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Food Security: Minister seeks priority for sorghum

 The Federal Government has called on research institutes to give priority and focus to sorghum value chain as other agricultural produce.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar,  made the call at the inauguration of a technical working documents and debriefing of outcomes of socio- economic studies on Thursday in Abuja.

The inauguration is by the International, Crops Research Institute for the Semi- Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Nigeria.

Abubakar said that sorghum should be given the same priority as other crops like cassava and rice.

“Why is sorghum not given the kind of priority like cassava and other crops are given?. The time is now to do that.

”So I want the ministry to take note that sorghum is equally, in fact, a very important crop that should be given the same kind of attention.

” The bottom-line in agriculture is research, development, collaboration, implementation, monitoring and evaluation,” he said.

The minister further said that investment in agriculture was paying and the country had become the largest producer of rice and sorghum in Africa and second largest producer of millet.

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” Our investment in agriculture is paying and the country has become the largest producer of rice and sorghum in Africa, second largest producer of millet in Africa and the first in cassava and yam production globally.

” However, more needs to be done, the potentials across crops, livestock, horticulture and fisheries sub-sectors are enormous.

” Government is determined to fill the gap and consolidate on the achievements recorded and focus on productivity enhancement, institutional realignment and private sector investment.

” Expectations are to deploy improved varieties and support agribusiness undertakings in the country,” he said.

Abubakar noted that the expectations in agriculture was to take Nigeria to the promise land and that could only be achieved when researches are adaptive, focused to solving challenges and needs.

He also said that entrepreneurs should take deliberate actions to invest in the different agricultural value chains.

” The ministry, therefore requires your contribution and support towards delivering in the above priorities areas, only then we will be able to address the impact of the global health emergency and high expectation of present administration in agriculture,” he said.

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Dr Ernest Umakhihe, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, also said that the expectation to take agriculture to the promise would only be achieved when researches were adoptive, and focused “to solving our challenges.”

” It is gratifying to note the potentials in crops, livestock and fisheries sub-sectors that are very enormous.

” The prospects are to deploy improved varieties associated with technologies and support agribusiness undertakings in the country,” Umakhihe said.

Also, Country Representative, ICRISAT, Nigeria, Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, expressed hope that research findings on sorghum, groundnut and pearl millet value chains would go a long way to boost the sector when included in policy formulation.(NAN)

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Peaceful coexistence pivotal for national development — CG NPC

From Ajiri Daniels, Abuja

In the face of rising insecurity and widespread ethno-religious conflicts across the country, the Commandant-General of the Nigerian Peace Corps (NPC), Dr. Mustapha Abubakar has called on Nigerians to act together as a united force for national reconciliation, nation building and birth of a new Nigeria.

CG Abubakar who spoke on the sidelines of the 2021 National Peace Summit in Abuja, noted that it is the responsibility of every Nigerian, regardless of our ethnic or religious inclinations, to work together towards a sustainable peace and progress of the nation.

The Summit tagged: “Peace, Unity & Security: Panacea to achieving a sustainable and peaceful coexistence among ethno-religious/cultural groups in Nigeria,” sought to create and intensify public awareness on how youth, stakeholders, and traditional rulers’ participation, partnership and engagements can prevent violent extremism and foster sustainable peace and development.

Speaking on the theme of the summit, CG Abubakar said, “NPC believes in the unity of Nigeria. We believe because we have seen that Nigeria’s unity is working for us as a people in 99% areas. The only area Nigeria as a country failed is on the area of ‘polities’ which accounts for only 1%. This is not strong enough to divide us as a people. NPC believes that together we can fix it.

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“Nigeria failed today not because of the marriage between the South and the North, but because of our inability to be responsible partners.

“NPC believes that everyone, not minding your faith, language, or where you come from, as long as you are a Nigerian, is important in this marriage and therefore should be involved in the struggle to build a better Nigeria wherein all will enjoy and be happy.”

Also speaking, the guest speaker and president of Mediation Training Institute (MTI-Nigeria), Dr. Segun Ogunyannwo who harped on the need for peace, unity and security in the development of Nigeria, pointed out the the level of ethno-religious conflicts ravaging the society was due to the absence of love amongst the citizenry.

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Ogunyannwo explained that love was the missing link without which the nation cannot achieve harmony and peaceful coexistence.

He said, “We are here today under the auspices of the Nigerian Peace Corps with a focus on how peace, unity and security will serve as a panacea for sustainable peaceful coexistence in Nigeria, especially dealing with our ethno-religious, ethno-cultural nature.

“Conflicts are always inevitable. Once people come together, with different backgrounds, we cannot but have conflicts. How can we continue to live in harmony? I’m of the strong believe that the missing link is love. If there is love, peace is assured. You can’t have peace without love.

“The outcome of this programme is for all Nigerians to see the need to be united. We want peace, we want unity,” he added.

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Igini, INEC commissioner tasks corps members on honesty, integrity

By Gabriel Dike

The Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), serving in Akwa-Ibom State, Mr. Mike Igini, has called on the 2021 batch ‘C’ Stream II corps members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) deployed to Lagos to make honesty and integrity the hallmarks of their conducts.

 Igini said this while educating the corps members at the orientation camp, Iyana-Ipaja, Lagos on the electoral duties bestowed on them as corps members.

He said honesty and integrity are the values of those who will change the face of Nigeria, intimating them not to be deceived by politicians while on electoral duties at the polling units.

Said he, “Let me tell you that honesty and integrity are the values of those who will change the face of Nigeria.

“And so, when you are called upon, to be electoral officers in the polling units, do not be deceived by politicians. Do not emulate their bad conducts, they won’t last forever. There is reward for honesty and integrity.”

Igini while making an allusion to his electoral activities as REC in Akwa-Ibom State said, when he was accosted on election matters when he arrived the state, he clinged to his integrity.

“I told them I came to Akwa-Ibom to count ballot papers not money. A trillion naira cannot change the will of the people. Even though honesty is a moral choice, I encourage you to take the route of honesty because there will be consequences.”

The INEC commissioner, who reminisced about his NYSC days, which was observed in Lagos, said INEC decided to sign an MoU with the NYSC because of its educated youths who can determine a lot of things about the country.

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According to him, education is a leveler and it liberates, adding “when Prof Attahiru Jega was ASSU chairman, I was the President of Student Union in the University of Benin. Upon my appointment as commissioner in 2010, I was the youngest in the Federation. You can see how education liberates, how it is a leveler. This is the purpose of making use of the NYSC.’

Speaking on the powers wielded by the youths, Igini said the youths hold the largest population in Nigeria based on the INEC demographics, which makes it easier for the youths to be what they desire to be.

Igini said the youths can be change agents that will change the scope of leadership of the country, stating “but you have to learn the ropes, you have a lot to learn, engage in jobs that will improve you. Do not be bothered by these politicians, we are making it difficult for elections to be manipulated. We have introduced a bio-modal electoral process which will make it impossible to circumvent the voters register. If your fingerprints fails, your face cannot fail on the register. Your face will always remain your face.

“Before, politicians can easily manipulate election results by converting the numbers of absentee voters on the register to their advantage in a polling unit but now, the register of present voters in an election in a polling unit is immediately generated which can be accessed on our website anywhere in the world.”

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When asked about the possibility of electorate being able to vote in an election at the comfort of their homes, the INEC commissioner said Nigeria’s ICT infrastructures are not yet developed to have such but quickly mentioned the progress of the electoral body in the election registration process.

He said, “Electoral process development is a work in progress. What we have done is the initiation of online pre-voter registration register which is the first in Africa, you can register online, you will be made to choose a date and a location where you can do your biometrics.’

The INEC REC did not hold back in extolling the ingenuity of the Director-General of NYSC for managing the youths and the pandemic in what should have eroded the legacies of the scheme and consumed it.

Igini said it is the quality of leadership bequeathed to the NYSC that has sustained it.

‘Everything rises and falls with leadership. The difference between developed countries and developing countries is leadership.”

Meanwhile, the State Coordinator of NYSC Lagos State, Mr Eddy Megwa, who described the commissioner as an astute administrator, a man of impeccable integrity and a friend of the NYSC, presented to him the nine books which are the reflections of the Director-General, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim on the scheme, telling him they are literatures which will enrich his library.


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Jailbreaks: How we’re decongesting correctional centres- CG

From Okwe Obi, Abuja

Controller-General, Nigerian Correctional Service, Haliru Nababa, has explained how government is decongesting correctional centre, saying it is done through rehabilitation of inmates as 85 of them currently undergoing various postgraduate programmes in the country.

Nababa stated this recently in Abuja while delivering a keynote address entitled, ‘Penology, Correctional Centres, and Crime Control – Striking a Balance’ at the Shammies Unusual Hearts Foundation 2nd Annual Lecture Series.

According to him, thing things were improving regarding the rehabilitation of correctional facilities across the country, especially with the commitment of officials and the performance of inmates.

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He noted that aside 85 inmates taking postgraduate courses, 532 others were also undergoing Bachelor’s degree programmes in various fields.

Represented by Controller of Corrections, Emmanuel Nwakaeze, he said, “More inmates have been able to actualise their dream of having a university education.

“The Service now has 85 inmates in the National Open University of Nigeria’s postgraduate programmes out of which four are for a PhD, 25 for a Master’s degree programme, and 56 for a postgraduate diploma, while 532 are for the 1st-degree programme.

“More study centres are to be established across all Correction Service formations by 2025.”

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Meanwhile, Executive Director of SUHF, Amb Sara Abdul, appealed to  stakeholders to pay close attention to the health of ex-convicts so as not to plunge them into criminality.

She said, “for a crime to be less attractive and correctional facilities to fulfil their mandates, there is the need to partner with the major stakeholders in the correctional value chain to push for reforms which will, in the long run, have a positive impact on our nation Nigeria.”


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World Bank charges Nigeria to tax alcohol, cigarettes to improve primary healthcare

 The World Bank Group has called on the Federal Government to impose special taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and sugar-sweetened beverages to improve primary healthcare.

“If we want to improve healthcare in Nigeria, we need to tax the things that are killing us.

“The economic rationale for taxing these products is strong if we want to save lives and make a better and healthier Nigeria,’’ Mr Shubham Chaudhuri, Country Director for Nigeria, World Bank Group, said.

He made the call on Friday in Abuja at a special National Council on Health meeting organised by the Federal Ministry of Health.

Chaudhuri noted that taxes on tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages would reduce the health risks associated with their consumption and expand fiscal space for universal health coverage post-COVID 19.

The country director stated that investing in stronger health systems for all would contribute to tackling rising poverty and inequality.

He added that health tax increases would have the additional advantage of reducing future healthcare costs by curbing the growth of the non- communicable diseases that tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages cause.

In his goodwill message to the meeting, Dr Walter Mulombo, WHO’s representative in Nigeria, said he could attest to the enormous health needs of Nigerians and efforts made so far in meeting the needs.

He said his attestation was based on the fact that he had visited half of Nigeria’s 36 states in less than two years in the country.

Mulombo noted that while COVID-19 exposed weaknesses in global economy including health, he considered it a unique opportunity for a thorough evaluation of existing resources and mechanisms to prepare better for a more resilient future.

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He pledged that the WHO would continue to lead technical support for Nigeria in the development and implementation of its home-grown policies and plans.

This, he explained, would be in the context of the global health agenda as reflected in the country’s Cooperation Strategy.

“This we have taken into consideration, even as we currently review our operational plan and budget for the next two years,’’ he said.

Mulombo said the duty of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through building resilient health systems, was a collective responsibility requiring incremental steps in the right direction and continuous improvement.

“Tracking implementation of the resolutions of this Council in line with Nigeria’s and global health agenda will strengthen on-going journey towards promoting health, keeping the world safe, and serving the vulnerable,’’ he said.

In his contribution, UNICEF’s Chief of Health, Dr Eduardo Celades, noted that it was optimistic that the meeting would arrive at recommendations to drive tangible, equitable and sustainable results for Nigeria.

This, he stressed was particularly for women and children in line with the SDGs vision of “leaving no one behind’’.

Celades said that achieving the desired outcomes would require the match of deliberations with the needed actions.

“Accordingly, I urge Council members and delegates to reflect on how best to address the chronic obstacles between Nigeria’s great potentials and her aspirations in the health sector.

“Notable among these challenges is a persistent decline in health expenditure as a proportion of GDP from 1.2 per cent in 2004 to only 0.58 per cent in 2018

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“Inadequate financing of primary healthcare services at service delivery points and the current suboptimal allocation of 1.5 million naira per ward under the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.

“Inadequate human resources for health – there are fewer health workers for Nigeria’s population, skewed distribution towards urban centres, skills gaps, poor motivation, weak regulation and poor visibility.

“Suboptimal primary healthcare infrastructure and equipment, erratic availability of essential commodities and supplies and poor maintenance culture.

“Weak coordination and accountability mechanisms resulting in duplication, inefficiencies and lack of value for money, are the others, he said.

“Working together, we can tackle the problems using tried and true strategies and available best practices,’’ Celades stressed.

He assured that UNICEF was committed to continued partnership with Nigeria to protect and promote the right of everyone to survive, thrive and transform.

He added that UNICEF was determined to apply its comparative advantage as an agency to support Nigeria’s development efforts within the health sector and beyond.

“We are finalising the next Country Programme Document for 2023 to 2027 at the heart of which is an increased emphasis on coordinated, multi-sectorial action.

The theme of the 2021 National Council on Health meeting is: “The journey to attaining sustainable development goals: Applying lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic towards building a resilient national health system”. (NAN)

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Bandits ambush Kaduna community, kill 2, abduct several others

From Noah Ebije, Kaduna

Bandits on Friday night ambushed Unguwan Gimbiya community on the outskirts of Kaduna metropolis, killing two persons and abducting unspecified number of residents in the area.

A source said, “it was like the bandits were hiding somewhere in the community and in the night, they started shooting sporadically in the direction of their targets.

“Two persons were killed in the community and many others were abducted”.

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Another source who pleaded anonymity, said: ” the bandits struck on Friday evening, invaded Ungwan Gimbiya Community of Sabo Tasha area of Chikun local govt area of Kaduna state and abducted many people and killed two.”

“A total number of 13 families were visited by the bandits. The attack lasted for about 2 hours with heavy gunshots.”

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Meanwhile, residents have started fleeing the community to places considered safer, even as security agents have intensified patroll and vigilance in the neighbouring areas.

However, as at the time of filing this report, no official statement from relevant authorities on the incident.

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Fake news: NOA trains over 180 on fact-checking

The National Orientation Agency (NOA) said on Friday in Abuja that it has trained no fewer than 180 people on how to discern fake news through fact-checking

Director-General NOA, Dr Garba Abari, said this at the closing ceremony of the 3rd session of training for fact-checkers

He said the training was part of federal government’s efforts to tackle the menace of fake news, misinformation and disinformation.

Participants were drawn from the Nigerian Navy, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Federal Island Revenue Service (FIRS) and Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Others were from the Department of State Services (DSS), Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMAN) and Nigeria Financial intelligence Unit (NFIU).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NOA will train 37,000 Nigerians on fact-checking in the 36 states and FCT over the next five years.

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Abari said the training was part of the agency’s core mandate, adding that it was collaborating with news outlets, including radio, television and newspapers on fact-checking.

He described as worrisome the prevalence of fake news, misinformation and disinformation in the country.

“We need to make efforts to combat the menace of fake news, misinformation and disinformation, which is also link to a large extend with hate speech.

“I am mostly concerned about the impact of fake news, misinformation and disinformation in Nigeria. Although fake news and hate speech are global phenomenon the degree varies from country to country.

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“Nigeria, as a country with peculiar diversity, we must have to develop and manage our diversities.

“What defines us as a Nigerian is our love for each other, respect, integrity, honesty, dignity of labour as well as other values,’’ he said.

Abari urged the participants to work towards defeating fake news, stressing the need to emphasise on things that unites rather than those that divide us as a nation.

“You have a vital role to play in fact-checking because it is obvious that fake news is devastating,’’ he said. (NAN)

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Gov. Matawalle restates commitment to the fight against GBV

 Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara has restated his administration’s commitment to the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the state.

This is contained in a statement issued in Gusau on Thursday by the Director Press in the Office of the Governor’s wife, Zainab Shua’ibu.

Matawalle spoke while receiving the State Steering Committee on GBV chaired by Hajiya Aisha Matawalle, his wife, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office.

The governor applauded the work of the committee for ensuring that violence was not unleashed on women and children in the state.

“I am satisfied with the effort of my able wife who is always there for me, especially in uplifting the lives of vulnerable groups in the state.

“I am aware of your strategies and activities to eradicate GBV in the state. Your effort is indeed laudable and appreciative.

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“This visit is timely and a welcome development. I consider every member of this committee as a great partner for the success of my administration.

“I appreciate your kind contributions in complementing my administration’s policy to move our dear state forward,” Matawalle said.

The governor also said the government would soon come up with new laws against GBV in the state.

“We are working with the House of Assembly to enact various laws against GBV,” he added.

Earlier, Hajiya Matawalle said she led the committee to the Governor’s Office to appreciate his contributions to the eradication of violence against women in the state.

“We came to you as a father of the state on a courtesy visit and also to seek your fatherly blessings and advice towards promoting our activities, to ensure a GBV-free society.

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“Your Excellency, with your kind support and contributions, various achievements have so far been recorded by our committee in fighting violence against women and children in the state.

“We are here to inform you of the 16 days of activism against GBV in the state and our 2021 annual programmes and activities against GBV,” Hajiya Matawalle said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor’s wife had earlier flagged off the 16 days activism against GBV in the state.

The international event for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children is aimed at focusing on massive awareness campaign against violence against women and children. (NAN)

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District Head of Dambatta in Kano state dies @ 95

Alhaji Mukhtar Adnan, the District Head of Dambatta in Kano state, died on Friday at the age of 95, one of his sons, Alhaji Ado Mukhtar has said.

Ado said that Mukhtar, also Sarkin Ban Kano, died at a hospital in Kano where he was receiving treatment for an ailment.

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He said that the deceased left behind four wives, 26 children and grandchildren.

He said that his funeral prayer would be conducted by 2p.m. in Dambatta on Friday.

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The deceased was a former Commissioner for Education in the old Kano State. (NAN)

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Osun APC eulogises late Sen. Joseph Wayas

The All Progressive Congress (APC) in Osun State on Friday in Osogbo described the death of former Senate President, Dr Joseph Wayas, as a loss to the country.

Dr Wayas died in the early hours of Tuesday at a London hospital at the age of 80 years. He was born on May 21, 1941.

He was Nigeria’s senate president in the Second Republic between 1979 and 1983.

APC’s spokesman in Osun State, Mr Kunle Oyatomi, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Wayas was a peace-loving fellow at the Senate during the Second Republic.

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“He made great impact and left a vacuum that had been difficult to fill.

“The senate was so interesting when as a journalist you are covering him and his colleagues.

“It was politics without bitterness because of the love and support he enjoyed from other senators,’’ Oyatomi said.

He said Wayas was loved by the majority, especially journalists because of his exemplary qualities.

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“He was a man full of wisdom and knowledge, making newsmen to always want to hear him speak at the senate.

“He was full of wisdom and knowledge, making him a special person,’’ he said.

Oyatomi prayed to God to grant the deceased eternal rest and his family the fortitude to bear the loss. (NAN)

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Maize farmers get 25 units of hand driven planter to boost production

 Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN) has received a donation of 25 units of Hand Driven Planters from Corteva Agriscience to further support and boost maize production in Nigeria.

Dr Bello Abubakar, National President, MAAN, made this known on Friday in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

The statement stated that MAAN received the machines on the sideline of the just concluded seed connect Africa 2021 conference and exhibition in Abuja.

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The hand held planter would ease the stress maize farmers go through while planting, save time as it is faster and also save cost for farmers to pay workers.

The President of the Association said the company recognizes MAAN’s effort in the sub sector in recent times and decided to encourage maize farmers by donating the machines.

“They donated these planters to MAAN in order to encourage our Farmers and to complement what MAAN is doing now in production, to enhance means of production in Nigeria. That’s why they contributed their own quarter to maize production in Nigeria.”

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While appreciating Corteva Agriscience for the donation, Abubakar said MAAN would continue to partner them to enhance maize production in the country.(NAN)

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One dies in lone accident on Lagos-Ibadan expressway

The Federal Road Safety Corps(FRSC) in Ogun on Friday said one person died in a lone accident involving a Nissan pickup around Sagamu interchange on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

Mr Ahmed Umar, the Sector Commander, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abeokuta that the accident occurred at 2:30 a. m.

Umar said that the crash was caused by excessive speed, which caused the vehicle to lose control and skidded into the bush leading to the death of the driver, who was the only occupant.

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He said that the corpse of the victim had been deposited at the morgue of Idera hospital, Sagamu.

The sector commander said that the vehicle with registration number AA 240 ZY had been towed off the road.

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Umar cautioned motorists against speed violation especially this period of high vehicular movement, advising them to always obey traffic rules and regulations.

He commiserated with the family of the deceased and enjoined them to contact FRSC, Sagamu for more information about the crash.(NAN)

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NACCIMA Women advocates 30% public procurement for women entrepreneurs

 The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) Business Women Group (NAWORG), Thursday urged the Federal Government to ensure 30 per cent of all procurement sum is given to women businesses.

Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, Chairperson, NAWORG, made the call at a press briefing after a roundtable advocacy event for the Implementation of the Presidential Executive Order on the Consideration and Allocation of Quota to Women Owned Businesses in Public Procurement in Abuja.

The theme of the advocacy is “Enhancing Women’s Economic Empowerment through inclusive Government Procurement Processes”.

Abubakar said channelling some percentage of the procurement sum to women entrepreneurs would ensure their inclusion in public procurement processes and enable them contribute to the nation’s economy.

According to her, in spite of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Executive Order 003; instructing all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to grant preference to local manufacturers in their procurement of goods and services, a little percentage goes to women-owned businesses.

“The case for gender equality is founded in both human rights and economic arguments. As such, closing gender gaps must be a central part of any strategy to create more sustainable and inclusive economies and societies.

“We, therefore, advocate specifically for improved market demand for products and services of women-owned businesses by leveraging on the Presidential Executive Order 3 published in 2017, titled, Executive Order on Support for Local Content in Public Procurement by the Federal Government.”

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Abubakar said that the case for gender equality is founded in both human rights and economic arguments.

“While gender parity in education attainment is improving, women still remain severely under-represented in key growth-enhancing fields of education such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“Women are less likely to work for pay, and do more unpaid housework than men. Given this backdrop, it is no surprise that women’s position in business leadership and entrepreneurship needs to be strengthened,” she said.

The Chairperson also called for increased access to support networks, including professional advice on legal and fiscal matters, apart from importance for improved market demand for products and services of women-owned businesses.

Also, Mrs Vera Ndanusa, President, Nigerian Association of Women Entrepreneurs, said inclusiveness, transparency, competitiveness and professionalism in Nigeria’s public procurement would improve participation of women businesses.

Ndanusa, who is also the National Coordinator, Partnership for Advancing Women in Economic Development (PAWED), said the Executive Order 003 and 005 provided an opportunity for women businesses to thrive.

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“In Nigeria, women businesses accounts for only 1% of all procurements at the federal and state levels.

” This is due to lack of access to information about the opportunities, legal and regulatory challenges, and other barriers preventing women from having access to this critical sector of national growth.

“While globally procurement is estimated to be $5.5billion, Nigeria spends $1.1billion on procurement. This equivalent to N473billion. Only N4.73billion goes to women businesses.

“Let us, therefore, work together to ensure that the commitment by Nigeria’s stakeholders to ensure 30% of all procurement is given to women businesses by 2026 becomes a reality,” she said.

Also, Deputy Registrar, UNWomen, Mr Lansana Wonneh, stressed the need for the government to strengthen women owned business to move the naion’s economy, create job opportunities and bridge gender gap.

On his part, Mr Ayoola Olukanmi, Director General, NACCIMA, reiterated their commitment to the success of the implementation of the Executive Order so that the 30 per cent procurement sum for women businesses would become a reality. (NAN)

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PENGASSAN calls for removal of VAT on gas

By Bimbola Oyesola

Against the backdrop of the recent high cost of Liquified Natural Gas (LPG), known as cooking gas, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has charged the Federal Government to abolish the Value Added Tax (VAT) on gas importation. 

The union, in a statement jointly signed by its President, Festus Osifo, and General Secretary, Lumumba Okugbowa, said it is disheartening to note that the price of refilling 12.5kg cylinder of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (cooking gas) has risen by almost 100 per cent percent over the past one year.

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“This is one singular product that is used by several households in the country. Currently, the cost of cooking gas has continued in steady climb from average of N4,500 at the beginning of 2021 to the current price of between N8,750 and N10,000 for the popular 12.5kg cylinder,” the union said. It lamented that most middle to upper class homes, especially in the urban areas, are feeling the pinch, adding that the poorer families are going through harrowing experience trying to cope, moreso as the price of kerosene had long taken flight in addition to being scarce in many places. 

“We hereby call on the president to immediately abolish the VAT on gas importation.

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Zaidu transfer: Porto dismisses FIFA ban

FC Porto have dismissed reports that they have been banned by world football governing body FIFA for not paying train- ing compensation to a Nigerian club in respect of defender Zaidu Sanusi.

Media reports in Portugal suggested Porto have been banned by FIFA from the transfer market after they failed to pay Jega United $42,500 being their share of training compensation in the develop- ment of Zaidu.

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However, the Portuguese giants have since denied this.

“It is not true that FC Porto have been banned from transferring players and it is also not true that FC Porto owe Jega United from Nigeria,” Porto reacted in a statement.

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“FC Porto never knew of the existence of this club, let alone be aware of a training compensation by that club in respect of the player Zaidu.

“When we were notified, we made the payment.”

Zaidu signed for Porto in the summer of 2019 from another Portuguese club Santa Clara.


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Infantino, NFF Board felicitate with Pinnick

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino has showered encomiums on the President of Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Melvin Pinnick as he marked his birthday anniversary on Wednesday, December 1, 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 Amaju.

Similarly, the Executive Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation, has also heaped plaudits on Amaju.

General Secretary of the NF, Dr Mohammed Sanusi, said Pinnick has demonstrated exemplary leadership and remains one of the most innovative and energetic leaders that Nigeria football has seen in a long time.

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“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 obstacles in the way of Nigeria football. He is an altruistically visionary leader who never looks back once he decides on the best path- ways 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.

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At the end of last year, globally –renown auditing firm, Price water house Coopers (PwC) awarded the NFF a ‘clean opinion’ in its financial accounting and governance procedures.

He said despite pandemic –imposed squeeze on businesses worldwide, the NFF continues to attract 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.


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