the global decline in the number of people without access to clean cooking energy sources from three billion in 2010 to 2.8 billion in 2018.

However, the report reflects an improvement in the country’s energy efficiency by 6.4 per cent between 2015 and 2017, higher than the global average of 5 per cent.

On financing, the document indicates that Nigeria received a total of five billion dollars (about N1.8 trillion) from abroad in support of its renewable energy efforts.

This included funds from the country’s international development partners under Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement on renewable energy projects.

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Nigeria records 350 new cases of COVID-19, totaling 11,516



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control announced on Thursday that it recorded 350 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number in the country to 11,516.

According to its official Twitter handle, all new cases, as at June 4, 2020, Nigeria has 350 new confirmed cases with eight deaths.

NCDC stated that the new cases were reported from 20 States: Lagos (102), Ogun (34), FCT (29), Borno (26), Kaduna (23), Rivers (21), Kwara (16), Ebonyi (17), Katsina (14), Edo (10), Delta (10), Kano (10), Bauchi (10), Bayelsa (9), Imo (8), Plateau (4), Ondo (3), Nasarawa (2), Gombe (1) and Oyo (1).

The News Agency Nigeria reports that no new state had reported a case in the last 24 hours.

The NCDC said that till date, 11,516 cases have been confirmed, out of which 7,658 are active cases; 3,535 cases have been treated and discharged, and 323 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The agency called on Nigerians to observe the procedures for quarantine, avoid public places and ensure public hygiene.

“We cannot solve problems of over 60 years in six weeks.

“As we work hard to reduce risk of COVID-19 infection to health care workers on the frontlines, we need a fundamental change in our approach to infection,  prevention and control in Nigerian hospitals,“ it stated.


Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Nigerian military kills 392 gunmen in major operation




The Nigerian military said Thursday that it has killed up to 392 gunmen across the northwest and north-central regions in a major operation that has lasted multiple days since last month.

The spokesman for the military, John Enenche, told the media in Abuja that the joint operation, which started in the northwestern state of Katsina on May 14, is aimed at ending the menace of banditry and other crimes in the northern region.

Through that operation, troops successfully degraded the gunmen in the two regions and a follow-up operation was launched on June 1 to further degrade the gunmen who fled and later attacked civilian targets, according to Enenche.

“It is a concomitant operation by all the theaters of operations in the northwest and north-central regions of the country targeted at tackling banditry and other criminal activities. In this regard, all identified hideouts and hibernations of the enemies will be decisively cleared through land and air combat actions,” the military spokesman added.


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3 killed, 10 injured in Nigeria road accident




A motorbike rider flouted traffic rules and rammed into a moving bus, killing three people and injuring 10 others, in Nigeria’s northern state of Kano on Thursday, the police said.

The bus went up in flames, immediately causing the deaths and injuries between the towns of Sallari and Amasaye near the main city of Kano, said Zubairu Mato, head of the Federal Road Safety Corps in the state.

The bodies of those killed and people who sustained injuries have been rushed to a local hospital, the official said. Further investigation into the incident has been launched by the police, he added.

Deadly road accidents are frequently reported in Nigeria, often caused by overloading, bad condition of roads, and reckless driving.


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Nigerian Army donates vehicle to NIPR



The Nigerian Army on Thursday, donated an Innoson G-Wagon 80 SUV to the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) in continuation of its civil-military relations activities.

The vehicle was presented to the President of NIPR on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, by the Chief of Civil Military Affairs, Maj.-Gen. Hamza Bature.

Buratai said that the army and NIPR had been partnering in the promotion of public relations, adding that the presentation of the vehicle was in fulfilment of his pledge to the institute.

He said the donation was part of efforts to maintain a healthy information cooperation with the institute and to also reinforce the recognition of Nigerian army of the essence and importance of information management.

“The aim of our being here today is to present on behalf of the Chief of Army staff, officers and soldiers of Nigerian army, Innoson vehicle G-Wagon 80 SUV as Buratai’s pledge to this institution.

“You are all aware that we are in an era where the menace of fake news or fake news syndrome poses a great danger to the corporate image of organisation,” he said.

Responding on behalf of the Chairman of Council, NIPR, Mr Muktar Surajo, the Vice President, ACG Wale Adeniyi, commended the Nigerian army for the gesture.

Adeniyi said that the institute recognised the effort of Nigerian army in the fight against insurgency and other forms of insecurity in the country as well as performing its primary responsibility of defending the territorial integrity of the nation.

He said the institute has watched how the military has done this commendably to the admiration of all and to ensure that Nigeria remains one indivisible entity.

“In the process of doing this, we have also seen that they have realised the importance of maintaining effective communication and synergy with stakeholders not only in the areas of operations but also the wider Nigerian society.

“We have also seen the new trend of establishing the civil-military affairs office and also what we see as a step forward in the area of public relations to ensure that the civilian populace is on the same page with the vision and mission of Nigerian Army,” he said.

Adeniyi also commended the Nigerian army for the choice of the vehicle being a made in Nigeria product, saying it was a bold statement in believing in Nigerian products and the reputation of what Nigeria represents.

He pledged the readiness of the institute to support the vision of the Nigerian army to fight fake news.

“We have seen the havoc that fake news could constitute in major parts of lives; first, the situation of insurgency in the North East and of course the general defence of Nigeria and secondly the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have discovered that while efforts are ongoing to address these two major crisis, the incidence of fake news has constituted a major setback for us.

“We, as a professional institute, join the military and all the appropriate authorities to fight this scourge,” he said.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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NiDCOM, Lebanese embassy collaborate to return stranded Nigerians



The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) will collaborate with the Lebanese Embassy in Nigeria to return the remaining 10 stranded Nigerians back home.

Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, NIDCOM Chairman, made the disclosure on Thursday during a visit to the Ambassador of Lebanon in Nigeria, Mr Houssam Diab, in Abuja.

She said that 69 Nigerians were returned successfully on May 25 with the help of the embassy and the Lebanese community in Nigeria who paid for their tickets and quarantine.

“First is that the evacuation of the Nigerians stranded in Lebanon was paid for by the Lebanese embassy and also the quarantine was paid by them so we thank them for that.

Also 10 Nigerians were left behind and the ambassador had explained that nine had cases of theft and one had case of murder and they are undergoing judicial process.

“But he had assured us that whatever the allegation against them they will speed up the process to finish the judicial intervention and they will return,’’ she said.

Dabiri-Erewa explained that the two bodies are also working on the area of maltreatment of some Nigerians working in Lebanon.

“I am so glad with the major decision taken by Lebanese government which is to stop visas for workers until we have proper agencies that will be documented with the Ministry of Labour.

“So that if you are going to work you will work with proper terms and conditions. So we are now talking about how to manage migration which will be done legally.

“Interested persons can work in Lebanon legally without the fear of being maltreated,’’ she said.

Speaking earlier, Diab said that the evacuation of 69 stranded Nigerians citizens was successful with the help of Lebanese community in Nigeria who paid for their tickets and quarantine.

He also added that the collaboration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigerian Embassy in Lebanon also made the process smooth for the returnees.

“We were able to bring back 69 Nigerians citizens stranded in Lebanon two weeks ago. I have to stress that the Lebanese community has always gone out of its way to give back to their second country Nigeria and to the Nigerians that have adopted them as their own, and this is one of many palliative measures we have taken lately,’’ he said.

He explained that the government of Lebanon had stopped all domestic staffs work visas to discourage maltreatment of Nigerians by agencies and employers.

“Our government has stopped all domestic visas to help discourage helpers being abused and maltreated by their agencies and employers.

“So we want to work closely to get an agreement with the Ministry of Labour for a legal and systematic way to make domestic staff to come into Lebanon legally without the fear of inhuman treatment.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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General news

Death: Cleric admonishes Nigerians to live exemplary lives 



A cleric in Nasarawa State, Rev. Anthony Aya, has admonished Christians and other Nigerians to live exemplary lives in order to inherit the kingdom of God.

Aya, the Reverend in-Charge of ERCC Ami-Abma Ezzen, Nasarawa State, gave the advice on Thursday while presiding over the funeral service of Mr Danladi Bala at ERCC Mada Station, Agidi Development Area of the state.

The News Agency of  Nigeria reports that Danladi is a staff of Agidi Development Area and an elder brother of Mr Abel Bala, member representing Nasarawa Eggon West constituency at the state legislature.

The man of God said that if Christians and other Nigerians live a life worth of emulation, it would not only enable them to inherit the kingdom of God but it will also promote peaceful co-existence among the people in the country.

He added that there is life after death for those who believes in Jesus Christ, hence the need of his call.

The Bible said for does not know when it will occur, so who can tell him when it (death) will occur.

“No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit and no one has power in the day of death, so let’s get prepared because death can come at any time,” he said.

He urged Christians and other Nigerians not to sin in order to inherit the kingdom of God, adding that one day those who refused to repent, God would would expose their sins and their will be judgement after death.

The cleric alsod to grant the entire family and the  ERCC family  the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. 

Speaking during the funeral service, Mr Abel Bala (PDP-Nassarawa Eggon West) described the death of his elder brother as painful, urging people to pray for the reposed of his soul and other deceased persons.

“My elder brother had left good legacies, he is a man who always stand by the truth, he is a straight forward man.

“Death is inevitable for all humans, but it is painful. May the soul of my elder  brother and the souls of other departed souls rest in peace with the Lord,” he said.

The lawmaker, who is the Minority Whip of the House, appreciated all those who attended the funeral service and urged them to continue praying for the family to succeed.

He thanked the Speaker of the assembly, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, members and entire staff and people of the state for identifying with them at this trial moment.

NAN also reports that Danladi’s body was immediately buried in his house at Mada Station after the funeral service amidst tears by families, friends and political associates.

NAN also reports that the funeral had in attendance Mr David Umbugadu, 2019 PDP governorship candidate in Nasarawa State; Sen. Philip  Gyunka; politicians, traditional rulers and religious leaders, among other sympathisers.

NAN recalls that Danladi died on May 29, 2019, in a hospital in Lafia at the aged of 54 after a brief illness.

He was survived by a wife and children.

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Nigerian air force confirms killing of over 300 bandits in NW region




Nigeria’s air force on Thursday confirmed that over 300 armed bandits were killed and their camps destroyed in a military operation in the country’s northwest region.

Sadiq Abubakar, Nigeria’s Chief of the Air Staff, disclosed this to reporters in northern Katsina during an operational visit to the air component of Operation Hadarin Daji.

The military operation was launched early this year to rout out bandits from the northwest region.

Over 300 bandits have so far been confirmed killed in the ongoing war against banditry in the northwestern part of the country,” Abubakar added.

He told reporters that the visit was to assess the level of support in terms of Air and Special Forces operations given by the Nigerian Air Force to the defense headquarters operation to secure the entire northwest and north-central zones of the country.

The air force chief, who appealed to the bandits to surrender their arms and face justice, urged troops not to spare any bandit so that farmers can go back to their farms.

The Nigerian authorities have launched repeated military operations and local peace talks to try to curb the violence in the northwest, which has been wracked by years of insecurity involving clashes between rival communities over land, attacks by heavily-armed criminal gangs and reprisal killings by vigilante groups.


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Nigeria bourse succumbs to profit taking, loses N50bn



The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) market indicators succumbed to profit taking on Thursday, dropping by 0.38 per cent.

Speficially, the All-Share Index dipped 95.91 points, representing a dip of 0.38 per cent to close at 25,312.05 compared with 25,407.96 posted on Wednesday.

Similarly, the market capitalisation which opened at N13.254 trillion shed N50 billion to close at N13.204 trillion.

The downturn was impacted by losses recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are; MTN Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, Custodian Investment, GlaxoSmithkline and Access Bank.

The market breadth closed slightly negative with 16 gainers against 17 losers.

Cutix led the losers’ chart in percentage terms with a loss of 9.63 per cent, to close at N1.69, per share.

Lasaco Assurance trailed with 7.41 per cent to close at 25k, while Custodian Investment shed 7.14 per cent to close at N5.85 per share.

Union Diagnostic dropped by 6.67 per cent to close at 28k, while May and Baker dipped 5.54 per cent to close at N2.90 per share.

Conversely, UACN Property dominated the gainers’ table in percentage terms with a growth of 10 per cent, to close at 88k per share.

Linkage Assurance followed with 9.76 per cent to close at 45k, while Skyway Aviation Holding appreciated by 9.69 per cent to close at N2.49 per share.

Neimeth improved by 9.52 per cent to close at N1.61, while C & I Leasing rose by 9.28 per cent to close at N5.30 per share.

Also, the total volume of trade declined by 23.53 per cent to 270.19 million shares valued at N5.29 billion transacted in 4,550 deals.

This was against a total of 353.33 million shares worth N7.04 billion exchanged in 4,659 deals on Wednesday.

Transactions in the shares of FBN Holdings topped the activity chart with 41.35 million shares valued at N225.67 million.

Zenith Bank followed with 25.21 million shares worth N427.74 million, while FCMB Group accounted for 22.07 million shares valued at N38.23 million.

Guaranty Trust Bank sold 18.74 million shares worth N465.25 million, while Dangote Cement transacted 18.03 million shares valued at N2.57 billion.

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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