FCTA trains agric. field officers, targets bumper harvest

The Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, FCT Administration has trained agricultural field officers to provide efficient services to farmers, towards achieving bumper harvest in the territory.

The Mandate Secretary of the secretariat, Mr Lawan Geidam, said at the training in Abuja on Friday, that the training was designed to improve the capacity of the officers to provide technical support to farmers.

Geidam, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Grace Adayilo, said that the training tagged, ‘Prevention, Identification, Diagnosis, and Management of Common Crop Diseases,’ would equally cut post-harvest losses.

He explained that a significant number of famers recorded huge losses due to ignorance of good agricultural practices in mitigating crop diseases, pest infestation and poor storage management techniques.

He urged the field officer to build the needed knowledge and capacity to be able to teach farmers how to combat crop diseases that impede productivity.

The mandate secretary
reassured farmers of FCT Administration’s commitment to support farmers with a view to boost agricultural production.

‘The Minister of FCT, Mr Nyesom Wike, and the Minister of State, FCT, Dr Mariya Mahmoud are taking proactive steps towards achieving the collective aspiration for food and nutrition security for all residents of FCT,’ he said.

The Permanent Secretary also highlighted the importance of integrating traditional methods with modern agricultural practices to get the best of the planting season.

Adayilo said that the integration was necessary considering the difficulties small-scale farmers face in accessing advanced agricultural technologies.

She assured the farmers of the full support of the Agriculture Development Project, adding that the project was a grassroots initiative to ensure that government programmes achieved the desired impact.

Mr Ofili Beneath, acting Director, Department of Agricultural Services, said that the department would continue to engage farmers across the 62 wards of th
e FCT and provide them with critical information.

Ofili expressed confidence that the training would strengthen knowledge-based agricultural practices and bring prosperity to the FCT farmers. (NAN)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Tinubu to inaugurate FCT projects May 27 – June 6 – Wike

President Bola Tinubu has approved May 27 to June 6 as Federal Capital Territory Week for the inauguration of various projects executed under his administration.

The Minister of FCT, Mr Nyesom Wike, stated this in Abuja on Friday, while inspecting some of the projects in preparation for inauguration to celebrate Tinubu’s one year in office.

‘By the approval of Mr President, we believe that from May 27, we shall begin the inauguration of various projects and will end on June 6.

‘Particularly on May 27, President Tinubu will inaugurate commercial operations of the Abuja Light Rail also known as Abuja Metro Line, and we will carry out the final inspection of the project on May 20.

‘From what we have seen, I think we are good to go,’ he said.

Wike also expressed confidence that the Vice-President’s residence, located along Aso Drive, would be completed and may be inaugurated on June 6.

He explained that the 9-day inauguration activities would demonstrate to the world the Tinubu-led administration’s determi
nation to renew the hope of Nigerians.

He added: ‘We have a lot of projects being executed that will be inaugurated. So many projects that I cannot begin to list them.

‘We are happy; the contractors are meeting up, and all the promises made they have fulfilled.

‘We have also fulfilled our own part, by making sure that we make the needed cash available and none of the contractors is complaining in terms of cash.’

The minister added that other projects like the construction of bus terminals and the FCT Court of Appeal Division and other projects would be inaugurated within the period.

On the non-functionality of some of the streetlights in parts of the city, Wike explained that some of the streetlights were being worked on, while others were being tested.

He assured the residents that the streetlights would come on once the contractors finished working on them,

‘As I speak to you, most of the streetlights are being worked on and with the project we are executing, you don’t expect the light to be on.

e contractors are test running them, so most of the ones that are not working are those that are being worked on.

‘We believe that before the inauguration you will see that most of the streetlights will be on,’ the minister said.

When asked whether he was being distracted by the development in Rivers, Wike simply said: ‘I am not distracted. If I am distracted you won’t see this performance.

‘I focus on my work. So, I am not interested. I am the Minister of FCT, and work is going on, why will I be distracted? I don’t even think about it at all.’ (NAN)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

ECOWAS, private sector unveil strategies to boost tourism

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the private tourism sector and other stakeholders have unveiled strategic initiatives aimed at creating a robust regional tourism confederation across the bloc.

The decision is contained in a communique issued following a 3-day high level strategic dialogue between ECOWAS, West African private sector tourism stakeholders and experts in Abuja on Thursday.

According to the communique, the meeting recommended that the private tourism sector should formulate a request for funding for the activities of ECOTOUR 19-29 Country Operational Units to the ECOWAS Commission.

It also recommended that the private tourism sector should generate funds from Technical and Financial Partners (TFPs) with a view to implementing a robust and sustainable regional tourism for economic growth.

The communique also urged the private tourism sector to identify and seek the support of technical and financial partners (TFPs) to support the private tourism sector.

It further reco
mmended that the private tourism sector should initiate and sign a partnership agreement between it and the ECOWAS Commission.

The communique also recommended that ECOWAS Member States should provide national classification commissions and structures in charge of resource regulation.

It also urged them to organise awareness-raising sessions for industry stakeholders on the new regulations.

The communique also recommended that the ECOWAS Commission should organise capacity building sessions for national classification commissions and regulatory structures.

It also recommended that Member States should establish harmonised tourism satellite accounts, as well as transmit and make available the new regulations for their individual countries.

The communique also recommended that the ECOWAS Commission should conduct a mid-term evaluation of ECOTOUR 19-29.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the communique was signed by Mrs Ruth Ndam, Director, Hospitality and Travel Trade, Nigerian Tourism Developme
nt Authority.

Others are Mr Boka Georges, President, Hotel Ranking Commission of Côte d’Ivoire, and Mr Massa Cande, Director General of Tourism of Guinea Bissau.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Move more for improved mental health, Centre urges Nigerians

Greyhub Therapeutic Centre, a mental health centre, has urged Nigerians to always exercise to improve their mental health and well-being.

Dr Oluwakemi Akintoyese, Clinical Psychologist, Grey insights/Grey Hub Therapeutic Centre, gave the advice at a mental health awareness walk organised by the centre in commemoration of the 2024 Mental Health Awareness Week on Thursday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Mental Health Awareness Week, which has the theme, ‘Movement: Moving More for our Mental Health” aims to promote awareness about mental health.

Akintoyese explained that exercise helps to release endorphins, which aid improvement of moods and combats physical illnesses.

She said: ‘So, annually there is an international mental awareness week.

‘Each year, there is a theme to sensitise people about the nature of mental health and to also understand that mental illness is real and that people can actually get help.

‘But this year they are looking at the theme, `Movement: Moving Mo
re for our Mental Health’ and what the emphasis is, is that we need to move more.

‘Exercises helps to release what we call the endorphins hormones, with the endorphins hormones, a feel good hormones, it helps us psychologically and helps us physically to be able to combat a lot of physical illnesses like depression, colon cancer and quite a whole lot of issues.”

The clinical psychologist added that the walk, beyond raising awareness about mental health, was also aimed at reducing stigma.

According to her, stigma often prevents people from seeking help.

She noted that the economic hardship had led many Nigerians into depression, which according to her, could lead to faulty thinking patterns, negativity, social withdrawal and anxiety about the future.

She advised that it was crucial for people to open up communication about mental health, saying there was no shame in seeking help.

Akintoyese said that there were resources available, like Grey Hub Therapeutic Centre, where people could talk to professiona
ls and receive support.

She said: ‘At GreyHub Therapeutic Centre, one of the things we do and will be doing during this mental health awareness week is to create a space on Thursday and Friday where people can come in and get help.

‘They can talk to professionals and then they can express themselves, assessment will be done and then they will tell you what you need to do.”

Yussuff Alawode, Clinical Psychologist, GreyInsights Limited /GreyHub Therapeutic Centre, advised people against using substances like alcohol, cannabis, and gambling to cope with mental health challenges.

He said that self-medicating with alcohol, cannabis, or gambling was not a solution to these problems.

These crutches, he said, could lead to addiction and worsen their situation.

Alawode said: ‘You are stronger than your problems; you have the inner strength to overcome difficult circumstances. Don’t rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms.

‘Gambling creates a cycle of debt and disappointment. It’s based on luck, not skill, and will
likely lead to financial ruin.

‘Regular cannabis use can become an addiction, and will make it difficult for you to function without it.”

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Students loan application portal opens May 24 – NELFUND

The Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND), has announced May 24 as official date for the opening of portal for student loan applications.

The Managing Director of NELFUND, Mr Akintunde Sawyerr, disclosed this on Thursday in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja by the Fund’s Media and Public Relations Lead, Nasir Ayitogo.

Sawyerr said the opening of the portal marked a significant milestone in the commitment of President Bola Tinubu to foster accessible and inclusive education for all Nigerian students.

According to him, through the portal, students could now access loans to pursue their academic aspirations without financial constraints.

He added that the portal provides a user-friendly interface for students to submit their loan applications conveniently.

‘We encourage all eligible students to take advantage of this opportunity to invest in their future and contribute to the growth and development of our nation,’ he said.

Sawyerr urged students to access the portal on www.nelf.gov.ng to beg
in application.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Monitor children’s use of social media, commissioner tells parents

Nasarawa State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Rufai-Ibrahim has called on parents to regulate the kind of content their children consume on the social media.

Rufai-Ibrahim said that this was important in order to curtail the increasing rate of social vices.

She spoke at a news conference to commemorate the 2024 International Day for Families on Friday, in Lafia.

The commissioner said that the advent of the social media had brought another dimension to children’s exposure.

According to her, it exposes children to platforms where they can commit social vices and crimes without the knowledge of their parents.

She said that a child does not need to go outside the house in the era of social media before committing crime or engaging in unlawful activities as was the case in the past.

The commissioner said that parents must know where their children go, know their friends and what they do.

She urged parents, especially fathers, to spend time every week with their families in ord
er to bond together and know each other better.

‘Parents should try to hangout at least once a week to fraternise and rekindle the affection for each other.

‘This type of communication will go a long way to bring happiness to members of the family and is capable of tackling mental health challenges,’ she added.

She said that husbands need to help their spouses in domestic activities, to reduce the level of stress associated with workload.

Rufai-Ibrahim said that many parents often spend much time making money and building careers that they forget about proper upbringing of their children in the digital age.

She said that families were experiencing the greatest existential challenges in the country due to harsh economic and social conditions.

‘The average standard of living of families has fallen in the face of high inflation caused by the removal of fuel subsidy.

‘The high cost of kerosene, cooking gas and electricity has led to activities that are harmful to the environment, thereby threatening the ec
osystem and leading to climate change,’ she added.

Rufai-Ibrahim said that the wellbeing of families had always been an issue of concern to the Gov. Abdullahi Sule-led administration.

She said that the government would sustain its effort to improve infrastructure and welfare of the people of the state.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NAN, critical partner in promoting truth, integrity – MD

Malam Ali Muhammed Ali, the Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) says the Agency will continue to lead as a critical partner in promoting truth and integrity.

Ali said this on Thursday when he received members of the Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation, on a courtesy visit to his office in Abuja.

NAN reports that Lux Terra Leadership Foundation has over the years, been championing advocacy in anti-corruption, integrity and value reorientation.

He explained that the agency ‘is very circumspect in the use of words, avoids controversial reports and promotes facts and accuracy in its contents’.

‘NAN has been a long standing ally of the truth, national rebirth of which Lux terra is championing at various levels – the level of schools, leaders of thought and the media.

‘Media is an important partner in any kind of national rebirth, whether in Africa or elsewhere; our agency here, like I said, is a natural ally and a perfect partner for your foundation.

‘We share in the
ideals of lux terra leadership foundation for a more integrated nation’ he said.

Ali said that, NAN, in line with its statutory mandate, has been projecting the Nigerian story positively, over the years.

‘The agency share in some of these sentiments you expressed, including promoting integrity, moral probity, uprightness and the socialisation of the Nigerian Youth,’ he said

The NAN MD assured the agency’s readiness to support the foundation in its determination to promote moral values in the society.

Earlier, Mr Henry Ijomah, the leader of the delegation and Manager, Training of the foundation said, the NGO had been in the forefront of advocating value reorientation.

Ijeomah said NAN would play vital role in the campaign to promote national values and addressing societal ills, which were among the core mandates of the foundation.

He expressed optimism that partnering with NAN would help lux terra foundation towards achieving its mandate.

‘Our visit is to congratulate you formally on your appointment as

‘You were not chosen because you are a politician, but because people have distinguished you for what you have done in the media space.

‘We also want NAN to help us project our stories. Nobody will know about Nigeria except you tell the Nigerian story.

‘We have a number of projects that we are doing that help to promote what we consider to be real Nigerian values,’ he said.

Ijomah said, the organisation focused on promoting integrity and national values.

He added that the organisation had succeeded in changing the perception of school children about examination malpractices.

‘We are also working with religious leaders and institutions of learning to achieve our goals,’ he said.

The meeting was attended by NAN Editor-In-Chief, Mr Ephraim Sheyin, Director of Administration and Human Resources, Mr Abdul-Hadi Khalil and Director of Special Duties, Mr Muftau Ojo among others.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Ensure justice prevails, CSOs urge Imo Election Tribunal

Eight South-East based Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have urged the judiciary to use the upcoming judgement of the 2023 Imo Governorship Election Petition Tribunal to deliver justice to the people who felt shortchanged in the election.

The call is contained in a communique signed by the CSOs, made available to newsmen after their meeting in Owerri on Friday, as the tribunal prepares to deliver judgement.

The CSOs said the judiciary should use the upcoming judgement to redeem its image and to remain steadfast and loyal to the constitution.

‘We hope that the actions or inactions of some people will not put the nation’s judiciary under global scrutiny,’ the CSOs said in the communique.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Gov. Hope Uzodinma was returned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a declaration that was vigorously disputed by the opposition political parties in the state.

The candidates in the forefront of the election petitions are Senators Athan Achonu and Samue
l Anyanwu of the Labour Party and Peoples Democratic Party respectively.

‘For the 2023 Imo State governorship elections, all eyes are once again on the Judiciary. What judgment will they deliver? Will it be a judgment that will reflect the wishes of the people or the wishes of the politicians?

‘Will it be a judgment that will reinstate electoral law, election guideline and the constitution as supreme in elections or the affirmation of only the interpretations of tribunal judges?,’ they asked.

The CSOs decried the excruciating economic hardship faced by Nigerians, noting that the outcome of the Imo tribunal judgment would either provide succour or worsen the agony of Imo people and the southeast in general.

They urged the judiciary not to adopt the use of technicalities to undermine the alleged injustice served on ‘Ndi Imo’ during the 2023 governorship poll.

‘All over the world, election cases are easier to determine because the election laws are very clear but in Nigeria, even when infractions are very g
laring, some tribunals tend to rely on technicalities and look the other way.

‘In fact, commentators have concluded that it is judiciary that now votes in representatives into political offices in place of the citizens who own the sole right of determining who represents them.

‘Nigeria and Nigerians are bleeding to the point of death and the only succour they need now is justice whose colors lie in the determination of who actually won the election.

‘The judiciary should also determine whether it was free, fair and credible; nothing should be added or removed,’ they said.

They, however, insisted that Nigerians must hold the tribunal judges accountable as they prepare their judgement.

‘Time has come to hold judges accountable for every judgment they pronounce.

‘This is because in 2020, a Justice of the Supreme court warned the apex court that any judgment they delivered, which is considered a miscarriage of justice, will hunt electoral jurisprudence for a long time.

‘Instead of hunting only electoral ju
risprudence, it has also been hunting Imo citizens since over four years’.

Led by the South-East Social Accountability Network and Democracy and Development Coalition, the CSOs warned that electoral malfeasance and compromised judgement can fuel social unrest and add to the misery faced by citizens.

They also said that a betrayal of public confidence and erosion of the rule of law can result to unimaginable consequences.

‘When people perceive that election courts are not delivering fair outcomes, they may lose remaining confidence in the judiciary’s ability to uphold the rule of law and protect their rights thus resorting to anarchy and self-help during elections.

‘The rule of law is based on the principle that laws are applied equally and impartially to all individuals.

‘When courts fail to deliver just outcomes, it undermines this principle, leading to a weakening of the rule of law and potentially paving the way for deepening of arbitrary or discriminatory practices.

‘Injustice can fuel social unrest
and discontent, particularly among marginalised or disenfranchised groups who feel that they are not receiving equal treatment under the law; this can manifest in protests, demonstrations or other forms of civil disobedience.

‘When court decisions are perceived as unjust, it can undermine the legitimacy of judicial institutions and the broader legal framework; this, in turn, can weaken the authority of the judiciary and other institutions responsible for administering justice.

‘Injustice may lead to an increase in litigation as aggrieved parties seek to challenge unfair rulings or seek redress through the legal system. This can result in a backlog of cases and further strain on judicial resources.’

The CSOs added that lack of justice can deter investment and economic growth by creating uncertainty and instability.

‘Businesses may be reluctant to operate in environments where the legal system is perceived as arbitrary or corrupt,’ the communique added.

The document was signed by Mr Emmanuel Acha, of The S
outh-East Social Accountability Network (SESAN ); Mrs Onyenoha Nnenna of Citizens Centre For Integrated Development and Social Rights as well as Nnaemeka Onyejiuwa of the Democracy and Development Vanguards.

Others who signed were Chibundu Uchegbu of Better Community Life Initiative; Victor Koreyo of Abraham’s Children Foundation, Ebonyi and Mr Nelson Nwafor of the Foundation For Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development (FENRAD), Aba in Abia.

Also Mr Okoye Peter of the Centre for Human Rights Advocacy and Wholesome Society (CEHRAWS), Enugu as well as Amb. Peggy Chukwuemeka of the Parent Child Intervention Centre (PCIC), Enugu, signed the communique.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Standardisation: COREN, RMRDC to synergise on raw materials processing

The Council for the Regulation of Engineering (COREN) and the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) will partner on processing of raw materials to meet standardisation for engineering and industrial use.

COREN President, Prof. Sadiq Abubakar, disclosed this during a courtesy call on Mr Emmanuel Kwaya, the Director-General, RMRDC, on Thursday in Abuja.

Abubakar said that the move was necessary to ensure that operational and production processes were reliable and consistent through standardisation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that standardisation is an approach to production that ensures consistency in manufacturing processes to finished products.

It requires adhering to industry standards and certification requirements.

The COREN president said that the collaboration with RMRDC also sought to establish an inventory of engineering-based organisations involved in exploring, acquisition and development into commodities and products for import substitution and export promotion.

He added that the council was seeking partnership with relevant stakeholders in terms of regulating registered and licensed practitioners involved in design and technology development for processing raw materials into products.

‘Coming together to address challenges in the sector, to me , is one of the most effective ways to break the silos.

‘So let us have a hand shake; form a committee and carefully sit down to develop the terms of reference for the standing committee.

‘This is because associations like engineers, technicians, craftsmen, artisans among others really need to come closer to see how we can promote this issue of materials.

‘Collaborations are also necessary in various areas like accreditation and licensing of laboratories involved in analysis and certification of raw materials for industrial use.

‘Championing the development of codes and standards that will promote the commercialisation and uptake of machineries for processing and value addition of raw materials into commodities and produc
ts is also key,” he said.

Abubakar said that enhanced synergy with relevant stakeholders to ensure effective raw materials exploration, acquisition, exploitation and development was important.

He added that partnering with relevant agencies in patenting, registration, upscaling, commercialisation and up-taking of products generated from raw material was another way of improving standards.

On his part, Kwaya said the council’s doors were open for collaborations that would help Nigeria achieve her industrial goals.

He commended COREN as a regulatory body for being alive to its responsibility of sanitising the sector.

Kwaya said that the council had a proven track record of fostering technological advancements through various programmes like engineering competitions, skills, setting up engineering teams to design software, applications development, and design initiatives.

‘So COREN will be a very welcome partner in this regard; we are willing to collaborate to take these areas to a new level.

‘One of the
requests we are making to some of our colleagues in other institutions of engineering is that most often when there are programmes we give them requests to assist in one way or the other.’

He said that engineers were needed to synergise to put teams together to solve some of the national problems and add value to Nigeria’s raw material.

According to him, some materials in the country are only unique to Nigeria and cannot be found anywhere else.

‘There are crops we have in Africa that we don’t have anywhere else like acha and others; so we can’t leave the work to strangers because they will not be able to develop something from what they do not know.

‘So there is a lot we need to do taking our colleagues in order to arrange institutions along, so that when they come up with project proposals we can support them without a headache.

‘That way we will be solving our problems in this country and the institutions will be better funded; so it is a win-win for all of us,” he said

The director-general encourage
d stakeholders to look inward to solve the nation’s problems.

He added that such an attitude would prove to the government that Nigerian engineers were equal to the task of carrying out designs and implementing them for national development like their counterparts in other climes. (NAN)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Aeroport launches new courses to boost capacity in aviation

An aviation institute, Aeroport College of Aviation and Travel Management (ACATM), has introduced additional three professional courses to boost manpower development in the sector.

The Chief Executive Officer of the institute, Dr Oludayo Taiwo, made this known in a statement on Friday in Lagos.

He listed the additional courses as Aviation Management, Helicopter Landing Officer (HLO) course and Drone Piloting.

Taiwo explained that the additional three specialised aviation courses were expected to have a value chain curriculum that would help the aviation and travel sector to produce professional workforce.

He said that the courses would provide opportunities for students interested in building a career in the travel and aviation industry.

According to him, the college has experts in the field to start training.

Giving an overview of the HLO course, Taiwo said that the course was designed to equip students with the basic skills required to perform the role of an offshore helicopter landing officer.

He s
aid that theoretical knowledge would be balanced with practical training.

‘Helicopter Landing Officer (HLO) can pursue exciting careers in various sectors, including offshore oil and gas, search and rescue operations and executive transport. (NAN) (nannews.ng)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NOSDRA honours oil and gas industries with environmental performance Awards

The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN), an NGO, have given environmental performance awards to oil and gas industries.

The Director-General of NOSDRA, Idris Musa, said that the awards are a testament to stakeholders’ collective commitment to environmental stewardship, innovation, and pursuit of excellence within the oil and gas industry.

Musa said this at the maiden edition of the award for the Oil and Gas sector in Abuja.

The award was organised by NOSDRA in collaboration with SDN.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the awardees are TotalEnergies, Chevron Nigeria Ltd, Shell Petroleum Development Company, and Agip Oil, while Akwa-Ibom received the best environmentally-friendly state award.

He said that the award was to recognize the organisation with the best environmental performance for 2022 and 2023.

Musa said that the performance award was conceived to highlight and reward those that have taken bold steps to address e
nvironmental challenges.

‘It is to showcase significant progress we can achieve when we commit to responsible practices. This initiative also reflects our understanding of the path to sustainability and the need to work together.

‘ It requires collaboration among industry operators, regulatory bodies, local communities and international partners, ‘he said

Musa said that by sharing best practices and leveraging on new technologies among others, the nation could drive the transformative change needed to secure a sustainable future for the oil and gas industry.

He said that NOSDRA plays a crucial role in safeguarding the environment from the potential devastations arising from the operations of the oil and gas industry.

Musa explained that 73 companies were assessed from 2022 to 2023 based on performance variables, which included submission of incident reporting forms

Other variables are the inventory of spill response equipment stockpiles as a function of preparedness for response.

He said the award is g
rouped into four categories which included the best environmental performance for both local and international oil companies.

Others are most environmentally-friendly states as well as awards for the 2019 and 2020 Environmental Performance Index carried out by SDN.

Florence IbokAbasi, Country Director, SDN said the organisation’s collaboration with NOSDRA was to encourage improved environmental performance in the oil and gas sector.

She advocated for innovation and technical initiatives that would result in reduced oil spills and gas flare in the industry.

IbokAbasi identified some of the challenges in the industry as oil theft, sabotage and insecurity.

She said SDN was collaborating with relevant stakeholders including government agencies, and communities to ensure improved pollution reporting and a safer environment.

Jim Swartz, Chairman/Managing Director, Chevron Nigeria/Mid-Africa Business Unit, a recipient of the award, said the organisation has been marked by continuous improvement, innovations an
d collaboration.

He was represented by Sam Daibo, Director, Government Affairs, Policy, Government and Public Affairs (PGPA).

‘As we celebrate this environmental protection award, we re-echo our commitment to the partnership with NOSDRA and other stakeholders.

‘The partnership is enhancing good environmental practices. Together we can build a sustainable future for Nigeria,’he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Expert highlights importance of big data in statistics, communication

Dr Monday Adenomon, an expert in data science and machine learning, says big data has the potential to produce more relevant and timely statistics than traditional sources of official statistics.

Adenomon, Associate Professor of Econometrics and Financial Time Series, Nasarawa State University, said this in his presentation at the ongoing 1st Bi-Annual Meeting of the National Consultative Committee on Statistics (NCCS) 2024, on Wednesday in Keffi.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the meeting, organised by the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS), has the theme ‘Understanding Big Data and Data Science: A New Perspective to Data Analysis and Dissemination.’

He said that big data referred to larger, more complex data sets, especially from new data sources.

‘This data is characterised by the fact that it contains greater variety (texts, images, audios, videos etc), arriving in increasing volumes and with more velocity.

‘These data sets are so voluminous that traditional data processing software ju
st can not manage them.’

He said the NBS and other agencies could explore the potential of big data by combining big data with official statistics and replacing official statistics with big data.

‘Also by filling new data gaps, that is by developing new ‘big data – based’ measurements to address emerging phenomena (not known in advance or for which traditional approaches are not feasible).

‘ One big advantage that NBS has is the existence of infrastructures to address the accuracy, consistency and interpretability of the statistics produced.

‘By incorporating relevant big data sources into their official statistics process, NBS is best positioned to measure accuracy and ensure the consistency of the whole systems of official statistics.

‘Also, interpretation while constantly working on relevance and timeliness.’

Adenomon said big data could be used by the NBS and other agencies in traffic and transport statistics, economic activity statistics, and social media statistics.

He said big data could also be
used by the NBS for price statistics to assist in Consumer Price Index(CPI) computation, tourism statistics, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) usage statistics.

The expert said data science on the other hand was the study of data to extract meaningful insight for business and society.

‘It is a multidisciplinary approach that combines principles and practices from the fields of mathematics, statistics, artificial intelligence and computer science/engineering to analyse large amounts of data.’

He said building new skills, developing/embracing new methodologies, appropriate ICT infrastructure and examining legal and ethical issues were required to embrace data science.

Adenomon also said identifying, accessing, evaluating, and using new data sources were also required.

He said some of the benefits of data science for NBS and other agencies included fresh insights from new data sources, frequency and timeliness of data, cost savings, and utilising the potential of improved computing power.

‘Big data and data science present ample opportunities to foster data analytics and dissemination by the NBS and other agencies.

He said to overcome the challenges of big data, the NBS with other agencies should ensure strategic coordination, legal framework, IT Infrastructures and human resources.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

We must deploy technology to combat security challenges – COAS

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, says security forces must remain proactive in the use of technology to address the nation’s security challenges.

Lagbaja said this when he received members of the Technical Committee established by the Ministry of Defense and Office of the National Security Advisor (ONSA) on Thursday in Abuja.

The committee is to advise on the way forward in combating security challenges confronting northern Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the team was led by the Chairman of the committee, retired Maj.-Gen. Ahmed-Tijani Jibril.

Lagbaja said the Nigerian Army had been engaged in its constitutional roles of protecting the country against external aggression and internal subversion with troops deployed in all the 36 states of the federation, including Federal Capital Territory.

He said the service had identified that the changing nature and character of conflicts was driven largely by technology.

‘We are glad that this committee set up by the
Ministry of Defence and ONSA has been tasked to identify how we can be a step ahead of the adversary in terms of technology so that we can quickly win all our battles and engagements.

‘So, I want to appreciate the committee looking in that direction and we have also understood through our review that the military effort, the kinetic, will not win this war alone.

‘So, we need all the support, technical or otherwise because the Nigerian Army has a lot of capability,’ he said.

Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, retired Maj.-Gen. Jibrin, said the committee visited the army headquarters to get their inputs and further suggestions on how to address the challenges.

He said the committee had the task of identifying the technological gaps that needed to be closed to be able to win the war against insecurity in northern Nigeria.

He urged the COAS and the senior officers to be frank in making their suggestions and inputs.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

FCTA tasks youths on sustainable exploitation of forest resources

The Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), has advised youths in the territory to harness the vast potential of forest resources sustainably.

‘This is critical to conserving the biodiversity and ecosystem of FCT for future generation’, the Mandate Secretary, Mr Lawan Geidam, said during a sensitisation in Abuja on Friday.

Geidam, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Grace Adayilo, explained that the sensitisation was organised to build the capacity of the youths on forest and wildlife exploration.

According to him, the conservation of biodiversity is critical to maintaining a healthy ecosystem that will serve the interest of all.

He emphasised the need for responsible exploitation of forest resources for sustainable livelihood and economic growth.

He affirmed the commitment of the FCT Administration to promoting initiatives that protect endangered wildlife species.

This, he said, was being done through sensitisation, training, and empowerm
ent of youth in economically viable ventures like honey production among others.

‘FCTA is dedicated to global action against practices that endanger wildlife species.

‘This includes promoting eco-tourism, sustainable timber harvesting, non-timber forest products, and carbon offset programmes.

‘Such strategies will not only secure the future of youths but also contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems,’ he said.

Similarly, the Permanent Secretary stressed the need for synergy with relevant agencies to address security threats in the forest to make them safer for productive activities.

She said that the FCTA was stepping up efforts to raise awareness and enforce stringent penalties for illegal wildlife trade activities.

This, according to her, is in line with the National Strategy to Combat Wildlife and Forest Crime in Nigeria 2022-2026.

While recognising the vulnerability of local hunters to engage in wildlife crime, the permanent secretary urged the youths to take advantage of lucra
tive bee production and other alternative livelihood opportunities.

Earlier, Mrs Caroline Opara, the Director of Forestry, FCTA, advocated for an awareness campaign against the poaching and selling of endangered species in the FCT.

Opara also said that the Endangered Species Act of 2016, stipulates stringent penalties for wildlife-related crimes.

‘This is a crucial tool in safeguarding dwindling populations of wild animals and preserving biodiversity,’ she said.

She emphasised that endangered species, when pushed to the brink of extinction by human activities, would disrupt the ecosystem balance.

‘The continuous killing of these species not only reduces their populations but also has far-reaching negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem health.

‘For example, the pangolin, known for its voracious insect-eating habits, plays a vital role in regulating insect pest populations, thereby benefiting agricultural productivity,’ she pointed out.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the sensitisat
ion was against illegal poaching and trafficking of wildlife species as well as capacity building on honey production.

The event had participants from the FCT Bee Farmers Association, and hunters and youth groups from the six Area Councils of the FCT. (NAN)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Agritourism development ‘ll boost food security, industrialisation – FG

The Federal Government says agritourism development in Nigeria will strengthen food and nutrition security as well as encouraging industrialisation for wealth and job creation.

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Aliyu Abdullahi, made this submission at the 2024 World Agri-tourism Day on Thursday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that agritourism, a short form of agricultural tourism, is a form of tourism that involves visitors participating in or experiencing various aspects of agricultural activities.

The minister said that agritourism also aimed to enhance the current capacity and growth in the non-oil sector.

Abdullahi said the theme of the event, ‘Food Security for All’ was in consonant with President Bola Tinubu’s declaration of State of Emergency on food security.

He said that the theme was also in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of Tinubu to promote agritourism development in Nigeria which was geared towards an agricultural revolution.

Abdullahi expl
ained that agritourism encompassed a range of activities, including farm tours, agricultural festivals, farm stays, and educational programmes that connected visitors with the agricultural landscape.

‘It benefits both farmers, who gain additional income and tourists who gain insights into the agricultural world/activities relating to agritourism.

‘Agritourism ranges from farm tours and workshops to seasonal festivals and tastings of farm-produced goods among others.

‘Agritourism presents a unique opportunity to combine aspects of the tourism and agriculture industries to provide a number of financial, educational, and social benefits to tourists, producers, and communities,’ he said.

Earlier, the President, World Agritourism Organisation (WAO), Amb. Trust Ogboi, said that the enormous value in agritourism would generate huge foreign exchange to the Nigeria economy and beyond national boundary.

Ogboi said that the Organisation was in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture to establish Nigerian Agr
itourism Villages in the 36 states and FCT to ensure food security, job creation and attract investment.

He expressed hope that WAO would metamorphose into United Nations World Agritourism Organisation like the United Nations World Tourism Organisation(UNWTO).

In a remark, Prof. Garba Sharubutu, the Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), said that food security and industrialisation of the economy was at the center of Tinubu’s administration.

He said that every Nigerian must work towards achieving the food security agenda of the Federal Government to ensure that food was available to all.

In a goodwill message, the Country Director, World Food Programme (WFP) in Nigeria, Mr David Stevenson, said the Organisation was humbled by the progress it had made in advancing food security and rural development in Nigeria.

According to him, agritourism stands as a beacon of promise for Nigeria, offering a myriad of benefits including heightened food production, rural community developm
ent, job creation, and bolstered foreign exchange.

‘As we commemorate World Agri-Tourism Day, Nigeria is presented with a golden opportunity to spotlight agriculture and agri-tourism as key drivers of progress,’ he said.

Stevenson was represented by Mrs Olabisi Ogungbemi, Lead for Government Relations, United Nations World Food Programme, Nigeria.

Also, the Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Mrs Abike Dabiri- Erewa, represented by Felix Imologhume, said that agritourism would help support local farmers and promote sustainable agriculture.

She said it would also empower small- scale farmers, rural communities, support local economies as well as community development.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria