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Make your lives meaningful at home, Commission tells returnees




The National Commission for Refugees,

Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons(NCRMI) on Friday challenged

Nigerian returnees to begin to live meaningful lives at home, rather

than seeking greener pastures abroad.

NCRMI’s South-West Zonal Head, Mrs Margaret Ukegbu, gave the

advice in Lagos before presenting certificates, kits and seed money to

newly-trained returnees, refugees and internally displaced persons.

The Commission had last Monday flagged-off a Five-day skills

acquisition training for beneficiaries in shoe and soap making, phone

repairs, photography, cosmetology and hairdressing in various centres,


Ukegbu, who advised the trainees differently in Surulere and Yaba,

Lagos State, enjoined them to stay relevant in their country, rather

than embarking on risky trips to Libya and other countries.

“Our Commission decided to organise these trainings to empower you

with skills that would make you become self-sustaining and be

independent as refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and returnees.

“The commission believes that these would be durable solutions to

whatever challenges that you might have been facing. These are great

empowerment opportunities that you have been given.

“With these skills in photography, soap making, phone repairs and

others, we do not want you travelling illegally or begging to eat.

“Stay relevant in our country and begin to use the skills in making

money for yourselves,’’ she said.

Ukegbu advised the beneficiaries not to misuse the kits and seed money

given to them at the end of the five-day skills acquisition training.

The NCRMI’s zonal head said that with the training, the commission

would henceforth not accommodate complaints and she sought assistance

from refugees that benefitted.

She said that the commission would continue to monitor how the

provided kits and seed money of N20, 000 would be utilised by the

trainees in their communities.

The NCRMI official said that the Federal Government, through the

commission, was interested in making young Nigerians live meaningful


A returnee from Libya, Muhammad Abdul Hadi, said that he had benefited

from the training, adding that he had been equipped to start his own

phone repairs operation.

Muhammad, who said that he would not have thought of traveling to Libya

if there was such opportunity in the past, commended the commission

for the initiative.

He said that the training had provided him with skills with which to make

money and be able to provide for his family.

Another returnee, Miss Oluchi Emmanuel, said that the training had

exposed her to the opportunities around her, rather than travelling to Libya and

returning with nothing.

“The skills given to me in five days tell me that Nigeria, my

country, will one day be better.

“I really benefitted a lot from this training. I pray God to give me

the wisdom to use the skills and money given to me to start my own small

business,’’ she said.




Kaduna lawmaker distributes 2,400 bags of fertilizer to constituents



Mr Amos Magaji, member representing Zango Kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency, Kaduna State, on Saturday in Zonkwa, flagged off the distribution of 2,400 bags of assorted fertilizer to farmers in Zango Kataf Local Government Area.

Speaking during the flag-off, Magaji said the distribution of the fertilizer to farmers in his constituents was part of effort to tackle food insecurity in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have to provide these fertilizers to our local farmers as a way of mitigating the impact of food insecurity in the region.

“My constituency is an agrarian one, hence the need to support my people with fertilizers, and this gesture is in line with my philosophy of eradicating poverty and hunger in my constituency.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has crippled the economy, there is need for our people to take agriculture more seriously as a source of livelihood,” he said.

Magaji announced plans to provide farmers in the area  with irrigation inputs for them to  engage in dry season farming immediately after the 2020 wet season.

He urged government to ensure that fertiliser is sold to farmers at subsidized rate to enable them increase production.

In his remarks, District Head of Madakiya, David Kantiok, commended the federal lawmaker for the gesture.

Kantiok said the provision  of the fertilizer was timely and would go a long way in helping farmers in the area.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the fertilizer would be distributed across the 21 wards that made up the constituency.

Edited By: Shuaib Sadiq/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Environment: Lawmaker urges more effort to mitigate hazards in N/Delta



A member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Farah Dagogo (PDP-Rivers), on Saturday  appealed for more effort to mitigate the environmental hazards of oil exploration in the Niger Delta region.

Dagogo urged relevant authorities and organisations to hasten the effort for Green-blue economic development footprints to secure a carbon neutral future for children in the region.

Dagogo’s appeal is contained in a statement he issued in Abuja to mark the 2020 World Environment Day.

The lawmaker, who decried the adverse effects of environmental pollution and exploration in the area, said the acts had rendered the Niger Delta inhabitable.

According to him, the incessant hazards emitting from the environment had become a way of life for people of the region.

He said that the hazards had been reputed to be the causes of varying degrees of health challenges and deaths in the oil-rich region.

Dagogo, who represents Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency of Rivers, said that while the 2019 World Environment Day’ theme focused on ‘Air pollution’, that of 2020 had to do with paying attention to ‘biodiversity’.

He said that the 2020 theme was apt as it encapsulated what the people of the Niger Delta were experiencing.

According to the lawmaker, it is not only the people’s lives that are at risk as species of  freshwater, and those of marine as well as their habitats are also affected.

“As we join the rest of the world to celebrate World Environmental Day, it is imperative and paramount that we draw the attention of the world to the suffocating health conditions we are experiencing in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

“As custodians of the largest oil rich wetland in the world, the Niger Delta region had long been debated, documented and discarded by exploitative oil explorations that endorsed and enforced the incessant pollution of our riparian heritage.

“The people of the creeks sit in limbo, idling away in hopelessness, huddled together in socioeconomic inequalities as the treasure of our natural habitats is robbed by the Greenhouse flares of big oil interest.

“As the world marks World Environmental Day, we call for the promotion of Green-blue economic development footprints to secure the long awaited carbon neutral future for children of the depraved Niger Delta,” he said.

Edited By: Shuaib Sadiq/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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General news

Make Lagos more natural, greening, Expert urges Govt, corporate bodies



Prof. Babajide Alo, former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG), has called on Lagos State Government, corporate bodies and individuals to embrace greening as a way of improving the health and wellbeing of the citizenry.

Alo made the call on Friday in Lagos, at a Virtual conference organised by the University of Lagos Green Club to commemorate the World Environment Day 2020 (WED).

He also urged the state government to return and improve on the parks and garden beautification era to provide and make the state more natural and greening.

The topic of the conference was: “Nurturing Nature Between the Town and Gown.”

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the World Environment Day was observed annually on June 5.

It stresses on the importance of active participation in environment conservation and sustainable living.

The theme was: “Celebrate Biodiversity.”

Alo said that greening has a great impact on the health of citizens and the environment, by reducing the emission of carbon dioxide.

He said biodiversity was important to man as an ecological life support, providing functioning ecosystem that supply oxygen, clean air, water and other ecosystem services.

The expert, however, noted that biodiversity was under threat due to human activities.

“Universities have opened up more to the external world, and have given much attention to the diffusion and economic exploitation of their research.

“There is need to focus more on making the gown assist the town, our communities to conserve nature to protect biodiversity,” he said.

Alo said biodiversity and the ecosystem loss had generated tremendous concern globally, as the extinction of plants and animal species were decreasing earth’s biodiversity, thereby depriving humans of potential resources such as food, medicine and enjoyment of nature.

He identified global trade in wildlife and global shipping as issues affecting and destroying nature and biodiversity.

Alo said with the COVID-19 experience, there was need for action for nature.

“The outbreak and experience of Coronavirus disease has left a significant environmental and health impact in the world.

“The pandemic is teaching us to take biodiversity conservation and protection seriously, and it reminds us that biodiversity degration leads to destruction of Mother Earth and planet gets impacted.

“Hence, this pandemic must, therefore, be teaching us a lesson that it is time to re-build for people and the planet,” he said.

Alo called on the universities to develop systematic environmental and biodiversity data collection for improved management and application.

He said: “Universities can join in the vanguard to reverse the degration; we must encourage all experts in biodiversity.

“We must fund them and make our curricula to have compulsory courses in biodiversity conservation and protection.

“Universities should make our teaching and research at all levels incorporate nature studies, inclusion of studies and text on biodiversity conservation into the national primary and secondary education as stipulated in the 2015 National Implementation document.”

Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Commentary: Make post-pandemic recovery greener




The coronavirus pandemic is perhaps the world‘s most arduous present challenge. Yet as the global community marks World Environment Day on Friday, it must not let down guard against other paramount global threats, notably climate change, that are endangering planet Earth, humanity’s shared homeland.

Over the past few months, the deadly outbreak has locked down cities, closed factories, grounded airplanes and kept people indoors throughout the world. As a result, greenhouse gas emissions have seen temporary reductions. The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts that the world‘s CO2 emissions will plunge eight percent this year, an “unprecedented rate.”

However, the threat of global warming has hardly dissipated and remains an increasingly daunting challenge. Prior to the pandemic, the socio-economic impacts of climate change have accelerated over the past five years, said the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in April.

And with governments on both sides of the Atlantic, in Asia and elsewhere carrying out plans to restart their economies with stimulus packages of rarely seen proportions, a possible massive rebound of emissions is highly likely. The IEA has recently cautioned that the rebounds in emissions would be even larger than the decline after the public health crisis.

Any panglossian ideas at this moment would be ill-timed. There are already some environmental advocates and business leaders who worry that the raging contagion would “overshadow environmental concerns” and postpone policy discussions on climate issues as “a more distant threat.”

Decision-makers worldwide should ride the momentum of a declining carbon emissions, and kickstart the recoveries in their countries in a greener and more sustainable way, like offering stronger financial support for environmentally-friendly industries, and encouraging a broader use of clean and renewable energies. The IEA has called for investment to revive the economy with “cleaner and more resilient energy infrastructure.”

Governments around the world should resist the temptation to turn inward and instead enhance global cooperation. They should stick to the long-term goals of emission reductions agreed upon in the Paris Climate Accord.

The ongoing fight against the pandemic has highlighted the need for strong international cooperation in a highly interconnected world when a global crisis strikes.

“We need to show the same determination and unity against climate change as against COVID-19,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. “We need to act together in the interests of the health and welfare of humanity not just for the coming weeks and months, but for many generations ahead.”


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Tokyo exec says make Games decision in spring: Kyodo



A Tokyo 2020 executive board member said on Friday organisers will need to monitor the novel coronavirus situation until next spring before deciding whether to go ahead with the Summer Olympics, Kyodo News reported.

The comment by lawmaker Toshiaki Endo, one of six vice presidents on the board and a former Olympics minister, marks the first time an organising committee executive has remarked on the timing for a decision on the Games, the news agency said.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japanese government took the unprecedented decision in March to delay the Games, which had been due to start in July. A further delay beyond 2021 has been ruled out.

Previously, John Coates, head of the IOC’s inspectorate for Tokyo, said that if by October the new coronavirus outbreak was “being contained but not eradicated” decisions would have to be made on streamlining the Games.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said on Thursday that organisers were looking at ways to simplify the Games.

Also on Friday, public broadcaster NHK reported that organisers had decided against holding a large scale event marking the one-year countdown to the Games because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organisers are seeking to cut costs related to the postponement and are also conscious of pandemic risks.

“We cannot hold a lively event while the risk of infection continues,” NHK quoted an unnamed organising committee source as saying.

Tokyo 2020 organising committee representatives did not immediately respond a request for comment.

At last year’s countdown event, organisers unveiled the medals at a ceremony attended by IOC President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and countdown clocks were launched in central Tokyo.

The new coronavirus has infected more than 6.5 million people and killed about 386,000 around the world. Japan has reported some 17,000 infections and 900 known deaths to date.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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3 Turkish opposition lawmakers arrested after status revoked




Turkey’s three opposition deputies were arrested on early Friday after their parliament statues were revoked.

Leyla Guven and Musa Farisogullari from Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and Enis Berberoglu from Republican People’s Party (CHP) were stripped of their seats in the parliament on Thursday after the final verdict from the Supreme Court of Appeals over their cases.

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has 291 deputies in the 600-seat assembly, while the CHP now has 138 seats, keeping it the main opposition party in Turkey, and the HDP has 58 seats.

Berberoglu was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2017 on espionage charges of leaking footage to a journalist showing Turkish intelligence trucks being stopped en route to Syria in January 2014.

He was released from prison after 15-month imprisonment and re-elected for the parliament in the 2018 elections.

Guven was released from prison in January 2019 after an 11-week hunger strike. She was accused of “conducting terror activities” following her statements and social media posts on Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch” launched against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units in northwestern Syria.

Farisogullari was sentenced to nine years in prison for being in the Kurdish Communities Union which is accused of being affiliated to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).


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COVID-19: A’Ibom Assembly makes e-learning training mandatory for teachers



Akwa Ibom House of Assembly in a resolution on Thursday, urged the State Ministry of Education to commence training and re-training of teachers on e-learning tools.

This it said would sharpen their skills on e-teaching and e-learning in line with the present coronavirus situation.

The resolution was taken sequel to a motion of urgent public importance brought before the House by the member representing Etim Ekpo/Ika State Constituency, Mr Mfon Idung.

Idung said there was need for training and re-training of teachers on e-learning tools in preparation for post COVID -19 Education Models.

The lawmaker said the motion was necessitated following perceived lack of preparedness by primary and secondary school teachers to confront changes in the education system occasioned by the pandemic.

He said that the pandemic had greatly changed educational systems, shifting focus from conventional chalk board demonstration, to sufficiently digital, e-learning and e-teaching models.

He urged the ministry of education to consider making ICT compliance by teachers a major prerequisite for entry into the reaching service.

The lawmaker expressed concern that teachers’ inadequacy, incompetency and inability to operate computers and engage in e-teaching would impact adversely on the performances of pupils and students across the state.

The Speaker, Mr Aniekan Bassey, said the motion was timely and commended the member representing Etim Ekpo/Ika for bringing the motion before the house.

He directed the Clerk of the House, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to communicate the resolution of the Assembly to the appropriate quarters.

Also at plenary, the Assembly received motions on incessant and unauthorised encroachment of communities in Ini Local Government Area by neighbouring Abia communities from the member representing Ini State Constituency, Mr Emmanuel Bassey.

The speaker referred the motion to the Committee on Boundary and Conflict Resolution and to report back to the house within one month.

The Assembly also received a report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Audited Accounts of Akwa Ibom Government for the Year Ended Dec. 31, 2019.

The House adjourned plenary to reconvene on June 10.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)



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Enugu lawmaker decries alleged invasion of constituency by Ebonyi communities



Chinedu Okwu, Member representing Aninri Constituency, in Enugu State House of Assembly has called on the state government to urgently intervene in the alleged invasion and destruction of houses and farmlands by some communities in Ebonyi.

Okwu, who made the call in a petition submitted to the House during plenary in Enugu on Thursday, listed the communities as Uburu, Akaeze and Ishiagu communities in Ebonyi.

He said that land grabbers from the three communities were claiming part of Aninri land, in spite of the obvious boundary features, adding that “they could not render any sustainable account of such claim.

“We complain in tears, about the unwarranted invasion, killing and maiming of our people by the three communities in Ebonyi, Uburu, Akaeze in Ohaozara and Ishiagu in Ivo Local Government Areas respectively, that share common boundary with us.

“Shortly after their kinsman, His Excellency Mr David Umahi, became the governor of Ebonyi, they returned to our land with much more force and a new turn of claim.

“Initially, they were making individual claims of ownership of different parts of our land but now, they claim and act for and on behalf of Ebonyi government.

“They forcefully re-enter with tractors bearing the inscription, Ebonyi Government and destroyed our cassava, yam and rice farms respectively, spanning about 100 hectares and deforested our popular Egu-Nkwo, which over the years used to be the major source of our timber business,” he said.

The lawmaker alleged that Ebonyi government had entered into agreement with a Chinese company for mining activities of the Led and Silicon deposits in the land.

“The company just started getting the revenue and other benefits accruable from the mining, which is supposed to be for Enugu State, and now is being enjoyed by the Ebonyi government.

“Our people are dying in pains, the thought of watching helplessly another state driving us out of our land and taking over by force our source of livelihood, when we also have a state government, is quite unbearable”, Okwu lamented.

Reacting, the Speaker, Ubosi urged the Deputy Governor, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, to dialogue with her counterpart in Ebonyi, to resolve the land encroachment issue amicably.

The House thereafter adjourned to June 11 for further legislative activities.

Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)



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Lawmaker urges rape victims to speak out



The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Rep. Rotimi Ogunsoye (APC-Lagos), has urged rape victims to speak out and report cases to appropriate authorities.

Speaking with journalists on Thursday in Abuja, Agunsoye said that keeping quiet would only escalate the dastardly act.

“Whosoever is a victim of rape should not see the stigma but speak out and report; parents should educate their children particularly our daughters on this matter,” he said.

The lawmaker said that most cases go unreported saying that the law enforcement agencies should be ever ready to look into cases of rape and not to treat it with levity.

Agunsoye said that there were test kits to prove rape cases and not extra difficult to do.

Speaking on the recent rape and murder of Miss Vera Uwaila Omozuwa, a 22-year-old microbiology student, Agunsoye said it was a double tragedy for the perpetrators.

“It is sad that a crime like rape, which is a sin in heaven and a sin on earth was committed in a place of worship; that makes it a double tragedy for the perpetrators.

“We agreed in the house that capital punishment be recommend for perpetrators; a state of emergency has not been declared on the matter and we shall bring a bill to amend to that effect,” he said. 


Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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