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National Park Service inaugurates committee to review charges – C-G



Alhaji Ibrahim Goni, the Conservator-General, National Park Service, has stressed the need to review rates charged by the service in line with the current realities in the country.

Goni said this at the inauguration of a 10-men committee to review the National Park Service Tariff on Wednesday in Abuja.

“Regrettably, many of the rates charged for services rendered to the public in our National Parks do not reflect the current realities as most of our tariffs have become obsolete.

“It is imperative, therefore, to update these tariffs and identify new revenue bases for the service to contribute meaningfully to government’s efforts, hence the need for the constitution of this committee,’’ he said.

According to the conservator-general, the committee is expected to take advantage of Information Communications Technology (ICT) to promote ease of doing business at the national parks.

“Rents on Government Properties, Earnings from Hire of Plants and Equipment and Earnings from the use of Government Hall amongst others.

“Your work should include a comprehensive appraisal of the various revenue generating activities, taking into consideration where we are coming from and where we want to be by developing a vision and setting attainable targets for all National Parks,’’ he said.

Goni said that with the dwindling fortunes from oil, government is now looking inwards for ways of cost reduction and how to revive the hitherto neglected sectors in a bid to diversify the economy.

According to him, the Federal Government also considered it necessary to introduce policies to block revenue leakages.

“These policies include the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Remita e-collection gateway and also the introduction of Executive Order No.1 to ease doing business in Nigeria.

“All these are geared towards raising the revenue profile of the country and ensuring that revenues generated are properly harnessed and utilised for the development of our dear nation’’.

He said that the National Park Service has already started to introduce measures aimed at plugging leakages at its revenue points by adopting Information Communication Technology (ICT).

Goni said that the service was planning to deploy Point of Sale (PoS) machines to the various parks and revenue centres to ease revenue collection and accounting.

The C-G, however, gave the committee up to August 15 to submit its report.

Alhaji Yakubu Kolo, the Assistant Conservator-General, Ecotourism and Chairman of the committee, stressed the need for more funding for the operations of the Service.

He also called on the management of the park to introduce children’s playground at the park headquarters as a way of  generating more revenue.

He, however, pledged full commitment of the committee members to accomplishing the task ahead of the committee.

“I want to assure you that all the members will work together to ensure that this tariff that is going to be reviewed will be to the benefit of the service and Nigeria at large.

“This is very key because we have to look inwards and ensure that all areas are covered and we will also look at the leakages and ways of blocking them,’’ Kolo said.

Mr Martins Omole, the Conservator of Park, Finance and Budget, had earlier urged the committee to ensure that the objective of the inauguration is fully achieved.

He said that the committee comprised technocrats and urged then to come up with a unified tariff to boost revenue generation of the parks.



‘Abe-Igi’ to wear new look – National Theatre management



Management of the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, says plans are in top gear to give Abe-Igi, the popular open bar and restaurant within the facility, a new look.
The Spokesperson of the National Theatre, Steph Ogundele, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the step was to make the place, noted for artistes’ convergence and public rendezvous, more attractive.
Ogundele said that upon completion, Abe-Igi would not only wear a new look, but will also be totally rebranded.
“It is part of the management’s plan towards a post-Covid-19 market development.
“The lockdown has created a good opportunity for us to attend to some proposals, the first and major concluded one being the rebranding of Abe-Igi, which will take off after the total ease of the lockdown.
“We have to take this bold step, because we want to upgrade the place by making it more attractive to artistes and users of the complex,” he said.
Ogundele, however, said that nothing had been put before the management of the theatre concerning the proposed facelift of the main edifice by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
this regard, no information has come to us till date. We heard about it last year November, just like you also did. So we are waiting to be officially informed,” he said.
According to him, the management will remain committed to bringing necessary measures to bear in order to make the environment more comfortable for users of the Abe-Igi and facilities.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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COVID-19 vaccine development requires international cooperation, say Israeli experts




International collaboration is vital to quickly producing a COVID-19 vaccine to save lives worldwide, say Israeli medical experts.

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, multiple groups of researchers around the world have been working hard to find the cure or treatment as early as possible.

Dina Ben-Yehuda, dean of the medicine school at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said one country could hardly achieve success single-handedly in the vaccine development.

“We need international collaboration to save the world. And I hope that nobody will forget it,” she stressed.

Ben-Yehuda praised China for transparency in sharing its research findings regarding the coronavirus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The fact that Chinese physicians and scientists felt a responsibility to publish everything, even the bad results, helped many people around the world and saved lives,” said Ben-Yehuda.

China shared the initial information about the virus DNA with all other countries so that every one of them could work on vaccines and treatments. This kind of collaboration should continue for the benefit of all humankind, according to the professor.

Oren Zimhony MD, head of the infectious diseases unit at Kaplan Medical Center, said the international collaboration now on creating a vaccine is stronger than ever.

There are approximately eight main directions taken to work out a vaccine for COVID-19. Such a variety of possibilities increased the odds of finding the right way to the desired result, according to Zimhony.

“The major game-changer to overcome this pandemic is vaccine development,” Zimhony said, who believes that the first clinical implications of the intense vaccine research will be available in six months.

Gili Regev-Yochay, director of the infection prevention control unit at Sheba Medical Center, believes that only a vaccine could stop the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

“It seems there is no proper treatment for COVID-19 disease patients, and the only effective global cure would be a vaccine,” she noted.

The biggest challenge in the work, according to Regev-Yochay, is to find a completely safe vaccine for everybody and a reliable way to deliver it to all kinds of people with different health situations.

“We need to be very cautious with vaccines. It’s much more complicated than clinical trials with the drugs,” stressed Regev-Yochay.

Many COVID-19 patients don’t have symptoms or have mild ones, “so we need to make sure we don’t inject them with vaccines, drugs, or chemicals that could do more harm than good,” she said.

International sharing of information could help researchers compare the effectiveness of different vaccines and speed up the progress of the development.

According to the statistics of the World Health Organization, currently more than 130 COVID-19 candidate vaccines are being developed worldwide, with about 10 of them being already in clinical evaluation.

Among the vaccine challenges is also its mass production for the use of all of humanity, which calls for global cooperation.

“We need to vaccinate billions of people around the globe. Better to do it before the upcoming winter to prevent the dangerous effect of dual infection of influenza and COVID-19,” said Zimhony.

Ben-Yehuda said she believes new technologies of computational medicine and international sharing of big data could help create personalized medicine for COVID-19 infection, as the virus affects people differently.


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Pakistan repatriates 51,593 nationals due to COVID-19: foreign ministry




Pakistan said on Thursday that a total of 51,593 nationals had been repatriated, who were stranded abroad due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Pakistan started repatriation of its nationals in March in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in different parts of the world.

As of June 3, 2020, a total of 51,593 Pakistani nationals have returned home so far through special flights and through land routes from different parts of the world,” spokesperson of the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs Aisha Farooqui said.

Giving details at the weekly press briefing, Farooqui said in the past few days, 2,558 Pakistani citizens were repatriated from Dubai, 653 from Saudi Arabia, 179 from Somalia, 51 from Egypt and Tunisia, 118 from Mauritania and Sierra Leone.

She said the foreign ministry and the country’s missions are continuing to facilitate and assist the Pakistani nationals across the world in order to bring them back to Pakistan safely and in a dignified manner.

“Our embassies and consulates are working round the clock in facilitating repatriation of our citizens back home, in accordance with a comprehensive repatriation plan devised in consultation with all stakeholders,” Farooqui said.

She said a special cell namely the Crisis Management Unit is working at the foreign ministry round the clock with a dedicated team to monitor the phased repatriation of Pakistanis across the globe in the wake of the rising threat of COVID-19.


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Tinubu describes Olumilua as servant leader committed to national unity 



A former governor of Lagos State, Sen. Bola Tinubu, has described Mr Bamidele Olumilua as a servant leaders who was passionate about the unity of the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the former old Ondo State governor died in the early hours of Thursday at the age of 80.

Tinubu, in a condolence message to the family of Olumilua on Thursday, said the deceased was a servant leader and an unrelenting Patriot.

He said Olumilua provided leadership and mentoring to many during the aborted Third Republic and thereafter.

“He believed in democratic principles and worked assiduously to advance them.

“I knew this about him because we were together in the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) and could attest to all he did to advance the course of democracy in the land.

“He ensured the will of the people triumphed.

“Olumilua was extremely loyal to his disciples,” Tinubu said.

He added that was why he had a large army of followers across not only the South-west but the entire country who believed in him and in what he represented.

“He was a brilliant man who was always bristling with noble and creative ideas about how to move the country forward.

“One remarkable thing also about the late Olumilua is that he was fiercely honest, almost to a fault of his,” Tinubu said.

The former Lagos State governor, who is a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) noted that as a governor of the old Ondo State, Olumilua ran a transparent and accountable government.

“Though, he was in office for a brief period of the aborted Third Republic, his contributions to the development of the old Ondo State was unmistakable.

Evangelist Olumilua died when his wisdom and counsel are still needed by many of us and the younger generation of politicians in the country,” he said.

Tinubu, however, expressed joy that the late former governor lived a fulfilled life and attained the ripe age of 80.

He said: “We have all lost an illustrious father and leader.”

Tinubu urged everyone, especially Olumilua’s family members, to emulate his life of selfless service to the people. 

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Felix Ajide (NAN)


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General news

Engineers, govts, other professionals should partner for national devt – Don



A Lecturer and Researcher at the University of Lagos, Dr Olanike Buraimoh, on Thursday called for collaboration among governments, engineers and other professionals to solve Nigeria’s developmental challenges.

Buraimoh of the university’s Department of Microbiology, made the remark at the 11th Olu Awoyinfa Distinguished Annual Public Lecture, induction of new engineers and presentation of scholarship awards in Lagos.

The event with the theme “Forming Uncommon Partnership: Solution to Challenges of Developing Nations”, was organised by the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Lagos.

Buraimoh said that microorganisms interacted with all elements within the environment and affected operations and activities in every field, hence the need for collaboration of other professionals with microbiologists to harness microbial benefits.

She highlighted the need for synergy between engineers and microbiologists, to avert most of the problems of environmental degradation causing building collapse and construction failure.

The lecturer made various illustrations on how microorganisms could cause degeneration of substances, chemical components, facilities and other installations because of the kind of materials disposed in the past on the portion of land.

“Chemically, microorganisms degrade chemicals, plastic or anything.

Almost 50 per cent of the challenges we have in Nigeria is because we have refused to reckon with microorganisms,” she said.

Buraimoh said that 80 per cent of microorganisms were beneficial to humans if put to the right use, listing some of the areas of benefit to include construction, agriculture, water, health, among others.

She said that the introduction of microorganisms to agricultural sector had improved production more than 60 per cent in Nigeria, without affecting food quality or chemical interference which could cause toxicity.

The guest speaker urged all fields of engineering to collaborate with microbiologists, to assist them in using microorganisms to deal proactively with microbial challenges slowing down innovations.

Buraimoh said that bio wastes were available in huge quality in Nigeria and could be used to produce most chemical inputs, needed locally to reduce importation and dependence on other nations.

She urged governments and other professionals to partner with the academia to commercialise several abandoned viable researches good enough to industrialise Nigeria.

“A sustainable collaboration must take place between the academia and the industries, ministries, governments and policy makers to foster evidence-based policy making.

“To understand how humans and other life forms on earth, including those who we are yet to discover, can withstand an anthropogenic climate change, it is vital to incorporate knowledge of microbial unseen majority.

“Microorganisms affect climate change including production and consumption of greenhouse gases.

“The impact of climate change will depend heavily on response of microorganisms, which are essential for achieving an environmentally-sustainable future,’’ she said.

Mrs Funmi Akingbagbohun, Chairman, Ikeja Branch, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), said the nation had a combination of several issues which required uncommon partnerships with other professionals to resolve.

Akingbagbohun said that the COVID-19 pandemic had further revealed the need for collaboration of the experts, to look for permanent solutions to Nigeria’s problems.

While delivering her opening speech, she eulogised the virtues of late Olu Awoyinfa.

Akingbagbohun said that Awoyinfa, who was celebrated nationally and globally, was passionate about the development and advancement of engineering in Nigeria.

She said that Awoyinfa, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 75, included annual awards for best graduating Chemical Engineering graduates of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in his will.

The Ikeja Branch NSE chairman said that the scholarship awards had been sustained and announced Miss Oluwatofunmi Adeniran as the 2020 beneficiary, being the best in her set.

Engineer Awoyinfa never became a chairman but we are celebrating him today because he was not looking for power; he focused on how to grow and mentor young engineers.

“Any nation that wants to grow requires engineers who are in every sphere of life solving societal problems,” she said.

Akingbagbohun commended his spouse, Mrs Abimbola Awoyinfa and her children, who had been supportive before and after the passing of the icon in all the series of the lecture.

This is the 11th of the series and Pa Awoyinfa enjoyed some of the series even when he was alive and because of the social distancing, we can accommodate only 20 in the hall and the others will have to join us online,’’ she said.

The Ikeja Branch NSE chairman boss challenged young engineers to strive to leave a legacy while highlighting the various efforts of the branch, to ensure commercialisation of researches of some young engineers.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Adeniran, best graduating Chemical Engineering student of OAU, received a N100,000.00 scholarship award while 21 new members were inducted into the Ikeja NSE.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)


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India pledges $15m to international vaccine alliance



Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday, pledged $15 million to “Gavi”, the international vaccine alliance, while participating in the virtual Global Vaccine Summit 2020, said an official statement issued by the PM office.

Addressing the summit, Modi said India stands in solidarity with the world in these challenging times.

Referring to Gavi, he said it is not just a global alliance but also a symbol of global solidarity and a reminder of that by helping others we can also help ourselves.

“India has a vast population and limited health facilities and that it understands the importance of immunization,’’ he added.

He also stated that India had digitised its entire vaccine supply line and developed an electronic vaccine intelligence network to monitor the integrity of its cold chain.

These innovations are ensuring the availability of safe and potent vaccines in the right quantities at the right time till the last mile, he said.


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Kyrgyzstan prepares for resuming international flights




Kyrgyzstan is preparing for the resumption of international flights, which was canceled amid COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s headquarters for the fight against coronavirus said on Thursday.

Airports in Kyrgyzstan are planned to be ready for international flights from June 15 and the resumption of international flights will be carried out by a separate decision of the country’s government, the statement said.

The headquarters noted that foreign and domestic airlines should provide their plans about when and how many times they will carry out their flights.

The health authorities of Kyrgyzstan also plan to take additional sanitary and quarantine measures at the airports to prepare for the resumption of international flights.

At the same time, in order to prevent the import of the virus, the Ministry of Health has proposed to introduce the requirements for the mandatory medical report confirming the absence of COVID-19 from passengers received 3-5 days before they fly to Kyrgyzstan.

Meanwhile, domestic flights in the country will be resumed from June 5.


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Palestinian National Council stresses ending agreements with Israel, United States




The Palestinian National Council (PNC) on Thursday reiterated the commitment to implementing the decision to disengage from all the agreements with Israel and the United States.

The PNC, the highest legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), convened in the West Bank city of Ramallah, stressing that the Palestinian leadership’s decision comes in defense of rights, said a PNC statement, published by the official Palestinian News Agency (WAFA).

“There is no alternative to ending the occupation and restoring the legitimate rights to freedom, independence and return,” said the statement.

The PNC warned that Israel’s policies and measures “reflect the determination of the Israeli government to continue occupying the lands of the Palestinian state, and dragging the region toward further deterioration and escalation.”

Furthermore, the PNC urged the ending of the internal division and restoring unity under the umbrella of the PLO, in order to confront the United States President Donald Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan and the Israeli annexation plans.


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Actors Guild set to eradicate sexual abuses in Nollywood —- National President



The National President of  the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Emeka Rollas, on Thursday said that he was comitted to eradicating all forms of abuses on actors in the Nollywood industry.

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Emeka Rollas, National President of AGN

Rollas told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that he had issued directives to Ronnie Dikko,

his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Sexual Harassment and Related Abuses, to open communication links on the issue.

“The recent revelation of alleged rape and sexual molestation on some individuals in the film industry is calling for serious attention and I must put an end to such an  abuse.

“It doesn’t speak well of us and of me  as the president of AGN, I must restore sanity into the Nollywood industry as part of my commitments toward  protecting my  members and the  image of this noble body.

“I have told my SSA to quickly open a special telephone line and an e-mail address through which the victims of this immoral act can reach out directly to the Guild.

” This wil  enable us seek redress and offer counseling process for complete healing to victims of sexual abuse,” he said.

He,  therefore , advised all victims of sexual abuse, molestations, financial demands and rape to make  the best use of the links to send their petitions and complaints to the guild.

He specifically directed victims to Ronnie Dikko who is the SSA and gave the  e-mail address as:

[email protected], or call 0705 397 5522 for direct information”.

According to him, the communication lines will be opened and all related matters will be treated with strict confidentiality and respect of victims.

Rollas also appealed to both seasoned and young  actors to feel free to speak out, promising that  their interests would  be protected.

Edited By: Josephine Obute/Peter Dada (NAN)


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