As 20 melhores universidades de IA formam a primeira turma de Ph.D.

101 formandos impulsionam o ecossistema de IA dos Emirados Árabes Unidos com avanços em pesquisa, desenvolvimento e aplicações comerciais – criando um centro tecnológico de IA do Sul Global

ABU DHABI, Emirados Árabes Unidos, June 08, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sua Alteza Xeque Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Príncipe Herdeiro de Abu Dhabi e Presidente do Conselho Executivo de Abu Dhabi, participou da cerimônia de formatura de 2024 da Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) em 6 de junho, na qual foram diplomados 101 alunos de 22 países, que receberam títulos de pós-graduação nas principais áreas de IA, incluindo visão computacional (CV), aprendizado de máquina (ML) e processamento de linguagem natural (NLP).

O evento também contou com a presença de Sua Excelência o Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Ministro da Indústria e Tecnologia Avançada dos Emirados Árabes Unidos e Presidente Fundador do Conselho de Administração da MBZUAI, além de outras autoridades.

“Antes de muitos outros países reconhecerem seu potencial, as políticas lideradas pelo governo incentivaram a expansão da IA nos Emirados Árabes Unidos”, disse o Dr. Al Jaber. “Essas políticas promoveram o sucesso de empresas como a G42 e grandes modelos de linguagem como a Falcon. Consequentemente, esse pequeno país está criando um ecossistema de alto nível para talentos e empreendedorismo em IA. Estamos atraindo grandes investimentos de proeminentes empresas de tecnologia, como a Microsoft, e emergindo como um importante centro de inovação e aplicação de IA.”

O Dr. Al Jaber observou que o crescimento da IA é uma das três megatendências que moldam o futuro, juntamente com o ritmo acelerado da transição energética e a ascensão dos mercados emergentes e do Sul Global: “A crescente experiência da turma de 2024 será fundamental para solucionar alguns dos desafios mais urgentes do mundo. Na verdade, se quisermos atingir as metas ambiciosas do histórico Consenso dos Emirados Árabes Unidos, acordado na COP28 em dezembro em Dubai, a IA deve ter um papel crítico.”

A terceira e maior formatura da MBZUAI celebrou o primeiro Ph.D. da universidade em ML, além de mestres em ML (55), CV (28) e PNL (12), contando com alunos provenientes de países como Emirados Árabes Unidos, Canadá, Reino Unido, França, Índia, Vietnã, Paquistão, Etiópia e Sri Lanka.

O presidente da MBZUAI e professor universitário, Eric Xing, disse: “A turma de 2024 da MBZUAI é composta pelos futuros líderes de tecnologia, inovação e criatividade, e está preparada para aceitar a responsabilidade inerente à administração de algo tão poderoso e transformador. Eles nos deixam com o conhecimento, as habilidades e uma profunda compreensão da oportunidade que têm diante de si – a chance de moldar um futuro em que a IA sirva à humanidade com compaixão e padrões éticos inabaláveis – estão prontos para enfrentar os maiores desafios do mundo atual.”

Cinco anos depois de sua criação, a MBZUAI é hoje reconhecida como uma das 100 melhores universidades do mundo em ciência da computação e está classificada entre as 20 melhores por suas especializações em IA, CV, ML, PNL e robótica (CSRankings).

Para se candidatar à admissão, acesse mbzuai.ac.ae ou entre em contato com admission@mbzuai.ac.ae. Para comunicação social, entre em contato com:

Amy Rogers, Senior Communications Specialist da MBZUAI
media@mbzuai.ac.ae

Roger Field/Aya Hassan
mbzuai@wallispr.com

Uma foto que acompanha este anúncio está disponível em https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/bdfc68d2-c10f-449c-85d5-dd39d3b960bd

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L’université classée parmi les 20 premières dans le domaine de l’IA décerne le diplôme de Ph.D. à sa première promotion

Au total, 101 diplômés dynamisent l’écosystème de recherche, de développement et d’applications commerciales de l’IA aux Émirats arabes unis, créant ainsi un pôle technologique de l’IA dans le Sud global

ABU DHABI, Émirats arabes unis, 08 juin 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Son Altesse Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Prince héritier d’Abu Dhabi et Président du Conseil exécutif d’Abu Dhabi, ont assisté le 6 juin à la cérémonie de remise des diplômes 2024 de l’Université Mohamed bin Zayed d’intelligence artificielle (MBZUAI), récompensant 101 diplômés originaires de 22 pays, qui ont obtenu des diplômes de troisième cycle dans des domaines clés de l’IA, notamment la vision artificielle (CV), l’apprentissage automatique (ML) et le traitement du langage naturel (NLP).

Son Excellence Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, ministre de l’Industrie et des technologies avancées des Émirats arabes unis et président fondateur du conseil d’administration du MBZUAI, a également assisté à l’événement, parmi d’autres dignitaires.

« Les politiques gouvernementales ont encouragé la promotion de l’IA aux Émirats arabes unis avant que de nombreux autres pays n’en reconnaissent le potentiel », a déclaré Dr Al Jaber. « Elles ont favorisé le succès d’entreprises comme G42 et de grands modèles de langage comme Falcon, et permis à ce petit pays de créer un écosystème de classe mondiale pour les talents et l’esprit d’entreprise dans le domaine de l’IA. Nous attirons des investissements importants de la part de leaders technologiques tels que Microsoft et devenons un centre important pour l’innovation et l’application de l’IA. »

Dr Al Jaber a souligné que l’essor de l’IA est l’une des trois grandes tendances qui déterminent l’avenir, avec l’accélération du rythme de la transition énergétique et la montée en puissance des marchés émergents et du Sud global : « L’expertise croissante de la promotion 2024 permettra de trouver des solutions aux défis les plus pressants du monde. En effet, si nous voulons atteindre les objectifs ambitieux du consensus historique des Émirats arabes unis adopté lors de la COP28 en décembre à Dubaï, l’IA doit jouer un rôle essentiel. »

À l’occasion de sa troisième et plus grande cérémonie de remise des diplômes, l’université MBZUAI a décerné ses premiers diplômes de doctorat (Ph.D.), ainsi que des maîtrises en apprentissage automatique (55), vision artificielle (28) et traitement du langage naturel (12), aux étudiants originaires de pays tels que les Émirats arabes unis, le Canada, le Royaume-Uni, la France, l’Inde, le Vietnam, le Pakistan, l’Éthiopie et le Sri Lanka.

Eric Xing, Président de MBZUAI et professeur d’université, a ajouté : « La promotion 2024 de MBZUAI comprend les futurs leaders de la technologie, de l’innovation et de la créativité, préparés pour accepter la responsabilité qui accompagne la gestion d’une révolution aussi puissante et transformatrice. Ils nous quittent avec les connaissances, les compétences et une compréhension profonde de l’opportunité qui s’offre à eux, la chance de façonner un avenir où l’IA sert l’humanité avec compassion selon des normes éthiques inébranlables, et ils sont prêts à relever les plus grands défis auxquels notre monde est confronté aujourd’hui. »

Cinq ans après sa création, MBZUAI est aujourd’hui reconnue comme l’une des 100 meilleures universités d’informatique au monde et se classe parmi les 20 premières pour ses spécialisations en IA, CV, ML, NLP et robotique (CSRankings).

Pour présenter une demande d’admission, consultez le site mbzuai.ac.ae ou contactez admission@mbzuai.ac.ae. Pour les demandes médias, veuillez contacter :

Amy Rogers, Chargée de communication principale de MBZUAI
media@mbzuai.ac.ae

Roger Field/Aya Hassan
mbzuai@wallispr.com

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Runsewe hails Oboh, Nigeria’s female golf sensation, on U.S. invitational triumph


The President, Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, OON has commended Nigeria’s female golf sensation, Georgia Oboh, on her recent victory at the John Shippen Women’s Invitational in Michigan, U.S.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 23-year-old Oboh, on Wednesday, captured the 2024 John Shippen Women’s Invitational and earned exemptions to compete in two LPGA tournaments – the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give and the Dow Championship.

Oboh will tee it up alongside the world’s best female golfers at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give starting June 13, after shooting 69-70-139 on the same course Tuesday and Wednesday to earn a three-stroke victory at the SHIPPEN event.

Runsewe, who gave the commendation in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, said that Oboh’s victory was an inspiration to other children back home and a testament to the fact that hard work pays

‘Congratulations to our very own Georgia Oboh on your well-deserved victory at the John Shippen Women’s Invitation
al at Blythefield Country Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan

‘Your victory is indeed a fulcrum of great possibilities and renewed hope for Nigeria and Nigerians.

‘We believe in you to keep the Nigerian flag flying high and keep doing your very best, to ensure that you represent our dear country as a good ambassador of the game of golf,’ he said.

NAN also reports that another Nigerian female pro golfer, Anita Uwadia, tied for third position with Ashley Shaw of U.S. in the same tournament, making it the first time in an international professional ladies’ golf tournament where two Nigerians made the top three.

The NGF president noted that the performance of the girls was a very rare one and not a mean feat.

He added that they had both distinguished themselves as the very first Nigerians and one of the few black professional female golfers on the top stage.

He said that the federation would continue to support the golfers, to ensure that they reach their full potential as they continue to make the country proud
and showcase themselves to the world.

He also advised parents to always support and encourage their children to start playing golf at an early age, adding that it was a sport they could be engaged in for the rest of their lives.

‘Hand your child a golf club, and you might be surprised what happens.

‘Your child might not be the next Tiger Woods, but golf can make a big impact in a young life.

‘Kids can benefit from the sport mentally, physically, and emotionally. The sport can set them up for success as they get older.

‘Many of the skills learned on the course translate to real life,’ he said.

NAN also reports that Oboh and her chosen partner will compete in the Dow Championship starting June 27 in Midland, Michigan.

The John Shippen Women’s Invitational which Oboh and Uwadia were part of is a series of competitions created to provide playing opportunities on the LPGA Tour and PGA Tour for the top Black amateur and professional women and men golfers.

The events are named after John Shippen, Jr., who wa
s both the first American-born golf professional and the country’s first Black golf professional.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NTF committed to promoting gender equality in tennis participation, officiating –President


President of Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), Ifedayo Akindoju, says the federation is committed to promoting gender equality with regards to the participation and officiating of tennis events in the country.

He made the remarks while declaring a maiden International Tennis Federation’s Advantage All workshop open on Friday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigeria Tennis Umpires Association (NTUA) made history on Friday in Abuja.

This followed the successful hosting of its maiden International Tennis Federation’s Advantage All programme, thus setting the pace for other African countries.

The workshop was organised by the NTF, in conjunction with the International Tennis Federation ( ITF), with no fewer than 20 female tennis officials from across the country in participation.

It aims to further deepen the domestication of the initiative which the country formally signed into in 2021 at the Annual General Meeting of ITF in Glasgow, Scotland.

Akindoju extolled the milestones bein
g recorded by the Officiating Department of the Federation, noting that officiating in Nigeria had advanced beyond imagination ‘as ladies in tennis officiating have done so well.

‘What we are witnessing here today is another landmark to show that ladies are very interested in sports and in tennis in particular.

‘As a Federation, we are promoting gender fairness, gender equality in terms of opportunities and participation, and have put in place a well monitored and guided mechanism to ensure that no body is treated unfairly’, Akindoju said.

Acting Chairman of NTUA, Rose Abu, encouraged the participants to make adequate use of the opportunity to develop and sharpen their officiating knowledge and skills.

Abu thanked the ITF for endorsing the event, and commended the effort and commitment of the President of NTF and the country’s Officiating Manager, Kehinde Ijaola, for making the day a reality.

Gold Badge Chair Umpire and an Advantage All Global Ambassador, Eva Asderaki-Moore led a plethora of virtual inte
rnational goodwill messages from female tennis Umpires across the world to the participants.

With the theme, Tennis Officiating: Place, Value Of Women In Officiating And Empowerment, the workshop had series of paper presentations on topical issues.

NAN also reports that a minute silence was earlier observed in honour of the immediate past Nigeria’s Advantage All Ambassador and one of the country’s finest tennis officials, late Arinola Isa-Banire who died in July 2023.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Kumba: GCE supervisor dismissed for gross wrongdoing


The General Certificate of Examination (GCE) Board has suspended the chief supervisor of GCE examinations at the GLOBICOL Aacommodation Centre in Kumba over allegations of misconduct.

The suspension, announced Friday, June 7th, 2024, came after reports that the supervisor failed to forward fees from registered GCE candidates and produced counterfeit timetables. The GCE Board condemned the actions as a blatant attempt to defraud the examination body, jeopardizing its integrity.

An interim supervisor has been appointed to ensure a smooth and transparent continuation of the examination process. The GLOBICOL Kumba accommodation center is hosting over 300 candidates for this year’s exams.

Despite the incident, the written part of the GCE examinations in Kumba is proceeding without disruption, amid tight security.

Source: Cameroon News Agency

Commuters stranded as bad roads render Douala-Dschang route impassable


Travel along the Douala-Dschang route has come to a standstill, leaving commuters stranded overnight as deteriorating road conditions block passage between the West Region and major cities.

At Souza in the Moungo Division of the Littoral Region, a backlog of vehicles has formed due to a large hole rendering the road impassable. Passengers who embarked on journeys from Dschang to Douala or Buea yesterday have found themselves stuck, with vehicles unable to progress.

The situation demands urgent attention, given the critical role this route plays in facilitating economic activities. Despite claims of significant investment in infrastructure, roads vital for transporting goods and facilitating development are rapidly deteriorating.

Truck operators, in particular, express concern over the negative impact on transportation and the urgent need for effective measures to address the crumbling road network.

Source: Cameroon News Agency

NASLA to commence training of Municipal Police in July


Nchendzengang Tatah

The National School of Local Administration, NASLA will begin a special training for Municipal Police by July 2024.

Over sixty councils will have their local police trained inline with the norms, and regulations stipulated in their creation and functioning.

The Minister of Decentrilisation and Local Development, Georges Elanga Obam made it known after a strategic meeting at NASLA, June 6 in Buea.

The Director General of NASLA, Tanyitiku E. Bayee explained that the training of the Municipal corps will unfold first with Councils whose deliberations have been approved by the Minister. He noted that the process is going to be sequential.

‘A number of preparatory steps have been taken, the training programmes were prepared and adopted, the trainers have been contacted, the site where we are hoping to lodge the trainees we are in discussion with the relevant authorities. In terms of the material preparation, everything is falling in place,’ the NASLA chair highlighted.

Discussions during t
he board meeting also focused on the examination for those who are coming into the institution. Minister Elanga Obam, was positive at the end of the incamera exchange. ‘I think everything is under control. The work that is done here is good. Bravo!’

The Decentrilisation Minister equally evaluated construction work on the new infrastructure of NASLA which contains office space and standard classrooms. He said he was amazed at the speed of work six months after his last visit.

The broad edifice compromising three floors which is spread over a considerable area of land will serve significantly to advance the drive of the institution, prided as the bedrock of local development in Cameroon.

Source: Cameroon News Agency

Gov’t to secure 1 billion for South West Regional Assembly edifice


The government of Cameroon inorder to foster the decentrilisation process and enhance local development plans on beginning a project this 2024 to raise a structure for the South West Regional Assembly.

Over one billion will be mobilized to begin work on the site in Buea. The Minister of Decentrilisation and Local Development disclosed in a June 6 outing.

Minister Georges Elanga Obam said the building plan to unfold on the piece of land was evidence that the decentrilisation process in the South West Region is on course with great results.

‘It means that the Regional Council of the South West is a reality physically. We are appreciative of what they are doing and we hope that very soon we are going to come here for the beginning of the work,’ the Decentrilisation Minister applauded.

According to the President of the South West Regional Assembly, Elango Zacheus Bakoma, the structure which will compare with none other around. ‘Once realised, it will be one of the jewels to have been constructed in the South
West in recent times,’ President Zacheus Bakoma said.

He further disclosed that negotiations with FEICOM were making progress. Though delayed in the process of acquiring a land certificate, he informed that the issue had been sorted out.

‘Today I am proud to say we are in possession of the land certificate. I think no sooner from now, the Minister of Decentrilisation will come back to the South West region to lay the foundation stone for this edifice.’

The site to host the South West Regional Assembly which is one of the two institutions accorded the North West and South West following the Major National Dialogue of 2019 has a total area of over two hectres.

Located around the Buea Central Prison, it is surrounded to the North by an existing road, to the west by state land and existing road, to the east by existing road and south by the main road of the Buea boulevard.

Source: Cameroon News Agency

I-G tasks regional police chiefs on collaboration to tackle insecurity

The Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, has called on West African police chiefs to collaborate and devise innovative ways to tackle emerging complex security challenges facing the ECOWAS bloc.

Egbetokun made this known at a meeting of the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) technical sub-committee on training and operations in Abuja.

He said that the West African subregion had in recent times been confronted with complex national security challenges, which had been accentuating transnational crimes.

‘The activities of these cybercriminals has imposed on us all the additional burden of developing our national security capacity to dominate cyberspace and deny criminals the liberty to operate in our overriding national and regional security interests.

‘The differences in legal frameworks and legislative systems continue to hinder effective law enforcement operations and criminal justice delivery initiatives among member states.

‘Our security reality continually deepens the need to comm
it to regional collaboration, towards dissecting the pattern and trend of crimes on the one hand, and towards pulling together and supporting each other in bridging our national security gaps,’ he said.

According to him, these challenges have been posing significant threats to the national security order of member states, as well as regional peace and social economic profile.

Egbetokun enumerated such crimes to include traditional crimes of stealing, cross border robberies, human goods, drugs trafficking, small arms and light weapons smuggling, banditry, terrorism, as well as other non-state actors.

He further said that cybercrime and cyber-enabled crimes were now emerging as bigger challenges to the subregion’s security.

The I-G said that a critical hindrance to effective regional law enforcement operations and criminal justice delivery initiatives was the differences in legal frameworks and legislative systems among member states.

‘The situation calls for a collective review of the multivarious legal f
ramework and regulates law enforcement and criminal justice delivery system.

‘It also calls for a stronger operational partnership that will encourage the evolution of workable protocol that will engender stronger operational integration amongst security forces and border management agencies within the sub region,’ Egbetokun said.

Also speaking, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Amb. Abdel-Fatah Musah, said that the fast evolution of information technology had further sophisticated the platforms and tactics used by criminal networks against targets.

Represented by Dr Abdourahmane Dieng, the Permanent Secretary, WAPCCO, Musah said that crime and criminality continued to pose a big threat to lives and property in the subregion, thereby creating an unconditional environment for meaningful development.

The commissioner said that security and law enforcement agents in the region had for so many years focused on territorial, aerial and maritime borders as key points for close survei
llance against crime.

‘However, with the dynamic availability and capacity of cyberspace, which transcends beyond geographical borders, criminality has become more efficient, faster and safer for criminals to execute.

‘Therefore, our mandate is to increase our capacity on the fight against transnational border crime of all forms which include employing training and operational strategies.

‘The illicit traffic and proliferation of small arms and light weapons, human smuggling activities, armed robbery, illicit migration, child trafficking and labor, kidnapping, abduction, maritime piracy are but a few of the main highlights trending in our region,’ Musah said.

He, therefore, urged the participants to share, inform, exchange and discuss issues and activities surrounding training and operations in their respective member states with a view to coming up with joint strategies on security personnel’s training and operations.

The Director, Interpol Regional Bureau, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Paule Ouedrago, said the
transnational dimension of the crimes required collaboration between countries, adding that the Regional Office would support the efforts through international police cooperation.

She called for the strengthening of collaboration between the Permanent Secretariat of the Committee of Police Chiefs and her office in the organisation and implementation of police training and operations.

‘This is how, together, we will succeed in dismantling and disrupting the criminal networks that undermine the tireless development efforts,’Ouedrago added.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Youths urged to place national identity over ethnicity, religion

Mr Obinna Nwaka, Director-General, Committee of Youth on Mobilisation and Sensitisation (CYMS), has called on Nigerian youth to place their national identity far above their ethnic and religious affiliations.

He also urged them to hold their representatives accountable and unite against opponents of good governance.

He spoke in Abuja on Thursday at the 2024 CYMS National Conference which had the theme: ‘Promotion of Peaceful Co-existence, Ethnic and Religious Cohesion in Our Nation’.

He highlighted CYMS’ role in promoting government policies, good governance and youth inclusion since its establishment in 2018.

Nwaka urged youths to consider the values of self-reliance, youth inclusiveness in governance, local government autonomy and the importance of ethnic and religious tolerance.

The director-general stressed the need for patriotism to curb the destruction of national assets.

He also cautioned against civil unrest and underscored the role of stakeholders in conflict resolution and peaceful coexistence
.

He warned against vote-buying and financial crimes, urging leaders to pay attention to the youth by initiating programmes that would make them assets to the society.

He urged youth to unite against those preaching disunity and disintegration, calling for more engagement with youths at the grassroots.

Nwaka expressed gratitude to President Bola Tinubu for his administration’s achievements and support to the Nigerian youths through some laudable initiatives.

He appealed for constructive criticism of the government and urged Nigerians to put the country above political and personal interests.

He declared the conference an annual event, reaffirming CYMS’s commitment to championing causes that would boost national growth.

Prof. Musa Olaofe, the Chief Imam, Ansar-ud-deen Mosque, Abuja, in a remark, encouraged Nigerian youths to show interest and participate in the country’s politics to protect their interests.

He said that there would not be meaningful development if the youth were left out of governance.


Do not allow yourself to be used as thugs by the politicians.

‘If any politician wants to engage you in war or give you cutlasses to fight, such a person should first of all invite his children to take the lead,’ he said.

On his part, Rev. Duke Akamisoko, the Anglican Bishop of Kubwa Diocese, Abuja, said that religious bodies had a lot to do in order to promote peace in the country.

‘As religious leaders, we are asked to emulate our Master Jesus, and the teachings of the scriptures, with peace as a cardinal principle.

‘I urge the youth to imbibe the teachings of the Holy Books. They should accept the teachings and practice them in their lives,’ he said

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

JDPCI advocates forest preservation against climate change

The Justice, Development and Peace Caritas Initiative (JDPCI), Abuja, a faith-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has advocated forest preservation to mitigate the effect of climate change.

Mr Josephat Abaagu, the JDPCI Chairman, said this at a news conference in Abuja on Friday to commemorate the 2024 World Environment Day celebrated annually on June 5.

Abaagu expressed dissatisfaction at the rate forests were being destroyed, noting that forest reserves that used to exist in the country in the past are no longer there.

He urged the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Mr Nyesom Wike, to revive the tree planting project which used to exist in the FCT in the past to beautify and safeguard the environment.

According to him, the 2024 World Environment Day theme: ‘Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience’, offers the initiative an opportunity to call on everyone to rise to the challenge of protecting the environment.

He said that the JDPCI between 2023 and 2024 embarked on a tre
e planting campaign and had planted over 10,000 economic trees.

The chairman said that the tree planting would not only contribute to environmental restoration and biodiversity, but provide economic benefits to local communities.

He said the tree planting campaign would enhance carbon sequestration, combat soil erosion, and foster a healthier ecosystem.

‘If you talk about the Savannah region here and the Sahel area, the far north, and even parts of the south, you won’t see any forest again; the trees have all been cut down.

‘The kind of logging that happens in this country is terrible.

‘By integrating environmental stewardship with economic empowerment, we embody the holistic approach advocated by the Holy Father, Pope Father Francis.

‘Furthermore, I am thrilled to highlight the recent launch of the JDPCI Laudato Si’ Briquette Factory and safe energy cooking stoves in April 2024.

‘This innovative project which was inaugurated by His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Ignatius A. Kaigama, represents a significant ste
p in our efforts to mitigate climate change.

‘The factory produces eco-friendly briquettes from agricultural waste like sawdust and rice husks, offering a sustainable alternative to traditional wood and charcoal.

‘This not only reduces deforestation and carbon emissions but also provides a cleaner and more affordable energy source for households,’ he said.

Mr Chukwuedozie Abazie, an official of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, also reiterated the need for individuals to pay more attention to their immediate environment.

‘The theme of the 2024 World Environment Day is a wake-up call on individuals to pay more attention to how they live their lives within their immediate environment,’ Abazie said.

He said that individuals must take a lot of seriousness on tree planting.

Rev. Fr. Solomon Uko, Executive Director, JDPCI, also urged the FCT Minister to take a clue from the Catholic Diocese of Abuja and resuscitate tree planting in the FCT.

Uko said that there was a need to mitigate the effect of
erosion in the FCT, with lot of buildings springing up in the area.

He also decried the effect of poor waste disposal in the FCT, stressing that could cause air pollution, if not properly managed.

‘We have the rainy season here, and we know what that means, so it is a call for us as human beings to take care of the earth.

‘We have been given that special task by God Himself and the priests always like to reflect in the scripture.

‘In Genesis Chapter 1, Verse 28, the Lord created man and gave us that commission, be fruitful, multiply and take care of the earth.

‘We are not owners, we are stewards. So, we have been given that responsibility of taking care of our earth, so, I urge the government and individuals to promote this task of taking care of our environment,” he said

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

‘Beyond the Veil 2’, film on northern Nigerian women, premieres in FCT


The season two of ‘Beyond the Veil’, a TV series that depicts everyday life of northern Nigerian women, has premiered in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that filmmakers, industry stakeholders, as well as the cast and crew of the film, were present at the screening on Friday night in Abuja.

‘Beyond the Veil’ brings to the fore everyday life of liberal Northern Nigerian women, highlighting social issues such as polygamy, drug abuse, gender based violence, forbidden relationships and unstable family dynamics.

The story follows the lives of five resilient northern Nigerian women as they navigate the ups and downs of modern life, careers, friendships, romances and the occasional clash of cultures.

The series, which showcase the richness and diversity of the northern culture, follows the lives of five women living in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja as they navigate work, love, family and friendship.

The star-studded ‘Beyond the Veil’ is created by award-winning filmm
aker Nadine Ibrahim and Sifa Asani- Gowon and is produced by Naila Media.

The film directed by Ibrahim features seasoned stars including ace actress Jemima Osunde, Maryam Booth, Norah Ego, Ummi Ahmed, Ame Aiyejina and Rikadawa Mohammed.

Others include Blessing Uzoro, Caleb Richards, Sani Muazu, Nadia Dutch, Andrew Bunting, Yakubu Mohammed and Temitope Olowoniyan, among others.

The series Director told NAN on the sideline that the project represents an opportunity to showcase a different version of the Northern Nigerian woman.

‘Beyond the Veil’ is a show inspired by the urge to depict Northern Nigerian women in a new and liberating way; one that is bold, empowered, and unapologetically authentic.

‘It is about us sharing a fresh narrative and show the world that a northern woman comes in different spaces.

‘The story follows the lives of five young women living in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria and the show builds a refreshing narrative around them but does not shy away from exploring the realities the
y face.

‘All the women face ongoing challenges, some of which are layered and continued from the first season, many of which reach a climax and achieve some closure.

‘The recurring themes of friendship, love, healing, and even pain remain in it, and they must push past and grow through all these, making choices that hurt and step bravely into the unknown.

‘As a director, this project marks a significant milestone in my creative journey and it has allowed me to push boundaries, challenge conventions, and evolve artistically and personally,’ she said

Also, the co-creator of the show, Asani- Gowon said the ‘Beyond the Veil’ story was well accepted by Nigerians as it reflected realities Nigerian women face.

‘For the first season, the overall reactions were really good, although I was a little nervous about it, because I did not know how people would take it.

‘However, the overall response was so great, and I think that made it even more positive for me, especially the overall northern Nigeria response to th
e show and now we are unveiling season two,’ she said.

Ishaya Bako, Executive Producer of the film, said the story was a clear reflection of everyday realities that women have to cope with in this part of the world.

Bako, renowned for directing award-winning documentaries like ‘Fueling Poverty’, ‘Silent Tears,’ and ‘UP NEPA’ said the series was a continuous story.

‘Our culture in Nigeria is very vast and rich so we should always tell stories that are vibrant and diverse to reflect issues that affect us,’ he said.

NAN reports that the first season of ‘Beyond the Veil’ was released on Amazon’s Prime Video in March 2023

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NCS’ bold steps to ease trade operations in Nigeria


With its poverty rate hitting 38.9 per cent in 2023, Nigeria has continued to battle several social and economic problems, throwing up an avalanche of concerns for both the leaders and the populace.

The populous African nation has continued to battle food shortages, poor infrastructure, unemployment, while striving to make quality health care and education affordable.

It is also confronted with security challenges ranging from banditry, militancy, separatist agitations, among others.

With these challenges getting more serious by the day, experts say that the prospects of overcoming them may not be so bright with the nation’s monolithic economy that depends substantially on oil.

They say that short and long term measures must be initiated if the nation is to be salvaged from its many woes.

One recurrent suggestion has been the need to diversify the economy, especially with the global upsurge in energy transition, which is expected to reduce the demand for oil.

Relying on the oil sector, in spite of the t
ransition, will diminish the nation’s revenue base, the experts have always pointed out, while emphasising the need to build resilience to navigate the situation by leveraging opportunities in other sectors.

Sectors that provide such revenue options include agriculture, mining, manufacturing, among others.

In line with this, President Bola Tinubu’s administration has continued to focus on reforming the economy to deliver sustained growth that would have multiplier effects on all aspects of life.

To this effect, government has continued to develop and implement policies and initiatives designed to generate revenue from the non-oil sector.

One of such policies focuses on trade reforms.

The idea is encapsulated in the Trade Policy Of Nigeria(TPN) 2023 to 2027, designed to promote trade as a tool for economic growth and development. It aims at using trade as a catalyst to develop a diversified and competitive economy.

While it hinges on government’s commitment to an open and transparent trade policy, one of
its key objectives is to address constraints limiting Nigeria’s potential to participate effectively in international trade.

As part of efforts to address these constraints, the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS), in 2022 embarked on a journey to reposition and ease trade operations in the country through its Trade Modernisation Project(TMP), which has three phases.

The project is a 20-year concession agreement signed on May 27, 2023 between the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by the NCS Board, and the Trade Modernisation Project Ltd.

The TMP is the automation of the business processes of the NCS. It seeks to simplify and enhance the experience of stakeholders in the trade value chain.

It is aimed at making it easy to obtain export and import clearances. It will also ease the payment of duties and the release of goods.

Shortly put, it is a long term rescue plan aimed at ensuring predictable and transparent processes and procedures for imports, exports and transit trade.

According to the General Man
ager of the Concessionaire, Mr Ahmed Ogunshola, the project creates the basis for improving NCS’ services which include improving revenue generation, facilitating trade development and minimising corruption in trade facilitation.

The project is aimed at automating trade operation processes using a software described as the Unified Customs Management System(UCMS), to be deployed by NCS, which would soon be inaugurated by the Federal Government.

The UCMS is the core of the operational activities and underpins the decision chain and command of goods clearance for release, in line with the requisite taxes and waivers of the Federal Government.

The automation aims to address leakages in the revenue collection of customs duties and includes Electronic Cargo Tracking System.

This system gives traders access through the UCM to comprehensively monitor their transactions from the beginning of the process until the delivery of their goods, and act appropriate where they experience hiccups.

The system also facilitat
es Electronic Port System, Logistics Monitoring System, Mobile Enforcement System and Intelligent Gate System.

In addition to providing further ease of cross border trading, its major advantage is the significant long-term impact it would have on the social and economic development of the country.

At the end of the 20 year period, the project is expected to generate in excess, 250 billion dollars as revenue for Nigeria.

This is because automating the process helps to increase revenue collection due to improved trading experiences, which would increase trading frequency and, therefore, revenue from chargeable duties.

While Nigeria gets to use the revenue to fund its infrastructure development, create jobs, address its security challenges, it would also develop other non-oil sectors to ensure sustainable development.

On the current stage of the development of software to be deployed to drive the modernisation process, the Head of the Business Section of the Project, Usman Abba, a Chief Supritendent of Cust
oms, said that all internal sytems had been completed, and final touches were being made on stakeholders’ integration.

While this is the first phase of the process spanning year one to six, with two more phases to go, it is expected that at a stage, all systems must be deployed to hardware, software and technology services.

The reform, through the project, is expected to streamline customs processes, reduce delays and cut down on corruption. As a result, businesses can operate more efficiently, and government can collect more accurate and timely revenues from trade activities.

Additionally, aligning trade policies with international standards can attract more global partners and increase Nigeria’s share of global trade.

As the implementation of this project gets to its peak, excited analysts say that Nigeria can look forward to a more dynamic, efficient and profitable trade sector, driving sustainable economic growth and prosperity.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

FG committed to infrastructure development through PPP – ICRC boss


Mr Michael Ohiani, Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), says the Federal Government remains committed to infrastructure development through Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

Ohiani said this at the Second Quarter 2024 Public-Private Partnership Units Consultative Forum(3PUCF) Meeting in Abuja on Friday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the forum provides a platform for PPP departments in Ministries Departments and Agencies(MDAs) and stakeholders to share ideas, success stories, and challenges on their PPP projects to drive economic growth in Nigeria.

The meeting was hosted by the Federal Road and Maintenance Agency (FERMA).

Ohiani said that within the second quarter, the commission successfully issued Outline and Full Business Case Compliance Certificates in respect of key PPP projects from several MDAs.

He said between April and June 2024, the commission issued 14 Outline Business Case (OBC) Compliance Certificates and two Full Business Case (FBC) Compli
ance Certificates.

Ohiani said the commission would continue to issue OBC and FBC certificates as the need arises.

He said some projects which had been issued OBC Compliance Certificates in the second quarter included the Infrastructure Development of Residential Buildings at the Federal School of Forestry, Jos.

Ohiani said others were the Design and Development of eight Hostel accommodations at the University of Lagos, Campus, Akoko.

‘Others are the development of 240 Housing Units of two and three Bedroom Bungalows at Nigerian Airspace Management Agency’s land located at Jaba, Kano State.

‘The Operation and Management of Kashimbila Integrated Cargo/Agro-Allied Airport, Taraba, and Implementation of the Nigerian National Patronage Cash Reward Programme.

‘Also, the Implementation of Metal and Mineral Operational Audit and Export Certification programme, and the Implementation and Development of the Electronic Enforcement and Penalty Management (eTraffika).’

Ohiani said FBC Compliance Certificates were
issued for the following projects which included the Implementation and Development of the Electronic Enforcement and Penalty Management (eTraffika).

‘Also the Renovation and Upgrading of School of Nursing Student Hostel, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State.’

He said the commission had also continued to monitor PPP projects which were at the implementation stage.

‘Just last week, our staff and the relevant officers of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security visited 17 silo complexes across the Federation.’

Ohiani reiterated the commission’s commitment to continue to build PPP capacity across MDAs and PPP practitioners through its training arm- the Nigeria Institute of Infrastructure and Public-Private Partnership.

He urged the members of the forum to take advantage of the opportunities the training institute provided.

‘We also invite you to take advantage of the MBA in PPP and PhD in Management (PPP option) programmes which are being run in collaboration with the Malaysia
University of Science and Technology.’

Ohiani expressed his appreciation to members of the forum for their continued valued contributions to its sustenance and overall success.

‘I, therefore, encourage us all to continue to advance with the various projects across our MDAs up to implementation and possible hand-back, as these will have a direct positive bearing on the wellbeing of Nigerians.

‘ I encourage us to sustain the shared vision of a prosperous and infrastructure-sufficient country for the coming generations.’

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Saving youths from menace of tobacco industry interference


Africa, and indeed Nigeria is known for its generally youthful population.

However, data show that these youths are endangered as the tobacco industry has targeted them for their ‘predatory’ tobacco marketing tactics to create profits, thereby breeding a new wave of addiction.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health challenges the world has ever faced, killing more than eight million people around the world every year.

The 2024 WHO Global Report on Trends reveals that children are using e-cigarettes at rates higher than adults in many countries and globally an estimated 37 million youth aged 13 to 15 years use tobacco.

It revealed that 22 countries in the African region are on track to achieve a 30 per cent reduction in tobacco use by 2025. However, it emphasised that progress has been stifled by rising numbers of young tobacco smokers due to tobacco industry influence.

This year, once again, WHO and public health champions from across th
e globe have come together, leveraging the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) celebrated annually on May 31, to raise awareness about the harmful influences of the tobacco industry on youth.

The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2024 is ‘Protecting children from tobacco industry interference’. It emphasises the need to protect future generations and ensure that tobacco consumption continues to reduce.

WHO report titled ‘Hooking the next generation: how the tobacco industry captures young customers’ shockingly revealed that the industry works to reach children and youth to replace customers who quit or die.

According to the report, internal tobacco industry documents, dating as far back as the 1970s, show that tobacco companies have long considered children and youth to be ‘replacement smokers’, ‘pre-smokers’ and a critical market to sustaining their business and the future of their brands.

‘The range of products the industry uses to appeal to youth has expanded significantly, from cigarettes, cigarillos and shisha
to newer products like e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products and nicotine pouches.

‘Flavoured products and additives, sleek designs and child-friendly packaging and imagery make addictive products even more appealing to youth.

‘Companies rapidly launch new products that sidestep, or are not included, in current laws, and use every available means to expand their market share before regulations can catch up with them,’ it said.

The health agency revealed that the industry’s tactics include positioning many nicotine products as ‘safer’ than cigarettes, potentially distracting policy-makers and consumers from the fact that nicotine itself is addictive and harmful, particularly to children and youth.

‘For example, e-cigarettes with nicotine are highly addictive and are harmful to health.

‘While long-term health effects are not fully understood, it has been established that they generate toxic substances, some of which are known to cause cancer and some that increase the risk of heart and lung disorders.

‘Us
e of e-cigarettes can also affect brain development, potentially leading to learning and anxiety disorders for young people,’ it said.

The health agency lamented that the tobacco industry was succeeding in its efforts to create a new generation of young people who smoke, vape, suck nicotine pouches or use snuff. It noted that evidence from around the world shows an alarming uptake by children of some products, such as e-cigarettes.

‘History is repeating, as the tobacco industry tries to sell the same nicotine to our children in different packaging.

‘These industries are actively targeting schools, children and young people with new products that are essentially a candy-flavoured trap.

‘How can they talk about harm reduction when they are marketing these dangerous, highly addictive products to children?,’ Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General queried.

During a virtual World No Tobacco Day webinar with Journalists, Mr Caleb Ayong, Executive Director, Vital Voices for Africa (VVA), Togo, said tobacco
infringes upon children’s basic rights to health and welfare, noting that child labour in tobacco production persists in many parts of Africa.

Ayong emphasised that 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals would not be achieved with tobacco industry operations, noting that it portends threats to actualisation of universal health coverage, disease prevention, and mental health promotion.

‘Tobacco industry targets young people with aggressive marketing, investing billions on the advertisement of its products. It organises parties, concerts, and product placements to specifically lure young and impressionable minds to its products and activities,’ he said.

He called for collaboration in shielding children from the clutches of tobacco, empower them with knowledge, and advocate for policies that prioritise their health.

According to him, journalists hold immense power to ignite change, expose industry lies, and inspire action through their reports, urging them to amplify the voices of youths, unmask tobacco
industry’s deception, and create a world where every child breathes freely.

Similarly, Philip Jakpor, Executive Director of Renevlyn Development Initiative (RDI), said the media plays a strategic role in exposing the tactics of the tobacco industry through incisive reports to elicit policy level interventions

‘It is the media that must put our governments on their toes to ensure they do not shirk their primary responsibility of protecting our children,’ he said.

According to him, the MPOWER package of WHO focuses on six effective measures to reduce demand for tobacco products.

‘The W denotes the ‘Warn about the dangers of tobacco’, which is a role that the media is tasked with carrying out. The media shapes tobacco-related knowledge, opinions and influences individuals and policy-makers.

‘For signatories to the WHO-Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) mass media anti-tobacco campaigns are key components of their tobacco control programmes,’ he said.

Corroborating Jakpor, Mr Achieng Otieno,
Being Africa, Kenya, explained that the WHO-FCTC was a blueprint for governments to adopt effective tobacco control and assist curb the global tobacco epidemic.

Otieno noted that the goal of the framework was to protect the present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental, and economic consequences of tobacco (and nicotine products) consumption and involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke.

‘The FCTC plays a vital role in promoting and protecting children’s rights concerning tobacco control by advocating for policies and measures to prevent tobacco use initiation, reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, provide access to information and education, and safeguard public health policies from industry interference,’ Otieno said.

Besides, Mohammed Maikuri of Development Gateway, emphasised that the economic burden of smoking, including health expenditures and productivity losses, was estimated at $1.4 trillion annually, with a significant portion of this cost borne by developing countr
ies.

Maikuri said treating diseases caused by tobacco was estimated to have cost Nigeria ?526.4 billion in 2019, which was nearly one tenth of all healthcare costs in the country.

According to him, Development Gateway, in collaboration with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health, supported by the Gates Foundation, leads the DaYTA (Data on Youth Tobacco in Africa) programme, focusing on addressing critical data gaps related to adolescent tobacco use in Nigeria.

He said that the initiative aims to gather comprehensive country-level data on tobacco use among young people aged 10 to 17, thereby filling critical evidence gaps and complementing existing data.

Maikuri, however, said that Nigeria’s performance got worse in a 2021 survey showing that the tobacco industry was intensifying its interference in spite of Nigeria’s tobacco control legislation and efforts.

Commenting, Ms Oluchi Robert, Tobacco Control Advocate, noted that WHO report had shown Nigeria, the world’s seventh most populated country, has bee
n recognised by major transnational tobacco companies (TTCs) as a market with enormous income potential due to its large youth population and expanding GDP.

Robert lamented that the tobacco industry in Nigeria, like in many other countries, targets children and youths through various tactics including product marketing, advertising, flavoured products and accessibility.

‘Tobacco industry covertly engages in product advertisement through product placements in movies, music videos and use of social media to reach the younger audience.

‘According to a 2020 cross-sectional study of school adolescents in Lagos, the most frequently reported channel of exposure was through product placements, with 62 per cent reporting exposure in films, TV, and videos.

‘Up to 15.2 per cent and 12.6 per cent were exposed to tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship (TAPS) through promotional activities and sponsorships, respectively,’ she said.

She faulted the easy accessibility of tobacco products to children and youths,
through stores or online platforms.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), worried by the alarming increase in young and underage access to tobacco products, launched the ‘Don’t Burn Their Future’ campaign.

FCCPC said over 4.5 million Nigerians aged 15 and above are tobacco users, with more than 26,800 annual deaths attributed to tobacco-related diseases.

The Commission emphasised that the campaign was a resolute move to safeguard the health and future of Nigerian youth and to curb the detrimental impact of tobacco products on society.

FCCPC underscores the collective responsibility of individuals, communities, and a prioritised healthcare system in fostering a healthier future for the youth.

Contributing, Dr Tunji Akintade, said there was a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests.

Akintade urged the government to strengthen its tobacco control policies,
improve awareness and educate the public and policymakers about the devastating health and social consequences of tobacco use.

Experts stressed that tobacco industry interference in health policy was a major reason why youth remain unprotected, or not as protected as they should be.

They urged the government to protect current and future generations and hold tobacco and related industries liable for the harm they cause.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria