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Foreign

Nigerians in Ghana decry harsh treatment, demand justice, fairness

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Nigerians living in Ghana have cried out over the harsh treatment they were being subjected to, and urged leaders of both nations to intervene to ensure justice and fairness.

Mr Kaycee Ogbonna, President, Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NiDO), Ghana chapter, voiced the concerns in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency , on Thursday in Abuja.

He described the experience of his over seven million compatriots living in Ghana as “galling”, saying that they were being stereotyped and treated with disdain in spite of their massive investments and contributions to the growth of the West African nation.

“We are being constantly attacked; our shops and businesses are forcefully closed down and they keep making us feel unwanted.

“We find all the hostility very disturbing. We think that Nigerians are being treated unfairly. We think that Nigerians are being perceived wrongly and we think that these things should not continue.

“This has been happening for a long time now, but because we did not have the coordination to tell our own stories, to actually project what has been going on, we remained silent.

“That is why we are visiting your organisation today – to find ways and means to speak out and get our story out there.

“The unfortunate thing is that the people, who try to victimise us, do not even know who we really are,” he said.

Ogbonna opined that the attack on Nigerians living in Ghana might not be unconnected with previous diplomatic rifts between the two West African neighbours, especially Ghana’s Aliens Compliance Act in the 1960s, and related actions by Nigeria in the 1980s.

“Such policies created a gulf among citizens of both nations and one can only imagine that the older generations keep relaying such past events to the younger ones which could cause some distrust,” he said.

The NiDO president urged the governments of both countries to take a holistic look at the relationship between the two countries and adopt drastic measures to address the situation so that citizens of both nations could live together as true Africans.

Ogbonna said that the recent clampdown on businesses owned by Nigerians and the attack on traders was “an unpleasant and poor reflection of the relationship between Ghana and Nigeria”.

According to him, the activities of Nigerian banks, businessmen and women in Ghana are creating job opportunities for both skilled and unskilled artisans in that country.

“The economic activities of millions of Nigerians are adding to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), growth of Ghana. Unfortunately, the media in that country hardly highlight these positive contributions.

“We have more than five banks owned by Nigerians doing business in Ghana. The banks include GTB, First Atlantic bank, UBA and several others. These outfits create jobs for their citizens.

“In fact, the banks only recently recapitalised; they increased their capital base significantly. Initially, the capital base was $100 million, but they have recapitalised to about $400 million.

“It will interest you to know that all the Nigerian banks were able to meet the requirements. That is a huge investment in the Ghanaian economy.

“It is also on record that a Nigerian is the single largest individual investor in the whole of Ghana. Go to the insurance sector, we are big players there.

“So, we are actually helping their economy because these banks employ hundreds of their people.

“The insurance companies employ hundreds of them and these jobs help put food on the tables of these workers.

“We make money which circulates in their economy and promotes its growth. So, we wonder why we should go through such hostilities,” he said.

Edited by Emmanuel Yashim and Ephraimsn Sheyin

Foreign

NiDCOM, Lebanese embassy collaborate to return stranded Nigerians

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The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) will collaborate with the Lebanese Embassy in Nigeria to return the remaining 10 stranded Nigerians back home.

Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, NIDCOM Chairman, made the disclosure on Thursday during a visit to the Ambassador of Lebanon in Nigeria, Mr Houssam Diab, in Abuja.

She said that 69 Nigerians were returned successfully on May 25 with the help of the embassy and the Lebanese community in Nigeria who paid for their tickets and quarantine.

“First is that the evacuation of the Nigerians stranded in Lebanon was paid for by the Lebanese embassy and also the quarantine was paid by them so we thank them for that.

Also 10 Nigerians were left behind and the ambassador had explained that nine had cases of theft and one had case of murder and they are undergoing judicial process.

“But he had assured us that whatever the allegation against them they will speed up the process to finish the judicial intervention and they will return,’’ she said.

Dabiri-Erewa explained that the two bodies are also working on the area of maltreatment of some Nigerians working in Lebanon.

“I am so glad with the major decision taken by Lebanese government which is to stop visas for workers until we have proper agencies that will be documented with the Ministry of Labour.

“So that if you are going to work you will work with proper terms and conditions. So we are now talking about how to manage migration which will be done legally.

“Interested persons can work in Lebanon legally without the fear of being maltreated,’’ she said.

Speaking earlier, Diab said that the evacuation of 69 stranded Nigerians citizens was successful with the help of Lebanese community in Nigeria who paid for their tickets and quarantine.

He also added that the collaboration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigerian Embassy in Lebanon also made the process smooth for the returnees.

“We were able to bring back 69 Nigerians citizens stranded in Lebanon two weeks ago. I have to stress that the Lebanese community has always gone out of its way to give back to their second country Nigeria and to the Nigerians that have adopted them as their own, and this is one of many palliative measures we have taken lately,’’ he said.

He explained that the government of Lebanon had stopped all domestic staffs work visas to discourage maltreatment of Nigerians by agencies and employers.

“Our government has stopped all domestic visas to help discourage helpers being abused and maltreated by their agencies and employers.

“So we want to work closely to get an agreement with the Ministry of Labour for a legal and systematic way to make domestic staff to come into Lebanon legally without the fear of inhuman treatment.


Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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General news

Death: Cleric admonishes Nigerians to live exemplary lives 

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A cleric in Nasarawa State, Rev. Anthony Aya, has admonished Christians and other Nigerians to live exemplary lives in order to inherit the kingdom of God.

Aya, the Reverend in-Charge of ERCC Ami-Abma Ezzen, Nasarawa State, gave the advice on Thursday while presiding over the funeral service of Mr Danladi Bala at ERCC Mada Station, Agidi Development Area of the state.

The News Agency of  Nigeria reports that Danladi is a staff of Agidi Development Area and an elder brother of Mr Abel Bala, member representing Nasarawa Eggon West constituency at the state legislature.

The man of God said that if Christians and other Nigerians live a life worth of emulation, it would not only enable them to inherit the kingdom of God but it will also promote peaceful co-existence among the people in the country.

He added that there is life after death for those who believes in Jesus Christ, hence the need of his call.

The Bible said for does not know when it will occur, so who can tell him when it (death) will occur.

“No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit and no one has power in the day of death, so let’s get prepared because death can come at any time,” he said.

He urged Christians and other Nigerians not to sin in order to inherit the kingdom of God, adding that one day those who refused to repent, God would would expose their sins and their will be judgement after death.

The cleric alsod to grant the entire family and the  ERCC family  the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. 

Speaking during the funeral service, Mr Abel Bala (PDP-Nassarawa Eggon West) described the death of his elder brother as painful, urging people to pray for the reposed of his soul and other deceased persons.

“My elder brother had left good legacies, he is a man who always stand by the truth, he is a straight forward man.

“Death is inevitable for all humans, but it is painful. May the soul of my elder  brother and the souls of other departed souls rest in peace with the Lord,” he said.

The lawmaker, who is the Minority Whip of the House, appreciated all those who attended the funeral service and urged them to continue praying for the family to succeed.

He thanked the Speaker of the assembly, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, members and entire staff and people of the state for identifying with them at this trial moment.

NAN also reports that Danladi’s body was immediately buried in his house at Mada Station after the funeral service amidst tears by families, friends and political associates.

NAN also reports that the funeral had in attendance Mr David Umbugadu, 2019 PDP governorship candidate in Nasarawa State; Sen. Philip  Gyunka; politicians, traditional rulers and religious leaders, among other sympathisers.

NAN recalls that Danladi died on May 29, 2019, in a hospital in Lafia at the aged of 54 after a brief illness.

He was survived by a wife and children.


Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Economy

FBNQuest educates Nigerians on estate planning, wealth transfer

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FBNQuest Trustees, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc, says it is offering expert guidance on estate planning as an important requirement for successful wealth transfer.

Mr Adekunle Awojobi, FBNQuest Managing Director, said this in a statement on Thursday in Lagos.

Awojobi said FBNQuest through the Legacy Series campaign themed ‘Building a Legacy’ would help individuals understand how to plan for the protection and seamless transfer of their assets during their lifetime and after.

He said that the legacy series, now in its seventh season, was delivered in line with its commitment to educate individuals and improve the understanding of the concepts of estate planning.

Awojobi said individuals would be empowered to identify opportunities, protect their investments, and efficiently transfer their assets to their beneficiaries.

“There is a decent appreciation for the importance of investing to secure one’s financial future.

“However, the average individual has paid little attention to the structures that are needed for efficient management of their assents and the seamless transfer of their wealth.

Through the Legacy Series, we continue to drive this message, as Estate Planning must be an integral part of everyone’s plan – even if it’s one’s first property or major asset”, he said.

Awojobi added that FBNQuest Trustees also offers unique expertise in Islamic Estate Planning services.

“We realise that Islamic Estate Planning is a dynamic and often challenging subject.

“The fractional approach to distributing assets might be intimidating.

“That’s why we have built expertise to enable us support our clients by creating Al-Wasiyya, Waqfs and other acceptable forms of charitable giving in line with the tenets of worship” he stated.

According to him, the company has organised several webinar series to educate the public on the principles of Islamic Estate Planning.

He said the webinar series addressed areas such as importance, structure and operations of Islamic Estate Planning and Administration, Wills, the concept of Waqf (an endowment made by a Muslim to a religious, educational, or charitable cause), among others.


Edited By: Angela Okisor/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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General news

Report any rape case in your vicinity, NAPTIP DG urges Nigerians

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The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has urged Nigerians to report cases of  Rape within their vicinity to the agency or the nearest police station.

Mrs Julie Okah-Donli,  Director General of the Agency, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja, following the rising cases of rape in the country.

The DG said both old and present cases should be reported to the Agency.

According to the her, reporting the case of rape is the only way the trend can be stopped in the society; the agency will not compromise its work for anything if such case is reported to it.

“Rapists are now getting away with their illicit acts along with murder; these cases of domestic servitude are cases that take place behind  closed doors.

Our job in NAPTIP is to protect Nigerian men and women, we are not going to compromise our work if they report such case, we will ensure justice is done.

“Rape cases are not reported because of stigmatisation of the victims and this makes the cases to rise. Very soon, the name of rapists will be published with their pictures in the media,” she said.

She said that sex offender register had already been opened in the agency where the names of rape perpetrators were documented for further actions.

Okah-Donli however, appealed to the media to assist in creating more awareness about this trend to put the perpetrators on alert.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/ Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

 

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Agriculture

Embrace agriculture to ease effect of COVID-19- Expert tells Nigerians

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Chief Godson Ezenagu, an agriculture expert in Anambra, has called on Nigerians to engage in agricultural practices as a measure to cushion the effect of looming food insecurity due to COVID-19.

Ezenagu, a two-time commissioner for Agriculture in Anambra, made the call in an  interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Awka on Thursday.

The expert said that the aftermath of the global pandemic of Coronavirus and the economic lockdown that followed it, would be acute food shortage.

He said that every family should own a farm no matter how small and called on state governments to roll out incentive to encourage the people.

Eze Agu, who is also a politician, said the long period of stay at home should be time for civil servants, businessmen and artisans to engage in food production.

He said that engaging in food production, did not require people to travel far distance to get to their farms hence the need to embrace it.

According to him, the lockdown period is not the time to stay at home and be idle.

“People should engage the empty land nearest to them, those who don’t have land should rent.

“There is going to be serious food crisis and the best way to forestall it is to go into massive food production.

“Government should encourage people by providing soft loans, affordable and improved inputs, equipment as well as prizes for any individual who cultivated the largest expanse of land.

“They should also provide security for the farms from herdsmen by mobilising community vigillannce team to ensure that these farms are not destroyed, we can’t stop farming because of cattle menace,” he said.

Ezenagu, who supported the partial easing of the lockdown, agreed with the argument that interstate borders should still be restricted to reduce spread of COVID-19 but decried the non effectiveness of the closures.

He said the figured from Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was still worrisome that total ease of lockdown for full economic activities may cause a national health boomerang.

According to him, the borders should be closed for as long as it is safe to open but unfortunately people are still finding their ways across the states because of the porous policing of the borders.

“It is true that the economy is biting but there should be a balance between saving the economy and protecting public health,” he said.


Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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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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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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