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Friday, May 14, 2021/ Shawwal 2, 1442 AH

Vol. 36 No. 068 N200

2572 Days after Malam Wada Maida (1950-2020), founding Chairman, Board of the Peoples Media Limited

@pmlonline

peoplesdailyng

. . . putting the people first

The nation awaits rescue of the remaining abducted Chibok schoolgirls

We’ll stop bandits from blocking access to farms, food production -Buhari

>>PAGE 5

Lawan, Gbajabiamila to govs:

You can’t lead restructuring campaign >>PAGE 9

Chief Imam of the State House Mosque Sheik Abdulwahid Suliaman, President Muhammadu Buhari with President of the Senate, Sen Ahmad Lawan and others during Prayers to celebrate 2021 eld-fitr held at the State House, PHOTO; STATE HOUSE

Eid-el-Fitr: Sultan urges govt. to deploy drastic measures in addressing insecurity Gen. Joshua Dogonyaro, exCDS dies at 80 pAGE 6

Sallah: Ganduje releases 123 prisoners pAGE 4

Buhari hails performance of NDLEA, promises to boost agency’s operational capacity pAGE 2

pG 5

Diaspora voting critical to effective participation in governance – Council pAGE 3


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PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

News CONTENTS News 6-18 Op.Ed

12-13

Politics 15-17 Stock Watch Business Metro

18 19-21 24

World Analysis 22 Africa News

23

World News

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Buhari hails performance of NDLEA, promises to boost agency’s operational capacity By Egena Sunday Ode

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resident Muhammadu Buhari, has hailed the performance of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), since the appointment of its new Chairman/CEO, BrigGen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Retd) in January. Accordingly, he has promised more assistance to the agency, saying that his administration was working on measures to further enhance the capabilities and potentials of the NDLEA. President Buhari, according to the the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (retd), stated this during the last security meeting he presided over at the presidential villa, Abuja on Tuesday. The NDA had said he briefed the Council on the enablers of crime one of which is drugs and the need to find quick responses with a view to mitigating the growing threats to society. He said: “These enablers

are discussed in detail and Mr. President has already given direction on how to deal with them, specifically issues of drug abuse as propellants for crime, how to make the criminal justice system much more effective, as well as looking at issues of unemployment, which of course, the federal executive council had given an approval, through previous memos on how to get 100 million people out of poverty, that was also discussed. “For the intelligence agencies, they are also operating within certain parameters to suppress these problems, but the most important thing, like I said, is that we have to subjugate all other requirements in order to deal with the present crisis of insecurity in the country. All other national objectives, obligations, have to be subordinated to the primary concern of bringing back security and normalcy to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and allowing the entire citizenry to undertake their legitimate

obligations, without any fear of being intimidated or coerced by non-state actors.” Responding to a question on how people were able to bring in arms and train in the bush without the Intel agencies picking them up, Monguno said: “Yes, you are already aware that a few days ago, the president approved the setting up of the National Commission for the control of small arms and light weapons, which will be domiciled in the Office of the National Security Advisor, side by side with the counterterrorism centre. Now, these two organs will be like the lead agencies in dealing with these twin evils. Of course, the issue of smuggling in of small arms, light weapons, incendiaries and other dangerous items, is something that has been a nagging issue. But there are measures in place, especially with the setting up of this committee, to bring to a speedy end, the challenges posed by the importation of small arms and light weapons. And

remember, these small arms and light weapons don’t just have one entry point, they have multiple entry points. “Of course, we’re considering the use of other enhancers to deal with these issues. Alongside the issue of importation of drugs. This was part of the memo I presented to the National Security Council. Already Mr. President is very, very much inspired and motivated by the new leadership in the NDLEA. And he is also working on measures to further enhance the capabilities and potentials of the NDLEA, which he is very, very happy about the performance in recent months. “So for the issue of intelligence, intelligence is doing what intelligence is supposed to do. And intelligence comes in various forms. So we’re also looking at human intelligence to deal with some of these problems that are far more complicated than they appear to the naked eye.”

Eid-el-Fitr: Orji Kalu advocates national cohesion Digest

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Feature 26 Sports 29-31 Back Page

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Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano state (2 right), Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero (2 left), with others, during the Eid-El Fitr Prayers to Mark the end of Ramadan Fasting, at Kano prayers ground, yesterday.

Eid-el-Fitr: Ganduje urges Muslims to pray for peace

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ov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has urged Muslims to use the period of Eid-el-Fitr to pray for peace and stability of the country. Ganduje made the call while briefing newsmen shortly after observing the Eid prayer at KofarMata praying ground in Kano metropolis on Thursday. He called on Nigerians irrespective of their religious background to continue to pray

for peace and unity in the country. “I also urge Muslims to remain steadfast and imbibe the culture of compassion, honesty and peaceful coexistence,” he said. The governor thanked Almighty Allah for his innumerable mercies that made it possible to witness this blessed day. Ganduje also maintained that security of lives and property was everybody’s business.

“Security is everybody’s business and should not be left to the government alone,” he said. In his sermon, the Chief Imam of Kano, Prof. Sani Zahradeen, urged Muslims faithful to pray for an end to insecurity in the country. Zahradeen admonished Muslims faithful to use good teachings of the Eid to promote love and brotherhood as well as live in peace with one another. The News Agency of Nigeria

(NAN) reports that thousands of Muslims faithful including children dressed in colourful attires attended the prayer session. The prayer session was attended by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Bayero, government functionaries, members of the state and national assemblies and head of security agencies as well as community and religious leaders. (NAN)

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PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

News

Pray for wisdom for our leaders - PDP Caucus Leader urges Muslim By Christiana Ekpa

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he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Caucus Leader in the House of Representatives, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, has urged Muslim faithful to use this year’s celebration to continue to pray for the Spirit of wisdom, justice and directions for the country’s leaders. Rep Chinda who disclosed this in a statement he made available to newsmen in Abuja yesterday, said there is a need for God to bestowed Wisdom on the Nigerian Leaders, for the unity, peace and progress of the dear county. He said “For myself and on behalf of Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus, House of Representatives, I join well meaning Nigerians to felicitate with Muslim faithfuls across the globe, particularly those in Nigeria, on the occasion of this year’s Eid Mubarak celebration. “I heartily rejoice with our Muslim brethren and urge them to use this special occasion to continue to exhibit the spirit of tolerance, sacrifice, selflessness, mutual love and peaceful coexistence with others. “I also urge that this year’s celebration should further afford our Muslim brethren the opportunity to continue to pray for wisdom and for the spirit of justice to be bestowed on our Leaders, and for the unity, peace and progress of our dear county, built on just, fair and egalitarian principles. “This is in view of the numerous challenges facing us as a people, including several killings, kidnappings and the general state of insecurity across the county, coupled with the intractable crisis of leadership, rudderless economy, seeming divisive tendencies occasioned by invidious governmental policies and actions, which have more than ever polarized and weakened our collective drive and nationalist spirit. “Equally, of concern is the need for everyone to continue to stay safe and help stop the spread of the dreaded Corona virus (Covid-19) global pandemic which since early 2020 has continued to ravage several countries of the world, including our dear Nigeria. “I am confident that God is on our side and with us playing our individual and collective selfless and pathrotic roles, we shall triumph in the end. “Once again, congratulations and Happy Eid Mubarak to our Muslim brethren”.

News Editor, Tobias Lengnan Dapam

Diaspora voting critical to effective participation in governance – council

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he Nigeria Diaspora Voting Council (NDVC) says passage of the Diaspora Voting Bill into law will enable Nigerians in the Diaspora to contribute significantly to Nigeria’s governance and economic development. The council’s Secretary, Mr Tolu Oluwatuyi, gave the assurance while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja. He noted that the bill had passed the second reading at the National Assembly. “If there exists any wish by the over 17 million Nigerians outside the shores of the country for their fatherland, it is the long-awaited

franchise to be granted by Nigeria National Assembly that will enable them participate in the country’s electioneering process without being physically present. “The yearnings are age-long, the advocacy has been running for over a decade,” he said. Oluwatuyi said that much commitment, resources, time and energy had been deployed for the actualisation of the dream in the past three years. According to him, this renewed zeal and vigour to see that the bill is passed into law is being championed by the council’s leadership which left no stone unturned. He said the council under

the chairmanship of Mr Ade Omole had recorded tremendous progress on the matter. He said that the council would not relent until full ralisation of the goal, adding that engagements regarding the bill were still ongoing. Oluwatuyi said the efforts were to ensure that millions of Nigerians resident in different countries could participate in electioneering processes of their fatherland. The secretary called for more support and cooperation in ensuring passage of the bill in the interest of the country. He said that the passage into law, by the National Assembly,

would improve Nigeria’s political architecture. “The task has been herculean and faced with many bottlenecks, but all of these are not insurmountable with determination. “Many hurdles have been crossed and many limits broken, what we have ahead may not be as daunting as what we already sailed through. “It is our sincere hope that the Red Sea will be crossed because the council remains firm and resolute to give its all. “For the council, it is no retreat, no surrender,” Oluwatuyi stressed. (NAN)

Former Emir of Kano and Khalifa Tijjani, Alhaji Sunusi Lamido Sunusi,led Eidel-Titr at Murtala Square Kaduna yesterday.

PHOTO: Shehu K. Goro

Sallah: Northern govs wives advocate sound morals for children From Yakubu Minna

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Mustapha,

orthern Governors wives forum has felicitated with Muslim brothers and

sisters to mark the events of Eidil - Fitr celebration. This was contained in a press statement issued yesterday in Minna by the

forum chairperson and Niger state governor’s wife, Dr Amina Abubakar Dani Bello. She said that, “As

mothers, we need to instill in our children habits that will ensure they are vigilant in order to protect themselves”.

PCN to build chapel, tourist centre to immortalise Mary Slessor

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he Presbyterian Church of Nigeria (PCN) has laid foundation stone to erect a Chapel and tourist centre to immortalise late Mary Slessor, the Scottish Presbyterian Missionary, who stopped the killing of twins over 100 years ago. His Eminence, Dr Udo Ekpenyong, the Prelate Emeritus of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, laid the foundation for the Mary Slessor Chapel and tourist centre on Thursday at Use Ikot Oku in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom. Ekpenyong said the 200-capacity sitting Chapel was the beginning of a tourism complex, which would house other facilities for all Christians, lovers of God and adherents of the late missionary, popularly known as ‘Mma Slessor’. He said the building of the chapel which was sponsored by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Glory Edet, was intended to be

one of the structures that would immortalise Mma Slessor and her works in the community. Ekpenyong said the exercise was part of a legacy by the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria to propagate the name of the missionary. “We are followers of Christ. Our amiable daughter, Dr Glory Edet, the Commissioner for Agriculture, has volunteered to build this Chapel. “We cannot give her the time limit. She has set time for herself and the resources that would come from it. “The Chapel would benefit not only the immediate community but the world at large. People would come from far and near to pray and God would hear their prayers as He heard the prayers of Mary Slessor. “We rejoice as a Church and we thank one of our daughters for coming to our aid. Whosoever comes here to pray, God will

answer his or her prayers in Jesus name,” he said. Also speaking, Mrs Rita Ekanem, a Trustee of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, said the long overdue project was a starting point of good things. Ekanem said that the Chapel was going to be prayer booth for all Christians. “This project is very important to the church and community because for a long time, we couldn’t establish our presence here but God’s willing, today is a starting point. “As we have started, with God being on our side, we know that we will not stop until we complete it. “This is not the only project we will site here, other projects are coming. By the time we finish this one, other projects will emerge. “What we intend for this place is to be a prayer booth, that people will come here,’’ she said. According to her, the life of

Mary Slessor was sacrificial, a life of prayer, so we want to sustain her legacies. “That is why we want to use this place as a prayer booth so that all Christians, not only Presbyterians, will come in here, have a retreat and pray like she did. “The project is of God. Whenever God starts a good thing, it would be completed to the glory of God,” Ekanem said. Rev. Umoren Ekpenyong, the Pastor in Charge of Presbyterian Church, Use Ikot Oku Parish, said the project was historic and came at the right time, saying that the Church was foreseeing the place as a village in future. “It is the vision of the Church that this place be turned to Mary Slessor Village. “It means we are going to have other infrastructure like a library and accommodation for people who come here to pray or to know more about the place or late Mary Slessor,” he said. (NAN)


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News

Buhari extols Gen. Dogonyaro, describes him as ‘a thoroughbred soldier’ By Sunday Ode

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resident Muhammadu Buhari has described the death of the former Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Joshua Dogonyaro as “a great loss not only to the Nigerian military, but also to the country because of his patriotic sacrifices in defence of its unity and territorial integrity.” “The death of Dogonyaro comes as a great shock to me because as a soldier, I know what it means to lose such an officer and a gentleman who gave his best in the service of the country,” the Senior Spacial Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu in a statement on Thursday quoted Buhari to have said . As a thoroughbred soldier who had professionally distinguished himself in the course of his military career, the President noted that “laying down one’s life for the country is one of the greatest sacrifices any citizen can make to his country. General Dogonyaro’s incalculable contributions will be remembered for years to come.” President Buhari also extended deepest condolences to the Government and people of Plateau State on the passing of ‘‘this legendary general’’. He prayed Almighty God to bless the soul of the departed and grant his family the fortitude to bear the loss.

PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

Sallah: Ganduje releases 123 prisoners From Mustapha Adamu, Kano

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s part of this year’s Sallah celebration, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has secured the release of no fewer than 123 inmates from correctional centre in the state. The governor, after the Eid prayer, which took place at the state’s main Eid ground in Kofar Mata in the Kano metropolis on Thursday, proceeded to Goron Dutse Correctional Centre to visit

the inmates as a mark of respect and love. The inmates that received the gesture were those that could not pay their fines and those that have supposedly been born again. Ganduje urged the freed inmates to be good citizens while going back to their various communities, urging them to also desist from illegal acts that would bring them back to the correctional center. In a remark the, Controller

of Kano Correctional Centers, Sulaiman T. Sulaiman appreciated the governor for providing food items to the centres during the month of Ramadan through the Ganduje Foundation. In a related development, the governor also thanked the people of the state for praying tirelessly for peace to reign in the state, urging them to continue praying for the state to continue to enjoy relative peace. “As you can see, Kano is

peaceful. This is owing to your tireless prayers to Almighty God to keep this state peaceful. I enjoin you to continue praying for peace, wealth and harmony to continue to reign in our dear state. “Security is everybody’s business. All hands must be on deck to check insecurity bidevilling this country. People must support the ongoing efforts by governments at all levels to achieve security in this country,” said Ganduje.

Hajiya Zainab Ahmad Saidu, Head of Minna Operations Office of the National Emergency Management Agency (C ) as representative of the Director General NEMA led some of the Internally Displaced Persons on inspection of the Relief Materials delivered for distribution to them in Kuta, Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.

Bagudu promises to improve security in 3 affected states From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi

he Kebbi State Governor Senator Atiku Bagudu Abubakar has promised to

improve security in three affected communities that were attacked by bandits’ under Zuru emirate. He gave this assurance

agos State Government says its World Bank-assisted Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement, Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project will construct 13.16km Farm Access Roads (FARs) in four cluster areas. The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, said this on Thursday during the activities to commemorate the second year of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration. Olusanya noted that the four farm cluster areas were Igbodu in Epe, Araga also in Epe, Erinkorodo in Ikorodu and Afowo in Badagry. She said the access roads when completed would ensure smooth movement to and fro the farms.

Olusanya added that it would reduce losses encountered by egg farmers as a result of the bad road. The commissioner said it would also improve productivity of the concerned farmers. She said the evaluation and engineering design for the four roads had since been finalised and construction would commence immediately. “APPEALS Project is a World Bank-assisted project aimed at enhancing the productivity of small scale farmers in the three identified value chains of poultry, aquaculture and rice through capacity building, provision of infrastructure and empowerment. “The project will be rehabilitating and constructing

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yesterday when he paid a sympathy visit to the affected communities. He added that the security agencies had

already been mobilized to the affected communities. He said very soon the issue of insecurity will be a thing of the past as

Governments is working hard to ensure that lives and property of the citizens are protected.

World Bank to construct 13.16km Lagos farm roads

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13.16Km farm access roads already identified in four different clusters across the state. “The design of the Bill of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation for the four FARs is at final report stage. “The advertisement for potential contractors and subsequent implementation will be carried out once the work plan is approved by the governor,” she said. According to Olusanya, 1,621 regular beneficiaries under the Project’s Women and Youth Empowerment Programme (WYEP) has been trained in agribusiness management and other soft skills within the last two years. “Of the number, 462 have

received “No Objections” on their Business Investment Plans and are presently implementing their projects. “Other beneficiaries will equally be supported before the end of the year, “ she said. Olusanya added that the APPEALS project had equally identified and verified 9,942 farmers and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, while 8,156 of them had received at least one form of training in relevant areas of agribusiness. She said this was with a view to enhancing their agricultural productivity and improving value addition. Olusanya noted that no fewer than 460 beneficiaries were

sponsored for training, workshop and conferences out of which 425 of them were farmers. “A cluster of fish farmers at Badagry have adopted the production of fish crackers and fish cakes. “Over 1,000 packs (696 Kg) of fish fillet and crackers had been produced and sold during the period under review. “Use of nets for the control of birds in rice farming had since been adopted by our farmers. “Over 100 rice farmers in Ganyingbo, Badagry are presently trying this technology with other agronomic practices learnt through the state collaboration with AfricaRice, IITA, Ibadan,” Olusanya said. (NAN)

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PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

Eid-el-Fitr: Sultan urges Govt. to implore measures in addressing insecurity

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lhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), has uged government at all levels to come up with measures aimed at addressing the security challenges bedeviling the country. Abubakar, who made the call in his Sallah message in Sokoto on Thursday, said the security challenges in the country had continuef to remain a great concern to all. “We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, and all the state governors to, as a matter of urgency .bring to an end insecurity across the country. “As our leaders, you should continue to remain resolute and more committed to your various responsibilities of protecting the society. “Therefore, you should enhance your commitment toward the restoration of the peaceful nature our country was long known for,” he said. The Sultan also called on the entire Muslims in country to sustain more prayers for their leaders to be able to shoulder the numerous responsibilities placed on them. He urged Muslims to continue to sustain the spirit of charity, generousity, hospitality and brotherhood that Eid-ElFiltr symbolises. “Today is a great day for all of us to celebrate, show love, support and relate with one another, as such we should sustain the commitment for our best desire,”he added. He urged the residents of Sokoto State to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines throughout the Sallah celebration. (NAN)

News

Food security: We’ll stop bandits from blocking access to farms, food production -Buhari By Egena Sunday Ode

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resident Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday pledged that his administration will not allow criminal elements to hamper the nation’s food security plans, saying that he use all available resources and manpower in dealing with bandits to ensure that they did not create havoc against access to farms and food production in the coming growing season. Speaking to reporters at the State House shortly after observing the Eid prayer, marking the end of the month-long Ramadan fast, President Buhari emphatically said that the menace of bandits and kidnappers will be addressed to ensure that the nation’s food security is not threatened. The President, who hoped for a good rainy season this year said “the law enforcement agencies

are working hard to regain confidence against bandits, so that we can go back to the land. This is very important. This is what the agencies are busy doing right now. We want people to go back to the land so that we can get enough food for the country and even export.” Explaining ongoing efforts to tackle the security situation in the country by the administration, President Buhari drew attention to the series of long meetings held in recent weeks, chaired by him, saying that a part of resolutions had been made public by the National Security Adviser and the others kept secret. “With the resources and manpower available to us, we are working very hard. We are hoping Nigerians will understand the problem. Nigerians know at what stage we came in in 2015, what state we are today both on security and the economy and we

are doing our best.” The President, a statement by his Senior Spacial Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said, commended the National Assembly for its support, saying emphatically that “the National Assembly is cooperating very well. Within the resources available, they are certainly giving us priority on our (military) requests.” President Buhari then made an appeal to the nation’s elite to show a better appreciation of the problems facing the country. “The elite should make the attempt to understand the military. If we order for weapons and armored vehicles, it takes time for the manufacturers. It takes time to ship them and when brought here eventually, they are taken to training institutions, train the trainers before sending them to the field. This is a very long process,” the President was quoted to have explained.

He appealed to Nigerians for more understanding of the current situation in country. “I expect Nigerians to be more understanding on the issues involved, looking at time and available resources. For example, when we came in, in the Northeast, ask people in Adamawa and Borno States and the South South in terms of security. Without security, you can’t do anything. Our big surprise and disappointment is what is happening in the Northwest and we are dealing with it,” said the President with a strong emphasis. President Buhari and members of his family were joined for the Eid at the forecourt of the Villa by the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, cabinet members and the heads of security and intelligence agencies.

Yoruba drummers thrilling Muslim faithful after prayers during Eid-el-Fitri (Sallah) celebrations at the Central Eid Prayer Ground in Gombe on Thursday (13/5/21). PHOTO: NAN

Emir urges parents to monitor wards to reduce security challenges

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he Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammadu Bashar, has urged parents to monitor their children and inculcate good societal values in them to maintain peace and security in the country. The emir, who is also the Chairman, Kebbi State Council of Chiefs, stated this in his Sallah speech shortly after the completion

of two rakaat prayers at Eid prayer ground in Birnin Kebbi on Thursday. He said that most of the criminalities being perpetrated in the society could be traced to indiscipline and bad societal values. Bashar, who advised Muslims to imbibe lessons learnt in the holy month of Ramadan, identified the

absence of discipline in children and greed as factors responsible for rising cases of insecurity. “Parents should always look after their children; the discipline of our children should always be our watchword,” he advised. The royal father also expressed dismay at the high level of idleness in the society and advised the populace

to engage in skill acquisitions to reduce overdependence on government jobs. The emir prayed for the restoration of peace and unity in the country and enjoined the public to always observe COVID-19 protocols during and after the sallah period. (NAN)

irrespective of religion, ethnicity and political affiliations to pray to God to intervene in the current insecurity challenges facing the country. Yankuzo also urged Muslims to sustain the exemplary qualities of Prophet Muhammad in their daily pursuits. “Muslims should use the occasion of Eid el-Fitr to offer prayers for elected leaders as well as those in authority to ensure good democratic governance

through divine intervention. “Muslims should also hold unto the lessons of selflessness, discipline and piety from the just concluded Ramadan to strengthen their faith in praying for peace, security and economic stability of the country. “We must continue to keep praying for security personnel deployed to fight banditry, kidnapping and insurgency. ” May Allah give the Federal Government the wisdom to tackle

all the problems of insecurity,” Yankuzo said. He also charged all Nigerians to remain law abiding and embrace the spirit of kindness, tolerance and self-discipline as taught by the prophet to ensure peaceful coexistence among Nigerians. He called on wealthy Muslims to support the poor in view of the difficulties being faced by Nigerians. The chief Imam also urged

Nigerians to always volunteer reliable and credible information on bad elements in their midst to the nearest security personnel. “Security matters should not be left in the hands of security personnel alone, hence the need for us all to be security conscious in what is happening in and around our sorrounding for overall development of security situation in the country,” he said. ( NAN)

Pray for unity, cleric calls on Nigerians

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r Bashir Yankuzo, the Chief Imam of Central Mosque of Federal University of Technology, Minna, has called on Nigerians to pray for the unity of the country. He made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday after saying prayers to mark Eid el-Fitr in Minna. According to him, the county’s unity is non-negotiable. He called on Nigerians,


PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

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News

£4.2m loot: Malami writes Urhobo union to beg Ibori to withdraw suit against UK By Nosa Akenzua, Asaba

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he Federal Government of Nigeria has written to the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) to beg former Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori to withdraw his suit against the United Kingdom on the planned repatriation of about £4.2 million linked to him. The government also said that should the UPU intervene in the matter, it would create an enabling environment for the consideration of the appeal by the union that the looted asset be used to implement projects in Delta state. Recall that the UPU, under the leadership of Engineer Joseph Omene, had asked the Nigerian Government to use the said loot to implement projects in the state when it is repatriated. In a letter addressed to Omene, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, noted that the suit filed by Chief Ibori against the United Kingdom on the confiscated assets has become a stumbling block for repatriation. The AGF letter with the title, “Re-Commendation for Retrieval of Delta’s Stolen Funds and request for Review of Projects to be Executed with the Retrieved Funds”, was signed by Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, the Special Assistant to the President on Justice Reform and International Relations. The letter read, “I am directed to inform (you) that the HAGF is in receipt of your letter dated 23rd March 2021 with regard to the above subject matter. The HAGF appreciates your concerns and welcomes the interest of UPU in the returned assets. “The HAGF wishes to inform that he does not have the authority to approve projects for the application of returned assets. These decisions are taken at the Federal Executive Council after indepth deliberations. The HAGF’s mandate is to implement the decisions of the council. “I am also directed to inform further that the decision of the council is also guided by bilateral negotiations between Nigeria and the country from which the asset will be returned. “Accordingly, Nigeria and the government of the United Kingdom or any other country for that matter must agree on a specific project in a transparent and accountable manner before a project is approved. “However, the HAGF has directed that I inform you that the stumbling block in negotiating the return of assets linked to Ibori to Nigeria is the ongoing litigation by Mr James Ibori against the government of United Kingdom in the confiscation hearing in London. “It is advisable that you approach Mr James Ibori to advise him to withdraw his appeals against the confiscation and repatriation of the assets linked to him, his family, and associates back to Nigeria.”

Gen. Joshua Dogonyaro, ex-CDS dies at 80 Death

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he former Chief of Defence Staff to late Gen. Sani Abacha, Lt-Gen. Joshua Dogonyaro has died. He died at the age of 80. Joseph, first son of the deceased disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an telephone interview in Pankshin on Thursday. “Daddy has been sick for some time until yesterday when he had a stroke and we rushed him to the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) for medical attention. “Unfortunately, early this morning (Thursday), around 3.00am precisely, he breathed his last. “His death comes as a rude shock to us as a family. We are going to miss his love and warm as a grandfather, father, brother, uncle and supporter,” he said. Joseph said that the family was

trying to cope with the shocked of the general’s demise and would discuss the funeral arrangements soon. He described his father as “a General who was so faithful and loyal to the nation, Nigeria.” “He was a general who had no bias mind as a detribalised Nigerian. He served this nation faithful and identified with all Nigerians and Africa as a continent. “We and Nigerians are going to miss him having served humanity in this country and Africa as a whole, ” Joseph said. According to him, the corpse of the general has since been deposited at the JUTH mortuary. Late retired Lt. Gen. Dogonyaro, a soldier and an administrator, was born on Sept. 12, 1940 in Vom, Plateau State, though a native of Taroh in Langtang North Local

Government Area. Dogonyaro had his early education at Boys’ Secondary School, Gindiri, and there after was enlisted in the Nigerian Army, 1964. He was commissioned SecondLieutenant in the Nigerian Army Armoured Corps, 1967; Officer Commanding, 1 Recce Squadron, NA, 1967-69; Quartermaster General, I Infantry Division (Main), N, 1969-70. The late general became Chief Instructor and Adjutant, Rece Training School, NA, 1970 to 1972; Commandirg Officer, I Recce Regiment, NA., 1972 to 1976. He was appointed Principal Staff Officer, Headquarters, Nigerian Army Armoured Corp, 1976 to 1977; Commanding Officer, 24 Armoured Brigade, NA., 1977-79. Between 1984 and 1985, he was

made the Task Force Commanding Officer, 203 Armoured Battalion on the Peace-keeping Force in Chad; Director of Manning (Army), Army Headquarters, ‘A’ Branch, N.A and Director of Armoury, 1985. He was also the General Officer Commanding 3 Armoured Division, N.A, Jos, 1985 to 1987; mm: Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC), 1985; General Officer Commanding 2nd Mechanised Division, N.A, Ibadan, 1987;promoted Major-General, 1988; Promoted Lt. General; former ECOMOG Commander; retired in 1993; Dogonyaro attended also the National Institute for Policy and Suategic Studies, Kuru, Jos and obtained National Institute (mni) in addition to the Staff College (Psc) and Forces Service Star (FSS). (NAN)

First Lady of Kebbi State, Dr Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu ( fifth from right) , Wife of the deputy governor, Hajiya Halima Yombe (Sixth from right) and others during the breaking of Ramadan fast organised by the office of the first Lady in Birnin Kebbi recently .

Kaduna Govt. lauds residents for monitoring execution of projects

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aduna State government on Thursday commended residents for monitoring the execution of development projects in their communities. Mrs Jumai Bako, Director, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), Planning and Budget Commission (PBC), gave the commendation when she spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna. She said the monitoring was helping government to curb corruption, ensure quality and timely delivery of projects and getting value for tax payers’ money She listed citizens monitoring avenues to include the Citizens’ Projects Monitoring App, called the “Eyes and Ears’’, installed by government, letters and other social media handles of the Executive arm of government. “There is also a toll-free call centre (Hausa and English) and a radio programme called Gani Ya Kori Ji (Seeing is Believing), aired every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. for citizens to make a complaints or share their views,”

she added. Mrs Bako said that the citizens’ participation in project monitoring had gained momentum in recent times following the massive sensitisation campaign carried out by the PBC and other stakeholders. She said that the M&E department currently receives complaints from citizens on daily basis, adding that a total of 70 complaints were received from April to date. “The sensitisation campaign became necessary after we realised that most citizens are not aware of the App and other channels to monitor and report anomalies in the execution of projects in their communities. “In early 2020, we produced fliers to create the needed awareness among citizens on all available channels to engage the government, particularly through the “Eyes and Ears’’, she said. The director added that for a robust engagement of the “Eyes and Ears’’ efforts were on-going to expand the App’s dashboard to local government areas and to

other agencies of the executive arm of government. This would enable local government chairmen and heads of ministries, departments and agencies to monitor complaints real time and ensure timely response. “Initially the coverage was the PBC, the office of the governor, that of the deputy governor, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly and the defunct Ministries of Works, and Community and Rural Development. “We have expanded to four additional ministries, departments and agencies and to six local government councils and currently in the process of expanding to the 17 remaining local government councils and 35 ministries, departments and agencies. “In fact, we downloaded 25 complaints from the `Eyes and Ears’ in one week. This is unprecedented since the App was inaugurated in 2017,’’ she said. Mrs Bako explained that complaints received were verified and genuine ones forwarded to Gov.

Nasir El-Rufa’i, who directs the responsible ministry, department or agency to act immediately. On timely response, the director said that the App would be updated to provide feedback that a complaint had been received and was being processed. “We also mounted Billboards across the 23 Local Government Areas of the state and aired radio jingles on five radio stations to sensitise the public. “We held town hall meetings across the three Senatorial zones of the state and demonstrated practically how to download and use the App and other channels to engage government on projects execution,’’ she told NAN. She added that the call centre was also being upgraded to provide a unique ticket number for citizens to track the status of their complaints and be notified when the issue is resolved. She told NAN that complainants who sent in letters were usually contacted as soon as the complaints were addressed. (NAN)

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PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

Over 8000 employed in Lagos computer village — Official

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he Phone and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (PAPDAN) has said that the Computer Village in Ikeja, Lagos, creates no fewer than over 8000 job opportunities for Nigerian youths. Mr Ifeanyi Akabue, President, PAPDAN, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday. He said that the figure was for only those engaged with his association, aside from other trade associations in the location. Akabue said that because of the rate of unemployment in the country, the hub had offered lots of jobs, including online or digital marketing. He, however, said many of the young people do not have shops at the hub to transact their businesses. According to him, the association has conducted training for over 200 people on online marketing within the last six months. ‘’So many of our young ones are in online marketing, we had a training for our members and workers. ‘’Over 200 young people have been trained in the last six months, since after the COVID-19 and EndSars saga. ‘’Some of our members have empowered those trained by supplying goods to them on trust to sell and make refunds later. ‘’The training has had a multiplying effect on the employment rate of youths in the country,’’ he said. Akabue, therefore, advised policy makers to encourage the young ones by patronising local content. He said that there were a lot of talented young ones that need government, organisation and individuals support to promote their works.(NAN)

News

Insecurity: Gen Abdulsalami, Ketso call for prayer From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna

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iger state deputy governor, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammad Ketso and former Head of State, General

Abdulsalami Abubakar have charged all citizens to embark on prayer to overcome the current insecurity problems facing the state and country. The duo made the call shortly after the two Raka’at

Eid-El-Fitr prayer in Minna. They urged the general public to disregard publication of fake and inciting stories on social media platforms to avoid heating the nation which is already facing lots of

challenges. They added that spreading rumours and encouraging hate speech will only add to more socio-economic hardship already faced by the country.

Representative of the Chief of Defence Staff, Maj-Gen. Mainasara Masanawa (M); Team Leader of 9th Intake Tanzanian National Defence College (TNDC) Course 2020/2021, Brig.- Gen. Marianus Mhagama; (5- L); Directors of Headquarters Directors; TNDC Directing Staff and Participants, during the TNDC study tour to Nigeria.

AbdulRazaq appoints 41-year-old multimedia czar as Kwara Tv GM

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ov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara has appointed a multimedia guru, Mr Olatunde Oyeyiola, as the new General Manager of Kwara Television. The governor announced the appointment in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Malam Rafiu Ajakaye, on Wednesday in Ilorin. It said the choice was a step meant to turn around the state’s official broadcaster. Versed and renowned for his expertise in the African modern multimedia industry, Oyeyiola’s choice aligns with the governor’s vision to launch the Kwara Television into the club of modern digital television stations in the country and beyond, the statement said. Born in New Bussa, Niger State, in 1980, Oyeyiola hails from Oro Kingdom in Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara. He holds a Diploma in Mass

Communication and a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations and Advertising from the Lagos State University. Oyeyiola, talented and goaloriented, has always been on top of his game even as an undergraduate. Beginning from 2002, he was three times the president of the students’ arm of the Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN). Oyeyiola’s solid professional foundation began in 2004 at Alphavision Multimedia, a subsidiary of the Consolidated Media Associates, producers of soap operas such as Everyday People, Saints and Sinners, Candlelight, One Love and Domino. At Alphavision, he led a television revolution that birthed the quintessential Soundcity Television which was at the time only a 30-minute weekly music show but was later transformed

into a 24-hour pan-African urban music and lifestyle TV channel that now airs in over 55 African countries, as well as DSTV Channel 327, GoTV Channel 75, and TalkTalk UK. He is credited with quality programming, monitoring transmission, drafting company policies, and structuring production operations at the firm. While at Alphavision Multimedia, he worked with Andrew Cummings Commission where he produced pacesetting television adverts like MTN’s Mama Na Boy, Guinness Extra Smooth TVC with Tuface, Glo’s Me 2 U, Harp Real Friends, Zip Up, Oceanic Bank’s Happy Customer and many more. With a growing portfolio and a vast multimedia mindset, he later trod farther down the paths of showbiz in 2013, when he consulted for DKM Media where he directed concerts, managed

artistes, and produced music videos like Dbanj’s Don’t Tell Me Nonsense, The Kings Men Concert and a host of others. Oyeyiola also produced and directed ‘Why Me’ and ‘Move your body’ music video by Dbanj and the defunct Mohit Records in 2005. He later joined the Trace TV in 2014 as General Manager where he created and developed the television’s content, and ensured quality programming and production. He also led strategic projects such as the Airtel Trace Star Reality TV. Also in 2014, Oyeyiola advanced rapidly to hit the ground running at Playcenter Nigeria, the pace setting multimedia company he founded back in 2007. The Playcenter specialises in TV production, content creation, media promotion, marketing, events management and a host of groundbreaking services.

in the state, my administration will not take decisions that will be detrimental to workers’ welfare. “Although many states having suffered from the current trying times, causing such state governments to consider reducing their workforce, such will not happen under my leadership. “Instead, my administration has continued to evolve ways of meeting the demands of the people through the purchase of a range of food products, which were distributed across all the state’s 2,516 polling units, provision of assistance to a number of Islamic

centres throughout the state in order to sustain the government’s food distribution efforts during the Holy Month. “Similar gesture was also extended to the state’s Council of Chiefs, Remand Home, Orphanages and Civil Servants.” “40,000 pieces of shadda and atamfa clothing materials were purchased and distributed to orphans and other less privileged individuals to enable them celebrate the Eid-el-Fitr in a happy state of mind. “In order to give a sense of belonging to those in prison

custody, the state government also donated 400 bags of assorted grains to the inmates of Gusau Correctional Facility in the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan,” Matawalle explained. He said despite threats posed by banditry and its repercussions, in addition to the cash crunch, his administration is leaving its mark on the sands of time by mobilising resources to execute a number of public projects across the state. He commended Islamic scholars, preachers and religious leaders for preaching peace throughout the Holy

Month and appreciated the continuous support and prayers of the people of the state to the government, urging parents to ensure that their children dress modestly always. He congratulated the Muslim Ummah in the state for witnessing another Ramadan and Sallah. Matawalle thanked philanthropists for assisting orphans, widows and other vulnerable groups in the society all in the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan, urgong them to continue with this humanitarian gesture beyond Ramadan. (NAN)

Sallah: Gov. Matawalle assures workers of job security

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ov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara has assured workers on the state government’s payroll that his administration would not downsize their number nor cut their salaries. The governor made the declaration in his statewide broadcast on Wednesday evening marking the end of this year’s 30 days Ramadan fast, ushering in the Eid-el-Fitr Sallah celebration. “In spite of dwindling resources characterised by impact of COVID-19 pandemic on global economy and banditry activities


PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

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News

Delta partners UNESCO on women, girl-child empowerment By Nosa Akenzua, Asaba

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elta Governor, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, said his administration would continue to give priority attention to programmes and projects that would empower the girl-child and women. Okowa stated this yesterday when he received the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Multi-sectoral Regional Officer, Mr Lamine Sow, and his delegation at Government House, Asaba. He remarked that the girlchild and women were relevant in every society and thanked UNESCO for considering Delta as one of the states to benefit from its women and girls’ development programmes. He said that the state government would ensure that the programme was successful in the state. According to the governor, “Third World countries are always confronted with the challenge of relegating women to the background and I am confident that the move by UNESCO will reverse the ugly trend.” He said that a lot of programmes have been initiated by his administration towards empowerment and economic emancipation of women and the girl-child, coupled with the creation of the Girl Child Development Office in the state. He advocated for concerted efforts aimed at giving women and the girl-child opportunity to realise their potential in the society, stressing that any investment in the lives of women had the tendency to affect the society positively. “Let me thank you for considering Delta as one of the three states currently involved in the project implementation and it is important to us because of the huge role women and the girlchild usually play in the family. “I am glad that out of 36 states in the country we are among the three participating and what makes it more imperative for us is that you actually picked a segment of the society that is more oppressed. “Although here in Delta, they have not been relegated but to some extent we have not paid attention to them and to that extent, anything that will help to ensure that they are better positioned in the society makes a lot of meaning to us.

Eid-el-Fitr: Orji Kalu advocates national cohesion T he Chief Whip of the Senate, Sen. Orji Kalu, has felicitated with the Muslim community on the successful completion of Ramadan. Kalu in his goodwill message issued on Thursday in Abuja, described Ramadan as a special month with uncommon and divine blessings. He urged Muslim faithful to sustain the teachings of holy Qur’an beyond the holy month. According to him, the acts of alms-giving, piety, selflessness, forgiveness and togetherness

should be embraced by Nigerians for the sake of national prosperity. Kalu prayed to Allah to grant the Muslim ummah attendant blessings of the spiritual exercise and urged all religious leaders to sensitise their followers on the consequences of disharmony and war. He stressed that Nigeria was better of as a united and indivisible entity. The former governor called on the political class to advocate peace and unity in their

endeavours. He pointed out that divisive statements and inflammatory utterances must be discouraged for peace and harmony to reign in the country. Kalu said: “As we join our brothers and sisters in Islam, to celebrate the successful completion of Ramadan, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, must embrace peace and unity as demonstrated in the holy month of Ramadan. “Nigerians must strive for national integration and cohesion

by promoting peaceful coexistence among all ethnic groups. “We should celebrate Eid-elFitr by re-dedicating our lives to the service of humanity. “The world can only be a better place for us all to live if we demonstrate good deeds in our pursuits. “Let us use this season of Eid –el-Fitr celebration to offer prayers for leaders at all levels of government’.’ Kalu wished the Muslim ummah joyous Eid-el Fitr celebration. (NAN)

First Lady Dr Mrs Aisha Muhammadu-Buhari with Children and grandchildren during Prayers to celebrate 2021 eld-fitr held at the State House, PHOTO; STATE HOUSE

Expert wants greater investment in food security

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n agricultural extension expert, Dr Bala Shehu, has called on tiers of government to prioritise greater investment in transportation and storage facilities to boost food security. Shehu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the availability of these facilitates would attract private investment, improve access to purchased inputs, credits and enhance marketing efficiency in the sector. According to him, key constraints impeding sustainable and increased agricultural productivity in Nigeria are low access to financial facilities, inadequate extension and advisory services.

Shehu, who is the Zonal Officer, National Agricultural Extension and Research Liason Services, North Central Zone, also listed challenges of gender inequality, poor road infrastructure and storage constraints. He noted that there was a wellestablished relationship between the availability of infrastructure and agricultural productivity in Nigeria. He said “This is being hindered by the non-availability of infrastructures such as road networks, post-harvest storage and irrigation technology. “Other types of infrastructure such as telecommunications and electricity supply also play a major role, but the impact is more evenly dispersed across all sectors

of an economy. “Limited or poor-quality roads and rail transportation inhibit timely access to inputs, increase costs of inputs and decrease access to output markets.” On limited access to financial facilities, Shehu said agriculture is a major contributor to Nigeria’s GDP and small-scale farmers play a dominant role in this contribution. He, however. said agricultural productivity and growth were hindered by limited access to credit facilities. He said modernising agriculture required a large infusion of credit to finance the use of purchased inputs such as fertilizers, improved seeds, insecticides and additional

labour. Shehu noted that agricultural extension and advisory service had been at the forefront in the delivery of adequate information and technologies to farmers for increased productivity. He said agricultural extension and advisory service were saddled with the responsibility of disseminating innovation to transform agricultural production for food security and economic development of agrarian communities. “Agricultural extension and advisory services occupy a strategic position in the agricultural production cycle, as it connects the farmers and research scientists and between farmers and policymakers”.

Sallah: Police warn against breach of peace in Kebbi From Ahmed Idris, Birnin Kebbi

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he Kebbi State Police Command has warned all the residents against acts that may lead to breach of peace during the Sallah festival.

In a statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer DSP Nafi’u Abubakar, said the Police Commissioner, Adeleke Adeyinka Bode, gave the warning in his Sallah message to the people of the state. “The Police and other

security agencies in the state are fully prepared to ensure a hitchfree celebration. “It is therefore necessary to use this medium to warn all potential trouble makers, miscreants and hoodlums to avoid engaging in any unlawful

activity, as measures have been put in place to bring them to book. “The Police will continue to ensure the safety of lives and property of people across the state before, during and after the celebration,” the commissioner

said. He appealed to the general public to provide useful information on suspicious persons to the nearest police station or call 09062925404 and 08038797644 in case of any emergency.

PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

Page 9

News Restructuring: Lawan, Gbajabiamola tell southern governors to live by example P By Egena Sunday Ode

resident of Senate, Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamola Thursday said governors and other elected leaders should not lead the advocacy for restructuring because none of them have consciously done anything at their various levels of leadership to advance that cause. They stated this in separate interviews with State House correspondents at the forecourt of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja after the Eid-Mubarak prayers. Recall that the governors of southern states had in a communique after their meeting in Asaba on Tuesday called for restructuring of the federation. Lawan said, “I believe that, as leaders, especially those of us who are elected into office should not be at the forefront of calling for this kind of thing. “Because, even if you are a governor, you are supposed to be working hard in your state to ensure that this restructuring you are calling for at the federal level, you have done it in your state as well. “What you may accuse the Federal Government of, whatever it is, you may also be accused of the same thing in your state. “So, we are supposed to ensure that we have a complete and total way of ensuring that our systems at the federal, state and even local government levels work for the people. “We must allow people to participate in governance so that whoever feels he has something to offer to make Nigeria better does so freely without any let or hindrance.” Urging elected leaders to shun

Low key Sallah preparation in kaduna From:Femi Oyelola, Kaduna

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ome residents of kaduna have opined that this year’s Sallah is expected to be nothing but low-key because of the economic recession, Covid-19 pendemic and security challenges. Investigations by Peoples Daily revealed that some market in the crocodile city known for hustling and bustling is now fading in activities. A resident, Mallam Nasir Umar said the low-key preparation is as a result of the recent insecurity bedeviling the state. According to him, kidnappers and bandits’ have forced people to the four wall of their room, saying traveling is now things of the past because it is only the living that celebrate. Another resident, Dinah Dauda attributed the low key preparation to the current economic recession, adding that the economy was not favourable for elaborate celebration. “It is no longer news that the country is in recession; therefore, I do not expect people to have elaborate celebration in this year’s celebration.”

regionalism, Lawan added that “The President is reaching out to all the stakeholders. And I believe that as leaders, particularly those of us who were elected at all levels of government, we should avoid partisanship. “We should avoid regionalism. We are all leaders and we are in this together. “The solutions to our challenges must come from us regardless of what level of government we are. “Whether at the federal, state or the local government level. “I believe that Nigeria is going to come out of these challenges stronger.” Lawan further advised Nigerians to support efforts at ensuring the desired autonomy for local governments in the country,saying that absence of functional local government system is partly responsible for the current worsening security situation on the country. According to him, while the nation’s leaders seek solutions to the security crisis confronting the nation, the Local Government system should not be neglected. He explained further that the lack of autonomy potentially inhibits solutions as well as efforts by the federal and state governments towards addressing the nation’s security challenge. “We are all leaders and we are in this together, the solutions must come from us regardless of what levels of leadership we are – whether at the Federal Level, State Level, or even at the Local Government level. “I also want to take this opportunity to say that we have diminished the local government system. I think we can attribute the security issues to the absence of a functional local government system.

“I think the time has come for us to take up the challenge and ensure that the Local Government system functions. This is as we look for ways to curb the security challenge. We must never neglect the local government system. We must go back to our local government system to ensure they are autonomous and functional,” Lawan said. The Speaker of the House

of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, also called for a national spirit of oneness, saying that “If truth be told, we all have equal shares in the blame for what’s happening today. On the call for restructuring., He maintained that there might be genuine agitations but explicitly stated that elected leaders and state governors should particularly

not champion the movement for restructuring without first replicating the idea at the state level. “Whatever challenges we have, we must all come together to make sure that we resolve these issues we’re facing. “We must imbibe that spirit of oneness, togetherness, unity and love that would take us through this.”

The madawakin kontagora Alh Aminu Mohammed (1st right) Governor of Niger state Alh Dr Abubakar sani Bello (2nd right) top government officials and thousands of worshipers, during the 2rakaat prayer at the kontagora eid praying ground. 13-05-2021

Ex minister, Turaki urges Muslims to uphold Ramadan values, peace, unity, benevolence

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ormer Minister of Special Duties Tanimu Turaki has urged Muslims across Nigeria not to depart from the values of benevolence, unity and peace which guided them during the Ramadan. Turaki said in an Eid-el-fitr message to Muslims, issued in Abuja on Thursday, that they should be steadfast in upholding the values. He explained that such principles as advanced during

Ramadan should be the core of every Muslim. The former minister said that it was expected of every Muslim to continually abide by the principles of neighbourly love, benevolence and peace. “Today, the Muslim Ummah across Nigeria and the world celebrate the end of the month-long Ramadan fast in accordance with the Holy Qu’Ran. “Throughout this past month,

we have prayed for ourselves, our families, our communities and the nation at large and it is my fervent hope and prayer that Almighty Allah will answer these prayers. “As we move forward, we must continue to embody the principles that we have practiced throughout this month. “We must love our neighbours as ourselves; we must endeavour to continue to give to those in need; and we must continue to work

to foster the peace and unity of Nigeria. “It is my prayer that our prayers will lead to sustained peace. “It is also my hope that the states across the nation that have been bedevilled by violence will become safer and more secure,” he said. He prayed that Almighty Allah in his infinite wisdom and grace will continue to bless, guide and protect Nigeria. (NAN)

Malnutrition: Kaduna acquires N100m RUTF From: Kaduna

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Femi

Oyelola,

n its bid to intensify the campaign against malnutrition, Kaduna State Goverment has acquired 3,450 cartons of Ready-ToUse Therapeutic Food (RUTF) worth N100 million for the treatment of malnourished children in the state. The State Nutrition Officer Mrs Ramatu Musa disclosed this while speaking with the media in kaduna yesterday. According to her, the RUTF

was bought with the N100 million recently cash backed by the state government. Mrs Musa, added that RUTF had been handed over to the State Primary Health Care Board for distribution to Primary Healthcare Centres and Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) sites. She explained that the government recently approved N500 million for the procurement of additional RUTF considering the number of Severe Acute Malnourished

(SAM) children in the state. Similarly, Mr Umar Bambale, Programme Manager, Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan (KADENAP), said that the government was doing everything it could to treat all malnourished children in the state. Bambale told correspondents that KADENAP was working to ensure the release of the N500 million to procure additional RUTF. He said that the state government had treated 66, 980 out of the 90, 228 SAM

children admitted in various CMAM sites between 2017 and 2020. He said that 11, 983 were treated out of the 17, 979 admitted in 2017, while 17, 124 were treated out of the 21, 996 admitted in 2018. “Also, 20, 861 out of the 26, 192 admitted in 2019 were treated, while 17, 012 were treated out of the 24,061 malnourished children admitted in 2020. “So far, 11, 292 malnourished were undergoing treatment in CMAM sites as at March 31.”


PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

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News

Insecurity: IPCR calls for MultiStakeholders’ intervention By Ochiaka Ugwu

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n a quest to find lasting peace in the nation, the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) has called for multistakeholders’ synergy to end insecurity. In a press statement released Tuesday in Abuja by the Institute Media department, signed by Esther Ndukwe, the Director General of the Institute, Bakut Bakut has expressed concern over the security challenges of the country and exhorts Nigerians to cooperate, support efforts of the government and relevant authorities to curb the ugly situation. According to the statement, “As a government Institution with the mandate of promoting and building peace, IPCR frowns at the continued bloodshed, acts of terrorism, kidnappings and banditry as they constitute factors capable of destabilizing the internal security of the State and externally, projecting the nation’s image in bad light in the global community. “We therefore condemn these acts and call on their perpetrators to desist from orchestrating these dastardly acts but give peace a chance. “From our conflict tracking assessment, the state of security in our nation today shows that virtually all sectors of the economy has been negatively affected by the growing insecurity. “This no doubt has occasioned mutual suspicious and strife that is shaking the core of our diversity and impeding the developmental drive and policies of the Buharled administration. “Therefore, the way out of this precarious situation, is for all citizens and various stakeholders (both the leaders and the led, government and the governed), to come together to dialogue for durable solutions that would make Nigeria a better place for all. “IPCR salutes the courage of the military, the police and other security agencies who have laid their lives in the line of duty in order to forestall peace and strengthen the bond of Nigeria’s unity. “While we assure our gallant security forces of the IPCR’s continued support, we urge them to up their act as there is no amount of sacrifice that is too much to rid-off Nigeria’s current security challenges and restore it back on the path of sustainable peace and development”. Bakut commend President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment and the political willingness he has demonstrated by joining forces with other African leaders to end the spate of insurgency and general insecurity not only in Nigeria but the Africa’s continent at large.

Mishap: Niger Senator donates 2 modern boats to communities From Yakubu Minna

Mustapha,

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he Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District of Niger State and

Chairman, Senate Committee on Senate Services, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa has donated two modern boats to riverine communities in Munya Local Government Area of the

state. The boats, 30 seater passengers are equipped with modern facilities aimed at reducing the rate of boat mishaps recorded in those

communities. He also commiserated with families of victims in recent boat mishap around Zumba, in Munya Local Government Area of the state.

PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

EDITORIAL

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Return of COVID-19 restrictions

he federal government recently announced new restrictions aimed at curbing further spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). The measures took effect Tuesday, May 11 in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Abuja. Dr. Mukhtar Mohammed, a member of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, described the restrictions as ‘Phase IV’ of Nigeria’s COVID-19 containment effort. It restricts gatherings in public spaces to 50 people at any given time, with physical distancing measures respected at all times. No one would be allowed access to government institutions or facilities without a face mask.

The former Emir of Kano and the Khalifa Tijjani of Nigeria, Sheikh Sanusi Lamido Sanusi giving sermon during the Eid al- Fitr Sallah prayer at the Murtala Mohammed Square praying ground, Kaduna. PHOTO: Shehu K. Goro

Okowa reaffirms commitment to women, girl-child empowerment By Nosa Akenzua, Asaba

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elta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to boost women and girl-child empowerment and education in the state. Senator Okowa stated this in Asaba on Tuesday during an advocacy and inception meeting of the Japan-UNESCO project on empowerment of women and girls in marginalised communities for better well-being through education and advocacy. The goverenor, represented by the Commissioner foer Basic and

Secondary Education, Mr Patrick Ukah, said that empowerment and education of the girl child was deserving special policy attention in view of the male dominated social construct that could marginalise the girl child. Okowa said that the meeting would afford the state the opportunity to do a proper self examination and track the progress using advocacy and education to advance the economic and social status of traditional underprivileged girls in the state. He noted that 26 years after the Beijing Declaration, the girlchild was still grappling with

issues of gender discrimination, crushing poverty, early/forced marriage, identity crisis, social and parental pressure as well as low self-esteem. Senator Okowa said that Delta State recognised the importance of women and girls in bringing about societal transformation hence their empowerment through advocacy and education was top on his administration’s priority list. The governor said that in line with the state government’s commitment to the education and empowerment of the girlchild, the state had created the Girl-Child Empowerment Office

with the mandate to train and empower young ladies between the ages of 18 and 30. Earlier in his remarks, the State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr Paul Osahor, lauded UNESCO for its efforts at tackling gender-based violence as well as support in curtailing the COVID-19 pandemic. The information commissioner stated that the Japan-UNESCO project would go a long way in alleviating the problems associated with the effect of COVID-19 pandemic that had ravaged the world.

Eid-el-Fitr: Gov. Bello urges Nigerians to keep faith with government

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ov. Abubakar SaniBello of Niger and Chairman North Central States Governor’s Forum, has felicitated with the Muslim Faithfuls in the country on the occasion of the Eid-el-Fitr celebration and the successful completion of the Ramadan Fast. In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel Berje, the Governor said the occasion calls for sober reflection and fervent prayers in view of the prevailing security challenges in the country. Sani-Bello enjoined Muslims

to draw from the enduring lessons of Ramadan and allow the spiritual benefits of the religious obligation positively influence attitudinal change towards a better society. “I call on all Muslims to apply the lessons of selfcontrol, discipline, sacrifice and perseverance, derived from fasting in the month of Ramadan, and stay off evil in the overall interest of the state and country.” He expressed hope that the enthusiasm to gain righteousness and eternal Bliss during the sacred month would be sustained

all year round in order to derive maximum benefits and reward from Allah. The Governor used the opportunity to call on all citizens to keep faith with the government as it finds enduring solutions to the problem of insecurity affecting the state and the country as a whole. He said the state government is aware of the challenges arising from the growing insecurity in some parts of the state. Sani-Bello said government was working, in conjunction with all security agencies, to reverse the trend and ensure that all

displaced persons are returned to their communities. He reiterated his administration’s commitment to protecting the lives and property of the residents and assured of continued support and assistance to the Internally Displaced Persons until they are reunited with their communities and sources of livelihood. While congratulating the Muslims for yet another opportunity to witness the Eidel-Fitr, the Governor urged the Ummah to use the period and pray for unity, stability and peaceful coexistence.(NAN)

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All public sector meetings will be conducted virtually. Bars, event centres and nightclubs are to remain closed until further notice. Restaurants are to provide eat-in services at 50 percent capacity and provide take aways where available. The midnight to dawn curfew (12am4am) which has been in place in several states since 2020, will continue until further notice. Only essential international travels are encouraged, and all existing COVID-19 protocols are to be strictly adhered to.

depleted because it has been difficult to get new supplies from major vaccine manufacturers in the developed world. The World Health Organization (WHO) said last week that it was weighing the option of advising African nations to use expired doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the face critical shortages. However, we advised against this option in our editorial of May 4. It read: “We do not support recycling of expired vaccines to solve the shortage problem in Africa. Yes, Covid-19 is a serious public health challenge in particularly Africa whose health systems are very weak. But we do not think a resort to expired vaccines will be a solution to the problem for exactly the same reasons that the WHO has given for delaying a decision on the matter. Africa should not be turned into a dumping ground for vaccines that have expired. The AstraZeneca vaccine is said to have led to blood clotting in some people who have received the jabs in the United States. Just imagine what further damage an expired vaccine will do!

All public sector meetings will be conducted virtually. Bars, event centres and nightclubs are to remain closed until further notice. Restaurants are to provide eat-in services at 50 percent capacity and provide take aways where available

Intra-state travels are still allowed, however, but not beyond curfew hours. Religious gatherings and social events such as weddings and ‘Owambes’ would hold with 50 percent of maximum capacity. Security personnel have been mandated to dutifully enforce adherence to these and existing measures. The new measures have been taken amidst fears that Nigeria could experience another wave of the virus, with death tolls in India and in other parts of the world spiralling out of control. Nigeria has confirmed 165,419 COVID-19 cases, 156,297 recoveries and 2,065 COVID-19 deaths as of May 9. It was confirmed a fortnight ago that the Indian variant had surfaced in some states though not as virulent here as in India. The nation’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign has been put on hold after AstraZeneca’s four million doses were

OUR MISSION

“The WHO can help by underwriting part of the cost of the vaccine for African countries. In the longer run, those nations with the financial, scientific and technological capacities should explore the possibility of producing Covid-19 vaccines of their own.” This is our position still. However, we do support the reintroduction of COVID-19 restrictions in this country. This is because there is still a large number of Nigerians who do not believe the pandemic is here with us. Their refusal to observe even the simplest of the WHO recommended protocols - wearing of face masks - is undermining the containment effort. They must not have their way, thereby endangering the health of other citizens. We dare suggest stricter penalties for violators of the protocols if doing so will increase compliance.

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Letter to the Editor

Of Pantami and Fake News in Nigerian Media

By Abubakar A. Bukar

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couple of weeks back, one of the Nigerian conventional newspapers, Independent, posted a story on its website alleging that Nigerian minister of communication, Isa Pantami, is suspected of having a close tie with the slain Boko Haram leader hence placed on United States’ terrorism watch list. The news, as expected, went viral particularly on social media platforms, attracting mixed reactions much of which suspecting the veracity of the claim. Exasperating as it was to his admirers, the story is ordinarily such that could jerk any Nigerian out of a slumber, cognizant of the pervading insecurity in the country, the lived realities in the North and the historical trajectory of Boko Haram conflict. With a “corroborative” video, Newswire, an online news site, republished the story in question. In the storm of emotions and virtual commotions, Peoples Gazette lurched in with the following headline: We are all happy whenever unbelievers are being killed – Minister Pantami. There obviously appears to be a coordinated attempt at decapitating the minister reputationally, as the succession and interconnection suggest. But then a review – actually a simple reread – of the Independent’s story reveals some loopholes. First, the source, which every student of journalism is inspired to value as the meat and potatoes of their story. At the mention of America monitoring terrorism, some agencies quickly smack your nostril – is it the popular CIA? Or FBI? Or who, and how credible? Yes, that “who” is the No. 1 determinant in news gathering formula. Masscomm 101. And of course Nigerians can be quick in remembering those intelligence agencies as their compatriots engaging in cybercrimes are the regular subject of especially the latter. “Sadly”, none. Nonexistent sources, officially. A triumph of goof over scoop. End of discussion. Secondly, the other story insinuating minister’s doctrinal sadism should have attempted answering the following the questions if at all its concern is journalistic principle of objectivity and fairness: when was the statement made? In what context? And why is it reactivated? Well, another essential attribute of fake news is that content may not necessarily be an outright fabrication (as is the case with the Independent news article), it can be a misleadingly de-contextualised truth (as seems to be in the case of Peoples Gazette). The reader might remember how Professor Abubakar Rasheed, the NUC boss, was the victim of this kind of fake news when his picture attending his son’s PhD graduation ceremony in the United Kingdom in 2014 re-emerged in 2020, during ASUU’s long strike. It was represented to portray him and the Nigerian elite as generally insensitive to the plight of public universities and the children of the masses as a whole. In a clime of fairness, a brief background checks would have scuttled that scoop. The video attached to Newswire’s version is evidential enough to cast doubt as regards the veracity of the story. Then you begin to wonder whether that was borne out of ignorance, laziness or mischief. Intuitively, one felt the latter. To those following, however remotely, the historical trajectory of Boko Haram – from evolution, to metamorphosis and seeming eclipse – linking Pantami with it is a bizarre juxtaposition. What literary students might have called an oxymoron. I am not holding any brief for the Sheikh Minister – if at all he needs one. But in the interest of fairness, records need to be set straight. The closest I have come to the Minister was when I spotted him twice from afar; both at IVC gatherings in 2006 and 2007 at Wudil and Bauchi respectively. But someone close to him had, years back, told me how the Sheikh was literally living with the fear of assassination at the peak of Boko Haram’s stiffening violence. And, as recently as February 2020, Shekau has reiterated a threat on that note. Actually some even felt Pantami’s PhD undertaking then was a refuge seeking of some sort. Boko Haram kingpin’s obsession with the Sheikh is obviously understandable. No scholar in Nigeria’s clerical establishment has, to my knowledge, proven to be an ideological frustration and stumbling block to the group’s mission. On a general note, this controversy only raises a fresh concern about the preponderance of fake news in Nigerian, nay global, public sphere, and what to do about it. My conclusion therefore is that the

Independent story and all other following in the step must have been planted by vested interests on whose toes the minister might have stepped. On how far such “interests” – amorphous as they may be - could go in settling a score one needs not go far from SLS to decipher. Hon. Farouk Lawan of the Otedola infamy has tasted the sting. And Elrufai too – as a minister of the Federal Capital Territory. In his Accidental Public Servant, he relates on how such “interest” group/ individuals beguiled media into such blackmail. A small tortoise, he alleged, was one day put on his office’s seat, which he removed and proceeded with the day’s business. The following day a Nigerian newspaper, Daily Times, landed with a story claiming that upon seeing the tortoise the Minister fell down lifeless and was flown abroad for medical attention. Fake news sells. Ask the Macedonian teenagers about their exploits around Trump’s election times. Despite their aura of credibility, the mainstream media in Nigeria are increasingly becoming vulnerable to it, unfortunately. It is an open secret that the media industry as a whole, be it in Nigeria or elsewhere, is badly hit economically by events beyond its control. The internet has, for instance, made news/opinion content readily available so much so that none seems to hanker for copies from newsstand. And with both public and private sectors recuperating from a global pandemic, advertising revenue seems also to be a utopia. Thus adding salt to the injurious fall of hard copy patronage. Downsizing, pay cut and pay delays for employees, and the heightening desperation for “product differentiation” are the new normal in particularly the media industry. To survive, only few could bear the brunt of sticking religiously to the golden ethical principles. Hence the obvious struggle to reclaim the monopoly of breaking news from social media. The phenomenon of fake news is so worrisome and pervasive that it recently spurred our Nobel Laureate to aver that it is likely to be the trigger for World War III. Poor Soyinka, besides being a victim he is probably aware that false and fabricated contents have caused countries to war in the past. United States was first in North Vietnam using that as an alibi. The humanitarian disaster wreaked by that encounter is better imagined. In fact Chomsky tells us that the effects of chemical weapons used by the US on North Vietnamese is still felt, evident on both humans and animals. What to do to curb the rising tide of the phenomenon in question is largely a matter of policy environment. Riding chiefly on the crest of emotion, we first have to acknowledge that it is a viable weapon for myriad of interests – from politicians to conflict merchants; for social media users and mainstream media, among several others. Citizens’ knowledge about it and its nuances need to be raised so as to be able to identify and counter it effectively by themselves. There is a variety of fake news that usually (seeks to) harm and the one that does not - satire/ parody vis a vis fabrication, for example. Different strokes for different folks. Here lies the relevance of regulation - notwithstanding what bogus free speech fundamentalists may argue to the contrary. Moreover, what some newspapers do – Premium Times with its fact checking unit, Thisday’s suspension of its editors for the inability to gatekeep the fake news on Bishop Oyedepo’s US visa saga are indeed commendable. So also Daily Trust’s No, Thanks policy and fact-checking efforts (most recently on fake Fulani herdsmen’s pictures in other newspapers). All these are efforts at rejuvenating ethical sanity in the industry. But what does the state in augment this to cultivate an informed rather than deformed citizenry informationally? What subsidy thus? We’ve seen its agency, NBC, wielding a menacing stick on erring broadcasters. Where is the corresponding carrot? Again, the issue of carrot raises another ethical question. Bringing further to light the financial quagmire in which media industry is presently entangled, Premium Times solicits for donations from its readers a la UK’s Guardian. Now if a certain Dangote doles some dollars into its coffers as donation, how sure will the reader be that news about the person or his organisation can stick to the professional philosophy of neutrality? Bukar is of the department of Mass Communication, ABU, Zaria, and can be reached via aabukar555@gmail.com


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Opinion

PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

Agriculture and the future of Africa

How best to manage disasters By Aaron Adamu

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hese are indeed trying times. The floods are here again, and as usual, thousands are affected. Homes have been destroyed, farms have been washed away, and the list goes on. While it is succinct to state that just like in other climes where natural disasters such as hurricane, earthquakes, and floods have continued to wreak havoc, the responses of disaster management agencies come to bear in no small measure in cushioning effects and giving those affected a sense of belonging and a life afterward. And this brings us to the recent flooding experienced in some parts of Nigeria as a result of heavy rainfalls that causes rivers Niger and Benue to overflow. As at the last count, Niger Kogi, Anambra, and Delta states have been declared as National Disasters by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). It is also understood that Taraba Adamawa, Kebbi, Edo, Rivers, Benue, Bayelsa and Kwara states are being monitored carefully by NEMA. In this regard, I will start on a high note. The preparedness and responses by NEMA have been excellent in my opinion. I recall when the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency issued a warning that Rivers Benue and Niger had almost reached levels that resulted in flooding in 2012, NEMA issued a statement informing Nigerians on its preparedness for the flooding and it also consequently issued precautionary information to these communities.

Now, this is why I decided to pen this article. Kogi state is among the worst hit states and as at the last time I checked, the director general of NEMA, Engr. Mustapha Maihaja has somewhat relocated to Kogi state. This was aside from the fact that he had held series of meetings with stakeholders to assess the reports from the fact-finding committees that visited floodprone states after the warning by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency. I was more than impressed, and in my opinion, this was indeed a proactive approach and a radical departure from that norm that placed so much emphasis on reactionary activities. I stand to be corrected, NEMA in the past two years had indeed shown how and what it meant to have a disaster management agency in a country. This is in line with the adoption of the preventive disaster management operations introduced into the agency by the director general, Engr. Mustapha Maihaja. I also recall that sometime in 2017, while addressing the 2017 General Session of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Cancun, Mexico, the DG was quoted as saying “support from the political leadership in Nigeria has enabled a giant stride towards ensuring appropriate actions on reducing risks, disaster preparedness, mitigation and recovery in the country. He also said the Federal Government has empowered and equipped NEMA to comprehensively manage disasters in Nigeria, with a fully functional Department of Disaster Risk Reduction already created in the agency. 
 Now, this was why I wasn’t surprised

and also impressed with the responses of NEMA in recent times in disaster management in Nigeria. Hear what the DG has to say: “President Muhammadu Buhari approved N3 billion for the first stages of preparedness, response disaster mitigation and it was on that note that stakeholders under the coordination of NEMA had activated a National Contingency Plan, a policy document, which gives NEMA the power to establish operational structure. An operational structure has been put in place with a National Emergency Operational Centre domiciled at the NEMA headquarters and five Zonal Emergency Operational Centres (EOC).” I am left in awe whenever I hear the DG of NEMA speak on issues concerning disaster management. His grasp and understanding thrill me, so much so that I have told all that cared to listen that one of the best decision of President Muhammdu Buhari was to have appointed a highly detailed and competent individual to head NEMA. And why they would always ask me. The reason is simple. Which category of people is mostly affected by disasters? The answer is obvious, and that is mainly why I am in praise of President Muhammdu Buhari because he has demonstrated that this is a government that is concerned about the ordinary Nigerians unlike in times past where our inefficiency in disaster management results in loss of lives and wanton destruction of properties. Back to the crux of the issue, NEMA’s outings in disaster management in the past two years can best be described as

impactful. It is instructive to state that DG has visited almost all parts of the country that has in one way or the other experienced any form of disaster, be it human-made or natural for on the spot assessment and also leading rescue and relief operations. For example, the DG of NEMA was on the ground during rescue operations when a building collapsed in Abuja recently. He was also in Benue during the September 2017 flood that affected scores of villages in the state. And the list goes on. In my opinion, what this signifies or indicates is that there is a government that cares and holds that critical constituency so dearly and the need for them to feel the impact of his administration. This is even aside from the efforts of NEMA in assisting the Nigeria military in the resettlement of thousands of Nigerians that were displaced as a result of the insurgency in North East Nigeria. It also suffices to state that under this arrangement, thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have successfully returned to their communities. This is also commendable. The list can go on without end. But what is instructive and a takeaway from the activities of NEMA is that once there is a will, there would always be a way. This much the DG of NEMA has demonstrated with the support he has received from the political authorities. And if most political office holders exhibit this much patriotism, Nigeria would indeed be better for it.

By Chidi Oguamanam

Adamu is a public affairs analyst and contributed this piece from

Conflict and a nation groping for the right system (Part 2)

China’s population reaches 1.41178 Billion By Lu Yanan

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s of Nov. 1, 2020, China’s population on the mainland reached 1,411.78 million, 72.06 million persons, or 5.38 percent, more than the country’s population of 1,339.72 million in 2010, according to results of the country’s seventh national census released on May 11. The average annual growth rate of the population on the Chinese mainland over the past decade was 0.53 percent, down by 0.04 percentage points compared with the average annual growth rate from 2000 to 2010, as the results from China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed. China’s population has maintained slow, and yet steady growth in the past decade, said Ning Jizhe, head of the NBS, noting that China’s population on the mainland accounted for about 18 percent of the world’s total in 2020 and that the country remains the most populous country on the planet. There were 901.99 million persons living in urban areas, who accounted for 63.89 percent of China’s total population, and 509.79 million people living in rural areas, making up 36.11 percent of the country’s total population. The proportion of urban population went up by 14.21 percentage points compared with that in 2010. China’s new urbanization strategy has been advanced steadily and the urbanization construction has scored historical achievements over the past

ten years, Ning pointed out. The population of ethnic groups in China saw steady increase, which reflected their comprehensive development and progress. The population of the Han ethnic group stood at 1,286.31 million, accounting for 91.11 percent of China’s total; that of the country’s ethnic minority groups was 125.47 million, which constituted 8.89 percent of the total. The proportion of the population of ethnic minority groups rose by 0.4 percentage points from 2010. Compared with 2010, the population of the Han ethnic group grew by 4.93 percent, while that of the ethnic minority groups increased by 10.26 percent. The quality of Chinese population has been significantly raised. By Nov. 1, 2020, China had 218.36 million persons who had received or were receiving college-level education. Compared with 2010, the number of people who had received or were receiving collegelevel education went up from 8,930 per 100,000 to 15,467 per 100,000, and the illiteracy rate dropped from 4.08 percent to 2.67 percent. The number of Chinese population aged between zero and 14 hit 253.38 million, accounting for 17.95 percent of the country’s total; 894.38 million persons were in the age group of 15 to 59, which made up 63.35 percent of the total, and 264.02 million persons, or 18.7 percent of the country’s total, were aged 60 or above.

Compared with 2010, the proportions of people in the age groups of zero to 14, 15 to 59, and 60 or above increased by 1.35 percentage points, dropped by 6.79 percentage points, and grew by 5.44 percentage points respectively, showing that the aging of the Chinese population has further deepened. The slight decrease in China’s average annual growth rate in the past ten years was due to a mix of factors, including a continued drop in the number of women of childbearing age, couples delaying having children, and the rising cost of childbearing and parenting, according to Ning. “This is an objective outcome of China’s economic development, particularly as the country’s industrialization and urbanization reaches a certain stage,” he said, noting that it is a universal issue and is particularly evident in developed countries. Judging from the trend in China’s population growth and changes in recent years, China’s population growth will continue to slow down, according to Ning, who expected that China’s population will stay above 1.4 billion for a certain period in the future. It is necessary to look at the impact of population changes on economy and society dialectically, said Ning, who stressed that China’s basic reality of having a large population base has not changed, and the country’s advantage of its super-large domestic market will remain for a long time.

Comment PAGE 13

PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

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frica is continent of 55 countries and thousands of nationalities with incredible human and cultural diversity. Anthropologists have long associated the prevalence of human and cultural diversity with biological, ecological, ecosystem and agricultural biodiversity. Africa is an outstanding evidence of that concordance. In addition to its wealth of incredible diversity, Africa is the youngest and fastest growing continent. In 2050, a quarter of the world’s people would be resident in Africa (2.5 billion). Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, would rank the world’s third. Over 70 per cent of Africans would be under 30 years of age! How can the continent harness this incredible potential which could readily flip into unprecedented tragedy if not well-managed? That is the big question for the future of Africa. That future is at the intersection of strength and a ticking time bomb. In a way, Africa’s future lies on the continent’s ability to capitalise on its strengths, to exploit its late-comer advantage in the development dynamic. A few of those strengths and their intersections include the continent’s population and youth power; its traditional knowledge and the latter’s intersection with technologies, all of which have ramifications for agriculture as a crucial sector for the continent’s political and economic stability. As a starting point, Africa must be able to feed itself. In doing so, it must creatively engage its youth and leverage the continent’s value-added in the global market place by interfacing information

By Jerome-Mario Utomi China has 880 million working-age population (people aged between 16 and 59), according to the latest census. Although the number is over 40 million less than that in 2010, the country is still believed to have abundant labor force. On average, the working-age population received 10.75 years of education, an increase of 1.08 years from 2010. The number of those who have received high school education or above reached 385 million, accounting for 43.79 percent of the country’s total working-age population and up 12.8 percentage points from 2010. The proportion of working-age population who have received junior college education or above rose to 23.61 percent, 11.27 percentage points higher than that in 2010. As the quality of Chinese population improves, the country’s demographic dividends are gradually turning into talent dividends, and the advantage of its population resources will be brought into play effectively, which will further boost the transformation of China’s economic development model, the upgrading of the country’s industrial structure, and the improvement of its total factor productivity, and promote the coordinated and sound development of China’s population, economy and society, noted Zeng Yuping, chief statistician with the NBS. Lu Yanan writes for People’s Daily

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eginning with the question as to ;if the Nigeria civil War could have been avoided, the answer, quoting C.N Oragwu, seems to be “Yes” but if all the stakeholders of Nigeria had allowed a deeper thought, patience and reflection on the complex political problems of Nigerian state to prevail. However the reluctance of Nigeria’s political “Power Blocks” or lack of vision to dispassionately, honestly and sincerely addresses the fundamental political/constitutional problems of Nigeria’s Nation in the long term interests of Nigerian population seem to have exacerbated the political crisis of Nigeria and had led to the disaster of the now defunct State of Biafra. In the same vein, there equally exist reasons to believe that conscious efforts were made to discourage the civil war. This belief is predicated in, and supported by the Address/Speech delivered on 15th January, 1970, to mark the end of the Nigerian civil war by His Excellency, General. DR. Yakubu Gowon, GCFR, Former Head of states. He puts it this way; the world knows how hard we strove to avoid the civil war. Our objectives in fighting the war to crush the rebellion were always clear. We desired to preserve the territorial integrity and unity of Nigeria. For as one country we will be able to maintain lasting peace amongst our various communities; achieve rapid economic Development to improve the lot of our people; guarantee dignified future and respect in the world for our posterity and contribute to African unity and modernization. On the other hand, the small successor states in a disintegrated Nigeria would be victims of perpetual war and misery and neo-colonialism. Our duty was clear. And we are, today, vindicated. The so-called ‘Rising son of Biafra’ is set forever. It will be a great disservice for anyone to continue to use the word Biafra to refer to any part of the East central state of Nigeria. The tragic chapter of violence has

communication technologies with agro production and marketing. The need to fill the gap between youth power and the continent’s ability to feed itself needs no emphasis. Most political ruptures in history from the historical bred riots to fairly recent Arab Spring have been linked to the frustrations of a hungry population which is inevitably an angry population. But development experts construct Africa, as they do of world’s indigenous peoples, as in a desperate need for “capacity building and capacity development” in virtually all areas including agriculture. They are wont to recommend orthodox solutions. Hardly any regard is given to what the rest could learn from Africa. For example, they prescribe hi-tech/ industrial agriculture as the solution to Africa’s food insecurity. Now, the entire country, including Nigeria is in a race to the bottom over the introduction of genetically modified organism as the prime gift of agrobiotechnology to be uncritically embraced. But “experts” are silent on the cost of that approach or the overall industrial agriculture option on the continent. In a counterintuitive way, these uncritical advocates of capacity building and capacity development are themselves in need of inward capacity development to understand Africa’s realities. Hi-tech agricultural has troubling legacies illsuited for replication in Africa. Consider this: Since 1990s, we have lost 75 per cent of plant genetic resource diversity for food and agriculture. Today, 24 billion tonnes of healthy soil and 15 million trees are lost yearly; one third of the world’s agricultural land is degraded. The future of industrial agriculture beyond 60 years is bleak! Only

just ended. We are at the dawn of National reconciliation. Once again we have an opportunity to build a new nation. We fought the war with great caution, not in anger or hatred, but always in hope that common sense will prevail. Many times we sought a negotiated settlement not out of weakness, but in order to minimize the problem of reintegration, reconciliation and reconstruction. He concluded. About fifty one after the speech/promise was made the question, one may be tempted to; If the ‘Rising son of Biafra’ which Gowon said is set forever, have truly set? Have Nigeria and Nigerians lived up to the ‘article of faith as proclaimed in the speech’? Or has it become more of the proverbial well said than a done presentation? Honestly, while this author may not be in a position to advance answers to these questions, there exists a document that not only raises fears but fittingly provides answers to these nagging questions. It stems from the content of a presentation made in Lagos, by Professor (Senator) Banji Akintoye, during the 50th anniversary celebration of the end of the Nigeria civil war, He said in parts; as an elderly citizen of this Country, and as a citizen who was already a young University Teacher in the time of our Civil War, I have good reasons to fear today that the character of the affairs of our Country these days, and the prevailing mood among us Nigerians, are chillingly similar to the character of the affairs of our country in the months leading to our civil war. The government of our country is being managed in ways that make it look like an exclusive preserve of a particular minority. There seems to be an agenda being pursued to establish the minority in all positions of command in the Executive, Administrative, Judicial and Security Services of a country. The voices of the majority register protests continually and are continually disrespected and ignored. The state of law is patently

3-5 mega transnational agro-chemical corporations have monopoly over key economic crops; we rely on three – rice, maize and wheat – (out of an estimated 30,000) of those for 75 per cent of our calorie intake. For these mega agro transnational corporations, African is another market frontier for their investments. Africa’s case is different: At 874 million hectares, Africa has 60 per cent world’s fertile land. Of 600 million Africans engaged in farming, 80 per cent are women. They are smallholder farmers. They are, by default, organic farmers relying mainly on TK and agrobiodiversity. The costs of wholesale adoption of industrial agriculture include massive social disruption and displacement of rural populations, deforestation, and replacement of agrobiodiversity with monoculture. Those are already evident from developments across the continent from Cote d’Ivoire to Cameroon; Liberia to Ethiopia, for example. Other costs include degradation of soil quality, another race to the bottom in the form of foreign direct investment desperation in agriculture which has resulted in unconscionable massive agricultural land grab across the continent. Gradually in agriculture, we are at the risk of repeating what has happened in the pharmaceutical sector. There, R&D priorities are set by the Big Pharma, with huge investments in medicines for the rich and diseases of the affluent as opposed to the needs of the poor and vulnerable. With Africa’s agriculture in the hands of agroTNCs, R&D agenda in agriculture will be far removed from Africa’s priorities and needs in agro-biodiversity and the sustainability of traditional agricultural knowledge and practices. That is not a viable pathway for

being subsumed to the needs of that agenda, with seriously damaging effects on human rights. These situations are inevitably fostering, among the Peoples of the Middle Belt and south of our Country, the feeling that they are being reduced to the status of conquered Peoples in Nigeria. Meanwhile, some persons belonging to the would-be minority conquerors are loudly threatening to overrun and seize the ancestral homelands of the said Peoples of the Nigerian Middle belt and South, and are actually pushing for the conquest with their acts of destruction of farms and villages, acts of wanton killings of People, acts of kidnapping, acts of intimidation, and the act of bringing of masses of their ethnic kinsmen from countries beyond Nigeria to seize and possess land by force and intimidation in Nigeria. And meanwhile, the Government of Nigeria seems to be purposed, not to defend the threatened Peoples of Nigeria but to aid the processes of the conquest. The outcome of all these, as we assemble here today, is that our country is divided into two hostile partsthe minority that seems bent on conquest and ethnic cleansing, and the majority that is striving with great handicaps to preserve their Homelands and their existence and integrity as Peoples. Meanwhile also, as a manifest corollary to these fearsome developments, the dreaded fundamentalist terrorist movement, ISIS, after being vanquished in the Middle East, has established its new strong base in a part of Nigeria, and from there has proclaimed West Africa as its new province by way of ISWAP. The probability has become high therefore that ISIS might make a junction with the minority pushing for the conquest of the majority in Nigeria, that Nigeria might thus be ravaged by ISIS, that Nigeria might soon be the base from which ISIS will push to conquer West Africa and all of Africa, with the purpose of turning Africa into a mighty base of fundamentalist terror against the rest of the civilized world.

the continent. Africa’s factor endowment in TKdriven agriculture sustains ‘the culture in agriculture’ as Africa’s way of life. The communal and cultural components of agriculture in Africa are the reason African agriculture resists being reduced to mere production line of industrial monoculture. Africa can lead the search for how best to integrate its agricultural traditions into a sustainable and winning business model. That would include selective and dynamic adaptation of technologies such as those relating to climate change adaptation and mitigation, not to mention irrigation (only four per cent of Africa’s agriculture benefits from irrigation technology) and the use of new ICTs for global market optimisation of Africa’s niche and value-added in crop diversity and organic production. Not only would ICT bridge the gap between farmers and sophisticated brokers in the global value chain, it would open untapped legitimate branding through trademarking options, geographical indications and other custom market options. Although it may feel like the genie is out of the bottle, African may yet resist being screwed by the global supply/value chain. Through internal self-sustaining investments in its areas of factor endowment, it may still avoid developmental havocs of advanced economies by re-thinking the prospects of agriculture for the continent’s future in a constructive manner in relation to the selfserving and conventional prescriptions of western development experts. Oguamanam is a Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, Co-Founder Open African Innovation Research.

As a solution, Akintoye again noted thus; we can, and we must, terminate all these descent towards horrific wars; we can and we must speedily move our country into the state of law, the state of mutual respect among our hundreds of nations and the state of order and peace in our country. The steps needed to accomplish this new order of our existence for our country are obvious. First, the Nigerian ethnic nationality that has been threatening other Nigerian ethnic nations, that has been engaging in invasion, destruction, disruption and barbarous rampages in the homelands of other Nigerian ethnic nations, and that has been mobilizing external forces to assist the conquest, subjugation and ethnic cleansing of other Nigerian ethnic nations, must now, immediately, stop and renounce this agenda to the satisfaction all of Nigeria, and to the satisfaction of the civilized world. Secondly, we Nigerians must restructure our country, with the objective of giving our country a true and generally acceptable Federal structure under which the different sections of our country will be able to develop their resources for the conquest of poverty in their domain for the elevation of the quality of life of their citizens, and for their contribution to the overall prosperity of our nation. While credit is again given to Professor (Senator) Banji Akintoye for materials provided, this piece however, holds the opinion that the template to solve these problems is already there: the Report of the 2014 National Conference. The holistic implementation of that report is germane to the survival of Nigeria which is right now in its most fragile state since the end of the civil war. Concluded. Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via;jeromeutomi@yahoo.com


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News Lalong mourns Gen. Dogonyaro Yusuf Mairiga Shekarau

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lateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong has expressed deep shock over the death of former Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Joshua Nimyel Dogonyaro who died at the age of 80. Governor Lalong while reacting to the death of Gen. Dogonyaro said Plateau State and the nation has lost a patriotic and loyal Nigerian who served with courage, dignity and selflessness. He recalled the achievements of late Gen. Dogonyaro during his career in the Army where he held several command positions and accomplished his assignments with tremendous success. According to the Governor, “Plateau State has lost an elder statesman whose outstanding achievements in his military career brought a lot of pride and honour for the State. The commitment of the deceased towards the defence of Nigeria’s territorial integrity and well as ensuring its peace and unity stood him out as a soldier of repute whose professionalism continues to inspire many younger ones”. Lalong also said his outstanding leadership in the course of Nigeria’s contributions to international peace keeping efforts, particularly when he served as ECOMOG Field Commander in Liberia remains a reference point to the gallantry of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Governor Lalong said Gen. Dogonyaro never hesitated to offer Plateau State and the nation his wealth of experience and knowledge particularly towards tackling security challenges of insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other crimes. He expressed his condolences to the family and people of Plateau State over this sad loss.

PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

Eid-el-Fitr: Okowa calls for prayers to fight insecurity By Nosa Akenzua, Asaba

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elta Governor, Sen Ifeanyi Okowa, has urged Nigerians to have full recourse to God for solution to protecting insecurity in the country. He made the call in his message to Muslims in Delta and across the country on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr celebration. In the message conveyed in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika in Asaba, the governor said that Muslims and Christians should

intensify prayers to complement federal and states’ governments efforts at ending insecurity in the country. He added that Nigerians should also pray for the peace of the nation and to avert a possible third wave of COVID-19 pandemic. He urged the Muslim faithful to extend the spiritual benefits of Ramadan, which were love, peace and justice to their daily living “as through this, they will be contributing to the development of the nation”. According to Okowa, this

year’s Eid-el-Fitr celebration is coming at a time when the country is plagued by varying security challenges, which call for fervent prayers. He charged all Muslim faithful and Nigerians to use the celebration for sober reflection and supplication for peace, unity and progress of the nation. “On behalf of my family, the government and people of Delta, I extend warmest wishes to Muslims celebrating Eid-el-Fitr in Delta, Nigeria and around the world. “I congratulate His Eminence,

the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar and all our countrymen and women who have successfully undertaken the month-long Ramadan fasting. “It is my hope and prayer that Ramadan’s spiritual lessons and the Holy Prophet’s teachings of piety, love, justice, fairness, equity, peaceful coexistence, tolerance, honesty and dedication to duty will guide our interactions and daily living,’’ Okowa said.

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he management of Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) has launched Travelers Accident Insurance Scheme (TAIS) for the drivers across the country, while the National President of the association Alhaji Muhammed Musa called on the

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he Chairmanship Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for 2022 in Gwagwalada Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Hon Rabiu Adamu Saba, has promised to carry everybody

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi

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outhern Senators Forum (SSF) has thrown their weight behind the recent resolution by the Southern Governors Forum (SGF) calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to convoke a national dialogue to resolve the insecurity across the country, and to put measures in place to create State Police and restructure the country on the part of equity and fairness. A statement jointly signed by the SSF Chairman, Secretary General and Publicity Secretary, Senators Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti), Mathew Uroghide (Edo) and Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu), respectively and made available to journalists in Abuja and Ado Ekiti, on Wednesday, applauded the step taken by the Governors, saying it would serve as a buffer to wanton destruction of farmlands,

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi

F Hajiya Zainab Ahmad Saidu, Head of Minna Operations Office of the National Emergency Management Agency (C ) as representative of the Director General NEMA flagging of relief distribution to the Internally Displaced Persons in Kuta, Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.

Federal Government to establish Bank of Transportation in the country. In his address at the occasion, Musa also pleaded with the Federal Government to privatize the federal roads so as to enable the private investors to come in, so that the budget allocated for the construction of roads could be channeled to other meaningful

ventures that would bring development to the country. He said: “Travelers Accident Insurance Scheme which is targeted to benefit Millions of Nigerians who travel across the country in our major parks and garage that accidentally have an accident which required emergency respond towards medical attention”.

According to him, “millions of Nigerians depend on transportation as a source of their livelihood and we are ready to do more, which this programme can create huge employment opportunities”. He charged the members of the association across the country to be law-abiding citizens at all times, adding that they should

obey the laid down rules and regulations guiding the COVID-19 pandemic in the area of their operations. The RTEAN president also advised the entire members of the association to support the government of the day in fighting crime in the country.

FCT: Gwagwalada PDP candidate promises to take everybody along By Usman Shuaibu

Southern senators back Southern Govs on State Police, restructuring, others kidnappings and carnages. The statement said “As insecurity continues to take a toll on the country and subjecting many to kidnapping and killing, the Southern Senators Forum (SSF), has commended Governors from the region for outrightly taking a firm position on burning national issues, including banning open grazing of cattle. “The Senators submitted that such deft and unanimous policy would help in reining in those hiding under cattle grazing to unleash terror of kidnapping and killing on the residents of the region.” Recall that Southern Governors Forum (SGF), had at its meeting held in Asaba, Delta State Capital, on Tuesday, unanimously passed a verdict prohibiting open grazing in the region to checkmate herders-farmers clashes and senseless kidnapping as well as

killings of Nigerian citizens of southern extraction. Following this, the Southern Senators lamented how the Southern farmers were losing hundreds of millions of naira to plundering of food crops through encroachments on farmlands and exposing the region to famine and acute food scarcity. They said: “At this critical point of our national life when the economy was being bedeviled by galloping inflation, youth unemployment and insecurity, food security is very crucial to mitigate the effects of these diverse evils on the citizens. “Available records have shown that attaining food security status would remain a mirage in the south owing to ravaging effect of outdated livestock grazing policy being unleashed on farmlands by some unscrupulous herders. “Most appalling were the

seemingly unabated kidnapping , raping and killing of our people by suspected herdsmen, who have become bandits heating up the system. “With this uniform resolve by our Governors to initiate noopen grazing policy, the region will return to its peaceful and agriculturally self -sufficient status it had assumed even long before Nigeria’s amalgamation in 1914”. Bamidele, Uroghide and Utazi saluted the Governors for ruminating on the expediency and the need for speedy restructuring of the highly lopsided Nigerian nation, saying this will also help to remove the venom that had permeated the land on account of alleged neglect of certain sections of the country. The SSF leaders stated that ushering in equality, equity and justice in the way the country is

Insecurity: Pray for Buhari to protect Nigeria, Tinubu tells Nigerians

RTEAN launches accident insurance scheme, begs FG for Bank By Usman Shuaibu

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PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

along irrespective of the party’s affiliation. Saba stated this while speaking to newsmen after he won the Party Primaries election on Thursday in Gwagwalada. He called on the PDP supporters/members to deem it necessary to work for the progress

of the party in 2022 election in the area. He appealed to the aggrieved members of the party to accept the outcome of the election in good faith. The Gwagwalada PDP Chairmanship Candidate, however, said if he wins the 2022

Chairmanship election, he would focus on the People’s oriented programmes in the area. Also speaking, the state PDP Deputy Chairman, Alhaji Muhammadu Baba, advised the entire members of the party to cooperate with PDP candidate for the overall development of the party.

Declaring the election result, the Secretary of the Electoral Committee, Mr Dalhatu Ezekiel, described the conduct of the election as free and fair election. Meanwhile, Hon. Rabiu Adamu Saba scored 218 votes to defeat Hon. Mustapha Yohanna who has 12 votes.

ormer Lagos state governor and a national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has asked Nigerians to pray for President Muhammadu Buhari and his government so as to have “requisite strength and wisdom to protect the nation, defeat the challenges” confronting the country. Tinubu also urged prayers for the military and other security agents confronting insurgents and bandits. In his Sallah message he personally signed Wednesday, the APC leader urged Muslims not to forget all the lessons of Ramadan as it ends. He said “The righteous acts and efforts of Ramadan must guide our actions and conduct going forward. Let us put politics aside and continue to pray to Almighty Allah for our country and all its people. Let us remember President Muhammadu Buhari and his government in our prayers that they may be given the requisite strength and wisdom to protect the nation, defeat the challenges that confront us and help establish Nigeria as a more prosperous and just land. “Let us pray for our brave soldiers and security agents confronting insurgents and bandits. We must keep in close

remembrance those whose lives have been lost to or impaired by either the violence of terrorism as well as to those who have been lost to or harmed by the global pandemic that is Covid-19. May we see an end to this disease and its consequences in no distant time. “Not only must we pray for good things, we must also act in a better way. We must dedicate ourselves to performing the compassionate and benign things that lie within the power of each of us to do in order to give peace and improve the lives of the people around us. This is the true message and meaning of Ramadan and of Islam itself.” While calling on Nigerians to build a better society free from want, violence and hatred, Tinubu said people must never condone and tolerate the works and words of those who would do evil or who would pit brother against brother, Nigerian against Nigerian. “I join with Muslims in Nigeria and across the world in marking the faithful completion of this year’s Ramadan fast, one of the most critical pillars of Islam. As Muslims we have fasted and prayed in a special way during this holy month. We have sacrificed. This act of sacrifice in abstaining from food, drink and other worldly things from dawn to dusk, is not simply a ritual to be performed so that we may seem religious or pious to others.

being run will wipe out ethnic tension, restore peace and stability and ward off agitations for secession that are now gaining traction across the land. The Southern Senators Forum encouraged the Governors to swiftly follow up on their resolutions by immediately approaching the leadership of the National Assembly with a view to working with the two arms of the parliament to ensure that their well articulated positions on the state of the nation, especially as related to restructuring, State policing and the jettisoning of archaic traditional grazing methods, which fall short of global best practice standard and a potential threat to our national cohesion and peace, are thoroughly and decisively addressed through the ongoing constitutional review exercise.

The former Emir of Kano and the Khalifa Tijjani of Nigeria, Sheikh Sanusi Lamido Sanusi giving sermon during the Eid al- Fitr Sallah prayer at the Murtala Mohammed Square praying ground, Kaduna. PHOTO: Shehu K. Goro

Ex-convict remarks: Oshiomhole desperate to be relevant – Idahosa By Musa Baba Adamu

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ormer Commissioner for Information in Edo state, Charles Idahosa, on Wednesday said that former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, is not sincere with his latest praise of the Nigerian judiciary adding that he is only seeking political relevance. Oshiomhole, who spoke when he received the leadership of Law Students Association of Nigeria (LAWSAN), had said that he would have been an exconvict in Nigeria were it not for the courage of the Nigerian Judiciary in upholding the rule of law. But in a statement, Idahosa who served as Political Adviser to Oshiomhole during his tenure as Edo governor, expressed surprise that the same Oshiomhole who made derogatory remarks about the judiciary when he was APC national chairman has now turned around to hail the judiciary. While advising Oshiomhole to remain silent instead of embarrassing

himself, the PDP chieftain urged Nigerians not to fall for his gimmicks as he has been expressing populist views as a way of getting national relevance. Idahosa said: “I think Oshiomhole is just desperately trying to bring himself into relevance after disgracing himself out of office and the humiliation he suffered in the Edo election. Most of the things He says makes one ashamed. I was once his Political Adviser so I know him very well. He has not learned his lesson at all. “There are times you keep quiet and just watch things before you open your mouth to talk but like I said, Oshiomhole speaks without thinking, making himself an embarrassment to we Edo people. “Last week he said Governor Nasir El-Rufai is responsible for insecurity in the country because he retrenched workers. He is trying to say populist things so as win the hearts of the people. I also read in one of the national dailies where he said he would have been an exconvict if we didn’t have a courageous judiciary.

“It makes one ashamed when you now go back and hear what the same Oshiomhole said about the same Nigerian judiciary when he lost election cases. How can now be praising the same judiciary he was lambasting throughout his tenure as APC national chairman? “The one that comes to my mind is that of the Supreme Court justices that he abused thoroughly, even going to the extent of saying that there will be no vacancy in Bayelsa after their candidate was thrown out because of certificate issue. Now the same Oshiomhole is now praising the judiciary because he is looking for relevance after he has gone into political wilderness. Everyone knows that Oshiomhole is not sincere about what he is now saying. He just wants an avenue to be in the national space again” “To me, Oshiomhole’s career is dead politically. When I warned him then that Obaseki will finish him politically, he did not believe. So, my advice to him is that he should respect himself and Edo people by keeping quiet.”


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POLITICS

Stop demarketing Nigeria on social media – Osun Speaker

By Musa Baba Adamu

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he Speaker, Osun State House of Assembly, Timothy Owoeye, has called on Nigerians to promote the positive sides of the country instead of demarketing the nation on social media networks. The Speaker in a statement by his Media Aide, Kunle Alabi, to commemorate Eid-El-Fitr and made available to journàlists on Wednesday stressed that, the continued efforts of some Nigerians using the media to always exaggerate happenings in

the country to the international communities will do no good to the nation as no investor will be attracted to a badly reported country. He held that with the citizens’ determination and patriotism, the country will overcome her present challenges of criminal activities pervading almost all the states of the Federation. Owoeye urged Nigerians to be focused on one indivisible country, saying sooner than later, there will be an end to criminal activities of insurgents, bandits and kidnappers with the new tactics of

security agencies in the nation. In his words, “It is not in doubt that the past one month has been a period of sober reflection’s and closeness to the Almighty Allah by all Muslim faithful over the world, Nigeria and Osun. “The period has afforded us to pray for the peace and unity of our state and nation. “We must not stop at Ramadan. We must continue to pray fervently for Nigeria so that the current situation can become a stepping stone to greatness. “Though it is not yet Uhuru with our security but we are

beginning to witness that the military and other security agencies are recently on top of their game in combating insurgencies and kidnappings. We will definitely rejoice at the end of the day. “I will also want to enjoin those at the helm of affairs to always prioritise people’s welfare and place their interest above individual and personal aspirations. Political office holders should inculcate right attitude that will guarantee peace and stability of Nigeria”, he concluded.

Muslim Faithful, listening to sermon, during Eid-elFitri (Sallah) celebrations at the Sports Complex Ovom, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Thursday (13/5/21).

Maintain regional unity – MASSOB lauds Southern Govs over stance on open grazing By Ikechukwu Okaforadi

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he leadership of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has commended the Southern Governors for the bold steps being taken to protect the citizens of the region. Recall that the Southern Governors Forum on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to urgently convoke a national dialogue to address the

widespread agitations in the nation. The 15 members in attendance also called for restructuring of the country leading to the evolution of state police. Reacting, in a statement made available to journàlists on Wednesday, MASSOB lauded the governors for the critical decisions taken to protect the political interest and future survival of southern Nigeria. The group said the people

will always stand solidly behind the southern governors and support their latest moves of salvaging the people from the marauding herdsmen allegedly imported from some West African countries. It said “The unanimous decision of the southern region governors in banning the open grazing by Fulani herdsmen and insistence on national dialogue have suddenly aroused and stirred up the frustrated anger and insensitivity of the northern

leaders. “MASSOB advises that the indigenous people of the Middle Belt region unanimously oppose every external pressure of the Fulani oligarchy to subject them as political tools of waging war against the southern region. “The indigenous people of the Middle Belt region must join the southern region in their quest for political emancipation from the subjective domination of Fulani oligarchy,” the statement said.

Eid-el-Fitri: Celebrate moderately – Abiodun tells Muslims

Eid al-Fitr: Ekweremadu urges prayers for Nigeria unity, peace

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By Musa Baba Adamu

gun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has felicitated with Muslims on the successful completion of Ramadan fasting, urging them to celebrate Eid-el-Fitri moderately in face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the insecurity challenges in the country. Abiodun, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, noted that Muslims had engaged in the spiritual exercise as directed by Allah for the past one month, calling on the faithful not to do away with love, prayers, unity and harmony that formed the basis of the holy month. He further urged them to continue to offer prayers for peace and unity in the country, particularly in the face of security and economic challenges. The governor added that the present situation in the country calls for sober reflection, stressing that “as you celebrate the end of Ramadan, I urge you to reflect on our situation as a nation and continue to pray for peace and security to return to Nigeria”. “I want to use this opportunity to urge our Muslim brothers and sisters as they celebrate Eid-elFitri, that COVID-19 is still much around. Hence, they should endeavour to observe the safety protocols and guidelines against the pandemic. “Also, they should engage in moderate celebration to mark the end of the fasting. The situation in our dear country calls for sober reflection and prayers, therefore, they should not forget to supplicate to the Almighty Allah for peace, tranquility, unity and security in the land.” Abiodun assured that his government shall continue to obey the Rule of Law and govern with the fear of God, wishing Muslim happy Eid-el-Fitri celebration.

Insecurity: Politicians sponsoring killing of police in South-South – Biafra group By Christiana Ekpa

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he Biafra Nations League (BNL), has alleged that most attacks in the Eastern Region, especially in Akwa Ibom, Rivers States are politically-motivated. The group said that some cultists who are being sponsored by politicians are hiding under ‘unknown gunmen’ to perpetrate evil. BNL said this while refuting

reports linking unknown gunmen with Biafra agitation. In a statement on Wednesday by its Deputy National Leader and Head of Operations, BBs Media Ebuta A.Takon, the group said it has come up with the conclusion that some of the attacks especially in Rivers State, Akwa Ibom and some South East towns are carried out by sponsored cultists who are being used by aggrieved politicians. The group dissociated its

members from the recent attack on Police facility in Etim Ekpo in Akwa Ibom, adding that they are not part of the activities of unknown gunmen. Takon warned Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, against creating confusion in the State by accusing Biafra secessionist groups of infiltrating the State and killing police officers. BNL accused the Governor of making inciting comments and

reminded him that Rivers State has been a violent state since its creation. He said “People in that state can kill themselves over politics, everyone knows that Rivers State is the center of political violence in South South and number 2 in Nigeria after Kano. “Wike knows that but he is only using blame game tactics like he did over the crisis in Oyigbo during a nationwide EndSars protest in

other to exempt his State from Biafra agitation.” BNL, however, said it will not condemn the attacks on police officers “because of the crimes, atrocities and evil that the Nigeria Police have committed in the past.” The group said they would have condemned the violent activities of the unknown gunmen if they had killed innocent individuals who are not officers of the Nigerian security.

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By Musa Baba Adamu ormer Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has congratulated the Muslim faithful on the successful completion of this year’s Ramadan Fast, urging them to seize the occasion of the Eid al-Fitr to pray for a nation in distress. Ekweremadu made the call in his goodwill message to the Muslim Ummah on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, noting that the nation needed divine healing at this point of her history. “I celebrate with the Muslim faithful on the occasion of this year’s Eid al-Fitr and congratulate them on the successful completion of the Ramadan Fast. “This is no doubt a very trying period for the nation. With the dire circumstances characterised by worsening insecurity, mindless killings, bourgeoning kidnap industry, economic hardship, and ethnic tension, there is no doubt that Nigeria is in distress. “The times therefore call for both leadership and fervent prayers, knowing that we can always win if we shun ethnic, religious, and political differences to work and pray as one people”, he said.

POLITICS

Eid-el-Fitr: APC seeks spiritual support over insecurity By Ikechukwu Okaforadi

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he All Progressives Congress (APC) has celebrated Muslim faithful and entire Nigerians on the occasion of this year’s Eidel-Fitr, calling for spiritual support to enable the government address the security challenges facing the country. A statement issued yesterday

by the National Secretary of the party’s caretaker Committee, John James Akpanudoedehe, said “As we celebrate, we enjoin Nigerians to use this period to demonstrate the essence of Ramadan which is about personal sacrifice and sharing with the less privileged. “We also urge Nigerians to use the occasion to pray for our

leaders and the country’s peace and development. Our collective efforts is required to ensure that citizens enjoy the many pro-people developmental strides of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in an atmosphere of peace. “The APC calls on all people of goodwill and patriotic citizens to use the occasion to extend their

spiritual support for the efforts of our administration in its continued quest to place the country on the path of economic prosperity. *On this day, we assure Nigerians of our commitment to securing the nation from all fifth columnists and secessionist elements who have continued to seek ways of dragging the nation backwards.”

Some Muslim faithful praying during the Eid-ed-Fitri celebration at Ile Zik Prayer Ground, Ikeja, on the LagosAbeokuta Expressway in Lagos State on Thursday (13/5/21).

2023 Presidency: How Igbos can produce Buhari’s successor - Group By Musa Baba Adamu

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socio-cultural group, the World Igbo Peoples Assembly (WIPAS) has asked Ndigbo to put their acts together to be taken seriously by other Nigerians in the legitimate quest to produce the next President of Nigeria. WIPAS, in a statement by

its Board of Trustees Chairman, Chuks Ibegbu on Wednesday, also asked Igbo presidential aspirants to begin to announce their interest to show that the Igbos are serious. The group, however, warned those who have nothing to offer Nigeria not to indicate interest in the race as the presidential office is a serious business.

WIPAS in the statement claimed the mood of the nation favours an Igbo to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 but noted that Ndigbo must put their acts together. It called on all Nigerians to support the just and equitable project. WIPAS also regretted utterances by the Governor of

Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai on the agitations in the Southeast, noting that agitations in other parts of the country did not stop their own from producing the President of Nigeria. The Igbo group further asked Nigerian politicians to be circumspect in their utterances for an inclusive nation. The socio-cultural body urged

agitators in the east to also factor in the efforts by other Igbo and Nigerian patriots to address the inequity in the polity. The group appealed to agitators to cease fire to enable the government at all levels and critical stakeholders to come up with workable templates towards addressing their yearnings.

Eid el-Fitri: Ekiti PDP chieftain, Ajijola salutes muslim faithful By Musa Baba Adamu

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eopes Democratic Party stalwart in Ekiti State, Oladimeji Lateef Ajijola, has congratulated the Muslim faithful on the celebration of this year’s Eid El-Fitri. In a goodwill message to Muslims in Ado-Ekiti, he thanked the Almighty Allah for seeing them through the Holy month of Ramadan. “I rejoice with my fellow

Muslim brothers and sisters for the opportunity given them to celebrate another Sallah on earth” “It is a privilege and grace of God to successfully see the end of Ramadan” Ajijola said Allah created the Holy month of Ramadan for Muslims to be able to come closer to him and cleanse themselves of all their unrighteousness He admonished the faithful to make use of all the good

lessons learnt during the period of Ramadan and never revert to unholiness because they have been purified and given a new life to live by Almighty Allah. He also called on fellow party members to come together as one formidable force to take over the mantle of leadership from the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) come 2022. While expressing displeasure on the state of insecurity in the country, Ajijola said ”A functional

and proactive Government should be able to secure the lives and property of citizens. ”Any government that fails in this area should be regarded as a complete failure because that is a fundamental responsibility of government“. Speaking on the next bye Election in Ekiti State, Hon Ajijola advocated unity among PDP members to present a credible candidate for the Election.

He appealed to members of PDP in Ekiti State to come together and speak well of the party ahead of next year’s governorship election. The PDP scribe noted that the party could only win the polls if the national leadership of the party addresses the lingering congress problems tearing the party apart in the state and ensures a genuine reconciliation of members of the party.

Lawan say Nigeria needs prayers, restates NASS commitment to security of lives By Ikechukwu Okaforadi

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he President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has felicitated with the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria on the completion of this year’s Ramadan fast, even as he said that Nigeria needs prayers now than

ever before. “Every true Muslim feels joy at participating in the Ramadan fast, which is a key obligation in Islam. May Almighty Allah therefore reward us for the spiritual voyage and grant our earnest wishes for ourselves, families and dear country.

“Because of the current security and economic challenges, our country Nigeria needs the prayers of every patriot now more than ever before to achieve the peace, unity and progress that were the dreams of the founding fathers. “I assure us that the

Government, including the National Assembly, will not waver in its determination to provide robust security in the country that guarantees every law abiding citizen the liberty to live in peace and pursue their legitimate businesses anywhere they choose. “Let us remain strong in our

hope that Nigeria will become what we fervently want it to be: a nation that fills its citizens with happiness and pride,” Lawan said in a Salah message issued yesterday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ola Awonoyi.


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Stock Close Gain UPL 1.14 0.13 LIVESTOCK 0.52 0.01 SOVRENINS 0.21 0.03 OKOMUOIL 60.00 1.80 GUARANTY 23.50 0.55

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0.11 0.21 0 0.21 0.21 MBENEFIT 0.00 0 0.43 0.43 0 0.43 0.43 MCNICHOLS 0.00 0 1.05 2.05 261 2.05 2.05 MEDVIEWAIR 0.00 0 124.80 184.80 0 184.80 184.80 MOBIL 0.00 0 0.20 0.20 970 0.20 0.20 MULTIVERSE 0.00 0 3.50 3.50 0 3.50 3.50 NAHCO 0.00 0 18.00 18.00 0 18.00 18.00 NASCON 0.00 0 78.50 78.70 0 79.50 79.50 NB 0.80 0 0.78 0.78 0 0.78 0.78 NEIMETH 0.00 0 2.60 2.60 0 2.60 2.60 NEM 0.00 0 552.20 552.20 150 552.20 552.20 NESF 0.00 0 1,475.00 1,475.00 0 1,475.00 1,475.00 NESTLE 0.00 0 1.60 1.65 0 1.60 1.60 NPFMCRFBK -0.05 0 4.60 4.80 0 4.60 4.75 OANDO -0.20 0 80.00 76.20 0 80.00 80.00 OKOMUOIL 3.80 0 64.00 64.00 0 64.00 64.00 PRESCO 0.00 0 0.50 0.50 0 0.50 0.50 PRESTIGE 0.00 0 12.30 12.30 0 12.30 12.30 PZ 0.00 0 4.20 4.20 0 4.20 4.20 REDSTAREX 0.00 0 0.20 0.21 0 0.20 0.21 REGALINS -0.01 0 0.50 0.50 0 0.50 0.50 RESORTSAL 0.00 0 0.21 0.23 0 0.21 0.22 ROYALEX -0.02 0 640.00 640.00 405 640.00 640.00 SEPLAT 0.00 0 0.20 0.20 0 0.21 0.21 SOVRENINS 0.01 0 46.50 46.00 0 46.50 46.50 STANBIC 0.50 0 102.00 102.00 122 102.00 102.00 STANBICETF30 0.00 0 1.97 1.96 0 1.97 1.97 STERLNBANK 0.01 0 203.00 203.00 0 203.00 203.00 TOTAL 0.00 0 6.10 6.10 632 6.10 6.10 TRANSCOHOT 0.00 0 1.15 1.21 0 1.16 1.18 TRANSCORP -0.05 0 9.60 9.60 0 9.60 9.60 UACN 0.00 0 1.74 1.92 0 1.74 1.74 UAC-PROP -0.18 0 7.60 7.80 0 7.90 7.95 UBA 0.10 0 6.00 6.05 0 6.00 6.05 UBN -0.05 0 2.89 2.94 0 2.89 2.91 UCAP -0.05 0 36.30 37.00 0 36.30 36.30 UNILEVER -0.70 0 0.27 0.27 0 0.27 0.27 UNIONDAC 0.00 0 1.00 0.99 0 1.00 1.00 UNITYBNK 0.01 0 2.04 1.97 0 2.14 2.14 UPL 0.17 0 0.23 0.23 0 0.23 0.23 VERITASKAP 0.00 0 4.50 4.99 0 4.50 4.50 VITAFOAM -0.49 0 11.30 11.50 0 11.30 11.65 WAPCO -0.20 0 0.40 0.40 0 0.40 0.40 WAPIC 0.00 0 0.59 0.61 0 0.59 0.61 WEMABANK -0.02 0 21.20 22.70 0 21.70 22.50 ZENITHBANK -1.00 0

NEITI meets ECAN, plans to enforce sanctions in extractive industries By Etuka Sunday

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he Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has said it would partner with law enforcement agencies of the Federal Government to enforce compliance and sanctions in the extractive sectors. The Executive Secretary, NEITI, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji disclosed this while playing host to a team from the Energy Correspondents Association of Nigeria (ECAN) Monday in Abuja. He said the agency would be signing MoUs with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit. The NEITI boss, pointed compliance as one the major

challenges facing the extractive industries’ transparency initiative. He said, “One of the challenges we have in implementing the EITI is compliance and enforcement. You are aware that reports are published in Nigeria and is usually (a challenge) to implement. “This is because agencies just don’t think to do so. If there are no sanctions or incentives; sanctions for refusing to implement, incentives for doing well, everybody moves on and that is the bane of our society.” Ogbonnaya Orji added, “That is why we said that we will have to align with those who have very powerful machineries to enforce sanctions. So in the next couple of days we will be signing a draft MoU between us and the EFCC and it is being reviewed by the two organisations. “The draft with the ICPC is being reviewed by the two

organisations and the draft with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit is also being reviewed.” He said all parties had given themselves this month of May to sign the MoUs. Ogbonnaya Orji stated that each of these agencies had been encouraged to establish professional extractive industry desks equipped with staff with requisite training in that area. “In the EFCC we have geologists, geoscientists and people who have worked in the oil and gas industry. If they don’t have, they will engage and when our reports are released we share with them,” he stated. The NEITI boss added, “They analyse it and find out where there is financial malfeasance and misconduct in terms of managing extractive industry revenues. “If it is outside the country, such as the stealing of our crude

oil, the NFIU will trace it. The NFIU is an international agency.” On the function of the ICPC, he said the commission had to do with the public service or institutions that were either pilfering or stealing extractive industry revenues. “So we are not alone and have moved fast in the last two months to strengthen our relationship with them,” Ogbonnaya-Orji said. He went on, “We want oil revenues to reflect in the lives of citizens of our country, as well as on the infrastructure of Nigeria. We want Nigerians to be happy because the current insecurity is a function of poverty.” The NEITI helmsman further stated that the agency had commenced moves to partner the Federal Ministry of Environment on how to draw up data on how activities in the extractive industry affects the environment.

Ogbonnaya Orji also stated that NEITI would be linking its reports to physical impacts going forward, as the agency had been expanding its capacity on this. He said, “We are equally trying to make sure that we are able to link our reports to impacts. When we publish reports, monies are recovered or we highlight monies that are missing. “We want to follow-up and ensure that those monies are recovered into government coffers and we are committed to ensuring that the monies are well utilised. How do we do that? “We want to expand our capacity to monitor. In our renewed monitoring functions we should be able to visit industries’ sites real time. We don’t have to wait until our reports are published and I think we are going to collaborate with energy correspondents in those trips.”

L-,R: Representative of the Director General NDLEA, Mrs Oyutu PO, Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Sen. George Akume, Founder ‘The Sunshine Series -mind awareness, Hajia Aisha Bubah and the Nolly wood Actress Jamila Ibrahim, during the launch of the mind wheel project toll-free line, recently in Abuja.

Photo : Justin Imoowo

Copyright © 2019 NgTradeOnline

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Stock Close Loss DIAMONDBNK 1.30 -0.10 BOCGAS 2.59 -0.22 VITAFOAM 3.50 -0.39 DANGFLOUR 6.00 -0.45 UAC-PROP 1.74 -0.18

System Collapse: TCN Begins Investigation, Grid Recovery By Etuka Sunday

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he Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has announced that at about 11.01 am today, 12th of May, 2021, there was a total system

collapse of the grid, as a result of voltage collapse at some parts of the grid. TCN commenced grid recovery immediately after the collapse, from Shiroro Generating Station to Katampe TS, Abuja

through the Shiroro - Katampe line at 11:29 am, and also through Delta Generating Station to Benin Transmission Substation and has reached Osogbo and parts of Lagos. The General Manager, Public

Affairs, TCN, Ndidi Mbah in a statement said, while the grid restoration and power restoration gradually progress to other parts of the country, the cause of voltage collapse that precipitated this failure is equally being

investigated. TCN appeals for patience as it works assiduously to ensure full restoration of the grid and consequently power supply to the remaining parts of the country.


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WHO hails FCTA for robust COVID-19 response

By Stanley Onyekwere

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he World Health Organisation (WHO) has commended the FCT Administration’s robust response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health challenges, describing it as one of the best in Nigeria. In particular, the Organisation appreciated the FCTA leadership in the ongoing COVID-19 response, which clearly demonstrates your commitment to attaining the highest state of health for the FCT residents. WHO’s Country representative for Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo made this assertion when a delegation of the WHO paid a visit to the FCTA to update the FCT Minister on some key public health issues. Mulombo said: “This is demonstrative in the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 and robust outbreak response which you set up, leading to the highest containment, the highest testing rate per million as well as high vaccination rate of 2.1% of targeted population. It’s one of the highest in Nigeria and even in the world”. He also commended the public private partnership through the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee which established the Molecular diagnostic laboratory and which, according to him, “Will improve access to testing for COVID-19 and other diseases and will go a long way in supporting early detection and response to diseases outbreak in the Territory”. He equally applauded the Administration for its commitment to the improvement of maternal and child mortality rate in the FCT, adding that the establishment of a task force to address the issue in the Territory, will go a long way in identifying group causes of high maternal and child mortality rates and the development and implementation of programmes to address the challenges identified. The Country representative said WHO, is proud of the FCTA’s achievement in this regard because its programmes “Really aligns with the UN Secretary General’s strategy for women, children and adolescent health

2016 – 2030, which is articulated around survive, thrive and transform, building on enabling environment”. According to him, the FCT Administration has established the environment needed for the Nigerian population living in the FCT to thrive. Commenting on polio, the WHO scribe disclosed that with the declaration of Africa as polio free, the whole continent is being taken off the list of priority area that the global polio eradication will support and by January of 2022, there will not be substantial funding to support polio eradication activities.

He however, noted that Nigeria needs to continue those activities to maintain a polio free status until such a time that global eradication of the disease is achieved. He therefore called for improved funding for disease control programmes and primary health care at the State and Area Council levels in order to strengthen and improve immunization services in the communities. Responding, the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, who commended the WHO office in the FCT for its successes, also pledged the Administration’s

support for it and other United Nations (UN) programmes within the Territory. The Minister said emphasis will be placed on budgetary, support and counterpart funding in order to improve funding for WHO and other public health related programmes. He however advised the WHO to continuously engage relevant private sector stakeholders and encourage private donors, within the country for improved funding of its polio and other programmes. “As you can see, the coalition of the private of sector people did very well with respect of rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine. So, the

same thing could be done for the maintenance and sustainability of what has already been established on polio eradication”, he stressed. The meeting was also attended by the Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, the Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister, Malam Bashir MaiBornu, the Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr Muhammed Kawu, the Coordinator, WHO FCT office, Dr Fureatu Zakari and other FCTA and WHO officials, including two who joined virtually from the WHO regional office in Brazzaville.

Eid-el-Fitr: Ganduje urges Muslims to pray for peace

Minister identifies awareness as key to eradicating Lupus disease By Stanley Onyekwere

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CT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has identified enlightenment campaign or knowledge as a powerful tool that could defeat lupus or any existential challenge. Aliyu, made this point at the 2021 World Lupus Day (WLD) celebration in the nation’s capital, Abuja organised by the Arise Monalisa Foundation, according to a statement from her Special Assistant

on Media, Austine Elemue. In the statement, she specifically noted that in view of the complexities associated with this silent killer disease, public awareness and the impact that it has on the lives of those who are affected, must be scaled-up. While describing lupus as a common, but often overlooked disease, she lamented that lupus as a chronic autoimmune disease has affected approximately 5 million people globally.

The Minister, who was represented by the Ag. Executive Secretary of FCT Primary Healthcare Board, Dr. Iwot Ndaeyo, stressed that the singular fact that lupus is one of the most severe comorbidities and could lead to end-stage kidney disease and kidney failure, makes it the more scary. “The medical difficulties associated with diagnosing and treating a poorly understood disease have negative impact on those with lupus.

“This is further compounded by a low level of public awareness and the fact that most symptoms of lupus are not visible to others. Collectively, these can lead to a greater emotional burden for patients”, the minister stressed. She equally used the occasion to caution against stigmatization of patients, noting that those who recognise lupus as a disease mistakenly believed that it is contagious, and that a poor knowledge like this could lead

to unnecessary social stigma for patients with lupus. She therefore pledged the commitment of the FCT Administration to support any organisation or group aimed at bringing to an end the devastating impact of lupus. She, however, called on critical stakeholders to make lupus visible using every available medium to show the world the many faces of lupus and its impact on patients .


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Alireza: Alleged killing of Iranian gay man sparks outcry

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he alleged murder of a 20-year-old gay Iranian man is sparking outrage and condemnation around the world. Ali Fazeli Monfared, known to friends and on social media as Alireza, was reportedly kidnapped and beheaded in Ahvaz, southwest Iran, last week. His partner told BBC Persian he believed he may have been killed by male relatives. The Iranian authorities have not commented on his death but BBC Persian obtained photos of his grave site. News of his death had been reported by 6Rang, the Iranian Lesbian and Transgender Network. The group suggested he may have been kidnapped and killed by family members after they discovered evidence of his sexuality. ‘Fashionable fun-loving young man’ Alireza was last heard from on 4 May in a phone call with his mother, reports say. His body was reportedly found discarded by a palm-tree, a day after she was told he was dead and was instructed where to find his remains. The 20-year-old’s partner, Aghil Abyat, said Alireza had travelled to Ahwaz to visit his mother, pick up a military service exemption card and sell his mobile phone. He was supposed to fly to Turkey to join Mr Abyat just days later, apparently in the hope of applying for asylum in Europe. Users have shared artwork in tribute to the 20-year-old In months-old voice notes,

He had been days away from leaving the country, according to reports heard by BBC Persian, Alireza spoke of the difficulties of being gay in Iran and said he had received death threats from within his wider family. One friend, who spoke to the BBC, described him as a “fashionable, fun-loving young man who would have loved to get famous one day”. The friend said, although she did not know Alireza was gay, she was aware he had faced pressure from his family over his appearance and his social media image. Alireza’s Instagram feed, which is flooded with thousands of followers and tributes, shows him posing for selfies, having fun with friends and lip-syncing along to

music. His partner told the BBC his family complained about “the way he dressed up and for the plastic surgeries he used to do”. Mr Abyat fears Alireza may have been killed after his family found the military exemption card and realised he planned on leaving Iran. Military service is compulsory for young men in Iran, but exemptions can be given to gay men and transgender women under an exemption which classifies them as having mental disorders. Rights group 6Rang said the circumstances surrounding Alireza’s murder reaffirmed their concerns about the potential dangers of the sexual orientation exemption. The group previously raised concern that the exemption could allow officials to easily identify LGBT individuals and leave them vulnerable to abuse, punishment and discrimination. Being gay in Iran remains extremely taboo. Same-sex relations are illegal and can be punishable by death. There were conflicting reports of arrests over the death but Iranian officials have made no public comment. After news of Alireza’s death spread, his name became a popular social media hashtag with users around the world sharing messages of solidarity with LGBT individuals facing persecution in their home countries. Others paid tribute to Alireza with artwork and by sharing posts from his Instagram page. Source: BBC

Program of alleviating poverty by improving health care benefits senior residents in Xinjiang

By Yang Mingfang, Aldak, People’s Daily hanks to China’s efforts to alleviate poverty in its Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region by improving health care of the region, Maihesuti Maimaiti, a 67-year-old resident in Xinjiang who had long suffered from a pain in his knees, received treatment and saw significant improvement in his health condition. “In the past, he couldn’t walk steadily even with a stick. Now he is much nimbler on his feet than before,” said his wife, who attributes the improvement to the People’s Hospital of Pishan County in Pishan county, Hotan prefecture of Xinjiang. According to the elderly couple, who lives in Pishan county, Maimaiti was a construction worker when he was young, and he began to feel a pain in his knees about 20 years ago. “I didn’t go to hospital for treatment at the beginning, because I thought since I was no longer young, it might be normal to feel a little off color,” Maimaiti

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said, adding that he didn’t thought the illness got worse and started to cause inconvenience in his daily life. Pishan county was once severely impoverished and has long been troubled by a high incidence of diseases related to hip and knee joints due to reasons including the harsh natural conditions. Because of limited local medical conditions, some patients had to travel more than 100 kilometers to Hotan city or even more than 1,000 kilometers to Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, to seek treatment for their diseases, which not only cost too much, but could easily cause delay in treatment. In recent years, Xinjiang has made continuous efforts to deepen the implementation of a program aimed at alleviating poverty by improving health care, and moved faster to improve the capacity of grass-roots medical facilities through the assistance provided by other provinciallevel regions in China under

the country’s pairing assistance strategy. In September 2017, a new branch of the People’s Hospital of Pishan County, which was built with the help of east China’s Anhui province, was put into operation, significantly improving health care services for local people. Starting from May 2018, the People’s Hospital of Pishan County has received tailored assistance from the People’s Hospital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, with the latter helping improve the management capabilities of the former by dispatching management teams and groups of medical experts to it. Meanwhile, People’s Hospital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has also leveraged the medical experts sent from Anhui province to Xinjiang to conduct medical consultations and ward rounds, organize lectures for local medical workers, and perform operations at the People’s Hospital of Pishan County.

As the People’s Hospital of Pishan County became able to treat common and frequentlyoccurring illnesses, Maimaiti decided to go to the hospital for treatment. After careful examination, the hospital suggested that he receive joint replacement surgery. Maimaiti took the advice and decided to have one leg cured first. “I recovered soon after the surgery. It cost a total of 52,000 yuan (about $8,078), and I only needed to pay 8,000 yuan after medical insurance reimbursement,” he said. In June 2020, Anhui province invested one million yuan to screen senior residents from 16 townships of Pishan county for joint diseases and help them receive joint replacement surgeries. Maimaiti took the opportunity and had his second leg cured too. This time he didn’t spend a cent on the medical services, as the cost of the surgery was fully covered by the fund provided by Anhui province.

“Both legs have recovered well from the operations. I now have no problem walking, or even driving,” Maimaiti told Xu Yanguo, deputy head of the People’s Hospital of Pishan County as well as leader of the medial team sent by Anhui province to Xinjiang. He told Xu that he recently bought a car and is thinking about making road trips with his family. To equip local medical workers with various professional skills, doctors from Anhui province have tailored training plans for them, including taking them to make ward rounds and giving lectures to them. According to Xu, the People’s Hospital of Pishan County has also adopted telemedicine technology so that patients in critical condition and those suffering from rare illnesses can receive timely treatment. Last year, the hospital further enriched its medical services and made its telemedicine services more efficient and intelligent by enhancing the construction of smart facilities.

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1st female train driver in Nigeria pursuing dream on China-constructed rail line

By Jiang Xuan, People’s Daily

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n Abuja, capital of Nigeria, there is a large train station - Idu station. It is where the Abuja-Kaduna rail line starts, and also an important stop of Abuja light rail. On 7:00 am, passengers would line up in front of the ticket office of Idu station, and that’s when engine driver Issa Fatimoh Abiola boards her train, which is scheduled to depart at 8:30 am, to make preparations. The Abuja-Kaduna rail line and Abuja light rail were constructed by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) under the Belt and Road Initiative. They have turned the site of Idu station from a barren land in the past into a bustling transportation hub. Many young Nigerians like Abiola have secured jobs thanks to the rail tracks, and witnessed the development and changes in the capital. Abiola is the first woman in Nigeria that is licensed to drive a train. In 2006, the CCECC was recruiting kitchen helpers in her hometown Ilorin, Kwara State. Learning that Chinese companies were reputable and offered decent salaries, Abiola, who had just graduated from high school, applied for a position and became an employee of the Chinese construction company. “Chinese experiences suit the development demand of Nigeria. China is sincerely helping us, and if you can speak Chinese you will have a bright future,” Abiola told People’s Daily.

Nigerian female train driver Issa Fatimoh Abiola. (Photo by Jiang Xuan/People’s Daily)

As she gradually had a better understanding of Chinese companies, she became more determined to develop in a Chinese firm. She spent almost all of her spare time learning Chinese. In 2013, tracks began to be laid for the Abuja light rail, which was built in accordance with Chinese specifications and standards. Abiola, by her outstanding job performance, earned herself an opportunity to receive locomotive driving training, as the only female trainee. Five years later, when Abuja light rail was officially put into service, Abiola became the only woman among the first batch of all locomotive drivers. Transport is a lifeline for cities, said Nigerian President

Muhammadu Buhari when declaring the full operation of Abuja light rail on July 12, 2018. Hailing the light rail as a high-quality project, he expressed his gratefulness to the Chinese government and people for their support for Nigeria’s development. As an employee representative, Abiola handed a signal flag to Buhari who later ordered the departure of the first train on Abuja light rail. “This moment was of historic significance,” Abiola said, adding that the company’s decision to have her drive the first train indicated its trust in not only herself, but also all local employees. Most of the residents in Abuja live in the four

suburban satellite towns of the city, so there are four major commute routes. The roads were always jammed during peak hours, and the traffic could stay stagnant for even half an hour. As the first light rail in West Africa, Abuja light rail has brought conspicuous changes to local transportation and the livelihood of local residents. Abiola told People’s Daily that the light rail is punctual, and is favored by more and more people. “It plays an important role in alleviating urban traffic pressure, and also reduces traffic accidents,” she added. The construction of the light rail created nearly 5,000 jobs at most for local community. And more job opportunities have been

specific allegation but has not yet had a response. Kenyan MPs are some of the best paid lawmakers in the world - and officials estimate the East African nation loses billions of dollars every year to corruption. What did Mr Kuria say? Mr Kuria said he had witnessed corruption many times in parliament. “And it has happened countless times for the eight years that I’ve been in parliament,” he told BBC’s Newsday programme. “Obviously these things don’t happen on camera.” He gave the appointment of Mr Kimunya as an example. He replaced Aden Duale as majority

leader in the national assembly last June. The MP for the Gatundu South constituency admitted that the corrupt practices were wrong. “It is wrong. And I think yes… given an opportunity I would refund at least the one I can most vividly recall,” he said. “I’ll probably do [it] today... refund the $1,000 that I did receive to vote in Amos Kimunya as the leader of the majority.” What’s the current row about? Mr Kuria gave the BBC an interview as he has been summoned to appear before the house speaker for alleging some politicians received about $1,000 to vote for the constitutional

amendment bill known as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). The aim of the bill - backed by the president and leader of the opposition Raila Odinga - is to address the main challenges the country has faced since independence such as ethnic antagonism, corruption and devolution. But critics say it will only increase waste as it will increase the number of parliamentary seats and bring back the post of prime minister and several deputies. Mr Kuria is a supporter of Deputy President William Ruto, who does not back the BBI bill, and is a bitter rival of Mr Odinga, with the two men manoeuvring to

created to local residents since the project started operation, from frontier workers to key management and technical staffs. “When I drive the train through the city, I can literally feel the benefits it brings,” Abiola said. According to her, more and more stores have been opened along the route. With increasing passenger traffic, commercial areas and communities are taking shape, she added. “I feel very happy about the life of us, which is getting better and better,” she said. Paschal Arinze Nnorli, regional chief of Nigerian Railways Corporation Abuja, said the light rail not only has created economic benefits and jobs, but also is generating long-term and incalculable value with its safe and stable performance. Due to COVID-19 control, Abuja light rail’s five-storey comprehensive maintenance center was transformed into a makeshift hospital in just 40 some days. The hospital, with 506 beds and covering 12,500 square meters, played an important role in Nigeria’s fight against the virus. “Our Chinese friends are helping not only us, but also the entire Africa. I want to contribute my own strength to my company, and to the common development of Nigeria and Africa,” said Abiola, adding that she will still strive for a position on the driver’s seat of a bullet train once high speed rails are paved in her country. “I want to become the first female driver of a bullet train in Nigeria, and contribute to the ‘Nigerian speed,’” she noted.

Kenya MP Moses Kuria admits taking $1,000 parliamentary bribe K enya MP Moses Kuria has told the BBC he received a $1,000 (£700) bribe in parliament last year to back the appointment of the majority leader. “It is not unusual for members to get this kind of an inducement,” he said, adding he would return the payment. Mr Kuria made the remarks as he and two other colleagues are to be censured for alleging payouts were made to back a recent constitutional amendment bill. Majority leader Amos Kimunya has denied that bribes are paid in parliament. The BBC has asked Mr Kimunya to respond to Mr Kuria’s

succeed Mr Kenyatta as president. Despite some initial opposition the BBI has been passed by county assemblies and recently by parliament. Mr Kuria told the BBC other inducements had been used to persuade politicians - like the demand by county assembly members that they would only back the BBI bill for car grants, roughly worth $20,000 each. The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) approved the grants in February. After the president signs the BBI bill, it is due to be put to a referendum later this year. Source: BBC


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N e w s F r o m A SI A China’s achievements in development are remarkable: G. Devarajan, secretary of AIFB By Yuan Jirong, People’s Daily

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hina’s achievements in development are remarkable, and the story of the country’s success is becoming the focus of attention of the entire world, said G. Devarajan, secretary of the All India Forward Bloc (AIFB), a political party in India, recently in an interview with People’s Daily. The Communist Party of China (CPC), as the strong leading core of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, has brought about earth-shattering changes to China, according to him. Devarajan has visited China at invitation for many times. While attending the Poverty Alleviation Conference of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) hosted by the International Department of the CPC Central Committee in Kunming, southwest China’s Yunnan province, in July 2010, he made a field trip to Mayi (which means “ants” in Chinese) village, a village inhabited by ethnic minority groups, in Mile city, Honghe Hani and Yi autonomous prefecture of Yunnan province. He saw a picture of “ants moving” on a wall in the office location of the villagers’ committee of Mayi village. Local residents told him that it symbolized their unity and perseverance in pursuing a better life. Devarajan learnt that under the leadership

of the CPC branch in the village and the villagers’ committee, the locals have shaken off poverty and become better-off by tapping into characteristic industries including black goat breeding, walnut tree planting, and ethnic eco-cultural tourism, which impressed him deeply. India also has many areas inhabited by ethnic minority groups, Devarajan said, noting that he believes that China’s experience in lifting ethnic minority groups out of poverty is a valuable asset for Asian countries and is worth learning from. In August 2019, Devarajan participated in a seminar on rural development and poverty reduction for political parties of developing countries held by China. At the seminar, he showed particular interest in how China responds to electronic waste, or e-waste, an issue that becomes increasingly worrying in India because of the rapid development of information technology and electronics manufacturing in recent years. While having discussions with secretaries of the CPC committees in cities and districts of east China’s Jiangsu province during the seminar, he said that innovation-driven development has led to economic and social progress, but advances in science and technology have posed the risk of pollution from e-waste, and asked how has the Chinese

side coped with the risk. CPC officials from Jiangsu told him that there are companies in Jiangsu specializing in the recycling and treatment of e-waste, which Devarajan found really inspiring. The AIFB has taken part in many political affairs in India’s states of West Bengal and Kerala. During his visits to China, Devarajan paid special attention to how the CPC has strengthened Party building in its local organizations, boosted economic growth, and improved people’s lives. He also hoped to have a deeper understanding of how China works to safeguard people’s livelihood. According to him, he has gained better knowledge about China’s efforts to continuously improve social security systems from trips to provinces in the country like Jiangsu. China has firmly implemented reform and opening-up and led the Chinese people to a victory over poverty, which demonstrated the fact that the CPC knows the needs of the people and regards serving the people wholeheartedly as its mission, he pointed out, adding that China’s achievements in development have further heightened Chinese people’s confidence in the CPC and the government. Each country should follow its own path according to its own conditions and

requirements, and facts have proved that China’s growth is the exact result of pursuing socialism with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the CPC, Devarajan said. According to Devarajan, updating ideas and theories is crucial to a party’s development. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era is based on the requirements of the times, accords with the basic principles of Marxism, fits China’s actual conditions, and makes sure that the guiding ideology of the CPC keeps pace with the times, he said. The CPC has always maintained vitality as it has continuously enriched and developed Marxism through learning from practice and others, as Devarajan pointed out. China has gained marvelous fruits in realizing the targets set in the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including eliminating poverty, making education accessible to more, and promoting gender equality, Devarajan said, adding that only a political party that puts the interests of the people above everything else can achieve such ambitious goals. Devarajan believes that the CPC will lead the Chinese people to new achievements in the new era, and that China’s experience in pursuing development will serve as reference for other developing countries.

Expressway construction reveals China’s rapid development By Dou Hanyang, People’s Daily

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f you enter the Xiwu exit ramp of Fenghua, Ningbo, east China’s Zhejiang province along the Shenyang–Haikou expressway and drive all the way westwards along Dacheng East Road, it will only take three minutes to reach the downtown area of Fenghua. Now, the Shenyang–Haikou expressway, the Ningbo loop expressway and the Ningbo–Jinhua expressway, which all pass through Fenghua, have formed a fast and convenient regional transport network after being connected by link roads. A vast number of vehicles are running on these expressways every day, injecting constant energy into regional development. Expressways mirror the rapid development of China’s urban and rural construction. According to local residents in Fenghua, poor transportation was once a barrier that hindered investment projects in the past. Years ago, Ye Taihai, an entrepreneur of Fenghua descent returned to the district and invested in local road construction. What he did enabled Fenghua to enjoy the dividends of China’s reform and opening up. Today, transportation is not any longer a weak link of Fenghua, and all of its townships can get to an expressway within 30 minutes. The convenient transportation has even become an advantage of the district in attracting investment. From muddy roads to modern road networks, cities today are closely connected, which can better facilitate economic and cultural exchanges, as well as the flow of personnel.

Photo taken on April 28, 2021 shows an expressway that crosses the Three Gorges Dam in central China’s Hubei province. The expressway, which has been recently completed, is scheduled to open to traffic on July 1 this year. (Photo by Zheng Kun/ People’s Daily Online) More and more counties are witnessing faster province to get to neighboring townships to industrialization and modernization driven by ship and fetch express delivery parcels. The the construction of expressways. poor transportation was standing between local Expressways mirror the improved livelihood residents and a well-off life. of the Chinese people. At the end of 2018, an interconnectivity In the past, it took at least half an hour for project linking the Huangshan-Quzhouresidents in Qixi township, Quzhou, Zhejiang Nanping expressway and the Qianjiangyuan

National Forest Park in Quzhou was completed. It now serves as a channel for local residents to sell their farm produce to every part of China and makes it more convenient for tourists from surrounding provinces to visit the park. The project also prospered tourism, and local residents are embracing a better life by running agritainment facilities and B&Bs. Connecting cities and the countryside, expressways are bringing tangible benefits to the people. Expressways also mirror the synergetic development of China. Due to the special landforms in Zhejiang province, the progress of expressway construction was uneven. Thanks to the completion of the Wencheng-Taishun expressway during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), all onshore counties of Zhejiang have been connected to expressways. In the following five years, to optimize industrial, urban-rural and regional structures for common prosperity will be a focus of Zhejiang province. It will transform singlemode transport into a multidimensional one, improve its comprehensive transport capability, and modernize its traditional transport, so as to make its transportation greener and safer with better quality. From building the very first expressway of China - the Shanghai–Jiading expressway - in October 1988, China had constructed a total of 160,000 kilometers of expressways as of the end of the last year. The criss-cross expressways are connecting not only mountains and rivers, rural areas and cities, but also cultures and economy. They are showcasing the speed of China’s development.

U.S. can’t just get away from it all in Afghan issues By Zhong Sheng ecently, over 80 people were killed in successive explosions outside a girls’ high school in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, most of the victims were girl students. This outrageous act once again highlighted the complexity and vulnerability of the security situations in Afghanistan. The international society believes that the U.S. and NATO might cause greater security risks for the country if they don’t withdraw their troops from it in a responsible manner. It must be underlined that any act of terrorism is an unforgivable crime, regardless of when and where it happens, for what reason it is committed, or whoever commits it. The successive explosions in Kabul this time were astonishing. Such a violent crime was a severe challenge against human civilization, and shall be strongly condemned by the international

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society. Sadly, this attack was not uncommon. Considering domestic politics, the White House declared last month to withdraw all the remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, so as to get out of the War in Afghanistan that has lasted 20 years. The decision soon impacted the situations in Afghanistan. Since the U.S. and NATO officially kicked off the withdrawal on May 1, bomb attacks frequently happened in the country, which has seriously threatened the peace and stability of Afghanistan and the security of its people. The Wall Street Journal said in an editorial that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan might make humanitarian disaster more immediate. “A U.S. presence can’t thwart every horrific attack, but leaving means accepting there will be more of them,” it said, adding that the attack on the school in Kabul is a likely preview.

The wars arbitrarily launched by the U.S. have brought disasters to a number of countries and regions, and the War in Afghanistan is one of them. It is reported that since entering Afghanistan in October 2001, the U.S. troops caused the deaths of more than 30,000 civilians, injured more than 60,000 civilians, and created about 11 million refugees. Today, to get rid of the war, the White House seems urgent to withdraw the American troops. However, the security risks are still on the Afghan people. According to New York Times, the Taliban have started offensives in the south and the north after the start of the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops. At least 44 civilians and 139 government forces were killed in Afghanistan in the past week, the highest weekly death toll since October Afghan issues are complicated, and must be solved with joint efforts from both in and out of

the country, or it would be counterproductive. The international society shall uphold justice and do as much as it can to promote peace through talks, so as to contribute more positive energy to the Afghan peace and reconciliation process. At present, the U.S. is the biggest exterior factor of the Afghan issues. The White House shall not duck its responsibilities and get away from it all. Its withdrawal must be implemented in an orderly and responsible manner, and aim at preventing further escalation of violence in the country and preventing terrorist forces from ramping up and creating trouble. It shall create a favorable exterior environment for the Intra-Afghan Negotiations, not the other way around. (Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)

ENVIRONMENT

PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

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Speedy passage of Climate Change Bill will address challenges - Ikeazor By Mashe Umaru Gwamna

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he Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, has appealed to the National Assembly to speed up action on passing the Bill on Climate Change into law will go a long way in addressing climate change challenges in the country. Ikeazor made the disclosure yesterday at the opening of the National Council on Environment (NCE) yesterday in Abuja . She said,already the bill has passed second reading on the floor of the House. Ikeazor said this has become necessary to have a legal instrument that would address the myriads of climate change actions and challenges in the

country. Declaring the three-day Council open, the Minister applauded the resilience of the critical stakeholders during this trying period of Covid-19 pandemic. “Your participation in this event is a testimony to your unwavering faith in our collective resolve to reverse all adversities in the sector and sustainably manage our environment in the face of the multiple concerns exacerbated by the novel Covid-19 pandemic.” She said the theme of the meeting, “Managing Emerging Environmental challenges: Need for Strategic Approach to Sustainable Development in Covid-19 era and beyond”, was strategically chosen to underscore the realities of global

health challenges occasioned by the pandemic and the need to tackle the attendant issues to ameliorate the environmental and developmental consequences that may confront the nation if we fail to act now. “This, therefore, underscores the crucial nature of this meeting. As a sector, the need for us to deliberate on the increasing concerns with a view to generating actionable policy framework and measures to guide our actions towards addressing these emerging concerns is uppermost. This is why we are here.” She charged the participants to engage their various experiences, expertise and ingenuity during the three-day event towards finding lasting solutions to the

multifaceted environmental challenges confronting the nation that include biodiversity loss, climate change and Covid-19 pandemic. In his welcoming address,the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Environment, Abel Enitan, stated that the meeting was previously scheduled to hold in Kano towards the end of last year, but could not be due to the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic. Enitan said that was why the Council had to be postponed and subsequently repackaged to accommodate the virtual option in a bid to ensure strict compliance with Covid-19 public health and safety protocols. “As a result of the inability of this meeting to accommodate

the various memoranda from all stakeholders, the ministry has carefully selected 45 memoranda with broad relevance to specific situations and circumstances of members. In his goodwill message on behalf of the Senate Committee on Environment, Senator Michael Nnachi called for the involvement of more non-governmental organisations in the ministry’s activities as most of its activities are grassroots oriented that require a lot of mobilisation and enlightenment. He said the Senate is very much aware of the lean envelope of the Ministry despite its enormous responsibilities, and therefore assured that positive reviews are being made to facilitate and boost its funding windows.

Oyo closes dumpsites, bans waste collectors from collecting money from clients

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he Oyo State Government yesterday prohibited private sector operators (PSP) on waste collection from collecting fees from their clients. Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Dr Lateef Oyeleke, who announced this in a statement in Ibadan, the state capital, also said that all the dump sites in Ibadan, such as Lapite, Aba-Eku and Ajakanga, had been closed with immediate effect. Oyeleke said that this was part of the new solid waste management policy introduced by the state government to ensure safer environment. According to him, the new solid waste architecture is aimed at focusing on attaining an all-round sustainable environment that will improve the social wellbeing of the people of the state. Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Dr Lateef Oyeleke, who announced this in a statement in Ibadan, the state capital, also said that all the dump sites in Ibadan, such as Lapite, Aba-Eku and Ajakanga, had been closed with immediate effect. Oyeleke said that this was part of the new solid waste management policy introduced by the state government to ensure safer environment. According to him, the new solid waste architecture is aimed at focusing on attaining an all-round sustainable environment that will improve the social wellbeing of the people of the state. All households, facility owners, private, commercial industries, religious houses and other institutions have been advised not to make any form of payment to their PSP operators,” he stated. The commissioner said that government had appointed revenue consultants who would be serving bills to all clients, while payments would be made through designated banks, either manually or electronically. He warned that any payment made

to any PSP was at payers’ risk. Oyeleke also warned that anyone caught dumping refuse in the above-named dump sites would be prosecuted. He directed all PSP operators to make use of only Awotan landfill, Apete in Ido Local Government Area, which had been provided by government. The commissioner implored residents of the state, particularly those in Ibadan, to desist from dumping wastes on the road median, drainages, rivers and other open spaces so as to avert outbreak of diseases and flooding.

R-L Deputy Speaker KTHA Hon Shehu Dalhatu Tafoki, Alh Dahiru Mangal and the Katsina State Executive Governor Hon Aminu Bello Masari attending the Eid prayers, yesterday in Katsina.

African presidents, global leaders support climate change adaptation action for continent

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hat looks like a historic and united show of solidarity for a continent that contributes only 5% to global emissions, more than 30 heads of state and global leaders committed to prioritise actions that help African countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and “build forward better.” Africa now faces the dual onslaught of climate change – currently estimated at between $7 billion and $15 billion each year – and Covid-19, which has claimed 114,000 lives. The African Development Bank (AfDB) expects that the impact of climate change on the continent could rise to $50 billion each year by 2040, with a further 3% decline each year in GDP by 2050. Speaking on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 during a virtual Leaders’ Dialogue convened by the AfDB, the Global Centre on Adaptation and the Africa Adaptation Initiative, more than 30 heads of state and global leaders rallied behind the bold new Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme. The programme’s objective is to mobilise $25 billion to accelerate climate change adaptation actions across Africa.

President Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and African Union Chairperson, invited his fellow leaders to “revisit our climate ambitions and accelerate the implementation of our actions planned under our national priorities. To do this we will need to focus on actions to adapt to the impacts of climate change, these include naturebased solutions, energy transition, enhanced transparency framework, technology transfer and climate finance.” The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme is built to address the impacts of Covid-19, climate change, and the continent’s worst recession in 25 years. Therefore, Tuesday’s unprecedented show of support for the financing of African adaptation is so significant. According to Ban Ki-moon, the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Chair of the Global Center on Adaptation, “The Covid-19 pandemic is eroding recent progress in building climate resilience and leaving countries and communities more vulnerable to future shocks. Africa must

make up for lost ground and lost time. Climate change did not stop because of Covid-19, and neither should the urgent task of preparing humanity to live with the multiple effects of a warming planet.” President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, and Chair of the African Union-led Africa Adaptation Initiative, spoke of Gabon’s record in emission reductions. He said that Gabon is one of the few countries in the world that is carbon positive. “We have to insist that equal attention be paid to climate adaptation and mitigation in climate finance. Africa calls on the developed nations to shoulder the historic responsibility and to join the program to accelerate the adaptation in Africa,” President Bongo said. AfDB President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, said: “With our partners, we intend to mobilise $25 billion in financing for the success of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme. It is time for developed countries to meet their promise of providing $100 billion annually for climate finance. And a greater share of this should go to

climate adaptation. So far, more than $20 trillion have gone into Covid-19 stimulus packages in developed countries. The International Monetary Fund’s plan to issue $650 billion of new Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to boost global reserves and liquidity will be enormously helpful to support green growth and climate financing for economic recovery. I applaud the leadership of the US government and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, especially, on this big push.” UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, said: “African nations are showing leadership. The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme, and many other ambitious African initiatives, must be empowered to fully deliver on their goals. “ Guterres added: “Universal access tome energy in Africa, a priority in the coming years, could be provided primarily through renewable energy. I call for a comprehensive package of support to meet these dual objectives by COP 26. It is achievable, it is necessary, it is overdue, and it is smart.” Source : environewsNigeria


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PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

F E A T U R E

Covid: DR Congo in race against time to vaccinate people

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urse Jeanne Dusungu is vaccinating anyone who turns up to the white Unicef tent in the grounds of North Kivu provincial hospital in Goma against Covid-19 - but very few are locals. “There are some false rumours circulating, that the vaccine is fake, that it will make us sterile. There are people who think that,” she says, disbelievingly. “I tell the people to come and get vaccinated - it is protecting yourself and protecting others, your family, the entire nation.” But in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the second largest country in Africa and nearly the size of Western Europe, this is proving an uphill struggle. Only 5,000 people have been vaccinated out of a population of nearly 90 million. And in the city of Goma, where the rollout has just started after numerous delays, there is a worrying lack of interest. It means 1.3 million AstraZeneca doses, out of 1.7 million received in early March through Covax - the international fair access scheme - are being redistributed to other African countries for use before they expire at the end of June. The reasons are complex: • concerns over the potential link to rare blood clots in Europe delayed vaccine rollout in many African countries too, just as vaccination was starting • some European countries restricted use of the vaccine to certain age groups or gave away their doses altogether • as a result, harmful misinformation spread on social media about its safety There’s also a lack of trust in the systems and governments and a feeling Covid is less of a threat than many other deadly diseases like Ebola and measles. A recent outbreak of measles in DR Congo killed more than 7,000 people - many of them children, while Ebola outbreaks regularly occur. For some Goma residents, Covid is not visible. Claudine, 40, a cleaner, says she has never seen anyone who died from it and is not scared of it, unlike Ebola. For others in the conflicthit DR Congo, there are more pressing priorities than Covid-19. “The war kills a lot more people than corona does,” says Gabriel, 46, a taxi driver. Josue, 23, a student, is put off by what he hears online and prefers to focus his energy on studying and then finding a job. “We heard that Covid-19 would kill lots of people but much bigger problems are insecurity and unemployment, because we don’t know even if tomorrow we’ll be alive,” says John Remi Bahati, who is 35 and unemployed. How many vaccines is Covax delivering? In Africa, 42 out of 54 countries have joined Covax

Jeanne Dusungu prepares to vaccinate people against Covid-19 in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The charity Unicef is helping to organise the vaccine rollout in Goma, eastern DR Congo

and received 18.3 million doses between them, with nearly eight million used so far. The international scheme aims to ensure equal access to safe and effective Covid vaccines worldwide, The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine makes up more than 90% of doses supplied to Africa, which are manufactured in India. Covax wants to vaccinate at least 20% of the African

population by the end of 2021, with the first 3% - 90 million doses - going to health workers and other vulnerable groups. What about other African countries? African countries which are not part of Covax can access vaccines through the African Union or through their own deals with manufacturers. Countries doing this include South Africa, Zimbabwe and

Gabon. In Malawi, where uptake of the vaccine had been very good, there’s a different challenge. False rumours started spreading that its vaccine stock was out of date after it received supplies of AZ from South Africa, which no longer wanted them. Dr Charles Mwansambo, Malawi’s health minister, told the BBC: “Unfortunately people thought all our vaccines had

“We heard that Covid-19 would kill lots of people but much bigger problems are insecurity and unemployment, because we don’t know even if tomorrow we’ll be alive,” says John Remi Bahati, who is 35 and unemployed.

expired. “Some stopped coming to our facilities completely, saying that they would be getting expired vaccines, whilst those that came ended up hesitating. So that reduced our numbers by about 50%,” he said. To restore public confidence, health officials in Malawi now plan to set fire to 16,000 unused doses. Meanwhile, neighbouring Rwanda delivered all the AZ doses they received into arms within weeks, as did Ghana and Ethiopia, although there are concerns that delays to new supplies arriving from India could delay progress there. High demand for vaccines in India means no deliveries to African countries until at least June. The World Health Organization says 22 countries in Africa have used less than a quarter of their supplied vaccines. It says not using them quickly risks another wave of Covid. It’s now a race against time in these countries to increase people’s trust in all the vaccines. Dr Ayoade Alakija, head of the African Union’s vaccine taskforce, says real damage has been done by headlines and delays over safety. “In the US, there were announcements saying ‘don’t take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine but we will give you a Pfizer or a Moderna’. But in most parts of the world there isn’t an alternative,” she said. Only just over 1% of the population of Africa have been vaccinated with a first dose, compared with 20% in Europe and 25% in the US. One worry is that there could be uncontrolled spread of the virus among unvaccinated people which could lead to mutations, or a more virulent form of the disease emerging. “Variants are my biggest worry if people stay unvaccinated,” says Catherine Kyobutungi, executive director of the African Population and Health Research Centre. To date, there have been about 122,000 deaths from Covid-19 across Africa - lower than the UK’s death toll alone, but under-reporting means the true figure could be higher. Vaccines are the only way to save lives from Covid-19 in the long term and building trust in them is now vital. Nicolas Sinumyayo Barole, 60, who works in the health sector in Goma, had the vaccine and says: “Lots of people have not understood the importance of the vaccine. “I want to tell them about the advantages, tell them to come and vaccinate themselves. “If the rest of the world is getting vaccinated to stop the spread of Covid-19, then why not here?” Source: BBC

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PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

Sports

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FRIDAY, may 14, 2021 By Amaechi Agbo

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etermined to help fight climate change and create a healthy environment for all, the Nigeria Teqball Federation NIGTEQ Tuesday embarked on tree planting The exercise which took place at the River Park, Business District, Abuja was coordinated by the President of NIGTEQ, Egnr Habu Gumel. Engr. Gumel who personally planed one if the step tress during the exercise said that the move was part of NIGTEQ’s in her fourday training programme and initiatives to help in securing the environment and beautifying it. He called on the general public particularly Nigerians to see the need to plant a tree as a national and personal assignment. “We all know the importance of trees around us. They provide fresh air, add beauty to our surrounding and most importantly, help protect us from climatic change. “We will continue to do this annually because as a federation, we believe that for us to do well in sports, our environment must be healthy and protected.” On his part, the General Secretary of NIGTEQ, Mr Ndudi Edede noted that tree planting as well as general sanitation were part of the federation’s Corporate. Social Responsibility, CRS. He noted that the federation would continue to do her best in preserving the environment and

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sports@peoplesdailyng.com, SMS- 08142929046

Nigeria Teqball Federation embarks on tree planting in Abuja

ensuing that Nigerians and indeed the global community imbibes the general message as importance of tree planting. Chairman of Federal Capital Territory Teqball Association, Mr Ibrahim Galadima also participated in the tree planting. The tree planting was part of the 4-day capacity programme organised by the NIGTEQ in collaboration with International Federation of Teqball FITEQ. Similarly, the President, Nigeria Teqball Federation, NIGTEQ, Engr Habu Gumel has charged the coaches and Referees of the beautiful game on professionalism. Engr. Gumel who gave the charge in Abuja while addressing the coaches and referees who underwent a four-day capacity training workshop commended the Coaches and Referees for turning up for the programme. Describing them as the pioneers of teqball in Nigeria, the President encouraged them to put in their best and be good ambassadors of the curved game. “We all know that our own Olympic, the sports festival is going on in in Edo state but I decided to cut short my programme there to

NIGTEQ President, Engr Habu Gumel planting a tree in Abuja Monday be here with you. “This obviously is because if the importance we all attached to this great training programme. I therefore encourage you that as you finish this training to

be professional in your duties. Whether as a coach or referee, you should be able to understand your professional duties and be able to uphold them always. “You are the pioneers of the

teqball in Nigeria and much is expected of you. You should be good ambassadors of the game. The training which commenced on Saturday, April 10 was rounded up on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

Ahemd Musa rejoins Kano Pillars on short deal By Amaechi Agbo

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fter 6 months without a club, Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa, has returned to Kano Pillars FC for the remainder of the 2020/21 Nigeria Professional Football League season (NPFL), the club Confirmed Musa previously played for the Pride of Kano in 2009 were he ended the season as the top scorer in the NPFL with 18 goals before moving to VVV-Venlo in the Netherlands. In a statement from the office of the chairman of the club, Alhaji Surajo Shuaibu Jambul and signed by the media officer, Rilwanu Malikawa revealed that the Sai Masu Gida have agreed to signed Musa until the end of the

2020/21 football season. According to Malikawa, the club have agreed to the deal after due consultations with the player and the League Management Company of Nigeria (LMC) whom stood as a mediator to the deal. Malikawa further stated that the club have received a letter from the LMC that was signed by the Chief Operating Officer, Malam Salihu Abubakar, that Kano Pillars will sign Ahmed Musa as an Elite player of the league to the end of the season. The seasoned journalist said Kano Pillars FC family are happy to welcome back one of their own and have wished him Allah’s guidance. “Ahmad Musa is our own and Pillars FC will continue to support

him anytime and anywhere he found himself,” Malikawa said. Amongst the contractual agreement reached and would be documented between Musa and Kano Pillars is……, anytime the player got an offer, he would be released by the club. Malikawa concluded that after completing all the necessary documentations, Ahmed Musa would be unveil by His Excellency, the executive Governor of Kano state, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje before the commencement of the second stanza of the league. The four-time NPFL Champions are joint leaders of the log alongside Kwara Utd with 36 points each from 19 matches though Pillars are second due to lesser goal difference.

Women’s Ballon d’Or holder makes plea to Messi, Ronaldo

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U-15 La Liga/ NPFL Tournament: Enugu Sports Commissioners Assures of readiness

PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

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Rangers players embark on one-week break

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nugu State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon. Manfred Nzekwe has assured Nigeria Football Federation/ League Management Company delegation in Enugu State of California the readiness of the State to host a hitch- free under 15 LaLiga NPFL , football tournament in Enugu State. Speaking while receiving officials of NFF/LMC with Enugu State Football Association Officials and the Local Organizing Committee members, in his office, Tuesday, Commissioner Manfred Nzekwe , commended the NFF for deeming Enugu State capable of hosting such important football tournament. He assured that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, by accepting to host the tournament, the state government will put everything in place to guarantee the success of the tournament adding that the tournament will be the best organized tournament in Nigeria. He further assured that every relevant stakeholder will be brought on board to ensure a successful tournament. In his speech, the leader of the delegation and General Coordinator Youth League, of the Nigeria Football Federation/ League Management Company, Dr Johnson Obaseki, informed the Commissioner that Under 15 LaLiga/ Nigeria Football Federation tournament will commence from Monday 12 the April, as arrival date, while kick- off will commence on Thursday15th April, with the final coming up on May 2nd 2021. He requested for accommodation of visiting teams and vehicle for the visiting Local Organizing Committee members, adding that the team will work in synergy with other stakeholders to ensure the success of the Championship. In his statement, the Chairman Enugu State Football Association Barr.Tony Ugwu, assured that all the necessary logistics required for the Championship will be provided by the state Football Association and the organizing committee.

Rangers players celebrating

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anagement of Rangers International F.C, the ‘Flying Antelopes’, ably led by Prince Davidson Owumi has approved a one-week break for players of the club with effect from Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Addressing the players at the club’ ultramodern players’ camp, Nkponkiti road, Independence Layout, Enugu, Tuesday, G.M/ CEO of the side, Prince Owumi Davidson, charged the players to be professional in all their conducts during the break stressing that the period was for each player to relax, refresh and refocus their minds for the task ahead in the second round of the 2020/21 NPFL season.

“This break is coming at the instance of the technical crew led by coach Salisu Yusuf as we now have a date for the start of the second round and I charge you all to be true professionals in this break period. I believe it is a period for you to take your mind off anything football. Just relax, refresh and refocus your minds on what you will do for us to achieve our set target in the second round of the league,” stated the astute football management guru while addressing the players. Also speaking, technical adviser, Coach Salisu Yusuf advised the players to maintain the level of fitness they have attained while on break warning that there will be penalties for any player that acts unprofessionally during

the period. “I know the level we are leaving you people and I expect to see it on your return in a week’s time. Please, be professional in all your conducts as there will be penalties for any reported unprofessional conduct during the break,” stated the vastly experienced gaffer. The players are expected back in Enugu on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 with training sessions commencing Wednesday, April 21, 2021. The ‘Flying Antelopes’ are currently placed 4th on the twenty-team log with 30 points from 18 matches played as the rescheduled match day 19 fixture with oriental neighbours, Enyimba International F.C is yet to get a date from organizers of the league, L.M.C.

Akure to host NLO division 3

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he Nigeria Nationwide League One, NLO has confirmed that Ondo State Sports Complex, Akure will be one of the centres for the division three of its matches. The Chairman of the NLO, who also doubles as a board member of the NFF, Alhaji Mohammed Alkali stated this at the inauguration of standing committees by the Ondo State Football Association “My colleagues sent me to welcome him back as the Chairman back after his election. Am assuring the people of Ondo state that right from today, you will see changes. “The entire Congress of the NFF are happy with the election of Otunba Dele Ajayi. In the next edition of our NLO division 3, a big centre will be awarded to Ondo State. Inaugurating the committee, Board member of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf Fresh said,the constitution of the standing-committees, was in tune with the statutes of the NFF. Fresh said he was happy that the State FA Chairman,Otunba Dele Ajayi, had brought everyone on board from the last election and would be successful, saying,” A divided house will not last “ Fresh urged the members of Sports Writers in the state to also, always put the FA in the state in the right direction whenever they were astray. Earlier, the Chairman of the Ondo FA, Otunba Dele Ajayi said the state

NLO players in action would be full of football activities with the committees in place. Ajayi said Ondo State FA has the solution to the problem of Sunshine Stars and Sunshine Queens, urging the state government to carry the association along. “We are ready to collaborate with people with ideas and personnel from people that can make Ondo state enviable heights. “We thank the governor of the state, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, for the huge amount he has released for the state owned

teams so far. “We know what to help both teams. It is too bad to owe for seven months for the male team and 13 months for the female team,” he said. Ajayi later thanked both Board members Alhaji Ahmed Yusuf Fresh and Alhaji Mohammed Alkali for gracing the occasion. Alkali, who is the Chairman of the Nassarawa FA, said the whole of NFF were happy with the election of Dele Ajayi as the chairman of the FA in the state.

PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

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FRIDAY, may 14, 2021

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Chelsea enter race for Liverpool’s Wijnaldum

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Carragher recommends Lampard for England U-21 coaching Job

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egendary Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes the England U-21 job could be the ‘perfect’ next step for Frank Lampard. The young Lions were knocked out of the European Championships on goal difference despite beating Croatia 2-1 having conceded a late, pivotal strike in injury time. Having lost their opening two group games against Portugal and Switzerland, Aidy Boothroyd’s position as manager has come under intense scrutiny and he himself said this week:“The England senior men’s job was called impossible job. Taye the Taiwo and Oduamadi

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World Insights: Oxygen shortages hit India amid 2nd wave of COVID-19

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helsea has reportedly emerged as surprise contenders for the signing of Liverpool Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum this summer. The 30-year-old Dutch midfielder’s future has been the subject of fierce debate over recent months, with his contract with the Reds due to expire in June. A move to Chelsea would certainly not go down well with Liverpool fans, who would no doubt rather he move abroad rather than become a direct domestic rival.

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t least 11 COVID-19 patients died on Monday evening in a hospital in the southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh due to oxygen shortages, local media reported Tuesday. Sadly, this was just one of the many tragedies the South Asian country has witnessed in recent weeks following an oxygen supply breakdown amid the second wave of the pandemic nationwide. While families and friends of the dead grieved for their beloved ones, they also raged against governments and hospital administrations over oxygen shortages amid a pandemicinduced chaotic mess, prompting them to take immediate actions to turn the tables.

DEATHS On Wednesday, India’s COVID-19 tally rose to 22,992,517 and the total death toll reached 249,992. Since the second wave, a number of incidents have unfolded across Indian hospitals in wake of the shortage of essential medical supplies, especially oxygen. On April 23, at least 26 COVID-19 patients died at a hospital in New Delhi when the oxygen supply in its intensive care units ran out completely. Seven days later, six more died at night due to oxygen shortages in a hospital in Gurugram, a city southwest of New Delhi. “We came to the hospital thinking doctors are there to take care of our loved ones. But then we are told oxygen is not available,” said Amritha, an attendant. “Whose responsibility is it to provide the oxygen and who should we blame for the deaths that are taking place simply because hospitals are not having facilities?” The tragedy happened again on the afternoon of May 1, as at least 12 died due to lack of medical oxygen at Batra Hospital & Medical Research Center in the capital city, including Dr. R K Himthani, the hospital’s head of the gastroenterology unit. “Rest in peace Dr. R K Himthani. We lost a cheerful and smiling face today, not because of the virus but due to lack of oxygen,” Himthani’s colleague Dr. Tushar Mehta wrote on social media. Experts said the bottlenecks of India’s oxygen supply lie in transportation and storage. While most oxygen producers are in eastern India, the soaring

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By Xinhua News Agency demand comes mainly from western, central and northern regions. Besides, there is a shortage of cryogenic tankers, which are necessary to transport liquid oxygen at very low temperatures to distributors. Also, many Indian hospitals do not have on-site plants to store oxygen. CHAOS In many hospitals, infected patients have to share beds or lay down on the floor in wards and corridors. And there are even more who have to lie down on stretchers or inside their own vehicles outside hospitals, gasping for breath. Experts said doctors and paramedical staff have to take tougher decisions on who among the patients should get oxygen and who should be left out. “The situation is really bad. We are being trained to save each and everyone without any distinction, but in the ongoing pandemic, when the hospitals are inundated and facilities are scarce, we are forced to make tough decisions,” said a doctor pleading anonymity. “It is really hard, for after all we too are humans.” As oxygen shortages are hitting hospitals, attendants have been asked to get oxygen for their beloved ones on their own. As

a result, social media platforms have been flooded with requests by desperate families hunting for oxygen cylinders and refills. This has in turn stoked up a thriving unregulated black market for cylinders and concentrators, which are sold much above their usual retail prices. Reports said an oxygen cylinder which would normally cost 82-137 U.S. dollars is now sold 10 times the price, and not many people can afford it. Besides, police have arrested a few for resorting to the black market. “It is a chaotic situation all around. Who would have thought that people would have to carry oxygen cylinders for their ailing family members?” said Ashish Vardhan, a volunteer helping people to access oxygen cylinders and hospital beds. “This massive shortage could have been avoided had the government planned things in advance and not ignored the expert opinions about the outbreak of the second COVID-19 wave.” ACTIONS Volunteers of the Sikh community have set up makeshift facilities in and around New Delhi to provide free oxygen to COVID-19 patients, and also a temporary hospital with 250 beds. “People are crying saying they

The situation is really bad. We are being trained to save each and everyone without any distinction, but in the ongoing pandemic, when the hospitals are inundated and facilities are scarce, we are forced to make tough decisions,” said a doctor pleading anonymity. “It is really hard, for after all we too are humans.

have lost three family members, the fourth is dying, please help with oxygen and a bed,” said Manjinder Singh Sirsa, president of the Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee. “I think, on this earth, you would never have seen this situation where people are dying and we are forced to give oxygen, or a miracle assistance.” “As hospitals are inundated and people are being turned away, so they come to us as a last resort and we provide them oxygen here,” said Jasmeer Singh, a Sikh volunteer. “We too are facing storages and have to manage things with our limited stocks.” The oxygen shortages have brought states face to face with the federal government over their quota. Last week, Allahabad High Court in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh said the death of COVID-19 patients out of oxygen shortages in the cities of Lucknow and Meerut is a criminal act, “not less than a genocide” at the hands of authorities entrusted with the task to ensure the oxygen supply chain is maintained. On Saturday, India’s Supreme Court formed a 12-member task force to ensure medical oxygen is delivered throughout the country in a streamlined manner. The task force will assess and recommend the need and distribution of oxygen throughout India. To cope up with the crisis, the federal government also started importing mobile oxygen generation plants and tankers, apart from buying portable oxygen concentrators. Oxygen is now being brought to hard-hit regions using special train services. (Xinhua)

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