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Defence/Security

Nigerian Army renames South East operational exercise

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The Nigerian Army has announced the renaming of one of its annual training exercises code named, “Exercise Egwu Eke” to ‘Exercise Atilogwu Udo’.

The Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, announced this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

Iliyasu said that the annual training exercise, which commenced in 2016, had consistently recorded remarkable success since its inception.

He explained that the exercise, which covers the South East region of the country, was designed to combat criminal activities including kidnappings, armed robbery, inter-cult and communal clashes among other sundry crimes.

According to him, all other information relative to the Exercise as issued by the Army Headquarters remained unchanged.

“The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai wishes to reiterate the commitment of the Nigerian Army in protecting lives and properties of citizens particularly during these `Ember` months and the fast approaching Yuletide season.

“He also wishes to further solicit the support and understanding of all well-meaning Nigerians toward providing a well secured environment for all and sundry,” he said. (NAN)


OYS/GOM/IS

Edited by Gregg Mmaduakolam/Ismail Abdulaziz

Education

Experts urge Nigerians to embrace natural foods, proper hydration

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A Professor of Biochemistry at Lagos State University (LASU) has urged Nigerians to embrace natural foods and proper hydration to boost their immune system to fight against COVID-19.

Prof. Babajide Elemo made the call at the sixth LASU Virtual Public Lecture, entitled; “COVID-19: Effective Use of Science in Overcoming the Pandemic,” on Wednesday in Lagos.

He said that regular consumption of natural foods and balanced nutrition were part of the keys to stay free from contracting COVID-19 and any other diseases.

World Health Organization recently published a nutrition advice that people should eat fresh and unprocessed food, drink enough water, eat moderate amount of fat and oil, amongst others.

“Balanced diet and hydration are vital during COVID-19 pandemic, while nutrition status plays an important role in the functioning of the immune system,” Elemo said.

Dr Josephine Sharaibi, Lecturer, Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, LASU, said that absence of cure for COVID-19 necessitated that everyone consumed the right foods and herbs as a means of boosting the immune system against the virus.

Sharaibi said that plants were critical to both the prevention and eventual cure of the disease and advised participants on the responsible use of herbs and herbal medicines in their search for solution to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said that there were many local herbs which included ginger, garlic, tumeric and cinnamon that could be taken as immune boosters.

“There are also anti-malaria herbs such as moringa lucida (Brimstone tree), alstonia boonei (God’s tree), enantha clorantha (African whitewood) and the popular Dogonyaro tree, all of which can be used to treat symptoms of the virus.

“We should also regularly detoxify our system by taking herb drinks and natural fruit smoothies but avoid processed foods and as much as possible, stay natural,” Sharaibi advised.

Also speaking, Prof. Sunday Omilabu, Director, Centre of Excellence on Human and Zoonotic Virology, Lagos State Biobank, warned against unapproved testing process of COVID-19.

Omilabu said that till date, no serological testing platform had been licensed for COVID-19, and even when available, was not meant to replace the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction for diagnosis of the virus.

Prof. Richard Adegbola, Research Professor and Consultant, Nigeria Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, recommended three pronged approaches to prepare for future pandemics.

Adegbola said that the three approaches were consistent surveillance for data aggregation and trend monitoring; modelling for prediction and forecasting; and translation and research that turned basic research into health-improving products.

He said there was need for multidisciplinary approach to problem solving because research alone would not be enough to solve all science-related problems.

“Technology and other fields, have major roles to play in keeping our world together,” Adegbola said.


Edited By: Razak Owolabi/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Oil & Gas

Nigerian Content Board intervenes in NLNG, Macobarb N970m rift

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The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), has waded into the N970 million dispute between the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), and a Nigerian company, Macobarb International.
News Agency of Nigeria
gathered that the N970 million contractual dispute is being mediated by the NCDMB as reconciliatory meetings were held at NCDMB’s headquarters in Yenagoa.
Macobarb
wants to be paid about N970m by the NLNG for what it termed wrongful termination of a contract and value for downtime and equipment on site over a period of time.
Several organisations have made unsuccessful efforts to mediate in the dispute including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell, and Office of Attorney-General of the Federation amongst others.
NAN sources at NCDMB said the board got the complaint in October 2019 and invited both parties and the first sitting was held about Dec. 10, 2019 at the Yenagoa head office of the board.
A senior official of the board, Mr Alexis Emele, chaired the reconciliation meeting.
The source who participated in the talks said Macobarb asked for what it called ‘Standing Time Amount’ when the NLNG kept the company’s equipment and key personnel doing nothing on offshore contract for 559 days.
The Nigerian company said it calculated the claim with contract standing time rates to get N958 million, plus outstanding balance on turnstile and vehicle barrier Macobarb supplied the NLNG as part of the contract, all totaling N970m.
Macobarb
had complained to numerous organisations that it had been rated as a top performer in contracts with the NLNG until it was upgraded and awarded a Turnstile and Security contract in 2014.
The company said the contract’s biggest term was that there would be no mobilisation fee paid to Macobarb, but that every milestone achieved and approved would be paid for, failing which the defaulter would pay penalty.
The CEO of Macobarb, Mr Shedrack Ogboru, said that when it was time to pay the first batch, after all due technical approvals, one man in NLNG stopped payment without offering any reason.
He said the unwarranted development affected the job so badly that performance was impossible.
He said that he had taken loans from a bank to execute the early stages of the contract, only for payment to be stalled.
He expressed regret that the NLNG only turned round to terminate the contract, leading to protracted dispute.
The NLNG Management, led by Mr Tony Attah, had in a reaction said that the contract was terminated due to non-performance.
At the NCDMB brokered talks, the NLNG was said to have insisted that it terminated the contract on grounds of non-performance and paid the contractor the value of work done.
Macobarb was said to have rejected it, saying the terms of the contract were grossly violated by pushing the company into non-performance through non-payment of milestones achieved.
It was gathered that both sides tabled their positions and that the NCDMB asked them to report back on a date early in January 2020.
The NLNG was said to have disputed figures tabled by Macobarb but the mediators asked Macobarb to furnish the Board with the information itemising all outstanding claims being allegedly owed by NLNG on the contract.
The Board was said to have also asked the NLNG to revert with information concerning the status of payments on demobilisation for the contract and the 20ft container kept in their place by the contractor as part of the contract terms.
Macobarb expressed optimism that the matter would be resolved by the NCDMB instead of resorting to court so that other Nigerian companies affected in the contract could heave a sigh of relief.


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists lose more high ranking commanders, equipment to Nigerian troops

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The Boko Haram/Islamic States West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists have lost more high ranking commanders to Nigerian troops following a failed attack on troops’ location at Banki Junction and Firgi in Borno, recently.

The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

Enenche said that troops of Operation Lafya Dole (OPLD) on May 26, killed high ranking commanders of the Abubakar Shekau’s faction of the Boko Haram terrorist’ group during a counter attack against the terrorists.

He explained that the Boko Haram/ISWAP commanders that were killed include Manzar Halid, Amir Abu Fatima and Nicap among others with 72 fighters of the sect also neutralised in the attack.

According to him, others wounded with narrow chances of survival include some high profile commanders and fighters are, namelyamratu AL-Naweer, Kaka Bana and Tareta Babakari.

“Equally, a large number of their equipment including gun trucks, motorcycles and bicycles were destroyed by troops in collaboration with the Air Task Force during fighters’ withdrawal which was in disarray.

“Furthermore, credible information indicates  that the camp is in chaos and presently unable to conduct any offensive due to heavy losses.

“Additionally, the blockade of their spy routes, networks, crossing points and logistics supplies had further crippled the terrorists and limited their freedom of movement and action to the advantage of own troops.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, congratulates the gallant troops for their resilience, courage and dedication to ending the North-East security challenge.

The High Command of the Armed Forces of Nigeria hereby encourages all troops of OPLD to sustain the onslaught against the terrorists,” he said.


Edited By: Joseph Edeh and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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Education

Stakeholders advocate research management in Nigerian varsities for national development 

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Stakeholders in the education sector have stressed the importance of research management development in Nigerian universities as a tool for promoting national development.

According to the stakeholders, it will also ensure realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Prof. Ayodele Jegede, the Director, University of Ibadan Research Management Office (UI RMO) disclosed this in a statement in Ibadan on Wednesday.

Jegede in his reflection on the 10th anniversary of RMO as well as well as its achievements, said the help of collaborators was also worthy of note.

Also speaking, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, the Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan (UI), eulogised the pivotal role of RMO in the development of the institution and how it had opened a new chapter for the institution.

UI will professionalise research management in order to open up job opportunities in research administration.

“The university will digitise the research management system in order to ensure that the institution remains the choice brand for cutting-edge multinational institutional research collaborations.

“Considering the role of research in national development, government should channel resources to research management.

“As a properly organised research management system is a necessary condition for a nation to maximise the opportunities in the fourth industrial revolution and knowledge based economy.”

Also, Prof. Olufemi Bamiro, a former Vice Chancellor of the university, noted that multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary researches were veritable tools to address national development initiatives.

He, however, stressed the importance of the triple helix which involves government-academia-industry partnership as a powerful tool for achieving socio-economic development of nations.

“With the government facilitating the flow of research-driven knowledge and innovation from universities to the industrial space, the power of the triple helix toward the building of industrial competitiveness with the centrality of academia -universities and polytechnics – is illustrated by the case of Tshumisano Trust Agency of South Africa.

“This is being done through its funding of research-driven innovation for transfer to the target industrial sectors to improve competitiveness.

“Under the programme, universities and technicians in polytechnics are challenged by the government with industrial problems with research-driven solutions deployed to the relevant Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

“In a continual process of increasing the industrial competitiveness of these actors, significant results are being achieved under the scheme,” he said.

Bamiro said that there were a great number of researches from Nigerian universities that litter the system proudly displayed in research fairs with no takers to commercialise them.

He added that maximising the triple helix was the way forward and toward relevance of universities and problem solving.


Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Health

COVID-19: Expert urges Nigerians to adopt cashless payment systems

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A medical expert, Dr Chijioke Asogwa, has advised Nigerians to adopt cashless payment systems to keep and stay safe this period of COVID-19 pandemic.

Asogwa, who is the Board Chairman of Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA), gave the advice while speaking with News Agency of Nigeria in Enugu on Wednesday.

He noted that the advocacy on use of cashless payment systems, which was in conformity to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cashless policy, had become necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19 in communities in the country.

According to him, since the cash or paper money has surface, the same surface can also act as medium of spread.

Asogwa, a public health physician, said anyone that handle cash infected with the virus through human sneezing, coughing or mouth liquid droplets can get infected unknowingly through this process.

“As we are in the community transmission of the virus, one must be very careful to always monitor the surfaces he or she touches including touching surfaces of money.

“I advocate that all Nigerians should adopt the CBN cashless policy.

“This is a situation where one does all his or her monetary transactions electronically, by monetary/payment online transfers, ATM transfers and POS among others without touching physical cash.

“As we are in the community transmission stage of the virus, it is difficult for you to know or trace where the cash or physical money you want to collect is coming from.

“As far as the physical cash has a surface it can be infected with the virus even through asymptomatic patients of COVID-19.

Asymptomatic patients of COVID-19 are healthy carriers of the virus that show no sign of having the virus and they go about their daily business mingling with people and touching cash as well,’’ he said.

The health expert urged Nigerians to be circumspect in all they do and follow strictly NCDC and health ministry directives.

“As a matter of necessity, you must take personal responsibility for your health and that of your family members this season,’’ he added.


Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Foreign

Feature: Nigerians mourn African music artist Majek Fashek

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Nigerians on Tuesday mourned legendary singer Majek Fashek who died in New York at the age of 57 — marking the end of an illustrious career over a span of three decades.

The guitarist and song composer, whose real name was Majekodunmi Fasheke, died in his sleep, said his manager Omenka Uzoma.

“He’s done a lot for Nigeria and Africa. This is a time for us all to celebrate his achievements, and not mourn,” said Uzoma.

Millions of his fans have paid tribute to the music talent on social media. “Legends don’t die. They live in our hearts forever,” said Oluwatosin Nwodo, a reggae enthusiast who described herself as one of Fashek’s hardcore fans.

Majek Fashek was a quintessential legend whose works will live forever … For he was a soldier and tool for change that reggae musicians are, symbolically,” Nwodo further wrote in a short tribute on Facebook.

Fashek shot to stardom in the 1980s. His musical style resembled Bob Marley, one of the pioneers of reggae music, who had a great influence on Fashek.

Through his inspirational reggae music, “Majek Fashek was a rare gift to mankind,” said Felix Duke, president of Nigeria’s Creative Industry Group.

“His music was always positive, his lyrics unique; a rare breed. Majek Fashek inspired his generation and a lot of us, even the new generation, through his music,” said Duke.

Local media reported that the cause of his death is not clear for now, but he had been ill for some time.

In December 2005, while preparing for a music tour, Fashek said his own death would only occur after his music reached every part of the world.

“I’m not gonna die until my music reaches the ends of the earth,” the African singer told his close associate and former record label owner Charles Novia in a private chat released on Tuesday.

In 2015, there was a hiatus in his career when he landed in a drug rehabilitation center in Nigeria’s capital city Abuja, where he recovered and then returned to music.

“I will always remember Majek Fashek for writing Free Africa, Free Mandela, a song he made to lend a voice for the release of Nelson Mandela, then a leader of the African National Congress in South Africa,” said Sammy Wonder, a Nigerian music instructor.

(XINHUA)

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Politics

COVID-19: Lagos discharges 30 Nigerians, 3 Indians

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The Lagos State Government on Tuesday announced recovery and discharge of 30 Nigerians and three Indians who tested negative twice to Coronavirus.

Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said in a statement that a total of 908 COVID-19 patients were now discharged.

Good people of Lagos, I bring you great news from our isolation facilities. Today, 33 fully recovered COVID-19 Lagos patients; 7 females and 26 males including 3 foreign nationals – Indians -have been discharged to join the society.

The patients; 21 from Onikan, 9 from Eti-Osa (LandMark), 2 from Lekki and 1 from Gbagada Isolation Centres were discharged having fully recovered and tested negative to COVID19.

”With this, the number of patients successfully managed and discharged from our Isolation facilities is now 908.

”As our frontline health workers records successes in this battle against #COVID-19, we urge citizens to adhere strictly to our public advisories and directives, as this is the only way we can break the chain of transmission of the infection,” Sanwo-Olu said.


Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Olowo assures Nigerian Army of more support

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Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye III, the Olowo of Owo kingdom, has assured the Nigerian Army of its support in the fight against terrorism, kidnapping, banditry among other security challenges in the country.

The monarch gave this assurance on Tuesday in his palace at Owo when the Brigade Commander, 32 Artillery Brigade,  Brig. Gen. Zakari Abubakar paid a courtesy visit to the palace in Ondo state.

Ogunoye, who lauded the Nigerian army for the success recorded in the ongoing fight against insecurity and other criminal activities in the nation particularly in Ondo state and Owo environs, said it was highly commendable.

The performance of the Nigerian Army in curtailing security challenges in the country under the leadership  of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai is highly commendable.

“We will continue to support the military in order to further the course of peace and stability in the nation and Ondo State in  general,” he said.

The monarch, therefore, appreciated the COAS  for his doggedness and leadership quality,  particularly in tackling security challenges across the nation.

Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, who presented the letter of appreciation for projecting the Nigerian Army in good light to the monarch, said Ogunoye had helped security agency to tackle criminality in the state.

Buratai, who was represented by Brig. Gen. Zakari Abubakar, Commander of 32 Artillery Brigade in Ondo State, promised that the Nigerian Army would not relent in carrying out their constitutional role of protecting  lives and property of citizens.

Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin has been a lead advocate in projecting the Nigerian army in good light, considering his high profile and high esteem.

“And for also providing credible information to the security agencies in the state to tackle crime in Owo community,” he said.

The top army officer, who said that troops had been deployed to some strategic areas in the state as Arimogija, Owo and Oba Akoko area, said that 24 suspects had been arrested so far within two weeks of operation in the area.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Yemi Idris-Aduloju (NAN)

 

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Entertainment

Nigerian celebrities mourn late Majek Fashek

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Nigerian celebrities have taken to their social media platforms to mourn the death of Music Legend, Majekodunmi  Fasheke, a.k.a Majek Fashek.

Fashek’s a.k.a rain maker’s death  was  announced by his manager, Omenka Uzoma, through a short video on his instagram page.

Some of the celebrities include  Chibuzor Azubuike a.k.a phyno ,  Olanrewaju Fasasi, a.k.a Sound Sultan displayed the reggae artist pictures on their Instagram pages

Other  include Yomi Black, Bimbo Esho, actress Toyin Adegbola and Jude Okoye were not equally left out.

Phyno wrote: “Rest in peace, Legend.”

Sound Sultan had this on his page: “Rest in peace, power Majek.”

Yomi Black wrote:” Rest in peace, Majek Fashek.”

Also, Bimbo Esho, Chief Executive Officer, Evergreen Musical Company, mourned the late reggae maestro as she wrote ” Adieu Majek Fashek. May you journey well. The Rainmaker takes a final bow to the cold hands of death.

Actress Toyin Adegbola said “Rest in peace, Majek.”

Jude Okoye, Chief Executive Officer of Northside Music, also wrote: “Rest peacefully, my Legend.”

Fashek died June 1, at the age of 57, in a hospital in New York.

Fashek was a Nigerian singer, songwriter and guitarist, who was best known for his 1988 album ” Prisoner of Conscience”, which included the multiple award-winning single, “Send Down the Rain”.

Fashek, worked with various artists worldwide, including Tracy Chapman, Jimmy Cliff, Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg and Beyonce.

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Edited By: Muftau Adediran/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)

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