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General Electric advocates localisation of innovation to boost technology



Farid Fezoua, Chief Executive Officer, General Electric Africa, says the localisation of innovation will boost technology advancement in Nigeria and Africa at large.

He said that technology advancement would lead to the development of the continent, saying that Nigeria needed to be part of the development.

“Innovation and technology are fundamental for Africa to be able to compete in a global framework.

“Localisation is also important as innovation needs to be tailored to the specificities of local needs. We need to develop home-grown solutions for Africa,” he said.

According to him, Nigeria is one of the most important cities for General Electric Africa (GE Africa), hence, the establishment of the GE Lagos Garage.

He said that training programmes like the GE Lagos Garage, which was aimed at Nigerian entrepreneurs, helped support local innovation in the country.

Fezoua said that GE was leading efforts to drive the adoption of 3rd Dimensional (3D) Printing in Nigeria through its Lagos Garage, a hub for advanced manufacturing-based innovation, strategy development, idea generation and collaboration.

He said that the Garage offered year-round series of skills training programmes focused on building the next generation of Nigerian entrepreneurs.

Fezoua said that till date, over 400 entrepreneurs had graduated from the GE Lagos Garage programme.

He said that they were trained to use the latest advanced manufacturing technologies; 3D printers, CNC mills, and laser cutters as well as in business development.

Speaking at the event, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said that GE was providing support that would enable Lagos leverage on the emerging potential of the 24-hour economy of Lagos mega city and a location of first choice for investors.

Represented by the Secretary to State Government, Mrs Folasade Jaji, Sanwo-Olu said that GE had continued to develop cutting edge technology and innovation.

He said that such innovation and technology would provide effective and efficient solutions to challenges, particularly in the areas of power, health, rail transportation, oil & gas, among others.

According to him, through its activities, GE has supported economic growth in Africa within a period spanning over 120 years.

“The company has also been a key partner in progress in Nigeria where it has operated for over four decades.

“The GE Lagos Garage initiative has empowered young people through training and capacity building in areas of business development and manufacturing-based technology enterprise, among other skills.

“The business founded by the GE Lagos Garage alumni is a testament of this initiative and the contributions of the company to the growth and development of our economy,’’ he said.

Edited by Adeleye Ajayi



NYC’s 2nd night under curfew generally peaceful




Protesters defied a curfew in New York City on Tuesday night to keep protesting the death of African American George Floyd, but the night was largely peaceful with only sporadic reports of looting and violence citywide.

Tuesday’s curfew, the second since 1943, started earlier than Monday at 8 p.m. local time and ended at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, during which vehicle traffic below 96th street in Manhattan was limited.

Hundreds of protesters refused to leave after 8 p.m. on Tuesday and kept marching across the Manhattan Bridge. Police tried to block them but failed.

However, it was still a relief for city officials and police as the night was much more peaceful and quieter than previous ones. Around 200 people were arrested, mostly for minor violations. Very few incidents of looting, violence or vandalism were reported, according to the New York City Police Department (NYPD).

“Last night we took a step forward in moving out of this difficult period we’ve had the last few days and moving to a better time,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio at his daily briefing, adding that the measures were effective.

He said the curfew would remain for the rest of the week till the morning of June 8, the day when New York City is scheduled to enter phase one of reopening.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Wednesday that officers across the country are facing orchestrated attacks from criminals.

“We are seeing it, unfortunately, alive and well in New York City,” said Shea, who joined the mayor’s briefing through phone, adding that some bottles thrown to the police during the turmoils in previous days were filled with cement rather than water.

He also retweeted a video on Wednesday showing officers confiscating boxes of pre-staged bricks left on a street corner in Brooklyn.

“This is what our cops are up against: Organized looters, strategically placing caches of bricks & rocks at locations throughout NYC,” he said.

On the first night of curfew in New York City, dozens of shops were looted hours before the curfew began at 11 p.m. and over 700 people arrested.

Wednesday’s protests in New York City are scheduled to start around 4 p.m., according to organizers.


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Gov. Zulum suspend entire staff in Ngala General Hospital for abandoning patents



Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno has all paid staff, amongst them resident medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and lab technicians at the General Hospital in Ngala town for abandoning patients to to an International NGO, fhi360.

The New Agency of Nigeria reports that Ngala town liberated from insurgents in 2015 is the Headquarters of Ngala Local Government Area with an international land route into Cameroon, Chad, Sudan and Central Africa.

Zulum’s spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau, in a statement said the development followed a surprise visit to hospital by the governor where he met only the NGO staff attaining to many patients mostly Internally Displaced Persons that besieged the hospital.

Gusau said those affected by the suspension included; doctors, nurses, pharmacists and laboratory technicians.

“The governor was disappointed to find out that inspite of the high turn-out of patients, not one of the many government paid staff, from doctors down to clerical staff, was at the hospital as at 11am,” Gusau said.

He explained that the governor was received at the hospital by the Field Coordinator of the fhi 360.

This is a General Hospital belonging to Borno State Government, unfortunately there is no single state government staff here to attend to all these patients, and we promptly pay all of them salaries.

“These humanitarian workers from the iNGO (fhi360) are supposed to complement the state government staff but not to completely take over the hospital.

“I am directing the Borno State Hospitals Management Board, if there is any staff on the payroll of this Hospital, to immediately suspend all the workers on government payroll.

“I will be back to this hospital, hoping to see the opposite of what I saw today,” Gusau quoted Zulum as saying.

While in Ngala the governor also visited three schools and ordered the rehabilitation of classrooms destroyed by insurgents.

He also announced plans to resettle displaced persons in neighbouring communities of Logumani and Gajibo.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)


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Lagos to build more general hospitals — Hamzat



The Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, says the state will build more general hospitals in order to boost health care delivery.

Hamzat made this known on Tuesday while discussing Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu/Dr Obafemi Hamzat’s administration in the last one year on an online show, tagged: ”Covinspiration”.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the show was moderated by Dayo Israel, a UN Special Representative and British Council Global Change-maker.

“We have gotten experts and they have done the design and Mercy Hospital has been mapped out, as we are building another Mercy Hospital.

“Also, we are building a general hospital in Ojo because we discovered there is none around that axis and we are also expanding the general hospital in Gbagada.

“We are building a spinal cord hospital in the Gbagada General Hospital,” he said

The deputy governor added that the government was also building Infectious Disease Hospital at Yaba – a permanent isolation centre and Institute of Research.

Speaking on power, Hamzat said the administration was working on ensuring that people were adequately metered across the state.

He said that the government was procuring meter in order to stop the challenges of estimated billings and to enable the power distribution companies to take more electricity from the power generation companies.

He said that the challenge with power sector was money, saying that power distribution companies are rejecting power because of money.

“We are discussing with the two Discos, the Eko and Ikeja Discos.

“People are not ready to pay if you send them estimated bill but by helping with the procurement of metres, it will go a long way to light up Lagos.

“We want to work with the Discos on procurement of metres.

“The capacity to get 2000 megawatts is there but the challenge is funding,” he said.

Hamzat, however, noted that the outbreak of COVID-19 had slowed down the process but he assured that work was ongoing.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)


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Gov. Ugwuanyi directs rehabilitation of Enugu Ezike General Hospital



Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State on Tuesday directed the state’s Ministry of Works and Infrastructure to commence massive rehabilitation of the 62-year-old Enugu Ezike General Hospital.

Ugwuanyi gave the directive when he paid an unscheduled visit to Enugu Ezike General Hospital in Ogrute, Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of the state, to assess the state of the hospital, built in 1958.

The governor, who was led round the hospital by the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Cyril Nnadi and the Chairman of Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area, Mr Ejike Itodo, expressed dissatisfaction with the state of the facilities on ground.

He, therefore, directed the ministry to commence the evaluation of the facility with a view to rehabilitating it to serve the public better.

During the inspection, the chief medical officer informed the governor that the hospital had no electricity supply since 2008 because of huge bills, among other challenges.

Ugwuanyi consequently directed the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) to restore power supply to the hospital.

The governor further made funds available to the hospital’s management to enable it commence clearing of the premises and other immediate interventions.

Reacting on behalf of the management of the hospital, Nnadi thanked the governor for the provision of funds for the hospital premises to be cleared immediately and his directive to reconnect the hospital to electricity supply.

“We also appreciate the governor for his promise to carry out major upgrade of the hospital to serve the people better,’’ he said.

The governor was accompanied on the surprise visit by the state’s Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Greg Nnaji and Deputy Chief of Staff, Prof. Malachy Okwueze, among others.

The rehabilitation of the hospital was in keeping with the Ugwuanyi-led administration’s renewed vigour toward upgrade of health facilities in Enugu State.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)



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Pakistani capital to impose fine up to 18 USD on general public for not wearing mask




The Islamabad district administration has announced to impose a fine of up to 3,000 rupees (about 18 United States dollars) on people for not wearing face masks at public places, in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19, the Pakistani capital’s deputy commissioner (DC) said Monday.

Wearing mask was already mandatory for the employees of factories, shopping malls and other stores ever since they were allowed to operate after ease in lockdown by the government last month, but now it is also mandatory for the general public under the directives of the health ministry, DC Muhammad Hamza Shafqaat told Xinhua.

Earlier on Saturday, Special Assistant to the Pakistani Prime Minister on Health Zafar Mirza said that the government has made it mandatory for general public to wear masks in mosques, markets, shopping malls, on public transport, trains and commercial flights, and in other crowded areas to avoid the spread of the disease.

The DC said that initially an awareness campaign will be launched for which special teams have been formed, which will visit the city on daily basis and tell those who are not wearing masks to follow the rules, and after a few days fine will be imposed on those who do not cooperate with the authorities and keep on ignoring the directives of the government.

Shafqaat said that health experts have told them that the virus transmission can be stopped by 75 percent by wearing masks, and they are hopeful to control the spread of the virus by encouraging people to adopt it as their lifestyle.

The number of COVID-19 cases is at rise in the country including in the capital. A sharp surge in the number of disease infected people has been witnessed since the ease in lockdown by the government.

According to data released by the country’s health ministry on Monday, 72,460 people have been tested positive of the disease and 1,543 died of it. Islamabad has reported a total of 2,589 cases, and according to hospital sources, most of the patients in the capital are being quarantined at their homes due to their stable condition.


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U.S. Democratic lawmakers expand probe into firing of State Department inspector general




Democratic lawmakers on Friday said they are expanding their investigation into the firing of State Department Inspector General (IG) Steve Linick.

“We are aware that Mr. Linick‘s office was working on at least two investigations that touched directly on Secretary Pompeo‘s actions at the time that Secretary Pompeo recommended that the president fire him,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and Senator Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a joint statement.

The lawmakers are planning to conduct transcribed interviews with “key officials” who may know why Linick was fired and how his investigative work at the department may have been a factor in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo‘s decision to ask President Donald Trump to remove him, according to a report by The Hill.

If Pompeo pushed for Mr. Linick‘s dismissal to cover up his own misconduct, that would constitute an egregious abuse of power and a clear attempt to avoid accountability,” they said.

Pompeo admitted last week that he recommended to Trump that Linick be terminated earlier this month. The president’s decision has sparked an inquiry by Democrats and scrutiny even by a number of Republicans on Capitol.

As inspector general, Linick was responsible for, among other things, conducting administrative and criminal investigations of waste, fraud, mismanagement, and misconduct in the State Department, according to his online biography.

Besides Linick, Trump has moved in the past few weeks to fire Intelligence Community IG Michael Atkinson, acting Pentagon IG Glenn Fine, and Christi Grimm, principal deputy IG of the Department of Health and Human Services.


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CDS’s death: General Court Martial sentences six aides in probe



The General Court Martial (GCM) sitting at the NAF Base, Abuja, has sentenced six Nigerian Air Force (NAF) personnel, who were aides to the former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Late Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh.

Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, made this known in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

Daramola said the six NAF personnel, who were standing trial for various offences, were; Sqn Ldr Tom Gwani, Flight Sergeant Amu David, Flight Sergeant Philemon Degema, Flight Sergeant Sabo Simon, Sergeant Mukhtar Abdullahi and Sergeant Alfred Alexander.

He said the charges included failure to Perform Military Duties, by absconding from the convoy of the deceased former CDS while it came under attack as well as Conduct to the Prejudice of Service Discipline, for giving false statements.

“The charges against the accused also included other Civil Offences of Criminal Conspiracy and Miscellaneous Offences Relating to Property, for illegally disposing of 79 rounds of 5.56mm live ammunition issued for the protection of the late CDS, among others.

“On the count of Aiding and Abetting, 2 of the personnel were found not guilty, while the other 4 personnel who were detailed to provide armed escort were handed various sentences.

“While pleading in mitigation, the Defence Counsels urged the Court to show leniency, describing the accused persons as first time offenders,” he said.

Daramola said the President of the GCM, Air Commodore David Aluku, delivering his judgement, pronounced the 6 accused personnel guilty of the charges.

He said the sentences were announced as being subject to confirmation by the Appropriate Superior Authority.

Daramola said four of the personnel were detailed to provide armed escort for Badeh, while 2 others were detailed for guard duty at his house on Dec. 18, 2018.

The former CDS was ambushed and killed by some gunmen on his way from his farm along Gitata-Keffi Highway in Nasarawa State.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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General news

Buhari hails Consul-General Godwin Adama at 60



President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with Nigeria’s Consul-General in Johannesburg, South Africa, Godwin Adakole Adama, on his 60th birthday, congratulating him for many years of courageous and meritorious service to the nation.

The President, in a congratulatory message released by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Thursday, joined family, friends and professional colleagues of the diplomat in celebrating the landmark age.

The president noted Adama’s landmark age was largely coloured by more than three decades of working with the public service, with postings in Nigeria’s foreign missions, which included United Kingdom, Republic of Greece and Republic of Benin.

President Buhari commended Adama’s maturity and skilful handling of the political transition in 2015 at the Presidential Villa as Director of Protocol, under the Office of the State Chief of Protocol to the President (SCOP), ”underscoring the sleepless nights that went into preparations, managing people and resources to ensure a hitch-free handing over, and stabilization of the new government, from 2015-2017.”

He also extolled the diplomat for the key role he played in safeguarding lives and assets of Nigerians while serving as Consul-General in South Africa.

He noted that Adama effectively facilitated evacuation and provision of an enabling environment for both Nigeria and South Africa to reconcile and continue their brotherly relationship in 2019.

President Buhari prayed that the almighty God would reward the hardwork and sacrifices of the Foreign Service Officer, and grant him more years of strength and good health.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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C’River Attorney-General tasks council on justice dispensation



The Cross River Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice,  Mr Tanko Ashang, has urged members of the State Prerogative of Mercy Advisory Council (SPMAC) to be fair and objective in the discharge of their duties.

He stated this on Thursday at the inauguration of the Council in Calabar.

Ashang explained that prerogative of mercy was the right and powers of the State, “whether President or Governor or any other Supreme Authority” to commute a death sentence, to change the mode of execution or to pardon an offender.

According to him: “it is meant to dispense the power of mercy by the State on exceptional cases, where the legal system fails to deliver a morally or politically acceptable judgment,” he said.

He added that it was a deliberate policy put in place by law to protect citizens against possible miscarriage of Justice occasioned by wrongful conviction or excessive punishments.

The commissioner noted that the Cross River State Law on Prerogative of Mercy, Cap P8 Vol. 5, 2004 provides for the functioning of the Committee, which essentially is advisory.

He added that the council’s allegiance was first to the Law and then to the Governor who has vested the power to exercise this prerogative functions in section 212 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

“Beyond advice to the governor, you hold a divine mandate to make objective recommendations, including forgiveness,” he said.

Ashang expressed confidence that those appointed had credible qualities to perform, saying that history had placed on them the opportunity to review judgments and sentences of a Court in a very dispassionate manner.

In his remarks, Chairman of the Council, Mr Emmanuel Enamhe, thanked the governor for finding them worthy of the appointment.

He promised that they would do their utmost best to justify the confidence reposed in them. 

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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