Abuja, March 13, 2019 President Muhammadu Buhari says the Federal Government is doing its best to correct and reverse the terrible mismanagement the country had experienced, “and with some luck, our best will be good enough.”
The President stated this when he received a delegation of non-career Ambassadors, who came to State House, Abuja, to congratulate him on his re-election.
He said Nigeria was trying to live within her means, “so we can improve our lot,” adding that government was determined to upgrade the country’s profile, both locally and internationally.
President Buhari said it would be inexcusable for government not to take care of its Ambassadors in their various stations, hence the special attention being paid to the country’s foreign missions.
Amb. Ashimiyu Olaniyi, who spoke on behalf of the delegation, said President Buhari’s election in 2015, and his recent re-election, “are divine interventions in the affairs of the country.
“You are God-sent. You have always come on stage at the critical moments of our national history to right the wrongs of the past.’’
He added that the President would be remembered “as an astute political leader who does not interfere in the political affairs of states,” noting that the singular quality had given credibility to all elections conducted since 2015.
The delegation submitted that apart from records of achievements in the three focal areas of securing the country, reviving the economy, and fighting corruption, “your integrity is responsible for your victory, which we are privileged to celebrate with you today.”
The Ambassadors appreciated the intervention funds that were released to various missions abroad, and pledged continued loyalty and support to the Buhari administration.
Ali Baba seeks commercialisation of Nigerian festivals
Nigerian Comedian, Atunyota Akpobome, popularly known as “Ali Baba,” on Saturday called for the commercialisation of Nigerian festivals to boost nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and woo local and international tourists.
Akpobome made the call during an online zoom meeting of the five tourism sub-sectors with the theme: “Post COVID-19: A Fresh Start for Tourism in Nigeria”, organised by the Nigeria Travel Week.
He said that the Nigerian festivals were still at their rudimentary stage and the potential for commercialisation must be developed.
According to him, each time these festivals are celebrated, tourists should be made to pay a token, which would boost the states internally generated revenue and the nation’s GDP.
He said that the content of these festivals must also be developed.
“To revive our festivals in Nigeria, we need to look at the commercial angle, we need to identify the potential of each tourism asset and go all out to create commercial value around them.
“The biggest problem we have is that we do not know how to add value to what we have,” he said.
The comedian said that until every state of the federation was mandated to generate enough revenue for themselves, the nation would continue to abandoned its bountiful potential.
“Our problem is we believe that money made from oil should cater for everyone and every state but we forget that virtually all state have their potential to groom for revenue generation.
“Sokoto has desert which is the major tourism potential in Dubai, used to create beautiful structures we long to visit now but the state is not bothered to develop it.
Earlier, Mrs Susan Akporiaye, National President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), assured of the association’s willingness to collaborate with other tourism stakeholders.
ABUAlumni urges students to work hard for Nigeria’s development
Dr Ossai Edward, a university lecturer and Chairman Plateau Chapter of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria Alumni Association, has advised Nigerian students to work hard towards ensuring Nigeria’s development.
Edward gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria after the inauguration of the new executive council of the Plateau Chapter of the association on Saturday in Jos.
The new chairman, who is the Head of Department, Theatre Arts, Plateau State University (PLASU), Bokkos said the call became necessary as future leaders of the country.
“It’s unfortunate that many students are lazy nowadays when it comes to studying, which is very detrimental to the desired growth of the nation.
“My advice to them is that as soon as the Federal Government orders them back to school, they should be serious with their studies,’’ he said
He said that this called for seriousness on the part of the students, immediately they resume.
The lecturer also called for peaceful coexistence between the Christians and Muslims in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions to enhance national socio-economic development.
He expressed the readiness of the Plateau chapter of the alumni association to give back to the university, to ensure that products of the institution continue to excel in the society.
“Our alumni is made up of members, who are governors, former military administrators, commissioners, permanent secretaries and captains of industries.
“They are contributing their quota to the development of the university.
“Aside Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, we have nine serving permanent secretaries, three commissioners and several others, who are working to uplift alumni association of the institution.”
Edward pledged to introduce prudence in the management of the association’s financial resources.
Earlier, Mrs Claribel Dana’an, the outgone chairman of the association, congratulated her successor and his team for their success at the poll.
She expressed optimism that the new executive would take the affairs of the association to higher heights in the state.
Other members of the new team are Mr Bitrus Ali as Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Wurang as Publicity Secretary, Mrs Usaina Obende as Treasurer and Mrs Claribel Danaan as Ex-Officio.
AfDB approves 288.5 mln USD to support Nigeria’s COVID-19 response
The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Saturday said it has approved 288.5 million United States dollar loan to help Nigeria tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact on people and businesses.
In a statement made available to Xinhua in Lagos, the bank said the loan will bolster the government’s plans to improve surveillance and response to COVID-19 emergencies, ease the impact on workers and businesses and strengthen the social protection system.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and the continent’s largest oil producer, is facing twin crises — a health epidemic caused by COVID-19, and an economic crunch largely occasioned by a global oil price plunge.
As of Friday night, the west African country reported 11,844 cases, 3,696 recoveries and 333 deaths.
The loan is the bank’s initial response to help Nigeria mitigate the slump in oil prices and its impact on the national economy, according to the bank.
“The proposed program will ensure that the fiscal position and the economy are sufficiently supported to weather the COVID-19 shocks, thereby limiting its potential adverse impact on livelihoods and the economy more generally,” said Ebrima Faal, senior director of the AfDB for Nigeria.
Faal said beyond the country’s immediate economic recovery needs, the bank and other development partners, will dialogue with Nigerian government on proposals for medium-term structural reforms to diversify and boost domestic revenues away from the oil sector.
Firm launches ‘plastic responsibly’ initiative in Nigeria
A strategic communications firm, CMC Connect (Perception Managers), on Saturday said it had launched an initiative called ‘Plastic Responsibly’ to educate Nigerians on the dangers of littering plastics in the environment.
Sunkanmi Ogunniyi, Associate Group Head, CMC Connect (Perception Managers), made this known in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos.
He said the initiative was aimed at educating Nigerians on the dangers of irresponsible plastic disposal in the community.
“The initiative focuses on driving attitudinal change by causing plastic lifestyle modifications.
“The key actions for the initiative are responsible production, use, disposal and recycling.
“For us at CMC Connect, the inimical effects of plastic pollution are enough to cause significant worry for Nigerians and we must, therefore, collectively aim to reduce its hazards and threats to biodiversity.
“Such threats includes drainage blockage which causes perennial flooding, especially in major urban centres of the country,” Ogunniyi said
He said that CMC Connect through the initiative would engage in advocacy, community engagements, outreaches, research and volunteer activities by working with like-minded individuals and entities.
Ogunniyi urged corporate organisations and all tiers of governments to partner with them in the quest to keep the environment protected.
“We commend the efforts of the Lagos State Government led by Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu in its quest to ban the use of single-use plastic through its agency the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA).
He said subsidiaries of CMC including BCW representing the third largest Public Relations (PR) network in the world, Re-ignite Public Affairs, iOctane Digital Experience Agency and Tangalo Africa, an Agric Media communications company.
Foundation empowers 100 infertility women in Nigeria
Dr Rasha Kelej, Chief Executive Officer of Merck said in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, that the foundation had supported the women, in collaboration with the First Lady of Nigeria, Mrs Aisha Buhari.
According to her, the foundation has been partnering with Buhari, who is also the Ambassador of ‘Merck More Than a Mother’.
“Over 100 infertile women were supported to establish small business so that they can rebuild themselves and lead independent and happier lives.’’
Kelej said Merck foundation had provided training for embryologists in Nigeria to create a platform of local experts in the fertility care.
“We are fully committed to continuing providing specialised training in the fields of cancer, fertility and diabetes care to more doctors across Nigeria after the official launch,’’ she said.
“They are leading the initiative to empower infertile women and break the stigma around infertility.
“This speaks volume about the work we are doing.
“Also, we have supported the establishment of the first-ever Public IVF centres in Rwanda, Ethiopia and Uganda by training their staff to be able to support the infertile couples.’’
The official said she was proud of the success stories, saying “I always feel that they are my children and I am super proud of their success.
“It is very important to empower infertile women by providing treatment so they can bear children as part of their human rights.
“But, for those who cannot be treated anymore, Merck More Than a Mother’s initiative ‘Empowering Berna’ helps to train them to establish their own small business so that they can be independent and re-build their own lives’’.
Kelej also said that the foundation also worked with local singers, film-makers, media partners and fashion designers to raise awareness to break the stigma of infertility.
“These initiatives are very important for Nigeria since it is the hub of art and fashion, I cannot wait to explore these beautiful talents and work closely with them.
“The aim is to sensitise our communities that women are more than just mothers and men are more than just fathers.
“It takes both a man and a woman to have a child,’’ she said.
World Environment Day: Society urges Nigerians to protect planet earth
The President, Nigerian Environmental Society (NES), Dr Dorothy Bassey, on Saturday called on Nigerians to take ownership of the environment and protect planet earth.
Bassey made the call in Lagos, in the course of a virtual celebration of the 2020 World Environment Day (WED) with the theme: “Celebrating Biodivesity’’.
According to her, every June 5, people worldwide are reminded of their individual rights to rise and become agents of transformation.
“This year’s theme is Biodiversity. Biodiversity and habitat loss have reached cataclysmic levels that today is the day, not tomorrow to focus on its effects and dangers if not stemmed.
“The continued loss of millions of species going into extinction will lead to consequences humans are not yet focusing on.
“May the consequences of extinction not catch mankind unawares as COVID-19 did.
“We are ob the precipice of environmental collapse and crisis,’’ Bassey said.
According to Bassey, the world environment day is the largest global celebration for pragmatic environmental actions, where countries are brought together to commit to their responsibilities toward the earth.
World Environment Day: Nigerians must recognise interdependence of all lives on earth – CSOs
Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet), a coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs), has called on Nigerians to collectively recognise the interdependence of all lives on earth.
Dr Ibrahim Choji, Chairman, Board of Trustees of CSDevNet, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Saturday.
Choji spoke in commemoration of the 2020 World Environment Day (WED).
Choji said that biodiversity was the foundation that supports all lives on land and below the water.
“It affects every aspect of human health, providing clean air and water, nutritious foods, scientific understanding and medicine sources, natural disease resistance and climate change mitigation.
“Changing, or removing one element of this web, affects the entire life system and can produce negative consequences.
“Human actions, including deforestation, encroachment on wildlife habitats, intensified agriculture and acceleration of climate change have pushed nature beyond its limit,’’ he said.
“It also recognises the fragile linkages that human health and existence have with nature.
“The naked realities of the economic and social insecurity we are faced with has never been more obvious.
“If we still fail to see the connection between human health, human rights, human progress with nature now, then we open ourselves to an even more ominous future.’’
He added that Nigeria was blessed with natural elements, but that in its drive to industrialise and develop, a pathway was adopted which had led the country to where it is today.
“That is the rapidly changing climate laced with extreme indicators of poverty.”
According to him, to find our way back to the days of our flourishing flora, fauna and wide vegetation types, we must all continue to find ways to co-exist with nature.
He said that federal, state and local governments must ensure all remaining wild spaces are protected; implement efficient systems of waste management and adopt a circular economy.
Choji added that Nigerian government must ensure the observance of strong environmental impact assessments, implementation of all environmental guidelines and norms across sectors, especially extractive activities in coal, oil and gas.
“We must begin to build green infrastructure and support green enterprises as a pathway to a cleaner, healthier future,’’ he said.
“As civil societies and individuals, we need to rethink what we buy and use, and manage our consumption of all resources responsibly.
“Our youths must become committed gatekeepers of a green future.
“The quality of our lives and the survival of our population is dependent on these actions.
He told NAN that economic growth could no longer be achieved at the cost of ecological imbalance.
“Well-balanced ecosystems, rich in biodiversity is fundamental to human existence, health, peace and progress.
Nigeria, India deepen bilateral defence cooperation
The Special Assistant to the Minister of Defence on Media and Publicity, Mr Mohammed Abdulkadri, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.
Abdulkadri said that the indications to this move emerged during the India’s High Commissioner, Abhay Thankur, courtesy call on the Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (Rtd), in his office.
He said that while hosting the Indian High Commissioner to NIgeria, Magashi raised the issue of bilateral interest to the two countries.
He said the discussion between the representatives of the two countries was done behind closed doors.
”The highly classified and restricted matters that are strategic to common interest of the two countries were witnessed by Senior Military Officers and some Principal Personnel of the Ministry and the Indian Defence Adviser, Colonel Cachin Dubey.
Nigerian electricity supply industry recorded ₦119.46bn deficit in Q4 2019, says NERC
The Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC), on Saturday said the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) recorded N119.46 billion deficit in the fourth quarter of 2019.
NERC said the 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) only remitted a total of ₦74.20 billion out of the ₦193.66 billion invoice issued to them for energy received and administrative charges during the period.
NERC said liquidity challenge was still a major issue in NESI in spite of the recent improvement in Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses by the 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos).
“This is evidenced in the DisCos’ international and special customers’ remittances to Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) and Market Operators (MO) during the fourth quarter of 2019.
“However, only a total of ₦74.20 billion (38.32 per cent) of the invoice was settled as and when due, creating a total deficit of ₦119.46 billion including tariff shortfall, ” the regulatory agency said.
It added that although Jos DisCo’ settlement rate improved during the fourth quarter, its remittance rate of 19.57 per cent was the lowest in the fourth quarter of 2019.
NERC also disclosed that total market invoices were issued to the special customer (Ajaokuta Steel Co. Ltd) and the international customers (Societe Nigerienne d’electricite (NIGELEC)and Communaute Electrique du Benin (CEB) during the same period.
The commission, however, said neither NBET nor MO received payments from these customers during this period.
“Although there has been a significant improvement, the challenge of low remittance to the market is still a concern to the commission as it is one of the main causes of the
liquidity crisis facing NESI.
NERC said to enforce payment discipline and compliance with minimum remittance, it had during the fourth quarter, began enforcement action against DisCos that defaulted in the third quarter billing cycle.
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