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Minister says 1,759 artisanal mining sites identified across the country



Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development says about 1,759 artisanal and small scale mining sites have so far been identified across the country.

He said this on Friday in Ado-Ekiti at the closing of the 3rd National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development (NCMMRD) conference.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the theme of the three-day conference was: “Nigeria Minerals and Metal Sector: Spectrum for Investment Opportunities for Economic Growth and Development”.

The minister, however, said that in the area of poverty eradication, the ministry had engaged other major stakeholders to ensure the formalisation of artisanal miners into cooperative groups for easy management and access to financial support and commodity market.

“In this regards, a total of 1,759 artisanal miners and small scale mining sites have so far been identified across the country.

“With consistent intervention by the Federal Government through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, 1,346 artisanal mining operators have been drawn into forming registered artisanal mining cooperativesa,” he said.

This, the minister said, was to ensure that they accessed small scale mining licenses, adding that each of the 1,346 mining cooperatives comprised over ten members with additional 20 mines workers for each cooperatives.

Adegbite said the artisanal and small scale miner’s government formalisation policy was an instrument of poverty alleviation, employment and job creation.

He said that some of the artisanal operators had however, scaled up their operations and transformed into small-scale mining firms and were operating within valid mineral titles.

The minister said 1that to ensure that artisanal miners had access to market through the formal economic system, government had initiated the establishment of Private Mineral Buying Centres.

Accordin to him, the ministry has so far issued registration certificates to 253 of such centres across the country.

Adegbite expressed optimism that the resolution taken at the end of the conference would be actualised soon for the development of the country’s mining and sector.

The minister who was impressed with the progress made with the previous resolutions from the council meetings, stressed that with legislative support, the sector would witness remarkable achievements.

Also speaking, Oba Adebanji Alabi, Chairman Ekiti State Council of Obas, and the Alawe of Ilawe, appealed to the Federal Government to continue to create a conducive atmosphere for miners across the country.

He said Ekiti State and the country generally, had abundant mineral resources which had been neglected in most cases.

Adegbite assured that the state traditional council was ready to provide necessary support for prospective investors to succeed in the state.

The traditional ruler, however, added that government should look critically into issues of environmental degradation occasioned by illegal mining in parts of the country.

NAN reports that NCMMRD is the highest decision-making body on policy matters on mining and mineral resources development in the country.

Discussions at the conference focused on strategies for sustainable mining and value addition, addressing security challenges in the sector and how to foster synergy among the three tiers of government, among others.

Most of the stakeholders, however, said there was the need for the Federal Government to review the country’s Mining Act.

NAN also reports that the conference which was hosted by the Ekiti State Government, reviewed current trends in the mining and solid mineral sector and proffered ways of moving it forward.

Stakeholders in the mining sector from the 36 states of the federation attended the three-day conference.

Other attendees included states commissioners and permanent secretaries in charge of mining and mineral resources in the states, academia, private sector, security agencies and the legislature.

Edited by Ese E.  Ekama



BiH’s security minister resigns




Fahrudin Radoncic, minister of security of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), announced his resignation at a live-streamed video conference on Tuesday.

Addressing the reasons for his resignation, Radoncic said his position on issues such as migrant has no support from other members of the government, and his proposed plan to handle the migrant issue was actively opposed by his partners at the Council of Ministers.

Radoncic has been calling for the urgent deportation of all migrants. But Radoncic‘s plan was criticized by Sefik Dzaferovic, chairman of the BiH Presidency, and Bisera Turkovic, BiH‘s minister of foreign affairs.

After the closure of the so-called Balkan route thanks to the European Union (EU)-Turkey agreement in March 2016 to stem the migrant influx, migrants poured into BiH. According to the official statistics of BiH, some 8,000 migrants are currently stranded in the country.


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South Sudan’s minister of East African Affairs dies




South Sudan’s minister of East African Affairs in the current unity government, John Luk Jok has died, a government spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday.

Michael Makuei Lueth, minister of information and broadcasting, described the deceased as a liberator and scholar who helped write the country’s Constitution in 2011.

“It was this Tuesday morning when I received a telephone call and informed that brother John Luk Jok has passed on. So it is true that it has happened,” Makuei told Xinhua in Juba.

He said there was no official confirmation of the cause of the death.

“We have lost a great man who contributed a lot in a liberation struggle and after liberation. He had ever been a servant of people, and with his death, we have lost a great man,” said Makuei.


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General news

UK Prime Minister hosts global vaccine summit June 4



The British High Commission in Nigeria says the UK Prime Minister will host a Global Vaccine Summit on June 4.

The commission,  in a statement on Tuesday, said that the summit would  bring together, leaders from around the world to a virtual event to pledge their support to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

It said the aim was to further  protect  300 million children against infectious diseases like measles, typhoid and polio.

According to the commission, the global vaccine summit aims to raise at least 7.4 billion US Dollars to help Gavi save up to 8 million lives.

It said that the UK would continue its global leadership on tackling preventable deaths and stopping the spread of the Coronavirus.

According to the statement, the UK is proud to be Gavi’s leading donor, and on April 29,  the International Development Secretary pledged the equivalent of 330 million Pounds a year over the next five years from the aid budget to protect 75 million children from preventable diseases.

It said that Gavi was a crucial partner in the fight against infectious diseases globally, including Coronavirus.

The commission said that with the support of UK Aid, Gavi had immunised over 760 million children in the world’s poorest countries, saving more than 13 million lives.

According to the commission, between 2000 and 2023 Gavi has committed over 3 billion US dollars alone to Nigeria to combat diseases like Measles, Meningitis and Yellow Fever.

Speaking on the upcoming Summit, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing said: “Producing a vaccine for COVID-19 is a priority for the UK government as this will help save lives in Nigeria and globally from the deadly virus.

“Gavi is already working hard with partners to ensure any future vaccine that is safe and effective is delivered at scale around the world.

We welcome Gavi’s partnership with Nigeria over the years, which has helped to fight diseases such as yellow fever, meningitis and measles by improving immunisation rates and strengthening the health systems across the country.

“I welcome the international recognition Nigerians have received for their role in supporting the global effort to find a cure and stop the spread of the Coronavirus.

” Gavi’s has also given recognition to the Nigerian Public Health and Health Promotion Specialist, Dr Obinna Ebirim, for his tireless and passionate advocacy for equitable access to vaccines and sustainable immunisation financing in Nigeria,” Laing said.

Commenting on the upcoming summit, Health Promotion Specialist, Dr Obinna Ebirim said:

“Gavi is known to supporting health systems by ensuring  that vaccines get to the last mile where they are used to vaccinate children and prevent diseases.

“As we move toward the Global Vaccine Summit to be hosted by the United Kingdom, I call on countries and donors to support the work Gavi is doing, ” Ebirim said.

He said that supporting Gavi meant assisting vaccination programmes in poor and remote communities around the world including Nigeria.

“ One of the things we have learnt from COVID-19 pandemic is that what affects the health of one country affects the health of everyone, ” Ebirim said.

He noted that the UK had committed an additional 20 million Pounds through the African Union’s new ‘Africa anti-COVID -19 fund’ to recruit and deploy health experts where they were needed most, to tackle the pandemic.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide (NAN)




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Police arrest suspect over threats against Israeli prime minister



Israeli police on Tuesday said it arrested a suspect over alleged threats against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on social media.

The Police’s national cyber unit identified the suspect as a 21-year-old man from northern Israeli.

According to Israeli news outlet ynet, the suspect is an Israeli soldier, and was set to appear before a court in central Israel on Tuesday.

“A few days ago I filed a complaint with the police about a series of threats to kill me and my family,” Netanyahu wrote on Twitter on Monday.

“Today, to my regret, I was forced to file another complaint against a despicable person who detailed how he plans to kill me and my family,” he added, attaching a screenshot of a threat against him.

The screenshot included a suggestion to behead the Netanyahu family and hang their bodies from the balcony of the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem.

In May, police said Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s son, had filed complaints over threats and incitement against him.

In recent weeks, Netanyahu has been the subject of protests both for and against him, as his corruption trial began last week, making him the first sitting prime minister in the country’s history to stand trial.

Israel’s longest-serving prime minister was officially indicted on bribery, fraud and breach of trust in January.

Following three general elections in less than a year, Netanyahu was sworn in last month as the head of an emergency unity government including his Likud party and the centrist Blue and White Alliance of his former main rival Benny Gantz.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Bosnian interior minister quits amid fights on migration, corruption



Bosnian Interior Minister Fahrudin Radoncic has resigned because he is unhappy with the country’s migration policy and because there is opposition to investigating the purchase of faulty respirators for the COVID-19 outbreak.

Radoncic told on Tuesday that top officials, including chief diplomat Bisera Turkovic, “do not understand and identify the security threat’’ that the migrants, massing in Bosnia for an attempt to cross into EU-country Croatia, pose.

According to the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, there are at least 7,200 migrants stranded in Bosnia, the vast majority of them along the border with Croatia in the north-west.

“The crowd remains persistently large, with the central government doing virtually nothing to resolve the problem, leaving everything, from overcrowded shelters to security to be arranged by municipal authorities,” he said.

Radoncic has been vocal with warnings that extremists may be hiding within the crowd.

He also told Klix that elements of the government also blocked his drive to fully investigate a 10.5 million Bosnian mark (6-million-dollar) acquisition of respirators, which turned out to be unusable.

The respirators were bought by the Bosniak-Muslim Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Radoncic accuses the Bosniak side of blocking the investigation to protect themselves.

Radoncic also said that the feuding between Bosniak, Serb and Croat parties  forced to work together under the complex administrative system set up in 1995 to end a war will continue blocking Bosnian institutions “for a long time.’’

The country was effectively split along Muslim Bosniak, Orthodox Serb and Catholic Croat ethnic lines to end bloodshed, with the hope that a system of checks and balances would build trust and develop shared Bosnian institutions.

However, ethnic leaders continued to push nationalist agendas and have, since the start, been blocking virtually any proposal made by their rivals, which leaves the central government with few options.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Felix Ajide (NAN)




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French economy likely to contract 11 pct in 2020 due to coronavirus: minister




The French economy, the second-largest in Europe, is expected to contract by 11 percent this year due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic as the nearly two-month lockdown had paralyzed businesses and hit demand, Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Tuesday.

The minister had previously estimated the French economy to shrink by 8 percent for 2020.

Growth in France in 2020, let’s say rather the recession — the term is more appropriate, will be at minus 11 percent,” Le Maire told French commercial radio network RTL.

The minister said “the toughest is ahead” because “the shock of the crisis has been extremely violent in France” and economic activities were at a halt for nearly three months.

On March 16, French President Emmanuel Macron announced nationwide confinement for 15 days, starting at noon on March 17. This was extended twice and ended on May 11, when France cautiously started a gradual process to return to normalcy, easing some restrictions while maintaining others to avoid a new epidemic wave.

“The shock is very brutal. We must take all the measures to relaunch growth in 2021. I have the absolute conviction that the strategy we have adopted will allow us to rebound strongly in 2021,” he added.

Le Maire ruled out an increase in taxes to compensate for a surge in public spending to mitigate the economic fallout of the pandemic. He reiterated that the government’s plan to kickstart the economy was based on massive support to the hardest-hit sectors to avoid bankruptcies and modernize ways of production to bolster competitiveness and spur growth.

Since May 11, France has step by step returned to normality, allowing most businesses to go back to work after a nationwide lockdown.

On Tuesday, which marks the start of the second phase of de-confinement, 300,000 restaurants and cafes are allowed to receive customers, allowing 500,000 workers in the sector to resume their work.

The French government had also greenlighted museums, parks, beaches and religious sites to reopen, while theatres and swimming pools remained shut down in “orange” areas where the virus circulates faster than in low-risk regions.


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Minister, Buhari’s Aide, others react as Majek Fashek dies in New York



The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo and Laurreta Onochie, an Aide to President Muhammadu Buhari have reacted to the death of the legendary Reggae star, Majek Fashek.

The Raggae star a.k.a rain maker, died after battling with cancer for nearly a year.

Mr Uzoma Omenka, his manager confirmed the news of his death on the singer’s Instagram page on Tuesday, adding that the Raggae Star also known as Rain Maker died at 11.45 pm on June 1, Nigerian time.

Omenka said the singer died in New York, where he was receiving treatment, adding that the doctors advised he should be moved close to his family, which informed his being moved to New York where his wife and three sons live.

He said contrary to insinuation that the Raggae legend died in London, he was moved from London to New York in September 2020 on the advice of the doctors that he should stay close to the family.

He said Majek was separated from his family for 10 years until last year when they were reunited on the advice of his doctors that he should be close to his family.

Majek was said to have died at age of 57 as he was born March 7, 1963.

However, the minister in a tweet said, ” R.I.P my big brother, Mr. Majekodunmi Fasheke (aka Majek Fashek), the ‘Rain Maker’ and extraordinarily gifted musician.

“They don’t make them like you anymore. Your remake of the song Hotel California remains one of my favorites and, of course, the ever green, Send Down the Rain!” Keyamo said.

Similar, Senator Shehu Sani inrin histhis reaction said, “some years ago I met Majek Fashek near a train station in New York before he returned to Nigeria, he was a shadow of the man many of us loved decades ago.

According to him, Majek rode through a rough and dangerous terrain in life, he tried to pick up and now is gone, he was an unforgettable legend.

Laurreta Onochie, an Aide to President Muhammadu Buhari said ” at last he rests, he escapes the life that held him captive.

According to her, h”escaped a world where talented people are milked till nothing is left; where no vice can touch him.

“But we won’t forget you as younger people, your music moved our feet and gladdened our souls, sleep well,” she said. 


Edited By: Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)

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French Finance Minister: Renault loan not signed yet, but should be soon



French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, said on Tuesday the government had not yet signed off on a planned five billion euro ($5.6 billion) loan for carmaker Renault, though he hoped the loan would be agreed soon.

Le Maire also told RTL radio he expected Renault to be “exemplary” in its talks with unions, regarding the likelihood of job cuts in France.

He also said that the government wanted Renault’s northern France sites to become “centres of excellence”.

On Sunday, Renault Chairman, Jean-Dominique Senard, said Renault had no plans to close its Maubeuge plant in northern France.

Last week, Renault announced 15,000 job cuts globally as part of a major restructuring. ($1 = 0.8984 euros)


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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FG’s economic stimulus package will reduce envisaged recession – Minister



Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, says the Federal Government Economic Stimulus package will reduce the envisaged recession due to the effects of COVID-19.

She said this during a defence session in Abuja on Monday held by the Senate Committee on Finance.

The session was held with heads of Nigeria’s revenue generating agencies on the revised 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).

Specifically on the likelihood of recession, Ahmed said that very clearly the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had been reduced because of the economic crisis that the nation found itself.

The ministerhowever said that Nigeria was not alone in this crisis.

“The global economy is predicted to be also slipping into recession. What we are hoping to do by our own collective efforts – the Executive and the National Assembly, is that we minimise how far we go into recession.

National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has made an assessment that we will go into recession to the level of four per cent.

“So, some of the work that the executive is doing is preparing a stimulus package as remedy, so that if it happens may be we are going into 0.5 per cent or 1 per cent but not going much lower.

“That is our unfortunate reality and the reality of the global economy,” the minister said.

The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Solomon Adeola, said that some of the new proposals may not be adopted as requested.

“Having listened with rapt attention to all presentations made by the Minister of Budget and National Planning and the questions asked regarding the MTEF and FSP, I believe that members of the Committee are satisfied with reasons being offered by the minister on why we have to go this direction at this point in time.

But Honourable Minister, we are still waiting for that Economic Stimulus grand document by the committee headed by the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, because what that document intends to do is to keep the economy going aftermath of COVID-19.

“Secondly, all related documents which we have requested as a committee ranging from the special accounts to the deficit document as explained by the DG Budget Office, it is expected that the documents get to us in no distant future,’’ Adeola said.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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