Friday, December 3, 2021 Edition

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Friday, December 3, 2021/

Rabi’ul Thani 28 1443 AH Vol. 38 No. 092 N200




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

172 DAYS


. . . putting the people first


153 DAYS

Police confirm attack on Barau Jibril's campaign office in Kano, arrest 13 PG 5

Reps probe questionable payrolls, padding, fake employment in MDAs >>PG 5

Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano state (middle) Presenting cash support of N10m to the family of those who lost their lives, during the boat miss shape supported by the Emir of Bichi Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero (right) and SSG Alhaji UsmanAlhaji (left), at Bagwai in Bichi LGA of Kano state yesterday.

Buhari writes Reps, want passage of 2021 Finance Bill PG 4 Kanu absent in court as hearing date shifted to Jan 18, 2022 PAGE 2

Sealed property Edo NDLEA seizes 5.49 not for Shekarau’s tonnes of suspected lawyer -KNSG cannabis in 2 days PAGE 6





Kanu absent in court as hearing date abridged to 18 Jan

News 6-18

By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja



Politics 15-17 Stock Watch Business Metro

18 19-21


he detained leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, was conspicuously absent at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja. Speculation that Kanu will not be produced in court was rife early Thursday morning, as there was no presence of Department of Security Services (DSS)operatives and other security agents at the

vicinity of the Court. The embattled IPOB leader is being prosecuted by the Federal Government over alleged treasonable felony, terrorism and other related offences. At the last adjourned date, November, 10, Justice Binta Nyako, adjourned Kanu’s trial to January 19, 2022, for continuation. It was learnt that the matter was brought forward to December 2, due to appeals made to Justice Nyako, by the IPOB leader’s legal

team for their application for abridgement of time to be heard. Counsel to Kanu, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, had approached the court with an application, seeking order of the court to accommodate the trial in December this year as against the earlier January 19. Reacting, counsel to the federal government, Shuaib Labaran, told the court that a counter affidavit opposing the request has been filled and served on Kanu. In the bench ruling, Justice

Nyako informed Kanu’s team that the application for time abridgment cannot be considered because there is no judicial time for that. The court took time to go through it’s diary, and insisted there was no vacant date to bring Kanu’s trial to December. However, the court was able to fix the matter for January 18, instead of the earlier slated January 19, 2022.


World Analysis 22 Africa News


World News


Reps summon Customs, FIRS others over unremitted taxes Page 8



Feature 26 Sports 29-31 Back Page


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R-L; President Muhammadu Buhari receives briefing from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, Nigerian Ambassador to UAE, H.E Mohammed Dansanta Rimi, NSA Mag Gen Babagana Monguno (Rtd) and Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim ( Patami) and Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina in Dubai, UAE. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. DEC 2ND 2021

Gbajabiamila urge citizens to eschew politics, religion, ethnicity By Christiana Ekpa


he Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that to triumph over the challenges facing Nigeria, citizens should overcome their differences in politics and religion, tribe and ethnicity. Gbajabiamila said one of the ingredients of overcoming Nigeria’s security challenges is information management. The Speaker was speaking at the 2-day national conference on information organized by the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values chaired by Rep. Odebunmi Dokun. He said: “As we undertake this crucial assignment today, I would like for us to keep a few things in mind. First is that right now, across the length and breadth of our beloved country, we are besieged by several security challenges that strike at the very heart of our continued nationhood. “Triumph over these challenges requires overcoming our differences

in politics and religion, tribe and ethnicity, and building a national alliance against the forces that threaten us. Information management is central to success in this regard. “We have to do better at making sure that citizens understand the nature of the problems we face and are kept informed of our wins and losses and the sacrifices made by those who do battle on our behalf.” Gbajabiamila added that “as technology and new media have democratised public debate to benefit citizens and nations, it has also created the ideal conditions for bad actors to spread misinformation and manipulate people in ways that threaten our societies.” He said with Nigeria ‘s diverse cultures and religions still working towards achieving a more perfect union, hate speech and other forms of misinformation and disinformation could quickly have a devastating realworld effect. “Therefore, countering misinformation by whatever proper and legal means are available is

not a theoretical question but a responsibility that goes to the heart of our ability to continue to exist as one nation in peace, unity and prosperity.” He tasked the stakeholders at the conference to be aware that “in trying to prevent the worst consequences of misinformation and hate speech, there is a danger of going too far in ways that smother the marketplace of ideas and deprive citizens of their free speech rights. “That would be most unfortunate, and as leaders and government policymakers, we must avoid that outcome by all means. To do that, we must focus on building legal systems and protocols that support free expression and robust public debate whilst holding to account those who in service of their narrow interests will seek to subvert our societies and harm our country using choreographed and mischievously curated misinformation.” He noted that the theme of the conference, ‘Information as a Strategic Tool for National Development,’ was apt and further

tasked the stakeholders to look at the depth and breadth of the theme. Earlier in a welcome remark, the chairman of the committee, Rep. Dokun said “proper information management has not been given its deserved consideration in the Nigerian society, hence it has consistently resulted in unguided environment for promotion of hate speech and fake news that has become the order of the day and accompanied by its negative consequences of setting us against one another.” He said the theme of the conference is broad, therefore the depth and importance of the discuss could not be exhausted at a forum, noting that the importance of information management to national development could not be overemphasized as its literacy is significant for such in any country. “Hence, it could be affirmative that through proper dissemination of information, country’s orientation and reorientation policies can be adapted for any planned paradigm shift for developmental purposes.”



From Mustapha Adamu, Kano


he Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone one, Sadiq Bello has warned politicians in the zone against violence. The commissioner also enjoined them to be law abiding as the political activities have started ahead of 2023. The AIG gave the warning while addressing newsmen shortly after a meeting with Kano and Jigawa Commissioners of Police at the AIG Zone One Headquarters in Kano on Thursday. He stressed the need for politicians and other members of the public to avoid acts capable of causing tension and chaos as “political terrain has started heating up.” “As we are moving to 2020, the political terrain is now heating up so we urge members of the public to be law abiding. Definitely it’s democracy but there are fundamental human

FG approves funds for Umuahia-IkwuanoIkot Ekpene road


he Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, says funds for reconstruction of Umuahia-IkwuanoIkot Ekpene Road has been approved under the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Road Tax Credit Scheme. Fashola made this known in a letter addressed to Rep. Sam Onuigbo (APC-Abia) representing Ikwuano/ Umuahia Federal Constituency, made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja. The minister urged the lawmaker to prevail on his constituents to remove all structures and crops within the right of way to allow for free and speedy reconstruction of the road. He said that the approval was in response to appeals made by the lawmaker, requesting government’s intervention on the deplorable federal road. Addressing newsmen, Onuigbo who underscored the importance of the road, commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the minister for the approval of funds to fix the road. “I held the first meeting with the minister on June 14, 2016 to convey to him the terrible, deplorable state of the road from Umuahia to Ikwuano to Ikot Ekpene which is a federal road. “And to be fair with the minister, after my presentation which was supported by pictorial evidence, agreed right there that the road had indeed collapsed. “He approved that FERMA should immediately intervene to do palliative work to allow trucks which hitherto could not pass to pass and any truck that tried to pass got stuck. “But in the letter that the minister gave to me, he commended me for having the interest of my constituency at heart and promised that I should take the letter as a commitment of the federal government to really fix that road,” he said. He added: “This is because it is a very important, major economic artery that is used for conveying goods from Calabar port, export processing zone, prospecting an oil serving equipment covering some sections of the Niger Delta. (NAN)


News Editor, Tobias Lengnan Dapam

2023: AIG warns politicians against violence rights and whatever we do we should be law abiding. The AIG assured members of the public that the police would continue to carry out their operations professionally and in line with the code of conduct of the Nigeria Police. “We should always consider that

and we will always be professionals and be guided by the code of conduct of Nigeria Police, one of which is to respect the fundamental human rights of the citizens,” he said. He said the meeting was aimed at appraising the performance of the two commands this year with

a view to planning for next year (2022). “As you know we are in December, the year is coming to an end that is why we in Zone one comprising Kano and Jigawa police commands come together so as to appraise our performance for this

year and our plan for 2022. “The meeting enabled us to see how we coped with the security challenges in the two commands.” The AIG pledged the commitment of the zone to continue to do its best in the fight against crimes and criminality.

Alleged IPOB Link: Court orders DSS to release detained businessman By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja


ustice Anwuli Chikelu of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has ordered the State Security Service(SSS) to immediately release a businessman, Ntari Hassan Danladi, being detained by the agency. The Jalingo based business man, Danladi was said to have been arrested on or about the 6th day of May, 2021 and has been under the custody of the SSS without any complaint or charge filed against him by the Federal Government. Justice Chikere made the order while delivering ruling on

a motion on notice marked FHC/ ABJ/CS/450/2021), filed by Pius Danba Pius, on behalf of Danladi. The court, had in an enroll order noted that the order to detain the Danladi was made on 24th day of June 2021, and that the order was to expire after ninety (90) days. The court held that the ninety (90) days expired on 22nd day of September, 2021. “There is no application by the State Security Service(SSS) for renewal of the detention order. “That the order of detention having expired and there being no renewal, the 1st Respondent/ Applicant is to be released from custody of the State Security Service immediately.”

The motion on notice dated 18th November, 2021, and filed on November, 19, had prayed the Court for an order directing the Respondent (SSS) to produce the Applicant (Danladi) in Court immediately and show cause why he should not be released unconditionally having been detained for almost 6 months without a charge preferred against him. Meanwhile, briefing judiciary reporters, Pius Danba Pius said Danladi is being incarcerated in the detention facility of the DSS for allegedly having links with the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB). He said Danladi was arrested

in Jalingo by operatives of DSS, and since then, no charge has been preferred against him. “We have obtained an order of court for Ntari Hassan Danladi to be released immediately by the SSS. “The order made on November 29, 2021 by Justice Anwuli Chikere has been served on the DSS through the Court’s bailiff. “As at the time of this briefing, the SSS has refused to release our client, an action that is a flagrant disobedience to a valid order of court” Pius stated. He therefore, called on the SSS to as a matter of urgency, respect and obey the order of a court of competent jurisdiction. L-R: Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Colleges and Institutions (The Awardee), Hon.Munir Babba Dan-- Agundi President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Arc.Kabiru Ibrahim, Presenting the Award on behalf of National Agricultural Seeds Council to Hon DanAgundi at the 4th Edition of the Seed Africa 2021 Connect, Conference and Exhibition, held In Abuja,

NGO rolls out guide for rape, SGBV survivors to access justice


nvictus Africa, an NGO, rolls out “Survivor’s Guide” to assist survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence and gender-based violence (SGBV) to access justice and information. By Justina Auta Invictus Africa, an NGO, on Wednesday, rolls out the “Survivor’s Guide” to assist survivors of rape and other forms of sexual violence and gender-based violence (SGBV) to access justice and information. Ms Bukky Shonibare, Executive Director, Invictus Afric, said in Abuja that the practical guide would be a reference for both survivors and active bystanders with actionable information on SGBV. According to her, the guide would also serve as tools for SGBV survivors to work through the trauma years after. Shonibare said that the increasing cases of SGBV called for the inauguration of the guide by the NGO.

She said that the guide would assist survivors of SGBV to know their rights, how and where to get help, know the lies, know what to do and not to do when violated. “The fourth part talks about what to do and not to do when you are sexually abused. Some when they are sexually abuse, they immediately rush to go and wash off. But that washing takes away evidence. “So how do people know that they are not supposed to wash immediately?; so the part on know what to do and not do to people when they are sexually abuse. “ And, the final part talks about where and how to get help, where can you go to get help. “ And, with that we align that with our Orange Pages, which contains over 200 contacts of organisations in Nigeria, who are responding and providing services to survivors of SGBV. ”That is why we have deemed it necessary to launch the survivor’s

guide,’’ she said. According to her, the guide will be made accessible in various local languages or other means of communication to people both in the city and rural areas to assist them when needed. “We want to make this survivor’s guide reachable to the different segments of the society such as persons living with disabilities, persons who are hard on hearing, persons who cannot see. “How do we get this information across to them and even in local languages. ”So those are types we want to take moving forward in order to make sure that everyone in this society, who has either been abused or potentially to be abused, has access to this document,” she said. Also, Osai Ojigho, Country Director, Amnesty International Nigeria, called on the government at all levels to fully implement the Violence Against Persons Prohibition

(VAPP) Acts, to reduce the prevalence of SGBV. Ojigho also called for psychosocial supports to survivors to reduce the trauma caused by the abuse. The country director also called for increase access to free medical examination, use of appropriate language and actions while investigating such cases. “The other thing is the resources that needs to be located in other to strengthen the justice system. VAPP provides all these and more. “Sadly, many states that have even signed are yet to put allocation in their state budgets for implementing this Acts. “That is why we are calling on government to put their money, where their mouth is. “You have announced this and if possible for survivors, when they get to hospitals they should be taken care of free of charge, when they get to courts their cases should be fasttrack. (NAN)



NEWS Gbajabiamila reiterates Reps’ determination to promote education in Nigeria By Christiana Ekpa


peaker Femi Gbajabiamila has reiterated the determination of the House of Representatives to support the development of education in Nigeria. Gbajabiamila, while receiving the Sarkin Kudu of Birnin Kudu, Jigawa State, HRH. Garba Hassan Jbrin, at his office on Thursday, noted that education ranked topmost on the Legislative Agenda of the 9th House of Representatives because it remained the foundation of development in any society. He said: “We believe in education as the foundation of civilisation and development and that’s why many members try as much as possible to get tertiary institutions to their locality. “Education remains our priority and we will do everything we need to do to bring this to fruition.” Earlier in his remarks, the Sarkin Kudu informed the Speaker that the delegation was on an appreciation visit for the roles played by the Speaker in the successful passage into law, the establishment of a Federal College of Education in Birnin Kudu, Jigawa State. He said the roles played by the Speaker did not go unnoticed to the entire sons and daughters of the town. The Speaker, however, noted that appreciation should go to the member, Rep. Aliyu Magaji Dau, who sponsored the establishment bill for the efforts he put into it and other members of the House for their support for the eventual signing of the bill into law by President Muhammadu Buhari. The Speaker later presented a gift to the traditional ruler.

FG must do more in expanding our economy - Ex-Speaker Na’Abba By Abubakar Yunusa, Abuja


former Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Ghali Na’Abba, said that the Federal government must do more in the direction of expanding economy. He noted that Nigeria as a country never had a perfect constitution, saying that it’s always work in progress and it is important to conduct “ourselves nationally in an orderly manner.” He said “Nigeria politics must be deregulated because you cannot expand an economy without deregulating politics and this deregulation comes in the form of the control that political parties have been subjected to by the Governor in the States.” He spoke at the Mallam Sule Maitama lecture series with the theme, “Constitution, Constitutionalism and the future of Nigeria”, organized by the student wing of Coalition of Northern Group (CNG), at the Nasarawa State University, yesterday.

Buhari writes Reps, want passage of 2021 Finance Bill I By Christiana Ekpa

n a bid to ensure the passage of the 2022 budget estimates worth N16.39, President Muhamadu Buhari has transmitted to the House of Representatives, the Finance Bill, 2021 to enhance the implementation of the 2022 Appropriation Bill. President Buhari had on October 7 laid before a joint session of the National Assembly the N16.39 trillion budget which is presently undergoing legislative processes for passage into law before the lawmakers would embark on Christmas and New year break in the middle of this month. To ensure the effective

Implementation of the budget, the President, pursuant to sections 68 and 59 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), formally requested that the Finance Bill, 2021 be considered by the House of Representatives for passage Into law. A letter read by Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House, at the commencement of plenary on Thursday, notes that the Bill seeks to support the implementation of the 2022 Federal Budget of Economic Growth and Sustainability by proposing key reforms to specific taxation, customs, excise, fiscal and other reIevant laws. According to the president’s

letter, the 2021 Finance Bill specifically provided for, enhanced domestic revenue mobilisation efforts to increase tax and non-tax revenues, tax administration and legislative drafting reforms, particularly to support the ongoing automation reforms by the Federal Inland Revenue Service ( FIRS). The proposed legislation also intends to accelerate international taxation reforms to enhance the taxation of non-resident individuals and companies that nevertheless derive profit from Nigeria. Other objectives of the bill are to: “Implement Financial Sector Reforms to support ongoing capital market reforms relating to securities lending

transactions, real estate investment trusts, unit trust schemes and the recapitalisation of Insurance Companies. “Prioritise critical public financial management reforms regarding the FIRS’ vital role in coordinating tax administration as well as the enforcement of key fiscal rules under the 1999 Constitution, Finance (Control & Management) Act and other relevant laws,” the document states. Buhari expressed hope that the bill will be favourably considered by the National Assembly, for passage into law so that it may provide fiscal support necessary for the implementation of the 2022 Federal Budget.

Minister of State for Science, Technology and Innovation Barr. Mohammed H. Abdullahi (2nd right), Head Fabrication Technology Division National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT) Zaria Engr. Joseph Otsai (5th left), Principal Procurement Officer National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT) Zaria Engr. Abubakar Bello (right), and others in a group photograph during the Facility Visit at the Foundation Laying Ceremony of 2tons Per Day Processing Plant for Tomato Paste and Fruit Juice by the Minister, yesterday in Nassarawa State.

NSA calls for right laws to fight cybercrimes


he National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, on Wednesday, called on the legislature to enact laws to address cyber threats. Monguno made the call at a 2-day “Awareness and Sensitisation Workshop for Judiciary and National Assembly on the implementation of Nigeria’s National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy (NCPS) 2021. The NSA was represented by the Director of Policy and Strategy, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Amb. Aminu Lawal. Monguno said the emergence of cyberspace technology was accompanied by inherent challenges, including threat to national security, cyberspace operations and negative impact on critical infrastructure. According to him, the judiciary and the National Assembly have crucial roles to play in addressing the myriads of security challenges confronting the cyberspace. “These included legislative responsibilities, interpretation of the law and proper administration of criminal justice on cyberspace

and cyber security in Nigeria. “It is important to acknowledge that the giant step taken by the national assembly to facilitate the enactment of relevant legislation to curb the criminality in the cyberspace is vital. “Furthermore, the promulgation of the cybercrime prohibition and prevention Act 2015 was lauded by the public as it codified illegal activities conducted in the cyberspace. “The judiciary also has enormous responsibility to ensure the correct interpretation of these laws and facilitate the prosecutions of cyber criminals. “However, there are still huge challenges in the area of technology law, understanding the chain of custody and administration of digital evidence among others. “These challenges have slowdown the progress in cybercrime investigations and prosecutions,’’ he said. Monguno said the workshop was expected to give the necessary direction or key initiative within the NCPS 2021, to address some of the aforementioned challenges. He added that the workshop should provide modalities for

implementing the action plans by various establishments towards protecting the nation’s infrastructure against cyber attacks. The NSA said that more was required to develop the requisite framework for the gathering, use and validating electronic and digital evidence in investigations and prosecution processes. According to him, there is urgent need for the enactment of the data protection legislation to bridge the existing gap on data protection and privacy matters. On his part, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, commended ONSA for the initiative to engage all stakeholders towards addressing all security challenges. Malami, who was represented by the Director of Public Prosecution, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, said there was the critical need for seamless synergy between the various arms of government in dealing with the monster of cybercrime. He said that all nations have been transiting from analogue to digital age in all aspects, including health records, court exhibits, space

research, weather forecast, national database, corporate trade secrets, bank records among others. According to him, the dynamics of national security surpasses technological supremacy and economic wealth, as progress of nations are being placed and measured by the ability of cybersmart nations to outwit their contemporaries. “We are well aware that to survive and thrive in this new world of cyberspace, our lawmakers and judges must stay ahead of cyber criminals. “Our legislature should be able to stop hackers on their tracks, our judgments should reflect coral graphs of the intricacies of cyber jurisprudence and a lot more,’’ he said. Malami, however, urged the participants to contribute to the effort of securing the lives of all citizens both online and offline. Earlier, the Director, Communication in the ONSA, Brig.-Gen. Samad Akisode, said that cyberspace had become a fundamental aspect of humanity globally, adding that economies were constantly striving to exploit the benefits of the digital age. (NAN)




Reps probe issues of nominal payrolls, padding, fake employment in MDAs By Christiana Ekpa


he House of Representatives on Thursday mandated its Committees on Anti– Corruption and Public Service to investigate the issues of nominal payroll, padding and fake employment in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the country and report back in 10 weeks for further legislative action. The House equally set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate allegations of malfeasance in the MDAs by the Independent Corrupt

Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and report back in one week. The ICPC had recently declared that a review of the 2021 budget led to the discovery of 257 duplicated projects with a combined worth of N20.138 billion. The House also resolved a probe be launched into the level of waivers given for employment in the past five years, given the ban on employment by the government. The House resolutions followed the adoption of the

motion on the Call to Investigate the High Level of Corruption on Nominal Rolls of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the Country by Hon. Dachung Musa Bagos. The House noted the report of high level corruption being perpetrated in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the country. The House said it was aware that President Mohammadu Buhari, on 30 November, 2021 ordered the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC)

to take actions against heads of MDAs and other personnel involved in project racketeering, budget and payroll padding as well as ghost worker’s retention. “Aware that the Chairman of the Independent and Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) also stated that the review of the 2021 Budget led to the discovery of 257 duplicated projects with a combined worth of N20.138 billion. “Concerned that the corrupt practices are carried out in all facets of the activities of the

MDAs, with the highest being the issue of payroll padding and ghost workers’ retention, as these funds find their way into the pockets of the Chief Executives, Officers and heads of the MDAs at the expense of the nation. It was also concerned that these corrupt practices have diverted the country’s revenue meant to be channelled into economic development and capital projects. The House appreciated the efforts of the present administration to curb or eradicate corruption in the country.

Wayas, a quintessential democrat, says Ayu By Folorunso Alagbede, Abuja


he National Chairman elect of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, has joined millions of Nigerians to mourn the passing of Second Republic Senate President, Dr. Joseph Wayas. Wayas died in London after a brief illness at the age of 80. Ayu, who was Senate President in the botched Third Republic, described the late Wayas as a quintessential democrat who left bold prints on the politics and political history of Nigeria. While recalling his role in the Second Republic, Ayu said Wayas brought stability, colour, style and depth to his leadership of the National Assembly. His words:”I join millions of Nigerians across different strata of life mourning the passing of this great Nigerian statesman. He dedicated his life to the service of his Fatherland. “He was a great man, a quintessential democrat and outstanding statesman who has left very hold prints both on the politics and political history of Nigeria. “As Senate President in the Second Republic, he brought stability, style and depth to his leadership of the National Assembly at the time”, he said. Continuing, Ayu added:”Even after the collapse of the Second Republic, Wayas continued to be a stabilizing force. We recall his work as a statesman at the 1994 Constitutional Conference. “I wish to convey my heartfelt condolences to his family, the people and government of Cross River state as well as the Federal Government of Nigeria”, he added. While regretting that Nigeria will miss Wayas’ fatherly advice, Ayu prayed for God to grant him eternal rest and give his family the fortitude to hear the irreparable loss.

Participants during the Commemoration of the 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence in Kebbi state organized by the state Gender Based Violence committee under the Chairmanship of the state’ s First Lady, Dr Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu (middle) held recently in Kebbi State

Kano Police confirm attack on Barau Jibril’s campaign office, arrest 13 suspects From Kano




ano State Police Command has confirmed attack on the campaign office of Senator Barau Jibril, representing Kano North Senatorial District in the state. Jibril, who is gunning for Kano gubernatorial position, had parted ways with Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje-led APC faction and joined Sanator Ibrahim Shekarau’s side. Also, a High Court in Abuja, on Tuesday sacked the Gandujebacked APC leadership and affirmed the Shekarau-led exco. However, on Thursday

morning, hundreds of thugs, holding dangerous weapons invaded the campaign office of Jibril, situated along Maiduguri Road and vandalized it. Confirming the incident, the Public Relations Officer of the command, Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, said in a statement that on receipt of the report, the Commissioner of Police, Sama’ila Shu’aibu Dikko, raised and instructed teams of Operation Puff Adder to move to the scene, restore normalcy and arrest the culprits. He 13 suspects had been arrested, adding that weapons and other items were recovered. Items recovered include, 34

dangerous weapons, 23 Clubs, 2 Gallons of suspected petroleum, 1parcel and 30 pieces of dried leaves, suspected to be Indian hemp. Other exhibition recovered include, 24 sachets of Diazapam Tablets, 4 Pieces of Red Sun Solution,1 Mobile Phone, 2 ceiling fans and bunch of charms. Kiyawa stated that normalcy was immediately restored and situation under control. Investigation has commenced and suspects will be charged to court for prosecution. “The Commissioner of Police, Kano State Command, CP Sama’ila Shu’aibu Dikko, fsi warns that, criminals will have no

hiding place in Kano State. “ They are advice to either repent or leave the State completely. Otherwise, they will be arrested and face the full wrath of Law. He thanked the good people of Kano State for their prayers, encouragement, continuous support and cooperation. “ He urged residents to pray for the State, the Nation and report incidences to the nearest Police Station and not to take laws into their hands. Rigorous patrol and raids of criminal hideouts and black spots will continue throughout the State, as the Command will sustain the ongoing “Operation Puff Adder”, he stated.



NEWS By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


ano state government has said that the Task Force Committee on Land Use Charges sealing of a one-storey building along Murtala Muhammad Way which accommodated many offices including the chamber of a lawyer who won a case against the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the conduct of its ward congresses was but a mere coincidence. A statement by the state commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba indicated that contrary to the media report, particularly online platforms, there was no any link whatsoever between the sealing of the office and outcome of the court ruling. He said officials of the Task Force Committee on Land Use Charges of the state Bureau for Land Management working in conjunction with the state Internal Revenue Service (KIRS) were on their routine assignment of enforcing payment of land use charges as part of effort to enhance the state revenue generation drive. Malam Garba pointed out that according available record at the bureau, the property at C14/C16 Murtala Muhammad Way belongs to Isyaka Rabi’u & Sons not the said lawyer, Barr. Nureini Jimoh and it was sealed by the committee after it issued a demand notice to the owner on September14, 2021 and later a warning notice after failing to respond to the demand for the payment of outstanding ground rent

Joseph Wayas, a consumate democrat, detribalized Nigerian, says Atiku By Folorunso Abuja



ormer Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has described the former Senate President, Senator Joseph Wayas, who died yesterday in London, as a consummate politician and democrat, and a detribalized Nigerian. Atiku said this yesterday in a statement issued by his media office in Abuja. The former Vice President noted that the late Wayas contributed in no small measure to the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria and will, forever be remembered as one who served the country well and served his people with passion. According to him, “The legacy of his (Wayas’) political beliefs and triumphs will be important footnotes in the literature of Nigeria’s government and politics for generations yet to come”. The former Vice President prayed to God to stand by the bereaved family, as well as the government and people of Cross River to bear the loss of a patriarch and statesman with fortitude.

Sealed property not for Shekarau’s lawyer-KNSG ...Owner defaults paying 5yrs ground rent despite several warnings

for a period of five years (2016-2021). The commissioner further explained that during its operation, the committee had sealed seven other

defaulting properties on December 1, 2021 on same Murtala Muhammad Way as well as in other part of the state that included those along Zoo Road,

Zaria Road and Ibrahim Taiwo Road. He stated that as far as the matter is concern, the committee or the bureau only deals with the property

owner not the tenant renting it and dismissed media report linking it with the recent political development in the state. Secretary to the Rivers government, Mr Tammy Danagogo (L) inaugurating the Central Planning Committee for the 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration in Port Harcourt on Wednesday (1/12/21). 07414/2/12/2021/ Chidi Ohalete/BJO/ NAN

Jonathan says local govt system in Nigeria has collapsed By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


ormer President, Goodluck Jonathan, has said that the local government system in the country may have “collapsed completely”. In his estimation, the weakness of the third tier of government, has not helped the security situation confronting the Nigerian State, in view of its closeness to the people. Jonathan made the submission, Thursday, in a Graduation Lecture he delivered at the National Institute for Security Studies (NISS) in Abuja. The lecture entitled, “Repositioning The Nigerian Economy for Sustainable Development: Challenges and Prospects”, signalled the completion of a 10-month programme for sixty six Executive Intelligence Management Course (EIMC 14) participants, drawn from the country, the Gambia, Ghana, and Liberia. While establishing a nexus

between security and economic growth, the statesman, who was in his elements, urged the federal to boost investor-cinfidence by emplacing a business-like day environment. According to the ECOWAS envoy: “Because of the weakness of the lower tiers of government, the Local Government system that is supposed to interface with communities directly, and prevent this, is dead in this country. “In terms of governance nothing is happening at that level , the community engagement is so weak. Governance at the local level has collapsed completely. “It is not the federal government that will have the structures to engage the local governments, since they are mainly managed by the states now, because we are told some states take their money. “The states must have strong departments that can coordinate the affairs of this local government”. He added thus: “And these

departments must have regular meetings with traditional rulers and community development committees to assess the threat level in these communities. “And if they detect any they will be able to escalate it up to the level of the IG or Chief of Army So, or depending on where the level of security threat (is). “What we have now that communities have a lot of tension is due to the weakness of the lower level of government which has led to major conflicts.The federal government can troops but that can never solve our problems”. Like the local government, Jonathan also lamented the near absence of strong institutions in the country, saying: “Just like we talked about the weakness at the local government level In terms of managing our security challenges, one key thing is again, is the institutions, if they are strong they can manage certain conflicts early”. He argued that, “countries where there are strong political

leaders don’t over control institutions, but where political leaders over control the institutions, it is a fertile ground for crisis. “People will result to self-help if they are being deprived of certain rights because of a political actors interest. That’s the problem we have in Nigeria. “ For example, talking about the Department of State Services, they must be strong and protect the political people they are demand to protect.They must also protect every Nigerian and it was not be used against other Nigerians. If institutions are strong even the president cannot push the head of these institutions to do what they are not meant to do “. Earlier, Commandant of the NISS, Alh. Ayodele Adeleke, emphasised the fundamental role security plays in the development of any nation’s economy, even as he thanked the Guest Lecturer for accepting invitation at short notice.

Tambuwal harps on need to strengthen Nigeria’s unity ...As Okowa prays for elevation of Sokoto Gov in nation’s politics By Folorunso Alagbede, Abuja


okoto State Governor, Hon Aminu Waziri the has harped on the need to further strengthen the ties of unity across the country, pointing out that his state (Sokoto) doesn’t discriminate against other Nigerians living in it. Tambuwal specifically stressed the need for national cohesion, integration and good governance as against divisive partisan politics in the country. This is even as the Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa fervently prayed for the elevation of his Sokoto state counterpart to a higher pedestal in the nation’s affairs. Both Tambuwal and Okowa

spoke at the commissioning a N3.2 billion state of the art Sokoto State Advanced Medical Diagnostic Center (SOSAMEDIC) constructed in the state capital, Sokoto. Governor Okowa, while commissioning the SOSAMEDIC, noted that having come to Sokoto State, he has seen the way Governor Tambuwal relates with his people, saying “that is what Nigeria needs”. The Delta State Governor said, “Coming here, I have seen the way he (Tambuwal) relates with his people. That is what Nigeria needs. “You are a man of peace who is always ready to build bridges. “We are very thankful that God has ensured that you have held several positions.

“My prayers for you is that God will elevate you,” Okowa emphasized… The Delta State Governor equally showered encomiums on the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, saying that he (Sultan) is committed to the Nigerian project. A statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Sokoto State Governor, Muhammad Bello, made available to journalists in Abuja, explained that the construction of the edifice, located a few kilometers from the 950-bed Sokoto State University Teaching Hospital (SOSUTH), which construction has reached over 60 per cent, gulped N824 million and is equipped with N2.4 billion ultramodern equipment. According to the statement, “The

latter includes facilities for ECG, Stress ECG, Echocardiography, and Vascular Doppler, Gastrology, Endoscopy, Neurology, and EEG. “Other upscale tools for diagnosis are those for MRI, CT scan, Fluoroscopy, Digital X-ray, Mammography, Chemical Pathology, Histopathology, Microbiology, and Hematology. “All these are housed in a radiology, laboratory, dental, and ENT units as well as out-patient clinics, with capacity for medical, radiological and laboratory investigations. “Expected to be managed by Healthfield Medical Services Ltd, through a public-private partnership model, “the project,” observes Gov. Okowa, “speaks to the very heart of primary healthcare in the state”, it said



he National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Edo Command, says it has seized 5,492 Kilogrammes of substance suspected to be cannabis sativa within two days in the state. Mr Buba Wakawa, state Commander of the agency,

Debt renegotiation, vaccine equity in focus as Africa Economic Conference begins


articipants of the Africa Economic Conference which opens in Cape Verde on Thursday have called for the renegotiation and even outright pardon of debts owed by African countries. According to the participants, the call is coming in view of the need to help the African continent recover from the devastating effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Participants who cut across the United Nations (UN), African Development Bank (AfDB), and heads of governments, also brought to the front burner the need for vaccine equity and alternative sources of financing. They also said curbing illicit financial flows would go a long way towards the solutions to the economic problems bedevilling African economies. The conference, which has as its theme: ‘Financing the Development of Africa Post-COVID-19’, is the 17th edition in the series and is cosponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the AfDB. Declaring the 3-day conference open, President of Cape Verde José Maria Neves, stressed the need for vaccines to be more accessible pointing out that Africa should be able to produce its own vaccines. He said that Africa had been negatively affected by the multiple consequences of the pandemic in all fields of human endeavour. Neves said that the pandemic only worsened the already existing challenges in Africa. Neves who said that the solutions should transcend the immediate challenges, called for an end to illicit financial flows. “African countries must guarantee that the efforts made must go beyond the immediate challenges – poverty, social inequality, lack of portable water, shelter and sanitation, and food insecurity. “Africa cannot by itself have enough means to finance the measures of recovery from those economic crisis caused by the pandemic, there is a need to ensure complementary financing through other sources. “These sources include external or foreign investments, international cooperations, foreign financial aid, and renegotiation of debts. “We understand that the moment of moratorium needs to be extended. “But on the other hand, there is a need for renegotiation of the debts and in several cases the partial pardon on the part of the lenders in exchange for strong commitments to making sustainable investments in social programmes, capacity building, education, and health as well as infrastructure development,” he said.



Edo NDLEA seizes 5.49 tonnes of suspected cannabis in 2 days disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Benin on Thursday. Wakawa said that the seizures were made from two concealed warehouses discovered by the personnel of the command in two communities across two Local Government Areas of the state. He explained that on Nov. 23, acting on credible intelligence, personnel of the agency stormed a storage facility at Uzzeba in Owas West Local Government Area in the state and evacuated 107 bags of suspected Cannabis Sativa weighing 1,240 Kilogrammes,

(1.240 tonnes) “Then on Nov. 24, the command discovered another concealed warehouse at Uhiere village in Ovia North East Local Government Area. “The command’s personnel went into action immediately and a total of 315 bags of suspected cannabis sativa weighing 4,252 Kilogrammes (4.252 tonnes) were evacuated and removed from circulation from a concealed warehouse”. He added that a 21 years old suspect was arrested during the operations.

He disclosed that the two seizures were a major seizure by the command in November, as the quantity of suspected cannabis sativa were huge. He added that there were other seizures made in November, which when added brings the total seizure made within the month to 6,477.86 Kilogrammes. The commander further disclosed that within the month under review, 22 suspects comprising 18 males and four females were arrested in connection with drug trafficking. “The command however within

the period secured 10 convictions, while nine drug cases were filed at the Federal High Court, Benin. “We also counselled 13 drug abuse clients within the period”, he said. Wakawa reiterated the state’s command commitment to vigorously work in tune with the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer (CCEO), retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa vision in the war against drug abuse. “The above two huge seizure are testimonies to the CCEO’s vision for the state and the country in general.”(NAN)

FG advocates use of quality seeds to enhance food nutrition By Amaechi Agbo


ith dry season setting in, the federal government has advocated for the preservation and use of quality seeds in order to enhance food nutrition and security. The Minister of Agriculture and

Rural Development, Mohammad Abubakar disclosed this during the 4th Edition of SEEDCONNECT Africa 2021 Conference and Exhibition held in Abuja on Monday. With the theme: ‘’Partnership for a Resilient and Robust seed industry in Nigeria’’ the minister

said quality seed is the panacea for food and nutrition security, stating that the growth of the agricultural sector would be hampered without a proper structured of seed system to support the industry. He stated that food and nutrition is hinged on seed security that would depend on solid seed

systems to achieve sustainable agricultural revolution in the country. Dr. Abubakar stated that Nigerians at all levels need to join forces together to build strong and sustainable seed delivery system - from research programmes to variety release. L-R; Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State with the Inspector General of Police , IGP Usman Baba Alkali during the launching of a book, “tears drop of a widow” held at peace keeping hall, Police headquarters, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

2023 : PDP describe removal of subsidy as inhuman, vows to clear APC govt in Jigawa

From Mika’il Tsoho, Dutse


he opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the federal

government move to remove the petroleum subsidy as inhuman, adding that, the move will lead to increase of poverty, unemployment and total hardship for Nigerians.

The Jigawa state party chairman of PDP Alhaji Babandi Ibrahim dropped the hint during a Media Engagement with news men organized by Jigawa state

Correspondent chapel in Dutse. PDP chairman also accused APC of a plan to aggravated the unbearable economic and living condition of common man.




Warri flood control will yield result on completion, says Okowa By Nosa Akenzua, Asaba


overnor Ifeanyi Okowa said residents of Warri and its environs will feel the intervention of government in flood control as soon as the different segments of the drainage project was connected. Governor Okowa who was responding to questions at his quarterly media interaction with Delta journalists in Asaba, said the storm drainage project in Warri and environs was dear to his administration. He debunked the rumour that part of the project has been abandoned stressing that the Warri,Uvwie and its Environs Development Authority (WUEDA) was being funded to deliver on its mandate of turning the oil-rich Warri into a modern city. He added that some roads and traffic prone areas in Warri will receive attention soon and gave assurance that every part of the State will continue to receive equal attention. On the non functionality of the Warri Stadium, Governor Okowa said the area was being drained to ensure that it is not flooded whenever it rained, stressing that it was not abandoned but will be in good shape when the drainage is completed. On the proposed removal of petroleum subsidy by the Federal Government, the Governor said it was going to affect the masses negatively pointing out that the economy was down. He equally expressed worry at the level of borrowing by the Federal Government emphasizing that such move was posing a great burden to the economy. He disclosed that it was hard to pay November salaries of workers due to dwindling financial receipts from the federation account despite the rise in the price of crude oil in the international market. Following the failure of the Federal Government to reconstitute the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC, Governor Okowa said it was unfortunate emphasizing that the office was operating illegally in the last two years.

L-R: Ambassador of the Republic of South Korea, Ambassador Kim Young-Chae, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Nigeria/South Korea parliamentary friendship group, Hon. Joseph Asuku Bello and Member of the Committee, Hon. Ibrahim Isiaka, during the South Korea parliamentary friendship group visit to National Assembly, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Mahmud Isa

Reps summon Customs, FIRS others over unremitted taxes By Christiana Ekpa


he House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts on Wednesday summoned the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, the Ministry of Industry and the Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority to clarify allegations of non remittances of taxes to the federation account by major players in the maritime sector. The resolution was reached

during an interactive session with major players in the sector at the National assembly by members of the committee who sought to know if Tenaris Global Services Nigeria Ltd remitted taxes to the relevant government agencies. The company appeared before the House Committee following a petition by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation against its perceived Sharp practices. The Chairman of the Committee Hon. Oluwole Oke

(PDP-OSUN), while grilling the representatives of the company lamented that most of the oil companies in the Zone were deliberately shortchanging the Federal Government with the connivance of government agencies. Oke said that the relevant government agencies would be invited to the give more insight into the tax compliance status of the company at the next public hearing. He declared that the Committee was not out to

witchaunt the companies but rather acting on the petition received from the appropriate quarters for the Government which must be thoroughly investigated by the Parliament . Other Agencies that appeared before the Committee on Wednesday included the Federal Character Commission and the Bureau of Public Procurement who submitted various departments for the defence of the various queries raised against them by the Auditor General of the Federation.

Benue PDP replies APC, insists Akume govt corrupt From Uche Makurdi



eoples Democratic Party (PDP) Benue State chapter has insisted that Minister for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs Sen. George Akume’s reign as Governor of the State witnessed a lot of fraud. The party made this known in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Mr Bemgba Iortyom in response to a press

conference held on Wednesday by Chairman-elect of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Austin Agada. Agada had accused Governor Ortom of a dangerous’ campaign of calumny and a ‘desperate’ move to run down the towering profile of Senator George Akume with a view to weakening his chances of emerging as the National Chairman of the Party. He also, posited that the attacks on Akume who is the leader of the party in the state

were brewed consistently over time and unleashed with great mischief, maintaining that Sen. Akume is one leader without corrupt records. But PDP averred that the industries purported to have cited by Akume were mere conduit pipes as none of them came to fruition. “It was during the reign of Akume as governor that establishment of industries by the state became a corruption stratagem.

“Huge loans were taken for the purpose of establishing the industries and a fraction was deployed to the purchase of scraps and obsolete equipment which were installed at those sites named as industries. “Benue PDP makes bold to ask which of those Akume era industries saw the light of day, from the Tomatoes Processing Plant in Wannune to the Fertiliser blending plant in Makurdi?,” he queried.



NEWS CBN frowns at commercial banks over e-Naira From:Femi Oyelola, Kaduna


he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has frowned at the commercial banks in Nigeria for not doing much

to educate the citizens about the recently launched e-Naira platform. Officials of the CBN who were in Kaduna yesterday to lecture corps members, students from tertiary

institutions across the state and other members of the public on “onboarding of stakeholders on the e-Naira platform, explained the operational benefits of the electronic currency.

Head, Finance Department of the CBN, Aminu Muhammad, an Assistant Director said financial institutions that are under the purview of the CBN are supposed to play critical roles in growing the economy.

Niger Pilgrims Board refunds N1.2b to intending pilgrims From Yakubu Minna



he Niger state Pilgrim Welfare Board has refunded Hajj fares to 834 intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia due to COVID-19 pandemic. The category of people could not perform the 2020 hajj. The Executive Secretary of the Board, Alhaji Umaru Maku Lapai, disclosed this while receiving Niger state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Minna. He hinted that the board also has 1, 968 intending pilgrims who decided to roll over their payments till next hajj operations instead of getting refund of their money. Lapai added that only those pilgrims in the rollover list would be given priority to perform hajj from the state in the next hajj operation.

Group sensitizes secondary school students on drug abuse By Maryam Abeeb Abuja


NonGovernmental Organization, NGO, the Support Nest Initiatives has sensitized the students of Command Day Secondary School in Abuja on the danger of substance abuse in order to curb the rising menace in the Society. The Director, Support Nest Initiative, Bukola Ugbuji in an interview with journalists during the sensitization in Abuja, lamented that the increasing rate of drug abuse in the society is alarming and needs urgent attention. She explained that the programme is aimed towards curbing the act of drug abuse among peer groups through educating the students on the danger and effect of drug abuse. ‘’So, the support nest initiative decided to organize a sensitization at the command day secondary school, in Abuja to educate them on dangers of drugs ‘’So we thought it necessary to reach out to the secondary school students to start to sensitize them about the issue around drug and substance use and abuse.”

National President, Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS). Mr Omaji Samuel (4th left) , The Executive Secretary, (NSSEC) Dr Benjamin Abakpa (5th left) and other Members of ASUSS, during the Union working visit to NSSEC, yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo.

COREN begins evaluators training for Outcome-Based Education I By Mashe Umaru Gwamna

n order to produce graduates with the required skills to excel in the workplace, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), has began training programme for evaluators for the Outcome Based Education (OBE) system in Nigeria. The two days training workshop which took place yesterday at the Nigerian Turkish, Nile University Abuja,drawn stakeholders across the country . Speaking at the opening ceremony of the programme,the president COREN Engr . Ali Rabiu, said the workshop was to train and equip programme evaluators of

the OBE who would form COREN database for accreditation of Engineering programmes. Rabiu explained that,every aspect of the accreditation process have been streamlined to enhance the credibility of the evaluation. He said, “In Nigeria, accreditation is necessary for recognition of programmes and registration of engineering graduates as professional engineers. He emphasized that,the goal of the workshop is to train and equip programme evaluators of OBE who will form COREN database for accreditation of engineering programmes. “Every aspect of the

accreditation process has been streamlined to enhance the credibility of the evaluation. Contrary to earlier practice, there is no quantitative mechanism for final decision making. Therefore, programmes under accreditation must sustainably comply with the requirements in all areas of evaluation.” “Every action of the evaluators must be driven by responsibilities and conducts, according to the stipulated code of ethics for evaluation. Constituency amongst various accreditation team members in terms of evaluation and final recommendation must be maintained,”he said . According to him, the COREN

Outcome Based Education regional train the trainers workshop have been successfully held in three geopolitical zones, which includes; North West zone at Amadu Bello University, Zaria Kaduna (20th24th of Sept 2021), South South zone at University of Benin, Edo State. 11th-15th of Oct 2021, and South East zone at University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC) (16th-20th Nov 2021). The president said the workshop was to train participants to acquire the knowledge and skills of OBE, “and be able to train others in the principles and implementation of OBE in Nigerian Universities.”




Niger Gov. signs 2021 Revised Budget into law

From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna


iger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello has assented into law the Niger State “Budget Revision law 2021” at the Government House, Minna. The Permanent Secretary, Niger State Planning Commission, Hajiya Ramatu Umar while speaking to Newsmen explained that the 2021 budget was reviewed downward following the significant reduction in the inflow of revenue to the state. “Based on the revenue inflow to the state, there was a short fall leading to the downward review of the expectation for the the year. We had to review downward in order to be on the safer side, to absorb the shock. “We removed from the allocations things that were not utilized to the needed projects and this was as a result of emerging issues that were not taken into cognizance in the budget during the preparation of the initial budget.”

Dangote trains 60 journalists in Northwest By Mustapha Adamu, Kano


angote Group on Wednesday Wednesday kicked off a special training program for sixty journalists in Kano state. The training, according to the company, is targeted at sharpening the Multi-Media Skills of newsmen drawn from the Northwestern states of Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi, Kano, Kaduna, Zamfara and Jigawa States. A statement from the Corporate Communication Unit of the company said the training is in collaboration with the Folio Media and Creative Academy, adding that similar workshops had been conducted previously in other

zones of the country. The statement added that the three-day workshop, themed: “The Convergence Journalism,” is part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility. At the commencement of the training in Kano on Wednesday, the company’s Group Chief, Branding and Communication, Anthony Chiejina, said the training was planned to upgrade the capacity of practicing journalists on multimedia skills. He said the training will help equip newsmen to face the challenges associated with the transition from traditional to the new media while describing the media as a partner in progress. He described the company’s

relationship with media as cordial. The Project Coordinator, Folio Media and Creative Academy, Alabi Pius, said (FMCA) is the training arm of Folio Communications Plc. Publishers of Daily Times newspaper, adding that the training was conceived to equip Journalists, Media Executives, Public Relations Officers and other professionals. In his presentation, a lecturer from the Bayero University Kano, Dr. Mukhtari Magaji urged journalists to prepare for the transition, as the skill will empower them and make them relevant in the new world. Dr. Magaji described convergence Media as a mixture of texts, audio, and video for

production and consumption via a single medium of communication. He categorized the overlapping convergence into economic, technological, and socio-cultural. Other lecturers scheduled to speak at the training program include Dr. Bala Muhammad, a former journalist with the BBC World Service in London and lecturer with Bayero University Kano; as well as Dr. Saminu Umar, a lecturer with the same University. Speaking, a participant and founder of Good Governance Website, Dr. Aliyu Machika, said the training was apt as it will enable newsmen from North West Zone to sharpen their skills and economically empower them.

Almakura urges Northern youths to help govt overcome challenges By Mashe Umaru Gwamna


enator Tanko Almakura, representing Nasarwa South Senatorial District has called on the Northern youth to get involve in governance and help in efforts to overcome the current challengers facing the region. This was made known during his address at the inauguration of the newly elected Speaker, principal Officers and Members the Third Northern Youths Assembly of Nigeria (NYAN) yesterday in Abuja. According to Almakura the capacity and viability of the north lies on the youths and members of (NYAN). He said, “You cannot drive the political and economic activities of Northern Nigeria without the youths. ``I admonished you today, to take the lead in the conscientisation of the region to overcome the current challenges bedeviling the region. ``You need to participate actively in the affairs of the state so as to help the government in addressing all the issues that is causing set back to the region.” Almakura was represented at the event by the Director-General of his Campaign Organisation, Mr Dominic Alancha.

Members of Social Development Integrated Centre (aka. Social Action) during a One Day National dialogue on Local Government and National Development: need for autonomy and national accountability in Nigeria’s Local Government Authorities, yesterday in Abuja Photo: Mahmud Isa

COREN Registrar bags icon cynosure societal award By Mashe Umaru Gwamna


he Registrar of Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN),Engr Joseph Odigure, has bagged Icon Cynosure Societal award by National Association of Nigerian Students(NANS). Receiving the award yesterday at the COREN headquarters in Abuja,Prof Odigure said he was surprised and honoured to receive the award. He said, “We are all working for the good of the nation that is why COREN as an engineering regulation body is bringing new programmes and ideas that will help our youths”. He explained that, among

those programmes is the outcome based learning evaluators that will serve as creditors to universities, polytechnics and technical schools. The Registrar said “It was very troublesome and worrisome to see numbers of engineering graduates looking for jobs after attending various tertiary institutions. “We are also disturbed by the statistics when we find that about 62,000 are registered engineers, while we are having 5,000 technicians and the lower cadre less than thousands. “It speaks of how we are not meeting up with what is required to train our youths. Moreover, in any organization or country,it

is the lower rank that make the economy. If this people are neglected, it means the educational standard will be faulty”,Engr. Odigure said. He pointed out reasons why the council is reintroducing the out come based educational learning in engineering. He emphasized that COREN looked deep down and picked the mode by which the South East people developed their youth by apprenticeship method of serving 3 to 4years. “This mode of education is largely ignored and we have so many laboratories in institutions. Now we trained people in our tertiary institutions. This

methods we imbibe has to do with character, skills and knowledge for students to learn”. Meanwhile, he urged NANS to spread the gospel that students should learn skills in institutions. Earlier, NANS President Abdul Mahmud, said the awardee was chosen carefully because of his outstanding records and contributions to the engineering sector and various institutions in country. Mahmud represented by NANs Zone B, Coordinator, Jeremiah Ohimeh stated that, “This award comes with a lot more responsibility and a call to do more. What you have been doing has distinguished you out of the crowd.”





Will Blinken blink?

.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Nigeria yesterday as part of a threenation African trip that began in Kenya and will end in Senegal. Before leaving home, Blinken on Wednesday said that Washington had removed Nigeria from its list of countries with religious freedom concerns.

He will meet with President Muhamadu Buhari and other top government officials, including the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and foreign affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama. They will discuss cooperation on global health security, expanding energy access and economic growth, and revitalizing democracy, according to a U.S. State Department release last week.

That day he made an annual Blinken will give a talk on announcement of the countries on the list, naming Myanmar, U.S.-Africa policy, emphasizing China, Eritrea, Iran, North the value of democracy. This Korea, Pakistan, Russia, year alone, the continent has Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and witnessed successful military in Chad, Guinea Turkmenistan as countries coups and Sudan, of particular threatening concern. He also decades of placed Algeria, progress toward Comoros, Cuba democracy. and Nicaragua on The timing of a watch list for Nigeria’s omission Expectations religious freedom, and Blinken’s on the Blinken and designated couldn’t have visit are armed groups, including Islamic been coincidental. understandably high for the State and several It obviously was of its affiliates, as intended to ease simple reason that the trajectory entities of concern. But Nigeria, which frayed nerves in the of President Joe Africa was added to the Nigerian government Biden’s policy hasn’t been list for the first time over America’s in 2020, was not acceptance of a clear since taking January redesignated. panel’s finding that office this year. Yes, The timing of soldiers “massacred” one of the first things he did Nigeria’s omission protesters on and Blinken’s October 20, last year, was signing an executive order couldn’t have in Lagos lifting travel bans been coincidental. imposed by his It obviously was intended to ease frayed nerves predecessor, Donald Trump, in the Nigerian government on Muslim countries including over America’s acceptance of Nigeria - a move that was a panel’s finding that soldiers widely praised. But after that “massacred” protesters on nothing. The expectation is October 20, last year, in Lagos. that things will move faster In Abuja, Blinken is expected and clearer on that front after to discuss the COVID-19 Blinken’s visit. pandemic, climate change, Meanwhile, we say, Blinken, revitalizing democracies, and barka da zuwa. security issues.

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Nigeria as FDI destination in Africa: Slowly, steadily winning the race By Musa Ilallah


he recent report that Nigeria has become Africa’s third most attractive destination country for Foreign Investment opportunities, should not come as a surprise to many observers of the country’s giant strides in recent times. Organised by a South African financial services company called Absa, the Absa Africa Financial Markets Index 2021, AAFMI surveyed 23 countries in Africa and used six pillars to rank their openness and attractiveness to foreign investment. AAFMI stated that Nigeria scored 63 points to occupy the third position while the first and second positions went to South Africa and Mauritius with 86 and 70 points respectively. It is noteworthy that the process that saw Nigeria emerge 3rd was based on six pillars put forward by AAFMI which are market depth; access to foreign exchange; market transparency, tax and regulatory environment; capacity of local investors; macroeconomic opportunity; and enforceability of financial contracts. Records show that Nigeria’s performance across the six pillars were: market depth, 62; access to foreign exchange, 20; market transparency, tax and regulatory environment, 86; capacity of local investors, 44; macroeconomic opportunities, 69 and enforceability of standard master agreement, 100. The report stated that nine countries in the index, including Nigeria, have introduced products that could be classified as green or sustainable and emphasised that, “green bonds are the most popular instrument, being at investors’ disposal in seven countries.” The AAFMI evaluated financial market development in 23 countries and highlighted economies with the most supportive environment for effective markets. The aim was to show present positions, as well as how economies could improve market frameworks to bolster investor access and sustainable growth. The 2021index was produced by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, OMFIF and sponsored by Absa Group Limited. It showed that only seven countries scored up to 50 basis points against 14 countries that reached 50 points last year. The good news is that the report noted that Nigeria was also among countries that are using technology in their stock exchanges to boost retail participation. It noted that Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched FinPort, a fintech and innovation portal to assist fintech businesses to understand the regulatory requirements for the Nigerian capital market. It added that the SEC would be rolling out a regulatory incubator for fintech seeking to conduct capital market activities. Regrettably however, AAFMI did state that Nigeria has continued to perform poorly in access to FX and has imposed administrative controls that expanded the number of goods subject to import restrictions, enforcing existing export repatriation rules and restricting FX supply to certain windows. “While these measures restricted capital outflows and helped keep reserves stable, market liquidity remained below pre-pandemic levels. The volatile FX market and the delays in the repatriation

of foreign currency out of Nigeria caused further problems. Despite a rebound in oil prices and remittances, the FX shortage persists as imports recover faster than exports. All these factors contributed to Nigeria’s poor performance in Pillar 2,” the report said. It is however heart-warming that, according to the report, Nigeria has kept its official borrowing relatively low, and this is kudos to the economic sure footedness of the Buhari administration “At 8.4 per cent of GDP, it has the best debt profile, boosting its ranking by five places to fifth. However, with oil prices expected to remain relatively low, the debt ratio is expected to go up,” the report further stated. Also noteworthy is the fact that Nigeria, as stated in the AAFMI report, has continued to make strides in creating an enabling investment environment for foreign investors, with the necessary regulatory developments and policy initiatives. This is in addition to enacting enforceable netting-off provisions in the country’s Companies and Allied Matters Act of 2020. International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) has published a legal opinion on Nigeria’s insolvency regime, elevating it to an acceptable level of international best practice in netting-off and insolvency. In the words of the Interim Chief Executive Officer, Absa Group, Mr. Jason Quinn, while commenting on the aims of the index: “The index has become a benchmark for the investment community and Africa generally to gauge countries’ performance across a host of indicators important for financial market development. “We are extremely proud of the annual report, which has become a critical toolkit for countries seeking to strengthen their financial markets infrastructure.” Now in its fifth year, the index records countries’ openness to foreign investment and is an objective indicator of the attractiveness of Africa’s capital markets, intended for use by policymakers, investors and asset managers around the world. The 2021 index also stated that digital developments such as digitalisation, fintech innovation and exploration into central bank digital currencies increased and spurred financial market transformation through the automation and digitalisation of trading platforms and regulatory processes. Today one can confidently say that digital technologies are reshaping financial markets in many countries. Beyond improving accessibility, digital innovations can make capital markets more efficient and competitive, attracting investors and issuers. It is gratifying that despite the numerous challenges staring Nigeria in the face, the country is being acknowledged by Nigerians and outsiders alike as a country doing very well on its economic, social, security and other critical sectors. This rating by AAFMI of Nigeria certainly calls for full blown celebrations by all and sundry in the country. I for one, I feel extremely happy and excited about this rating. It gives me hope and confidence that my country, Nigeria, is working under PMB. MUSA ILALLAH EMEKA ANYAOKU STREET ABUJA




Girl-Child Marriage: A violation of womens’ Human Rights in Nigeria

By Abdulazeez Rahmah


ccording to a research of UNICEF, an estimated 22 million child brides live in Nigeria, and in Niger, where this action prevails the most in the whole of the world, there live an estimated total of 4.1 million of these individuals. Now, going to bed at night, waking up the next day, and then deciding abruptly to engage one’s own girl who is below the age of 18 in a marriage is nothing but a barbaric act, and this is what hugely has been becoming our parents’ priority in the country, most especially in the North. Child marriage, as it is generally known as marrying off any person under the age of 18, in Nigeria is one of the most ravaging, creepy, and difficult issues that cause huge and fundamental setbacks to the country. Despite the evidence that child marriage was more of a cultural than religious practice in early Islamic societies, adherents in Nigeria, most especially in the North, still would hold steadfast to the act and fight any interventions of law that come its way, even as many or strong as they may be. In fact, they are even always ready to raise legal provisions and justify their stand. To begin, this practice is largely a common one among the female children, a lot of girls have

beautiful dreams ahead of them, and are gifted individually with high potential which, if embraced or recognized, would be of great help toward the betterment of themselves and the society they live in. But in Nigeria, a country that has the highest number of child brides in the region of West and Central Africa, these dreams are being cut short because of unscrupulous practice. According to a research of UNICEF, an estimated 22 million child brides live in Nigeria, and in Niger, where this action prevails the most in the whole of the world, there live an estimated total of 4.1 million of these individuals. Now, going to bed at night, waking up the next day, and then deciding abruptly to engage one’s own girl who is below the age of 18 in a marriage is nothing but a barbaric act, and this is what hugely has been becoming our parents’ priority in the country, most especially in the North. Chiefly, the reasons for early marriages are researched and found to be caused by several incidents which include; lack of education; traditional, cultural, or religious beliefs; poverty and total or partial discrimination which could largely result from the perceived low status of girls or absolute gender inequality. When the parents and the children are not educated, and

their level of exposure is low, then it would become hard for them to be cognizant of the consequences of early marriage, so the prevalence of such an act, in those cases, will resultantly be high. However, going to the second reason which is said to be based on some beliefs. Some parts of the country, some tribes, some cultures, and some people of a major religion believe that when a girl-child has reached the age of 13 or slightly above 13, she explicitly should not be with her parents any longer, they then go on to matchmake her with any available suitor while minding not the age difference. Looking into poverty as a reason for marrying female children off, the high level of poverty in many homes in Nigeria keep making parents keep sending their daughters into early marriages, then, completely having the perception that her burden is no longer theirs, and the gifts, money or price they receive in return for the act are being taken as a major relief that would gradually, someday, liberate them from their financial deficiencies. This is more or less turning these marriages into a poverty alleviation scheme. A mind-boggling infection that has, indeed, been endemic to the major parts of the country. Principally, most parents don’t care to think about the consequences of such actions,

instead, they only enjoy the initial results. The fact that something “hooge” is, at the end of the day, added to their pockets. They earnestly tend to forget the consequences which may include some very crucial issues like health predicaments. It is an undisputed argument that most girls who are under the age of 18 and are victims of early marriage are likely to have early pregnancies, they then as a result of this go on to experience dangerous complications. Also, girls who give birth before the age of 15 are 5 times more likely to die during childbirth than girls in their 20s. They might, in the course, also be exposed to other diseases like STDs, HIV, and many more. Domestic violence is also another trauma, a consequence that is faced, experienced by children married off at this very early age. The tender ages make most girls lack fundamental knowledge and mature behavioral habits to live a married life, it also makes them have very little or no knowledge to weather storms and take the home’s responsibilities, and which will definitely result to having issues with their husbands or mothers-in-law, whereas when the child should still be under her parents to learn more about how to handle a home, and if need be, sex education. At this point, the government,

societal leaders, or organizations, be it private or public should really look into this very carefully, they all, at every level, should organize awareness programmes to enlighten the masses about the brutal effects and the harsh consequences that early marriages bring. Likewise, a standard adulthood age should be put in law to totally end child marriages and all the negative effects that it offers. Female children should also be empowered, most often in the rural areas, to let them know they have the right to decide even their own future, as not really all girls are aware of that. Lastly, targeted approaches to different areas with a high level of prevalence, as all identified in the points above, will surely provide a first-class starting feature towards achieving Nigeria’s new national strategy to end child marriage. This also, against that backdrop, will make female children have memorable childhoods with their parents, have enough of both formal and home education, and spend more time with them, and also learn more from them before they eventually get married. No option is always worth sending a girl-child to early marriage. None whatsoever Abdulazeez Rahmah is a Public Affairs Analyst.

Journalists’ welfare is critical to growth of journalism By Alao Abiodun


ithout much ado, Journalism is neither a sinful act against God nor a criminal offence against the ‘almighty’ government. It is basically a duty the law imposes on those charged with the responsibilities of keeping leaders and administrators on their toes and also holding the government accountable. No nation can grow or develop without objective criticism or appraisal — which also includes the right to dissent. The absence of this can inevitably plunge the society into a state of autocracy with dictatorship as the end product. In most countries where giant strides have been made in terms of development — good government and improved accountability — the prioritization of journalists’ welfare has been a cardinal policy. The enviable profile reflected in the quality of journalism over the years, especially in Nigeria, has impacted positively on the amount of sacrifices made for the betterment of the nation. As a way of tilting towards the paradigm shift in journalism, valuing journalists paves way for improving their status — hence, media organizations should start thinking of paying journalists salaries that are commensurate with the status of this noble

profession. However, respecting journalists is a sacrosanct baseline which goes a long way to improving the status of the profession to a large extent. If Journalism is expensive, try gossiping — careful observation of the welfare situation of Nigerian Journalists both in public and private media organizations, shows there’s a general lack of seriousness and sincerity towards these custodians of credible information dissemination. High pressure, long hours and low pay Critical scrutiny of the current plight of Journalism shows that it’s currently faced with a doublebarrel challenge which is ethics and funding, which in turn affect the credibility of the media and welfare of professionals in the system. The spitefulness of awful remuneration, owing journalists salaries with uncertainties, welfare package — not to mention a befitting one — is non-existent.

However, despite the gloomy welfare dilemma, these eagles eyes rarely embark on strike to push for better working conditions and welfare packages in spite of having a nationally recognized union in the country. As time evolves, quality of journalism from both private and public media organizations is tied to the continuous improvement of journalists welfare, especially those who are in the newsroom and constantly on the field sniffing out controversial issues because this will go a long way in enhancing their confidence, discouraging and dissuading journalists from engaging in unwholesome sharp practices that bring disrepute to the profession. Journalists welfare campaign – #JournalistsWelfareMatter Many Journalists in both private and public media organizations are not getting a fair deal as their employers are taking advantage of them in the Nigeria to overwork and underpay

them. However, the critical case of Nigeria demands close look and attention towards accountability, hence diligent journalists must continue to giving their best in their workplaces while agitating for improved welfare packages and conditions of service. The launching of “Journalists Welfare Campaign” few months ago by Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism in partnership with Coalition of Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF), supported by numerous News organization shows there’s need to give an urgent priority to the welfare conundrum of journalists, it’s therefore necessary for all journalists across Nigeria and beyond to participate actively in this campaign towards advancing the face of the profession. Low wages and other sundry issues tempt journalists to engage in unethical practices that allow them to supplement their incomes, so they can feed their

Life-threatening challenges journalists faced in the course of this duty shows the profession is not an easy task hence the insignificant salaries of journalists when compared with allowances, end of service benefits and per diem of most workers in the executive, legislature and judiciary, shows there’s a general imbalance

families and meet up with various expectational demands. There is need for employers to increase the pay of not just journalists but other administrative workers in media establishments. Life-threatening challenges journalists faced in the course of this duty shows the profession is not an easy task hence the insignificant salaries of journalists when compared with allowances, end of service benefits and per diem of most workers in the executive, legislature and judiciary, shows there’s a general imbalance. Press Freedom Beyond the journalists welfare, the Freedom of Press is still under incarceration, there’s need for the government to understand that promoting good governance and socio-economic development of a nation is hinged on best journalistic practices which clearly echoes the word of Helen Thomas which opines that “We don’t go into journalism to be popular. It is our job to seek the truth and put constant pressure on our leaders until we get answers”. The freedom of press puts journalists in a better position to fulfil their constitutional responsibility of holding government accountable to the people. Alao Abiodun, a Journalist, can can be reached via




Remembering those bleeding tales By King Owen-Cambel Ogu (I)

If I were Nigeria,” my father said to me as we had a longdelayed conversation on the veranda of his single-storey house, “I will colonise São Tomé and all the islands up to Gabon; because the west could use those areas to destabilise us.” That frank view expressed by my dad who schooled in Japan in the seventies and not in any western state like his pairs, has some merit. It speaks to what type of voice Nigeria has or does not have, in the global jungle of diplomacy, where ‘survival of the fittest’ is truly enacted. If I was called out to explain what type of creature Nigeria is in the diplomatic wild, here is what I will say: “Nigeria is from a species of elephants that are so tame, they run for cover in times of danger and turn on their own in times of anger.” This image of sheer helplessness, utter abandonment, has been bludgeoned into my hair-covered skull many a bloody time. A lot of it was imagined

until I stepped into the reality of a refugee camp for the first time in my drab existence. “If it bleeds, it leads,” is one expression that has made a usage tour of journalistic endeavours, chiefly in the academic arc of the profession. Eric Pooley expressed that feeling to speak of the media’s love for the grim. My interpretation has a detour from the generally held view though. The media bleeds in order to shine its amber lights, believing that concerned officials will rise to the rescue. Among these much-hoped leaders are numbered three chief strata; those who would see the amber lights, hear the shrill cries and see the gory images, yet remain passive. There are the canine masters; holding dogs that strain on their leash, waiting to create more gore for the screens to magnify. There are the ‘game makers’, rolling down huge slabs of ice, torching one gnarled tree, releasing the odd floodgate. Of those passives, there are two shades. While one remains genuinely non-committal, the

other welcomes the stranded victims in its bowels, then sneeze them out at the slightest tickle, most times, out of a selfless attempt to remain non-aligned. That is the reality spun by the President Muhammadu Buhariled administration. The pleading voices of some of his victims have been with me for almost a year now and I remember when it all started. He walked into the building, lured by the belief he was scheduled to be interviewed. Heck, he was desperate, searching for a platform in his land of refuge to tell his bleeding tale. The safety he felt he had, was a thin one. He was one of the organisers of demonstrations that snowballed into persecution in Southern Cameroon between December and January of 2017. The Nigerian government were trying their desperate best to be welcoming, but still non-aligned with the English-speaking tribe of 20 million people forced by the global front of the ’game makers’, the United Nations to live what has turned out to be an

interminable life of oppression under a different tribe of persons colonised by the French in a territory known as Cameroon. I was already buried deep in the unfolding crisis, before a confused colleague came to inform the production lead that a man claiming to be from Southern Cameroon was here seeking to be interviewed. He had been mistaken for a pastor, who was scheduled for a studio session. I recall convincing my lead to give him a hearing. He hands over his phone to me that I may record the ensuing conversation between me and the hunted Southern Cameroonian. I step into the lounge and cozy up to the stranger that the phone might pick up as much of the fright, terror and escape he endured to reach Lagos. I have never understood what it means to see since I knew my name, but, I remember his smell; the nauseating reek of tablets. One more thing, he wore a suit or maybe a jacket. When I reported the entrails of my discourse, the

running dissident got his time on air. Take away the horrid tales he told, like, a woman losing seven children, some claimed by the river as she crossed into Nigeria, persons sleeping in bushes, villages severed like dried branches and you will remember he called the African Union “a toothless bulldog”, if you watched the interview that is. I was no journalist without a heart like I was trained to be after hearing all that. I pressed the office for more support, a campaign to get the passives in Abuja to rise from their comfy chairs, like Théoden, Lord of Rohan in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings did when his neighbours called for help. All my pleading found me in Cross River, speaking and engraving in my heart, the words, losses and voices of beings displaced by their should-be government.

can actually survive, for we are yet to control our resources. Salaries are being held, how much more, self control of resources. There is no state around the world like California today, likewise no country like USA, today, based on various margins you might look at it , but in my own perspective, I tell you, this is based on two factors, the system of government being practiced, and because the iron fist of the laws works there , things impossible there in terms of breaking of laws, are what we carry out recklessly here. In refrence to the form of government being practiced, while the United States pay royalties to the government in the central, the Nigerian States depend solely on the government in the center, to control all of its affairs and pay them bursary after each month, the elites would gather at the common table, the elites they call themselves, and little wonder progress is’nt recorded from time immemorial, and perhaps the Europeans left too soon. California like I say earlier has about a revenue or GDP of almost ten European country put together, understanding how important California is to any US government, the election past between Trump and Hillary Clinton would give a better clue. The victory of the current president almost spark a secession as some notable inhabitants threaten to break away from the United States, California could stand alone as a nation which Ultimately would

metamorphosise into a country. Back to Nigeria, a country with population walking towards a disadvantage, with a population on a geometrical increase of close to 200 million, Africa’s most populous country, but sinking at the center, especially at a time when the world is on a trend anew, technology wise, what would happen to the crude which seems to be a curse upon us, for with it my clansmen have forgotten the meaning of farming, and the hunger in the land won’t be saved by even another MacDonald. To conclude this observation, going through different places and states of Nigeria, there is only one song even on the lips of those people who have nothing to offer, a bitter truth, is Restructuring, secession, and everyone going their different ways, and if something isn’t done to kill this spirit by all this corrupt leaders sucking the sweat of the masses dry, then a regional disagreement would rise. It would give birth to riot, it will grow into anarchy, this would metamorphosis into a war, and ultimately a revolution, they will likely lose all before their eyes, thats if they are lucky enough to see the end, but one thing for sure, Nigeria might never be reffered to as a country again. Tragically those countries, which seems to be the way they are today once started this way, and walked towards this route.

King Owen-Cambel Ogu (I) is a Public Affairs Analyst.

An Epoch of Nigeria Federalism By Kareem Itunu Azeez


he struggles we pass through, didn’t start today. Did you know, that there was once a time in Nigeria , when things weren’t all rosy, but there was an acknowledgement of a life beyond average. During this time, resources were controlled by the regions and monarchical lords. Although, there was stil dissatisfaction among clans, but majority still lived above average. It is true that the Europeans underdeveloped us, but the greater truth is, we Nigerians under developed ourselves, through the greedy hands of corruption and self centeredness among those who were the lucky few to gain political power in its childhood, they call themselves the NATIONALIST. The nationalist were those who I will allocate all my disappointment levels to, our former monarchs, who couldn’t take us back to who we use to be, and how we deal with exchange through the barter system, but were overpowered by their insatiable thirst for power, they moved around blowing sirens of hardship, they continue to live the way the Whiteman was living, and they stranded us, with weapons of hunger, who will raise a hand when the stomach is empty? They called themselves the nationalist, but it got to a time, our fathers were asking, when will this independence ever end?, as par the hardship they were passing through. In reference to today

something known but unusual was what they were waking. Through times, one should understand several revolutions and overthrows has taken place, but there are notable few that shook men, and this was what paved way for the success of the many nations who experienced these difficult times, many people should know the man called, Mac Donald, he might have written history with just a baked bread, simply due to the arrival of McDonald’s in Moscow was a small but certain sign that change was on the horizon. In fact, in less than two years later, the Soviet Union ceased to exist as a nation, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as leader of the country, and various Soviet republics proclaimed their independence. As the American newsman reported, the first Russian McDonald’s customers “had seen the future, and it works, at least as far as their digestive tract.” Nevertheless, we should also know, I haven’t put down the number of casualties, as a result of this great Russian revolution,of 8th March 1917, how the revolution, started we all know, and down here in my hometown, the doors are now ajar for thesame, and sadly enough, the horizon wouldn’t know the innocent nor the victim. A revolution of capitalism in place where only plutocracy seems to be in power. When one of the few individual I believe is a marxist in person of Associate Professor, Mudashiru,

from the faculty of social science, Lagos State University, during a lecture, he said, “The death of Ken Saro Wiwa, has sent parking the activist of this age, because Abacha had achieved two things from his capital punishment, firstly, to serve as deterent to others clamouring for a change, secondly to prove saro wiwa and his cohorts as troublers of shell” how true Dr. Mudashiru was, for today, when a rich girl messes around, they say shes enjoying her life, but when a poor girl does thesame, they call her “Ashawo” which means prostitute. Nigeria, my country, which seems to be passing through troubled waters right now, and once more calling for a rift revolution breeded by hunger, poverty, and joblessness. I hope the RULERS, understand theres no place to hide, not even the overseas anymore, for when the game finally changes, foreign lands May never suit you all, and hopefully it won’t suit you at all. Today, it is argued that all we need is ‘Restructuring’, but what is Restructuring, I can tell you firmly this is just FEDERALISM, in its real sense, some others may say true federalism, but I tell you, if there has to be true federalism definitely there must have been a false federalism, and if thats just a fallacy then federalism , is federalism. One then might agree with me, that all they are clamouring for is just regionalism and self control of resources in Nigeria. But if this eventually becomes a success, how many Nigeria states

Kareem Itunu Azeez can be reached at Ikareemazeez@



News Arewa group flags off late Ali Kwara charity project

From Ahmad Muhammad, Bauchi


he Arewa Youth Consultative Council (AYCC), Bauchi state chapter has flagged off a charity project to immortalized late famous armed robbery hunter Ali Kwara. The first phase of the project featured the distribution of school uniforms to 50 orphans and vulnerable pupils across the 20 Local Government Areas of Bauchi State.

2023: CSOs want Buhari to ensure timely assent to electoral bill By Tobias Lengnan Dapam


ivil Society Organizations (CSOs) have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to timeously assent to the Electoral Bill 2021, which it said is in congruence with the will and aspirations of the Nigerian people. The CSOs said the President must continue to pursue and honour his commitment to bequeath to Nigerians an electoral system that guarantees the conduct of credible, inclusive and peaceful elections. “Further amendments to the Electoral Bill 2021 by the National Assembly should be undertaken in the next electoral cycle based on real and perceived lacuna identified in the implementation of the current Bill.” Speaking, at a press

conference on Thursday, in Abuja, Samson Itodo, Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, said the bill sent to the President contains specific provisions that are directed at enhancing the quality and credibility of elections and address certain lacunas in the existing electoral legal framework. “Such provisions in the Bill include: Legal backing for the use of electoral technologies for the purpose of voter accreditation and electronic transmission of election results; extension of restrictive timelines for electoral activities, concise definition of over voting and the conferment of legal authority on INEC to review questionable election results. “The undersigned Civil Society Organizations welcome the decision of the President to invite the comment of relevant Ministries, Departments and

Agencies of government on the Bill. In this regard, the input from the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Minister of the Interior, Minister of Finance and the Inspector General of the Police are probably the most crucial. In their consideration of the Bill, these Office Holders should be guided by the overriding public interest to strengthen our electoral process and the consolidation of our democracy. “It is our firm belief that the Bill in its current state will not only encourage increased citizens’ participation in the electoral process, but it will also further enhance the capacity of the democratic institutions to improve the transparency and legitimacy of electoral outcomes.

L-R: Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Information, N a t i o n a l Orientation, Ethics and Values, Hon. Odebunmi Olusegun Dokun, Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Representative of Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Hon. Aniekan Umanah and Hon. Babangida Ibrahim, during the opening ceremony of a two-day national conference on information, Them; Information as a strategic tool for National Development, yesterday in Abuja.

World AIDS Day: NHRC kicks against discrimination, stigma of persons with HIV/ AIDS in Nigeria By Albert Akota


he National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has kicked against discrimination and stigmatization of persons with HIV AIDS. It said there should partnership with the Network of People living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) to effectively collate and deal with the menace. The Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu disclosed this yesterday at National human rights institute in Abuja during sensitization on HIV/ADS and human rights to commemorations 2021 world aids day with a theme: “Global solidarity, shared responsibility”. He said the activities also provide opportunity to demonstrate self- test kits, knowing your status and other preventions method. The executive secretary who was represented by deputy director of the institute, Mrs. Fidelia Osemeata Oroh said that the commission joined the world to commemorate the event and acknowledged its responsibility to address HIV related stigma and discrimination as enshrined in its mandate.

“Furthermore, the timely assent to the Electoral Bill 2021 will facilitate early preparations and efficient election administration of the 2023 General Election, which is just 443 days away. It must be emphasized that the successful conduct of any election is predicated on the certainty and clarity of the election legal framework, amongst other factors. This is to preclude any legal uncertainties that may occasion manipulation and subversion of the electoral process. It is for this reason that the African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Good Governance and the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance requires that any amendment to the electoral legal framework must be concluded at least six months to the date of election.”

Photo: Mahmud Isa

EHORECON develops guidelines to strengthen practice By Mashe Umaru Gwamna


nvironmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON) has developed four guidelines aimed at strengthen the practices of environmental health in the country. The Registrar of EHORECON, Dr. Baba Mohammed made the disclosure at the opening of a two days workshop on stakeholders critique meeting on the development of guidelines for disinfection of

microbial (COVID-19) clinical impacted surface in Nigeria, yesterday in Abuja . Dr.Mohammed said that the meeting was very necessary and critical to identify the practices of environmental health professionals. He said the guideline was apt and timely. “Firstly, the development of the guidelines for premises inspection and sanitary inspectors majorly is to inspect premises, through identifying the issues and problems in those houses.

“Also, it was to check toilet facilities in the premises and the processes of certification of the premises”. He explained that “Environmental Health Officers will use modern methods for certification habitation continuously”. The EHORECON boss pointed out how critical the guidelines for operation of public health,pest and vector control was. “The guidelines for vector control will be explicit, given the

new technology that will be used step by step by the Environmental Officer in local government, to reduce the numbers of vectors that are of medical importance”. Also speaking,Prof. Agwu Amadi, of Federal University of Technology Owerri, said without proper guidelines in any profession it cannot be effective. “But with a proper guideline delivery, it will be effective. More environmental practitioners should be recruited in every community in Nigeria.”


By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he immediate past Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Suleiman Yusuf Lasun, has alleged that All Progressive Congress (APC) made senator Ovie Omo-Agege the Deputy Senate President to compensate him for doing a hatchet job for the party in the Osun governorship primaries in 2018. Hon. Lasun, who is contesting the 2022 governorship election in Osun State, revealed this while picking his nomination and expression of interest forms at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja, where he told journàlists that APC used Omo-Agege to conduct indirect primaries with which he was rigged out in the election. The former Speaker alleged that for four hours, Omo-Agege was in his village perfecting plans to rig the election, even as he recalled how the Zamfara State Governor, Abdulazeez Yari, who was originally mandated to conduct the primary, pulled out of the responsibility, having discovered and informed the party of how popular he (Lasun) was in the State. He claimed that it was when Abdulazeez refused to come to Osun and do the bidding of the party that Omo-Agege emerged from nowhere to become the chairman of the APC primary election Committee in Osun, where he rigged the election and got compensation to become the Deputy Senate President. Speaking further, Lasun said the incumbent Governor of Osun, Gboyega Oyetola, did not win the 2018 governorship election in the State, but he was manipulated to become the Governor of the State. The ex lawmaker however warned that nobody born of a woman can repeat what they did to him in 2018, adding that such a person will have his or her generation to blame, as the people will resist such moves. He pointed out that he is not a violent person and does not carry thugs, but will apply legitimate means to resist any such rigging. He said “In 2018, when the opportunity to run for the governorship election presented itself, I came into the race. Though at that time there was a serious gang up against me at the party level within the state. A serious gang up, well orchestrated, well coordinated. Because of the person I am, I don’t believe in jumping ship. I have had the opportunity to move from APC to another party, but that is not me. I knew the whole thing was tilted against me, but I never bothered. “If not for my campaign, because I came out very early for my campaign in 2017, APC was dead in Osun. Dead to the extent that it was not possible for APC to win that governorship election unless it was given to someone like me. “Because of the strength of my campaign and my strength as an individual and the clarity of purpose that they know if the man becomes the governor of the state, he would be able to deliver. I have all these things in my possession.


Why APC compensated Omo-Agege with Deputy Senate President - Ex Deputy Speaker “Let me remind Nigerians today that whether it is a direct or indirect primary, the confusion started in Osun state in 2018, with the sole aim of rigging Lasun Yusuff out of the governorship election. I am that important in APC. “But because of the kind of person I am, I knew this, people called me all over the country, so they wanted me not to take part in that governorship election. They told me whatever money I was spending or I must have spent was going to go to waste because the election was going to be rigged. In party politics, if you are not prepared to lose at times, then you are not a politician. That means you are only fighting for positions for selfish reasons. “I knew the election was going

to be rigged because the platform was already prepared. And let me tell you this, the former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, was the chairman of that Committee. On the day of primary, Yari did not go to Osun, that is left for you journalists to go and find out why he did not go. “But let me give you a glimpse of what actually happened. The man knew I was popular. The man was instructed to go and do a particular thing, but he told them, I have run an investigation and I have discovered that the Deputy Speaker is popular. If you want us to come and achieve this, it might be difficult. “That was one of the reasons that the man didn’t come. The job was undertaken by the current

distinguished Senator, Deputy Senate President (Ovie OmoAgege). He became the Chairman overnight. And I want to say, if he likes, he can contradict this. One of the reasons why he is Deputy Senate President today was that he was compensated for that job. “Omo-Agege was in my home town for four hours on the day of that primary and he actually conducted three Wards primary out of six Wards of my home town and he signed three results. So, if I had wanted to go to court, what happened in Zamfara would have happened in Osun state. But I never went to school because I wanted to start writing petitions.” He also said “But on Thursday when they met at the

party secretariat, I warned them, I said if you rig me out of this primary election, I can assure you that you are not going to win the governorship. They thought I was a small boy and they thought I was just blabbing or just a mere threat. “But my friends, you are a witness to what happened when the election eventually held. Did they win? They didn’t because there is no way they can rig. Because of Aregbesola and some of us, his friends came together in 2004 and we fought the battle to claim that state for the Progressives.”On the possibility of being rigged out again in 2022, the former Deputy Speaker said “Nobody born of a woman will do what they did to me in 2018 again.” Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo (R) presenting the 2022 budget estimates to the Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Marcus Onobun, in Benin on Wednesday (1/12/21). 07413/2/12/2021/ Nefishetu Yakubu/ BJO/NAN

Nnamani says Nigeria lost an asset in late Sen. Wayas, as Ekweremadu By Musa Baba Adamu


ormer Governor of Enugu state, Chimaroke Nnamani has described the death of Second Republic President of the Senate, Joseph Wayas as a huge loss to the nation especially the political class. Reacting to the demise of the elder statesman in a statement he issued yesterday, Sen Nnamani who represents Enugu East in the Senate noted that Wayas was a pathfinder who believed in the sanctity of the ballot as a vehicle for electing leaders at all levels. The former Governor recalled that as President of the Senate, Wayas demonstrated competence, character and discipline in running the affairs of the upper legislative chamber and by extension the National Assembly. He noted the honest and robust contributions of Wayas not

just to the legislature but in the overall development of the nation. Sen Nnamani added that Wayas was one of the best and fertile minds that presided over the Nigerian Senate, saying “We have lost a patriot and committed democrat who took the entire country as his constituency”. He stated that Wayas believed in a fair and just society where no citizen is impeded or inhibited from pursuing his or her legitimate ambition on account of religion, ethnic or tribal leaning. Sen Nnamani hopes that the slogan of one Nigeria, one destiny and brotherhood no matter the differences in tongue which Wayas espoused during his lifetime would be the guiding light for the present and future generation of Nigerians. He prayed that God in His infinite mercies grants Wayas eternal rest.

In a related development, former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has expressed sadness over the passing on of Nigeria’s former President of the Senate, Senator Joseph Wayas, describing him as a veteran of the Nigerian legislature and key player in Nigeria’s constitutional development. Ekweremadu said the elder statesman would be sorely missed. Reacting to the announcement of the demise of the former lawmaker by the Governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade, the Senator said: “I received with a deep sense of loss the passing on of elder statesman and Nigeria’s former President of the Senate, Distinguished Senator Joseph Wayas. “This is particularly a grievous loss to the Nigerian legislature and the nation as a whole. He was a veteran and an

institutional memory bank of the Nigerian legislature, and a key player in Nigeria’s constitutional development, having Deputy Chairman of the National Constitutional Conference Commission, which midwifed the 1994/1995 Constitutional Conference. “Senator Wayas gave his all to the nation, had a tempering effect on the polity and acquitted himself most creditable as a patriot, panNigerian, and people-vested political icon and leader. “It is sad that he passed on at this critical juncture in Nigeria’s history when the wise counsels of elders of his status are most needed” He condoled with the Wayas’ family as well as the people and government of Rivers State over the loss and prayed God to grant the soul of the deceased eternal repose.




Plateau APC crisis: I never collected N2m to withdraw suit – Factional chairman By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


actional chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Plateau State, Hon. Ishaya Itse, has denied collecting N2 million to withdraw a suit filed against the party and the Hon. Rufus Bature-led Executive Committee, saying it was meant to tarnish his image. Itse disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Jos, the state capital, saying it was a decision taken by the two factions. He said, “I’m surprised by this kind of unfortunate information making rounds that I collected N2 million to withdraw a case from court. “To the best of my knowledge, no amount of money was given to me to compromise and betray my EXCO, it was a collective decision that was taken between the two factions, and a truce was brokered by the elders and a reconciliation committee from the National Headquarters of our dear party to settle all court cases and use internal mechanisms instead of litigations. “I want to categorically and say it without mincing words, the meeting was called by the Elders and all of us including the two Counsels from both sides were in attendance, it is to my greatest consternation and chagrin to see fake news filtering in the air that I, Ishaya Itse is a cheat and fraudster. “Ordinarily, I need not respond to such baseless and unfounded allegations, but to do justice to my supporters and other members of the public.” According to him, “This rumour is the handiwork of some shameless and mischief makers that have vowed to smear my reputation at all cost, we know them because these are people that are desperate to frustrate the Government of Plateau State. “Plateau is greater than an individual and we need to unite and foster peace, unity, and uneven development. “I want to warn such elements of destruction to stop forthwith, hence we will expose them to the world.” He assured that since negotiations are ongoing by the officials from the National Secretariat of the party, “As I speak, we are on our way to the Court, to withdraw the case, because the National body of the party advise that we should do so”. The factional chairman appealed to his supporters to remain calm, urging them to disregard such unreliable information. Recall that members who purchased forms to contest the October 16th, 2021 state elective congress had refused the consensus arrangement.

Great tsunami awaits APC come 2023 election – PDP By Musa Baba Adamu


igawa State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said there would be a great tsunami in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) before the 2023 General election in the country. State Chairman of the PDP, Babandi Ibrahim Gumel, stated this at the weekly media

engagement forum of the correspondents chapel in Dutse, the state capital. He said looking at the condition the All Progressive Congress (APC) has put its citizens through, it would be difficult for Nigerians to accept the party. The chairman said Nigerians have in totality lost confidence and are ready to vote the party out in 2023.

He said “APC had used all sort of lies and promises for Jigawa State people and the country at large in order to accept them in 2015 and today the people appeared disappointed after given them the mandates. “The poverty level, illiteracy, disease, child mortality, malnutrition, lack of access to agricultural inputs have kept increasing since the coming of

APC into power in the state and at the federal level.” Speaking further, he noted that the PDP is working day and night to bounce back to power and clear the APC and its atrocities in the 2023 general elections. He said the party have recently accepted thousands of APC loyalists on its fold from different parts of the state.

Late Wayas set examplary record in executive/ legislature relations - Omo-Agege By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


he smooth Executive/ Legislature working relationship that Nigeria’s third Senate President, Senator Joseph Wayas practicalised during the Second Republic is still being implemented to enhance good governance today, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie OmoAgege has said. In a statement by his Special

Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yomi Odunuga, Omo-Agege expressed shock and sadness over the transition of the former Presiding Officer in the Red Chamber from 1979 to 1983. Senator Omo-Agege also paid glowing tributes to the late politician for being consistently sensitive to issues of peace, progress and the sustenance of national unity. “As Senate President, Senator Wayas went to great lengths to

ensure that, in the interest of their political party as well as the entire nation, both the Executive and Legislature were on the same page on critical issues before such were brought up at the Senate. “He was also known for peaceful, patriotic compromise and a lifetime commitment towards working with Nigerians from other parts of the Federation. “He was an experienced private sector figure who distinguished

himself in the public sector, utilising knowledge and experiences gathered abroad to enhance governance in Nigeria. “As Commissioner for Transport in the old South Eastern state, as a Federal official and as a member of Nigeria’s Constituent Assembly in 1977 – 1979, he consistently worked with others towards resolving critical challenges that impact the lives of citizens.” Senator Ovie Omo-Agege stated.

The Lord Bishop of Kubwa Diocese (Anglican Communion Church) Abuja, The Right. Rev Dr.Duke T. Akamisoko, assisted by other priests laying the Foundation Stone of the Children Church, during the dedication of the main Auditorium of the Chapel of Grace Anglican Church, Nigerian Law School Bwari in an effort of providing a befitting place of worship for the Anglican law students, held recently in Abuja.

Crisis hits Kogi PDP over demand for 5year audit report By Musa Baba Adamu


ogi State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been hit with a crisis over demand for a financial audit report from 2016 till date by some stakeholders in the State. The request followed beliefs in some quarters that there was a high level of financial malfeasance and commercialisation of party activities by ‘cliques’ who have been managing the affairs of the party for the past five years. PDP is an opposition party in Kogi State and some party leaders in the State who have not been in touch with the direction of things

in the party have, however, written to the National leadership of the party, seeking the constitution of a high-powered investigative panel to review and forensically audit the Party’s financial dealings, spanning between 2016 to 2021. In the forefront of the petition to the National leadership was Senator Dino Melaye, who formerly represented Kogi West Senatorial District. Melaye in a petition insisted that the Kogi State Chapter of the PDP be probed. A copy of the petition which Melaye personally made available to journalists, read in part, “It is an open secret that the Kogi

State executives of the party have sidelined so many critical stakeholders and has been hijacked by few people led by Alfred Bello, who now runs the Party as a private affair operating the party finances recklessly and nonchalantly.” The ex-lawmaker in the petition demanded the resignation of the State Chairman of PDP, saying there were multiple unresolved crises occasioned by his maladministration and high handedness. The petitioner urged the party national leadership to demand the result of the Ward and Polling unit of the Chairman in the last governorship election in Kogi

State. The petitioner reminded the PDP National leadership that Kogi State party leadership deliberately abandoned his role in Kogi Central Senatorial District where he hails from, thereby allowing governor Yahaya Bello to cook results at will, making the APC results from the Central Senatorial district more than the entire Kogi State put together. He said the petition became necessary as PDP intends to wrestle power from the APC in the 2023 general election, adding that further evidence would be tendered if he was called upon to defend the petition.


By Ikechukwu Okaforadi


resident of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said the late Senate President Joseph Wayas served Nigeria with passion, competebce and integrity, even as he commiserated with the family. This is just as the former Senate President, David Mark, has said that late senator Joseph Wayas, during his tenure as Senate President, did not compromise the independence of the Nigeria parliment, despite when collaborating with the executive arm of government. In a statement issued yesterday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ola Awonoyi, Lawan also commiserated with the Government and people of Cross River State, friends and political associates of the late elder statesman. He describes the death of Senator Wayas as a great loss for Nigeria. “Senator Joseph Wayas was a great lawmaker and political leader who served his country and people with dedication and integrity. “As the Senate President in the Second Republic, Senator Wayas led the upper chamber with competence and passion. He was a great symbol of his political era. “He played a significant role as Deputy Chairman of the 1994-95 National Constitutional Conference and took part in many other national assignments”, Lawan said. In a related development, David Mark, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media, Paul Mumeh, said his death is a sad end to an era, adding that Senator Wayas was a flamboyant, vibrant and distinguished lawmaker. In his tribute on the transition of Wayas, Senator Mark described him as a parliamentarian who left his positive footprints in the sand of time. Senator Mark paid glowing tribute to Dr Wayas for his invaluable contributions especially his solid foundation for democracy and the legislature in Nigeria. He said:” Senator Wayas was a great nationalist. He was a parliamentarian per excellence. His diligence, honesty and uncommon dedication to the ideals of nationhood remains reference points. “He brought dignity and respect to the legislature by adhering to the rule of law, separation of power and collaborating with the executive arm of government without compromising the independence of the legislature”. Senator Mark recalled the wise counsel he received from Dr Wayas while in office as the President of the Senate, adding, “Wayas was always handy anytime we had some knotty



Late Senate President Wayas served Nigeria with competence, integrity - Lawan *He never compromised independence of parliment - David Mark issues in the Senate. He called and visited regularly to see how we were fairing.” His death at this time is a loss to the nation especially the legislature because “We shall miss his wise counsel and honest contributions to

the issues and welfare of Nigerians.” Senator Mark canvassed that the federal government immortalizes Wayas in recognition of his contributions to national development. He prayed that God grants the

deceased eternal rest. Dr. Wayas was the Second Republic President of the Senate during the administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari between October 1, 1979 and December 31, 1983. Dr. Alex Ekwueme was the Vice

President while Chief Edwin UmeEzeoke was the Speaker, House of Representatives. The death of Dr Wayas indicated that most of the key players of that era have gone to the great beyond. He was the 4th President of the Nigerian Senate.

R-L: The Publisher, “This Nigeria Newspaper”, Mr. Eric Osagie, Lecture Discussant, Mr. Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, Discussant,Comrade Issa Aremu and Former Director General NTA, Prof. Tonnie Iredia, during the “This Nigeria Newspaper” Inaugural Public Lecture and Gold Prize, held yesterday in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

Next Enugu Governor should come from Enugu East for equity – Group says By Christiana Ekpa


socio-political group, Enugu State Equity and Integrity Assembly has thrown its total weight behind the existing zoning of governorship position in Enugu State. They made their stand known in a communique read by its coordinator, Gary Eneh, at the end of their meeting in Enugu. They noted that the zoning arrangement had helped to stabilize the State, reduce political tension, bitterness and rancour among political actors in the

State. There have been arguments in Enugu State on which zone should produce the next governor of the State at the expiration of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s tenure in 2023. While some believe a gentleman zoning arrangement in the State should be maintained, in which case the position should go to Enugu East Senatorial zone, others have been of the view that zoning should be jettisoned. However, in the communique issued by the Equity and Integrity Assembly, made up of people of

Enugu West Senatorial Zone, they said the zone was not interested in the guber position. They stated that for peace and equity, the next governor should come from Enugu East. According to them, “the members of the Association are unflinchingly in support of the established zoning formula in the State. “That the members are not oblivious of the fact that the next governor of Enugu State should be from Enugu East Senatorial zone for equity, fair-play, integrity and justice

“That Enugu West Senatorial zone is not interested in the governorship position come 2023 as such moves would run contrary to the established zoning formula in the State “That the members passed a vote of confidence in the amiable, untiring governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. These are our declarations.” It maintained that past and present political office holders in the State emerged from the zoning formula which guaranteed the existing peaceful and secured environment.

Aggrieved Yobe PDP members threaten to petition NJC over delay in judgment delivery By Musa Baba Adamu


ggrieved members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Yobe State have vowed to petition the National Judicial Council (NJC) over the delay in delivering judgment in the suit challenging the congresses in the state. The aggrieved members alleged on Thursday that a Yobe State High Court in Damaturu has rescheduled judgment in their case severally beyond the 90 days allowed by law after the adoption of written addresses in their suit.

Section 294(1) of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999 provides that every court “shall deliver its decision in writing not later than ninety days after the conclusion of the evidence and final addresses and furnish all parties to the cause or matter determined with duly authenticated copies of the decision within seven days of the delivery thereof.” One of the aggrieved chieftains, Mustapha Dan Baba told judiciary correspondents that the group believes there has been a breach of the law and integrity of the court. The court had on April 8 granted

an interim injunction by the aggrieved members following the conclusion of the ward congress, which the party had ignored and proceeded with the local government and state congresses. The court had made specific orders thus “order of interim injunction restraining the Defendants/Respondent, that is the PDP, either by itself, agents, assigns, authorized representatives or howsoever described, from conducting or further carrying out screening, congresses and elections into the various executive offices of the Yobe State Chapter of the respondent, pending the

hearing and determination of the motion on notice.” Musa Abdullahi and 16 others, who had filed the action against the PDP over the conduct of the congress of the party in the state, said it is curious that after the hearing and conclusion of the matter and adoption of addresses the judgments were not delivered. Counsel to the PDP, Mr J.J. Usman, SAN said he is not aware of the reason for the delay in the judgment, saying “I am aware that after adopting my processes, I have been waiting for the judgment of the court.”



Stock Watch: Thursday, November 25, 2021 Low

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2.80 3.15 0 1.94 3.94 0 0.27 0.27 0 0.64 0.64 0 4.60 8.60 0 37.00 68.30 0 3.79 4.21 0 9.65 10.05 0 31.50 34.00 0 1.90 1.92 0 18.45 18.45 0 1.72 1.84 0 23.25 23.25 0 0.20 0.20 0 0.20 0.20 0 6.10 6.10 0 1.75 1.75 0 186.00 186.00 0 6.00 6.65 0 14.60 14.55 0 1.80 2.00 0 3.37 3.37 0 4.30 4.70 0 14.00 14.00 0 7.35 7.80 0 1.62 1.65 0 1.91 1.96 0 4.95 4.95 99 0.33 0.33 0 21.85 21.85 0 29.60 30.70 0 0.20 0.20 0 12.20 13.05 0 32.60 32.95 0 72.00 72.00 0 1.18 1.18 0 1.53 1.53 0 31.50 31.50 0 0.51 0.54 0 0.20 0.20 0 23.25 23.25 0 0.44 0.44 0 0.30 0.30 0 1.36 1.36 0 0.72 0.72 0 0.52 0.49 0 1.83 1.83 0 2.45 2.45 0

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0.11 0.21 0 0.21 0.21 MBENEFIT 0.00 0 0.43 0.43 0 0.43 0.43 MCNICHOLS 0.00 0 1.05 2.05 261 2.05 2.05 MEDVIEWAIR 0.00 0 124.80 184.80 0 184.80 184.80 MOBIL 0.00 0 0.20 0.20 970 0.20 0.20 MULTIVERSE 0.00 0 3.50 3.50 0 3.50 3.50 NAHCO 0.00 0 18.00 18.00 0 18.00 18.00 NASCON 0.00 0 78.50 78.70 0 79.50 79.50 NB 0.80 0 0.78 0.78 0 0.78 0.78 NEIMETH 0.00 0 2.60 2.60 0 2.60 2.60 NEM 0.00 0 552.20 552.20 150 552.20 552.20 NESF 0.00 0 1,475.00 1,475.00 0 1,475.00 1,475.00 NESTLE 0.00 0 1.60 1.65 0 1.60 1.60 NPFMCRFBK -0.05 0 4.60 4.80 0 4.60 4.75 OANDO -0.20 0 80.00 76.20 0 80.00 80.00 OKOMUOIL 3.80 0 64.00 64.00 0 64.00 64.00 PRESCO 0.00 0 0.50 0.50 0 0.50 0.50 PRESTIGE 0.00 0 12.30 12.30 0 12.30 12.30 PZ 0.00 0 4.20 4.20 0 4.20 4.20 REDSTAREX 0.00 0 0.20 0.21 0 0.20 0.21 REGALINS -0.01 0 0.50 0.50 0 0.50 0.50 RESORTSAL 0.00 0 0.21 0.23 0 0.21 0.22 ROYALEX -0.02 0 640.00 640.00 405 640.00 640.00 SEPLAT 0.00 0 0.20 0.20 0 0.21 0.21 SOVRENINS 0.01 0 46.50 46.00 0 46.50 46.50 STANBIC 0.50 0 102.00 102.00 122 102.00 102.00 STANBICETF30 0.00 0 1.97 1.96 0 1.97 1.97 STERLNBANK 0.01 0 203.00 203.00 0 203.00 203.00 TOTAL 0.00 0 6.10 6.10 632 6.10 6.10 TRANSCOHOT 0.00 0 1.15 1.21 0 1.16 1.18 TRANSCORP -0.05 0 9.60 9.60 0 9.60 9.60 UACN 0.00 0 1.74 1.92 0 1.74 1.74 UAC-PROP -0.18 0 7.60 7.80 0 7.90 7.95 UBA 0.10 0 6.00 6.05 0 6.00 6.05 UBN -0.05 0 2.89 2.94 0 2.89 2.91 UCAP -0.05 0 36.30 37.00 0 36.30 36.30 UNILEVER -0.70 0 0.27 0.27 0 0.27 0.27 UNIONDAC 0.00 0 1.00 0.99 0 1.00 1.00 UNITYBNK 0.01 0 2.04 1.97 0 2.14 2.14 UPL 0.17 0 0.23 0.23 0 0.23 0.23 VERITASKAP 0.00 0 4.50 4.99 0 4.50 4.50 VITAFOAM -0.49 0 11.30 11.50 0 11.30 11.65 WAPCO -0.20 0 0.40 0.40 0 0.40 0.40 WAPIC 0.00 0 0.59 0.61 0 0.59 0.61 WEMABANK -0.02 0 21.20 22.70 0 21.70 22.50 ZENITHBANK -1.00 0 Copyright © 2019 NgTradeOnline

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Afreximbank signs US$1.04bn deal with NNPC at IATF2021

By Etuka Sunday


frican Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has signed a $US1.04 billion facility with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to finance the exploration of petroleum. The agreement was concluded yesterday in Durban during the second intra-Africa trade fair, which opened on 15 November and runs until 21 November. TheFact Nigeria reports that the transaction comprises a PreExport/Shipment Finance Facility underpinned by a Forward Sale Agreement (FSA) and Offtake Contracts from the NNPC acting as the Borrower and Seller. NNPC would enter an FSA within which it shall deliver 35,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The proceeds of the facility will boost tax revenues and foreign currency receipts and create thousands of jobs in the oil and gas refining value chain, all by more than US$2.4bn to the immediate benefit of the government thereby improving the balance of trade and Gross Domestic Product in Nigeria – Africa’s largest economy. Signed by Mr. Umor Ajia, NNPC Executive Director and Group Chief Executive Officer on behalf of NNPC, the transaction complies with Afreximank’s mandate to promote local content in Africa’s Oil and Gas and other mining industry and generate foreign receivables into Africa. While lauding the deal as very innovative, Afreximbank President and Chairman of the Board of Directors Prof. Benedict Oramah explained the Bank’s decision in the context of the world’s climate change agenda, saying this is a case of adopting a balanced approach. Prof. Oramah added that Africa is more of a victim than a perpetrator in the emission of destructive greenhouse gases, contributing only a meagre 4%, while a majority of the Continent, ironically having been left behind development wise, still has to depend on fossil fuel for survival, and should thus not bear the brunt of the punishment for the mistakes of others. “Stopping development for parts of Africa today to achieve a clean environment for the whole world tomorrow is utterly foolhardy,” quipped Prof. Oramah.


NCC to Revitalise Telecom Special Numbering Service Segment T he Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is taking a decisive regulatory move to ensure sustainability, profitability and fair competition in the Special Numbering Service (SNS) segment of the nation’s telecommunications sector. A statement signed by Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs said yesterday this move informed the decision of the Commission to hold a Stakeholders’ Forum on the ‘Determination of Call Termination Rate for Special Numbering Service Providers in Nigeria. ‘ The forum, held at the Conference Room, NCC Head Office in Abuja on Tuesday, November 16, 2021, was well attended by representatives of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), Special Numbering Service (SNS) providers and other stakeholders who participated actively in the discussions. Addressing the gathering, the Director, Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis at NCC, Yetunde Akinloye, said the meeting was convened following the extensive work of a committee set up by the Commission to look into the issues and complaints emanating from the SNS segment of the telecoms market. A key concern

according to her, was the perception of high cost of delivering services to endusers in the SNS segment. Accordingly, Akinloye stated that, “This meeting is convened to discuss issues pertaining to the special numbering services (SNS) segment of the Nigerian telecommunications market. Statutorily, the NCC is the custodian and manager of the toll-free and nontoll-free numbers licenses, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria”, she said. She explained that owing to the scarce and finite nature of the numbers in the sector, the NCC, as the regulator, was under obligation to ensure the utilisation of the numbers by the licensees in a way that delivers value to the final consumers and ensures sustainability of the industry. “The SNS has been in existence for the past 15 years, with some licensees actively engaged in the segment. However, we have noted some observations and complaints from different quarters on the use of these numbers. We have observed, for instance, that there has been no effective utilisation of the numbers” she said. Akinloye also said the Commission

had observed that the uptake of the numbers has been abysmally poor, contrary to NCC’s expectation as the sectoral regulator. She stated that NCC has also received complaints from the licensees regarding the perceived high rates aand charges by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) who are owners of the major infrastructure being used by SNS providers to deliver services to end users. According to her, based on this, the NCC set up a committee to do a thorough review of the market segment; research similar markets in other jurisdiction for benchmarking; and determine the appropriate call termination rates, through proper investigation, consultation and stakeholder engagements. She said the Committee had done extensive work in this regard and as part of its rule-making process and regulatory transparency, the NCC has organised the consultative forum “to share outcomes of the Committee’s findings with the licensees, discuss the regulatory interventions that need to be taken and get inputs from all MNOs, SNS providers and other relevant stakeholders.” Also speaking during the meeting, Director, Technical Standards and

Network Integrity, NCC, Bako Wakil, lamented that the SNS segment of the market has not been fully maximised because of the cost elements involved. However, Wakil said, if cost can be reduced, there will be greater benefits from economies of scale. “So, there has to be a way of making people use the service more if the price is appropriate. In the last 15 years of introducing SNS providers, there are less than 3,000 people using the service and yet, we have licensed additional number of players in the segment. Therefore, we are looking at profitability, sustainability and vibrancy of the Value-Added Service segment,” he said. After taking inputs from representatives of MNOs and SNS providers at the forum, a new date was fixed for the second phase of the stakeholders’ forum at which more contributions will be taken to enrich the quality of decisions in that regard. While the second meeting of the Forum has been scheduled to take place in Lagos on 14th December 2021, the NCC has urged stakeholders to submit additional inputs and send to the Commission by November 30, 2021 for timely assessment and collation before the second meeting.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA), Dr. Babayo Ardo (Middle), flanked by Directors and Servicom Staff of the Ministry, during the officials inauguration of the Ministerial SERVICOM Unit, recently in Abuja. Photo: Justin Imo-Owo

FAAC: FG, States, LGs Share N671bn As October Revenue By Etuka Sunday


he Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total of N671.910 billion October 2021 federation account revenue to the Federal, States and Local Governments Councils. This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting for November, 2021 held in Lagos State. TheFact Nigeria reports that the N671.910 billion total distributable revenue comprised Distributable Statutory Revenue of N363.849 billion, Distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N154.844 billion, Exchange

Gain of N3.217 billion and N150 billion augmentation from the Non-Mineral Revenue. In October 2021, the sum of N24.591 billion was the total deduction for cost of collection and N30.864 billion was total deduction for statutory transfers, savings and refunds. The balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) was $60.860 million. The Director, Information, Press and Public Relations, OAGF, Henshaw Ogubike in a statement said, the communiqué confirmed that from the total Distributable Revenue of N671.910 billion, the Federal Government received N284.292 billion, the State Governments received N209.838 billion, and the Local Government

Councils received N156.282 billion. The sum of N21.498 billion was shared to the relevant States as 13% derivation revenue. The distributable Statutory Revenue of N363.849 billion was available for the month. From this amount, the Federal Government received N180.551 billion, the State Governments received N91.578 billion and the Local Government Councils received N70.603 billion. The sum of N21.118 billion was shared to the relevant States as 13% derivation revenue. In October 2021, the gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) was N166.284 billion. This was lower than the N170.850 billion available in the month of September

2021 by N4.566 billion. The sum of N4.789 billion allocation to NEDC and N6.651 billion cost of revenue collection were deducted from the N166.284 billion gross Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue, resulting in the distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N154.844 billion. From the N154.844 billion distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue, the Federal Government received N23.227 billion, the State Governments received N77.422 billion and the Local Government Councils received N54.195 billion. The Federal Government received N1.495 billion from the total Exchange Gain revenue of N3.217 billion. The State Governments received N0.758

billion, the Local Government Councils received N0.584 billion and N0.380 billion was shared to the relevant States as 13% derivation revenue. The Federal Government received N79.020 billion, the State Governments received N40.080 billion and the Local Government Councils received N30.900 billion from the N150 billion augmentation from the Non-Oil Mineral Revenue. According to the communiqué, in the month of October 2021, Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT), Oil and Gas Royalties and Companies Income Tax (CIT) decreased considerably. There was a slight decline in Value Added Tax (VAT) while Import Duty and Excise Duty increased marginally.




IATF: Multilateral financiers discuss trade initiatives in Durban

By Etuka Sunday


ultilateral financial institutions on Tuesday discussed their role in promoting trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), an ambitious plan to create the world’s largest free trade zone since the founding of the World Trade Organization. The conversation took place during a panel discussion at the Intra-African Trade Fair, launched in 2018 to give the AfCFTA, which came into effect this year, impetus. Solomon Quaynor, Vice President at the African Development Bank, said between 2020 and 2021 the Bank planned to invest about $2 billion in projects related to the free trade zone, and to mobilize a further $2 billion from partners. The projects include regional infrastructure

and industrialization. Quaynor, VP for the Private Sector, Infrastructure & Industrialization, said the African Development Bank was ready to scale up funding after prioritizing the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and maintaining its triple-A credit rating. “One of the impacts (of the pandemic) is that we had less resources to support the capitalraising efforts of the African multilateral financial institutions that we are already equity investors in. However, this is the time to turn that around,” Quaynor told the audience in Durban, the South African port city hosting this year’s IntraAfrican Trade Fair. Serge Ekué, President of the West African Development Bank, said the pandemic had once again proven that “cash is king” -- as evidenced by the trillions of

dollars made available by the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank through their asset repurchasing programs. For its part, the West African Development Bank made €500 million available to governments and the private sector to fend off the impact of the pandemic. “Tier-one capital is critical. We need to strengthen that…From our experience, we know where the market is…The question is: How do we strengthen our tierone capital to fully play our role?” Ekué said. Sanjeev Gupta, Executive Director of the Africa Finance Corporation, said the pandemic had proven that the continent was capable of generating homegrown solutions. The AFC acted swiftly to “understand where the stresses are in our portfolio, where cash was required immediately, where projects could be delayed

or deferred.” “After that, we looked at our own balance sheet. We looked at our capital structure, our own liquidity, and we did what, I think, any responsible institution should have done…and that is to see whether our rating itself stands the test,” Gupta said. Armed with its A3 Moody’s rating, which was affirmed during the crisis, Africa Finance Corporation could approach the markets “with a serious degree of confidence.” Over the last 18 to 20 months, it raised roughly $22.5 billion of new cash in various forms. “This, to me, tells us that, if we focus on what is in our control, which is project development, making projects bankable, managing the projects in terms of crisis, money is available out there…As a matter of fact, there are buckets of capital out there,”

Gupta said. “There is a shortterm bucket, then there is quite a large growing bucket around what I call tier-two interests, where people are interested in putting 15 to 18-year tier-two capital, and, interestingly, there is a huge bucket now under the theme of resilience and climate.” The panel also included Emmanuel Assiak, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Fund for Export-Development in Africa, Admassu Tadesse, President and CEO of the Trade and Development Bank Group, Dr Sidi Tah, Director General of the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, and Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation. The Intra-African Trade Fair ends on Sunday 21 November.

Work in progress on Elebele Bridge being constructed by the Bayelsa government in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state on Wednesday (17/11/21).

Orjiako steps down as Seplat Energy Chairman

By Etuka Sunday


eplat Energy Plc announces the decision of its Chairman, Dr. A.B.C. Orjiako to step down as Chairman and from the Board of Directors of Seplat Energy Plc. Dr Orjiako notified the Board of Directors of his decision yesterday, November 17, 2021. In order to facilitate an orderly transition Dr Orjiako would remain as Chairman until the next Annual General Meeting in May 2022, when an Independent Chairperson will take over. Dr A.B.C. Orjiako is the cofounder and pioneer of Seplat

Energy. Since 2009, as Chairman of the Seplat Energy Group, Dr. Orjiako has taken the Company through a number of acquisitions and was the driving force behind Seplat Energy becoming the first and only Nigerian corporate to dual list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Main Board of the London Stock Exchange in 2014. The Board of Seplat Energy thanked its Chairman for his strategic vision, drive and limitless energy to create Nigeria’s leading indigenous independent energy company. Dr. A.B.C. Orjiako, Chairman

of Seplat Energy plc, commented: “The past twelve years at Seplat Energy have been exhilarating for me. As Chairman, I am proud that the Board, Management and entire Staff of Seplat Energy were able to achieve several enviable milestones and exceptional successes, notably the acquisition of eight oil and gas assets, expansion of the Oben and development of the ANOH gas plants and the dual listing on both the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges - a first by a Nigerian company”. “While there were challenges along the way, we overcame these

by the special grace of God, the outstanding performance and professionalism of each member of the Board and Management, and the sterling efforts of our staff. I will continue to give my utmost energy and commitment to the Company until I step down from the Board at the next AGM,” he said. Mr. Basil Omiyi, a Senior Independent Director of Seplat Energy plc, commented: “On behalf of all members of the Board, I would like to thank Dr A.B.C. Orjiako for his immense contribution as a co-founder and Chair of Seplat Energy since

inception.” “He has been Chairman during both exciting and challenging times, and his dedication has been constant throughout. The Board and Management look forward to working with him during the transition period and we will miss his insight, expertise and leadership when he finally steps down in May,” Omiyi said. The Seplat Energy Chairman’s decision to step down and be replaced by an Independent Chairperson is a testament to the strong corporate governance and best practices he instilled in the Board.




Abuja Masterplan: FCTA goes tough on Estate developers ... Two estates demolished in Lugbe By Stanley Onyekwere


n bid to restore the sanctity of the Abuja Masterplan, the FCT Administration yesterday demolished several buildings worth millions of Naira located within two estates in Lugbe District of the Federal Capital City (FCC). Most of the affected were duplexes at their various stages of completion inside Seman Estate , behind Dunamis Church, along Airport Road, in the newly designated District in the FCC. In particular, FCTA officials accompanied by joint security agencies stormed and cleared some contravening structures situated inside Seman Metropolis Estate behind Dunamis River plate Estate, and Palms Residences opposite

ShopRite Pyakasa junction, all in Lugbe. Explaining the exercise, Comrade Ikharo Attah, Senior Special Assistant on Inspection, Monitoring and Enforcement to the FCT Minister, said the exercise was part of the FCT enforcement component, aimed at curtailing contraventions against land use act in the nation’s capital city. Attah, who attributed the distortions of the Abuja master plan on the excess of estate developers, how warned them to desist from such, as the FCTA will not relent to ensure massive monitoring and enforcement against violations in the area. He said: “At the point of our inauguration, the minister stressed the need to restore the sanctity and dignity of Abuja

Master plan, and restore Abuja to the path the founding fathers want it to be. “ The Department of Development Control approached my office to actually clean up some of the things here. So, we have started massively in the area of violations against Abuja Masterplan. “What the minister asked us to do is to engage and re-engage stakeholders to do the right thing, while still standing that we cannot allow illegality in the FCC. “We will be doing more inspection, monitoring while also stabilising an ensuring that we enforce very strongly. “All developers must ensure that genuine land and approved plan before commencing development.

“You must also not exceed your boundary, because we see boundary extensions . So developers who contravene , we will be coming very tough against them, and that is the mandate of the Minister, you can’t rape the Masterplan and go free.” Similarly, Acting Director, Development Control Department of the FCT, Garba Kwamkur, reiterated that the developers had not come to seek approval for the structures been developed. He recalled that the Department did some removal at the Seman Estate sometime early this year, and the developer mobilised thugs who assaulted them, and they had to withdraw, and had to return again, because the developer continued building even after he stopped.

He decried that most developers in Abuja think that they don’t have to seek approval for developments in Lugbe and other places within the FCC and FCT at large, adding that Abuja Master plan must be respected. One of the affected developer, Steven Maxwell, MD, Seaman Global Project Ltd, who described the demolition exercise as shocking, however admitted that the process for obtaining approvals for the structures was still ongoing. He however disclosed that each of the demolished duplexes upon completion is estimated to cost a minimum of 25 Million Naira. He therefore made a passionate for the FCTA to halt the exercise, so as to enable the firm to do the needful.

Minister of women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen (L); UFPA Resident Representative in Nigeria Ulla Micellar (2nd L), and other participants,during the 2nd Annual Security Sector Forum on Women, Peace and Security in Nigeria, in Abuja on Thursday (2/12/21).

Area Councils, stakeholders share N4.4bn as Oct. allocation By Stanley Onyekwere


he Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has disbursed a total sum of N4,476,067,191.05billion to the six Area Councils in the FCT and other stakeholders as its share of statutory allocation for the month of October 2021. The figure indicates a slight decrease in revenue from N4,726,127,134.71billion disbursed in the month of September to N4,476, 067,191.05 in the month of October, representing 5.3 percent decrease. The figures released indicate that the sum of N2,530,406,244.92billion was made available for distribution to

the six area councils, while the sum of N1,945,660,946.13billion was made available to other stakeholders, bringing the total sum to N4,476,067,191.05billion. However, distributions to area councils shows that the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), received N467,596,505.31 million, while Gwagwalada got N470,262,942.36 million and Kuje received N409,219,387.28 million. Others include, Bwari Area Council which received N384,085,033.55million, Abaji N401,888, 840.83million and Kwali received N397, 353, 535.59million bringing the total sum to N2,530, 406, 244.92billion disbursed to the six area councils. Furthermore, distribution to

other stakeholders include: Primary School Teachers which gulped N1,566,571,879.02billion with 15 percent Pension Funds which took N226,478,989.57 million, One percent Training Fund which gulped N44,760,671.91 million and 10 percent Employer Pension Contribution accounting for N107,849, 405.63million, bringing the total sum to N1,945,660,946.13 billion. Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, who presided over the 159th Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC), commended all stakeholders for their cooperation, despite challenges recorded in the past. While calling for more commitment and

synergy on the part of all stakeholders, the minister however commended them for showing understanding in the distribution of monthly allocation to area councils and other stakeholders. She also harped on the need to strengthen institutions that would outlive the present administration. Those present at the 159th Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC), meeting include the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr. Olusade Adesola, Chairman of Abuja Municipal Area Council, Hon. Abdullahi Candido, Chairman of Gwagwalada Area Council, Hon. Adamu Mustapha, and Chairman of Abaji area council, Hon. Abdulrahaman Ajiya.



world news

Russia Ukraine: Lavrov warns of return to military confrontation nightmare R ussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned that Europe could be returning to what he called the “nightmare of military confrontation”. At a European security conference in Sweden, Mr Lavrov floated the idea of a new European security pact to try to stop Nato from expanding further east. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned of “serious consequences” if Russia sought conflict with Ukraine. The meeting comes as Russia boosts its military near Ukraine’s border. Ukraine says Russia has amassed more than 90,000 troops there. Moscow denies it is preparing an attack on Ukraine and accuses Kyiv of its own military build-up. As tensions rise, Russia said on Thursday it had arrested three suspected Ukrainian security service agents. One of the three was accused of planning a terrorist attack, while the other two had been seeking to gather intelligence, Russia’s Federal Security Service said. Mr Lavrov and Mr Blinken

met at a conference of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). US officials said the two sides had agreed to further dialogue on Ukraine. Mr Blinken hinted at the possibility of direct talks between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the near future. Russia’s foreign ministry hoped a Putin-Biden summit would take place in the coming days but no date had been set, Interfax news agency reported. The build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine’s border was among the topics discussed at an in-person summit between the two leaders in Geneva in June. Earlier this week, President Putin said Russia would seek US guarantees that Nato will limit its presence in Ukraine, which is not a member of the security alliance. But on Thursday, Mr Lavrov said in a speech that Nato was refusing to constructively consider proposals to de-escalate tensions and prevent dangerous incidents. This




Antony Blinken and Sergei Lavrov met at a European security conference in Sweden forces was spotted some 300km (185 miles) from Ukraine “The alliance’s military infrastructure is being irresponsibly brought closer to Russia’s borders in Romania and Poland, deploying an anti-missile defence system that can be used

as a strike complex,” he said. “American medium-range missiles are about to appear in Europe, bringing back the nightmare scenario of a military confrontation.” He warned Nato against turning countries neighbouring

Russia, ie Ukraine, into “bridgeheads of confrontation”, and said he hoped Russian proposals for a new security pact would be carefully considered. At a joint news conference with the Russian foreign minister, Mr Blinken said the best way to avoid a crisis was through diplomacy and urged Russia to pull back its forces. “The United States is willing to facilitate that but... if Russia decides to pursue confrontation there will be serious consequences,” he added. On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for direct talks with Russia over the more than seven-year conflict with Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. He also said that Kyiv’s goal was to “liberate” Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, but made no mention of using force. A large part of the recent Russian military build-up is in Crimea. Troops are also massing near Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, the name for parts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions under the control of separatists.

Meghan wins ruling in Mail on Sunday privacy fight


he Duchess of Sussex has won the latest stage in her legal fight against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday over a letter she sent to her father. The Court of Appeal rejected Associated Newspapers’ attempt to have a trial in the privacy and copyright case. Meghan said it was a win “not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what’s right”. Associated Newspapers said it was disappointed, and was considering a further appeal to the Supreme Court. A judge had previously ruled in favour of Meghan after extracts from the letter appeared in the paper. In a statement issued after the ruling, the duchess urged people to be “brave enough to reshape a tabloid industry that... profits from the lies and pain that they create”. Meghan, who started the civil action against newspaper group in 2019, said: “In the nearly three years since this began, I have been patient in the face of deception, intimidation and calculated attacks.” She added: “The courts have held the defendant to account and

my hope is that we all begin to do the same. Because as far removed as it may seem from your personal life, it’s not. Tomorrow it could be you. “These harmful practices don’t happen once in a blue moon - they are a daily fail that divide us and we all deserve better.” A spokesman for Associated Newspapers said: “It is our strong view that judgment should be given only on the basis of evidence tested at trial, and not on a summary basis in a heavily contested case.” The Court of Appeal accepted Meghan’s argument that the letter to Thomas Markle in August 2018 - three months after her wedding to Prince Harry - was “deeply personal”. It had been given to the Mail on Sunday by Mr Markle, who wanted to address what he thought were unfair media accounts. The judges were told that 585 out of the 1,250 words in the letter to her estranged father had been republished in five articles. In their decision, the three judges said the letter’s contents were “personal, private and not matters of legitimate public interest”.

In February, the High Court had ruled against the newspaper group on the issue of privacy and copyright - saying the issues in the case were so clear cut that there was no need for a full hearing. Associated Newspapers was refused permission to appeal against the decision but went to the Court of Appeal in an attempt to get the original ruling overturned. But on Thursday, judges at the appeal said it was hard to see what evidence at a trial would have altered the situation. They added: “The judge had correctly decided that, whilst it might have been proportionate to publish a very small part of the letter for that purpose, it was not necessary to publish half the contents of the letter.” At the three-day appeal hearing last month, lawyers for Associated Newspapers presented evidence to support its contention that Meghan’s privacy and copyright claims against the publisher should be heard at a full trial. During the case, it was revealed that Meghan had authorised her former communications secretary, Jason Knauf, to co-

operate with the authors of a book about her and Prince Harry, something she had previously denied. They also produced a witness statement from Mr Knauf, which indicated that the duchess had written the letter knowing it might be leaked. Mr Knauf said Meghan sent him an early draft of the letter and had written: “Obviously everything I have drafted is with the understanding that it could be leaked so I have been meticulous in my word choice, but please do let me know if anything stands out for you as a liability.” But in written evidence, Meghan denied she thought it likely that her father would leak the letter, saying she “merely recognised that this was a possibility”. A statement issued by Associated Newspapers after the latest ruling said “Mr Knauf’s evidence raises issues as to the duchess’s credibility”. Explaining why it was considering a Supreme Court challenge, Associated said its article raised “issues of public interest including the reasons for the breakdown in the relationship between the duchess and her

father”. Meghan has won a significant victory in this courtroom battle to protect her privacy. She’s drawn a line in the sand. Even if her life is of public interest, she’s shown that it doesn’t make her public property. It was a high-risk strategy, which could have put her in court facing awkward questions, but the appeal court ruling has seen her winning without that. But it’s already come with some bruising headlines - such as having to apologise for having forgotten how information was given to authors writing a book about her and Prince Harry. This might have been an “unfortunate lapse of memory”, said the appeal court ruling, but it didn’t bear on the fundamental issues of whether such a private letter to her father should have been published. Meghan divides public opinion - with vocal supporters and critics both seeing bias and prejudice on the other side - and this court case is unlikely to change that. But she has succeeded in a legal battle that previous generations of royals would probably have avoided. Source: BBC




Covid: South Africa new cases double in 24 hours as Omicron spreads


he new coronavirus variant Omicron has now become dominant in South Africa and is driving a sharp increase in new infections, health officials say. Some 11,500 new Covid infections were registered in the latest daily figures. That is a sharp rise on the 8,500 cases confirmed the previous day. By contrast, daily infections were averaging between 200 and 300 in midNovember, a top South African scientist told the BBC. Omicron has now been detected in at least 24 countries around the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Those who have already had other variants of coronavirus do not appear to be protected against Omicron but vaccines are still believed to protect against severe disease, according to top scientists from the global health body and South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). “Previous infection used to protect against Delta but now with Omicron that doesn’t seem to be the case,” said Anne von Gottberg, microbiologist at NICD. The full picture in South Africa will not become clear until “people get so sick that they need to go to hospital” which is generally “three, four weeks later,” says Prof Salim Abdool Karim of the Africa Task Force for Coronavirus. “But the feedback we’re getting from the ground is that there’s really no red flags - we’re not seeing anything dramatically different, what we’re seeing is what we are used to,” he told the BBC’s Newsday programme. The BBC’s Pumza Fihlani in South Africa’s biggest city, Johannesburg, says that restaurants and supermarkets remain

South Africa’s president has urged everyone to get vaccinated packed, ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays. People are talking about the new variant - but so far there’s little panic and, according to scientists, there shouldn’t be. South Africa was the first country to report on the highly mutated new variant. The NICD says more than 70% of all the virus genomes it sequenced last month have been of the new variant. India, Ghana, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are among the latest countries to have confirmed their first cases of Omicron. Others including the UK, US and Germany have also seen people infected by the new variant. Many questions about Omicron remain to be answered, including how much protection current vaccines provide. The WHO has categorised it as a “variant of concern”, and says early evidence

suggests it has a higher re-infection risk. Earlier this week, countries around the world restricted travel from southern Africa as details of the spread emerged. This prompted South Africa’s foreign ministry to complain that it was being punished - instead of applauded - for discovering Omicron. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus later warned that blanket Covid measures were penalising southern Africa. The rate of new infection is expected to increase in what is now the beginning of the fourth wave in South Africa, and the national health department says there has also been a slight increase in hospital admissions. Most of the people who have been hospitalised in South Africa had not been vaccinated against coronavirus, according

to the NICD. There are no vaccine shortages in the country, and Mr Ramaphosa has urged more people to get jabbed, saying this remains the best way to fight the virus. About 24% of South Africans have so far been fully vaccinated - far more than the 7% average recorded across the African continent, but lower than the latest European average of 54%. Officials in South Africa are ramping up efforts to get more people vaccinated. Before the detection of the Omicron variant late last month, vaccination campaigns had stalled, in part because of the low rate of reported new infections, experts say. But our South Africa reporter says that seems to be changing - on 25 November about 120,000 vaccines were administered and a week later the number had risen to just over 160,000 new vaccinations a day. It could be the silver lining that health officials were hoping for, she says. How worried should we be about Omicron? What this means for the rest of the world remains very uncertain. South Africa had a wave driven by another variant - Beta - that did not take off in other places. Levels of a later variant, Delta, were very low when Omicron took hold in South Africa - meaning the new variant did not have to work hard to compete. South Africa has low levels of vaccination although it has had high levels of infection and that brings its own immunity. How it fares in places like the UK, where there is plenty of Delta circulating but the population is heavily vaccinated, therefore, remains to be seen. Source: BBC

China, Africa to renew ties with sincere friendship, equality By He Yin, People’s Daily


hinese President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and delivered a keynote speech via video link on Monday. He reviewed the traditional friendship between China and Africa, gave a positive appraisal of their cooperation outcomes, and summarized the spirit of the ChinaAfrica friendship and cooperation. His speech provided a strategic plan and overarching design for China-Africa cooperation in the future and drew up a blueprint for China-Africa friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation in the new era. This year marks the 65th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between China and African countries. Over the past 65 years, China and Africa have forged unbreakable fraternity in their struggle against imperialism and colonialism, and embarked on a distinct path of cooperation toward development and revitalization. Together, they have written a glorious chapter of mutual assistance amidst complex changes, and set a shining example for building a new type of international relations. “Why do China and Africa have such a close relationship and so deep a bond of friendship? The key lies in an everlasting spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation forged between the two sides, which features sincere friendship and equality, win-win for mutual benefit and

common development, fairness and justice, and progress with the times and openness and inclusiveness,” Xi said in his speech. This truly captures the relations of China and Africa working together in good and hard times over the past decades, and provides a source of strength for the continuous growth of China-Africa friendly relations, he stressed. Inheriting and carrying forward the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation, the two sides will inject strong impetus into the building of a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future. The spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation is inseparable from the heads-of-state diplomacy, which has facilitated the long-term steady progress of China-Africa relations. Africa was Xi’s first destination of foreign visits after taking office as the Chinese President in March 2013. So far, he has made four visits to the continent. During the FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2018, Xi had one-on-one meetings with more than 50 national leaders from Africa to renew friendship, discuss cooperation, and plan the future, building a deep bond and trust with them. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Xi has been encouraging China and Africa to tide over difficulties through cooperation and solidarity jointly. He and national leaders from Africa have maintained frequent highlevel communication via video meetings or telephone calls. China’s assistance for Africa, including the COVID-19 vaccines, is highly appraised by African countries. Sincere friendship and equality are

distinctive features that keep China-Africa ties vital. China and Africa have always been a community with a shared future. The Chinese people have shared weal and woe and mutual assistance with African people and offered respect, appreciation, and support for Africa. China doubly cherishes its traditional friendship with Africa, always takes the solidarity and cooperation with African countries as an essential element of China’s foreign policy, and always supports equality among all nations, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor. China enjoys mutual support with Africa on issues involving core interests and major concerns of either or both, supports African countries’ efforts to resolve their continent’s issues in their own way, and supports African countries’ efforts to explore development paths suited to their national conditions. In recent years, following the principle of sincerity, real results, amity, and good faith, and the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests, China has worked with African countries to renew the glorious chapter of high-quality ChinaAfrica cooperation continuously. The Chinese side has always respected the independence, sovereignty, and culture of Africa, supported the development of the continent, and upheld multilateralism on the international stage to safeguard the interests of developing countries, said Senegalese President Macky Sall. Over the past decades, with mutual respect and empathy, China and Africa, have reaped fruits of cooperation across

the African continent, defining the essence of good friends, good partners, and good brothers. In developing relations with Africa, there are five lines that China will not cross: no interference in African countries’ choice of a development path fitting their national conditions; no interference in African countries’ internal affairs; no imposition of its will on African countries; no attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa; and no pursuit of selfish political gains through investment and financing cooperation with Africa. China closely combines Africa’s independent and sustainable development with its own development and rejects the zero-sum game and actions driven by a narrow pursuit of profit. The ultimate goal is to realize win-win cooperation. The country is always standing in solidarity with Africa and progressing with the latter. “China will never forget the profound friendship of African countries and will remain guided by the principle of sincerity, real results, amity, and good faith and the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests. China will work together with African friends to promote and carry forward the spirit of ChinaAfrica friendship and cooperation from generation to generation,” Xi said in his speech. Standing at a new historic starting point, China and Africa will keep maintaining their friendship and equality, continuously deepening their ties, enhancing mutual trust, and constantly releasing vitality for China-Africa friendship.



N e w s F r o m A S I A China will continue to deliver more brilliant performance on WTO stage By Li Chenggang


he year 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). In this particular year, a review of China’s role in the WTO is of great significance for the new journey of cooperation between the country and the international organization. Over the last two decades, China has grown from a rule taker into an important participant in rule making within the framework of the WTO. During its full participation in the work of the WTO, the country has learned in practice, improved its work through introspection, and accumulated plenty of experience, making contributions to the normal operation of the three major functions of the WTO, i.e. rule negotiation, policy review, and dispute settlement. As a major force in rule negotiations under the WTO, China has deeply participated in multilateral trade negotiations including the Doha Round negotiations and negotiations on fisheries subsidies, and submitted or co-sponsored over 100 negotiation proposals, making substantial contributions to facilitating the expansion of the scope of products covered by the Information Technology Agreement and the reaching of the Trade Facilitation Agreement. China is undoubtedly a “straight-A student” in WTO’s policy reviews. The country has gone through nine transitional reviews and eight trade policy

Photo shows workers busy making clothes for overseas orders at the factory of a garment company based in Lushan city, east China’s Jiangxi province. (Photo by Han Junxuan/People’s Daily Online) reviews from the WTO, in which it has given honest answers to more than 10,000 questions raised by other WTO members. During the WTO’s eighth trade policy review of China alone, which was held at the end of October, the country answered over 2,500 questions from other WTO members. Besides, China has served as a “night watchman” of the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism. The country has participated in nearly 200 lawsuits in the WTO. After

the international organization’s dispute settlement mechanism was paralyzed, China, together with dozens of other WTO members including the European Union, established the multi-party interim appeal arbitration arrangement that opens to all members, endeavoring to safeguard the WTO’s two-tier dispute settlement system. Over the last two decades, China has developed from a user of public goods to an important supplier of

public goods on the WTO stage. It should be noted that China’s development is closely intertwined with the world’s prosperity. As China’s gross domestic product accounts for a larger proportion of the world’s total, the country voluntarily shoulders greater international responsibilities and provides more public goods. As a close friend of the least developed countries (LDCs), China has provided funds and established the China’s LDCs and

Accessions Program (the China Programme) together with the WTO Secretariat, in bid to support the LDCs in integrating into and benefitting from the multilateral trading system by helping them with capacity building and sharing experience with them. It has helped six LDCs accede to the WTO under the program. China has been a supporter and advocate of the reform of the WTO. Back in 2018, the country already put forward specific proposals and suggestions for the reform of the WTO, and has explored new routes to making the WTO rules keep up with the times. It initiated the Friends of Investment Facilitation for Development (FIFD) and proposals for plastic pollution prevention and control, which have been joined by over 100 and more than 60 members respectively, making WTO rules more responsive to the needs of the times. China is also a practitioner of the opening-up of markets. During the recently concluded negotiations on services domestic regulation, China, as a key participant, contributed to the success of the negotiations. It will implement the negotiations’ results on the basis of most-favored-nation treatment to further open the service market, which will benefit all WTO members. Over the last two decades, China has fulfilled its commitments to the WTO and taken active actions, playing a constructive role in promoting the development of the international organization.

Chinese brands forge ahead toward high-quality development By Qiu Chaoyi, Han Xin, People’s Daily


n recent years, China has attached great importance to enhancing the strength of indigenous brands and ramped up efforts to accelerate the shift from “Made in China” to “Created in China” and from “Chinese products” to “Chinese brands”. Chinese brands have delivered eye-catching performance in both international and domestic markets this year. A total of 143 Chinese companies entered the 2021 Fortune Global 500 list, making China top the ranking. During this year’s Singles’ Day shopping festival in China, the volume of transaction of more than 100 domestic brands on China’s e-commerce giant surged over eight times year on year, while China’s leading search engine Baidu witnessed the greatest increase in the number of domestic products-related searches in nearly three years. More and more Chinese enterprises have built their brands and improved their core competitiveness by making innovations, creating such important products as a smart jacking platform that is the first of its kind in the world, the world’s largest rectangular shield tunneling machine, and the

world’s thinnest stainless steel foil. Many Chinese brands have changed their development ideas and started to explore the path of collaborative innovation. Leading Chinese home appliance brand Galanz has joined hands with American household appliance brand Whirlpool, through which the two home appliance giants are expected to further enhance their mutual complementarity and generate more fruits of innovation. At the 130th China Import and Export Fair, commonly known as the Canton Fair, held in October this year in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong province, they exhibited a solution to whole-house smart home appliances. Galanz has established research and development (R&D) centers and branches in more than 10 countries around the world. Its products have been sold to nearly 200 countries and regions. In January this year, China’s first nuclear power unit using Hualong One, a domesticallydesigned third-generation nuclear reactor, entered commercial operation, a result of nearly 20 years of hard work of the R&D team of China National Nuclear Corporation. Thanks to its achievements

in nuclear power technology represented by the Hualong One nuclear reactor, Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-2 (K-2) in Karachi, Pakistan, and the hightemperature gas-cooled reactor of Shidaowan nuclear power plant in east China’s Shandong province, China has become one of the frontrunners in the field of the third-generation and the fourth-generation nuclear power technologies this year. China’s homegrown sportswear brand Anta is intensifying efforts to build an integrated warehousing and distribution network using both online and offline means. On the one hand, by promoting the application of digital technologies in logistics services, the company has improved user analysis and managed to realize precise distribution of inventory. On the other hand, it has widely used automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) and other emerging machines and systems offline, raising the efficiency of parcel sending by 30 percent. During this year’s Singles’ Day shopping festival, Anta sent off more than 13 million parcels and offered better shopping experiences to consumers by leveraging smart logistics. Quality is the lifeblood of brands. Ensuring quality safety

and improving the level of quality is an important precondition for the high-quality development of Chinese brands. Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co., Ltd., a leading Chinese dairy producer, innovatively developed and upgraded a smart ranch big data analysis and application platform, which enables farm workers to check dynamic information about cows in real time and feed them precisely according to their needs, thus ensuring science-based diet and healthcare for cows as well as the production of high-quality milk. In a lab of the technological innovation and R&D center of Guangdong HEGII Sanitary Wares Co., Ltd., a major sanitary ware production company in China, more than 700 reliability testing platforms have been running around the clock to make sure the company’s products pass the most rigorous tests. The company’s efforts to improve product quality have been proven rewarding. Its sheet material can remain intact after being soaked in hot water at 80 degrees Celsius for 109 hours, while the coating it produces still shows outstanding water repellency performance after 100,000 times of scrubbing.

“Quality is the top priority of HEGII. Our persistence on ensuring high quality of our products creates broader space for development,” said Ding Wei, chief executive officer of the company. Many Chinese companies have actively made contributions to the implementation of China’s rural vitalization strategy. Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co., Ltd., for one, has organized training sessions for dairy farmers, and helped a cumulative total of five million households shake off poverty. By tapping into the endogenous culture and carrying out protective development of intangible cultural heritage in rural areas, Overseas Chinese Town Holdings Company (OCT Group) has significantly boosted the development of villages. Many companies in the country have played important roles in the front line of the country’s endeavors to realize the goal of peaking its carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060. China’s State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) has put into operation the country’s first “zero carbon” commercial heating project using nuclear energy in Haiyang city, Shandong province.






‘It’s like hell in here’: The struggle to save Afghanistan’s starving babies


octors in Afghanistan’s crisishit hospitals, many of whom are now working without pay, spoke to the BBC about the country’s deepening humanitarian crisis. All names have been changed The young woman was crying, begging the doctor to kill her and her baby. Dr Nuri, an obstetrician in central Afghanistan, was about to deliver the baby by Caesarean section when the mother broke down. “I don’t know how I can stay alive,” she said, according to Dr Nuri, “so how can I give birth to another human being?” The women on Dr Nuri’s ward are so malnourished that they know they are unlikely to have enough breast milk to feed their children. Dr Nuri says the wards are so crowded that she has to squeeze past women in labour pressed up against blood-stained walls, or lying on dirty sheets. Most cleaners left her hospital months ago, fed up with working without pay. And the maternity ward is so crowded that sometimes there are several women to one bed. Nearby facilities and private clinics have had to close, and this once prestigious modern hospital in central Afghanistan sees three times the number of women that it used to. “The maternity ward is one of the happiest wards of any hospital, but not anymore in Afghanistan,” says the obstetrician. She says that in just two weeks in September she watched five newborn babies die of starvation. “It’s like hell in here.” Afghanistan was already reeling from severe drought and decades of conflict, but the Taliban’s takeover hastened the country’s descent towards economic collapse. The slowing trickle of international aid, which propped up the economy and its health system for decades, came to a grinding halt in August. Western donors cited serious concerns in moving money through a government which denies basic rights to women and girls, and threatens harsh Sharia punishments. This means Afghanistan is facing its worst hunger crisis since records began, according to the latest UN figures. About 14m children are expected to suffer acute levels of malnutrition this winter. Across the country, hospitals treating the starving are on the brink of collapse, with nearly 2,300 health facilities already closed. Doctors in remote areas have reported being unable to provide basic medicines - even something as simple as paracetamol for the gravely ill who have walked 12 hours to seek treatment. In the capital Kabul, a major children’s hospital is seeing some of the country’s worst cases of starvation. It’s currently running at 150% capacity. The hospital’s director Dr Siddiqi saw a surge in fatalities in September after funding was cut, when up to four children under the age of 10 died every week from malnutrition or related

A malnourished child in Kandahar in October

A child receiving medical treatment in Kandahar in October diseases, such as poisoning from poor food hygiene. He says it’s the youngest who bear the brunt of the crisis, with most under the age of five arriving too late to be saved. “These children are [effectively] dying before they’re admitted… We lose many cases like this,” he says. For those that do make it in time, there are few resources with which to help them - the hospital is suffering serious shortages of food and medicine,

and struggles to even keep the patients warm. There is no fuel for central heating, so Dr Siddiqi now asks staff to cut and collect dried tree branches every day to feed a wood burner. “When we finish the branches we’re worried about the next month and what to do next.” On Dr Nuri’s maternity ward, regular power cuts are proving fatal. Several premature babies have died when their incubators failed during outages, she says.

was already “ Afghanistan reeling from severe drought

and decades of conflict, but the Taliban’s takeover hastened the country’s descent towards economic collapse.

“It is so sad to see them dying in front of your eyes.” And she says the power cuts can have potentially fatal implications for patients undergoing surgery too. “The other day, we were in the operating theatre and the electricity was cut off. Everything stopped. I ran and shouted for help. Someone had fuel in their car and gave it to us so we could run the generator.” So, she says, every time the hospital performs an operation, “I ask people to hurry. It is a lot of stress.” Despite being forced to work under such challenging circumstances, most healthcare staff are not even paid at the moment. Dr Rahmani, the director of a hospital in Farah province which specialised in treating Covid patients, shared with the BBC a letter from the Taliban-led health ministry, dated 30 October, which asked staff to keep working without pay until funding was

secured. On Tuesday Dr Rahmani confirmed that his hospital had now had to close when those funds did not materialise, and photos show patients being wheeled out of the hospital on stretchers. It is not clear what will now happen to them. Nearby, another hospital specialising in treating drug addicts is also struggling to adequately care for its patients, whose withdrawal from heroin, opium and crystal meth can no longer be supported with medication. “There are patients who have to be tied to the bed with chains, or there are patients who need to be handcuffed because they experience severe attacks. It’s very difficult for us to take care of them,” says Dr Nowruz, the hospital’s director, adding that - without proper care - “our hospital is exactly the same as jail for them”. But this hospital too is on the brink of closing in the face of dwindling staff, and if it does shut, Dr Nowruz worries what will become of his patients in the brutal winter ahead. “There is no shelter for them. They normally go and live in places like under bridges, in ruins, in graveyards, in a situation which is unbearable for a human,” he says. Dr Qalandar Ibad, the Talibanappointed health minister, told BBC Pashto in November that the government is working in step with the international community to reimplement aid efforts. However, major donors are looking to sidestep the Taliban, fearing that otherwise the aid won’t be used for its intended purpose. On 10 November the UN succeeded in doing this for the first time - injecting $15m directly into the country’s health system. About $8m was used to pay some 23,500 health workers over the past month. Though a relatively small amount for now, other international donors are hoping to follow suit. But time is running out. “Soon we will not have enough drinking water,” says Dr Nuri, as patients struggle to keep warm in the dropping temperatures. Harsh weather conditions will soon restrict the remaining passage of goods being driven in from countries like Pakistan and India. “Whenever these women leave our hospital with their babies, I keep thinking about them. They don’t have any money, they can’t afford to buy food,” she says. Her own family is also struggling to stay afloat. “Even I don’t have enough food to eat as a doctor - I can’t afford it and have almost finished all my savings. “I don’t know why I still come to work. Every morning I ask myself this question. But maybe it’s because I’m still hopeful of a better future.” Additional reporting by Ali Hamedani, Kawoon Khamoosh, Ahmad Khalid, and Hafizullah Maroof Source: BBC




FOCAC: For an Even Stronger AfricaChina Community with a Shared Future By H.E. Amb. CUI Jianchun


rom November 29th to 30th, the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held in Dakar,Senegal (the current African co-chair of the FOCAC). In the face of changes and a global pandemic unseen in a century, ministerial officials from Nigeria, China and other 54 FOCAC members, including the African Union Commission, will overcome difficulties to gather together and discuss plans for friendly cooperation and draw a new blueprint for future cooperation. Three years ago, at the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, leaders from China and African countries had unanimously decided to build an AfricaChina community with a shared future, that assumes joint responsibility, pursues win-win cooperation, delivers happiness for all, enjoys common prosperity, enjoys common security and promotes harmony between man and nature, meanwhile also determined to elevate the Africa-China comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership to ever higher levels and set a fine example for the efforts of building a community with a shared future for mankind. China is the world’s largest developing country, while Africa is the continent with the largest number of developing countries. Both sides share a lot in the common cause of development. The nature of Africa and China cooperation has always been mutually beneficial, effective and results-oriented, which are also the unique advantages of the FOCAC. Over the past 21 years since its inception, FOCAC has developed stronger mechanisms and produced remarkable results in practical cooperation. It has now turned itself as a pacesetter for cooperation with Africa and a fine example of mutually beneficial cooperation in the world. United by the FOCAC, Africa and China have become close partners on solidarity against the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing the pandemic, China and African countries have taken robust, proactive and effective measures together. The Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on solidarity against

COVID-19 was held in June 2020, which demonstrates the strong will of the two sides to defeat the pandemic. The Chinese government has provided multiple batches of emergent medical supplies and vaccine donations to African countries. Chinese hospitals have been paired up with 43 hospitals in 38 African countries, and China has trained more than 20,000 African health workers. The construction of new headquarters building of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention(Africa CDC) has commenced by the Chinese side ahead of schedule. Till now, nearly 40 African countries have used COVID-19 vaccines from China, while several among them are conducting joint manufacture with China in their own countries. These concrete efforts give true meaning to the Africa-China community with a shared future. Guided by the FOCAC, Africa and China have become steady partners on political consonance. In the relations with Africa, China has always followed the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and the principle of pursuing greater good and shared interests, by valuing sincerity and equality and pursuing common interests. At the same time, China always appreciates the strong support given by Africa in international arena, especially its solid commitment to the one-China policy. China would never forget that, 50 years ago, thanks to the decisive vote of developing countries, including Nigeria and other 25 countries in Africa, China had restored its legitimate seat in the United Nations. In recent years, among the countries cosigning the Joint Statement in support of China at the UN Human Rights Council for

Cui Jianchun is Ambassador of China to Nigeri

safeguarding the international principle of non-interference, more than half of them are from African continent. In September this year, with the initiative of China and African, 78 countries made a statement at the Third Committee of the 76th session of the UNGA, calling for the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, which bears the common interests of the developing countries.

Boosted by the FOCAC, Africa and China have become inseparable partners on mutually beneficial cooperation. Over the past 20 years, China’s trade with Africa has raised 20-fold, making China Africa’s largest bilateral trade partner for 12 years in a row. In the first nine months of this year, ChinaAfrica trade volume reached $185.2 billion, increased by 38.2% year on year. In terms of investment, by the end of

China supports African countries in independently exploring a development path tailored to their own national conditions. Countries, when interacting and cooperating with Africa, should respect the African people’s choice, listen to their voices and play a truly constructive role in Africa’s economic recovery and development through more concrete actions benefiting the local people.

2020, China’s investment stock in Africa had exceeded $43.4 billion, covering more than 50 African countries, making China the fourth largest investor in Africa. In terms of infrastructure, Africa has become China’s second largest market for overseas contract projects. Under the auspices of FOCAC, China has built or upgraded over 10,000 kilometers of railways, nearly 100,000 kilometers of roads, 120 million kilowatts of installed power capacity, 150,000 kilometers of communication backbone networks, over 400 medical facilities and 1,200 educational institutions for Africa, creating more than 4.5 million jobs. China welcomes the official launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) on January 1st, 2021, believing that it would turn a new page for Africa-China economic cooperation. China supports African countries in independently exploring a development path tailored to their own national conditions. Countries, when interacting and cooperating with Africa, should respect the African people’s choice, listen to their voices and play a truly constructive role in Africa’s economic recovery and development through more concrete actions benefiting the local people. With the theme of “deepen China-Africa partnership and promote sustainable development to build a ChinaAfrica community with a shared future in the new era”, the upcoming FOCAC Ministerial Conference would definitely inject new impetus into the Africa-China comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership, and make new contributions to upholding the overall interests of developing countries and advancing world peace, stability, development and prosperity in a post-COVID era. It is my belief that, by building on past achievements and working together closely, Africa and China could build an even stronger community with a shared future, so as to bring more tangible benefits to the two peoples. (Cui Jianchun is Ambassador of China to Nigeria)






30, SMS- 08142929046

Senator Aduda, Tijani, Maleya storms Gwagwalada as Football Coaches hold award night By Albert Akota


he commercial nerve center of the Federal Capital Territory, Gwagwalada will be the center of attraction this weekend as the Gwagwalada Football Coaches hold its maiden edition of Gwagwalada Football Coaches Award and Fund raising

ceremony. The event will hold today at the Yesmin Event Centre, Gwagwalada - Abuja. Some of the awardees on that day will include Senator representing the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Phillip Aduda, FCT Honourable Minister of State, Hajia Ramotu Tijani, Senator Dino Melaye, former

president of the NFF Alhaji Sani Lulu Abdullahi, Justice Mwanda Balami, Chairman, Gwagwalada Area Council Honourable Obama, Alhaji Ahmed Jalingo CEO, Season Seven, Barrister Pelumi Olajengbesi, Barrister Tunde Bucknor, Chairman FCT Football Association Mukthar Adams, first Leader of the Gwagwalada Football

Coaches Council, who incidentally was the immediate past First Vice Chairman of FCT Football Association Mr Patrick Ngwaogu (Odogwu Ndi Abia) among others. According to the host, and the present Leader of the Gwagwalada Football Council Barrister Justice Ayodele, the program is in recognition of the the efforts made

by the various individuals in the development of football in the Area Council and beyond. It also to raise funds in support of the football development programs in the Area Council and awakening the consciousness of the youths of the need to embrace football fully as a way of vocation and career.

Infantino, NFF Board felicitate with Pinnick on birthday anniversary By Albert Akota


resident of world football –governing body FIFA, Mr Gianni Infantino has showered encomiums on the President of Nigeria Football Federation, Mr Amaju Melvin Pinnick as the latter marked his birthday anniversary on Wednesday, 1st December 2021. “This past year, which has presented us with many challenges, has nevertheless shown and highlighted the exemplary unity and solidarity of the football world, and I can only reiterate my sincere thanks to you for your efforts, work and contribution within the FIFA Council,” Infantino wrote in a letter personally signed by him to a fellow Member of the FIFA Council. The Executive Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation, which Pinnick has led brilliantly for the past seven years and two months, also heaped plaudits on the debonair and formidable administrator as he celebrated on Wednesday. General Secretary of the NFF and Secretary to the Board, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, said Mr Pinnick has demonstrated exemplary leadership and remains one of the most innovative and energetic leaders that Nigeria Football has seen in a long time. “The past year has been quite challenging but we are happy to have a leader like Mr Pinnick who has never been shy to lead from the front and courageously confront odds, hurdles and

President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR (middle) with NFF President Pinnick (left) and Youth and Sports Minister Sunday Dare (right) during an event at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa

obstacles in the way of Nigeria Football. He is an altruistically visionary leader who never looks back once he decides on the best pathways forward.” In the past year, the NFF and the National Teams have accomplished tremendous gains in a number of areas, including qualification of the Super Eagles for the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations, qualification of the Super Falcons for the final round of the 2022 Women AFCON and qualification of the Super Eagles for the play-off round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals.

The NFF also organized a first –ever international women’s invitational tournament that had the top African women teams on parade (Aisha Buhari Cup) and the Super Falcons and Super Eagles have fullu utilized FIFA windows for friendly matches and camping progammes. At the end of last year, globally –renown auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) awarded the NFF a ‘clean opinion’ in its financial accounting and governance procedures, and despite pandemic –imposed squeeze on businesses worldwide,

the NFF continues to attract giltedged corporate partnership, with Dettol, Revolution Plus, Air Peace, MTN and Premier Lotto (Baba Ijebu) all signing up to support the NFF and the National Teams. On personal front, Pinnick spearheaded the successful campaign of South African, Dr Patrice Motsepe to become President of the Confederation of African Football, and himself became only the third Nigerian to win election into the FIFA Council – the highest decisionmaking organ in world football.

Pinnick is also Member of the CAF Emergency and Executive Committees. “Mr Pinnick is a charismatic administrator worthy of adulation and emulation. His charisma and gravitas have emboldened the innovation and legacy projects that we are presently undertaking at the NFF. Another part of Mr Pinnick that many people may not be aware of is his commitment to humanitarian work and philantrophy. That story will be told in full some day,” Dr Sanusi added.

Nwosu replaces Mike Brown as head Coach of D’Tigers to Angola






BFN Crisis: Orbih defies Court order, sets to inaugurate Sub-committees


ontrary to the court injunction, the embattled Chariman of the Caretaker Committee of the Badminton Federation of Nigeria ( BFN) Francis Orbih has defied court orders as he set to inaugurate sub-committees for the badminton federation. In a letter dated 10th of November 2021 and signed by the Secretary General, of badminton federation, Obillor C. Lillian under the leadership of Orbih, selected members of the various sub-committees were notified about their appointment as a date for their inauguration via Zoom is expected to be communicated to them according to the letter sighted by our correspondent. It should be noted that, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja earlier declared the Caretaker Committee of the BFN illegal, restraining the committee from performing any badminton function. This was confirmed in the court injunction dated 25th October 2021 addressed to the sports minister Sunday Dare, the

BFN, the electoral committee of the sports ministry, chairman election guidelines committee and former BFN president, Francis Orbih. The injunction was signed by the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice I.E Ekwo Major stakeholders wondered why Orbih who is a legal practitioner would go ahead to defiled the court order as they also fingered the Secretary General, of badminton federation Obillor C. Lillian of fueling the crisis of the federation with the backing of the sports ministry. Recall that Orbih was dragged to court following his alleged fraudulent practices, misappropriation of funds and lack of accountability during his reign as the BFN’s president from 2017 to 2021.Major stakeholders wondered why Orbih who is a legal practitioner would go ahead to defiled the court order as they also fingered the Secretary General, of badminton federation Obillor C. Lillian of fueling the crisis of the federation with the backing of the sports ministry.

Nwosu replaces Mike Brown as head Coach of D’Tigers to Angola J ulius Nwosu has been appointed as coach of the Men’s senior national team of Nigeria, D’Tigers to replace Mike Brown. Julius, 51, will lead former African champions to Angola the venue for the African World Cup Qualifiers. The former NBA and D’Tigers star was one of the delegation that left Nigeria for the competition on Tuesday. The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) had released the 11-man list of players that who had arrived in Angola to execute the World Cup Qualifiers. Top on the list marked the return of Ike Diogu who missed the 2020 Olympics. Fir the first in a long while, three home based also made the final cut. The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) had released the 11-man list of players that who had arrived in Angola to execute the World Cup Qualifiers.



. . . putting the people first



SPORTS Blinken’s Africa Diplomatic Shuttle Against LATEST China’s Rising Influence in Africa

FIBA warns against interference in NBBF elective congress

By Albert Akota


he world basketball governing body, FIBA have sent a warning letter to the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, stating that it would not welcome any third party interference in the internal workings of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, as well as, the planned elective congress of the NBBF. The letter by FIBA, also stated that in view of its magnanimity to allow the country’s male national team participate in the recently held world cup qualifiers in Angola, the elective congress of the NBBF must be held on or before January 30, 2022. It further warned against any change in the ratified existing statutes and constitution of NBBF before the elective congress, as such action might attract its sanction. Taye Taiwo and Oduamadi



othing typifies US government’s fear of China’s rising influence in Africa than the recent diplomatic shuttle of US secretary of state to three African nations. Antony Blinken in a one week shuttle, unusual of the US government visited the three African nations of Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal mid November. These three countries were carefully selected for obvious reasons. African is agog and upbeat. Dakar, Senegal is playing host to the 8th ministerial conference of the Forum Of China African Counties (FOCAC). The theme of the conference is, “deepen China-Africa partnership and promote sustainable development to build a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era”. The FOCAC meeting would further strengthen the strategic and cooperative partnership between Africa and China especially in confronting the global pandemic, building economic prosperity and working towards global peace and development. FOCAC has become a rallying point of Sino-Africa economic and trade relations a forum of mutually beneficial cooperation of diversified form that has won global applause and at the same time the envy of some foreign nations that seek to demonize it. Blinken made his first stop in Kenya where he made an appeal for the preservation of democracy amid the crises in neighboring countries of Ethiopia and Sudan. Kenya is set for elections in 2022 and a major player in the attempt to resolve the crisis in Ethiopia. He spoke about “democratic recession” and the need to strengthen democracy in Africa. Often in diplomacy what is left unsaid is more important than what is said. The top US diplomat was in Africa to throw around US influence on the eve of a major China/Africa conference. Kenya has one of the oldest bilateral relationship with China having been established in 1963. Most of the critical rail and road infrastructure in Kenya were financed with Chinese aids and technology. Kenya is a major component in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Kenya boast of one of the most advanced standard Gauge rail network in the continent which was financed by China’s Exim Bank. The United States renewed diplomatic efforts is designed to gain more influence in East Africa using

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By Dr. Austin Maho Kenya as anchor and of course try to whittle the influence of china. Blinken’s next stop was Nigeria the most populous and influential country in Africa. Nigeria for a long time was ignored by the US government especially under Barack Obama and the Trump administration who famously said African nations were shit holes! At the height of Nigeria’s war against insurgency the US denied the country critical military hardware to prosecute the war raising issues about human rights violation by resurrecting a little known “Leahy Law” to justify its refusal to assist Nigeria with military hardware. Nigeria had no option but to turn to China and reorient the configuration of its military equipment to accommodate Chinese made military hardware. The United States has never hidden its disdain for Nigeria and some Think Tanks in the US even predicted the disintegration of the country in 2015! The US top diplomat throughout the duration of his visit in Nigeria tried to play on words and emotions to raise sentiments against Africa relationship with China. Listen to this statement he made at the ECOWAS Secretariat in Abuja: “Too many times, the countries of Africa have been treated as junior partners or worse rather than equal ones” The U.S he however said. “Firmly believes that it’s time to stop treating Africa as a subject of geopolitics and start treating it as the major geopolitical player it has become.”. This is clearly ridiculous and patronizing. In over a century of relationship with Africa what can the US point to as benefit of the long standing relationship with the West specifically America? What they have bequeathed to African countries are piles of debts, stolen funds warehoused in Western countries which they have refused to repatriate and under development. Perhaps we

should ask how fairly and equally America treats its minority population especially blacks? On the contrary China has treated African countries on the basis of equality, mutually beneficial relationship, win-win and a shared future. Speaking at a news conference alongside his Nigerian counterpart, Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, Mr. Blinken said in response to a question about Beijing’s influence in Africa that U.S. engagement “is not about China or any other third party. It’s about Africa.” But Mr. Onyeama replied classically carpeting the US diplomat: “Regarding U.S.-Chinese competition in Africa, I mean, I don’t want to sound almost well, cynical, but sometimes it’s a good thing for you if you’re the attractive bride and everybody is offering you wonderful things, you take what you can from each of them,” he said. The Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama also went ahead to situate our frustrations with Western hypocrisy and demonization of our friendship with China. He said, “There was just a huge infrastructural deficit that we’re facing in this country and we saw a great opportunity with the Chinese. They’re used to a lot of these huge capital projects and infrastructure projects. We would have gone with anybody else that was providing something at a competitive rate for us.” In diplomatic terms this was obviously an indictment of Western duplicity and our commitment to accept the hand of friendship offered by the Chinese. The point is that the US now wants to engage with Africa as a result of the growing friendship between Africa and China. In all the countries visited the policy was clearly to counter the Chinese government influence or present US as an alternative to China. The reality is that the US is in a late struggle, America’s clout

in Africa has waned significantly. A recent report by a well-known African pollster, “Afrobarometer” shows that China ranks first in terms of external influence in Africa, with 63 percent of Africans saying the economic and political influence of China in their country is “somewhat positive” or “very positive”, and 66 percent perceiving China’s economic and political influence in Africa as positive. China-Africa cooperation is mutually-beneficial in nature and has been welcomed by African countries. In terms of trade, China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for 12 years in a row. In terms of infrastructure, Africa has become China’s second largest market for overseas contract projects. In the over 20 years of FOCAC, Chinese companies have built or upgraded more than 10,000 kilometers of railway and nearly 100,000 kilometers of highway, creating a total of over 4.5 million jobs. In terms of investment cooperation, the stock of Chinese direct investment in Africa has exceeded $43.4 billion, making China the fourth largest investor in Africa. The Chinese are a real presence in Africa which the visit of Antony Blinken cannot wish away, the US will find it herculean even to play catch up considering that in the past the US involvement has only been in fits and start and superficial. They use and dump! African countries today are wiser and would be weary to once again put their trust in promises crafted in flowery language without substance. Dr, Austin Maho, is an Abuja based- journalist and an international affairs commentator


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