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Gov. Sule inaugurates 15-man Economic Advisory Council

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Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has inaugurated a 15-man Investment and Economic Advisory Council to transform the economic development of the state.

Speaking during the inauguration on Monday in Lafia, Sule said that the council would assist the government towards making the state the best investment destination in the country.

He explained that the members were selected based on their track records of achievements both in private and public sector within and outside the country.

Sule explained that the council would last throughout the four years of his tenure.

The governor also disclosed that the state would establish a one-stop shop Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to process, regulate, manage and also drive the state’s investment initiatives.

He said that the government would explore the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) approach to finance special infrastructure development projects.

The governor charged the council to support and advice the government on the development of policies, programmes and strategies which would encourage investment and economic development of the state.

Other terms of reference for the council include advising government on matters relating to attraction of domestic and foreign direct investment (FDI) in the state.

“Act as ambassadors for investment initiative and advice on competitive issues, policies and programmes, provide advisory roles according to their specialised industry as appropriate and relevant in guiding and shaping the government economic vision among others.”

He said that on assumption of office, he made a commitment to make Nasarawa state a hub for investment opportunities and sustainable economic development.

“I promised that our administration will adopt a robust investment policy and economic objective that will be structured on interim, short medium and long term arrangements.”

The governor disclosed that the members represented the best in local and international business communities and all shades of opinion in economic and business acumen.

Members of council are: Prof. Kenyisola Ajayi, as the chairman; Abubakar Mahoud; Dr Adeyemi Dipeolu; Chief Robert Orya; Gen. Ahmed Aboki; Dr Faisal Shu’aib; Dr Lazarus Angbazo; Dr Kasimu Husseni and Adamu Aliyu.

Others include Imaan Ibrahim; Dikko Bala; Dr George Manuike; Dr Roseline Kela; Ibrahim Abdullahi and Abdullahi Magaji would serve as Secretary.

Responding, the Chairman of the council expressed gratitude to the governor for finding them worthy to serve the state in that capacity.

He also promised that they would put in their best to ensure that the governor achieved his promise to the people of the state.

Ajayi, however, challenged the governor to give the council the needed support to achieve its objectives.

BAB/IS

Environment

Flood: Adamawa govt urges residents to relocate to safer places

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Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), has appealed to people residing in flood-prone areas in the state to relocate to safer places to avoid flooding.

Dr Muhammad Suleiman, Executive Secretary of the agency, made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Yola on Saturday.

Suleiman said that Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) had predicted flooding in some areas of the state this year.

He noted that some areas had started experiencing the devastating effect of flooding.

According to him, the affected areas include Jili and Ukituki villages in Fufore Local Government Area and windstorm in Mayobalwa Local Government Area.

“We have also experienced flooding in some parts of Jada and Ganye Local Government Areas and there was a flash flooding in Nasarawa-Damsa, Damsa Local Government Area,” he said.

Suleiman said property worth millions of Naira were lost as a result of the disaster.

He also called on the people to stop indiscriminate dumping of waste in waterways, as such contributed to flooding.

He said government would provide relief materials to the victims, urging stakeholders to continue sensitising public to the dangers of such disaster.


Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Foreign

Thai gov’t allows 7 more domestic airports to open

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The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) announced on its website that it has granted seven more domestic airports to resume flight operations, effective from Saturday.

The seven domestic airports include Tak, Trad, Nakhon Ratchasima, Narathiwat, Pai, Phetchabun and Sukhothai.

The CAAT has greenlighted the seven airports to resume domestic flights for now, as according to the Thai government’s relaxation of COVID-19 lockdown measures,” said CAAT director-general Chula Sukmanop, “All airports are not allowed commercial inbound flights yet (flights from overseas).”

The Emergency Decree banning inbound flights are still effective until the end of June.

However, the ban does not apply to state or military aircraft, emergency landing, technical landing without disembarkation, humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights, repatriation flights and cargo flights.

The Thai government has yet to announce when international flights will resume, however, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said he cannot control the COVID-19 situation beyond the borders of Thailand.

“Let’s ensure amongst ourselves to continue wearing face masks, wash hands regularly and practice social distancing,” said Prayut, “the more we can adjust to the new normal way of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, the more easing on lockdown restrictions.”

Prayut said earlier that the ban on inbound flights must be maintained as Thailand cannot afford a second wave of infections from COVID-19 imports.

Thailand on Saturday reported two additional COVID-19 infections, bringing the total to 3,104 cases.

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration said on Saturday that since late May, most new infections were of Thai returnees from overseas.

(XINHUA)

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Libya’s UN-backed gov’t reports new advances against rivals

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Forces allied with Libya’s internationally recognised government said they had captured a major city from their rivals on Friday, a day after they regained control of the capital Tripoli.

In recent weeks, forces from the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli have made swift territorial gains against the rival self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar.

The GNA’s military spokesman, Mohammed Gnounou, said on Friday that government forces were in complete control of the city of Tarhouna, about 90 kilometres south-east of Tripoli, and Haftar’s last stronghold in western Libya.

“Our heroic forces have taught Haftar’s terrorist militias an unforgettable lesson,” Gnounou added on Twitter.

Mostafa al-Majai, another GNA military spokesman, said the government forces had entered Tarhouna without any fighting after LNA forces had pulled out of the city into the desert.

“No reprisal acts have taken place inside the city. A large number of residents left the city days ago.

“This has made it easy to establish security there,” he told dpa.

A source in Haftar’s forces confirmed on Friday that LNA forces and their allies had left Tarhouna.

Haftar’s loyalists seized Tarhouna following the start of their campaign in April last year to capture Tripoli from the GNA.

Later on Friday, the GNA military said its forces had also taken full control of al-Urban, a town about 130 kilometres south-west of Tripoli.

GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj has vowed to bring all Libyan territory under his government’s control, according to the official Twitter account of the GNA forces.

“There is no concession in applying justice and law to bring to account everyone involved in perpetrating crimes against Libyans,” he was quoted as saying.

The GNA government has repeatedly accused Haftar and his forces of committing war crimes.

Libya has been in turmoil since a 2011 revolt toppled long-time dictator Muammer Gaddafi.

The oil-wealthy country is divided between two rival factions that are supported by different regional powers.

Turkey, along with Qatar, backs the GNA against Haftar, who is supported by Egypt, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Also on Friday, the UN Security Council extended an arms embargo against Libya for 12 more months in a unanimous vote.

Germany’s deputy UN ambassador Juergen Schulz said strict adherence to the embargo is extremely important, adding that the resolution passed is a meaningful tool to ensure compliance.

The embargo has been in place since 2011, but is largely ineffective, as other countries continue to deliver arms and military equipment or send troops to join the conflict.

The European Union’s Operation Irini began monitoring activities in the Mediterranean Sea to uphold the embargo in May.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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General news

AfDB Probe: Group tells Board of Governors not to compromise 

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The Nigerian Youth Parliament (NYP) has called on the Board of Governors, African Development Bank (AfDB), to ensure no compromise and bias in the probe of AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina.

Ms Mary Torunana, Chairman, Committee on Banking and Finance, Nigerian Youth Parliament at a news briefing, said the United States had requested the board to conduct an independent investigation on the 16-point allegations.

According to Torunana, NYP stands against any attempt to impune Adesina’s integrity and is sure he’ll be exonerated.

She noted that under the leadership of Dr Adesina, the bank had recorded tremendous successes, adding that he is, therefore, deserving of the support of African Leaders and youth organisations.

The US has been successful in infuencing the decision of the Board of Governors to conduct an independent investigation,  which is alien to the bank’s practices.

“We wish to remind the Board of Governors that the promoters of this independent investigation are not just attempting to frustrate the re-election bid of Dr Adesina but to undermine the independence of Africa, Africans and Africa’s development as a whole.

We call on the Board of Governors to ensure that the independent probe is unbiased and not compromised as we are sure that Adesina will be exonerated off all the allegations.

The NYP stands against any attempt to impune Dr Adesina’s integrity and his re-election efforts.

“He has greatly upturned the fortunes of the bank, thus, bringing about unprecedented growth not just to the bank but to Africa as a whole.

“These achievements are no small feat; therefore, he deserves all the support from African leaders, Youth organisations and the like.”

Torunana commended President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo for supporting and reaching out to other African leaders to support Dr Adesina.

She also urged African Youths to be visionary to build a united Africa that leads.

For his part, Mr Sultan Daniju, the Vice Chairman, Humanitarian Committee, Nigerian Youth Parliament, urged African Youths to stand up for a united Africa.

Daniju said that the parliament would abide by the decision of the board of Governors of AfDB to either carry out or not carry out an independent investigation of the president of AfDB.

He also said that whatever the outcome, NYP would continue to support Adesina, adding that, so far, he has the support of 51 African Leaders.

“For the United states, who is the second largest investor in the African development bank, single handedly calling for an independent investigation after the ethics committee of AfDB had cleared the president of the bank, is uncalled for.

The US has only done that because African leaders sold out over the years; that is why African youths must rise up and understand all these and stand and fight for a united Africa.

“As a Parliament, and as young persons, we believe in what is right.

“So, if the board of Governors of the bank deem it fit, in their own wisdom, to bow to the pressure and order for an investigative hearing, we would abide by it.

“But whatever the outcome, he is a Nigerian; we’ll give him all the support we have to give.

“Part of the allegation is that he favours Nigerians; if he is favouring Nigerians over other African nations, how come 51 African countries are supporting him right now,” Daniju asked.

The Vice Chairman said other African leaders would not be supporting him for another term, if the allegations were true.


Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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Foreign

New York state governor unveils police reform agenda in wake of George Floyd death

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Governor of the United States state of New York, Andrew Cuomo, announced a reform agenda to address police brutality, especially against minority communities, following the death of Minnesota man George Floyd.

The “Say Their Name” agenda will make prior disciplinary records of law enforcement officers transparent, ban chokeholds and make false race-based 911 reports a hate crime, said Cuomo at his daily briefing.

Meanwhile, the state’s attorney general will work as an independent prosecutor for deaths of unarmed civilians caused by law enforcement, he said.

“Mr. Floyd’s murder was the breaking point of a long list of deaths that were unnecessary and abusive, and people are saying ‘enough is enough,'” said Cuomo.

The governor pointed out that stopping police abuse vindicates the “99.9 percent of police who are there to do the right thing” and would also make the community-police relationship work better, he added.

Cuomo said New York should lead the charge and he would work with the state legislature to pass the agenda next week.

Confrontations — some times violent — between protesters and police have erupted during demonstrations nationwide during the past week. The governor said Thursday’s incident in Buffalo of upstate New York between two officers and a 75-year-old man was “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful.”

In a video circulating online, two heavily-armed officer pushed the man, who approached them alone during a protest over George Floyd’s death, while asking him to move back.

The man tripped and fell backward with his head hitting the ground. Blood was seen coming from his head while no officer came to tend him immediately, as the video showed.

“Why? Why was that necessary? Where was the threat?” Cuomo questioned. “It’s just fundamentally offensive and frightening. How did we get to this place?”

The governor said he had spoken with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and they agreed that the officers involved should be immediately suspended, a decision that was announced late on Thursday.

Cuomo said he had also spoken on the phone with the old man, who was in serious condition but is “thankfully alive.”

“I believe the district attorney is looking into it from a possible criminal liability point of view, and I applaud the district attorney for moving quickly,” the governor added.

(XINHUA)

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Health

COVID-19: Fidelity Bank donates N10m to Kano govt

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The management of Fidelity Bank Plc has donated N10 million to Borno Government for the prevention and control of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

Mr Hassan Imam, Executive Director, Northern operation of the bank who presented the cheque on Friday in Kano, said that the gesture was part of the bank’s social responsibility and contribution to the fight against the dreaded disease.

Imam, who lauded the commitment of the state government said that the gesture would go a long way in supporting the fight against the pandemic.

He assured the state government that the bank would be an active partner in the fight against the virus and called for a concerted effort by all stakeholders.

Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje who received the cheque thanked the management of the bank for the donation.

Ganduje said that the N10 million would go a long way in complementing ongoing efforts by the state government in containing the virus.

The governor advised other organisations to emulate the bank, while assuring that the donation would be juiciously utilised.

Meanwhile, the governor also received Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from Chinese Business Community in Kano.

The leader of the delegation, Mr Zhiu Bin who presented the items said that the PPE would help the state government in combating the virus.

The items donated include, 5,000 test kits, 126,000 disposable protective mask, 660 protective clothes, 660 face shield and 1,800 KN 95 mask.

————–———-


Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: Oyo CAN cautions Christians against flouting govt. directives

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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Oyo State Chapter, has called on Christians in the state  to comply with the all the directives of government including the lockdown of religious centres.

Pastor Benjamin Akanmu, the State Chairman, made the call on Friday while addressing newsmen in Ibadan.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the state government is yet to ease the lockdown on religious centres ocassioned by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Akanmu said that it was important to make official statement to guide the leadership of various churches and fellowship centres, amidst misleading information which had rented the air.

“In a situation like this, it is pertinent that the CAN leadership in the state clear the air on misleading information circulating around to save followers from falling victims of fake news or misinformation.

“This, if not addressed, may eventually subject followers to severe punishment, as we all know that ignorance is not an excuse in the court of law,” Akanmu said.

He said that the Federal Government has done the appropriate thing by relaxing the measures to allow each state make decisions based on the current situation and report on COVID-19 pandemic in a particular state.

“As at today, the decision of Oyo government is to retain the restrictions earlier imposed on lockdown of religious centres, curfew from 8pm to 6am and on social gathering.

“As residents of the state, we all should adhere strictly to the state directives. As Christians, we must honour and obey government regardless of the motive behind the decision, order or policy — either in good or bad faith.

“Even in a situation where government deliberately work against the church, God did not permit us to disobey or involve in violence,” he warned.

The CAN chairman said that the best way to chase away COVID-19 pandemic was for people to humble themselves before God,  confess their sins, turn away from evil and ask for the mercy of God.

“If we sincerely call for God’s intervention at this point, He will surely answer and set our nation free from the bondage of lockdown brought on us by the pandemic.

“Anything that is not of God, CAN will never support it. After all, it is the building that is lockdown, the spirit of Christ that dwell in us can not be silent,” he said.

Akanmu said that everything happens for good for those who trust in God, saying this was a period for the people to develop themselves spiritually.

That’s why as Christian leaders we train followers of Christ to be adequately equipped with the words of God, prayer and walk in the righteous path.

“Jesus did not call the pastors alone, he called everyone. He says, go ye into the world and preach the gospel. In other words, lockdown shouldn’t be an excuse to be far from God.

“For no reason should any Christian go against the law and order of the government. I believe that the Lord will return all our losses during the COVID-19 period in multiple folds in Jesus name,” he said. 


Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Greek gov’t aims for one in three new vehicles to be electric by 2030

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To mark World Environment Day on Friday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis presented the government’s plan for promoting electromobility, and the target is for one in three new vehicles in the country to be electric by 2030.

“Currently in our country, the share of electric vehicles barely exceeds 0.3 percent. A land with so good green energy potential has a limited penetration of electromobility,” he said.

“The national electromobility development plan is one of the main pillars of our environmental policy aimed at replacing polluting fuels,” Mitsotakis explained, according to press release e-mailed by his office.

“Even today, our national goal is less ambitious than the targets of other countries: one in three new vehicles in Greece to be electric by 2030,” he said, adding that he hoped that Greek citizens will embrace the plan so that the government can set more ambitious targets soon.

Under the plan, the state would offer financial incentives to companies and individuals to switch to electric vehicles, which would cover about 25 percent of the cost for about 14,000 new electric cars, Mitsotakis said.

Combined with tax exemptions, the total benefit per vehicle would be around 10,000 euros (11,310 United States dollars), he said.

The funds allocated for this purpose would reach 100 million euros over a period of 18 months, he added.

Electric cars would also be exempt from parking fees for two years and charging costs would be deductible from taxable income, the Greek leader said.

Financial incentives would also be provided for the installation of charging points and the purchase of electric motorbikes and bicycles.

The government also aims to increase the number of electric buses on Greek roads.

In an upcoming tender for new buses to be used in public transportation in Athens and Thessaloniki, a significant percentage would have to be electric vehicles, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis said.

To facilitate coordination between the central government, the local administrations and the market, two ministries and 19 agencies signed a so-called “green agreement” on Friday pledging to implement the plan as soon as possible. (1 euro = 1.13 United States dollars)

(XINHUA)

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Politics

Lagos govt. charges religious centres on ”No face mask, No entry” guideline

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The Lagos State Government has charged religious centres not to compromise on the ”No face mask, No entry” guideline in order to curb the spread of coronavirus disease.

Mr Lanre Mojola, Director General, Lagos State Safety Commission (LSSC), gave the charge during a news briefing on Friday at Ikeja.

Mojola said that any worship centre that failed to observe the ”No face mask, No entry” and other guidelines would be shut.

He said that officials of the COVID-19 Compliance Taskforce would be deployed to strictly enforce all the guidelines earlier announced by Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

It would be recalled that the governor had on Thursday, June 4, announced the reopening of religious centres in Lagos, from June 19 for mosques and June 21 for churches, with an attendance of 40 per cent capacity or not more than 500 worshipers.

Reiterating the state’s recent guideline on religious gathering, the DG said that while religious centres had been directed to open in two weeks time, their worship services should be restricted to not more than once a week, as mid-week and other programmes remained suspended.

He urged that worshippers should abide by the issued safety guidelines which included: physical distancing; regular disinfection; temperature check; wearing of face mask; and having more than one service.

According to him, attendees to worship centres should be above 15 and not above 65 years of age.

Moyola encouraged that outdoor services be preferred to indoor services, and people running temperature higher than 37.5 should be restricted from entering into the venue.

Other safety measures include avoiding hand shakes; ensuring 2-metres distancing; stationary collections or electronic cash transfer for offering; effectively controlled traffic for exiting worship venues; as well as guarding against loitering around worship arena.

He said that worship centres should nominate representatives to serve as interface in liaising with the LSSC.

”We will continue to enforce the guidelines; we will continue to sensitise our citizenry so that we can collectively fight this virus,” the DG said.

Speaking on reopening of businesses in the state, Mojola urged business organisations to follow the ”Register-To-Open” policy, as it was geared toward full reopening of the economy.

He urged businesses to logon to the portal, www.lasgsafetyreg.com to register, which would not take more than five minutes and obtain the Safety Compliance Certificate for the reopening of their businesses, offered by the state government free of charge.

Mojola said that business owners should report through the government’s whistleblower numbers, any official that wanted to collect money for the Safety Compliance Certificate.

According to him, over 1,000 businesses have applied for accreditation to reopen and their registrations have been processed.


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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