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Men give reasons for delay in proposing marriage



Some men in the FCT said their reasons for delay in proposing marriages despite a long courtship with their partners stems from high bride price, traditions, pressure and influences.

Some of the residents who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja said the delay had further increased the number of unmarried ladies, emotional pains, immoral behavior, single parenthood and pregnancy outside marriage.

Mr Emmanuel Chime, a businessman in Apo said the expenses incurred during marriages as demanded by some cultures, delayed marriage proposal, especially for low income earners.

“You will see a matured man or woman still single, not because they do not want to get married, but because of the finances involved for bride price and other traditional marriage rites.

“One doesn’t have to spend years saving up for marriage alone when there are other things to think and plan for, such as building a house, starting a business, education, and others,’’ he said.

Similarly, Mr Sunday Aboki, said some alien traditions as practiced in some cultures encouraged young couples to engage in immoral acts.

“ I never got married either in the traditional or religious way because of some traditional practices which forced me and my wife to cohabit and have children without going through the normal process of acquiring a wife,’’ he said.

Aboki, stressed the need for traditional leaders of every society to caution the people on appropriate demands for marriage rites to encourage inter marriages for low income earners to get married.

“When some rules are properly explained and made clear, it will encourage marriage for people from different cultural background,’’ he said.

Joy Micheal, a business woman said the high bride price demanded by some cultures had broken or ended relationship between engaged couples.

“I was engaged to be married, but some outrageous demands by my extended family as part of marriage rites caused a lot of problems for my ex-fiancé and his people,’’ she said.

Micheal said her former fiancé and his people felt frustrated by the demands, which affected their relationship and they had to suspend their marriage plans and later called it off.

On his own part, Mr Olu Adegoke, a civil servant in the FCT said marriage between a couple should be an avenue for both families to start a relationship that would last forever, not an avenue for making money through unnecessary demands.

“Marriage should be seen as an avenue for both families to start a relationship that will last forever, rather than an opportunity to make money.

“No matter how much a dowry or bride price cost, it can never pay for the amount spent in bringing up the proposed wife.

“ So rather than some cultures making it difficult for their children to get married, they should instead look at it from another angle, that they are starting a new relationship with another family and they will all benefit from the union,’’ he said.

Adegoke recounted that some requirement for marriage rites between some couples had left both extended family in a sour relationship that might even affect the marriage.

Similarly, a marriage Counselor, Mrs Naomi Danjuma, stressed the need for every culture to be concerned about inculcating good moral acts, upholding the cultural values of its people, as well as encourage inter-marriages between people of diverse cultures, rather than enforcing stringent laws and customs.

“Though, some of these marriage rites is very important and some people even face the consequences of engaging in marriage without the proper cultural rites.

“There is need for us to also encourage that some of these laws that prevent marriages should be looked into and an alternative be used to encourage marriage between people of diverse cultures,’’ she added.

Danjuma said inter-marriage between people of various cultures would strengthen the relationship of the people, promote, peace and unity, and address some of the security challenges prevalent in the society.



Oil & Gas

World Environment Day: NNPC expresses commitment to biodiversity



The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has expressed its determination to adhere to sustainable environmental practices in all its operations to safeguard biodiversity in the country.

Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, made this known on Friday in Abuja as part of activities to commemorate the 2020 World Environment Day celebration with the theme ‘Biodiversity’.

Kyari in a keynote address said the corporation would continue to be guided by sound environmental policies and standards, so that the corporation did not harm the environment and the communities of creatures within its sphere of operations.

NNPC’s firm position on sustainable environmental practice is today reignited by the theme of the 2020 World Environment Day, which seeks to raise further awareness on conservation of Biodiversity.

“Biodiversity has remained the single most important factor that enables all living creatures to depend on the mutual services of one another, in order to ensure survival, a balanced ecosystem and the sustainability of our planet,” Kyari said.

He noted that the emergence of pandemics such as Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), a virus that was said to be common to Asian bats, had provided greater insights on how biodiversity equilibrium could shift, making it easier for diseases to pass from animals to people.

Kyari decried that over the years, the world had been impacted by deforestation, expansion of agriculture, mining activities and massive infrastructural development.

According to him, these activities have directly or indirectly impacted the balance of biodiversity, making wild species and alien organisms struggle to find new homes.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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World Environment Day: Oyetola warns Osun residents against environmental degradation



Gov. Gboyega Oyetola of Osun has called on the people of the state to refrain from acts capable of undermining environmental sustainability.
Oyetola gave the warning at a tree planting programme, organised to commemorate this year’s World Environment Day, on Friday in Osogbo.
governor said that his administration would take proactive steps against those in the habit of encroaching into government’s forests for unlawful activities.
“We are prepared to invoke the full weight of the law on anyone caught engaging in illegal land clearing for farming, uncontrolled logging, gathering of firewood and deforestation,” he said.
The governor also said that anyone caught engaging in indiscriminate or ill-planned bush burning, high population rate, degradation of the environment occasioned by illegal mining and illegal hunting for bush meat would be dealt with.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration, “Biodiversity”, Oyetola said that biodiversity was essential to human development, because “it is the foundation that supports all the lives on land and below the waters.”
The governor, who decried the poor environmental management culture, noted that on a global scale, biodiversity was being lost at higher rate than that of natural extinction.
He said that illegal land clearing for farming, uncontrolled logging, deforestation, bush burning and high population rate were among the factors affecting biodiversity conservation in the state.
Oyetola expressed his administration’s commitment to tree planting in order to reverse the situation.
Earlier in his address, the state Commissioner for Environment and Sanitation, Mr Sola Oladepo, said that nonchalant attitude towards biodiversity conservation in the past had culminated in massive degradation of forest reserves in the state.
Oladepo said that the state government was ready to plant one million trees across the state.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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UN launches new climate initiative on World Environment Day



The UN’s climate secretary has launched a new initiative in the fight against climate change, coinciding with World Environment Day on Friday.

Under the motto “Race to Zero,” the campaign’s goal is to cease emissions of climate-damaging greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide by 2050 “at the very latest.”

According to the UN almost 1,000 companies, 458 cities, 24 states and regions, 500 universities and 36 major investors have already committed to reducing emissions to net zero by 2050.

Among the companies are Rolls-Royce, Nestle and global fashion retailer Inditex.

More than 120 countries have also committed to becoming climate-neutral by 2050.

Pope Francis added his voice to global calls for enviromental protection in a letter to Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez, whose country is this year’s host of World Environment Day.

“The protection of the environment and respect for the biodiversity of the planet are issues that affect us all. We cannot pretend to be healthy in a world that is sick,” Francis wrote.

“This is not a time to continue looking the other way, indifferent to the signs that our planet is being plundered and violated by greed for profit, very often in the name of progress,” he added.

The chair of the next world climate conference, British Energy Minister Alok Sharma, has previously said world economies should be rebuilt more sustainably and cleanly after the coronavirus pandemic.

The new “Race to Zero” initiative should encourage companies and regional governments to show more ambition in climate protection, he said. dpa/NAN)


Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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Albanian president appeals for more efforts on environment protection




Albanian President Ilir Meta on Friday appealed for more efforts on environment protection on World Environmental Day.

Via a Twitter post, Meta said that no one should allow mismanagement of urban waste and air pollution to damage citizens’ lives.

“Albania lacks nothing to be the ‘diamond’ of the Mediterranean and Europe,” Meta said, calling for everyone’s contribution in protecting the country’s nature.

Meta said he will support “civil society and honest activists that by protecting Albania’s environment and natural beauties protect the prosperous future of the country.”

On World Environment Day, Minister of Tourism and Environment Blendi Klosi said that Albania is not polluted, but unclean due to the mismanagement of urban waste.

Klosi visited Sharra landfill, a public investment of the government in the capital Tirana, calling this investment a turning point for the whole way of urban waste management in the country.

“Sharra landfill is an example of a real transformation of a harmful ‘hotspot’ for Tirana into a green lung for the city. Today we can say that we have made not only good laws but real investments for a clean Albania,” Klosi said.

He also mentioned a series of measures taken by the government for the environment, such as the law on banning the use of plastic bags and the decision on banning old cars from entering Albania.


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COVID-19: NGO takes sensitization campaign to market, community, women leaders in Kaduna



An NGO, Second Chance Humanitarian Aid Foundation, on Friday organised a one day seminar on COVID-19 preventive measures for market, community and women leaders in Manchok, Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Speaking at the event, Mrs Ladi Bala, founder of the foundation, said that the organisation considered it necessary to complement government efforts in creating awareness on coronavirus at the grassroots.

The founder, who was represented by Banta Bala, Project Coordinator of the Foundation, said people at grassroots needed much sensitisation because of their vulnerability, and creating such awareness would further give them  a sense of belonging.

“The rural dwellers need to be well informed on measures to avoid contracting and transmitting the virus.

“The government is doing her best but the bulk of the responsibility is on the people to do the needful, as such, we considered it needful to contribute our token in the fight against COVID-19,” she said.

Mr Peter Ibrahim, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Kaduna State Deputy Governor, harped on the need for behavioral change on the part of members of the public in the face of the pandemic.

“As much as the State Government is considering easing of the lockdown, people’s attitude especially in observing social distancing was a major challenge.

“I commend the organisers of the event, as it is part of government’s plans to engage critical stakeholders including, traditional and religious leaders, market groups and associations, amongst others in combating COVID-19,” he added.

Ibrahim urged participants to leverage on the lessons learnt at the seminar to further educate other members of the community.

Also speaking, Mr Sunday Tabishi, the Council Secretary, Kaura Local Government, commended the initiative, which according to him, was timely.

Tabishi urged the people to exercise more patience as the government was doing all within its power to bring succor to the people, particularly those at the grassroots.

Earlier, Mr Isaac Auta, a member  of the foundation, who spoke on Personal Hygiene, told participants to ensure regular washing of their hands, use of face masks and observe social distancing.

He said although there had not been any reported case of COVID-19 in the area, residents needed to observe the necessary precautionary measures, bearing in mind that the virus was real.

Malam Musa Buga, Head of Manchok market and Mrs Mageret Musa, Head of Women in the market, in their separate responses appreciated the NGO for the sensitisation, noting that it gave them a sense of belonging.

They assured the foundation of judicious use of the items they received and promised to enlighten others on lessons learnt at the seminar.

NAN reports that the seminar tagged, “COVID-19 Intervention Project”, saw presentation of 1,000 face masks as well as 10 hand washing basins to be placed at the Local Government Secretariat and the market place.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Interview: CABI expert sees “strong commitment” in ecological conservation in China




China, with its “strong commitment” in ecological conservation, has achieved some “remarkable outcomes” in its long-term national strategy for promoting sustainable development, an expert from Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) said.

“We applaud the Chinese government for its strong commitment and increasing investment in ecological conservation in recent years,” Dr Hariet L. Hinz told Xinhua in an interview ahead of World Environment Day, a UN campaign celebrated every year on June 5 to raise awareness about the protection of the environment.

China has highlighted ecological civilization as a long-term national strategy for promoting sustainable development, aiming at achieving harmony between people and nature, and by pursuing green development and guiding the transformation of production methods and lifestyle of the entire society,” said Dr Hinz, co-director of China MARA (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs)-CABI European Joint Laboratory.

China‘s immense efforts in fighting pollution, restoring forest land and protecting wildlife are commendable,” said Dr Hinz, who is also the country director of CABI Switzerland.

To conserve the environment, China has adopted measures including massive tree-planting and coral restoration campaigns, clamping down on illegal wastewater discharge, treating polluted rivers and launching public education activities.

“Some of China‘s national ecological sustainability and protected area programs are among the world‘s largest, and they together have achieved remarkable outcomes,” said Dr Hinz.

“What other developing countries can learn is that to make these programs succeed requires strong political will and foresight to balance economic development with environment protection, the development of a sound policy and legislation framework, substantial financial commitment, mindset change, and public education and awareness-raising etc,” said Dr Hinz.

Dr Hinz also believes that international collaboration is “of paramount importance” to the development of greener agriculture in China and beyond.

CABI, headquartered in Britain, is an international, inter-governmental, not-for-profit organization that improves people’s lives worldwide by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment.

With a close partnership for over 30 years, China and CABI have achieved outstanding results through the establishment of joint laboratories in China and Switzerland and implementation of many joint research and development cooperation projects.

“In addition to those projects benefiting China directly, the joint labs have also assisted in introducing China‘s green plant protection products/techniques to developing countries under the umbrella of South-South cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative,” Dr Hinz said.

Many of these programs have helped pave the way for more sustainable crop production, as well as establishing a better environment and healthier lives for the farm households in the target region, according to Dr Hinz.


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D.C. mayor asks Trump to withdraw federal law enforcement, troops dealing with protests




Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Friday requested that President Donald Trump “withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence” in the nation’s capital after the president sent in forces to tackle the protests related to the death of George Floyd.

Bowser, a Democrat of African-American descent, wrote in a letter that she has ended the state of emergency in the district related to demonstrations against the death of Floyd, a black man killed last week under the custody of white police in Minneapolis.

The mayor noted that protests in the capital have been “peaceful,” and that the Metropolitan Police Department, for the second consecutive night, “did not make a single arrest” Thursday night.

“I continue to be concerned that unidentified federal personnel patrolling the streets of Washington, D.C. pose both safety and national security risks,” Bowser told Trump in the letter, adding that federal law enforcement personnel and equipment “are inflaming demonstrations and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and for reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing Black Americans.”

Trump, whose threat to deploy active-duty military forces to quell the protests has drawn harsh and broad condemnation from both current and former officials, said Friday that his plan to address racism in the country is to provide a strong economy for the African American community.

While touting the unexpected decline in unemployment in May, the president said at the White House Rose Garden that a strong economy is “the greatest thing that can happen for race relations” as well as minorities including African Americans.


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Group decries loss of over N5m worth of rice to movement restriction



The Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS) has decried the loss of over N5 million worth of rice to restriction of movement occasioned by COVID-19.

The National Coordinator of the group, Mr Retson Tedheke, made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Friday.

Tedheke said one of its trucks, conveying rice from Nasarawa state to Lagos state, took 28 days to get to and fro its destination due to hitches encountered at several checkpoints across states.

According to him, the development led to the rice being exposed to rainfall, leading to destruction of over 233 bags.

He expressed concern over the development in spite of existing Federal Government guidelines on free movement of agricultural products.

According to him, many farmers have lost millions of naira to the development, which he described as unfortunate.

“There is no restriction on movement of agricultural products, however, when you get to the road, it is a different ball game.

” The security agents on the road do not care, making life unbearable for farmers.

“Until government begins to make example of these officers, who do not have recourse to regulations, we will not go far in this country.

“We contacted relevant authorities, but what happens usually is that they follow up, which is a good thing.

“However, our drivers sometimes get to locations where they cannot be reached on network and these things happen in such places.

As I speak, there are several trucks carrying agricultural products that are stranded at the various checkpoints across the country.

“You can imagine those carrying perishable goods, and we know time is of the essence when it comes to some agricultural products,” he said.

According to the coordinator, coming from Keffi, in Nasarawa state, to Abuja takes several hours because of the numerous checkpoints.

“So, you can imagine what people go through across the country. It is a situation that needs urgent attention,” he said.

Tedheke said if the situation was not well handled while the COVID-19 pandemic lasted, there might be food shortage across the country, leading to hunger and starvation.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Federal Government had on April 24 inaugurated a seven-man Joint Technical Task Team on Emergency Response to COVID-19.

The team was inaugurated to ensure unrestricted movement of agricultural products across the country, following complaints by farmers of restriction of agricultural products across states.

The seven-man task team is chaired by Austin Agbonlahor, the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in-charge of Operations.

Edited By: Moses Solanke/Felix Ajide (NAN)


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COVID-19: Lagos begins home-based treatment of patients in 2 weeks



The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, says the state home-based treatment for COVID-19 patients will begin in the next two to three weeks.

Abayomi made this known on Friday in Lagos while giving the state’s COVID-19 update.

He said that the strategies for home/community-based management of COVID-19 patients would be defined and start soon.

The commissioner said that the move was to enable the state government to concentrate on patients that were critically sick and to reduce pressure on bed spaces at the isolation facilities.

He maintained that the state would engage stakeholders and enlighten them with relevant information and knowledge about treating infected people in their communities.

According to him, patients that are asymptomatic and those with mild symptoms will qualify for home based treatment, while those with moderate to severe symptoms will be treated at the isolation centres.

The commissioner said the patients that would be managed at home would be monitored through telemedicine.

According to him, they would also be given COVID-19 packs containing medication, thermometer for temperature measurement and tools to check their oxygen level.

Abayomi, however, stressed that if the condition of any home-based patient “takes a turn for the worse, such patients would be quickly transferred to an isolation facility”.

He said that the state has enough volunteers, thus increasing its manpower to ensure the success of the community-based treatment.

On why the state’s fatality rate for COVID-19 had increased, Abayomi said the fatality rate was still low, adding that it was about one per cent of the state’s confirmed cases.

The commissioner disclosed that the state had accredited three private hospitals that met its biosecurity requirements for the management of COVID-19 patients.

He added that one of the hospitals had commenced treatment of patients, while the remaining two would also commence treatment soon.

Abayomi noted that the state had ramped up its testing capacity, and was currently conducting one thousand COVID-19 test daily, with plans to increase the test to two thousands daily soon.

He added that over 22,000 COVID-19 tests had been done in the state since it recorded its index case.

“The more we test suspected cases, the more we find confirmed COVID-19 cases,” the commissioner said.

He, however, urged the public not to be alarmed with its increasing number of daily infections, saying it was proof of the state’s increased testing capacity.

Abayomi appealed to residents to continue to take responsibility by maintaining respiratory
hygiene, physical distancing and wearing of face masks while in public places.

Edited By: Bolaji Buhari/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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