The Federal Government says it plans to review the operations of some of its embassies abroad as well the Technical Aid Corps (TAC) scheme.
According to him, although government had earlier considered closure of some of its embassies, the embassies are now to be rationalised rather than closed.
“I wouldn’t say the resources have improved but yes we are in a process of trying to rationalise.
“What we have discovered is that the process is actually more expensive closing down an embassy than to actually keep it going.
“The cost is huge to close down, so, we had to revisit it.
“When you put into a balance our interest in having presence in countries around the world to promote our economy, security and other vital national interests and our budgetary realities and limitations, we are looking at just rationalising those embassies rather than outright closure – having a lot of smart missions.
“We feel that would be more cost effective than outright closure,” he said.
On the sustenance of the Technical Aid Corps scheme, the minister noted that government was equally examining its funding of the scheme.
According to him, the scheme is a laudable sacrifice by the Nigerian government, which will be sustained as much as possible.
“Hopefully, we will be able to sustain it because it is a sacrifice on our part; but the host countries also contribute through accommodation.
“We will have a review and if we need to downsize it slightly because of budgetary reasons we will.
“But the principle is a good one and it is something we have no intention of completely stopping,” Onyeama said.
Edited By: Lydia Beshel/Felix Ajide (NAN)
NAF @ 56: TAC, Makurdi donates palliatives to host communities
The Tactical Air Command (TAC), Nigeria Airforce, Makurdi, has donated palliatives to some families in its host communities to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 partial lockdown in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the food items distributed included yams, groundnut oil, salt and rice, amongst others.
The four benefitting communities were: Fiidi, Ugondo, Abinsi and Ter Makurdi.
The Air Officer Commanding (AOC), AVM Olusegun Philips, who shared the palliatives on Thursday at four locations within the host communities, said they were meant to cushion the effect of the lockdown.
Philips said the distribution of the food items was part of the celebration of NAF’s 56th anniversary which was low-key because of the ravaging effects of Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the AOC, the distribution of the palliatives is the initiative of the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar.
He explained that a total of 78 families would benefit from the items from each of the four host communities.
He described the host communities as “peace-loving people” and commended them for their cordial relationship with the command so far.
According to him 45 families are benefiting from each community while 38 widows will also receive items.
He said NAF was also producing face masks for use by its officers across the country.
In a remark on behalf of Abinsi community, Chief Christopher Danjuma, commended NAF for the magnanimity to the host communities.
Danjuma congratulated NAF at her 56th anniversary and prayed for its long life and prosperity.
“On our part, we as a community congratulate NAF at 56 and pray God Almighty to grant you good health, safety, long life and the wisdom to take the Nigeria Air Force to higher levels.
“We are also committed to complying with government directives on the lockdown, including social distancing, hand washing and staying at home.
“We will do our best to augment the efforts of both the Federal and State Governments in stopping the virus from spreading,” he said.
Also speaking, Mrs Anthonia Philips, wife of the AOC and Chairperson, Nigeiran Air Force Officers Wives Association (NAFOWA), said the association was partnering the NAF to support the poor within the communities.
Mrs Philips who also felicitated with NAF at its 56th anniversary, commended it for remembering the needy at this crucial time.
A beneficiary, Mr Emmanuel Shachia, said he was overwhelmed with joy for receiving the items from NAF.
He described the items as ” manna from heaven”.
Another beneficiary and 81-year-old widow, Mrs Christina Mohammed, thanked NAF for coming to their aid at this period of the lockdown.
Edited By: Ejike Obeta (NAN)
Reps C’ttee pledges to reposition TAC to boost Int’l relations
The House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs has promised to reposition the Directorate of Technical Aid Corps (TAC) to boost Nigeria’s relations with the International community.
The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Yussuf Buba (APC-Adamawa) made the pledge when he led other members of the committee on an oversight function on the directorate in Abuja.
NAN reports that the directorate the corps is a federal government agency responsible for the sharing of Nigeria’s know-how and expertise with other African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.
The scheme is to give positive boost to the conduct of Nigeria’s foreign policy especially as it relates to efforts at enhancing both sub-regional and regional cooperation.
Buba said that the committee was out to ensure that the aim for which the directorate was established was achieved for the good of all Nigerians.
“Honourable colleagues and distinguished members of this Committee, today,therefore, we are here to pose the right questions, seek the right answers and elicit all the commitment necessary for the rejuvenation of the TAC.
“Our task here is to, through our impassionate interventions, return the Corps back to its former winning ways where it held the beacon of light and pointed the ways to go to strengthen our South- South co-operation in those years.
“I, therefore, invite you all to engage our host truthfully in all areas the esteemed members think can truly further the realisation of the core mandate of the Corps,” he said.
Buba said that one of the statutory duties of a lawmaker is to question the activities of those in Government and public institutions in order to ensure that they comply with the very reason for their establishment.
The chairman said that it is a power bestowed on legislators by the Constitution saying that that oversight which is ensuring that things are properly done is oftentimes misunderstood as a witch hunt on other Arms of Government.
Buba said that TAC was established in 1987 to provide a platform to further co-operation and friendship with some countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Region.
According to him, the TAC has stood through the years and has midwifed bilateral relations that truly point out our country as a global giant.
“Instead of doling out money to other nations at a time we knew we had gone ahead of them in some areas of life, our people wisely chose to offer them knowledge, expertise and skills in some fields of life that would offer maximum benefits in the end.
“In spite of the noble intentions of those who had the vision and,indeed, put up the framework for the establishment and operations of the TAC, there is no doubt today that the scheme has known better days.
“For instance, the entire scheme was built to go through periodical assessments and reviews; what has happened to these reviews?
“What about the management of funds including donations from individuals and institutions? What about employment policy especially in relation to Federal Character and other ideals that speak to our diverse nature as a country.
“The committee will engage TAC on the many grey areas to fashion new ways forward,” he said.
The Director-General of TAC, Dr Pius Osunyikunmi, told the parliamentarians that the directorate lacked funds to continue the noble work it began in 1987.
He expressed dismay at the slashing of the overhead cost in the 2020 budget, in spite of President Muhammadu Buhari’ diplomatic shuttle across Africa and other parts of the world.
Osunyikunmi said it had m increased the scope of TAC duties, requesting the committee to do it’s best to keep the Corps alive and thriving.
The DG said that the noble mandate of TAC and what it had achieved in the past would be too precious to jettison in haste.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
Stakeholders seek gender inclusion in Plateau water policy
Some stakeholders in Plateau have developed an action plan that seeks gender inclusion in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) policy of the state.
The stakeholders, who consist of government officials, members of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media developed the plan on Tuesday at an ongoing “Gender Audit Validation” workshop in Jos.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that workshop was at the instance of an NGO, Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN).
NAN also reports that meeting was aimed at addressing the gender gap currently existing in the WASH sector, geared toward validating the reports of an audit survey conducted in the state.
The validation meeting was part of the ongoing two-year project tagged “European Union Funded Technical Assistance to Civil Society Organisation (EU-TAC)” on water sanitation and hygiene in Plateau
Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Jephtha Daleng, Project Manager of NEWSAN, said the document would enable inclusion of all genders, particularly women and persons with disability in the formulation of WASH policy of the state.
Daleng said that the report of the audit survey carried out between October and December 2019, and presented in the cause meeting indicates that gender has not been factor in the water policy of the state in the past, hence the need for the action plan.
“From report of the gender audit report presented earlier, it is clear that gender mainstreaming has been absence in the WASH policy of the state.
“So, as part of this workshop, we have developed an action that will guide the state in the formulating policy that will ensure gender inclusion in the state WASH sector
“With this action plan included in the water and sanitation policy of the state, we believe that the issue of gender exclusion in the sector and poor access to potable water will be a thing of the past,” he said.
Daleng added that the action plan developed dwells in the area of accountability, political will, organisational culture, among others.
NAN reports that the workshop had participants from MDAs, CSOs, the media and other stakeholders from some communities.
Edited By: Ekemini Ladejobi
Stakeholders in Plateau meet over gender mainstreaming in water sector
NNN: Stakeholders on Tuesday in Plateau met to discuss modalities of mainstreaming gender in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector of the state.
The meeting held in Jos, was at the instance of an NGO, Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN).
The Project Manager of the organisation, Mr Jephtha Daleng, said the meeting was aimed at addressing the gender gap currently existing in the WASH sector of the state.
He said that the meeting tagged: “Gender Audit Validation Workshop” is geared toward validating the reports of an audit survey conducted in the state.
He said that the validation meeting was part of the ongoing two-year project tagged “European Union Funded Technical Assistance to Civil Society Organisation (EU-TAC)” on water sanitation and hygiene in Plateau.
The project manager said that the report of the audit survey carried out between October and December 2019, would be presented to key stakeholders at meeting to study.
He said that the presentation of the report would also enable participants to make inputs and develop action plan that would mainstream gender issues in the water and sanitation sector.
“This meeting is part of the ongoing EU-TAC funded project on water sanitation and hygiene in Plateau.
“Between October and December 2019, we conducted a survey on gender mainstreaming in the water sanitation and hygiene sector of the state.
“The survey, conducted by one of our partners, Fahariya Adolescent Development Network (FAANET) was done in some key Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the state and some communities in the two focal local government areas we are working on.
“So, the key expectation of this meeting is to present the outcome of the survey to key stakeholders to enable them make inputs and develop an action plan that will mainstream gender issues in policy formulation,” he said.
The Zarah Dakum of FAANET said her organisation used the Key Informant Interview (KII), Focus Group Discussion, and questionnaire in conducting the survey.
She said the survey was conducted in 10 MDAs in the state, and four communities each in Riyom and Shendam local government areas of the state.
Declaring the meeting open, Mrs Evelyn Datauk, the Director of Administration in Plateau Ministry for Water Resources and Energy, said the workshop was timely.
She commended the organisers of event and assured that ministry would support all initiatives that would enable access to potable water by all genders of the society.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the workshop had participants from MDAs, Civil Society Organisation (CSOs), the media and other stakeholders from some communities.
Edited By: Grace Yussuf