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We have no intention to inflict hardship on Nigerians – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that the Federal Government would not inflict hardship on citizens, but rather keep seeking ways to ameliorate their suffering and create more enabling environment for everyone to thrive.

Buhari stated this when he received the new executive of Trade Union Congress,TUC), led by its President, Mr Quadri Olaleye, at the State House, Abuja on Thursday.

The president, who was reacting to Olaleye’s presentation bordering on national issues, said: “On fuel prices, I agree with you on the need to eliminate corruption and inefficiencies in the sector.

“I want to assure you that as an administration, we have no intention of inflicting any additional hardship on Nigerians,“ he said.

According to him, the Federal government remains committed to the implementation of the national minimum wage.

He said that the inaugural Federal Executive Council meeting held on Wednesday, focused on the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework which includes discussions around the new minimum wage.

“During our first term, we secured the nation’s territorial integrity and continued to protect the lives and properties of our citizens.

“We introduced various economic stimulus packages that support businesses and traders at all levels, promoted backward integration programmes, especially in the agricultural sector, to enhance our food security while creating jobs.

“We embarked on the most ambitious infrastructure development and rehabilitation projects this country has seen in decades. We also introduced the largest Social Investment Program in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Although these programmes, and many more, successfully lifted Nigeria out of recession the full impact is yet to be felt.

“In the next four years, we shall sustain this momentum and by the grace of God, lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty.’’

The President, who noted that his administration would work hard to improve the livelihood of citizens, said most of the inherited challenges were avoidable, if some previous governments had been keener on investing on infrastructure and human capacity.

“The points you raised are all interconnected. The lack of power and infrastructure due to decades of under-investment led to the closure or inefficient operations of a number of factories across the country.

“This meant the private sector was unable to create jobs, fast enough to cope with our increasing population.

“You will agree with me that all these challenges and many more, were long ago left unattended to thereby leaving the country in the mired state we inherited.

“You all will also testify to having seen and experienced what we have put in place as an administration to address these challenges.’’

In his remarks, the President of TUC advised the Federal government to pay more attention to  the welfare of Nigerians by avoiding increase of fuel price and ensuring implementation of the national minimum wage.

The implementation of the national minimum wage is being delayed by negotiations on the consequential adjustments.

“We are, however, disturbed that the enthusiasm is turning into a nightmare,“ the TUC leader said

He urged the President to focus on poverty reduction and improving security.

Olaleye assured the President that TUC would support the government as it tackled challenges facing the country.

He commended the president for increase in Internally Generated Revenue, steps taken on the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa and the signing of African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

SYC/DUA

Edited by Dada Ahmed

Environment

World Environment Day: Society urges Nigerians to protect planet earth

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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.

“Human activities such as deforestation, intensified agriculture for food security, and industrialisation have pushed nature and the planet beyond its carrying capacity.

“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.

The NES president said that the future generation expected “us to Think, Act and Sustain the environment”, adding, “we should not fail them”.

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.


Edited By: Abigael Joshua/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

 

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Environment

World Environment Day: Nigerians must recognise interdependence of all lives on earth – CSOs

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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).

NAN reports that the WED is celebrated annually on June 5 and the theme for 2020 is “Celebrate Biodiversity”.

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.

According to him,  the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the fact that, when we destroy biodiversity, we destroy the system that supports human life.

CSDevNet believes this year’s WED represents a call upon our collective conscience as Nigerians to be guided by the shared misery caused by the recent global pandemic.

“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.

The activist told NAN that the private sector needed to account for the environment in supply chains and financing, and adopt green measures.

“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.

“As we work to build back our economy, let us not forget the cost of losing our fragile ecosystems that provide us good health, clean air, water and food,’’ he said.

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.

“It is time to for us to wake up; this world environment day is time for nature,’’ he added.


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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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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