Abuja, June 28, 2020 Otumba Olusegun Runsewe, the Director-General National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), says Nigeria has diverse cultural manifestations that offer opportunity for investment in tourism and other recreational services.
Runsewe said this at the end of the council’s weekly series, an online meeting with cultural stakeholders globally, to participate in touring Nigerian’s rich cultural heritage at the comfort of their homes.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja reports that the live streaming meeting was tagged: “Virtual Tour of Nigeria as Cultural Therapy”, with participants linking up across the globe.
The display for the cultural tour was centred on six states representing the geo-political zones of the federation, including Akwa-Ibom, Bauchi, Ekiti, Enugu, Kebbi and Niger as well as the 2019 International Arts and Culture Expo.
According to the director-general, the essence of the weekly virtual meeting is to keep stakeholders engaged and to also make the sector viable during the period of global health emergency.
He further stated that the cultural tour was held in order to give opportunity for participants worldwide to tour Nigeria from the comfort of their homes, adding that it is the end of first series of the council’s online meetings.
“Rather than keep the sector idle, the virtual meetings were developed to get the views and opinions of experts, members of the diplomatic community, industry players on emerging trends and how to reposition the sector to mitigate the effects of post COVID-19.
“Nigeria have rich diverse cultural manifestations which offer great opportunity for investment in tourism and other recreational services.
“COVID-19 is like rain fall and it gives us an opportunity to think outside the box, to also come up with this virtual cultural tour which serves as a therapy and a rain jacket for the pandemic.
“The online cultural tour is made up of two parts; the Executive Summary and an array of cultural manifestations across the states of the country.
“The executive summary showcases Ikot Abasi in Akwa-Ibom State, of South-South Nigeria; Tafawa Balewa Tomb in Bauchi, in North-East part; Ikogosi Warm Spring in Ekiti the South-Western of the country.
“Others are Leje Iron Smiting Kingdom in Enugu State in South-East; Kanta Museum in Kebbi State in the North-West and Military Cemetry Zungeru in Niger State in North-Central Nigeria,” he said.
Runsewe also said that the virtual cultural tour would be used as a template for the forthcoming National Festival of Arts and Culture, which is scheduled for October in Jos later this year.
He added that Plateau would be the first to experience NCAC’s Drive in Live Theater festival so as to maintain social distancing order of COVID-19.
NAN reports that participants on the online meeting applauded the director-general for setting up a platform that allowed them to see and connect to Nigeria in a short while.
They also noted that inclusion of fashion and entertainment industry was paramount in projecting the nation’s culture, saying showcasing its clothing, fabrics and movies will give an indepth narrative of the country’s rich cultural heritage.
Edited By: Saidu Adamu/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
WASCE: Nigeria’s non-participation will cause irreparable damage – Afe Babalola
The Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, (ABUAD), said this in a statement on Tuesday in Ado Ekiti.
He said that the decision by the government would particularly cause irreparable damage to students sitting for 2020 West African Schools Certificate Examination (WASCE).
He said about 1.5 million Nigerian students, who had registered for admission into various tertiary institutions in the country were earnestly waiting for WASCE results to get admission into universities of their choice.
“Even though the Minister of Education insisted that it was not safe to re-open the various institutions in the face of the increasing wave of COVIDI-19 pandemic, he did not indicate when it will be safe for Nigerian students who have been staying at home since March 23 to participate in the annual examination.
“When will COVID-19 disappear?: To be sure, it will be with us for a long time to come. Like Small Pox, Malaria, Influenza, flu, Leprosy and Cholera, it may not be completely exterminated from planet earth.
“That means that Nigerians have to manage COVID-19 pandemic the same way as the world has been managing previous pandemics,” he said.
“From history, pandemics had been tackled over the ages by relying on social distancing, which Nigeria has embraced and is practising. This has been applied to churches, mosques, weddings and many elections in Nigeria. Why not WASCE?
“It is my firm belief that the future of these 1.5 million young Nigerians, who have registered for WASCE should not be put in jeopardy.
“It is a known fact that all schools, colleges and tertiary institutions in the country are currently shut down. This affords the Federal Government the opportunity to use them for WASCE halls.
“What the government should do is to prepare the empty rooms for WAEC examination – fumigate the halls and the premises, use face mask, provide sanitiser and ensure that WHO rules are obeyed to the letter,” he said.
According to him, the WAEC Law provides for a National Committee of WAEC in all the five-member countries.
He suggested that the matter should be taken up by the National Committee of WAEC in Nigeria and the general body in Ghana before the declaration to withdraw Nigeria from taking the examination.
“One continues to wonder why the other four countries under the WAEC umbrella have not cancelled the WASCE in their respective countries.
“Are the other four countries not affected by COVID-19? What steps have the other countries taken, which would enable them to take WAEC examination, which we cannot take?
“Why is Nigeria the only country out of five that is pulling out of the annual examination? Are we saying that other four countries do not appreciate the lives of their students?
“Did the Minister take into consideration the moral and legal implication of Nigeria as a signatory to WAEC laws or the effect of such unilateral declaration of withdrawal,” he said.
Babalola said what was required to take the WAEC examination was proper management, consultation and discussion instead of unilateral cancellation of annual international convention.
He said if the Federal Government insisted that there would be no WASSCE this year, the students would not lost one calendar year but lost an integral part of their entire lives, which had gone forever by such declaration.
“We should always remember that after all, “time is life and life is time.
“A year of idleness for 1.5 million people may breed frustration and promote criminality.
“The Federal Government should allow the WASCE to take place in the empty spaces, which are wasting away in our tertiary institutions, secondary schools and elementary school, which can conveniently accommodate them with a lot of social distancing and due compliance to WHO rules,” he said.
Edited By: Joe Idika/Felix Ajide (NAN)
Buhari won’t fail Nigerians on anti-graft war, says Presidency
President Muhammadu Buhari will not be deterred by baseless criticisms by the opposition in his determination to eradicate chronic corruption in Nigeria in his capacity as the African Union continental anti-corruption champion.
The president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, made the statement on Tuesday when he fielded questions from State House correspondents in Abuja.
Shehu said the volume and reach of the anti-corruption crusade had so far, reflected what the PDP left behind.
“Corruption became so normalized by the PDP that they had difficulty defining what is corruption and theft,” he stated.
The spokesman lauded Buhari’s determination to end corruption in Nigeria.
“The large number of cases, new and old, may appear to be daunting but PDP, which is now heckling the president has forgotten that the party bequeathed this to the current administration.
”They had large number of cases they did not investigate and prosecute.”
Shehu also warned the PDP to allow the process of investigation and prosecution to work, instead of being preemptive about ongoing cases and unduly agitating the public.
He expressed his optimism that the judiciary would deal with the cases swiftly and satisfactorily in a manner that would deter other would-be offenders.
“The current administration is handling many of the cases that the PDP should have dealt with and the new ones as they arise,” Shehu said.
Edited By: Silas Nwoha (NAN)
FG evacuates 590 Nigerians from UK, 305 from Dubai
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, has said that 590 stranded Nigerians have been successfully evacuated from the United Kingdom (UK) and are expected to arrive Abuja and Lagos on Tuesday.
Onyeama disclosed this in his twitter handle @GeoffreyOnyeama, on Tuesday, as he gave an update on the evacuation process.
The minister also confirmed the evacuation of 305 other Nigerians from Dubai United Arab Emirates (UAE), via @Emirate Airline.
The evacuees from Dubai are reported to have arrived the country through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
“590 Nigerian evacuees have departed Gatwick North Terminal, #UK on Air Partner UK.
“261 passengers departed at 1.00 p.m for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, while 329 passengers departed at 1.30 p.m for Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
“All evacuees will then proceed on the 14-day self isolation,” Onyeama twitted.
Onyeama also gave an update on the fifth evacuation of Nigerians stranded in the United States in a statement signed by the Consulate General of Nigeria in Atlanta, United States.
According to the statement, Ethiopian Airline Flight Number ET 507, will depart George Bush International Airport, Houston, Texas on Friday, July 31, 2020 at 4:00pm.
It stated that the flight would be expected to arrive the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos, on Saturday, August 1, 2020, at 8:00pm.
“In this regard, all prospective evacuees duly registered with any of the three Nigerian missions in the USA can purchase their one-way tickets through www.ethiopianairlines.com.
“The air fare is USD 1,500 for economy class and USD 3,000 for business class for adult/child, including all taxes, with the usual percentage reduction for infants under two years,” the statement read.
Edited By: Debo Oshundun and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)
Israel records second direct flight from Nigeria
The State of Israel on Tuesday recorded second direct flight from Nigeria, which is described as another milestone in the 60 years of bilateral relations between the two countries.
Kreiman said that 45-passengers that boarded the flight from Nigeria to Israel included Israelis, Nigerian diplomats and citizens on medical urgent matters.
“Forty five Israelis and Nigerians are flying out of Nigeria, and on the plane returning, we have 75 passengers coming back to Nigeria including Nigerian diplomats returning home,” he said
According to him, the flight is put together through the help of the Chairman, Air-Peace, Allen Onyema and the Israeli companies in Nigeria.
Kreiman said: “For us, this is a special celebration; we are doing 60-years celebration of the relationship between Israel and Nigeria.
“We hope to see all the direct flights coming up soon; where tourists, students, Christians and Muslims can come and visit Israel.
“And, they can go directly on easy, cheaper and faster way; this is what it means to us,” he said.
He noted that a 16-year-old Nigerian student in need of special medical treatment in Israel for blood donation over brain problem was also on-board of the flight.
“The student’s family member was found as suitable blood donor, therefore his inclusion in chattered flight by Israeli company, as special guest to Israel, to save his life,” he said.
He noted that Israel, during the pandemic donated facemasks to doctors and nurses through partnership with the Ministry of Health.
He added that palliative was also donated to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)Mosques and orphanages in collaboration with ChabadAid.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Nigeria Women Football League loses board member
The NWFL Chairperson, Aisha Falode, who disclosed this in a statement, said the respected journalist died during a brief illness.
“It’s a sad day for women football in Nigeria and indeed in Africa.
“The management of the NWFL and the family of Ukaigwe, with deep sorrow and total submission to the will of God, announce the passing away of our board member and renowned sports journalist, Henrietta Ukaigwe.
“She left us this morning after a brief illness. The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has been duly notified and we shall be sending further information,”she said.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso and Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
Reps to investigate mass resignation in Nigerian Army
356 soldier which is a battalion, serving in the northeast and other theatres of operations wrote to the chief of army staff asking for voluntary retirement from the force and citing loss of interest as reasons for their retirement,” he said.
The legislator said that military sources have attributed these massive resignations to loss of morale, unimproved allowances, mass casualties in the hands of Boko Haram terrorists.
Monguno said that the sources blamed it on lack of intelligence apparatus and fighting equipment’s as well as poor welfare packages for soldiers and their families by the army authorities.
He said rather than addressing the challenges the Chief of Army staff via a 17-page circular and signed by Brig. -Gen. T.E Gagariga graciously approved the voluntary retiremerit of a battalion of aggrieved soldiers in one swoop.
He said if the situation is not brought under control by nipping the influx of abled ex-army officers into the society without job security, it may become a serious security threat.
According to him, it is an impending military mutiny that may imperil our democracy hence the need to urgently tackle this impending menace.
Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, mandated the Committee on Army to investigate the allegations and report back in one week for further legislative actions.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
TradeDepot secures additional $10m to transform informal supply chain in Nigeria
TradeDepot, a B2B eCommerce platform for consumer goods in Africa, on Tuesday sait it had secured additional $10 million to transform the informal retail supply chain in Nigeria.
It explained that the additional $10 million was raised during a pre-Series B equity round, co-led by Partech, International Finance Corporation Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi)and MSA Capital.
It said that TradeDepot would use the new investment to continue its integration of the fragmented informal retail supply chain in Nigeria.
It said it would also expand into other African cities and launch a suite of financial products and credit facilities to support its retailers.
According to the statement, since its launch in 2016, TradeDepot has built a network of more than 40,000 micro retailers in Nigeria, working with global distributors and manufacturers including Nestlé, Unilever, GB Foods and Danone.
It said that through its services, household supplies, such as milk, soap, detergent and other essentials became more accessible and affordable for the informal urban retail networks it operated in.
According to the statement, retailers order and pay for goods using TradeDepot mobile apps, USSD or a toll-free number to have them deliver directly to their stores via the company’s fleet of vans and tricycles.
It said that retailers could also order stock and manage their inventory online, with a number of ways to pay, including digital payments and cash.
The company said that by working with them, retailers across Nigeria had increased their revenue and improved their business outcomes as a result of better access to products for their stores.
It said that as a result of using data and analytics to inform better retail decision making at each stage of the supply chain, it had recorded considerable growth since its launch.
TradeDepot noted that it had also tripled its volume of trade in the last 12 months.
Commenting, Onyekachi Izukanne, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of TradeDepot, said: “We are excited to strengthen our team and welcome on board incredible strategic investors and partners, as we double down on our mission to digitise and simplify retail distribution for the continent.
“Africa’s offline retail market is estimated at one trillion dollars and this new investment allows us to capture an even greater segment of that market.
“We will continue to use data to drive efficiencies and provide an easier stock acquisition service for our 40,000 plus retailers, driving down costs for them by negotiating even better deals with our global manufacturing partners.
“In a bid to help retailers grow their businesses, TradeDepot is set to launch a suite of financial products and credit facilities.
” Many retailers do not have the collateral that banks demand but, by leveraging their trading relationship with TradeDepot, retailers can access the funds they need to buy more goods, scale their businesses and generate more revenue,” he said.
Wale Ayeni, Head of Africa Venture Capital Investment at IFC, in his comment described TradeDepot as a rising star in the African internet landscape.
He added that it had helped digitise a substantial underserved informal retail segment which was the pillar of economic growth in Africa.
Also, Hanh Nam Nguyen, Programme Manager, commenting on behalf of IFC as implementing partner of We-Fi, said: “Women play a pivotal role in driving economies across Africa.
The programme manager added that lack of access to capital, limited market linkages, cultural norms and other challenges often presented them from achieving the success they wanted.
According to Nguyen, We-Fi financing would incentivize TradeDepot to build stronger women-led small and medium enterprises (SME), retailer and distributor networks, which would support them to become drivers of economic growth in their communities.
Edited By: JaneFrances Oraka/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Coronavirus: Nigerian Breweries donates palliatives to journalists in Imo
Aniukwu also said that the gesture was part of the company’s corporate social responsibility.
He said Nigerian Breweries was aware of the huge role journalists played in society, adding that no amount of gift would be enough as compensation for their roles.
According to him, journalists play a frontline role in the curtailment of COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are not unaware of your role in society, especially during this period of COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is our second phase of giving palliatives in Imo, and this time, we want to touch lives directly and we consider journalists as very relevant in this second phase.
Responding, the Chairman of the chapel, Mr Steve Uzoechi, commended the company for the gesture.
“We are happy that you have remembered us today and your palliative donation came at the right time.
“Not quite everybody knows that journalists are doing great job in the country, but we are happy that your company is aware of our role,” Uzoechi said.
Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Ejike Obeta (NAN)
Coronavirus taking preference over other medical conditions- Concerned Nigerians
They expressed their concern in separate interviews in Abuja on Tuesday with the News Agency of Nigeria and urged the relevant stakeholders to intervene in ensuring that other diseases are giving the desired attention.
Madam Alice Adesua, a lady living with a medical condition, said that the government and other related agencies should always consider the implication on the neglect of other diseases.
“Government should have a rethink over this because most people that were affected with the virus and lost their lives are with one underlying ailment or the other.
“You can imagine the number of people at the grassroots that are affected with other medical conditions without adequate attention and treatments for them’’ she said.
A patient at the Asokoro General Hospital, Abuja, said on condition of anonymity that the outbreak of COVID-19 had affected his tuberculosis treatment at the hospital because according to him, he is not getting adequate attention.
He said that it was unfortunate that attention of the medical personnel had been diverted from the fight against tuberculosis and other ailments to COVID-19.
Omitowoju emphasized that the government need to invest in the management of the over-all wellness of citizens.
He noted that in view of the pandemic, government at all levels should henceforth give adequate priority to the health sector in terms of competent health workers that would ensure supervision of the sector.
Mrs Abike Ojuawo, another resident of Abuja, noted that she was diabetic and since the outbreak of COVID-19, her hospital had not been doing enough to give her adequate attention, as most focus had been on COVID-19.
She advised that hospital managements must be alert and open to new ways of delivering and receiving healthcare because.
Mrs Maureen Ogbona, a young mother, noted that the government should not allow the situation to get worsen as the pandemic had taken toll and interruptions in routine immunisation services in many hospitals.
She said government must act fast and do all things possible within its powers to prevent children from becoming victims of this development due to inability to access vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, cough and diphtheria, among others.
Ogbona said there had been interruptions in routine immunisation services at almost all the government hospitals for the fear of contacting COVID-19.
She said that catch-up measures must be taken as quickly as possible and found new and innovative ways of reaching nursing mothers to ensure that most children would not miss their immunization.
Ogbona, however, advised mothers to always make adequate efforts in ensuring that they catch up as quickly as possible for every single dosage that they missed and to protect their babies from diseases that are preventable.
Most of them therefore called on government to strengthen all the health sector as it has strengthened the COVID-19 response with the volunteer programme that has brought additional hands on deck.
NAN reports that Nigeria detected COVID-19 in February, becoming the first to do so in sub-Saharan Africa.
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19)in Nigeria continues to record significant increase as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reveal that Nigeria has 33,153 confirmed cases.
Out of this, 13,671 cases have been discharged and 744 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
A total of 183,294 tests have been carried out as of July 13.
Edited By: Hawa Lawal/Kayode Olaitan (NAN)
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