Tribunal Sacks Kano Federal Lawmaker For Forging Primary School Certificate

The National and State House of Assembly elections petition tribunal sitting in Kano on Thursday nullified the election of Muktar Yerima representing Tarauni Federal Constituency over certificate forgery.

Yerima, an NNPP stalwart won a popular votes to the Green chamber during 2023 General election.

The petitioner, Hafizu Kawu of the APC had challenged the electoral victory of Muktar Yerima of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP)which the tribunal upheld .

The three member tribunal ruled that the primary school certificate tendered by the respondent, Muktar Yerima was forged.

Lagos Announces Diversion Of Traffic At National Stadium

Mohammed Shosanya

The Lagos State government will divert traffic at the National Stadium Bridge along Funsho William Avenue for the installation of Truck Barriers for three nights commencing from Friday 11th to Monday 14th August, 2023 from 10.00pm to 6.00am daily.

A statement made available to journalists on Thursday by Permanent Secretary,
Ministry of Transportation, Abdulhafiz Toriola, said that the diversion is line with the earlier pronouncement by the Lagos State government on the prohibition of trucks and articulated vehicles on some bridges within the state.

Toriola said that the following alternative routes will be available to motorists during the installation of the barriers: Motorists from Eko Bridge/Constain/Iponri inbound Ojuelegba/Alhaji Masha Road will be diverted to the service lane from Alaka via National Stadium gate to link Barracks or Alhaji Masha Road to continue their journeys;

Motorists from Eko Bridge via Costain and those from Apapa Road going through Iponri will make use of Iponri Estate road to link Bode Thomas via Adeniran Ogunsanya to Shitta Roundabout for their desired destinations.

Toriola advised motorists to be patient as the temporary closure of the bridge is planned for night time as part of traffic management strategy to avert further accidents and loss of lives.

U.S Promises More Job In Africa’s Agriculture, Technology Sectors

Mohammed Shosanya

The United States government is willing to create jobs through increased trade and investment in sectors such as agriculture, technology, and infrastructure, as well as boost innovation and elevate the living standards of millions of Africans.

The U.S. Consul General, Will Stevens, disclosed this at the Africa Social Impact Summit 2023, themed: “Global Vision, Local Action: Repositioning the African Development Ecosystem for Sustainable Outcomes,” which held in Lagos,on Thursday.

He noted that at the heart of the United States’ commitment to Africa lies a steadfast focus to fostering economic growth.

He added that :”African continent is dynamic, chock-full of untapped potentials, from its people to its vibrant innovative and entrepreneurial spirit and her vast natural resources.Recognizing this, the United States envisions a future where economic growth is inclusive, sustainable, and far-reaching.”

According to him,through initiatives such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the United States has played a pivotal role in fostering two-way trade relationships that empower African economies and communities.

He said: “Providing duty-free access to U.S. markets for eligible African nations, including Nigeria, AGOA has paved the way for enhanced market access and economic diversification.

“Since its enactment in 2000, AGOA has facilitated a staggering $1 trillion in total trade. This is not just a number; it’s a testament to the fact that AGOA has contributed to the growth of industries across the African continent.”

He stated that the United States government’s commitments to Africa extend to healthcare and human capital.

Stevens said that through initiatives such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S. government has invested over $100 billion in the global HIV/AIDS response, the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history, saving 25 million lives.

He stated that the United States has collaborated with African governments and organizations across the continent to bolster healthcare infrastructure, advance maternal and child health, and combat malaria, as well as other infectious diseases.

USAID Partners Emzor Foods On Improved  Nutrition In Nigeria

Mohammed Shosanya

The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has signed a new private sector partnership with Emzor Foods and Beverages Limited, on improved nutrition in Nigeria.

It conveyed this in a statement made available to journalists by the Media and Public Affairs Section, U.S. Department of State, Abuja, on Thursday.

It said,USAID and Emzor will build a medical-grade groundnut paste processing facility in Nigeria.

The statement quoted that goundnut paste is an essential ingredient in life-saving Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), a treatment for malnourished children.

It lamented that in Nigeria,3.6 million children suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), concentrated mainly in northern states, adding that 50 percent of deaths in Nigerian children under the age of five result from malnutrition.”

It said that “RUTF, an energy-packed paste made from groundnut paste, oil, sugar, milk powder, vitamin and mineral supplements is the standard treatment for SAM. Treatment with RUTF successfully brings SAM-afflicted children back from the brink of death by providing vital nutrients.

“After years of using expensive, imported groundnut paste from Argentina and India, Nigeria, through this game-changing partnership, will be able to treat children with locally produced RUTF, a more affordable and sustainable solution that will also create economic opportunities for Nigerian groundnut farmers.”

It stated that in their dedication to reducing the number of malnourished children in Nigeria, Emzor and USAID each contributed $1 million to establish the UNICEF-approved groundnut paste processing facility, which will be one of only two on the African continent.”l

At the signing event, USAID Mission Director, Dr. Anne Patterson, commended Emzor Managing Director, Dr. Stella Okoli, for embarking on the partnership and joining forces with the U.S. government.

Dr. Patterson added: “Together, we will improve access, availability, and acceptability of RUTF, and ultimately contribute to improved treatment for severe acute malnutrition in Nigeria.

“In addition, the increase in demand of local medical-grade groundnut paste production will create new opportunities for local groundnut farmers, serve as a boon to Nigeria’s agriculture sector, and broaden inclusive economic growth.”

Okoli said: “This partnership highlights the private sector’s important role in addressing Nigeria’s most difficult development challenges. When complete, the plant will produce 400 kilograms of paste per hour, providing a local solution to severe acute malnutrition in Nigeria.”

Mohammed Shosanya

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji,has urged his commissioners and special advisers to see their appointment as a call to service and not an avenue for self-aggrandizement.

He stated this at the opening session of a three-day retreat for commissioners,and other appointees held at the Adetiloye Hall, Trade Fair Complex in Ado-Ekiti.

He said their continued stay in office would be guaranteed by demonstrated creative ability, ingenuity, innovative capability and impressive performance. He charged them to see their appointment as a call to service and not an avenue for self-aggrandizement.

He emphasized the need for political appointees and accounting officers to work together to realize aspiration of taking Ekiti to the next level of prosperity.

He further charged them to be proactive, innovative and creative in the business of government in order to achieve the desired results of ensuring growth and development of the state.

He said the retreat with the theme, “Shared prosperity: From Promise to Reality” , was very timely and apt at the moment when government is working towards actualising the state’s developmental plan. He called on all heads of MDAs to buy into the development agenda of the administration through the realization of its six pillars.

He added that the new commissioners would also be expected to commit themselves to performance bond as a way of ensuring their continued membership of the executive council.

He charged them to hit the ground running as soon as the retreat is over and not engage in frivolous celebration or seeking media bliss. Instead, he urged to demonstrate sense of decency, moderation and high sense of responsibility.

He expressed his appreciation to the first set of executive council members for the solid foundation they have laid in the last nine months, stressing that their perseverance, support and understanding had helped stabilize the government and established a pathway for the new ones to ensure continuity of good governance.

“Let me add that after this retreat, you will be requested as you settle down to submit your work plan and to commit yourselves to a performance bond. Your ability on the job, creative ingenuity, innovative capability and impressive result will be the major determinant of your continued membership of the state executive council. You will always be called upon to submit yourself from time to time for performance evaluation.

“I therefore urge you to hit the ground running, unleash your creative energy and approach every task with every sense of urgency.

“As you all know, we campaigned on a six-point agenda which has now crystallised to the six pillars of our administration, for us to have clear ideas of our development objectives, strategies, performance and performance evaluation.

“Let me throw this challenge to you as we go ahead in this journey, what can you do to make this administration outstanding. What gaps can you fill to make a difference and what fresh ideas can you bring to the table for the realization of our collective goals. This will make us have collective ideas on our vision and objectives, create ideas and strategies and generate the necessary capabilities to realize them.

“Besides the broader issue of vision, programmes and policies, the course work of this workshop, I’m sure will include the grandeur and tribal aspects of works and public life. You will be enlightened about reporting challenges, public service idiosyncrasies, rules and procedures, enabling laws, peer reviews, budgeting finesse, theme work, corporate governance ethics, development partnerships, public finance and accountability among other aspects that can enhance our knowledge of the totality of the work environment,”he stated.

In his opening remarks, the Lead Facilitator, Dr Otive Igbuzo,highlighted the objectives and expectations to include effective implementation of government policies and programmes as all MDAs would be expected to develop a work plan towards achieving the six pillars of the administration.

NPA Boosts 3.5m Metric Tonnes Of Export Trade

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian Ports Authority,NPA,facilitated
3.5 million metric tonnes of export trade through the nation’s seaports in the first six months of this year, between January and June.

Managing Director of NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko,disclosed this during a panel session on the export of non-oil products at the 2023 Zenith Bank International Trade Seminar in Lagos.

In 2019,he said,the ports recorded about 2.8 million metric tonnes of export, and it increased to 3.8 million metric tonnes in 2020.

He export volume grew in 2021 to 3.79 million metric tonnes, and over 5.1 million metric tonnes in 2022,adding that the NPA is working closely with other government agencies such as Customs, Nigerian Shippers’ Council and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to ensure that imports and exports are cleared out of the port faster.

“We need the Customs to reduce the time it takes to scan and inspect cargo because the faster it takes, the earlier the importer and exporters take their goods,” he said.

Bello-Koko said the partnership with the Nigeria Customs Service helped the NPA in achieving the feat as he expressed optimism that the agency will achieve more than it attained in previous years.

“NPA’s responsibility is to handle the logistics issue as relates to the delivery of cargo to ports, reviewing the cargo and also ensuring that it is loaded for the voyage. We encouraged the terminal operators to create hinterland aggregation points and dedicated spaces for export within the port terminals, but we need to realise that the ports are very small and therefore there are capacity issues.

“So, what we did was to create export processing terminals and the export processing terminals are one-stop shops where you consolidate, test, weigh, and pack it and then go straight into the ports. What the Customs did for us is to create an export command. This means there are individuals responsible for all export problems that you can relate with,” he said.

He said the NPA also created time belts for exports; created a lane for export to improve the speed of moving export to the port and the Lagos State Government has been working with them to enforce traffic regulations, especially along the port corridors, which helped to reduce congestion.

NSML Unveils Clean Waterways Initiative To Stop Plastic Pollution

Mohammed Shosanya

NLNG Shipping and Marine Services Limited (NSML) has launched its Clean Water Initiative, a programme to raise awareness of the dangers of plastic pollution and to advocate for action to address the issue.

Speaking on the initiative, the Chief Executive Officer of NSML, Mr Abdulkadir Ahmed,noted the detrimental effects of the plastic crisis on economic activities, human health, and the environment.

“Our waterways, and by extension the world’s oceans, are in the depths of a plastic crisis. Plastics and marine pollution have found their way into every marine ecosystem, impacting economic activities and the health of our people and the environment.

“We all have a role to play in protecting our oceans. The NSML Clean Water Initiative is our way of contributing to the global effort to tackle plastic pollution. We urge everyone to join us in this important work,” Mr Ahmed said.

Also speaking ,Nigeria LNG Limited’s (NLNG’s) General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, Andy Odeh, said that the clean water initiative was a universal cause, given the importance of water to human existence.

The launch of the Clean Water Initiative comes at a time when the world is facing a growing plastic pollution crisis. According to the United Nations, over 8 million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans every year, and scientists warn that by 2050, there will be more plastic (by weight) than fish in the sea.

The NSML Clean Water Initiative is a call to action for all stakeholders to address this urgent problem. It adopts a “TRIPLE A” Awareness, Advocacy, and Action strategy. It seeks to raise public awareness, educate stakeholders, and drive policy changes and solutions at the sub-national and national levels. The initiative will focus on clean-up efforts, improving waste management, and promoting recycling practices to reduce the inflow of plastics and waste into our rivers and waterways.

The launch of the Clean Water Initiative was attended by stakeholders in the industry.

The NSML Clean Water Initiative is a significant step forward in the fight against plastic pollution.

NSML is a subsidiary of NLNG. The private limited liability company provides shipping and maritime services which include training, manning, fleet management and consultancy services.

Nigerian Banks Starving Miners Of Funds Out Of Ignorance -MAN

Mohammed Shosanya

Miners Association of Nigeria,MAN,has expressed regret that Nigerian Banks do not understand mining sector and find it difficult to provide funding for local miners to boost their operations.

The association also said its members are yet to benefit from fund provided by the Bank of Industry for local business owners in the country.

President of the association, Dele Ayanleke, expressed these at a virtual press conference on Thursday,

“I have not seen anyone who has been given anything by the Bank of Industry. Some of our members have filled out the forms, met the requirements, and have long been waiting for the money. Yet, nothing has come,”he added.

He suggested increased funding for local miners in Nigeria to enable them to compete favourably with foreign companies he alleged have infiltrated the mining sector “with huge cash, and better equipment.”

He emphasized the need for a review of the Nigeria Mining Development Fund to better equip local miners, while at the same time, fighting poverty which is behind artisanal mining in Nigeria.

He decried multiple regulations and multiple taxations in the industry, insisting on the need for a national dialogue on resource control between states and the federal government to address the crisis.

Ayanleke,who noted that mining falls under the Exclusive Legislative List of the 1999 Constitution,lamented that more states are enforcing individual laws thereby creating problems for the industry.

He urged security agencies, and other relevant institutions to come to the aid of local miners whose mining leases are revoked by host communities due to pressures from expatriate companies.

He maintained that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development should maintain the issuance of major mining leases to expatriate companies, with the small-scale mining leases remaining for local industry players.

Microphone Thrown By Rapper Cardi At Fan Sells For $99,000

The microphone thrown at a fan during a July concert in Vegas by Rapper Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar Cephus, popularly known as Cardi B, has been sold for $99,000 on eBay

The microphone sold by the owner of an audio equipment hire company, Scott Fisher,a CBS report confirmed.

Fisher said proceeds from the sale will go to three charities; the veterans’ charity, the Wounded Warrior Project, and Friendship Circle Las Vegas, a programme that connects young volunteers with people with disabilities and special needs.

“I figured it would gain some attention nationally but the amount of news coverage has been staggering,” Fisher said.

Fisher also said he verified the microphone to be the one Cardi threw at the concert-goer.

He added:”It’s standard procedure to mark all microphones and in-ear systems as to whom they ‘go to’ prior to soundcheck, to make sure the same person gets the correct items during the show.You could see white tape on the Cardi B mic in all the videos, and that is how we knew which mic was hers.”

Niger, Togo, Benin Fail To Remit $16.11m Electricity Bills To Nigeria

Mohammed Shosanya

Niger,Togo, Benin Republic failed to remit $16.11 million for electricity consumed in the first quarter of 2023,the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC),has said.

The agency said in its first quarter report that international customers had a remittance performance of 0 per cent to the Market Operator (MO) in Q1 2023.

The international customers include Société Béninoise d’Energie Electrique (SBEE) of Benin Republic (Paras-SBEE and Transcorp-SBEE), Compagnie Energie Electrique du Togo (CEET) (Odukpani-CEET) and NIGELEC- electric power generation and transmission utility in Niger (Mainstream-NIGELEC).

According to the report,Paras-SBEE, Transcorp-SBEE, Mainstream-NIGELEC, and Odukpani-CEET received invoices of $3.46 million, $3.85 million, $5.48 million and $3.32 million respectively from the market operators and made no remittance.

The report also said,the market operator issued an invoice of ₦842.38 million to all eight bilateral customers in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) in Q1 2023. Of all the bilateral customers, only North South/Star Pipe made a remittance. The regulator added that special customers such as Ajaokuta Steel Co. Ltd and the host community did not make any payment towards the ₦0.38 billion (Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading) and ₦0.08 billion (MO) invoices received in Q1 2023.

“None of the underlisted international customers made any payment against the cumulative $16.11 million invoice issued to them in 2023/Q1; Paras-SBEE ($3.46 million), Transcorp-SBEE ($3.85 million), Mainstream-NIGELEC ($5.48 million) and Odukpani-CEET ($3.32 million). The MO issued invoices to all the eight (8) bilateral customers in the NESI in 2023/Q1 which amounted to ₦842.38 million.

“Of the ₦842.38 million invoice issued, only North South/Star Pipe made a remittance of ₦15.38 million against its invoice of ₦24.69 million. This means that for the period, the cumulative remittance performance of bilateral customers was 1.83%,” the report said.

The agency added that the non-remittance by international and bilateral consumers is a continuous trend highlighted in the past quarterly reports.