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Thursday, June 24, 2021/ Dhul-Qaadah 14, 1442 AH Vol. 36 No. 098 N200

2618 Days after Malam Wada Maida (1950-2020), founding Chairman, Board of the Peoples Media Limited



. . . putting the people first

The nation awaits rescue of the remaining abducted Chibok schoolgirls

Fake News: FG to train 37,000 fact checkers

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Presidency has no hand in controversial media bills - Adesina Says AGF studying court ruling on Twitter

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The Founder / President, Helpline Foundation for the Needy (HLFN), Dr. Jummai Ahmadu (left) during her interaction with the section of the widows under her foundation at a ceremony marking the 2021 international widow”s days, Theme: “Invisible women, Invisible Problems”, featuring skill acquisition and Financial empowerment, organized by HLFN Abuja in collaboration with NAWOJ FCT and Make a Difference for the Needy Foundation, held yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Flour price hike: ‘Gurasa’ bakers threaten indefinite strike in Kano Maintenance of National Assembly not our responsibility -Senate pAGE 15

COVID-19 : FG takes delivery of $1m Saudi donated equipment –Director pAGE 9

PG 8

WFP pleads for $6bn in urgent assistance as 41m face starvation worldwide pAGE 4



News CONTENTS News 2-14 Op.Ed


Politics 15-17 Stock Watch Business Metro

18 19-20 21

World Analysis 22 Africa News


World News


NGE condemns proposed media bills before NASS, calls them draconian ...Says media not political enemy of FG By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja


he Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has said that the media industry is not a political opponent or enemy of the Federal Government. The NGE pointed out that many of the political elite’s attacks on the media are habitually not envisioned to win an argument on the values, journalistic or legal; but designed to bully media organizations. The Guild, which is the umbrella of all editors in Nigeria, said these in a statement signed by Mustapha Isah (President) and Iyobosa Uwugiaren (General Secretary) on Tuesday in Abuja. The Guild was reacting to what it described as ‘’draconian provisions’’ in the two Bills - to amend the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) Act, and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Act that are currently before the National Assembly, which the sponsors said were aimed at moderating the ‘’recklessness’’ of the media. The NGE categorically declared that the Bills are actually meant to criminalize journalism practice in the country.

The Guild said that the ‘’oxygen of democracy’’: the media, will be strangulated if the bills are passed in their present forms. The NGE therefore called on the National Assembly to remove those obnoxious provisions in the two bills that make it look as if they are meant to strangulate, instead of regulate the media. According to the statement, “At a time there is a popular ongoing global conversation about the need for a #NewDealForJournalism’’ - for immediate and sustained action from, and collaboration between governments and other influential actors to improve the policy, funding, and enabling environment for independent professional journalism, we see the proposed legislations as unhelpful. ’While we are not opposed to an Act that will promote media stakeholders-driven regulatory council, the many draconian provisions in the Hon. Odebunmi Olusegun’s sponsored bills are actually aimed at criminalising media practice in Nigeria. While the intention of the sponsor of the bills is suspicious, the bills negate all known features of media regulatory bodies in the world’’,

....Wants them expunged

the Guild stated. For example, the Guild said while the NPC Act. CAP N128, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1992, created by the military dictatorship, gives the Council Board full responsibility to administer the council, the proposed Act restricts the council board to ‘’advisory capacity on a part-time basis without direct interference in the day to day administration of the council’’, and gives the Executive Secretary all the power” The Guild added, ‘’While the proposed NPC Act says the Board shall consist of one representative each from the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ); Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE); Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN); Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON); Ministry of Information; two Representatives of the general public, one of whom shall be a legal practitioner and a woman and Executive Secretary of the council, who shall serve as the secretary to the Board, the board is a mere advisory body. ‘’The Bill also says that the Chairman of the Board shall be appointed by the President on the

R-L,: Director General, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Alh. Abbas Idriss, Permanent Secretary FCTA, Mr.Olusade Adesola, Director General, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), Engr. Clement Onyeaso Nze and the Deputy Director, Forecasting, Response and Mitigation FEMA, Lady Florence Wenegieme, during the FEMA 2021 flood outlook and review of FCT emergency Preparedness and response plan, held yesterday in Abuja.

Delta SSG tasks civil servants on cleanliness Page 10 Digest


Feature 26 Sports 30-31 Back Page


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recommendation of the Minister in charge of Information. And that all other members of the Board shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation by the Minister of Information. The intension of this kind of Council is suspicious”, the Guild said. The body of editors is of the view that the professional body doesn’t need the approval of the Minister of Information to establish and disseminate a National Press Code and standards to guide the conduct of print media, related media houses and media practitioners and approves penalties and fines against violation of the press code, as provided for in the Bill. Continuing, it said, ‘’The Guild is not aware of any media regulatory council in the world, which says that media regulatory council shall establish a National Press and Ethical Code of Conduct for media houses and media practitioners, which shall come into effect and be disseminated after approval by the Minister of Information, and that the code shall be binding on every media houses and journalists.”

Photo: Justin Imo- owo

Kangiwa calls on teachers to take career in tourism By Mashe Umaru Gwamna


he Director General of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR),Nura Kangiwa has called on teachers in secondary schools to take up career in tourism. Kangiwa said tourism is a multidimensional industry and multidisciplinary in subject. He made the call at the opening

ceremony of the second phase of ‘Train the Trainer’ program organized by the Institute for secondary school teachers in the Federal Capital Territory yesterday in Abuja . He said tourism as a multifaceted skill enterprise offers lots of opportunities for those willing to delve into it as either entrepreneurs or career teachers and trainers in tourism subjects. The Director General who was

represented by Director Research and Development of the Institute, Dr. Taiwo Famogbiyele, noted that, the tourism subsectors offer such entrepreneurial skills and business opportunities as Tour Guiding, Tour Operations, Travel Agency Operations, Cabin Crew, Gardens Operations. Other are Events Management, Recreational Management Centres, Hospitality Management, Pastry and Cookery amongst others.

He emphasized that one can also take up teaching career in the afore-mentioned tourism subsectors in both secondary and tertiary institutions as instructors and lecturers. Meanwhile, Head of Department of the Travel Tourism Department of the Institute, Edwin Enenta, called on the trainees to remain focused and resilient in their chosen career as teachers of tourism subject in the schools.

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Pilot phase of Pan African payment, settlement system begins- Sec.-Gen.


he African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat says pilot phase of the Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) is ongoing in six West African countries to facilitate AfCFTA’s implementation. The AfCFTA Secretary-General, Mr Wamkele Mene, disclosed this to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja while on official tour to Nigeria. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that PAPSS is a centralised payment and settlement market infrastructure for processing, clearing and settling of intra-African trade and commerce payments. Adopted in July 2019 by the African Union Heads of State as the payment and settlement system to support the implementation of the AfCFTA, PAPSS is expected to create new financial flows and successfully facilitate trade and other economic activities among African countries. Afreximbank is the operator and the main Settlement Agent for PAPSS. The Bank will provide settlement guarantee on the payment system as well as overdraft facilities to all settlement agents. NAN recalls that Interim Governing Council of PAPSS had in December 2020, in Cairo met on step towards operationalisation of the payment system which was developed by African ExportImport Bank (Afreximbank), under the auspices of AfCFTA Secretariat and AU. Mene said that the system which would be ready at the end of 2021 was the first major step taken in addressing some challenges related to the cost of currency convertability under AfCFTA implementation. “We have started a piloting phase of the Pan-African payment and settlement platform of six countries in West Africa who have switched on to the platform. “Transactions are already happening within these six countries that are at an advanced stage of the pilot project. “So, the platform will make a significant contribution and our estimate is that it will reduce the cost of transactions by five billion dollars annually, being the aggregate amount that is spent on currency convertibility,” he said. Mene further explained that Africa has 42 currencies and the cost of the currency convertibility was actually a constraint to intra Africa Trade. This, he said was making us to feel inefficient and our trade unnecessarily expensive, thereby adding to the cost of doing business especially the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). “When the system is fully up and running, you will be able to transact with somebody in Kenya in Naira and they will receive Kenya shillings and Afreximbank will be the correspondent facility. (NAN)

Ag. News Editor, Tobias Lengnam

Andy Uba threatens lawsuit over bank staff protest at residence By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja


enator Andy Uba, has threatened lawsuit against Heritage Bank over trending video of protesting of the bank at the entrance of his residence. The governorship aspirant under the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra state, Senator Uba said the actions of the bank staff have exposed him to ridicule, shame and embarrassment. About three days ago, some staff of the bank, while on a loan

recovery drive protested at the gate ofbtge senator, asking him to come to the bank and repay his loan. The protest by the bank staff trended and went viral on the social media In a letter dated June 23, 2021 and signed by his lawyer, Mr. Ahmed Raji, SAN, Uba asked the bank to tender unreserved apology in five national dailies and N5billion damages. Mr Raji said, ‘’Despite your veiled denial, the deliberateness of your staffs’ action is founded and the intent, to wit: - bring our client to publicobrobrium shame

ridicule scorn etc. is glaring for all to see. ‘’This is more so, as you deliberately picked the rather inauspicious period immediately preceding the forthcoming gubernatorial primary election of the All Progressives Congress [APC] for Anambra State slated for the 26th of June 2021, wherein our client is the leading candidate to clinch his Party’s ticket, to stage this smear campaign against him. ‘’Surely, the damage occasioned to our client by your calculated but ill-advised action is unquantifiable. However, our

client will be assuaged if a public apology, unreserved, is tendered by you and published in at least 5 [five] national daily newspapers within a day of receipt of this letter and payment [Five Billion Naira] in damages. ‘’If not, we have our client’s further instructions to seek redress against you in a court of law for the same. Kindly be advised. ‘’We do hope that you will take benefit of the olive branch offered in this letter; the gamble, otherwise, is yours to suffer’’, he said.

N Medical personnel attending to one of the survivors of an accident at Total Garden roundabout, who were taken to the University College Hospital, Ibadan on Wednesday (23/6/2021).

We spent N35bn on payment of pensions, gratuities -Oyetola

From: Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


he Oyo State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, has disclosed that his administration had spent about N35billion on payment of pensions and gratuities of retired workers in the state since 2018.

This was contained in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary Ismail Omipidan and made available to media in Kaduna yesterday. The statement stated that the administration has consistently released N509 million on a monthly basis to cater for pensioners under the Old Pension Scheme,

not leaving out those on the Contributory Pension Scheme. Oyetola reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to continuously uplift the standard of living of all categories of workers by taking their welfare as a topmost priority. This is even as the governor presented bond certificates to some retirees in the State.

NYSC deworms 156 pupils, gives food items to elderly


he National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) through its Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers (HIRD) has dewormed 156 pupils as part of its medical outreach in Lofan, Barkin-Ladi Local Government in Plateau. The NYSC-HIRD which started its one-week free medical outreach nationwide on Monday had also donated food items, toiletries, clothing, and money to the elderly in the community. The Plateau state coordinator of the scheme, Ms Caroline Embu, presided over the deworming on Wednesday in Lofan. Embu said that the aim of the

medical outreach is to reach out to the indigent rural dwellers with basic healthcare. She described the medical outreach, which started on Monday with diagnosis, treatment and referrals, as 90 per cent successful. Embu said that the deworming of the pupils of LEA Gossi and Primary School, Lofan, was to ensure that the children were also healthy. She also said that the donation of food items, toiletries, clothing, and money to the elderly in the community was geared toward supporting them. The Gwom Rwey of Fan, Mr

Dashwei Chungwom, commended the NYSC for its gesture of bringing healthcare to those living in the rural areas. He said that the outreach would further strengthen the existing relationship between the community and the NYSC. Similarly, the Monitoring Officer, Community Development Service (CDS), NYSC headquarters, Mrs Blessing Iruma, commended the medical outreach. She said that the turnout was impressive and that the people were excited and eager to benefit from the medical outreach. Some pupils who spoke with

the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) expressed joy, saying they could not remember when last they dewormed. The pupils thanked the NYSC for the free-medical outreach saying the act would enable them stay healthy without their parents paying for the services. Similarly, one of the elderly beneficiaries of the donations, Mrs Naomi Audu, thanked the NYSC for their gesture. NAN reports that no fewer than 700 persons had benefitted from the free-medical outreach that included health talks and sensitisation, diagnosis for hypertension, hepatitis B and C, as well as HIV/AIDS. (NAN)



By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja


he Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, insisted yesterday that the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, did not notify it (the Commission) of the date of the congress where the ad-hoc delegates of the party were elected, as required by Section 85 of the Electoral Act, for to produce it’s flag bearer for the Anambra State governorship election slated for November 6, this year. The Commission pointed out that APGA merely forwarded the list of delegates for its congress for the purpose of nominating its candidate for the said election. Consequently, the Commission has made it clear that political parties must remain within the confines of the law and legality in the conduct of their primaries and avoid issues and challenges that may complicate the due conduct of elections.

Gumel youths beg gov Badaru to locate new federal varsity to Gumel emirate


Anambra guber: APGA jettisoned due process in chosing delegates to elect candidate, says INEC An INEC National Commission and Chairman, Voter’s Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye made the clarification in response to enquiries on the controversy concerning the status of APGA regarding the Anambra governorship election. Okoye, in his response said, “The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), one of the registered political parties in Nigeria indicated its intention to nominate and sponsor candidates for the November 6, 2021 Governorship election in Anambra State. “By section 85 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) every registered political party is legally obligated to give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 21 days’ statutory notice of its intention to organize any convention, congress, conference or meeting for the purpose of nominating candidates for any

of the elective offices specified in the Electoral Act. “In the statutory notice given to the Commission, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) proposed June 23, 2021 for the conduct of its State Congress for the purposes of nominating its candidate for the Anambra State Governorship Election holding on the 6th of November 2021. “Based on its satisfaction of the 21day statutory requirement for the holding of its congress, the Commission has concluded arrangements to monitor the said congress and will monitor the congress-taking place on the 23rd June 2021. “However, on the 16th of June 2021 the Party forwarded to the Commission the list of delegates for its congress for the purpose of nominating its candidate for the said election. “On the 18th June 2021, the

Secretary to the Commission responded to the said letter and notified the party that it did not notify the Commission of the date of the congress where the ad-hoc delegates were elected as required by Section 85 of the Electoral Act. “It will be recalled that prior to the letter of the 18th June, 2021, the Commission on the 3rd June, 2021 drew the attention of all the political parties of the imperative of complying with all constitutional and legal requirements for the conduct of party primaries as the Commission is obligated to keep records of the activities of all registered political parties. “Political parties must remain within the confines of the law and legality in the conduct of their primaries and avoid issues and challenges that may complicate the due conduct of elections. “However, aspirants,

candidates and parties that are aggrieved by the actions, decisions or activities of the Commission, or who complain that any of the provisions of the Electoral Act or any Act of the National Assembly regulating the conduct of primaries of political parties and the provisions of the guidelines of a political party for the conduct of party primaries has not been complied with can approach the courts for redress. “Political parties must conduct due diligence on the list and personal particulars of their candidates and ensure that party members remain the sole determinants of those that are nominated. “Violating the law and the guidelines for the conduct of party primaries will only set the stage for acrimonious primaries and avoidable judicial intervention”, it said.

From Mika’il Tsoho, Dutse


he Gumel Youths Movement (GYM) called on Governor Muhammad Abubakar Badaru to locate new Federal University of Technology to Gumel emirate. The called was made by the chairman of the movement comrade Musa Mu’azu Gumel when the delegation team paid a visit to the emir of Gumel his royal highness Ahmed Muhamman Sani at his palace. The leadership of the movement explained that since the creation of Jigawa State 30 years ago, there is no any new higher institutions establish in the emirate from both federal and state government. According to the leadership of the movement, from thirty years to date many higher institutions are established at other emirates including School of Business and Management Studies, now ( Jigawa State Polytechnic, Dutse) ,Federal University Dutse, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Birnin Kudu, School of Health and Technology, Jahun and National Open University, Dutse Centre all located in Dutse emirate. While in Hadeja emirate, higher institutions like Sule-Lamido University, K/Hausa, Bilyaminu Usman Polytechnic, HADEJIA, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Hadejia, Assalam International University, Hadejia (Under construction) the National Open University, Hadejia Centre and Recently, Federal Government Science and Technical College, Hadejia. He maintained that, in Kazaure emirate, Federal Polytechnic, KAZAURE, Jigawa State Informatic Institute, KAZAURE and College of Education, KAZAURE. According to him, in Ringim emirate higher institutions like Jigawa State College of Education and Legal Studies, Ringim, JICORAS, Babura , School of Midwifery, Babura , Khadija University, Majia and National Open University, Ringim Centre are located.

Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (middle) launching keep kano clean exercise being assisted by his Deputy, Dr. Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna (left) and Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Kabir Getso (right), during the launching of keep Kano clean exercise in Kano yesterday.

Bagudu urges Nigerians to unite against crimes By Egena Sunday Ode


overnor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, has urged Nigerians to come together and tackle criminalities in the country. He spoke at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while fielding questions from State House reporters after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday night on the security situation in his State. The governor, who briefed President Buhari on the attack by bandits on Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri, lauded the security agencies for rescuing some pupils and teachers. According to him, the security agencies needed more support from all Nigerians to end the challenges of insecurity across the country. Bagudu said the President restated his directive to security agencies to deal with criminal

elements in the society, revealing that more governors would mobilise against these “criminal elements” in the coming days with the action of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State. He said: “I visited Mr. President, President Muhammadu Buhari, to further brief him about the unfortunate incidents in Kebbi State, at the Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri, where a number of bandits overwhelmed the security agencies and abducted a number of pupils, teaching staff and nonteaching staff and the regrettable loss of life by a police officer in the process and some pupils also and those who were wounded in the process, and those who are still in the hands of the terror gang even though some successes have been commendably achieved by the rescue of some pupils and teachers. “I explained to him that the security agencies have mobilised

and are doing a great job, assisted by the military, the Air Force, the police, civil defense, vigilante and community leaders. They are still at it and they’re doing a great job, but we need more support by all Nigerians and in fact all to ensure that we give them our maximum cooperation to finish what they have started. “President has, as always, expressed sympathy to those innocent persons who are held hostage against their will by terror elements and he condemned the action of all terror groups, wherever they are, whether they are bandits, Boko Haram, or any group that is taking away the liberty and freedoms and, in fact, lives and livelihoods of others. He maintained the instruction he has always given to the security agencies to give their maximum best in dealing with those criminal elements. ‘Our stand, I have made it very clear this is condemnable, this

should not happen and all people of goodwill, all good people should mobilise to confront evil and evil elements and criminal elements in our society. It’s not just a job for the security agencies, we have to support them. We have to mobilise. “Since I made that statement, which I meant by every stretch of imagination, many groups have come out to demonstrate similar supports and yesterday we have seen mobilisation by the Niger State governor and I believe we’ll see more in the coming days. “Nigerians should unite so that we confront criminality. Even yesterday, Fulani leaders in Kebbi State all visited Government House, Kebbi, even though I was not there to receive them, to condemn and to distance themselves from those renegade groups, or renegade criminal elements and to offer to support in whatever role the security agencies will want them to play.”

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Fake News: Presidency has no hand in FG to train 37,000 fact controversial media bills - Adesina • Says AGF studying court ruling on Twitter checkers By Egena Sunday Ode

By Mashe Umaru Gwamna


ational Orientation Agency (NOA), said it would train 37,000 fact checkers across country. The training will be in partnership with government and non-governmental organizations. The organizations will provide 1000 trainers from each states including Federal Capital Territory( FCT) , to acquire skills on how to fact check news on the internet. Director General of NOA Garba Abari made the disclosure yesterday,at a three day workshop held at One man village, Nasarawa state, in collaboration with AvantGarde InterBiz limited . The programme was themed; “Misinformation, fake news and Hate Speech Implication for National Security”. Abari said “the workshop was part of the efforts to equip participants with a clear understanding of what hate speech and fake news are all about, and how to identify them. It will also help the to know how they could be linked to insecurity and how they can be mitigated using multifaceted strategies. “This is intended to make participants effective ambassadors in the campaign to curb these negative tendencies. “We must therefore, cultivate the culture of dialogue to achieve consensus and compromise on any national issue”,he emphasized. Also speaking, former Spokesman of the Nigeria Army, Brig Gen. Sani Usman (RTD), in his key noted address said the amount of fake news, disinformation and misinformation spread on the web and social media is overwhelming. “These variables are spread mainly on the media, Websites, Social Networks, and the Internet on various topics and issues”. Usman represented by his Technical Adviser Saddika Muhammad, maintained that it is important to cross-check and verify facts and authenticate information. “We must also learn to differentiate between facts and opinions. “Consequently, it is high time we join hands in combatting the menace of fake news, misinformation and hate speech”,he said. “This is why we need to take media and information literacy with all seriousness. We must think before posting or sharing any information and employing intercultural dialogue when relating with media content”. Earlier, Principal Partner/ Avant-Garde, Nathaniel Allahmagani, said “the workshop was apt and gives me opportunity to preach peace and nation building anywhere I find myself. “I was a victim of hate speech and misinformation in year 2000. l love to preach peace and unity”. He said about 20 organizations are participating in the workshop.


he Presidency has distanced itself from rhe ongoing attempts by the National Assembly to amend the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) Act and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Act, in a way media stakeholders have condemned as an attempt to muzzle the press. The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, gave this position to State House correspondents after the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), saying, however, that the initiative is a government thing that only the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, can address. Asked to comment on the issue, he said: “That is not strictly a Presidency thing because the President has nothing to do with that. It’s a government thing and it’s the Minister that can talk

about it. So, thank you.” The presidential spokesman also said that there was nothing to report on the FEC meeting as the issues discussed were not meant for public consumption at this stage. However, he revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved that the Second Peer Review Country Self-assessment Report should be done. He said: “The only thing of interest I would like to talk about is the second Peer Review Country’s Self-assessment Report. “Nigeria is ready for the second Peer Review Country Self -assessment Report to be done by AUDA-NEPAD. I think the last self-assessment report was done 10 years ago in Nigeria. Now, Nigeria is ready for the second review self-assessment report. “It’s been discussed at the Council and the President has granted the approval that that peer review report can be conducted on Nigeria.

“Actually, if you have an insight into the report that was presented, which the woman in charge of NEPAD, Mrs. Akobundu, can give you, Nigeria has made progress in several areas and on several fronts. “While 10 years ago, petroleum contributed more than 70%, even up to 90%, to GDP, you will find that today, petroleum contributes just about 45% and non-oil products contribute about 55% to the Nigerian economy. “So, if Nigeria had been talking of diversification for 40, 50, 60 years, the economy can now be said to be diversified because our GDP, non-oil revenue, contributes about 55% to 45% of oil. “So, it’s one of the highlights of the Peer Review Country Self-assessment Report that was presented at the Council meeting today. Details of that can be gotten from the AUDANEPAD office. “That is the only thing we can talk about FEC today. if there’s

any question, then I’ll gladly take. Yes. Yes, thank you.” The presidential aide also revealed that the Attorney General of the Federation is studying the ruling issued by the ECOWAS Court to the effect that Twitter users cannot be arrested or prosecuted following the suspension of the activities of the microblogging site in the country. He said the AGF would advise the federal government on the next step to take. Adesina affirmed that the committee made up of ministers to engage with Twitter has begun to meet. “The Attorney-General of the Federation is going to study that report and then he’ll advise government on the way forward. “The committee set up by the President to engage with Twitter is actually holding a meeting about now, or it will hold a meeting this afternoon (Wednesday) towards engaging with Twitter.”

A cross-section of participants, during the inauguration of PTAD Servicom in Abuja on Wednesday (23/6/21).

Suit against A/Court judges appointments set for June 25 By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja


Federal High Court, Abuja, has fixed June 25, for judgment in a suit seeking to stop the appointment of 18 new Justices for the Court of Appeal. Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the date, yesterday,after parties in the matter adopted their final arguments. Plaintiff, Igbo socio-cultural group, the Incorporated Trustees of Alaigbo Development Foundation, is praying the court to stop the appointment of the appellate court Justices on the ground that the South East region had been marginalised in the selection. The group sought a court order compelling the defendants to replace the three vacancies in

the South East slots by three new justices from the zone. Adopting their final arguments through their counsel, Mr Max Ozoaka, reiterated that the selection of the 18 Justices done by the National Judicial Council (NJC) violated the provisions of the 1999 Constitution through lopsidedness in the nomination. Specifically, the group alleged that the Principle of Federal Character was breached in the way and manner the Appeal Court justices were nominated and subsequently prayed the judge to stop the appointment. However, the NJC (1st respondent), represented by Mr Paul Usoro, SAN, while arguing his preliminary objection in the matter prayed Justice Ekwo to decline jurisdiction in the matter

on the grounds that the plaintiff lacked locus standi to institute the case. Usoro told the court that the plaintiff was an Igbo sociocultural organisation and that its aims and objectives did not include instituting cases of public interest. The NJC further objected to the case on the grounds that photocopy of certificates of incorporation of the group certified by a court registrar was tendered, adding that only officials of the Corporate Affairs Commission are empowered to certify such documents and urge the court to dismiss the case. In his own argument, counsel to the 2nd and 3rd respondents (Federal Judicial Service Commission and President, Court

of Appeal) Mr Yakubu Maikyau SAN also urged the court to refuse to entertain the matter on the grounds that Section 20 of the Comapanies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) did not permit the group to embark on instituting such an action. The Igbo socio-cultural group, had in its suit asked the Federal High Court, Abuja, to stop the appointment of justices of the Court of Appeal over an alleged lopsidedness of the exercise. The group; urged Justice Ekwo to restrain the defendants from continuing the exercise pending the hearing and determination of the suit. After listening to the augment of both sides, Justice Ekwo adjourned till June 25, for judgement.




From left: Representatives of Minister of Finance, Mr Pever Longo; Executive Secretary, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Dr Chioma Ejikeme, National Coordinator of Servicom, Mrs Chioma Akajemeli and representatives of Director General, National Pension Commission (PENCOM), Mr Bola Babangida, during the inauguration of PTAD Servicom in Abuja on Wednesday (23/6/21).

Count us out of agitation for the Nigeria’s breakup -Group From:Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


he Northern Socio - Cultural Group Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has vowed not be part of any agitation for the country’s breakup. The Chairman of the Forum Chief Audu Ogbeh made the assertion during National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Forum, held in kaduna yesterday. The Forum said it would not ask for a separate Republic out of Nigeria like Biafra and Oduduwa Republics are being agitated for by some Igbo and Yoruba people in South East and South West. Chief Audu Ogbeh however, called on the Northerners to unite and fight against activities of kidnappers, bandits and other criminal elements bedeviling the region. “At this time other than before that the North is facing security challenges, we have to come together and solve our problems. Don’t lose faith, we shall overcome the challenges. “What we want is peace, and an end to banditry and criminality. All we want is an improvement in the economy of our country for the betterment in the lives of our people generally, especially the North”. In his own briefs, Aliyu said, “North will not ask for separation of the country. There are due processes of going about agitation. North will not ask for a separate Republic as it is being done in South East and in the West by IPOB and Sunday Igboho led group”.

WFP pleads for $6bn in urgent assistance as 41m face starvation worldwide


he World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that famine was already present in four countries but with millions more people are at risk, underscoring the need for urgent funding and humanitarian access to reach those in need. Analysis by the UN agency on Tuesday revealed that 41 million people in 43 countries were teetering on the very edge of famine, up from 27 million two years ago. “I am heartbroken at what we’re facing in 2021. We now have four countries where faminelike conditions are present,”

WFP chief David Beasley told its Executive Board on Monday, according to a press release. He described the situation as “just tragic”, because “these are real people with real names.” WFP said 584,000 people were already experiencing faminelike conditions in Ethiopia, Madagascar, South Sudan and Yemen. “Nigeria and Burkina Faso are also of particular concern as they have pockets where famine-like conditions are present. “In Somalia in 2011, 260,000 people died of hunger, and by the time the famine was actually

declared half of that number had already died. We can’t debate the numbers of deaths when people need our help now,” Beasley said. In addition, WFP said hunger had risen due to conflict, climate change and economic shocks. “However, soaring prices for basic foods have also compounded the situation, with the global cost of maize rising almost 90 per cent year-on-year, for example. “In many countries, currency depreciation is also a factor. This has driven prices even higher, stoking food insecurity in places such as Lebanon, Nigeria, Sudan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe,’’ the

agency added. WFP is targeting 139 million people in its biggest operation ever, this year, and with sufficient funding and access, the agency said it can provide them with lifesaving food and nutritional assistance. Beasley underlined the urgent need for support, saying, “I want to emphasise just how bad it is out there. “Today, 41 million people are literally knocking on famine’s door. The price tag to reach them is about $6 billion. We need funding and we need it now,” he said. (NAN)

From Mika’il Tsoho, Dutse

This was announced by the executive secretary of the agency Dr Nura Ibrahim while speaking to news men in Dutse, the state capital. He explained that, some of the beneficiaries of the program include staff from state, local government and Local Education authorities

across the state. According to him, Jigawa state is among the leading states in the implementation of the program among the 36 states of the federation. Dr Nura also said over Forty Five Thousand Seven Hundred

less privileged in the state will soon start benefiting from the free drugs program of the federal government. He maintained that, 279 health facilities will be used to provide free drugs to the less privileged under the program.

JICHMA enrolls over 240,000 beneficiaries


o fewer than two hundred and fourty thousands staff and their families have so far registered into the Jigawa State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency (JICHMA).

Northern group wants Bauchi to run for President From Ahmad Mohammed, Bauchi


political pressure group known as the Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF) has given an ultimatum

to Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed to quickly accept to run for 2023 presidency under any political party of his choice or face future political oblivion. National Chairman, Elliot

Afio said from its findings, Governor Bala remains the best presidential material for the country. Presenting aletter of demand to declare interest to the Governor on Wednesday at the

Banquet Hall of the Government House, NYLF chairman explained that “the forum has searched and came to the decision that Bala Mohammed is the best presidential material for the country.”



Final forensic audit report of NDDC ready by July —Akpabio


odswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, says the final report of forensic audit of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will be ready by the end of July. Akpabio, who fielded questions from State House correspondents on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the final report would be submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for implementation. The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had in February 2020 approved the appointment of a lead consultant for the forensic audit of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The minister said that action had been expedited on the process of constitution of the board of NDDC. “We have fast tracked the process of constituting the board; but we insist that the most important thing is not just the development of the Niger Delta region but how to reposition NDDC to ensure optimal performance as against the practice in the past. “So, the forensic audit of NDDC is on course and it is progressing very well and I am happy with the progress made so far. “And I am very certain that by end of July which is just a month and a few weeks away that the final result will be given to the president for implementation. “And in terms of the composition of the board of the NDDC, that of course, we have fast tracked the process and the National Assembly will soon get the list. “But that is not as important as the forensic audit which we are finally given a deadline which is July, that it will end.’’ He said that he was hopeful that the new board would use the recommendations of forensic audit to work and reposition the commission. The minister regretted that, in the past, the headquarters of the commission was not connected to the national grid for 10 years to 15 years. “And we have noticed the fact that even the headquarters building that was started over 20 years to 24 years ago, nobody was interested. “ I think they were pursuing projects that were probably beneficial to either the staff or the management and not necessarily things that benefited the region.’’ Akpabio said that the East-West road was another major area of concentration which the NDDC itself should have taken interest in. He said that he worked on federal roads when he was the governor of Akwa Ibom State. “And to the glory of God, the president has refunded the money that most of the states used in intervening in federal roads which means it was a good gesture and the president has reciprocated it by the fact that the monies were refunded to those states. “So, I think, even NDDC should have intervened in East-West road to ensure its completion because of the economic importance of the road. “Just three days ago, we had a mishap where one of the bridges had a problem; the approach to the bridge, it caused so much traffic jam in Port Harcourt for hours and we had to move in. “To the glory of God, we have repaired the damaged section of the road and traffic is flowing and we working very hard to make sure that we complete that road come next year for the benefit of the Nigerians not just Niger Delta,’’ he said. (NAN)

News Attack on schools: NSCDC boss orders establishment on female squad in states By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


orried by the incessant attacks on schools across the country, the Command General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), has ordered all State Commandants of the Corps to, without any delay, set up the Female Squad in all the 36 State Commands and the Federal Capital Territory. According to CG, the safe school initiative is a project that the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is very passionate about as it concerns the safety of

“our school children”. “This is a very serious assignment and there is need for effective execution across board, i shall ensure effective deployment of personnel to protect our schools and restore the confidence of students, teachers and parents alike; the glory of our educational system must be restored because upon this lies the future of this country” the CG said. NSCDC in a statement issued yesterday by its Director, Public Relations, Olusola Odumosu, said the CG gave the charge for the selection process of the Female Squad to commence immediately

in all the State Commands in order to replicate what he has done at the center, while equally approving a one month intensive training program and proper kitting of the squad in line with his vision. Dr. Audi stated that the Corps will work in synergy with other sister agencies because synergy and collaboration is a necessary mechanism in winning the war against insecurity as no organization can work in isolation and achieve anything tangible. He advocated for intelligence sharing among security agencies of government as a panacea to

nipping crime and insecurity in the bud and also charge fellow Nigerians to assist security agencies succeed with timely releases of credible information to help fight crime in the society. The NSCDC boss restated his commitment to justify the creation of the Corps under his leadership and charged all the newly redeployed State Commandants to protect the mandates of the Corps in their various domains by effectively securing lives and property as well as the environment, leaving no stone unturned in all matters of security concern.

Former Governor of Rivers, Celestine Omehia; former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara and Gov. Nyesom Wike, during the inauguration of Abonnema/Obonoma Sand filling/ Land Reclamation at Akuku-Toru Local Government Area in Rivers on Wednesday

Tension in Adamawa community over kingship succession

From Umar Dankano, Yola


ension,suspicion and fear of manipulation is enveloping Mbula communities over the selection of a new paramount ruler of the chiefdom in Demsa Local Government Area of Adamawa state.

It would be recalled that death of the immediate Murum Mbula,Joel Joram-Fwa on the 16th May, 2021, at the age of 82 after a protracted illness sparked the leadership tussle for a new King between the Fwa and Muzong competing ruling clans. At a conference by the Youth

Wing of Mbula Development Association in Yola on Monday, it alleged that some influential personalities of the area are conspiring to subvert the traditional method of succession, warning that such interference can bring crisis. Spokesman of the

group,Emmanuel Nathaniel said despite the unhealthy and deliberate efforts by some individuals to destabilise the traditional way of succession,the youth group will ensure principle of rotation of the succession of the monarch is adhered to no matter what it takes.

Nigeria assures AU Commission of total support


inister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama has assured the African Union Commission (AUC) of the support of the Nigerian government. Onyeama made this commitment when he received the Deputy Chairperson of AU Commission, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa, on Tuesday in Abuja The minister stated that Nigeria was a very passionate member of the AUC. Onyeama also assured Nsanzabaganwa that the country would also look at the AU treaties to ensure that some of the treaties that were yet to be ratified are ratified He said that the AUC could rely on Nigeria for 100 per cent support in terms of paying

Nigeria’s contributions at the AU secretariat, amongst others. On recruitment at the AU Commission, Onyeama said that the country was very keen to get some Nigerians into a number of positions, and ensuring that Nigerians within the commission were moved up. “We will give you all the support necessary and wishing you a very good, happy successful tenure. “The Nigerian government would also take a look at the AU treaties that are yet to be ratified and ensure that they are ratified,” Onyeama said. Speaking, Nsanzabaganwa told Onyeama that the AUC was reforming for better service delivery. He said the Chairperson of AUC, Moussa Faki Mahamat, had always emphasised on a new Commission.

Nsanzabaganwa stated that the essence of the reform was the delivering of responsible citizens, professionals and a new commission that was motivated by delivering tangible results. “So, there is a new vision, there is a new dawn, there is a new institutional reform that has taken place, which we are going to implement and it is in the spirit, it is in the letter. “And it is in the culture that we had to put in place, a new culture of really delivering responsible citizens, of professionals and a new commission that is really motivated by delivering tangible results,” Nsanzabaganwa said. Nsanzabaganwa further said that the AUC team had been working together, which was a fulfilment of the promise made

on assumption of office. “So, we have been working together, we promised that we were really going to work together as a team and we think that as such, we are going to be able to deliver on the mandate,” Nsanzabaganwa also said. Nsanzabaganwa added that as the deputy chairperson in charge of finance and administration, she felt there were a lot to be done to ensure that the AU is efficient, and effectively, it is achieving and sustainable as an organisation. “That is where the biggest challenge is going to be and where member states are going to be supportive, so that we can rebalance the amount of activities and programmes we want to run. “And also, the financial muscle must back them,” she added. (NAN)



News Flour price hike: ‘Gurasa’ bakers threaten indefinite strike in Kano From Mustapha Adamu, Kano


arely one week after they called of a three-day warning strike, Gurasa Bakers Association of Kano state has threatened to embark on indefinite strike if the price of flour is not reduced. Peoples Daily reported that Gurasa is a Kano indigenous local bread made up of flour that serves as one of the delicacies used by Hausa people in the state. The association, through its Chairperson, Fatima Auwalu, yesterday said nothing has changed since they called off the warning strike, prompting them to embark on indefinite industrial action until authorities and stakeholders do the needful. According to Mrs Auwalu, all

Gurasa bakers in the state are counting losses due to the recurring increase in the price of flour, which is the major ingredient for making the local snacks. The Chairperson pointed out that not long ago, the price of flour was N9,500 but now it has reached N16,200. She also lamented that a part from the increase in the price of flour, the quality of the product has been reduced, saying, “this has negatively impacted our business.” “Since calling off the warning strike, we thought the price would reduce, but to our dismay, the price is rather going up day by day. “ The three-day strike had inflicted hardship on us and our customers, but we could not do anything to resolve this problem but to take industrial action

in order to draw the attention of the authorities concerned to bring lasting solution to the problem. Mrs Auwalu disclosed that the association had decided to call off the strike because of the intervention of the Kano state Commissioner of Police and Human right organizations. She therefore called on the manufacturers of flour and other stakeholders to consider their plight and bring down the price of the commodity in order to ease their business. “We normally use IRS flour, Golden Confectionery and Super Flour. These are the only three brands that we used always. But we’re in a difficult situation because our business has become the shadow of its former self due to the hike on the price of the flour. “ Let me use this opportunity to

call on these company and authorities concerned to come to our aide,” she appealed. Another Gurasa baker, Usaina Adamu said they had been forced to embark on the indefinite strike due to the fact that their warning action did not yield desired results. According to her, the bakers had decided to go on the strike in order to bring the attention of the stakeholders to control the price of the flour, noting that but their action did not change the situation. “We don’t know where the problem is. We called on the stakeholders to do the needful in a bid to control the situation but it is rather deteriorating. “ We therefore call on Abdussamad to intervene and bring solution to this problem. We also called on the management of IRS flour to come to

our aide,” she appealed. On his part, Umar Badamasi, who is the Vice Chairman of Gurasa Sellers Association, expressed surprise on how the price of flour is raising day in day out. He however blamed the dealers of the product of arbitrarily increasing the price of flour. “The dealers are between us and the main manufacturers of flour. I suspect that the manufacturers are not their fault. “ We call on stakeholders, the Manufacturers such as BUA, IRS, Super and other manufacturers to investigate this matter and provide solution. They should also warn those dealers whole we suspect are increasing the price whole they get the commodity at cheaper rare from the manufacturers.

Delta SUBEB boss stresses need for effective school evaluation By Nosa Akenzua, Asaba

T L-R- The National Chairman Arewa Consultative Forum [ACF] Chief Audu Ogbeh, the ACF National Publicity Secretary Mr.Emmanuel Yaweh and the ACF Secretary-General Alhaji Murtala Aliyu Ida during the ACF National Executive Council [NEC] meeting, yesterday in Kaduna. Photo: Shehu Goro

Benin hierarchy status embroils community in oath administration By Osaigbovo Iguobaro


local hierarchy status tussle has embroiled Iguoshodi N’Ebudin Community, Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State in Oath administration to check the activities of integrity-challenged charlatans in Benin Kingdom. As part of measures to resolve the leadership crisis in the area,

President of Benin solidarity Movement, Elder Curtis Ugbo, has therefore appealed to the Benin monarch, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II to call all the actors the crisis to order and make them swear oath of loyalty at the Oba of Benin palace He made the appeal at a press briefing on Tuesday in Benin City, Edo State Capital where a group of elders of Iguoshodi

N’Ebudin publicly, denounced a factional group led by Mr. Sunday Osahon who parade himself as the Okaeghele (youth Leader) of the community. “With this Sunday Osahon actions and inactions as stated above, and a few others who parade themselves as Enigie, Odionwere, Ohens and Okaeghele, but operate contrary to the aspirations of

the Benin Traditional Law and Customs in Benin Kingdom, is a sure indication that His Royal Majesty Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II, N’ Ogidigan, need to call them to order and should henceforth make all of them swear an Oath of loyalty at the Oba of Benin palace before they are allowed to function in their various capacities”, Ugbo said.

KEDCO pledges uninterrupted power supply to AKTH From. Kano




he Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) has promised to provide Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) with uninterrupted electricity supply. The Managing Director of the Distribution Company, Dr Jamilu Isyaku Gwamna disclosed this when the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Professor

Abdurrahman Abba Sheshe paid him a courtesy visit in his office yesterday. In a statement by the spokesperson of AKTH, Hauwa Muhammad Abdullahi, Gwamna explained that, as part of his efforts towards alleviating the electricity problem the hospital would be enlisted among the priority areas of the company as well as in the Niger Delta Power Holding Company program. Dr Jamilu Isyaku Gwamna

further requested the management of AKTH to provide the list of their technical staff that manage the electricity of the hospital to organize free training for them, aimed at promoting and ensuring efficiency in their work. Earlier, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Professor Abdurrahman Abba Sheshe expressed concern on the way the hospital is spending huge sum of money in trying to provide the

hospital with electricity. He disclosed that at times, the hospital spent over twenty million 20 naira in a month on the purchase of diesel for the 1500 KVA generator that provides the whole hospital with light. He thanked the Managing Director of KEDCO for coming to the aid of the hospital and it’s patients who find it very difficult to with stand the short break in electricity in the hospital.

he Executive Chairman of the Delta State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) Mr Sunny Ogwu, has stressed the need for effective school evaluation as a panacea for improving learning and strengthening of the school system. Ogwu stated this while declaring open a five-day training workshop for quality assurance evaluators on effective school evaluation on Tuesday,organised by the SUBEB in collaboration with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in Asaba, the state capital. The SUBEB boss, who described the training as apt and timely, stated that it came at a time when there was an urgent need for an improved and sustained quality service delivery in terms of classroom practice and school management. He enjoined Quality Assurance departments both in SUBEB and the various Local Government Education Authorities to ensure that all prescribed standards, aimed at achieving the required quality education were maintained. “Quality Assurance which is the main subject of this training has been defined as the process of determining whether the products or services rendered meet societal expectations. The emphasis placed on Quality Assurance by the State Universal Basic Education Board, (SUBEB) and the Universal Basic Education Commission, (UBEC) is understandable against the backdrop of the general impression of falling standard in our educational institutions,” Ogwu said.


20,000 migrants benefit from IOM’s health assessment –Chief of Mission


he International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday that 20,000 migrants benefited from the organisation’s health assessment between January and May, 2021. Mr Frantz Celestin IOM’s Chief of Mission disclosed this at a training organised for editors of media houses in Abuja. He revealed that the migrants who benefited from the assessment were migrating to various countries such as United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. “One of the functions of the organisation is to support migrants in all ways that we can do under this period of reviews, over 20,000 Nigerian migrants benefited from health assessment. “Also in 2020, we conducted 34,000 health assessments for those traveling to the countries mentioned above even at the height of the COVID 19 pandemic. “We remain committed to helping migrants to migrate through the right procedures and we would keep on enlightened the public on the disadvantages of irregular migration,” he said. Celestin reinstated the importance of the media in helping with the fight against irregular migration. “The relevance of media in all aspects of human endeavor cannot be overemphasised especially in the area of better migration management. “Media engagement is imperative given the pressing need to promote safe and regular migration as well as discourage irregular migration. “IOM’s role goes hand in hand with a strong and impartial media toward enlightening, mobilising, and sensitising members of the public and stakeholders in this country,” he said. Celestin noted that maintaining good media relations was indispensable and contribute to the organisation’s daily work. (NAN)



COVID-19 : FG takes delivery of $1m Saudi donated equipment –Director T he Federal Government has taken delivery of medical equipment worth one million dollars donated by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to Mr Olusegun Adetola, Director, Media and Public Relations in the Ministry of Health. In a statement in Abuja, on Tuesday, Adetola said that the handing-over ceremony took place at the Saudi Arabia Embassy. Represented at the occasion by Alhaji Abdulazeez Abdullahi, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, the Minister of

Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the equipment would help to combat the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. Ehanire thanked the kingdom for its donation of 23 ventilators accompanied with other items such as: surgical sterile gowns, non-sterile surgical gowns, surgical mask, nitrite gloves. He reiterated government’s effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic until its total eradication, as he acknowledged the Kingdom’s continuous contributions to the growth of

Nigeria’s health sector, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre. The minister also appreciated the extensive efforts of the kingdom in combating blindness, cataract and glaucoma, amongst other sight weakness and disorders in Nigeria. Ehanire expressed government’s readiness to utilise the donated medical equipment positively and their distribution to various medical centres, while noting the kingdom’s role as a key partner in global health and development.

In his remarks, the Ambassador of the kingdom, Mr Faisal Al-Ghamdi, emphasised his country’s plans to organise 12 voluntary medical campaigns to combat blindness, undertake heart surgeries and cataract, across Nigeria’s six geo-political zones. He also mentioned different humanitarian assistance being rendered by the kingdom to displaced persons in the North East, in addition to the distribution of food baskets worth of $10 million dollars to families in Borno, Yobe, and Zamfara States. (NAN)

President Muhammadu. Buhari receives briefing from the Governor of Kebbi State, Senator Atiku A Bagudu on the recent happenings in his State at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday in Abuja. Photo: State House

Senate to engage Finance Minister on 2017-2020 Economic Recovery Plan

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Baba Adamu


he Senate has mandated six of its Committees to engage the Minister of Finance, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, on the Federal Government’s elapsed Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) between 2017 and 2020. The Committees are: National Planning; Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions; Marine Transport; Land Transport; Works and Power. The decision to engage the Finance Minister was reached amid a resolution by the Upper Chamber after it considered a motion “on the need to critically assess the performance of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020.” The motion was sponsored by Senator Abdu Suleiman Kwari (APC, Kaduna North). In his presentation, Senator Kwari noted that the four year Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020, which was the source document of Nigeria’s four years Appropriations Act had elapsed. He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, launched the Plan in April of 2017 to ensure the actualization of a sustainable inclusive growth of the economy. According to the lawmaker, “the

Plan was targeted at achieving a structural economic transformation with emphasis on improving the efficiency of both the public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy; He added, “Further aware that the key objectives of the plan were to increase our national productivity, achieve a sustainable diversification of production, significantly grow our economy by 7 percent by the year 2020, maximize the welfare of our citizens and attain food and energy security; “Worried that the four-year plan, which has now elapsed, cannot be said to have met our desired socioeconomic aspiration; “Believes that there is need for stock taking to critically assess the performance of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan in order to ascertain whether the Plan has met the desired goals now that it has technically come to an end; “Further believes that in taking stock, it is imperative to benchmark the implementation outcomes of the Plan in terms of the following indices to determine: real growth in the agricultural, solid minerals and energy sectors of the economy; SMEs growth as laid out in the plan; and positive impact on our industries and manufacturing sectors.” Others are to assess investment on the human capital; the number of

jobs and wealth created; investments on health and education sectors; investment and progress on our national infrastructure; progress made by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC); the digital led economy targets and the anti-corruption fight/recovery of stolen assets; the progress of the fight against insecurity; determine the fiscal and other macroeconomic policies as benchmarked in the ERGP; and the level of implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria interventions in all the sectors. Senator Kwari lamented the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world economy, as well as its consequent effects on the Nigerian economy, which, according to him, had adversely affected the implementation of the Plan in 2020. He stressed that it is the solemn and constitutional duty of the National Assembly to assess the performances of the budgets as against the line items and objectives of the ERGP, on which it was based. Accordingly, the Senate mandated the Committees on National Planning; Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions; Marine Transport; Land Transport; Works and Power to interface with the Hon. Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning on the performance of the ERGP, whose life span has elapsed

and report back on the way forward within four weeks. Contributing, Senator Adetumbi (APC, Ekiti North), said the move by the upper chamber seeks to “take stock of what we have done under ERGP in order to ascertain future plans and learn lessons from existing ones.” Senator Abdullahi Ibrahim Gobir (APC, Sokoto East), said the assessment was imperative to determine whether or not Nigeria had made progress or failed in terms of growing the economy. “We have to look at the Economic Team, how qualified they are to monitor some of these projects. If they are not qualified, we remove them and then bring qualified people. “Because the Federal Government cannot have a plan for four years and yet we cannot have information about whether that plan has failed or succeeded. I think we have to find out some of these issues”, he said. On his part, the Deputy Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North) said, “the issue of national planning is something should always be in the front burner of our discuss. “Attempt in the past to have a very concise National Planning framework has always met with some level of either policy flip-flop or instability.”




Delta SSG APC’s confession of failure vindicates PDP, says Ologbondiyan tasks civil servants T By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja

on cleanliness By Nosa Akenzua, Asaba


he Secretary to the Delta State Government (SSG), Chief Patrick Ukah, has admonished civil servants in the state to ensure that they kept their working environments clean at all times. The SSG gave the admonition when he paid an unscheduled visit to the Cabinet Office Complex in Asaba, the state capital on Wednesday. Chief Ukah frowned at the unkept environment of the Cabinet Office Complex which he said was a great embarrassment to the state government, adding that the complex played host to many visitors within and outside the state as it housed many sensitive government offices. The SSG equally noted that keeping the office complex clean was also for the good of the workers, adding that it would keep off reptiles from coming into their offices. Chief Ukah charged the Director of Cabinet Matters, Mr. Shedrack Ekpekurede, to ensure that the complex was immediately tidied up, adding that he would pay another visit to the complex to ascertain the level of compliance. Mr. Ekpekurede, who took the SSG around the complex, assured him that the complex would be cleaned up before the next visit of the SSG.

he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that the confession by the leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who gathered in Abuja for a youth conference, that their party and President Muhammadu Buhari failed to deliver, vindicates its position that they will leave office in 2023 without any legacy. The party said this in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja. The PDP described the efforts by the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, to blame President Buhari and the APC’s failure on a so-called face-off between

the executive and the National Assembly as a despicable juvenile excuse for the incompetence and corruption that weighed down the Buhari administration. The main opposition party insisted that now that the APC leaders have summoned the courage to admit that the APC and Buhari Presidency are a bunch of failure that have brought so much challenges to our nation, Nigerians expect them to advise President Buhari to end his presidency’s recourse to false performance claims and seek help from more competent hands to manage the affairs of our nation. According to the PDP’s statement, “The APC’s leaders confession is stating the obvious

as the Buhari Presidency and the APC have only succeeded in wrecking our once robust economy and turned our nation to a beggar country and the poverty capital of the world. “Furthermore, the APC has excelled in superintending over the escalation of violence and acts of terrorism which have turned our nation to a large killing field under its watch. “Under President Buhari, corruption has been elevated as a new normal, with officials pillaging ministries, department and agencies and looting over N15 trillion, while mortgaging the future of our nation with reckless foreign borrowing. “APC leaders should be bold to

tell President Buhari and the APC that posterity will not be kind to them for their manifest misrule, which has brought so much devastation to our nation. “By 2023, history would have listed the Buhari Presidency and the APC as a calamitous era as well as that wind that blew no good in the life of our nation. “Of course, the APC leaders have admitted that the party is already heading to the dustbin of ignominy as it cannot survive after the Buhari tenure”, it said. The party therefore urged Nigerians to keep hope alive as they continue to rally on the platform of the PDP to rescue the nation from the misrule of the APC.

L-R: Acting Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) (Chartered) Mr. Akinniyi Taiwo receiving official letter for his new office from the President and Chairman of Council NIM (Chartered), Mrs. Patience E. Anabor FNIM, during the NIM inauguration ceremony for the news Chapter heads, recently in Abuja..

Benue relief agency boss laments increase in numbers of IDPs From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi he Executive Secretary, Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Emmanuel Shior has lamented the increasing rate of Internally Displaced Persons

(IDPs), occasioned by more attacks on communities in the state. In this vein, the agency yesterday distributed truck loads of rice and indomine to over 1 milliin IDPs in the state. Shior who made the lamentation while distributing

relief materials in Makurdi, disclosed that the agency will distribute a total of three trucks of rice and over 5,000 cartons of indomine to the IDPs. He explained that some of the IDPs in the state are from Taraba State and Cameroon numbering

over 10,000. The Executive Secretary further admitted that the agency has received reports about cases of fungal disease in some of the camps, averring that relevant authorities have been notified of the incident.

human rights, and now they may also be excluded from accessing life-saving vaccinations,” said UNHCR’s International Protection chief, Gillian Triggs. UNHCR warned that many without nationality or identity documents would be excluded unless states make particular efforts to reach them and address the specific challenges they are likely to face. The new report provides recommendations and examples of good state practice in this regard, including acceptance of alternate forms of proof of a person’s identity. “In the interest of protecting people’s lives and securing public health, national vaccination

plans must be implemented in as inclusive a manner as possible. “Given that many stateless people already face widespread exclusion and marginalization, barriers to access must be addressed and special consideration given to their situation,” said Triggs. Since the onset of the pandemic, many stateless people continue to face difficulties in accessing health care and social services. Many may fear coming forward for testing or treatment owing to their lack of legal status, which could place them at risk of detention and deportation. The cost of medical attention, including vaccinations, can also

be high for stateless people, as they are usually not covered by national, public healthcare schemes. UNHCR, with a mandate to prevent and reduce statelessness and protect stateless people is aware of a global population of at least 4.2 million stateless people in some 94 countries. The UN Refugee Agency stated that owing to the invisible nature of this issue, the actual figure was believed to be substantially higher. More than a year into the pandemic, UNHCR is also warning that disruptions to birth registration services were creating new risks of statelessness. “With a number of countries

having suspended civil registration services as a result of the pandemic, birth registration which is key in establishing eligibility for nationality has been affected. “Countries where birth registration services were partially or fully suspended are now reporting lower birth registration rates as well as substantial backlogs. “Targeted campaigns to register births for hard-to-reach populations at risk of statelessness have also been suspended in many contexts. “The risks of statelessness are likely to be highest for minority groups which make up the majority of known stateless populations,’’ it stated. (NAN)


Benue relief agency boss laments increase in numbers of IDPs


he UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) on Tuesday warned that many of the world’s stateless people might miss out of Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination due to their lack of proof of citizenship identity. In its latest report on The Impact of COVID-19 on Stateless Populations, the agency noted that the majority of national immunisation plans did not provide clarity on their coverage of stateless people. “There are millions known to be stateless around the world, without the nationality of any state. “This has hugely damaging impacts on their fundamental



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he G7 Development Finance Institutions will play a major role in financing Africa’s (DFIs) have announced a commitment future by creating millions of jobs that are to invest $80 billion dollars in Africa’s essential to ensuring sustained economic private sector over the next five years to growth and poverty reduction. We, therefore, support sustainable economic recovery welcome this important partnership and are and growth on the continent. A statement proud to provide financing and to work with on Monday from the African Development partners to help create the right conditions to Bank (AfDB) said the G7 DFIs made the bring more private investment to Africa,” he announcement along with the International said. Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector Similarly, David Marchick, Chief arm of the AfDB, the European Bank for Operating Officer of U.S. International Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and the European Investment Bank. It is the said investing more in Africa, under first time the G7 DFIs have come together to President Joe Biden’s leadership, was a top make a collective partnership commitment priority for DFC in fulfilling its development to the African continent, according to the mandate. “DFC is proud to be doubling down statement. The G7 DFI group consists of on our commitment to Africa, alongside CDC, Proparco (France), Japan International our G7 and multilateral partners. ”We will Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Bank continue to prioritise investments in vaccine for International Cooperation, DFC (US), manufacturing, COVID-19 response, climate FinDev Canada, DEG (Germany) and CDP mitigation and adaptation, and gender equity (Italy). on the African continent,” Marchick said. Each DFI has its own investment criteria Dario Scannapieco, Chief Executive which are aligned to an assessment of the Officer, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), need to achieve development impact across said closer collaboration among DFIs and a range of sectors. DFIs play an important multilateral partners was an essential role in helping to build markets, mitigate factor in fostering sustainable economic risks and pave the way for other recovery and growth in investors to enter new markets. Africa. “CDP looks forward The UK Minister for Africa, to contributing to this James Duddridge, said the strategic partnership, UK was proud to back this supporting the African commitment by world leaders at We will continue to continent in developing the G7 Summit. “This investment its entrepreneurial and will create jobs, boost economic prioritise investments financial private sector, to growth, help tackle climate unlock its vast, untapped in vaccine change and fight poverty. It potential,” Scannapieco comes at a crucial time as the said. Solomon Quaynor, manufacturing, continent rebuilds its economies, Vice President, Private severely impacted by COVID-19,” COVID-19 response, Sector, Infrastructure and he said. Industrialisation of AfDB, Nick O’Donohoe, the Chief climate mitigation said the bank welcomed Executive Officer, Centres for the global partnership and Disease Control and Prevention and adaptation, and the opportunity to provide (CDC) Group, said the quality the African voice, as Africa capital DFIs provided was gender equity on the builds back better and urgently needed if African “The opportunity African continent,” boldly. economies were to rebuild to create jobs, particularly quickly from the impact of the for youth and women, from Marchick said pandemic. “CDC is committed a focus on industrialising to building long term investment Africa underpinned by the partnerships in Africa that fuel sustainable African Continental Free Trade Area, will private sector growth in support of the UN’s be our priority. Given the gap between the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said. IMF estimates and what this partnership Werner Hoyer, President of the European is committing to, we will seek to crowd in Investment Bank (EIB), said the EIB African development partners. In addition, welcomed G7 leadership to enhance support we expect African savings from SWFs, for high-impact investment across Africa pensions, and insurance pools, estimated to during and after the pandemic. “Last year, have US$1.8 trillio,” Quaynor said. the EU Bank’s engagement in Africa, as part We at Peoples Daily welcome this of Team Europe, represented the largest ever nouvelle ide`e of the DFIs. We like it not support for climate action and investment in only because the fund promise is huge and fragile states in 55 years of EIB operations on Africa desperately needs it, but also because the continent. the benefit will be mutual. The developed “We stand ready to cooperate further economies will reap from an economically with African and multilateral partners to strong African continent in terms of stopping tackle both COVID-19 and accelerate the illegal migration from Africa to the West. green transition in Africa,” Hoyer said. On However, we fear that the sheer novelty his part, Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing of this partnership may also be its Achilles Director, said ensuring an inclusive and heel. The fact that our AfDB is in it is only sustainable recovery for people, businesses cold comfort. The paternalistic tone of the and economies across Africa, in coordination representatives of the DFIs is another worry. with IFC’s development partners, was at Africa is not a partner but a pauper that needs the core of the corporation’s development help from big brother. Hardly the right way mandate. “We know that the private sector to start.



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APC Congresses, Buhari and the Governors


he All Progressive Congress (APC) has begun the processes of its ‘make or mar’ congresses for wards and local governments slated between July 10 and August 6, 2021. The congresses are critical because of the nature of the APC- a conglomerate made up of diverse interests and competing blocs. The 2023 presidency politics will be highly embedded in the congresses and the national convention. All the blocs and interest groups will flex their muscles in order to have an upper hand in the wards and local government congresses. The game will climax in zonal and national conventions. In Nigerian politics, the formation of the National Working Committee (NWC) of political parties during the national convention is mainly a product of consensus rather than competition, but interest groups will still try to have an upper hand. The APC has not announced a definite date for its national convention, but intense horsetrading, ploys and scrabble for ‘who gets what’ are already ongoing- this is normal in political parties and most common in Nigeria. However, the outcome of the APC’s national convention is expected to be a product of consensus within the various interest groups in the party. The big question is; what is the position of the Progressive Governors and President Muhammadu Buhari? This is very key because all the interest groups know that the position of Buhari and sometimes that of the governors ultimately determines who gets what. This is also common in Nigerian party politics, though not a written rule, but it is generally accepted. The position of the President is the deciding factor. There are hints that the APC governors are silently trying to make sure that the Governor Mai Mala Buni led caretaker/extraordinary planning committee (CECPC) continue as interim caretaker- a tactful strategy ahead of the 2023 presidency politics and to keep control of the party structures as well as not take any chance. The APC governors may succeed with their schemes, because, come 2023, the APC has no reasons to retain presidential power in the north. Besides, the ruling party has no strong presidential candidate from the north. Most of the presidential hopefuls in the APC are from the south- Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Vice President Yemi Osinabjo, Governor Kayode Fayemi. Governor Dave Umahi and Governor Ben Ayade may not be left out, including others.

So, keeping the Buni committee keeps the control of the party within their grip. That said, allowing Buni, a serving governor to continue steering the affairs of the party is very strange to Nigeria’s political party system. The best and the most strategic option for APC is to elect people to manage the party before the 2023 elections. There are some candidates from the northeast and north-central Nigeria who have shown interest in leading the APC. All of them are strong candidates and are being promoted by many groups and bigwigs. From the northeast, we have people like the former governor of Adamawa state Admiral Murtala Nyako, Senator Kashim Shettima, Senator Ali Modu Sherif and the well-educated Sunny Moniedafe from Adamawa state. From the north-central there are former governor & Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, former Governor George Akume and former governor & Senator Adamu Abdullahi. All these hopefuls are highly qualified- but politics, consensus and interests will determine the emergence of the new NWC of the APC. .In fact, someone can get into the NWC of a political party even if he/she is not on the ground at the venue of the national convention, because at earlier stated; consensus often produces the members of the NWC. There are rumors that one of the candidates from the northcentral is being promoted by Ahmed Bola Tinubu, who seems to be carving a bloc to promote his clinching of the APC presidential ticket. This is not strange, because many people seeking to be a member of the NWC are being promoted by one interest or individual or a bloc. The forthcoming APC congress and national convention will be a make or mar for the party if consensus failed and one interest bloc hijack the key positions because of the politics 2023 presidency. APC must align the membership composition of the NWC with its strategies for the 2023 presidential election- for instance, it must look for youths to fill some positions and that of the vice-presidential candidate in particular. However, at the end of the day, President Muhammadu Buhari’s input will definitely determine the direction of the convention and who gets what – this is not a written rule in Nigerian party politics but an acceptable one in party politics. Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Abuja, zaymohd@yahoo. com, 08036070980




Is FG poverty reduction achievable in the midst of skyrocketing price? By Abba Dukawa


or the administration to reduce the level of poverty in the country; Federal Government should focus on three Policy Priorities which include: “Reducing Inflation by Implementing Policies that Support Macroeconomic Stability, Inclusive Growth, And Job Creation; Protect poor households from the impacts of inflation; Facilitate access to financing for small and medium enterprises in key sectors to mitigate the effects of inflation and accelerate the recovery. World Bank advice. President Muhammadu Buhari claimed that his administration lifted 10.5m Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years, he made this known in the last Democracy Day National Address to the Nation. Barely days after president’s claim, World Bank reports stated rising prices in the country have pushed an estimated 7 million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone. It will be highest injustice for anybody not to acknowledge many PMB’s programs to alleviate economic hardship to Nigerians but targets citizens are not much

benefited from the programs. Reviving Nation’s Economy which is the one of the three cardinal promises PMB made before the electorates remain Herculean tasks as about half of the population live on less than $1(N500) per day, unemployment rate has rising to 32.5 and also Nigeria had overtaken India as the country with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty. Everyday Nigerians lamented rising cost of living as food prices soar at 12.56%. With all sense of highest esteem to Mr President, the level of poverty in the country is unspeakable talkless of lifted – farmers, small-scale traders, artisans, market women and other people out of poverty. According to the reports released by National Statistic Bureau; the rise in the food index was broad based, caused by increases in prices of bread, egg, beans, rice, yam, fish, meat, fruits, and vegetables. Nigerians never expects such kind hardship as country’s inflation rate rose further in June 2020 to 12.56% (Year-on-Year), 0.16% points higher than the rate recorded in May 2020 (12.4%) as country’s inflation rate rose further each passing day. In

reality Food inflation across the federation is worst than official Bureau figures show. Reduction of poverty efforts will only remain inclusive due to inconsistency in monetary policy, unemployment rate, high rate of money lendering and other factors. On inconsistency in monetary policy had contributes highest inflations, according to the new World Bank Report: Nigeria’s Exchange Rate Policies Fueling Inflation, Affecting Food Prices. Nigeria recently devalued the naira’s exchange rate to the current N411 for every US dollar. However, this new rate still falls short of the parallel market rate of over N500 for every dollar. It is this disequilibrium between the official and the parallel market rates which the World Bank blames for helping cause an upswing in inflationary pressures. Nigerians are worrying each passing day over the increasing debt burden reached unprecedented level as it increased by N191 billion in the first quarter of this year, representing a 0.58 percent increase from N32.916 trillion as of December 31, 2020. Lack of clear economic policies scares Foreign Investment

coupling with weak Naira while the country slum into recession twice, financial and economic policies of the administration do not favor the masses that spent hours under the sun to cast their votes for the administration to emerge. For the administration to reduce the level of poverty in the country; Federal Government should focus on three Policy Priorities which include: “Reducing Inflation by Implementing Policies that Support Macroeconomic Stability, Inclusive Growth, And Job Creation; Protect poor households from the impacts of inflation; Facilitate access to financing for small and medium enterprises in key sectors to mitigate the effects of inflation and accelerate the recovery. World Bank advice. To be honest adminstration, Poverty Those entrusts with public offices may not necessarily remain honest to express truth to the leaders on the true situation on the ground. One may go to market stalls to listen peoples conversation even without listening them one may see the anger in their faces. For sake of history and the country to judge the administration fairly, let captain

of the ship regain his past hard earning status of being a strong and No-Non Sense General understand Nigerians are languishing in extreme poverty battling with daily survival became uphill challenge due to unprecedented hardships peoples going through in the country, reaching highest since late 80s. Let the administration do any things to prevent the worst happening in remaining two years of the administration. There has been no government in Nigeria history that has enjoyed the citizens’ goodwill like the present administration. There was a time when it would have been a crime before to criticise Baba Buhari’s administration. Anybody that criticised the administration openly would surely end up with nose bleeding especially from enthusiastic supporters of the regime that think the administration would turn poor peoples rich overnight and turns rich ones in the society to poor overnight. The case remains the other way around, the poor remain poorer, while the rich become richer. Dukawa writes in from Kano and can be reached at abbahydukawa@gmail com

China shows strength and sense of responsibility as major country in space exploration By He Yin


hina recently launched the Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship, which docked with the country’s space station core module Tianhe and sent three Chinese astronauts into space, demonstrating the country’s strength in aerospace. The international community has spoken highly of China’s recent advances in space exploration and looks forward to cooperating with China in space science and technology. “This is a great moment,” said Philippe Coue, a French space expert, commenting on Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship’s fast autonomous rendezvous and docking with the core module of China’s space station. The Chinese missions provide an opportunity for international cooperation, according to Coue. “The launch and subsequent mission are another demonstration of China’s growing confidence and capability in the space domain,” pointed out a recent article published on the website of BBC. China’s new accomplishment in aerospace, as the country’s first crewed mission in the country’s space station construction

phase, represents a milestone in its space exploration and a new height that China has reached in advancing space technologies, and is believed to create new opportunities for humanity’s space exploration. Foreign space experts commented that the Shenzhou-12 manned spaceflight mission bears the historic mission of mankind, and that China’s success also contributes to enhancing humankind’s understanding of the surrounding world, the universe and even humankind itself. From the country’s first satellite Dongfanghong-1 to Shenzhou manned spacecraft series, from Chang’e moon missions to Tiangong space station missions and the recent Tianwen-1 Mars mission, distant stars have witnessed Chinese people’s long-standing dream of exploring the universe as well as the country’s firm steps in pursuing scientific and technological innovation despite difficulties. In 1992, China started the manned space program with a three-step strategy. The first step is to send astronauts into space and ensure their safe return; the second step is to test key technologies needed for a permanent space station,

including extra-vehicular activity, orbital docking, and inorbit propellant refueling; and the third step is to assemble and operate a permanently crewed space station. Guided by the strategy, the country successfully launched its first manned spaceflight mission Shenzhou-5 in 2003. For the past half a year or so, China has brought back lunar samples with a moon mission, enabled a Mars rover to land on the surface of the red planet for exploration, and sent astronauts into its space station, making steady progress under its manned space program. China is speeding up the building of its strength in aerospace in a way that amazes the international community. The slogan “pursuing progress through self-reliance and innovation” at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China’s Gobi Desert, the launch site of the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft, is particularly eye-catching. It shows the spiritual strength behind China’s manned spaceflight cause as well as the intrinsic logic in the country’s leapfrog development. No difficulty or challenge can block China’s way to securing breakthroughs in its

manned spaceflight cause, its steps toward building itself into a world leader in science and technology and realizing sci-tech self-reliance and self-strengthening at higher levels, or the Chinese people’s historic course of achieving modernization. With the belief that the outer space is the common wealth of people all over the world and exploring the universe is the shared cause of all mankind, China has always embraced openness and cooperation for mutual benefits in its space exploration endeavor. The country has carried out cooperation and exchanges with relevant countries and regions on the basis of peaceful utilization, equality and mutual benefit and common development, showing a sense of responsibility and friendliness. Since it approved and implemented the manned space program, China has conducted extensive cooperation and exchanges with space agencies of Russia, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and other countries, as well as international space organizations including the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the European Space Agency.

It is pushing ahead bilateral cooperation and exchanges with France, Italy, Pakistan and other countries on performing space experiments in the space station. The core module and lab capsules of China’s space station have standardized load interfaces and are capable of supporting international cooperation in various scientific experiments, which will help turn China’s space station into a space lab that benefits all mankind. As a Russian expert pointed out, the construction and development of China’s space station provide new opportunities for international space cooperation. The year 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). It is believed that under the leadership of the CPC, China will continuously promote international cooperation in an open and inclusive manner for the well-being of all mankind, and make new and greater contributions to the noble cause of exploring the universe and promoting the peaceful development of human beings. He Yin writes for People’s Daily




June 12 ethos and Kola Abiola’s Tribe Naija app By Victor Ikhatalor The imperative, the critical and urgent necessity of Kola’s idea, especially in these times, cannot be overstated and it is in keeping with the ethos of June 12. When Kola said: “what I am hoping we will do with this platform is to disrupt the process. It is all about disrupting the (old) process” – he was marching in lockstep with his father, who disrupted despotic perpetuation. Nigeria remains an orphaned child! She was conceived and borne by parents (British colonialists) who named her and gave her up for adoption rather as a fait accompli, to step-parents( Nigerian nationalities) who did not really know what to do with her. At her (Nigeria) birth, the prognosis was that she was born great – blessedly endowed as she was in multiple aspects. Alas, her adopted parents have never wholly accepted her as theirs, forever cleaving to primordial leanings. Her life’s story from infancy until now, has seen her burdened by the taint of “bastard”. Unloved and unprotected, she has been serially assaulted and plundered by those who ought be her guardians! On June 12, 1993, the stars aligned, providence beckoned and there was a unique chance presented to change the Nigerian narrative. To once and for all, put into past tense, the above stated contextualization of “Nigeria”. Sadly, that opportunity

was missed and the fleeting “chance” gone with the wind. Assaulted and plundered unremittedly, she(Nigeria) is now out of breath and at death’s door! The torch bearer of June 12, Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, was an uncommon man uniquely in “situ” to becoming the “instrument” in forging a never before seen unity and purpose amongst Nigeria’s diverse people. Abiola’s appeal, had been forged through a lifetime of genuine effort in building friendships and bridges across every part of the country. A humanitarian, unsurpassed in his time, he touched the lives of people across all works of life. In denying Abiola his mandate to lead, “serpentine” men, denied Nigeria the clearest chance since her “birth” to truly become owned and accepted by all Nigerians. June 12 is a date forever immortalized. On that “day”, Nigerians in their multitudes, put aside hitherto unassailable sentimentalities towards ethnicity and religion. On that “day”, millions of Nigerians cutting across every known divide that had held all in thrall, stepped forth in the cold light of day, to claim ownership of “Nigeria”. Fleeting as that “day” was, it was witnessed by “man”. Never mind, that it took 25 years for a “government” to reckon with the “day”, as the consciousness of it, and

the nostalgia of it, will see June 12 assume larger than life proportions in spite of members of the Nigerian ruling class, not because of them, for the “day” was of the people – all the people.

The recognition of June 12 at this time by government, is in keeping with “man’s” unending quest for validation. Others that will follow, continuing in this “quest” will seek their own validation.

Appreciatively, it is good and proper that June 12 is now a national holiday and a day to commemorate democracy, especially in a country where the ruling class is seemingly bent on wiping away our “history”. If anything is sure, not talking about the naira here; it is that the “witnessed” history of June 12, manifestingly more poignant through the final life given in its memory by none other than MKO Abiola, will be told! History in that respect, is uncanny in its predictability.

When all of us who were witnesses that MKO Abiola lived are ourselves all gone, when all those who knew him; his perfections and imperfections(as all men have) are all long gone, a people seeking revalidation, leadership seeking approbation – will raise MKO Abiola to true martyrdom. As the names of villains of Nigerians past will become accursed and their self-serving monuments come tumbling down – so will monuments to Abiola and June 12 be lifted up.

Commemorating the very first June 12 national holiday with highfalutin words were all manner of functionaries, including some notable principal actors and collaborator’s against the actualization of Abiola’s mandate, now fiendishly feasting on democracy’s bounties. These die-hard fellows, wallowing in conspicuous consumption and glorying in their own peculiar form of civil rule(abridged form of democracy), despoiling the real ethos of June 12, will not detract from it’s real essence.

In looking back, we must also look forward. A fundamental lesson that can be taken from MKO Abiola’s last days, when he stood firm on the mandate of Nigerians, refusing to sell out, even at the cost of his liberty and life, is the essence of being resolute in our conviction that there can be a better Nigeria that we can all “own”.

Those responsible for truncating June 12, alongside their co-travelling avaricious Nigerian misleaders and court jesters, steeped in the blood and misery of Nigerians, will get their just “historical” recompense.

His heir, Kola Abiola alluded to this fact while launching an awareness application; Tribe Naija app – in commemoration of June 12. The app is a mobilization tool aimed at rallying young Nigerians on the imperative of getting their choice of the President and other elective office holders right in 2023 and beyond.

especially in these times, cannot be overstated and it is in keeping with the ethos of June 12. When Kola said: “what I am hoping we will do with this platform is to disrupt the process. It is all about disrupting the (old) process” – he was marching in lockstep with his father, who disrupted despotic perpetuation. I am particularly heartened by Kola Abiola’s stand in fighting for a united Nigeria – a chore, that by the day, is growing ever increasingly lonesome for those who choose to stand and fight. The launch of My Tribe Nigeria initiative in 2015 was an avowed stand to fight for Nigeria. If Nigeria must have a chance then more members of the elite, ala Kola Abiola, must step forth, resolutely, committing to the fight even more forcefully than those who will tear us asunder – therein lies our only hope. A “hope” in tandem with MKO Abiola’s June 12 mandate. Victor Ikhatalor is a Human Rights Defender and Good Governance Advocate and can be reached at kingjvic7@gmail.com

The imperative, the critical and urgent necessity of Kola’s idea,

Can Nigeria afford to “Waste All Resources” (WAR) for the second time in history? By Isaac Asabor


here is no denying the fact that much has been written on the Nigerian Civil War. However, its ruinous nature seems to be yet understood by some youthful Nigerians that are today energetically beating war drums as they were too young and naïve to know how devastating war is. The Igbanke people, in the bid to proverbially illustrate how damaging war is, said, “Anyone that has witnessed war will call it “Aya”. Explanatorily put, it is supposed to be pronounced as “Agha” but when it has being witnessed, its pronunciation will sound like “Aya” as such person would have being wonderstruck by the devastating nature of war. It is foolhardy that 51 years after the Nigerian-Biafran Civil War that most Nigerians, particularly those that are in the recent time been agitating for secession have learned little or nothing from the deadly misadventure, and going by ominous activities of the agitators, it would not be mistaken to say that Nigeria could return to the disastrous path soonest. The abovementioned foreboding fear cannot be farfetched as Prof. Wole Soyinka on June 15, 2021 spoke to Arise News Channel, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, urging President Muhammadu Buhari to be more sensitive to the agitations of secessionists rather than bully them.

He said, “If it (Nigeria) fails to decentralize, some people use the word reconstruction, some use whatever. But if Nigeria fails to decentralize as fast as possible, manifestly, not as rhetoric, then Nigeria cannot stay together,” he warned, adding: “Again, it’s not Wole Soyinka saying this. Everybody has said it; generals have said it; exheads of state have said it; politicians have said it; analysts have said it; economists have said it. And that’s what’s happening to people in the streets. That’s why they are moving; that’s why they are demonstrating; that’s why they are defying threats from the police and from the government that if you demonstrate, you are traitors or you do this, we’ll deal with you.” Given the fact that the nobel laureate is not the only personality that has sounded the warnings on imminent war, it is then expedient at this juncture to ask: “Can Nigeria Afford to “Waste All Resources” (WAR) For the Second Time In History? For the sake of clarity, an analytical examination of the title of this piece would reveal that war acronymically means “Waste All Resources” (WAR) in this context. A graphic illustration by Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia on the consequences of war says thus: “The effects of war are widely spread and can be long term or short term. Soldiers experience war differently than civilians, although either suffer

in times of war, and women and children suffer unspeakable atrocities in particular. In the past decade, up to two million of those killed in armed conflicts were children. The widespread trauma caused by these atrocities and suffering of the civilian population is another legacy of these conflicts, the following creates extensive emotional and psychological stress. Present-day internal wars generally take a larger toll on civilians than state wars. This is due to the increasing trend where combatants have made targeting civilians a strategic objective”. It would be recall that midJanuary this year was no doubt a sombre time for Nigerians as they (including this writer) rightly remembered and honoured the heroism and dedication of those whose lives were lost during the war, and celebrated those who survived the war which claimed millions of lives from both sides. But as we honoured the heroism and dedication of those that survived, as we mourned the dead, and as we retold the acts of valour that occurred during baseless civil war in that war, it is perhaps apposite that we should also be reflecting upon the costs incurred in fighting the wars. Without any iota of exaggeration, the greatest cost of war is the human cost. We simply cannot think about war and the so-called benefits victorious war brings without taking into account the number of people

whose lives were lost, and those living whose futures were severely impaired. To take just one example, more than 3,000 and up to 30,000 Igbos living in northern Nigeria were recorded in history to have being killed during the attacks that preceded the war. Not only that, during the two and half years of the war, there were about 100,000 overall military casualties, while between 500,000 and 2 million Biafran civilians died of starvation. That was a staggering loss. And that is not counting the thousands soldiers from both sides who were seriously wounded in the war. We also too often overlook the ongoing, invisible, wounds of war. These figures are even more disturbing. As if these tragedies and sacrifices were not enough, there is a further, rarely acknowledged, cost; which is that wars do not achieve their goals. We do not get what we were promised by our leaders, civilian and military, at the start of the conflict, especially if we look at the outcomes after the fighting has ended. Disappointingly, wars are unpredictable and produce unintended consequences. The chaotic and destructive nature of war makes controlling their direction and outcomes almost impossible. We are told by those who lead us into wars that winning enables the victors to establish nations, create, reinstate or extend boundaries, redress grievances and restore national honour, remove cruel and

despotic rulers replacing them with stable popularly-elected leaders, prevent the spread of pernicious ideologies like Nazism, Fascism, atheistic communism, and terrorism and even nepotism as allegedly been obtained in contemporary Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership. In past centuries, victory was going to halt the spread of ideologies advocating liberty, equality and fraternity. Above all, we are told that we are fighting just wars and that winning will prevent future military conflicts and create an international environment in which peace and tranquility will prevail. If you ask me of my take on the foregoing, I will simply say “Lori Iro”, as they would say in the South Western part of the country. In fact, to recall the apprehension which people have for war, it is expedient to cite Mahatma Gandhi quote in his autobiography titled “Gandhi: An autobiography”, which says, “I Appeal for cessation of hostilities, not because you are too exhausted to fight, but because war is bad in essence. You want to kill Nazism. You will never kill it by its indifferent adoption.” Finally, it is expedient to reiteratively ask again, “Can Nigeria Afford To “Waste All Resources” (WAR) For The Second Time In History?” Isaac Asabor is a Public Affairs Analyst.



Nigeria’s ambassador to Belgium pledges to strengthen trade, investment ties


igeria’s Ambassador to Belgium, Obinna Onowu, has pledged to deepen economic ties between Nigeria and Belgium and strengthen collaboration between both countries across all sectors. Mr Onowu disclosed this while presenting his letters of Credence to King Philippe I, King of the Belgians at the Royal Palace in Brussels. According to a statement by Mrs Olamide Adediran, Counsellor, Embassy of Nigeria, Brussels made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, Onowu acknowledged the existing cordial relations between both countries and the need for more collaborations, He pledged to strengthen the bilateral collaborations especially in the areas of trade and investment, capacity building, education, health and Information Technology in a bid to deepen the economic ties between both nations. Onowu also conveyed the greetings to President Muhammadu Buhari to King Philippe 1 and the people of Belgium. The Nigerian Ambassador, who also holds concurrent accreditation to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the European Union, informed King Philippe I of the need for both countries to facilitate high level visits between government officials. (NAN)


Alleged N7.1b fraud: Uzor Kalu’s suit to stop retrial for adoption July 2 By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja


ustice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, will on July 2, adopt all processes filed by parties in a suit by former Abia state governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, seeking to stop his retrial. The Senator representing Abia North Constituency in the red chamber was granted leave to challenge the legality of the retrial in the same charges in February. At the resumed proceedings yesterday, counsel to the former governor, Prof. Awa Kalu SAN, had told the court that the respondents have served on him their counter affidavits.

Responding, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) Oluwaleke Atolagbe; George Ukaegbu representing the 2nd respondent, and K.C Nwufor for the 3rd, all admitted having filed and exchanged processes. In a short ruling, Justice Ekwo said since all parties have “joined issues”, the court has taken over control of the case. Subsequently, the court adjourned to July 2, for adoption. Specifically, Uzor Kalu, a Senator representing Abia North, is seeking an order of court prohibiting the Federal Government, through the EFCC, its officers, servants, others, agents, privies and

any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from retrying him on charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 between FRN vs Orji Kalu & 2 ors, or any other charge based on the same facts de novo, there being no extant judgment and ruling of a competent court in Nigeria mandating same. The ex governor had also applied for order prohibiting the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the EFCC (her agent), her officers, servants, others, agents, privies and any other person or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from retrying, harrassing and intimidating him with respect to

the charge as concerns charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/56/2007 between FRN vs Orji Kalu & 2 ors or any other charge based on same facts as he need not suffer double jeopardy. More so, Kalu is asking the Federal High Court to restrain the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from retrying him on the same alleged N7.1b money laundering charges against him. He contented that having been tried once by EFCC, convicted and sentenced in the same charges FHC/ABJ/CR/56/ 2007, it will amount to double jeopardy for him if he is allowed to be subjected to a fresh trial on same charge.


he Federal Government reiterated the importance of vocational education and entrepreneurial skills in reducing the high rate of unemployment and economic development.

he people of Okhuoromi Village, Oredo Local Government Area, Edo State have denied grabbing property in which members of

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Enugu State has taken a more dangerous turn following a deeper confusion over the suspension of the Senator who represented Enugu North in 7th Senate. Recall that Senator Ayogu’s APC ward in Enugu had suspended him from the party over alleged anti party activities, but briefing journàlists in Abuja yesterday, the chairman of the party in the State, Ben Nwoye, dismissed the allegation. He denied all anti party activities levelled against the former senator, adding that the party membership has risen from 63,000 to 184,294 registered members in Enugu state. Nwoye said: “So, it came to

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba (left) presenting Trophy to the Students and Teachers of Queen College Lagos, winners of the First Lego League 2021 competition, held on Wednesday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-wo

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry of education, Arc Sonny Echono stated this during the inspection of the ongoing National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB) in Abuja. He said, “There is a need for parents to understand the

changes that are happening in the work environment and the jobs for tomorrow. There are general tendencies; people just believe the conventional programs that lead to white collar jobs, that is a great mistake parents are making. “The trend around the world

today is not what you know but what you can do; that is why business and technical subjects become more important than the basic knowledge. We are not discriminating against any subject area. ‘’I also want to emphasize the need for parents to

understand the dynamics and the changes that are happening in the job environment. Look at the trends around the world. It is not what you know but what you can do, and that is why business and technical subjects are actually becoming very important.”

Tipper Drivers Association in the State had laid claim to in the locality. On Monday, the Association in retaliation announced the withdrawal of service to over 300 land developers cutting

across over 30 communities and villages in Iyekogba, Sapele, Okhuoromi, Ago-Emokpae, Obagie, Sapele and Airport roads axis in Oredo and part of Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of the State.

Chairman of the Association, Mr. Austin Uhunwagho hinged that the sanction on alleged grabbing of some property by the people of Okhuoromi community head (Ohen Osun Ewuare II), Mr. Ovbokhan

Igbinovia, was named as an actor in the crisis. Uhunwagho alleged that the structures erected on the confiscated land were demolished, and new structures raised.

Edo community denies annexing tipper drivers’ property T By Osaigbovo Iguobaro

More crisis rocks APC in Enugu as confusion deepens over suspension of Ayogu Eze my notice that a former Chairman who had been removed may have connived with people and started peddling falsehood, fake news that the distinguished Senator has been suspended from the party. So, this is not true. This is pure falsehood, sponsored news item that is only meant to finish the already risen profile of the senator. “Yesterday we saw reports in a section of the media misinforming people that the distinguished Senator Ayogu Eze was suspended from the party. That cannot be further from the truth. The distinguished Senator Ayogu Eze is a well respected member of APC in Enugu State and indeed South East and at the national level. He joined the party and he ran for Governorship, got the ticket and because of his popularity

has taken the party to greater heights. “Very recently, he received a vote of confidence based on what he had done to grow the party beginning with most recently, our membership registration. His efforts cumulated into tripling the number of registered members of APC in Enugu State. We have independent people who could verify that. The chairman of the registration committee for the state, distinguished Senator Jonathan Zwingina was in Enugu State and he hosted him and other members of the committee. He made sure we had a great turn out of members. “Before that, during the pandemic, Sen. Eze donated immensely to our purse making it possible for the outreach which we did in 2020 and early 2021.

We were able to procure relief materials and visited hospitals, homes for the elderly, disabled and orphans. He also regularly provided for members of the party. “His caretaker executive of the ward had duly removed him according to our constitution. The fact is that his own caretaker executives passed a vote of no confidence against him unbeknownst to Sen. Eze or anyone including myself. They brought a letter that following the due process, they had removed him and brought in another gentleman, Comrade Obeta as Chairman of the Ward. Sen. Eze has no hand in whatever happened to the former Chairman. It was the handiwork of mischief makers to embarrass him. “As of the time he wrote the letter purportedly suspending

Sen. Eze, he was no longer the Chairman of Ozzi, Ward 7. We have 260 wards and 17 local governments in Enugu State. So, one out of 260 rushed down somewhere to Abuja and engaged fake news merchants. It was a hatchet job and we won’t allow that to stand because we have grown this party to this point. “I have reached out to the national secretariat and other leaders and I have not been able to find out who identified this individual as Chairman of Ozzi Ward 7.” On the recent recent registration and revalidation exercise in Enugu state, Dr. Nwoye said “Through the help of the leadership of Sen. Ayogu Eze and other leaders, we have risen from 63, 000 to 184, 294 registered members. These are real members and not made up.”

Leaking roof: Maintenance of National Assembly not our responsibility - Senate

FG reiterates importance of vocational education, entrepreneurship skil s By Maryam Abeeb, Abuja



he Senate on Wednesday said the maintenance and renovation of the National Assembly complex is not the responsibility of the National Assembly, adding that no N37 billion has been released for the renovation of the complex. In a statement issued yesterday by the Senate spokesman, Surajudeen Basiru, the Senate said contrary to the widespread report being peddled both in the mainstream and online media as a fall out of the incident of the leaking roof of the National Assembly Complex after a heavy downpour on Tuesday, 21 June 2021, it is pertinent to inform the General Public that the National Assembly and its leadership is not responsible for the maintenance and renovation of the National Assembly Complex. He said the federal lawmakers have also not received a sum of 37 billion naira or any amount for the renovation of the Complex. “While it is true that an initial appropriation of the above stated sum was made due to the decaying nature of the National Assembly Complex which has not witnessed any major maintenance or overhauling since construction, the said amount was reduced to 9 billion naira after the breakout of COVID-19 pandemic. “Even with this reduction, the sum of 9 billion or any amount is yet to be cash backed or released to the National Assembly. None of this amount is even appropriated for the National Assembly bureaucracy or its leadership. “It must be reiterated that the National Assembly Complex is a National Monument which falls under the purview of control of the Federal Capital Development Agency. In essence, the FCDA is responsible

for its maintenance as well as renovation and not the Leadership of the National Assembly as being falsely bandied about. “The leakage witnessed at the foyer of the National Assembly yesterday justifies the apprehension of the leadership of the National Assembly and the FCDA and further underscores the need for an urgent intervention in revamping the dilapidated structures within the complex before it falls into further dilapidation with the attendant huge cost of possible replacement”, the Senate said in the statement.

Director-General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim (M); Director, Corps Welfare and Health Services Department, Mr Ayodele Omotade (4th R); Director, Press and Public Relations, Mrs Adeyemi Adenike(4th L); and participants, during the opening ceremony of 2021 NYSC Inspector’s Development Programme in Abuja on Wednesday (22/6/21).

Anambra guber: PDP chieftain warns party against highest bidder politics at primaries By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


head of the November 2021 gubernatorial election, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and exGovernorship aspirant from Abia State, Emeka Kalu, has expressed concerns over the fate of the PDP in Anambra State during and after the exercise. The party chieftain said the fate of the party has continued to get more blurred in terms of focus, especially in regards to the present political activities for the upcoming poll. Kalu who doubles as the National Coordinator of the PDP Coalition, in a statement issued to journàlists on Wednesday, stressed that the money politics allegedly playing out in the party was making it impossible for the PDP leadership to pragmatically

decide on who will be qualified to take the party’s ticket based on pedigree and ability to win the masses. He warned against the game for the highest bidder in the governorship race and posited that if such a trend is allowed, it will spell doom for the PDP. “Before now, I used to hear the lamentations that most leaders climb the ladder of politics and turn their backs on the people that fought for them. The truth is that such leaders always believe that the cash they threw around had taken care of your demand, and so he believed he owes you nothing, neither does he owe the masses he also bought at a huge price. This is the kind of politics we must all frown at, yet this is exactly what is playing out in Anambra State, he said. “The way things are going in

Anambra will spell doom for the party (PDP). For instance, when all the aspirants are going around throwing money here and there, expecting to clinch the party ticket, whereas we all know that it is only one individual that will clinch the ticket. After all those money spent, the fate of the party will come into jeopardy because we created room for failure out of greed. “From my investigation, most of the aspirants are already approaching other political parties to see if they can swing over when PDP fails, in order words, they are ready to jump off as soon as they rock the boat. This clearly explains that these individuals and their support base will work against the interest of the party in the General election. “We need to choose candidates, not by the amount of

money they are throwing around, rather let us look inwards and chose men that will work for the party, people that have loyalty, consistency and people that can run inclusive government”. He further advised, “We need to be careful working with these money bags that are throwing money around to get PDP’s ticket as we all see how most of them defect from our party to others for some personal aggrandizement. We, therefore, need to look beyond money for the sake of this great election. “The money you collect from these individuals is clearly a sign that you have sold your right to spearhead any criticism against them when it matters most because they have already paid. We need to change that mentality now if we must win in Anambra state”.




By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


resident of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the upper chamber will publish the names of government agencies that have refused to appear before the Public Accounts Committee to defend the interrogations of the Auditor-General for the Federation in the 2015 report. Lawan made this known in his remarks after the Senate considered the report of the Committee on Public Accounts on the annual report of the Auditor-General for the Federation on the accounts of the Federation for the year ended 31st December, 2015. According to the Senate President, any public official that refuses to account for public funds at their disposal must be shown the way out of office.

Anambra guber: Soludo floors three others to clinch APGA ticket

Senate will expose govt agencies refusing to account for public funds, says Lawan He said, “This is one of our major responsibilities as a parliament, to hold the executive to account. “[And] whoever is given the responsibility and the trust of running any agency with public funds must be accountable to the parliament on behalf of the people. “You have indicated a certain number of MDAs who failed to come to the committee after invitation, I want you to go through your documents – the invitation letters with reminders. “This Senate will publish the names of these agencies for the public to know. “This Senate will insist, any public servant or civil servant that is given public fund for public good and has questions to answer and refuse to appear to answer, should have no business being in government. “Because all of us are supposed

to be accountable to the people and, therefore, if someone feels that he is not going to be accountable, then that person has no business remaining in office. “But I want to also say that, those who turned up to defend or explain the interrogations by the Auditor-General did the right thing and we must commend them for coming, whether they were able to convince the committee that the Auditor-General was not right or not. They appeared responsible and accountable. “For those that have been able to convince the committee on the propriety of what they did, we commend them because they followed the proper accounting mechanisms established, probably by the office of the Accountant-General.”

Lawan lamented that most agencies of government have refused to comply with accounting systems put in place by the office of the AccountantGeneral. According to him, this is largely responsible for fraudulent transactions by some Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government.” Earlier, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, said findings showed that there were “consistent contravention of relevant Constitutional provisions and other Extant Laws by the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.” According to the lawmaker, the late submission of annual financial statement is a violation of Section 49(1) and (2) of the Fiscal

From left: Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN); Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha; Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari; Minister of Defence, retired Maj-Gen Bashir Magashi and Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen Chris Ngige during Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday (23/6/2021)

By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


ormer Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, yesterday emerged the standard bearer of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for the November 6 gubernatorial election in Anambra, after securing seven hundred and forty (740) votes to defeat three other rivals. Those defeated by Soludo are Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo, who got 41 votes, Chief Damian Okolo, who got seven votes, and Chief Ibeh, who got ten votes. The Chief Returning Officer of the APGA governorship electoral committee panel, Deacon Samson Olalere, said a total of 812 delegates were billed to participate in the election, but 795 votes were accredited, while 792 votes were the total votes cast. Obiano, who is the party’s BoT Chairman, in a speech at the occasion, thanked the party delegates for peaceful conduct during the election, noting that Soludo would win the election all over the 21 local government areas as he did in the 2017 re-election bid. The APGA candidate, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, described his emergence as divine, assuring that his administration would consolidate on Obiano’s achievement to effect good government in the state. He also offered hands of fellowship to other aspirants, calling them to reunite and join in lifting APGA, as retaining Anambra come November 6 governorship election would be greater for Igbo nation. Recall that security operatives were deployed in Awka, Anambra State capital, yesterday over the conduct of the primary election of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). The heavy deployment is reportedly in response to the formation of another faction of the party, which, led by Jude Okeke, announced a separate date for the party’s primary. The primary election started with accreditation at the Alex Ekwueme Square before delegates were moved to Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka for the primary election proper.

Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007 and Section 85 (5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He disclosed that there were withdrawals of funds by the executive arm from Special Fund Accounts for purposes other than the objectives the funds were created, and without recourse to the National Assembly for authourisation, contrary to Section 80(4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. Urhoghide further disclosed that there was absence of collaboration amongst the two key agencies involved in the management and superintending over of public funds – office of the Auditor-General and the Office of the Accountant-General. He explained that the lack of cooperation between both offices poses a barrier to efficient, effective and transparent audit process of the nation’s Federation Account.

APC commends Buhari over new varsities By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he All Progressives Congress (APC) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the establishment of five new specialized universities in technology, health and pharmaceutical sciences in the country. A statement issued yesterday by the National Secretary of the APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), John James Akpanudoedehe, said it is a demonstration of the responsiveness of the government to the call by the APC CECPC and citizens for more federal tertiary institutions in the country. It said Buhari is fulfilling the APC’s electoral promise to lead an education revolution and transform the country technologically as captured in the 2015 APC manifesto and outlined in the Education for Change Ministerial Strategic Plan 2018-2022.

The statement said “Triggered by eventualities of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the need to reduce medical tourism, this is also a proactive intervention by the President Buhari-led APC government to boost the country’s institutional capacity for disease control and surveillance, particularly with respect to medical facilities, trained personnel and supporting infrastructure. “The APC also commends the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu for swiftly implementing the decision by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to establish the Universities which will stimulate rapid technological development and innovation. “The establishment of the Universities, each of which also got a take-off grant of N4 billion, is aimed at closing observed manpower gaps in critical scientific and health services fields and technology. “The establishment of a University of Technology each in Jigawa state (North-West) and

Akwa Ibom State (South-South) by the administration has closed a huge gap in terms of providing such tertiary institutions, especially in the case of Akwa Ibom state where the people have for years implored the federal government to establish such institution in the South-South geopolitical zone.” The party pointed out that it is equally significant that Buhari has approved the upgrading and equipping of existing Universities of Technology in Yola (North East), Akure (South West), Minna (North central) and Owerri (South East). It said the spread in the location of the Universities is a true reflection of the federal character of Nigeria as every geo-political zone now has a University of Technology, just as it added that the APC is glad that as usual with locating projects, recruitment and political appointments by the President Buhari-led administration; no part of the country is left behind. “The equitable distribution and inclusiveness in the allocation of

resources by the administration is in line with the 1999 Constitution as amended and the manifesto of the APC which promises to foster a sense of belonging to all segments of the country. “The establishment of National Institute of Technology (NIT) in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and two specialized universities of Health, Nutrition and Medical Sciences in Azare in Bauchi state and Orangun in Osun State, will nurture talents, boost the pool of specialists and spur more research in the fields for the benefit of all Nigerians. “The APC-led administration has been consistent in boosting education for human capital development as it approved the licensing and establishment of 20 private universities nationwide in one fellsweep in February 2021 and several federal polytechnics and Colleges of Education. We are excited about the prospects of the new University’s immense benefits to the current and coming generations in the country”, the party said.




Constitutional review: One state for East ‘ll address cries of injustice - Rep Onuigbo By Christiana Ekpa


s the House of Representatives Special Committee for the Review of the Constitution tours the Country on its facts gathering mission, Rep Sam Onuigbo has proposed that only the creation of additional State, with complimentary local government areas (LGAs) will address the allegations of injustice and marginalisation SouthEast geo-political zone has severally alleged to be its lot in contemporary Nigeria’s political arrangement. Rep Onuigbo, who represents Ikwuano-Umuahia North/South Federal Constituency, declared this position at the South East Zonal Public Hearing of the Committee which held in Owerri, Imo State recently. “For there to be a semblance of fairness, justice and equity, the constitutional review process must result in the creation of at least an additional State in the South East, as the South East is the only region with less than six states”, he stated. Onuigbo maintained that from the creation of an additional state would come the creation of additional Local Government Areas in the South East and consequently more opportunities for the region to produce more House of Representatives members and Senators which will enable the region have more impact in decision making at the federal level, while also attracting additional resources to the region. The lawmaker, while responding to question on whether the Constitutional Review (an exercise carried out by successive National Assemblies), would not end up an exercise in futility, referred to the inclusion of the Doctrine of Necessity into the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which came about as a result of such exercise following the legal lacuna discovered when former President Umar Musa Yar’adua travelled without officially handing over to President Goodluck Jonathan. Onuigbo stressed that the review is not a waste of time and resources and further pledged to champion the requests of his constituents which have been brought to his attention by the Constitutional Review Committee of the House of Representatives.

APC appoints Gov Abiodun of Ogun to lead party primaries panel for Anambra By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he All Progressives Congress (APC) has appointed Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State to lead the party’s primary election Committee. A statement issued yesterday by the National Secretary of the APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention

Planning Committee (CECPC), John James Akpanudoedehe, said the “National Chairman of the APC CECPC, Governor Mai Mala Buni, has approved the appointment of the Governor of Ogun State, H.E. Dapo Abiodun as the Chairman of the Primary Election Committee for the Anambra State Governorship Election”.

It said the Primary Election is scheduled for Saturday, June 26th, 2021, adding that other members of the Committee are: Barr. Uba Maigari Ahmadu, Hon. Goodluck Opiah, Cathleen Oby Nwofor, Alhaji Shitu Muhammed, Barr. Sylvester Imohanobe, while Senator John Enoh will serve as the Secretary of the Committee.

The statement said “In this capacity, the seven-member committee is expected to conduct the Primary Election to elect the Party’s Candidate for the Governorship Election for Anambra State in line with the provisions of our Party’s Constitution and Guidelines for the nomination of Candidates.”

President Muhammadu Buhari Presides Over Fec Meeting At The State House, Yesterday In Abuja. Photo; State House

Senate passes N895.8bn supplementary budget second reading By Musa Baba Adamu


he Senate yesterday passed second reading the N895,842,465,917.00 Supplementary Budget sent to it

by President Muhammadu Buhari which is meant to buy more arms for the military to insecurity and to take care of the Covid-19 and other health related issues. To this end, the Senate referred

the Supplementary Budget to the Committee on Appropriation. Speaking after the request was passed second reading, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, told Senator Barau Jibrin, who is the

chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, to submit its report on Tuesday next week. The report of the panel would be submitted, considered, and passed the same day.

Imo: PDP accuses Uzodinma of causing confusion in union leadership By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State, has accused Governor Hope Uzodinma of creating confusion in Imo town union leadership. The opposition party said the Governor had balkanized the leadership of town unions in the state by handpicking the leaders of his choice. The party made the accusation through its Director-General of New Media, Collins Opuruzor, during a

phone-in program on Darling FM yesterday. According to him, “the leadership of the town unions are decided by the people and not the Governor. “Hand picking members of the town union executives is a rape of the traditional institution. It is wrong. “The Governor should allow the people to make the best-informed choice of their leaders at the town union level, instead of interfering and appointing the leaders by

himself. “You see what we have been saying. When a government has no agenda for the people. You will agree with me that the APC-led government has destroyed almost all the system in the state. “Look at what is happening in Imo NUJ and its female wing, National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ). The Governor has divided the council into two factions. “Now, he is inviting all the 27 LGAs for a town hall meeting at

the Government House. Let me ask you, since when have town hall meetings started holding at the Government House, instead of communities? “The Governor should allow these independent bodies to function on their own and stop influencing them. He should allow the autonomy which they enjoy to continue because it’s their right. “The Governor should change some of his policies which are not for the interest of the people,” he said.

Ogun LG polls: NANS, APC leaders disagree over chairmanship candidate


he Ogun State leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have disagreed with each other over the choice of Shuaib Ladejo as the chairmanship candidate for Odogbolu in the July 24 local government election. While NANS commended Governor Dapo Abiodun for endorsing Ladejo, a former students’ leader as

the candidate, the aggrieved APC leaders condemned the governor, accusing him of imposition. At a press conference on Wednesday at the NUJ Secretariat, Okelewo, Abeokuta, Ogun State, NANS Chairman, Damilola Simeon and the Secretary of the National Association of Ogun State Students, Adebowale Gafar, commended Abiodun, reiterating that Ladejo is a promising Nigerian youth

with lots of passion for his people. “Against all odds, His Excellency has chosen to stand by the youths and the Students Constituency by endorsing a students leader from Olabisi Onabanjo University to be the party’s flagbearer in the forthcoming local government election. The Governor’s decision is a step in the right direction. This singular act will give our youths hope in the future.

The students expressed confidence that the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission (OGSIEC) will conduct a free and fair local government election, “which will serve as model for national election.” But, the aggrieved APC leaders protested that their choice of one Ola Olufunmilayo as the consensus candidate for Odogbolu was upturned by the governor. Speaking on behalf of the

group, Ogunbakin Olugbenga, claimed that out of other three aspirants, party leaders in Odogbolu affirmed the said Olufunmilayo as their consensus candidate. He, however, expressed shock that the decision of the leaders was discarded, saying “a new person was named as the APC chairmanship candidate.” He warned that the act will spell doom for the APC if not reversed.



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NNPC, EFCC, Others partner to tackle petroleum products smuggling, crude oil theft By Etuka Sunday


he Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is collaborating with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and other relevant downstream and upstream stakeholders in the petroleum industry to curb the twin menace of petroleum products smuggling and crude oil theft which are negatively impacting the nation’s economy. The Group General Manager,

Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Dr. Kennie Obateru in a statement quoted Mallam Mele Kyari to have said that the move was at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari who mandated the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the NNPC, the EFCC and all other security agencies to do everything to stop crude oil theft and illicit truckout of petroleum products which he described as major economic crimes that have hindered Nigerians from enjoying the benefit of subsidized petroleum products. He urged all industry stakeholders to collaborate with the Corporation to ensure that the

daily national petroleum products consumption which shot up to 102million litres in the month of May is brought down to realistic levels around 60million litres, stressing that it was obvious to all that that volume of premium motor spirit (PMS) was not consumed by Nigerians alone. “We all agree that smuggling is not a business that should be condoned because even for deregulated petroleum products it brings extra cost burden on this country both in terms of safety and security of supply and in securing of foreign exchange. It even constitutes more burden to this country when the product involved is a regulated product

like Premium Motor Spirit (PMS),” Mallam Kyari submitted. The GMD explained that with the increasing price of crude oil at the global market and the OPEC+ production cuts, the country cannot afford to shoulder the cost of smuggling. “We all know that our daily consumption is not up to 60million litres. We all know that, and that is why we have to pull it down. We will pull it down by every means necessary,” Mallam Kyari assured. He said NNPC would emplace Advanced Cargo Declaration in line with global best practices to tackle the issue of crude oil theft in the country.

Speaking in a similar vein, the Executive Chairman of EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, expressed the readiness of the Commission to work with the NNPC to ensure that all those involved in the economic sabotage were brought to book. The Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMA), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) and all the other stakeholders.

5G network crucial to 4th Industrial Revolution – DG NITDA By Etuka Sunday


he 5G network, which is currently driving the world toward the 4th Industrial Revolution, has been described as very crucial to bringing the people together in a global village. The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi made this disclosure at the Virtual Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition 2021, as a panelist, where the evolution of 5G networks and Internet of things (IoT) in Africa was discussed. He said his Agency, in her Strategic Road Map and Action Plan 2021-2024, has identified the importance of promoting and exploiting emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, IoT, etc. The Director General who was represented by the Ag. Director, Digital Economic Development department of the Agency, Engr Salisu Kaka, said that NITDA is a critical player under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy that is committed to implementing the Nigerian Digital Economic Policy and Strategy. “In that policy, there is need to develop a digital Nigeria by exploiting emerging technologies,” the DG averred. He further stated that promotion of the emerging technologies will create more jobs and improve the economy of the country. “There are deliberate attempts to set up mechanisms that will coordinate these emerging technologies, which will lead to the engagement of the society, especially the youth, innovators and the entrepreneurs,” said Abdullahi. He stated that it was imperative to engage this particular group of people because they are the direct beneficiaries of the enormous data generated by the Internet of Things, 5G technologies and Big Data Analytics. The DG mentioned that the Agency has set up the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence as well as the Office of Nigerian Digital Innovation which will both

L-R: Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, strategizing on how to tackle the twin economic crimes of crude oil theft and petroleum products smuggling at a stakeholders’ meeting held at the NNPC Towers, Abuja. create enabling environments that will allow exploration of these technologies and ensure effective use. Mallam Abdullahi stated further that innovations come with disruptions of normal processes, and was therefore, necessary to come up with regulations. He said that the government’s responsibility is to ensure that policy provisions are put in place to ensure inclusion of private business owners. “Private business owners don’t exploit where there is no potential,

so, it is important for government to put in place interventions that will be attractive”, the DG added. He said that the Agency developed an initiative called, ‘National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA)’, with the aim of bringing emerging technologies, such as the IoT’s and the 5G technology into the agricultural sector. “We piloted this initiative in 2019 and 2020 and it has given great results”, Abdullahi stated. He further disclosed that another

initiative; the ‘National Adopted Schools for Smart Education (NASSE)’, was launched by the agency with the aim of incorporating these emerging technologies into the educational sector as well, and expanding the potentials of the sector. The Director General mentioned that the regulatory approach adopted by the Agency, which is a developmental regulation, is essential in creating a plain level ground for business regulations where these emerging technologies

will be effectively utilized, thereby realizing the economic diversification of the Nation and the African continent at large. “In NITDA, we have refocused our process of making these policies user friendly, because it encourages participation of the private sector and the society, towards the development of these regulatory provisions for the 5G technology and other emerging technologies, which is why we refer to it as developmental regulations,” the DG concluded.




Ecobank celebrates US$350m Sustainability Bond listing on London Stock Exchange By Etuka Sunday


cobank Transnational Incorporated (“ETI”), the Lomé based parent company of the Ecobank Group, was hosted today by the London Stock Exchange for a market opening virtual ceremony to celebrate the successful listing of the Tier 2 Sustainability Notes on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) main market. This represents the first ever Tier 2 Sustainability Notes by a financial institution in Sub-Saharan Africa. This Tier 2 issuance is the first to have a Basel III-compliant 10NC5 structure outside of South Africa in 144A/RegS format and is now listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange. The bond, which matures in June 2031, has a call option in June 2026 and was issued with a coupon of 8.75% with interest payable semi-annually in arrears. An equivalent amount of the net proceeds from the notes will be used by ETI to finance or re-finance, new or existing eligible assets as described in ETI’s Sustainable Finance Framework, available at https://bit.ly/3j4xrlb on which DNV issued a Second Party Opinion. Investor interest for this Sophomore Eurobond issue was global, including United Kingdom, United States, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, achieving a 3.6x oversubscribed orderbook, of over US$1.3 billion at its peak. Ade Ayeyemi, Group Chief Executive Officer of ETI, stated: “The strong global interest in our issuance reflects investors’ confidence in Ecobank’s strategy and our commitment to sustainable financing. We thank the LSE for hosting ETI today and look forward to value creation for all our stakeholders”. The Joint Lead Managers & Bookrunners in the transaction were Citi, Mashreq, Renaissance Capital and Standard Chartered Bank.

On-going EFCC fraud case predates Nami’s appointment - FIRS By Etuka Sunday


he Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has commenced the hearing of a case of fraud involving some ex-directors and some members of staff of the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS). The members of staff are answering charges concerning embezzling Duty Tour Allowances (DTA) approved by the erstwhile management. They were arraigned on a 42-count charge bordering on corruption, fraud and criminal misappropriation of funds punishable under the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011

(as amended in 2012). The ongoing trial of the staff of the Service followed a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) about the alleged fraudulent practices which the accused allegedly committed between 2017 and 2018. The Director, Communications and Liaison Department, FIRS, Dr Abdullahi Ismaila Ahmad in a statement said, at the latest hearing of the matter on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 the court fixed the trial date for the case on September 28, 2021. The public may recall that the alleged violation being tried in the court took place between January

2017 and December 2018. The case concerns Duty Tour Allowances (DTA) approved by the former management for travels that were allegedly not undertaken. However, on the assumption of office by the new management, the Board of the Service promptly directed it to take the matter before the Staff and Management Disciplinary Committee for necessary disciplinary processes to be activated to deal with the situation. In line with this directive, the Human Capital Management Department of the FIRS subsequently investigated the matter and thereafter issued queries to the concerned members

of staff to give the serving officers a fair hearing. The Service had since completed the internal administrative processes as provided in its Human Resources Policies handbook as it relates to the officers still in service. The outcome of this procedure has been kept in abeyance pending the outcome of the ongoing court process. The Management of FIRS wishes to appeal to esteemed taxpayers and stakeholders to continue to continue to have confidence in its capacity to deal with internal issues while not also lose sight of its mandate of generating tax revenue for the government.


he Securities and Exchange Commission has stated that it recognizes the importance of digital platforms for democratizing access to capital market products and services for greater financial inclusion in the capital market. This was stated by Director General of the SEC Mr. Lamido Yuguda who was represented by the Executive Commissioner Legal and Enforcement Mr. Reginald Karawusa at a webinar organised by the Commission with the them “Digital platforms: New Frontier for capital Market inclusion”. Yuguda said, “As the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market, with a dual mandate to regulate and develop the market


Page 21

Abuja records 82 flood cases in 2020 -FEMA By Stanley Onyekwere


he FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has revealed that it saved 421 lives and properties worth over N102,851,000 from 82 flood cases it responded to across Abuja, nation’s capital city, in 2020. The agency also revealed that it responded to 584 emergency calls on fire outbreaks from which 2029 lives were saved, while 15 lives were lost and properties worth over N1 billion was salvaged. Making this disclosure yesterday, Director General

of FEMA, Alhaji Abbas Idriss, equally disclosed that in 2020, the Search and Rescue Teams of FEMA responded to 53 road crash emergencies, which saved 89 lives and properties worth over N36 million in the FCT. Idriss spoke at the 2021 Flood Outlook and Review of FCT Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (EPRP), organised by the Agency in Abuja. He noted that the agency also got 40 calls on psycho-social issues at the Internally Displaced Persons settlement’s and all were attended to without loss of life. According to him: “In summary, the Search and Rescue

Team received and responded to a total of 768 distressed calls, out of which 27 were false alarm. “ On the same course, the FCT experience two building collapse in which three lives were lost, 34 lives rescued, while properties worth over N84 million was salvaged. “ Also in 2020, the agency responded to two cases of electrocution. This was as a result of tree branches coming in contact with power lines.” The FEMA boss however, appealed to the Department of Parks and Recreation to intensify its monitoring activities to ensure that trees close to power lines are

pruned to avoid loss of lives. He said the event was a proactive step aimed at strategizing in terms of prevention, mitigation and response to flood prediction released by the Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency. Similarly, the Director General, National Hydrological Services Agency, Mr. Clement Nze, who commended FEMA for taken proactive measures to mitigate disaster in FCT, stressed that the agency was the most active and proactive emergency management organisation in the country. Earlier in his remarks, the

Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr. Olusade Adesola said the FCT Administration had continued to provide resources to maintain critical city infrastructure such as drainages and lighting up dark alleys. Adesola also implored the Area Councils that are yet to constitute their emergency management committees to do so with utmost urgency. “ This is important and neccessary because gaps on the part of Area Councils can undermine the strength of the FCT Emergency Response Plan,” the Permanent Secretary stressed.

IWD: Helpline advocates intensive skill acquisition in tackling Widow’s invisibility By Stanley Onyekwere


From left: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) during Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday (23/6/2021)

Digital platforms will aid financial inclusion – SEC By Etuka Sunday


we recognize that the greatest asset of any capital market and indeed any financial market is its investors. It is investors, whether retail or institutional that provide the savings needed for productive investments. Inclusion of the excluded population is therefore critical for deepening a sustainable capital market. According to him, the Enhancing Finance in Africa (EFInA) 2020 Report on the Nigerian “FinTech Landscape and Impact Assessment Study”, as at December 2018, about 40% of Nigerians were still financially excluded. 51.1% of the excluded population are women, while 61.5% are between the ages of 18 and 35. Also 34% had no formal education and 80.4% resided in rural areas.

This Yuguda said, means that 40% of Nigerians who are financially excluded, especially those between the ages of 18 and 35 are also excluded from participation in the Nigerian capital market. This low level of involvement in the market has spurred the Commission to intensify its investor education efforts to attract greater participation in the capital market by both existing and potential investors. The SEC Boss asserted that the capital market, as part of the Fintech eco system, is witnessing changes in the conduct of market activities with the emergence of digital platforms which provide wide scale, cost effective and efficient solution for inclusion of potential investors in the capital market especially the

younger population. “Since 2018 the Commission has been engaging stakeholders within this space, to develop an efficient regulatory framework that will mandate responsible digital financial practices to protect investors or consumers. “The discussions and insight from this webinar, therefore, will be instrumental in shaping the regulatory landscape for the operation of these platforms, as well as support our efforts in securing the mutual benefits from their emergence. He restated the Commission’s objectives, which are to build a modern, efficient and low cost market characterized by adequate product offerings, efficient processes and market integrity.

“We must do this continually by raising standards, embracing new technology, introducing new products, enhancing our processes, widening the investor-base, invigorating investor education and providing an enabling regulatory framework to support it all” he added. In his remarks, Director Market Development Department at the SEC, Mr. Edward Okolo said the topic for discussion is apt based on prevailing circumstances and global realities. The importance of financial inclusion and digital platforms in such times when human interaction and business operations are limited cannot be over emphasized. The global business thrives on digital products platforms and processes.

s the global community marks the International Widow’s Day (IWD), an Abuja based Non Governmental Organisation, Helpline Foundation for the Needy, has identified skill acquisition and financial empowerment, as key in tackling the invisibility of widows in the country. To this end, the Foundation has embarked on skill acquisition training for over 400 widows drawn from the six Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and neighbouring states of Nasarawa and Niger. However, the NGO also frowned at non focused policies of government at all levels to address the multifaceted problems facing widows across the globe, stressing that such an ignoring attitude means that issues of widowhood would remain unaddressed. According to the President and Founder of Helpline Foundation, Dr. Jumai Ahmadu, who spoke at the 2021 IWD organised by the Foundation, in collaboration with Nigeria Association of Women Journalists and Make A Difference for the Needy Foundation, however, affirmed that it is poised in making widows in the nation’s capital to be more productive in the society. Ahmadu, while commenting on this year’s theme: “Invisible Women, Invisible Problems”, noted that the theme urges all and sundry to identify widows and make their problems visible to society. According to her, “Among various ethnic groups, the widows are even deprived of their privileges. This theme of Widows’ Day 2021 therefore, urges us to identify those women and make their problems visible to society. Specifically, we are here today in ensuring that widows are not only empowered, but are made visible to policy makers. “Helpline Foundation and other critical stakeholders have come to the sudden realization that policies focus upon common citizens, labourers, jobless youth, and other suffering segments of the society but nothing is specifically discussed about widows in policy-making meetings. Therefore, we will continue to highlight the issues of this ignored group to make our society more sustainable”.

Director-General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim (L), addressing Corps members, during the opening ceremony of 2021 NYSC Inspector’s Development Programme in Abuja on Wednesday (23/6/21). With him is the Director, Corps Welfare and Health Services Department, Mr Ayodele Omotade.

Road crashes: FCTA vows to prosecute owners, drivers of articulated vehicles By Stanley Onyekwere


n a bid to mitigate increasing rate of road crashes especially in the Nyanya and other busy routes, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has vowed to arrest and prosecute owners and drivers of articulated vehicles otherwise called heavy duty trucks involved in accidents that maime and kill people. While stressing that any articulated vehicle or truck is involved in accident would be throughly investigated, FCTA said their owners and drivers would be prosecuted for lives lost and damages incurred in the process. Making this assertion yesterday,

Chairman, FCT Ministerial Traffic Management Team, Comrade Ikharo Attah, during a rescue operation at two scenes of road crashes involving articulated vehicles and several other automobiles, in Nyanya axis of the Territory. “A late Tuesday night accident involving two trucks carrying food, Malt drinks and alcoholic beverages caused severe traffic gridlock during the morning hours on Wednesday when workers were heading to work. “An early morning accident less than two hundred meters from the night crash, involving a Dangote truck, a costal Bus and tree other vehicles worsen the already chaotic traffic

situation. “From investigations of previous road crashes particularly on the ZubaGwagwalada and the AYA-Nyanya Road, we discovered that some of this trucks and articulated duty vehicles are not properly maintained by their corporate and private owners”, Attah stated. He continued; “ If not for the combined efforts of the DPO Nyanya, CSP Majia, FRSC Nyanya unit Commander, Mrs Sabena and a strong support of the Karu police Division the road would have not been passable at all. They deployed their men from 11. 40pm Tuesday night and worked till 10am Wednesday

morning to bring the situation fully under control”. “Despite series of efforts and enlightenment, it seems as some persons are yet to come to terms with the vision to make Abuja a safe city for motorists and commuters”. He however, condemned attempts by some youths and refuse vendors to loot food and other items from the scene of the crashes, saying, “ one wonders why some people will see rice, drinks at accident scene and be calling them palliatives. The Nyanya police team did a brilliant job by preventing the youths who came out in their hundreds to loot the items”.


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world news


HMS Defender: Russian jets and ships target British warship M ore than 20 Russian aircraft and two coastguard ships have shadowed a British warship sailing near Crimea. Moscow’s defence ministry said a patrol ship fired warning shots and a jet dropped bombs in the path of HMS Defender as it sailed some 12 miles (19km) off Crimea’s coast. The UK government rejected Russia’s account of the incident and denied that any warning shots had been fired. A BBC correspondent on the warship said it was harassed by Russia’s military. Aircraft could be heard overhead as BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale filed a report from the deck of HMS Defender in the Black Sea as it sailed to Georgia. He described hostile warnings over the radio as the warship’s crew prepared for a possible confrontation. Our correspondent, who had been invited on board the ship before the incident happened, saw more than 20 aircraft overhead and two Russian coastguard boats which at times were just 100m (328ft) away. This is at odds with statements from both the British prime minister’s office and defence ministry, which denied any confrontation. We believe the Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided the maritime community with priorwarning of their activity. No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path HMS Defender was sailing from Odessa in southern Ukraine to Georgia. To get there, it passed south of the Crimea peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014 in a move

A video released by Russia’s defence ministry allegedly shows HMS Defender from a Russian aircraft that has not been recognised internationally. While Moscow claims the peninsula and its waters are Russian territory, the UK says HMS Defender was passing through Ukrainian waters in a commonly used and internationally recognised transit route. A source told BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale that the Defender was not there to pick a fight but to make a point - to assert its right to freedom of navigation in international waters. Russia’s defence ministry said the “dangerous actions” of the navy ship entering its waters were a “gross violation” of the UN Convention’s sea laws, and called for the crew to be investigated. A later tweet from the Russian embassy in the UK said: “HMS

Defender turns HMS Provocateur and violates Russian border. Not exactly a ‘routine’ transit, is it?” But a UK government spokesman played down any notion of hostilities, insisting that Russia was doing “gunnery exercises” in the Black Sea. UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace added: “As is routine, Russian vessels shadowed [the ship’s] passage and she was made aware of training exercises in her wider vicinity.” The British ambassador was summoned to the Russian foreign ministry in Moscow, and met officials on Wednesday afternoon. On board HMS Defender Jonathan Beale, Defence Correspondent I am on board the warship in the Black Sea. The crew were already at action stations as they

approached the southern tip of Russian-occupied Crimea. Weapons systems on board the Royal Navy destroyer had already been loaded. This would be a deliberate move to make a point to Russia. HMS Defender was going to sail within the 12 mile (19km) limit of Crimea’s territorial waters. The captain insisted he was only seeking safe passage through an internationally recognised shipping lane. Two Russian coastguard ships that were shadowing the Royal Navy warship, tried to force it to alter its course. At one stage, one of the Russian vessels closed in to about 100m. Increasingly hostile warnings were issued over the radio including one that said “if you don’t change course I’ll fire”. We did hear some firing in the

distance but they were believed to be well out of range. As HMS Defender sailed through the shipping lane it was buzzed by Russian jets. The Captain, Vincent Owen, said the ship detected more than 20 military aircraft nearby. Commander Owen said his mission was confident but nonconfrontational. Russia said the incident happened just after midday local time (09:00 GMT) in the Black Sea near Cape Fiolent in the south of Crimea. According to the Russian military, HMS Defender was told to change course, and when it failed to do so, a Russian border patrol ship sent several warning shots. About ten minutes later, a military jet dropped warning bombs in the path of the destroyer. This case is reminiscent of a similar incident in November 2020, when Russia accused a US warship of travelling 2km into its waters in the Sea of Japan. Russia’s defence ministry said it had warned the USS John S McCain that it would be rammed if it continued sailing in the territorial waters, before chasing off the warship. However the US Navy said those claims were false, and that its ship had not been “expelled” from the area. HMS Defender is a Type 45 destroyer that is part of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group. It is carrying out missions in the Black Sea, according to the Royal Navy’s website. The warship was in the southern Ukrainian port of Odessa earlier this week, according to the British embassy in Ukraine. It said the UK and Ukraine had signed an agreement to jointly build warships and construct two naval bases. Source: BBC

China’s proposal of building community with shared future for mankind far-sighted: Vice president of Poland’s New Left political party By Yu Yang, People’s Daily


nder the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Chinese people have made remarkable achievements in development and made China the world’s second largest economy, said Andrzej Szejna, vice president of Poland’s New Left political party and member of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland, in a recent interview with People’s Daily. Szejna pointed out that the CPC has traveled a glorious journey in the past century and is still bursting with vitality, and its successful experience is the precious wealth shared by the world. On a bookshelf in Szejna’s office lies a copy of the Polish version of the first volume of “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China”, a book that he has read carefully for many times. He believes the book contains the secret of China’s development achievements. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, has had deep thinking on China’s

future, Szejna said, adding that the Chinese leader pays great attention to people’s well-being, and has put a lot of effort into improving the quality of life for the Chinese people, promoting the stability and development of the society, and balancing economic development and environmental protection. Szejna has paid many visits to China and been deeply impressed by China’s accomplishments in eradicating poverty. The CPC has seen notable results in advancing social fairness and balanced development, according to Szejna, who pointed out that the central and western regions of China have amazed people for their rapid development in recent years, and that Chengdu, Chongqing and other cities in central and western China are becoming new frontiers in China’s opening-up and have improved the quality of life for local people. Based on the reality of China, the CPC and the Chinese government have formulated development goals for different development stages and realize

their commitment to the Chinese people step by step, according to Szejna. Many countries are troubled by the huge gap between the rich and the poor. The CPC has strived to tackle the issue and achieve fairness and justice by staying close to the people, observing the “people first” governance philosophy, struggling for the benefits of people, and fully considering the rights and interests of the poor, the needy and the weak in development, Szejna said. He noted that China has taken account of both efficiency and fairness and formed a solid social foundation in the past decades of development, which he considers a key factor behind the country’s fast economic growth. China has exhibited strong capabilities of mobilizing and organizing people, and constructing facilities in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, a mirror of the strength of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, according to Szejna. He stressed that the pandemic is

the common enemy of humankind, and solidarity and cooperation is the most powerful weapon for combating the pandemic. While containing the spread of the virus at home, China has cooperated with many countries in controlling the pandemic, provided vaccines and other materials and shared anti-epidemic experience, making important contributions to promoting global cooperation on fighting against the pandemic, Szejna said. He admires China’s international humanitarian spirit and considers China’s proposal of building a community with a shared future for mankind farsighted and showing profound insights. The leadership of the CPC is a choice made by history and the Chinese people, said Szejna. The CPC’s success has shown the world the vitality and influence of socialism, and can be really inspiring for political parties in other countries, especially leftwing parties, he added. Poland has actively participated in the joint

construction of the Belt and Road, Szejna pointed out, adding that by jointly building the Belt and Road, Poland and China have embraced opportunities and reaped fruits in economic and trade cooperation, as well as cultural and personnel exchanges. He hopes the two countries will carry out further cooperation in areas including technological innovation, environmental protection, and trade in services. Poland’s New Left political party has conducted fruitful exchanges and cooperation with the CPC in recent years, Szejna pointed out. The party hopes to have more in-depth exchanges with the CPC in promoting economic development, safeguarding fairness and justice and strengthening party building, according to Szejna, who added that the New Left party will continuously support the CPC and various undertakings of the Chinese people and contribute to the exchanges and cooperation between the people of Poland and China.



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Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis: Heavy casualties reported after air strike


ozens of people have reportedly been killed or injured after Ethiopia’s air force bombed a market in the northern region of Tigray. Eyewitnesses told the BBC the Ethiopian air force struck the town of Togoga on Tuesday, 25km (15 miles) from the region’s capital, Mekelle. The Ethiopian military denied targeting civilians, saying it carried out the strikes to neutralise “terrorists”. Tigrayan rebel forces are said to have made advances in recent days. However, this has been denied by the Ethiopian government. Thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced after conflict erupted almost eight months ago. What happened in the strikes? A medical doctor at Mekelle’s main Aider hospital told the BBC that at least 60 people were killed and more than 40 were injured. There are fears the numbers will increase further. Doctors say they are treating dozens of people, including a twoyear-old child left injured by the air strike. Medical personnel told Reuters the Ethiopian military blocked them from reaching the site of the attack to help others left behind. A 16-year-old boy told the BBC from Aider hospital that he was struck in the hand by shrapnel and that he saw several people thrown on the ground. He said that the air strike killed a man he knew. Ethiopia’s army said the strikes were against military targets. “We never carried out an air strike on the market place. How is this possible? The army is capable of accurately hitting its targets. We conducted air strikes, but only on certain targets,” a spokeswoman said. What’s the background to the conflict? Ethiopia’s government, aided by troops from neighbouring Eritrea, launched an offensive in November last year to oust the region’s then ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). By the end of the month, it declared victory. The TPLF had had a massive falling-out with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed over his political reforms, though its capture of federal military bases in Tigray was the catalyst for the invasion. The TPLF has since joined forces with other groups in the region to form the Tigray Defence Force (TDF) rebel group. Speaking to the BBC on Monday after casting his vote in the twice delayed national election, Mr Abiy said he was working with the troops in neighbouring Eritrea to get them to leave but said he would not “push them out”. They are accused of carrying out massacres, mass rape and blocking humanitarian aid charges Eritrea has denied.

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F r o m A f r i c a Chinese envoy, Ex- lawmaker, party leader say CPC is people centered By Ochiaka Ugwu


he Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Nigeria, Mr. Cun Jianchun, Ex-Senator and party leaders have described the Communist Party of China (CPC) as people centered political party that always put the people first in all its programs and proposals. Mr. Cun in his keynote speech at the occasion of celebrating the 100 years of existence of Communist Party of China in Abuja organized by Centre for China Studies (CCS) with the theme: “CPC at 100: Trajectories, Achievements and Prospects” said CPC is a political party that breathes the same air and share the same future with the people. He stated that CPC adheres to its fundamental purpose of serving the people wholeheartedly, and takes the people’s support, approval, happiness, and consent as the fundamental criterion for judging all its work. He said to meet people’s aspiration for a better life is the goal of the CPC and that it has committed to serving and relying on the people. Cun said the party that started as a small party with over 50 members has grown into a major party with over 91 million members and has long been a ruling party in the world’s most populous country which won the broadest support of the Chinese people. He noted that “Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation” at Harvard University’ s John F. Kennedy School of © Government released a policy brief showing that the Chinese people’s overall satisfaction toward the Chinese government under the leadership of CPC exceeds 93 percent. Speaking further, he said this year also marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Nigeria. His words, “China and Nigeria have enjoyed a strong ‘development on the basis of mutual respect, mutual trust and mutual support over the past 50

R-L: Director, Centre for China Studies (CCS), Mr. Charles Onunaiju, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Cun Jianchun, Representative of Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. April Iyanga and Sen. Shehu Sani, during the 100-years anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China organized by CCS, at the Chinese Cultural center, Tuesday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa years. ‘Both sides cherish their friendship, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, and uphold the principle of noninterference in internal affairs. The mutually beneficial China-Nigeria economic and trade relations have enjoyed a robust development, the scales and areas of cooperation continuously expand, and the modes of cooperation have been diversified. “Projects like Abuja-Kaduna railway, Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone, currency swap, satellite launching, and joint marine scientific exploration, are the first of its kind in Africa” he noted. Also speaking, former Senate Committee Vice Chairman on Foreign Affairs, Senator Shehu Sani said that CPC celebration of 100 years of existence was historic given the fact that its achievements transcend beyond Chinese people as China is found in every household in the world. While appealing for China to help in curbing insecurity ravaging

the nation, he stated that CPC had made us to see China everywhere and around us. He said for the mere fact that China maintained stability in its soil given its huge population; it can also replicate it in Nigeria working with our security agencies. Also speaking, Chairman of Action Democratic of Party, Mr. Yabagi Yusuf Sani said that CPC celebration has offered them the opportunity to deepen their resolve on what political party should be. He said that CPC has shown that political parties should be agent of development in terms of delivering dividends of democracy to the people which it has achieved in China. While thanking China for the role they played in helping Nigeria during the pandemic, he stated that what made CPC thick was its affiliation with the Chinese populace. In his welcome remarks, Director of Centre for China Studies (CCS) Charles Onunaiju

said CPC has earned the trust of the Chinese people, because it is disciplined, trustworthy, make sacrifices and own up to errors. He informed that during the early years of national construction, especially the problems arising from the Great Leap Forward, the founder of modern China, Mao Zendong publicly owned to errors and made sacrifices for the growth of the nation. “In the early years of national construction, especially the problems arising from the Great Leap Forward, Chairman Mao publicly owned to errors and when it comes to making sacrifices, the leadership of the CPC, including Mao slashed their salaries from 600 RMB to 404 RMB. “Until he passed on, in 1976, he did not return his salary to its original, let alone increasing it. After the debacle of the Cultural Revolution, the party in special reflection of its own history acknowledged the error and introduced reforms and opening up” he said.

South African 10 babies story not true, inquiry finds


claim that South African woman Gosiame Sithole gave birth to 10 babies earlier this month is not true, an official inquiry has found. No hospitals in Gauteng province have a record of decuplets being born, the provincial government says. Medical tests show that Ms Sithole had not even been pregnant recently, it said. The 37-year-old is now being held under the mental health act for observation and will be provided with support. The statement did not elaborate on the reasons behind the fabrication of the story. Independent Online (IOL), the media group which owns the Pretoria News that first reported the story, had stood by its reporting. It went on to allege that Ms Sithole delivered the children on 7 June at Steve Biko Academic Hospital (SBAH) in the capital, Pretoria, saying staff were ill prepared.

It accused the hospital and the provincial health authorities of trying to cover up medical negligence. “These allegations are false, unsubstantiated and only serve to tarnish the good reputation of Steve Biko Academic Hospital and the Gauteng Provincial Government,” the latest statement said. Legal action would be taken against the editor-in-chief of Pretoria News, Piet Rampedi, and IOL, it said. Where did the story come from? Ms Sithole, who has six-yearold twins, and her partner Teboho Tsotetsi lived in Thembisa, a township with many workingclass residents in Gauteng province near Johannesburg. According to IOL, they attended the same church as Rampedi where he was introduced to them in December. In May it is alleged he interviewed the couple who said they were expecting eight babies - a photoshoot shows Ms

Sithole looking heavily pregnant. The birth of a surprise 10 babies was announced by Pretoria News on 8 June quoting Mr Tsotetsi as the source. He later said he had received text messages from his partner telling him about it, adding he was not allowed at the hospital because of coronavirus restrictions. Rampedi also relied on WhatsApp messages - and did not get independent confirmation from the hospital of the story. Their local mayor then confirmed the births - which is when other outlets, including the BBC, published the story - but a government spokesman later said the politician only had the family’s word and no-one had yet seen the babies. Donations began flooding in for the couple and their reported babies, dubbed the “Thembisa 10”, including 1m rand ($70,000; £50,000) from IOL chairman Iqbal Survé. But the story drew suspicion after Pretoria News initially failed

to disclose the hospital where the babies were born and a series of hospitals in Gauteng came out to deny their involvement. Ten days after the alleged births, IOL made the accusations against SBAH. The couple seemed to fall out in the aftermath with Mr Tsotetsi reporting her missing and asking people to stop donations a week later, while Ms Sithole accused him of wanting to benefit financially from the babies, the Pretoria News reported. Meanwhile social workers managed to track down Ms Sithole and she was admitted to hospital for tests last Friday, the Gauteng provincial authorities say. A leaked memo seen by News24 alleges that Rampedi has recently apologised to IOL for “the reputational damage” the story has caused the group, saying he should have treated it more like an investigative piece rather than a “feel-good story”. Source: BBC



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“Woods+medicinal herb+beekeeping” model increase people’s income while improving environment

By Qiang Yuwen, People’s Daily


hanks to a “woods+medicinal herb+beekeeping” model, which enables residents to make the best of local geographical and resource advantages in development, Wufeng Tujia autonomous county in Yichang city, central China’s Hubei province, has harvested a virtuous cycle of increasing people’s income while improving ecological environment. Qiaoping village, located in high mountains to the west of downtown Yichang, has 320 households and is a pioneer in Wufeng Tujia autonomous county to try the innovative model. In the past, residents in the village relied on coal industry for their livelihood. The number of coal mines of various sizes in the village once exceeded 20. Coal mining devastated mountains, leaving dark holes everywhere, said Deng Feng, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) branch of Qiaoping village. As the environment was destroyed day by day, Deng decided that coal mines must be shut down. In this way, it became necessary for the village to help residents find other ways to make a living after coal mines were closed. With an average altitude of 1,600 meters, a large temperature difference between night and day, and abundant rainfall, Qiaoping village has great natural conditions for the growth of alpine plants. Given the geographical and resource advantages of Qiaoping village, officials of the

village decided to try growing medicinal herbs in the woods and keeping bees near medicinal herbs. Qiaoping village has grown trees including Chinese dove trees and golden cypresses, and medicinal herbs like wild Gastrodia elata and Paris polyphylla. In spring, as wild flowers blanket mountains, swarms of eastern honey bees collect nectar. “Medicinal herbs are shadeloving plants. Many of them prefer high altitudes and need soil rich in humus. Good woodlands have exactly the ideal conditions for the growth of herbs,” Deng said. Keeping bees near Chinese medicinal herbs has enabled local residents to increase their income, and by gathering nectar, honey bees can help pollinate medicinal herbs and boost their production, according to Deng. Many residents in Qiaoping village have grown Chinese medicinal herbs in woods with suitable conditions, and Han Meiwu is one of them. Encouraged by village officials, Han joined a cooperative of the village, and started to plant Chinese medicinal herbs and raise eastern honey bees. “Our current income is something we couldn’t imagine in the past,” said Han. The villager’s family used to live on a low income mainly from growing traditional crops such as corn and potatoes. Since they started to grow Chinese medicinal herbs and raise honey bees, the family has got rid of poverty and moved in a new house in two years. The cooperative Han joined was established by eight villagers. It has attracted more than 100 households of

A local official (L) learns about the condition of a specialized beekeeping cooperative in Caojiaping village, Yuyangguan township, Wufeng Tujia autonomous county, Yichang city, central China’s Hubei province. (Photo/China Electric Power News) Qiaoping village. Last year, the annual output value of the cooperative reached nearly two million yuan ($309,600). By taking the lead in exploring new techniques for seedling breeding and the cultivation of Chinese medicinal herbs and sharing them with villagers, the cooperative has enjoyed increasing appeal among villagers. At present, the acreage of woods with Chinese medicinal herbs in Qiaoping village has surpassed 4,000 mu (about 267 hectares). In 2020, Wufeng Tujia autonomous county finished tending 2,000 mu of wildwoods, during which weeds and stunted brushwood were cleared and structure and density of tree species were optimized. As the woods have enjoyed more sunlight and provided more nutrients, the quality of arbors in these woods has improved

significantly. Meanwhile, the planting area of medicinal herbs has further expanded. Moreover, improvement in the local ecological environment was followed by the opening of agritainment restaurants and B&Bs in villages, which have gradually become popular destinations among residents in surrounding urban areas for road trips, and trips to avoid summer heat and enjoy leisure time. “The ‘woods+medicinal herb+beekeeping’ model has created a virtuous cycle. It allows villagers to increase the income without cutting trees down and hurting the ecological environment,” said Tang Zuguo, head of the forestry bureau of Wufeng Tujia autonomous county. “While promoting the new model during the past several years, we realize that the model has increased the utilization rate of the areas under trees.

Villagers can harvest medicinal herbs and honey in the short term, and reap benefits from woody medicinal plants in the long run,” said Tang. According to Tang, the “woods+medicinal herb+beekeeping” model has witnessed mature application in 18,000 mu of land in the county, which has established 400 mu of industry integration demonstration bases featuring the model. The model can be replicated and promoted in mountainous areas, Tang said, adding that Wufeng Tujia autonomous county has carried out cooperation with a good number of powerful pharmaceutical enterprises, and is expected to further optimize the model by leveraging new technologies of scientific research institutions as well as colleges and universities.


he Communist Party of China (CPC) has integrated Marxism into the actual conditions of China in a pragmatic and flexible way, and found a unique path to development, Dr M.A.Quassem, secretary-general of Bangladesh Peace Council, said in a recent interview with People’s Daily. Since 1840 when the First Opium War broke out, Chinese people have struggled with unflinching courage to save the nation from subjugation, Quassem said, noting that during its longterm exploration, China tried different political systems and development paths. History has proven that China’s national independence and prosperity were only realized under the leadership of the CPC,

stressed Quassem, who is nearly 80 years old and was a member of the Communist Party of Bangladesh when he was young. Quassem has visited China many times. Every trip to China gave him a new perspective on the country, he said, explaining that he has seen with his own eyes the country’s rapid development since its reform and opening-up, and really admires the CPC’s great achievements in governing the country. Socialism is thriving in China, which can be seen from the wide streets, bright lights, and hospitable people in Chinese cities, said the man who has been to Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian, Wuhan and other Chinese cities. From winning the tough battle against poverty to containing the COVID-19 pandemic, the CPC, together with the Chinese people,

has demonstrated the strengths of the socialist system with real actions, said Quassem, who noted that China has made a historic achievement by solving absolute poverty that had plagued the country for several thousand years and met the poverty eradication target set out in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ten years ahead of schedule. Under the leadership of the CPC, China, with the strength of socialism with Chinese characteristics in pooling resources to solve major problems and the unity and hard work of the Chinese people, has created a miracle in the history of human development, Quassem said. While achieving poverty alleviation targets at home, China has also promoted international cooperation in development by

joining the United Nations’ Alliance for Poverty Eradication and setting up the Assistance Fund for SouthSouth Cooperation, contributing to resolving global development issues, he added. In the face of the sudden onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has put people and their lives first and promptly taken effective measures, which have won admiration from the world, point out Quassem, who believes that the leadership of the CPC and the solidarity of the Chinese people have played a key role in China’s hard-won achievements. During the interview, Quassem showed People’s Daily his copy of the book “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China”, which has been read by him many times and is filled with notes. He has drawn a lot of philosophical thoughts and

wisdom from the book, Quassem said, adding that what he finds particularly inspiring are China’s new development philosophy featuring innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development as well as the important idea of building a community with a shared future for mankind. For one hundred years, the CPC has enjoyed Chinese people’s support for its adherence to its original aspiration and mission, and retained its vigor and vitality because of its long-lasting efforts to carry out selfreform, according to him. As the year 2021 marks the centenary of the founding of the CPC, he hopes China can secure even more brilliant achievements under the leadership of the CPC and contribute more wisdom and strength to the development of humanity, Quassem said.



Key to Success of the Communist Party of China Over the Past 100 years


CPC and Chinese people demonstrate strengths of socialist system with real actions: Chief of Bangladesh Peace Council

By Hu Bofeng, People’s Daily



he year of 2021 bears a lot of significance to China. It marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), marks the first year of the implementation of the China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, and marks the start of China’s new journey of building up a modern socialist country in an all-round way. Over the past 100 years, the CPC whose membership grew up from 57 in 1921 to more than 92 million nowadays, has developed into the largest Marxist ruling party, and brought tremendous changes to China, the most populous country in the world. Since its 18th National Congress in 2012, the CPC, by holding high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, has united and led the people of all ethnic groups in China, adhered to the peoplecentered development concept, fully implemented the five-sphere integrated plan for promoting economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress, and coordinated progress of the fourpronged comprehensive strategy to build a moderately prosperous society, deepen reform, advance the law-based governance and strengthen Party self-discipline. Based on these endeavors, the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era has been formed up, and thus ushering the socialism with Chinese characteristics into a new era. Under the leadership of CPC, China has already built a moderately prosperous society in all respects, achieved the first centenary goal, and embarked on a new journey of building a modern socialist country. Currently, China is advancing to the second centenary goal on the basis of the new stage of development, by applying the new development philosophy, and creating a new development pattern. According to CPC’s two-step strategy in the new era, China will basically realize socialist modernization in 2035, and turn to be a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful in the middle of this century. Why could such brilliant achievements be made by CPC? The key lies in the lofty ideals and missions born by it, which could be summarized as everything the CPC does is for the wellbeing of the Chinese people, for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation as well as for the peace and development of mankind. Firstly, the CPC comes from the people and serves the people. Its original aspiration and mission has always been to seek the happiness of the Chinese people.

Serving the people wholeheartedly is the fundamental purpose of the CPC. In 1945, Chairman Mao Zedong pointed out that the typical symbol, which distinguishes the CPC from other political parties in China, is that “it has established the closest contact with the broadest masses of the people; serving the people wholeheartedly and never for a single moment cut itself off from the masses; everything done by it lies in the interests of the people, not in the interests of individuals or small groups”. Afterwards, “serving the people wholeheartedly” has been kept in a prominent chapter in the CPC Constitution. General Secretary Xi Jinping, in his report to the 19th National Congress of the CPC in 2017, once again stressed that, the aspirations of the people to live a better life must always be the focus of Party members’ efforts. Serving the people wholeheartedly is not a political rhetoric, but can be seen in practical actions. Over the past 100 years, the CPC united and led the people to build their homeland by self-reliance and hard-work, and then to fight the battle against poverty with strong determination, concerted effort, and unwavering faith. By the end of 2020, through eight years’ hardwork since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, China has achieved the goal of eliminating extreme poverty, a key goal of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. The 98.99 million people in rural areas who were living below the current poverty standards all shook off poverty; all the 128,000 impoverished villages and 832 designated poor counties got rid of poverty. China has won the battle against poverty and achieved the poverty reduction goals set out in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. The CPC has always relied on the people, served the people, and been deeply rooted in the people. The CPC and the Chinese people are inseparable. Without the CPC, there would be no new China, and without the CPC, there would be no strong China. In recent years, surveys by pollsters in western countries have shown that the support of the Chinese people

Mr. CUI Jianchun for the CPC and the Chinese government has been as high as over 90%. Secondly, the CPC shoulders the great mission of national rejuvenation, unites and mobilizes various social forces and leads China to a path of peaceful rise. Upon its founding, the CPC shouldered the historic mission of national rejuvenation, united the people and led them to overthrow the “three big mountains” of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism, and established the New China in 1949. The CPC united the people and led them to complete the socialist revolution, establish socialism as China’s basic system, and reverse the fate of the Chinese nation from the continuous decline to steady progress toward prosperity and strength. The CPC launched the great new revolution of reform and opening up in 1979, removed all ideological and institutional barriers to the country’s development, and embarked on the path of building socialism with Chinese characteristics. Thus was China able to stride ahead to catch up with the times. Based on the long-time practice of the Chinese revolution, construction and reform, the CPC explored the socialist political party system with Chinese characteristics, featuring in

“multi-party cooperation under the leadership of the CPC, with the CPC holding power and the other eight parties participating fully in state affairs”. Based on the principle of “long-term coexistence, mutual supervision, treating each other with sincerity and sharing each other’s weal and woe”, the CPC and the other eight parties work hand in hand in developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. This practice has already proved that the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC suits China’s actual conditions and shows the great vitality and advantages. China led by the CPC, has always been committed to a path of peaceful development, and to peaceful coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation with countries around the world, instead of seeking hegemony. The wisdom from China’s thousands of years’ history reveals that hegemony will lead to a country’s failure, not that a strong country should seek hegemony. China is blazing a path of peaceful rise distinct from the trajectory of traditional powers. Thirdly, with the aspiration of benefiting the world, the CPC actively promotes the building a community with a shared future for mankind and firmly seeks peace and development for

Based on the long-time practice of the Chinese revolution, construction and reform, the CPC explored the socialist political party system with Chinese characteristics, featuring in “multi-party cooperation under the leadership of the CPC, with the CPC holding power and the other eight parties participating fully in state affairs”

humanity. The Chinese people are open and inclusive. Since ancient times, they have always held these beliefs dear, such as “all people under the heaven are of one family”, “all the people are my brothers and sisters”, and “all nations should live in harmony”. Meanwhile, they have always wanted to create a better world in which “a just cause is pursued for the common good”. To make new and greater contributions for mankind is the CPC’s lofty mission. Where it would benefit the humanity, China has always step forward, take action, and get the job done. General Secretary Xi Jinping of the CPC has made the proposal of “building a community with a shared future for mankind”. As he said, while people across the world live under the same sky, share one and the same home planet and belong to one and the same family, they should be guided by the vision that all people in the world are of one family, and should endeavor to build a community with a shared future for mankind. In 2013, China launched the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), aiming at promoting peace and development of mankind. To date, China has signed more than 200 cooperation documents with 140 countries and 31 international organizations. The BRI is serving as a solution for China to participate in global openingup and cooperation, improve global economic governance, promote common development and prosperity, and build a community with a shared future for humanity. Against the background of major changes and COVID-19 pandemic unseen in a century, the right attitude for all countries is to bond together and tide over difficulties with solidarity. China is among the first counties to initiate and act on the pledge to make vaccines a global public good. After the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines are listed for emergency use by the WHO, China is working actively to advance providing vaccines to the COVAX. The past 100 years of the CPC is a period of fulfilling its original aspiration and mission, a period of enduring the great hardship and laying the foundation, and a period of creating brilliant achievements and opening up the future. At the new historic starting point, the CPC will stay true to its original aspiration and founding mission, and continue to pursue happiness for the Chinese people, rejuvenation for the Chinese nation, and the common good for the world. (Mr. CUI Jianchun is the Ambassador of China to Nigeria)





‘Heartbreaking’ conditions in US migrant child camp


t a US border detention centre in the Texan desert, migrant children have been living in alarming conditions where disease is rampant, food can be dangerous and there are reports of sexual abuse, an investigation by the BBC has found through interviews with staff and children. In recent months, the US has seen a massive rise in migrants and asylum seekers from Central America. Violence, natural disasters and pandemic-related economic strife are some of the reasons behind the influx, experts say. Some have also suggested the perception of a more lenient administration under Democrat Joe Biden has contributed to the crisis, though the White House has urged migrants against journeying to the US border. The tented camp in the Fort Bliss military base in El Paso, Texas, is the temporary home for over 2,000 teenaged children who have crossed the US-Mexico border alone and are now awaiting reunification with family in the US. Findings from the BBC’s investigation include allegations of sexual abuse, Covid and lice outbreaks, a child waiting hours for medical attention, a lack of clean clothes and hungry children being served undercooked meat. The BBC has spoken to camp employees about these conditions and seen photos and video smuggled out by staff. What are the camp conditions? The Fort Bliss camp consists of at least 12 tents, some of which house hundreds of children at a time. The children spend most of their day in the tents, getting out for an hour or two of recreation, or to line up with hundreds of others for a meal. Staff told the BBC the food was mostly edible, but a 15-yearold who has now been released said he was fed uncooked meat. “Sometimes the chicken had blood, the meat very red. We couldn’t stand our hunger and we ate it, but we got sick from it.” A number of tents have also been set up just to accommodate the large numbers of sick children - the children have nicknamed it ‘Covid city’. “Hundreds of children have tested positive for Covid,” said one employee who asked to remain anonymous because staff are banned from speaking about the camp. In addition to Covid, outbreaks of the flu and strep throat have also been reported since the camp opened in late March. And some children in need of urgent medical attention have been neglected. In a secret recording of a staff meeting in May given to the BBC, an employee told of a child who was coughing up blood and needed urgent medical care.

There are hundreds of children in some of the tents

When a child tests positive for Covid, their bed is stripped and they are sent to a Covid tent “They said ‘we are going to flimsy bunks, set inches from their stories and to see them very send him to lunch’,” the employee each other, extending in long lines plainly suffering and to hear the reported another staff member as through the vast tents. same kinds of complaints over “I think the crowding is the and over again about things that saying. “It was a three and a half number one reason that illnesses could be corrected so easily,” said hour wait to see anybody.” The 15-year-old who spoke to have spread,” said an employee. a staff member. Wild sandstorms sweep the BBC was released last month “After a child has been here after 38 days in detention. He through the Chihuahuan desert for a few days, they say, ‘you’ve said he caught Covid-19 soon after where the camp is set. got to get me out of here as soon “The whole tent starts shaking, as possible, I just can’t stand it arriving in the camp, and became severely ill. After he recovered, he some of the tents open up and anymore,’” he added. “They feel was sent back to live in a crowded sand rushes in. You literally have like they are in a prison.” to shield your whole body from tent and became ill again. What do the authorities say? “When we went to ask for sand,” said a female employee The Department of Health and medicine they gave us dirty looks, who also spoke on the condition Human Services (HHS), which and they always laughed among of anonymity. employs private contractors “By the end of the day, we are to help run the camp, says it is themselves,” said the boy, who preferred to remain anonymous, all just covered in dust from head committed to transparency, but to toe,” she added. Staff told the the BBC was denied access to the of some camp workers. “Lice has been rampant,” an BBC that showers are on offer, but camp. employee told the BBC. “And many children don’t want to take HHS did not respond to the one of the major shortages has them because they have no clean specific allegations of neglect in been lice kits.” Staff said a tent of clothes to change into. Fort Bliss uncovered by the BBC, There is a shortage of but says in a public statement around 800 girls was locked down underwear, other clothing items that it is “providing required last month because of lice. Photos and video smuggled and shoes in the camp, according standards of care for children out of the facility by staff and to employees. such as clean and comfortable “It is heartbreaking to hear given to the BBC, show rows of

sleeping quarters, meals, toiletries, laundry, educational and recreational activities, and access to medical services”. What are the reports of sexual abuse? There are reports of staff sexually abusing children at the Fort Bliss camp. At a camp training session, secretly recorded by a staff member and shared with the BBC, an employee voiced concern. “We have already caught staff with minors inappropriately,” she said. Another employee told the BBC that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had spoken to staff about a rape. “DHS mentioned there was a rape - they are giving the girls pregnancy tests,” she said. “And I heard the other night that another contractor was caught in a boys’ tent, you know, doing things with him.” What state are the children in? Many of the children in Fort Bliss become severely depressed, according to staff, who say there are multiple cases of children selfharming. “I thought that I was not going to get out of there, that I was not going to see my family again,” the 15-year-old who spoke to the BBC said, welling up with emotion. “Sometimes, and at night, we would cry. During the worst time I was nearly at the point of committing suicide,” he said. Staff took risks to speak about and expose the conditions children are being held in at Fort Bliss. The state of around 12,000 other children in the HHS emergency facilities scattered around the country remains largely unknown. Why have so many children crossed the border alone? Over a million migrants have tried to cross into the US this year, according to US Customs and Border Patrol - almost twice as many as last year. Many adults are deported due to a public health rule put in place in the Trump era. But most children under President Joe Biden have been allowed to stay. These children are mostly coming from Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador. Around 80% of the migrant children who end up in the US alone have relatives in the country, but the system is failing to unite them quickly. Earlier this year, HHS set up a system of emergency camps - Fort Bliss is one - to relieve overcrowding in facilities run by US Customs and Border Patrol. Currently, children spend an average of 31 days in the HHS camps, down from 40 days at the beginning of the Biden administration in January. Source: BBC

PEOPLES DAILY, wednesday, june 23, 2021


We’ll partner stakeholders to improve lives of persons with disabilities - Founder/CEO of Inclusion Magazine The founder/CEO of AK Global and Inclusion Magazine, Hussaini Abdulrahman, said he will partner stakeholders to improve lives of persons with disabilities. While thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the disability bill, Abdulrahman, who also holds the title of Wakili Arewa Nupe, told Tobias Lengnan Dapam, in an interview that all states and local governments should help people with disabilities. He also spoke on other sundry issues affecting people with disabilities in the country. Excerpts: Sir, as someone who has been in the media for a very long time, why did you choose the path of inclusion magazine? It has always been my dream to address the challenges of people with disabilities. These people are passing through serious challenges in our community with no help. It is not as if they offend God, but it is His own way of telling us that he is in charge. I feel it is our responsibility to take care of them. Inclusion magazine is a platform that will address certain challenges that people with disabilities are facing. After discussing with some of my staff, we felt the need to come up with a platform that will address their needs. We also know that a lot of money is needed for most of these people on daily basis to be healthy. For instance, physiotherapy for a special need child is 3000 to 7000 naira per hour. If the therapists come and the child is not in the mood the parent will still pay. Some of the children have hole in their hearts and they need constant hospital visit. Government should make speeches therapy free to help many parents who can not afford the bills. We have many of them in government hospitals and if they can help, we will be grateful. They need to be taught everything and the teacher or the parent needs to be patient with them because they are different from other children. Irrespective of the conditions, parents should know that the children are human beings; they should see it as an avenue to take care of them. The parents should be caring and observant so as to better take care of the children. Also, the blind, the cripple, and those with autism have their different challenges. We need all the necessary help to address their needs. What do we expect to see? Currently, inclusion magazine is monthly, with 24 hours online publication. Our main aim is to

set inclusive policy bench mark for people with disabilities; to be a voice for them so that all relevant stakeholders will come up and accept them. We are also canvassing for government to intervene and provide necessary assistance for people with disabilities. For instance, autism is a major challenge and most people are not aware. It is a mental condition present from early childhood, characterized by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts. Autism has been studied extensively and increasing research is indicating that nutrients like Glutathione and Vitamin C could be useful for supporting some of the problems associated with this complex condition. Children with autism have low levels of glutathione, and often have impaired glutathione detox pathways. Some of the symptoms of autism include; Delayed learning of language, difficulty in making eye contact and difficulty in holding a conversation. Others are; Lack of interest in making friendships, poor motor skills, repetitive mannerisms, fixation on objects and lack of spontaneous or make-believe play. Also, it is a known fact that some children with learning disorder read upside down and cannot compete with other normal children. People call them dullards and all sorts of names, but it is only a learning disorder that can be managed. There are also others with speech defects, some of them have hearing defects while many others have holes in their hearts. We are advocating for them because we know that most people are not aware of what they are passing through and how to help them out of their current challenges. What





Founder/CEO of Inclusion Magazine, Hussaini Abdulrahman (Wakili Arewa Nupe) acceptance? We started recently and the acceptance is massive. We have met various stakeholders both local and international. People are very happy with what we are doing and we intend to do more. We recently had event to celebrate them on children’s day; many groups came and they were happy with what we are doing. How can you give teeth to the laws on disability? It is one of our objectives; to write the wrongs of the past. We are glad that the President has signed the disability bill; we intend to go to states and partner with state governors to appeal to them on the need to key in. We will also partner the state governments on various skills acquisition programmes to help them learn trades. Most of these people are gifted in various ways, we will explore this areas and make them useful to themselves and the society at large.

How would you address the stigma against people with disability? We want to have a programme that will bring both parents and children to partner effectively. They need to known what the children need so that they can take care of them effectively and train them in school. Unfortunately, some parents have not yet come to terms with certain realities about their children. On our part, we will do our best to unite them. We also discover that some parents withdraw completely from society, and we try to talk to them and bring them out of the situation. We advice them to go to hospital and accept the child for who he is and also ensure his/her education. Special needs come with different variance. Some have vocal impairment and they are different in their ways. Their education is different from other children. In most cases, such children are being accessed and

We advocate inclusive education for all children regard of their level of disabilities. We believe that inclusiveness is the key to eradicating stigma against people with disabilities

organize individualized lesson plan because some of them are slow to learn and cannot cope with other normal children. Cognitive skills need serious development and teaching is different, some have different pots and it is not easy to cater for them. It is a great divide and it varies across homes. In poor homes, it is a serious challenge while in rich homes, it is only the trauma that people complain about. For those in rich homes, the children are taken to boarding schools, they have special nanny and someone to take care of them in school. But the poor person cannot afford all these for his/her child and it becomes a very big problem. Irrespective of the conditions, parents should know that the children are human beings, they should see it as an avenue to take care of them. The parents should be caring and observant so as to better take care of the children. There is a face of denial, but they need to come out of it. Some went through suicidal stage and blame themselves that probably they didn’t do certain things right during pregnancy, some feel like killing the child while some kill the child eventually. Are you in partnership with local NGOs? We have partnered National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, JONAPWD and many others on how to improve lives of persons with disabilities. The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mr. Lulu and the management staff have been supportive. We have met and discussed various areas that will help in addressing the challenges of people with disabilities. We have also met with the deaf and the blind. We are also comparing notes with a lot of other NGOs so as to see the areas of partnership. What type of school do you want for them? We advocate inclusive education for all children regard of their level of disabilities. We believe that inclusiveness is the key to eradicating stigma against people with disabilities. We are working towards bridging the gaps and create a society where all people will have the same rights. Where do you see yourself in the next five years? We intend be a National paper reporting people with disabilities. With what we have started, by the Grace of God, we will cover all areas and increase readership. We will work assiduously to place issues of people with disabilities on the front burner.







sports@peoplesdailyng.com, SMS- 08142929046


Why Rohr Is Using Home-based Super Eagles To Prosecute Mexico Match N igeria national team manager Gernot Rohr has revealed that players from domestic league – the NPFL, were chosen to execute the international friendly game against Mexico in the United States of America because the Super Eagles A team players were on break ahead of their pre season preparations The home-based Eagles friendly game with Mexico is billed to hold at the Los Angeles

Memorial Coliseum, on July 4. And Rohr is determined to achieve some goals with the opportunity. “The match against Mexico is for home based players because our main Super Eagles players are not free to come, they are in their clubs for pre season ahead of a new season,” Rohr said “This is a team from Nigeria, the best local players, some of them are already in our A team. The goalkeeper from Enyimba

and a winger, plus Ezenwa who is experienced hand have been capped previously “This is a team for CHAN, it is a good preparation for them. It will be difficult to get a result because Mexico is a very wonderful team. They’ll go there to learn and I will watch and see if I can get other players for the Super Eagles A team,” Rohr stated. Rohr continued: “You cannot play against Mexico and say you

will win it with these home-based players. It is not our A team and it will not count for FIFA rankings. The most important thing is not the results but to test the players discover new players and evolve new tactics.” Rohr said that the team will be coached by the duo of Austin Eguavoen who is the technical director at the Nigeria Football Federation with his deputy Paul Aigbogun, and that he would be there to watch the players they

selected and see if he can pick some of them for the A team. “Though I am not the coach of the CHAN Eagles, but I think the players selected for this game stand a good chance of making the CHAN squad. Eguavoen and his assistants picked the team with the aid of Salisu Yusuf, Imama and other top coaches from the domestic league It will be interesting to see these players perform,” Rohr concluded

NFF to partner Real Estate company RevolutionPlus

Photo: Super Eagles training in Abuja yesterday


he Nigeria Football Federation will on Friday in Lagos sign a partnership agreement with RevolutionPlus, a notable name in Corporate Nigeria. The Company, leaders in Nigeria’s real estate sector, will become the Official Real Estate Partner of the nation’s football governing body. Talk of one property firm in

sub-Saharan Africa today that offers genuine documentation on its properties, affordability of its products, and integrity of its managers, the name Revolution Plus Property Development Company Limited will be mentioned. This real estate firm is one of the fastest-growing firms in sub-Saharan Africa at present. The vision of the organization is to become the Number 1

real estate company in subSaharan Africa and the whole world. Its mission is to bring real estate dreams, desires and expectations into reality with its total commitment to affordable housing through its multi-channel services. Revolution Plus Property Ltd brings to bear its experience and expertise in developing luxury and state-of-the-art property for

sale and for rent. The company specializes in the sale of lands and houses and offers flexible payment plans and incentives to make acquiring property easier. On the part of the NFF, the Amaju Melvin Pinnick administration continues to break new grounds in corporate sponsorship terrain, despite the disruption and distortion that the global coronavirus pandemic has

visited on the global economy. The administration continues to work assiduously to accomplish breakthroughs as Pinnick insists the football –governing body is determined to achieve 75% selffunding before the end of this year. The partnership would confer on Revolution Plus the naming Rights as Official Real Estate Partner of the NFF.

Kaduna Queens disqualified from 2021 NWFL Championship Playoff

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Kaduna Queens disqualified from 2021 NWFL Championship Playoff


aduna Queens Football Club have been disqualified from participating in the 2021 Nigeria Women Football League NWFL Championship, Bestchoicesports.com.ng can report. The Kaduna State ladies were sent out if the league on Tuesday after they failed to meet the registration deadline. The NWFL in a release noted that “The Queens were eliminated from the NWFL Championship following their failure to beat the registration and club licensing deadline set by the Secretariat of the NWFL.” The Chief Operating Officer of the NWFL, Modupe Shabi, said at the official draws and Pre-Match Meeting to herald the NWFL Championship, that, only five teams will play in the NWFL second tier league after the failure of Kaduna Queens to beat deadline set for registration. She noted that, the NWFL will adjust the league fixtures accordingly to accommodate five teams instead of the earlier planned six teams. The five teams that would battle for the two promotion tickets to the NWFL Premiership are : Adamawa Queens, Heartland Queens, Kwara Ladies, Naija Ratels and Gallant Queens. “As two top teams will be promoted to the Premiership, so also two bottom teams will be relegated to the Nationwide, so the challenge is going to be very tough, “ Modupe Shabi said in Abuja. The draws and Pre-Match meetings for the NWFL Championship League were yesterday conducted by the Vice Chairperson of the NWFL, Rt. Hon. Margaret Incheen, who is also the Chairman of the Benue State Football Association. She was supported by NWFL board member, an Nationwide League Co-ordinator, Sir Joe Amene.




ZOOMAX 8-Team Invitational Tourney: FC Digital Foot, TBC FC Win Big In Matchday 2 By Amaechi Agbo


C Digital Foot and TBC FC recorded the highest wins in the Matchday 2 of the maiden edition of the ZOOMAX 8-Team Invitational Tournament in Abuja Tuesday. Playing at the Area 3 Play Ground, FC Digital Foot thrashed FC International 3-0 to make it two wins out of two matches in the ongoing tournament. FC Digital Foot’s 3 goals were scored by three different players with David Adeyemi opening the flood gate at 14 minute. Benjamin Oloche consolidated the scoreline in the 37 minute before Shaba Idris’ 53 minute s ttrike

ensured that FC International’s spirited fight back did not produce the desired end. Playing at the Old Parade Ground in the lunchtime kickoff, TBC FC consolidated their “tournament favorite” tag as they humbled Karu FC 4-1. Bishop Samuel’s brace in 25th, 52nd minutes; Israel Godwin’s 37th minute strike and 77th minute goal by Masile John ensured that TBC collected six points out of two matches. Although Ishaku Philip scored in the 34 minute to cancel out the opener, TBC ran away with the three points at stake. In other matches, CASMAT FC’s hunt for their first win in the

competition suffered a blow after they were handed another defeat by Abees Academy who beat them by an odd goal. Safiyanu Nasir scored the only goal of the match in the 18th minute of first half to ensure that the young lads maintained their 100% match recorded in the tournament. Abees Academy defeated FC International 1-0 in the opener on Monday, it could be recalled. The match between Garki FC and WACO Academy produced the first draw in the tournament after both played out a 1-1 scoreline. WACO Academy took the lead in the first half courtesy of David Albar goal but Garki boys rallied to equalise in the 68th minute through

Metu Hassan. The ZOOMAX 8-Team Invitational Tournament enters Matchday 3 on Wednesday with mouthwatering fixtures. Only one match will be played in the morning as FC International battle CASMAT FC at Old Parade Ground by 10am. Two matches will go on simultaneously in both venues by 12noon with a “match of the tournament” fixture between Abees Academy and FC Digital Foot taking place at Area 3 Play Ground. Both teams have not lost a match and are tied on the log with 6 points although FC Digital Foot have superior goal advantage. In the other match scheduled

Zoomax Players in action.

Super Eagles forward Emmanuel Dennis joins Watford in EPL


nglish Premier League side, Watford Football Club have confirmed the acquisition of Nigerian forward, Emmanuel Dennis Bonaventure from Belgian Jupiler League side, Club Brugge. The English Premier League side on their social media pages confirmed that an agreement has been reached with Club Brugge

for the forward to join William Troost Ekong, Isaac Success, and Tom Dele Bashiru’s side. “An agreement with Club Brugge has been reached for the transfer of exciting young forward Emmanuel Dennis, we are delighted to confirm.” The statement read. The 23-year-old Nigerian

spent part of last season on loan in Germany’s Bundesliga with 1. FC Köln, having first joined the Belgian top-flight side in the summer of 2017. A scorer of 27 goals in just over 90 club appearances for Brugge, he has featured in both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.

“The Hornets are currently finalising personal terms with the pacy striker – capped twice by Nigeria so far – who began his professional career with some experience as a teenager in the Ukrainian Premier League with Zorya Luhansk.” The statement concluded. Emmanuel Dennis has scored

19 goals in 85 league games for Club Brugge from the 2017/2018 to the 2020/2021 season. He could not score a goal in nine games during his loan spell at German Bundesliga side, FC Koln last season.

By Amaechi Agbo

preliminary discussions to start an inclusive and broadly supported and beneficial CAF African Super League,” he said in a statement, as quoted by Reuters. “We have been following the attempts by some top European clubs to form a Euro Super League and will learn from their experience and pitfalls.” Motsepe has been the Caf president since March after replacing Ahmad Ahmad, although according to the Reuters report, it was actually Fifa president Gianni Infantino

who first mooted the concept of an African Super League. Infantino’s suggestion was that the African Super League would have 20 permanent member clubs, as well as others who would qualify via regional play-offs. He predicted it would bring in US $3-billion over a five-year period. Motsepe supports the idea and believes a Super League would “contribute to African football becoming globally competitive and selfsustaining”. Apart from the financial

windfalls a Super League would potentially bring, Motsepe also hopes that such a competition could help improve African football’s global image. “There is a poor perception of Caf concerning its adherence to governance, auditing, ethical, financial and management good practices,” he said. “These negative perceptions may, to some extent, be confirmed by the incriminating and damning audit which identified irregular, unethical and improper transactions and conduct.”

The European Super League idea was met with huge opposition, particularly by fans, other clubs, ex-players, and even current players. This resulted in it being called off. Twelve of Europe’s leading teams had agreed to create the league – six Premier League clubs in Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, as well as AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus from Italy, and Spanish sides Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

CAF to introduce Africa Super League


frica’s football governing body, CAF has disclosed that it is in discussion to introduce Africa Super League in the continent’s football calendar. CAF president, Patrice Motsepe, gave the green light when he said the concept of an African Super League is already in discussion. He also mentioned that CAF plans to learn from their European counterparts on how to go about it. “We are assessing and in



. . . putting the people first



SPORTS Policy failure and impact on nation building (1) latest


Usain Bolt, Bennett Welcome Twins, Saint And Thunder


amaican sprint legend Usain Bolt and partner Kasi Bennett have announced the birth of their twins, Saint Leo Bolt and Thunder Bolt. The Eight-time Olympic gold medalist and partner, Bennett welcomed their first child Olympia Lightning Bolt on May 17, 2020. Both have been together since 2014.

Ousmane Dembele out for three months


rench forward Ousmane Dembele has received another setback after it was reported that he will be out for a period of three months. Dembele who was a substitute in France last game against Hungary had to be withdrawn in the game after picking an injury with his club Barcelona confirming that the player needed surgery. ESPN now reports that the player is set to be out for three months after being entirely ruled out of the Euros. The move means that the player will be out of Barca’s preseason preps that begin in July. The player dislocated the biceps tendon in his right knee, which will require surgical treatment even though his club has not issued any specific time frame for his layoff, but it is expected to be lengthy. The injury came at a time when the player’s future at the club has been a subject of speculation with the player said to be non-committal about his extension despite the club wanting him to stay for a longer period. Taye Taiwo and Oduamadi

Advert: news: Kano: lagos:

olicies are sets of intended actions aimed at achieving a common good either for the public or for a corporate body. The general intention is to achieve a higher or better situation than whatever the present happens to be. So government and its functionaries are responsible for making policies aimed at achieving the common good and improving the general well being. It is a process that requires deep thinking, serious research and analysis; it calls for deep intellectual engagements with the process, public and stakeholders as well as deployment of analytic skills. Without any doubt policymaking and implementation are vital tools in the strategic kit for a people’s growth and development. The big question then is why do policies in Nigeria seem to fall flat? It had not always be like this, definitely at some point in time policies did work and when we say policies worked it simply means that goals and objectives were achieved, and that results were glaringly evident. When for example General Gowon (Rtd) was head of state education and human capital development within the realm of a well united and integrated society were a priority and he set about pursuing that with a strategy that resulted in the establishment of more unity schools generally referred to as federal government colleges. The result is a whole load of first class people from different walks of life with strong social affiliations across every nook and corner of this country. More so that quite a number have gone on to set records and become stars or gurus in their chosen fields; CBN governors and deputy governors, some of the best democratically elected governors in this Republic like Donald Duke and Makarfi. In every sector there are products of these schools that

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SAFIYA ADAMU yandokye@gmail.com have excelled at home here in Nigeria and abroad. Gowon’s education policy is without doubt Nigeria’s boldest, greatest effort ever at human capital development; it is also the very first discernable effort at gender education and development. Yes! While the rest of the world was following a stereotype system the Gowon administration was emphasizing education for the girl-child at a faster rate than any other developing country or its peers in those times. To every mixed or co-ed secondary school in any state there was an all -girls school. The result was a larger number of girls with high quality secondary school certificates than boys. This was long before the “girlchild” education fad came on board and caught fire on the world stage. The same administration did not discard previous policies that were brought on by Nigeria’s pioneer administration. Each region then identified what they believed they were best at and went on to enact policies that would grow their common good, enhance their peoples’ collective well being. The common policy for all the regions was that of import substitution; the Gowon led military government adopted the import substitution strategy

that saw the establishment of Vehicle Assemblies across the regions. These Assemblies had time lines to graduate into full-fledged factories and manufacturing companies. Also every industry had a specific contribution to make to the development and growth of another. The Petro-chemicals were set up to provide the base material to feed the plastic and automobile industry. All of these policies had far reaching impacts on the lives of the citizens. And this is what is sadly lacking today. As up-start nations the pioneer governments and early military governments invested in education and health with policies that aimed at attaining gradual self-sufficiency. One may ask then at what point did we begin to lose it, fall prey to policies that do not resonate with the people? It is probably a long shot in the dark. But we could try to answer it may be not adequately today, but some time soon. Policies were back then products of deep reflections and hard choices with intent on common good. Today we have huge problem in this area and this problem goes way back probably to the 1986 decision of the then government of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (Rtd) to adopt the Bretton Woods’ institutions’

The big question then is why do policies in Nigeria seem to fall flat? It had not always be like this, definitely at some point in time policies did work and when we say policies worked it simply means that goals and objectives were achieved, and that results were glaringly evident.

recommended Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), an economic package that was rejected by Asian countries or at best was selectively adopted in parts by those countries that were later to be qualified as the Asian Tigers. The choice to adopt in whole the entire Structural Adjustment Program package was made and taken for the country based on recommendations of institutions that were just out to experiment on their newly arrived at “research” or “studies” on developing economies. Today’s policies appear to lack in deep reflections, in-depth analysis and little stakeholders’ contributions. Importantly the policies seem to come on board with no corresponding delivery strategy. This is one of major reasons why these policies do not get the necessary buyin that would make them impactful. When policies fail to impact they simply create barriers to delivery of services. Consequently good governance is threatened and the administration is no longer fully together. It also suggests that commitment to the nation is light on the scale just as intellect is low in the offing. The result is what we see today and it is what keeps us awake.


We gave COVID-19 palliatives to all govs, Minister tells Reps -News

Why were they hiding them?

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