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Nigerians in Americas plan 1% of annual remittances for SDGs

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The Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation, Americas (NIDOA) has disclosed plans to “redirect” one per cent of its members’ annual remittances towards “impact sustainable development” in Nigeria.

This is part of a 10-year vision unfolded by the organisation at its 2019 Annual General Meeting held recently in Texas, United States.

The plan is expected to run from 2019 till 2029, according to a communiqué signed by NIDOA’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Zee Nagberi.

Estimates by the World Bank put the current total diaspora remittances to Nigeria at 25 billion dollars annually, with the figure projected to hit 34 billion dollars by 2023.

Records of aggregate remittances by Nigerians in South and North America are not readily available.

But according to the World Bank Group’s Migration and Remittances Facebook 2016, remittances from the U.S. alone to Nigeria stood at 5.7 billion dollars (N2 trillion) in 2015.

One per cent of that would translate into N20 billion per annum.

NIDOA listed other aspects of the vision to include acceleration of its ICT training programme you Nigerian youth launched in 2016, and its skills acquisition programme for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Others are partnership with relevant government agencies to drive the ongoing Diaspora National Identity Number registration, and skill audit of Nigerian professionals in the Americas.

Meanwhile, the African Union Ambassador to the United States, Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao, has sued for unity among Africans in the Diaspora.

Chihombori-Quao, who was the special guest of honour at the AGM, urged them to galvanise their enormous resources towards the development of the continent, according to the communiqué.

Similarly, a member of the Texas State House Representatives, Jarvis Johnson II, called for partnership between African immigrants and African-Americans to “leverage our economic power.”

The forum witnessed the inauguration of new executives for the Board of Trustees (BoT) and Board of Directors (BOD) of NIDOA, the communique said.

They include the reelected BoT Chairman, Mr Obed Monago; Mr. Isaac Inyang as Chairman of the BOD, and Mr Odion Ojo as the BOD Vice Chairman, among others.

ARU/MNA

Edited by Maureen Atuonwu

 

 

Foreign

Trump appears to back short Senate impeachment trial

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On the day the House Judiciary Committee approved impeachment articles against him, President Donald Trump claimed it is strengthening him politically. And with those articles headed to the House floor next week, he appears to be warming to a quick election-year Senate trial.

In brief but animated remarks, the president defiantly declared of the shape and length of an expected Senate trial: “I’ll do whatever I want.”

The remark could have been a message to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans who favor a short trial with no GOP-White House witnesses; Trump favors the opposite.

But just as quickly, the president appeared to defer to McConnell, adding: “I’ll do whatever they want to do.”

A couple hours after the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to send two impeachment articles – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – to the full chamber, the president called the panel’s action “a very sad thing for our country.”

But he cast the probe in political terms, contending Democrats might have hurt their chances at defeating him next year and winning other races.

“But it seems to be very good for me politically,” he said.

Before Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved ahead with the impeachment inquiry in September, polls mostly showed Americans favoring the president’s impeachment. Since the probe began, public opinion has mostly leveled.

A Monmouth University poll released this week, for instance, found 45 per cent of Americans want Trump impeached and moved out of his job. Despite public hearings in recent weeks, that is only 1 percentage point higher than the same poll found in the two previous months.

An average of polls compiled by FiveThirtyEight found a relatively stable level of opinion about impeachment, with less than half of Americans favoring the House making Trump only the third sitting president to be impeached.

The president also took a shot at Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council Ukraine expert who testified during the impeachment probe and raised concerns about an American president asking another government to investigate US citizens.

“The ‘lieutenant colonel,’” Trump said, bringing up Vindman Friday without being prompted. “He’s another beauty.”

The president also repeatedly slammed Democrats, saying they have misused impeachment, calling it “something that shouldn’t be allowed,” adding: “I’ll tell you what, some day there will be a Democratic president and a Republican House.”

Under such a scenario, he said he suspects his fellow Republicans will “remember that,” referring to his expected impeachment.

In a lighter moment, Trump – who agreed to a still-murky “phase one” trade pact with China as Republican and Democratic lawmakers claimed to have struck a spending deal – noted, “This has been a wild week.”

Next week likely will only be wilder.

The House is slated to take up that year-end spending package on Tuesday that is needed to avert a government shutdown next week. The impeachment articles are expected on the floor Wednesday, followed by his proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade pact on Thursday.

Edited by: Emmanuel Yashim

(NAN)

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17-year-old Nigerian winner of Chinese Bridge competition pledges to tackle Nigeria’s electricity challenge

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Mr Samuel Miracle, 17-year-old Nigerian student and winner of the World Chinese Bridge Language Competition has pledged to solve Nigeria’s electricity challenge after completing the scholarship he won to study Engineering in China.

Miracle made the pledge on Friday in Abuja during an interaction with the media on his educational journey to studying Mandarin and participation in the competition.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the Chinese Bridge Competition is the highest stage for foreign language learners to compete in language competence and cultural understanding worldwide.

Miracle who won the 2019 World Chinese Bridge Competition held in Henan Province, China competed alongside 120 other participants from 105 countries from across the world.

He said that the scholarship he won would be meaningless if he did not achieve something that would impact positively on the development of Nigeria.

Miracle said that he decided to study the Chinese language in order to learn electricity engineering from China which is a developed country occupying a leading position in the world.

He promised to return to Nigeria after completing his scholarship programme to help tackle the problem of “blackout”.

He said that the prize for winning the competition was a four-year fully-funded scholarship to any university/institution to study any course of his choice.

“After my secondary education I went to study the Chinese language when I was introduced to the competition by a friend.

“I thought that it was a very good opportunity because it is a language I am really interested in.

“Before I started studying the Chinese language, I always had the dream of becoming an engineer and to be very good in it to help the electricity in sectors in Nigeria’s  which is a big challenge.

“I will come back to impact in my country because you have not achieved the main goal of studying abroad if you do not return to your country to make an impact.

“I would do everything to help Nigeria, make a change where possible and correct the negative impression that other  countries have about Nigeria”, Miracle said.

On winning the competition, Miracle said it was a great challenge as he only started studying Chinese at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University China Confucius Institute in Oct. 2018.

He said that winning the competition was as a result of determination and the help of his teachers as he adviced other youngsters of the advantages of being bilingual.

Miracle said that Nigeria and China had strong ties and it would be good for Nigerians to take learning Chinese language seriously to further promote the cultural ties with both countries.

Also speaking, Mr Zhang Jianle, Lecturer at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Conficius Institute commended Miracle who now bears the Chinese name Gu Siyan for his commitments to learning Chinese.

Jianle said that Miracle’s speed at learning the language was remarkable as a result of his determination.

He said that he was proud to be his teacher as he made the Institute which was participating in such category of the competition for the first time proud in winning the star prize.

Jianle urged the Nigerian institution to further build on the relations between Nigeria and China to introduce learning Chinese language in their curriculum especially from Primary School levels.

“It is important to learn Chinese language now because Chinese is getting stronger in the world and  more Chinese companies are coming to Nigeria.

“It will help in deepening bilateral ties and interaction in order to enhance communications.

“It would be good to introduce Chinese in Nigerian schools.  They have degree courses in Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Chinese Language but should also be introduced at primary level of education”, Jianle said.

Until 2019, the Chinese Bridhe series of competitions has attracted more than 1.4 million  teenagers from more than 150 countries and region across the world.

More than 6,500 students from more than 110 countries were invited to China to participate in the World Chinese Bridge rematch and finals.

Last year, another Nigerian with Chinese name Ding Jiaming, a Student of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Confucius Center also won the African Championship of the 17th World University Chinese Bridge Competition.

Edited by: Emmanuel Yashim

(NAN)

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Kenyan police arrest suspects with 73kg of ivory

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Kenyan officers on Friday reported that two suspects had been nabbed with ten pieces of ivory weighing 73 kilograms, valued at 7.3 million shillings (73,000 U.S. dollars) in Samburu village, Kwale.

The two, Charles Mweni, 32, and Tabitha Mueni 43 were arrested by Kenya’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers on Thursday.

The operation was conducted by the DCI detectives working in collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service rangers from Mombasa and Kenya Police from Taru Police Station.

Coast KWS Conservation Area Assistant Director Arthur Tuda told Xinhua that “we arrested them after a tip-off from members of public and they are being held at Taru Police Station as we speak.’’

He said that the officers posed as buyers before pouncing on the suspects.

“If the public continues being vigilant like this we will end the poaching menace and save our elephants,’’ he added.

KWS officials say the elephants could have been killed in the nearby Tsavo National Park.

The arrests are latest in a series of seizures made in 2019 by the anti-poaching officers.

In July, police canine unit sniffed out 35 pieces of ivory tusks worth 180,000 dollars at Makombeni village, Kilifi County leading to arrests of two suspects.

In May, officers nabbed 8 pieces of ivory weighing 8 kilograms concealed in a sack of maize and arrested two suspects.

According to international investigating agencies, Mombasa port, the largest port in East Africa, is used as a transit route by smugglers of illegal animal parts.

Edited by: Hadiza Mohammed/Emmanuel Yashim

(NAN)

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S/African gov’t unveils tourism safety plan amid rising crimes

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The South African government on Friday unveiled a tourism safety plan as rising crimes poses a serious threat to the tourism industry.

The plan was crafted after the tourism sector has raised great concern about safety affecting tourism.

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said in a statement that the number of international arrivals in South Africa has dropped.

“Without a doubt, the challenges around safety had negatively affected our major markets.’’

According to Kubayi-Ngubane, this plan, crafted jointly with the South African Police Service (SAPS), integrates proactive both preventative and responsive measures to potential incidents.

She said the plan would ensure quick and effective operational response, which includes an aftercare program that focuses on measures to facilitate and provide victim support after an incident has occurred.

Under the plan, private security would work under the command of police, advanced technology would be used to respond to the challenges; tourism monitors would be deployed at private establishments.

The interphase of operators to interact with various provincial joint operation centres for early warning; crimes must be reported timely, and information on potential risks would be shared.

Kubayi-Ngubane said “the strategy, to guide our response to the challenges of tourism safety which impacts on the country’s tourism potential, was developed in consultation with various structures.’’

She added that a forum has been established, which includes representatives from the various stakeholders in the industry representing airlines, rail operators and accommodation etc.

“In the long term, we will remodel the Tourism Monitors Program so that they are linked with SAPS Community Policing Forums and Community Safety Patrollers as part of SAPS Community Policing Strategy.’’

The tourism sector, she said, is immense as it occupies the number two spot in the list of government priorities.

The minister said the government understands the potential of the sector to economic growth and job creation.

She said she was confident of the plan’s implementation through this festive season and over the next six months as a pilot program.

“We want to emphasise the importance of collaborative effort in dealing decisively with the safety of our visitors and to ensure that South Africa remains a destination of choice.

“we are committed to bring in more partners into the fight against crime in general and tourism safety in particular.’’

South Africa has recorded a series of incidents of violence against overseas visitors in recent months.

According to the latest figures released by Statistics South Africa, total tourist arrivals fell 2.1 per cent from January 2019 to September 2019, compared with the same period in 2018.

Edited by: Hadiza Mohammed/Emmanuel Yashim

(NAN)

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Albanian gov’t nominates new minister for reconstruction after earthquake

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The Council of Ministers of Albania on Friday nominated former economy and finance minister Arben Ahmetaj as minister of state for reconstruction.

The decision followed the devastating earthquake that hit the country on Nov. 26, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced.

Ahmetaj currently heads the economy and finance commission in the country’s parliament.

Via a Twitter post, Rama said that “a special place is needed at the Council of Ministers’ to coordinate the domestic and international institutions’’ following the tragic earthquake.

Following Rama’s announcement, the spokesman of the president of Albania, Tedi Blushi, wrote on Facebook that “the president will not delay for a second the decree of new minister of state for reconstruction.’’

At least 261 buildings have been assessed as totally damaged by the earthquake, Rama said on Dec. 9.

A further 851 buildings have suffered significant damage. In the port city of Durres, most affected by the quake, 438 damaged buildings will have to be demolished.

Ahmetaj served as minister of economy and finance from September 2017 to January 2019.

Edited by: Hadiza Mohammed/Emmanuel Yashim

(NAN)

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