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Mining activities: FG donates vehicle to committee in Niger



The Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has donated a Toyota Hilux to Niger state’s Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) to monitor mining activities.

Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger presented the vehicle to members of the committee on behalf of the Federal Government in Minna on Tuesday.

Bello, who was represented by Alhaji Ibrahim Balarabe, his Chief of Staff, said the vehicle would ease movements of the committee members to check activities of miners in the state.

The governor stated that the donation would also enable members to interact with the various actors in the mining industry within the state.

‘‘This interaction is to help promote peace and unity among miners and members of the communities as well as promote cordial relationship among key actors in the mining industry,’’ he said.

He added that the vehicle would help the committee members to monitor activities of miners in order to ensure that such activities do not pose any security threat to the state.

‘‘We must pay serious attention to the influx of miners coming into our state to mine, this is to ensure that mining activities are carried out hitch-free without associated banditry and other security threats in the state,’’ he added.

The governor said the state government would continue to partner the Federal Government to ensure that mining activities were carried out in a conducive environment.

Also, Alhaji Mohammed Babatifin, Chairman of MIREMCO, disclosed that the role of the committee was to ensure sustainable management of mineral resources of the state.

He said the committee had helped to resolve conflicts and promote peace among miners and members of the communities.

Babatifin noted that the MIREMCO had embarked on campaign against child labour such as the involvement of under-aged children in mining activities.

He, however, disclosed that the state chapter of Mine Workers Union and Miners Association of Nigeria were presently undertaking re-registration of its members and issuance of new identification cards.


Ali Baba seeks commercialisation of Nigerian festivals



Nigerian Comedian, Atunyota Akpobome, popularly known as “Ali Baba,” on Saturday called for the commercialisation of Nigerian festivals to boost nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and woo local and international tourists.

Akpobome made the call during an online zoom meeting of the five tourism sub-sectors with the theme: “Post COVID-19: A Fresh Start for Tourism in Nigeria”, organised by the Nigeria Travel Week.

He said that the Nigerian festivals were still at their rudimentary stage and the potential for commercialisation must be developed.

According to him, each time these festivals are celebrated, tourists should be made to pay a token, which would boost the states internally generated revenue and the nation’s GDP.

He said that the content of these festivals must also be developed.

“To revive our festivals in Nigeria, we need to look at the commercial angle, we need to identify the potential of each tourism asset and go all out to create commercial value around them.

“We need to build content from our tourism potential; Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states are known for mountainous regions but we have not created awareness and activities around these mountains.

“We should have T-Shirts on which Zuma rock is drawn on, to create awareness; Lagos State is called the aquatic state where deep sea diving can be done but what have we made of it.

“The biggest problem we have is that we do not know how to add value to what we have,” he said.

The comedian said that until every state of the federation was mandated to generate enough revenue for themselves, the nation would continue to abandoned its bountiful potential.

“Our problem is we believe that money made from oil should cater for everyone and every state but we forget that virtually all state have their potential to groom for revenue generation.

“Sokoto has desert which is the major tourism potential in Dubai, used to create beautiful structures we long to visit now but the state is not bothered to develop it.

The Nigerian tourism master plan was not properly defined right from time, we have not seen tourism as a serious business, we only allow it flow,” he said.

Earlier, Mrs Susan Akporiaye, National President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), assured of the association’s willingness to collaborate with other tourism stakeholders.

She said this was the way to go considering the effect of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)



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ABUAlumni urges students to work hard for Nigeria’s development



Dr  Ossai Edward, a university lecturer and Chairman Plateau Chapter of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria Alumni Association, has advised Nigerian students to work hard towards ensuring Nigeria’s development.

Edward gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria after the inauguration of the new executive council of the Plateau Chapter of the association on Saturday in Jos.

The new chairman, who is the Head of Department, Theatre Arts, Plateau State University (PLASU), Bokkos said the call became necessary as future leaders of the country.

“It’s unfortunate that many students are lazy nowadays when it comes to studying, which is very detrimental to the desired growth of the nation.

“My advice to them is that as soon as the Federal Government orders them back to school, they should be serious with their studies,’’ he said

Edward decried the long closure of schools due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that this called for seriousness on the part of the students, immediately they resume.

The lecturer also called for peaceful coexistence between the Christians and Muslims in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions to enhance national socio-economic development.

Edward described ABU as one of the best institutions in the world, in terms of high academic standards.

He expressed the readiness of the Plateau chapter of the alumni association to give back to the university, to ensure that products of the institution continue to excel in the society.

“Our alumni is made up of members, who are governors, former military administrators, commissioners, permanent secretaries and captains of industries.

“They are contributing their quota to the development of the university.

Aside Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, we have nine serving permanent secretaries, three commissioners and several others, who are working to uplift alumni association of the institution.”

Edward pledged to introduce prudence in the management of the association’s financial resources.

Earlier, Mrs Claribel Dana’an, the outgone chairman of the association, congratulated her successor and his team for their success at the poll.

She expressed optimism that the new executive would take the affairs of the association to higher heights in the state.

Other members of the new team are Mr Bitrus Ali as Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Wurang as Publicity Secretary, Mrs Usaina Obende as Treasurer and Mrs Claribel Danaan as Ex-Officio.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Niger LG rehabilitates 17km Roofia/Agwara Road -Chairman



The Agwara Local Government Council in Niger said that the rehabilitation of 17 kilometer Roofia-Agwara road was carried out at the cost of N30 million.

Alhaji Nura Kokoli, the council chairman disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria in Roofia during an inspection visit to the road project on Saturday.

Kokoli, who lauded the quality of job done by the contractor, said that the council embarked on the project due to its socio economic importance to the people.

He said that the road, which linked communities such as Busuru, Mahuta, Kokoli and Gallah wards, would ease transportation problem facing the people.

He said that the council was doing everything possible to embark on the rehabilitation of other feeder roads across the 10 wards of the council to transportation problem.

Kokoli said that rehabilitation work on Agwara-Kokoli and Agwara-Gallah feeder roads in the area was ongoing and in various stages of completion.

He said that when completed it would help the people of the area, who were predominantly farmers, to transport their farm products to the market.

The Council boss reiterated his administration’s commitment to meaningful projects that would impact positively on the people.

He reminded the residents to adhere strictly to precautionary measures put in place by the government to tackle the spread of Coronavirus disease in the state.

Responding, Alhaji Tukur Abdullahi, District Head of Roofia, thanked the chairman for rehabilitating the road, adding that he should continue with his people-oriented projects.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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AfDB approves 288.5 mln USD to support Nigeria’s COVID-19 response




The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Saturday said it has approved 288.5 million United States dollar loan to help Nigeria tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact on people and businesses.

In a statement made available to Xinhua in Lagos, the bank said the loan will bolster the government’s plans to improve surveillance and response to COVID-19 emergencies, ease the impact on workers and businesses and strengthen the social protection system.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and the continent’s largest oil producer, is facing twin crises — a health epidemic caused by COVID-19, and an economic crunch largely occasioned by a global oil price plunge.

As of Friday night, the west African country reported 11,844 cases, 3,696 recoveries and 333 deaths.

The loan is the bank’s initial response to help Nigeria mitigate the slump in oil prices and its impact on the national economy, according to the bank.

“The proposed program will ensure that the fiscal position and the economy are sufficiently supported to weather the COVID-19 shocks, thereby limiting its potential adverse impact on livelihoods and the economy more generally,” said Ebrima Faal, senior director of the AfDB for Nigeria.

Faal said beyond the country’s immediate economic recovery needs, the bank and other development partners, will dialogue with Nigerian government on proposals for medium-term structural reforms to diversify and boost domestic revenues away from the oil sector.


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Firm launches ‘plastic responsibly’ initiative in Nigeria



A strategic communications firm, CMC Connect (Perception Managers), on Saturday said it had launched an initiative called ‘Plastic Responsibly’ to educate Nigerians on the dangers of littering plastics in the environment.

Sunkanmi Ogunniyi, Associate Group Head, CMC Connect (Perception Managers), made this known in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos.

He said the initiative was aimed at educating Nigerians on the dangers of irresponsible plastic disposal in the community.

“The initiative focuses on driving attitudinal change by causing plastic lifestyle modifications.

“The key actions for the initiative are responsible production, use, disposal and recycling.

For us at CMC Connect, the inimical effects of plastic pollution are enough to cause significant worry for Nigerians and we must, therefore, collectively aim to reduce its hazards and threats to biodiversity.

“Such threats includes drainage blockage which causes perennial flooding, especially in major urban centres of the country,” Ogunniyi said

He said that CMC Connect through the initiative would engage in advocacy, community engagements, outreaches, research and volunteer activities by working with like-minded individuals and entities.

Ogunniyi urged corporate organisations and all tiers of governments to partner with them in the quest to keep the environment protected.

“We commend the efforts of the Lagos State Government led by Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu in its quest to ban the use of single-use plastic through its agency the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA).

“We strongly recommend that other states and indeed the Federal Government emulate this laudable move by swiftly enacting laws that prevent plastic abuse in our environment,” he said

He said subsidiaries of CMC including BCW representing the third largest Public Relations (PR) network in the world, Re-ignite Public Affairs, iOctane Digital Experience Agency and Tangalo Africa, an Agric Media communications company.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)



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Foundation empowers 100 infertility women in Nigeria



Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, has empowered 100 infertility women in Nigeria to establish small businesses to be independent and rebuild their lives.

Dr Rasha Kelej, Chief Executive Officer of Merck said in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, that the foundation had supported the women, in collaboration with the First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs Aisha Buhari.

According to her, the foundation has been partnering with Buhari, who is also the Ambassador of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’.

“We have been working to break the infertility stigma in the country and building equitable and quality healthcare capacity, through ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ campaign.

Over 100 infertile women were supported to establish small business so that they can rebuild themselves and lead independent and happier lives.’’

Kelej said Merck foundation had provided training for embryologists in Nigeria to create a platform of local experts in the fertility care.

Merck Foundation has also provided two Nigerian doctors with one-year diabetes and hypertension post-graduate diploma training from University of South Wales, UK.

“We are fully committed to continuing providing specialised training in the fields of cancer, fertility and diabetes care to more doctors across Nigeria after the official launch,’’ she said.

According to her, First Ladies of 18 countries are part of the ambassadors of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’, leading and executing the initiatives in their respective countries.

“They are leading the initiative to empower infertile women and break the stigma around infertility.

“This speaks volume about the work we are doing.

As a part of Merck More Than a Mother, we have been providing clinical training to candidates from Africa and Asia to establish a platform of fertility specialists and embryologists.

“So far, the number of Merck Foundation Alumni in this field is more than 185 candidates from 35 countries across Africa and Asia.

“Also, we have supported the establishment of the first-ever Public IVF centres in Rwanda, Ethiopia and Uganda by training their staff to be able to support the infertile couples.’’

The official said she was proud of the success stories, saying “I always feel that they are my children and I am super proud of their success.

“It is very important to empower infertile women by providing treatment so they can bear children as part of their human rights.

“But, for those who cannot be treated anymore, Merck More Than a Mother’s initiative ‘Empowering Berna’ helps to train them to establish their own small business so that they can be independent and re-build their own lives’’.

Kelej also said that the foundation also worked with local singers, film-makers, media partners and fashion designers to raise awareness to break the stigma of infertility.

“These initiatives are very important for Nigeria since it is the hub of art and fashion, I cannot wait to explore these beautiful talents and work closely with them.

“The aim is to sensitise our communities that women are more than just mothers and men are more than just fathers.

“It takes both a man and a woman to have a child,’’ she said.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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World Environment Day: Society urges Nigerians to protect planet earth



The President, Nigerian Environmental Society (NES), Dr Dorothy Bassey, on Saturday called on Nigerians to take ownership of the environment and protect planet earth.

Bassey made the call in Lagos, in the course of a  virtual celebration of the 2020 World Environment Day (WED) with the theme: “Celebrating Biodivesity’’.

According to her, every June 5, people worldwide are reminded of their individual rights to rise and become agents of transformation.

“This year’s theme is Biodiversity. Biodiversity and habitat loss have reached cataclysmic levels that today is the day, not tomorrow to focus on its effects and dangers if not stemmed.

“Human activities such as deforestation, intensified agriculture for food security, and industrialisation have pushed nature and the planet beyond its carrying capacity.

“The continued loss of millions of species going into extinction will lead to consequences humans are not yet focusing on.

“May the consequences of extinction not catch mankind unawares as COVID-19 did.

“We are ob the precipice of environmental collapse and crisis,’’ Bassey said.

The NES president said that the future generation expected “us to Think, Act and Sustain the environment”, adding, “we should not fail them”.

According to Bassey,  the world environment day is the largest global celebration for pragmatic environmental actions, where countries are brought together to commit to their responsibilities toward the earth.

Edited By: Abigael Joshua/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)


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World Environment Day: Nigerians must recognise interdependence of all lives on earth – CSOs



Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet), a coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs), has called on Nigerians to collectively recognise the interdependence of all lives on earth.

Dr Ibrahim Choji, Chairman, Board of Trustees of CSDevNet, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Saturday.

Choji spoke in commemoration of the 2020 World Environment Day (WED).

NAN reports that the WED is celebrated annually on June 5 and the theme for 2020 is “Celebrate Biodiversity”.

Choji said that biodiversity was the foundation that supports all lives on land and below the water.

“It affects every aspect of human health, providing clean air and water, nutritious foods, scientific understanding and medicine sources, natural disease resistance and climate change mitigation.

“Changing, or removing one element of this web, affects the entire life system and can produce negative consequences.

“Human actions, including deforestation, encroachment on wildlife habitats, intensified agriculture and acceleration of climate change have pushed nature beyond its limit,’’ he said.

According to him,  the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the fact that, when we destroy biodiversity, we destroy the system that supports human life.

CSDevNet believes this year’s WED represents a call upon our collective conscience as Nigerians to be guided by the shared misery caused by the recent global pandemic.

“It also recognises the fragile linkages that human health and existence have with nature.

“The naked realities of the economic and social insecurity we are faced with has never been more obvious.

“If we still fail to see the connection between human health, human rights, human progress with nature now, then we open ourselves to an even more ominous future.’’

He added that Nigeria was blessed with natural elements, but that in its drive to industrialise and develop, a pathway was adopted which had led the country to where it is today.

“That is the rapidly changing climate laced with extreme indicators of poverty.”

According to him, to find our way back to the days of our flourishing flora, fauna and wide vegetation types, we must all continue to find ways to co-exist with nature.

He said that federal, state and local governments must ensure all remaining wild spaces are protected; implement efficient systems of waste management and adopt a circular economy.

Choji added that Nigerian government must ensure the observance of strong environmental impact assessments, implementation of all environmental guidelines and norms across sectors, especially extractive activities in coal, oil and gas.

“We must begin to build green infrastructure and support green enterprises as a pathway to a cleaner, healthier future,’’ he said.

The activist told NAN that the private sector needed to account for the environment in supply chains and financing, and adopt green measures.

“As civil societies and individuals, we need to rethink what we buy and use, and manage our consumption of all resources responsibly.

“Our youths must become committed gatekeepers of a green future.

“The quality of our lives and the survival of our population is dependent on these actions.

“As we work to build back our economy, let us not forget the cost of losing our fragile ecosystems that provide us good health, clean air, water and food,’’ he said.

He told NAN that economic growth could no longer be achieved at the cost of ecological imbalance.

“Well-balanced ecosystems, rich in biodiversity is fundamental to human existence, health, peace and progress.

“It is time to for us to wake up; this world environment day is time for nature,’’ he added.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Nigeria, India deepen bilateral defence cooperation



The Nigerian Government and India have moved to deepen the existing mutually beneficial bilateral Defence Co-operation at ministerial levels between the two countries.

The Special Assistant to the Minister of Defence on Media and Publicity, Mr Mohammed Abdulkadri, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.

Abdulkadri said that the indications to this move emerged during the India’s High Commissioner, Abhay Thankur, courtesy call on the Minister of Defence,  Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (Rtd), in his office.

He said that while hosting the Indian High Commissioner to NIgeria, Magashi raised the issue of bilateral interest to the two countries.

He said the discussion between the representatives of the two countries was done behind closed doors.

”The highly classified and restricted matters that are strategic to common interest of the two countries were witnessed by Senior Military Officers and some Principal Personnel of the Ministry and the Indian Defence Adviser, Colonel Cachin Dubey.

“It is on record that the two countries Armed Forces enjoy Defence co-operation in the areas of training and exchange of Military programmes as captured in the Memorandum of Understanding,” he said.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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