Stakeholders call for improvement in nation’s electioneering processes

Some stakeholders have called for improvement in the nation’s electioneering processes to ensure credible, free and fair elections in 2027.

They stated this on Thursday at a town hall meeting m in Ibadan to review the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SOS Children’s Village Nigeria organised the meeting with community stakeholders in Akiny?le and Ibadan North Local Government Areas.

The Assistant Secretary, Joint Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Musa Akinsawe, emphasised the need to increase access for persons with disabilities and involve them in planning during electioneering processes.

He also stressed constant reorientation for electoral officers and continuous voter education.

‘Part of what we are clamouring for is accessibility to electoral venues and convenience in voting.

‘Elections for people living with disabilities must be easily accessible; the ballot box must be where PWDs can vote without being assisted by anyone,” Akinsawe

Also, the Assistant Secretary, National Council for Women Societies, Chief Isimiola Olowoyo, identified the need for increased community engagement to restore eroded cultural values.

Olowoyo said such engagements came up toward the 2023 general elections and that her association would sustain them.

She said this would ensure that the right values were imbibed to translate later to good governance in Nigeria.

According to her, lapses recorded in the last elections, such as inadequate security personnel, should be worked on.

‘They should empower more security officers so that there will be no violence and there were places where electoral materials were not available on time; this should be worked on,’ Olowoyo said.

Representatives of religious bodies and traditional rulers from the two local government areas called for continuous voter registration and increased awareness from the basic education level.

The Programme Officer, SOS Children’s Village Nigeria, Grace Sambo, said communities should lea
rn from past elections and choose their representatives based on competency.

Sambo said ethnicity, tribalism and religion should not be the criteria to elect leaders, adding that sentiments must be thrown away.

Calling for social reengineering, Sambo identified the benefits of peaceful elections and existence to include family stability which would impact children positively.

Also, the state Coordinator, SOS Children’s Village Nigeria, Mr Gabriel Adajie, urged participants to rejuvenate cultural norms that promote value systems in communities.

According to him, poverty and other factors have been weaponised to divide Nigerians, hence the need to change the narrative come 2027.

He noted that the electorates were, in a way, encouraging the political class to continue with the norm in the country.

‘For us to change what is on the ground, we have to make sacrifices. We need to endure hunger so as not to continue to make the same mistakes,’ Adajie said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

FEMD warns of imminent disaster as residents built on waterways

The Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Department (FEMD), has warned of an imminent flood disaster in Jahi and Gishiri Districts, Abuja, due to building on waterways.

The acting Director- General (D-G) of FEMD, Mrs Florence Wenegieme, gave the warning in Abuja on Friday, after a risk assessment exercise in the areas by the department.

Wenegieme said that the assessment has revealed that residents have built houses on waterways and flood plains, while drainages were blocked in Jahi and Gishiri.

This, according to her, can lead to flooding, which she described as a disaster waiting to happen.

Wenegieme said, ‘Most of the waterways have been obstructed. Residents have built houses on water ways; they have encroached the streams; they have encroached into rivers.

‘As you can see, the natural water course has been blocked, even the green areas have been overtaken by illegal buildings.’

She explained that the risk assessment exercise was to enable FEMD to develop strategic mitigating measures agai
nst flooding and other disasters and effectively respond to emergencies.

She said that FEMD would write to the Department of Development Control to visit the areas to ensure all developments in the areas were authorised and in conformity with the Abuja Master Plan.

The acting D-G called on FCT residents to desist from building on waterways and sought the cooperation of the residents in the protection of lives and properties following increased volume of rainfall.

In a related development, FEMD has trained 50 staff and volunteers on disaster response in line with global best practices.

Wenegieme said that the simulation training, which began on Thursday, was tagged, ‘Disaster Response Simulation Exercise.’

She said that the training focused on water safety, water rescue, building collapse, and fire outbreaks.

She said that the simulation exercise was organised to enhance the capacity of the staff and volunteers.

‘This simulation exercise and drills are to build our capacity in terms of rescue operations
of any kind while paramedics were trained on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation’.

‘The training exercise is aimed at equipping the staff and volunteers of the department with the needed skills and expertise to help them discharge their duties in line with global best practices,’ she said.

She explained that the volunteer local divers were selected from the six area councils of the FCT.

This, she said, would better equip them with modern and improved methods of rescue operations.

‘We have local divers from the six Area Councils, as such, we need to polish their swimming skills, teach them the modern way of carrying out rescue operations during flooding,’ she said.

Wenegieme thanked the FCT Minister, Mr Nyesom Wike and the FCT Minister of State, Dr Mariya Mahmoud for the unflinching support to FEMD.

The Facilitator, Mr Joe Oduah, Chief Executive Officer, RCL Industrial Safety Centre, said that building the capacity of FEMD staff and volunteers would significantly improve disaster response and save lives and pr

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Don tasks African leaders to prioritise welfare of citizens

A University Don, Prof. Steve Iyayi has urged African leaders to prioritise the welfare of their citizens to avoid repeated military interventions as recently witnessed in the continent.

Iyayi is a Professor of Public Administration and Dean of Social and Management Sciences, WellSpring University, Benin.

He stated this while delivery the 2nd Inaugural Lecture of the WellSpring University, Benin, with the topic: ‘Imperative of Human Centric Governance In Sustaining Democracy in Africa: AN Insight in Niger Republic’.

Iyayi said that several decades after gaining independence, African countries were still grappling with problems of true democratic practice beyond its mere claim.

According to him, indicators of democracy like the rule of law, free and fair elections and people’s participation in state affairs are hardly present in most African countries, adding the relevant institutions that supported impactful governance were also weak, and failed to raise the people’s standard of living.

‘This has signifi
cantly added to the explanations for the rather unending military interventions in most African democracies,’ he said.

On the average, he said, African ranked among the top regions of the world that had experienced military coups and overthrow of constitutionally elected governments.

‘Out of 54 countries in African continent, 45 have had at least one coup attempt since 1950. The total number of coups by the year 2011 was 214, with 106 of the coups being successful.

‘Since then, there have been additional seven coups, all successful thereby bringing the total to 221 coups,’ he said.

Prof. Steve Iyayi

According to Iyayi, democratic governance remains generally unstable in African occasioned by mask of welfare for the people.

He noted that the current situation in Niger Republic was a reflection of the happenings in other countries in the continent with minor variations where they exist at all.

The don said that democratic governance had, therefore, not really addressed the needs of the society and the pe
ople in African region.

Iyayi stressed that the welfare of the people should be prioritised and necessary environment created for them to participate in the affairs of their country.

He said that there was an urgent need to reduce the cost of governance in Africa because the costs were adversely affecting the welfare of the people, adding that, ‘African leaders should evolve workable strategies to fight and reduce poverty in all forms to a tolerable level’.

The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Isaac Ajayi commended Iyayi for the robust lecture which provided insight into Africa’s problems and proffered solutions to them.

Ajayi urged him not to relent in his research efforts and academic pursuit because the education sector would always need researchers like him.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NGOs distribute menstrual pads, hygiene kits to students in IDP camp

Two NGOs, Civitas Auxillium Foundation (CAF) and BHAJ Helping Arm Foundation, on Friday, donated essential items to schools in Wassa Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Abuja.

The NGOs specifically distributed sanitary pads and hygiene kits to female students of Moving Star International School, Holy Trinity Academy, Welbired Academy and ECWA Zion Academy, all in Wassa IDPs Camp.

Mrs Elizabeth Duile, the Chief Operating Officer of CAF, said that the idea was to create awareness on menstrual hygiene management, and to dispel some myths and beliefs surrounding menstruation among underprivileged children in the camp.

She said ‘we need to create more awareness and empower the children with the right knowledge about how to take care of themselves on days when they have their menstrual flow.

‘Shockingly, while we were having the lecture, some of the girls said they use rags, tissue paper and other things that are not appropriate for menstrual protection.

‘So, it is important that we create awareness by
educating and empowering them with the right knowledge,’ she said.

Duile acknowledged the challenges of accessing menstrual pad for people in IDPs camps, urging government and other stakeholders to implement policies that would ensure provision of facilities and materials for their well-being.

‘There is need to have toilets in the schools, especially for the girls to be able to have access to clean water and sanitary pads, and for them to freshen up without disrupting their learning.

‘This is because we had cases of girls who do not come to school whenever they are on their period, as they rather stay at home because there’s no toilet in school,’ she said.

Similarly, Dr Adejoke Ogundana, BHAJ Helping Arm Foundation, said the students were educated on menstrual hygiene management to reduce risk of infections during their menstrual cycle.

‘We were able to educate them on proper menstrual management and ways to access hygiene products and breaking stigma.

‘We did not limit it to just the girls; the boys we
re also included so that they can support their sisters and friends, instead of embarrassing or stigmatising them.

‘We delivered these messages also in their native languages to really impact knowledge into them and also help them to be responsible in their environments,’ she said.

Maryam Ibrahim, a junior student of the school, expressed appreciation to the NGOs for the support.

‘I am so happy with this gifts, I always used rags during my menstrual period because my mother here in the IDP camp cannot afford to buy me sanitary pads,’she said.

Similarly, Reuben Obadiah, another student said that he learnt lot on maintaining good hygiene, how to support girls when the need arose, and to fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV).’

Speaking on behalf of the schools, Mrs Chidimma Obiegwue, a teacher in Moving Star International School, said that the gesture would reduce student challenges of accessing sanitary pads and absent from school during menstrual period.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

FG to introduce electronic blood management system – Minister

Prof. Muhammad Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, says efforts are in place to introduce Electronic Blood Management System for effective and efficient blood service delivery nationwide.

He disclosed this at a press briefing in commemoration of the 2024 World Blood Donor Day with the theme ’20 Years of Celebrating Giving: Thank You, Blood Donors!’, organised by the National Blood Service Commission (NBSC).

The minister, who was represented by Chris Isokpunwu, Director, Health Planning, Research and Statistics, said that the idea was to ensure availability of safe blood and blood products in Nigeria.

He said ‘we are in the process of scaling up activities of the commission to all parts of the country, and introducing an Electronic Blood Management System to ensure effective and efficient blood service delivery.’

He acknowledged the role of blood donors in saving lives, adding that ‘the donation rate in Nigeria shows that over 80 per cent of blood collected are from family replace
ment and commercial blood donors.

‘Data on the donation rate in Nigeria shows that more than 80 per cent of blood collected are from families.

‘Empirical evidence shows that the most reliable and safest source of blood comes from a stable base of regular, voluntary, unpaid blood donors, rather than from commercial sources.

‘The World Health Assembly resolution WHA63.12 urges all member states to develop national blood systems based on voluntary unpaid donations and to work toward the goal of self-sufficiency.’

The minister said that the use of blood and blood products had become an integral part of modern medical practice as access to safe blood and blood products was critical to achieving an effective health system.

‘With a population of over 200 million, Nigeria’s estimated blood need is about two million units per annum.

‘Unfortunately, much less is currently donated, leading to avoidable deaths, morbidities, or ill health, particularly among our womenfolk, newborns, and victims of road traffic acci
dents and insurgency.

‘This situation can improve if only one per cent of our country’s adult population commits itself to voluntary non-remunerated blood donation regularly,’ he said.

Also, Prof. Saleh Yuguda, the Director-General, NBSC, said ‘blood donation plays a critical role in saving lives and strengthening the healthcare system in the country.’

According to Yuguda, transfusion of blood and blood products help patients to live longer and with higher quality of life.

‘Additionally, blood transfusion supports complex medical and surgical procedures, thus, making it indispensable in maternal and childcare, as well as during man-made and natural disasters.

‘Recent data indicates that more people are dying from lack of access to blood and blood products than communicable diseases in developing countries,’ he said.

Dr Walter Mulombo, the Country Representative, World Health Organisation (WHO), said Nigeria is one of the 16 African countries with 80 per cent of blood donation from voluntary blood donati

Mulombo, who was represented by Dr Hamzat Tayo, however, stressed the need to create awareness on blood donation as the total number of blood collected was still low at 5.2 units per one thousand population.

Mohammed Ibrahim, the Chief Route Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), emphasised the need for more voluntary non-remunerated blood donors.

According to Ibrahim, the goal is to save lives and to see that injury and death are reduced by five per cent.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other highlights of the commemoration include conferment of awards to notable blood donors and engagement and advocacy with the media, community and religious leaders.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

National cohesion critical for fostering stability, progress -UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says good leadership and national cohesion are critical for fostering stability, progress, and prosperity within our great nation.

The UNDP Team Lead, Governance, Peace and Security, Mr Mathew Alao, stated this at the graduation ceremony of the Leadership and National Cohesion Course 1 (LNC), at Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peace Keeping Centre (MLAILPKC) Jaji, Kaduna State, on Friday.

Alao said the graduation was a significant step towards the advancement of peace, security, and unity within our beloved nation, Nigeria and ECOWAS sub-region.

‘Leadership start with us as parent that brings little children to this world. Leadership starts from grassroots.

‘Unfortunately, we have lost it. Nigeria today is very individualistic. It’s all about I and my family. And this is leading us to no where. This is why this course is very critical at this moment.

‘If nothing is done to address the leadership deficit from the family unit, from the community uni
t and community level, we are not going anywhere. Money can not save our society,’ he said.

He commended the participants of the training for dedication to the programme.

‘Over the past two weeks, you have dedicated yourselves to an intensive programme that not only on leadership skills but also fosters an understanding of the essential tenets of national cohesion.

‘Your presence here signifies a commitment to making Nigeria a better, more unified country, ‘he said.

‘Today, we recognize your accomplishments and the bright future that lies ahead.

‘I would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Commandant and his team of instructors and resource persons at the Centre for your unwavering commitment to equipping our future leaders.

‘Also acknowledge the generous financial support and strong partnership of the Government of Japan,’ he said

He said the funding and partnership had made the course possible, and dedication to promoting peace and stability in the continent, ECOWAS and Nigeria is deeply ap

‘Together, we are working towards a brighter and more unified future for our planet,’ Alao said.

The Chief of Training, Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen. Sani Mohammed, noted that the collaborative effort between MLAILPKC and the Japanese Government through the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) which gave raise to the course.

The Chief of Training was represented by Maj-Gen. Oluyemi Olatoye, Commandant, Nigerian Army School of Infantry.

He said a country without national integration was often implied as the country deprived of social cohesion, sense of nationalism and with a failed socio-politico-economy.

‘In bringing up these values, there lies a strong leadership role,’ he said.

He said the overall objective of the LNC was to develop human capacity to equip the participants to be able to handle challenges that arises with leadership.

‘It was aimed at identifying, analyzing and evaluating the drivers of disunity, disintegration and insurrection in the polity in order to provide a pathway for
national integration and cohesion,’ Mohammed said .

Also in his remarks the Commandant, MLAILPKC Maj-Gen. Ademola Adedoja, said the LNC was designed to provide the participants with the skills and knowledge required to operate effectively in a complex dynamic multi-disciplinary, multi- cultural and religious environment.

He said it was also aimed at equipping participants to become role models in their various establishments and in addition, good ambassadors of this Centre.

‘As you graduate today, as the pioneers of the LNC, please know you are vanguards of improved Leadership and National Cohesion.

‘You must always remember that so much has been given to you and as such, so much is expected from you as trained Leadership and National Cohesion Officers, ‘Adedoja said.

Adedoja appreciate the Government of Japan, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for their enormous support towards achieving success of this course.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

21,000 flood victims to benefit from ECOWAS humanitarian aid – Red Cross

The Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) has announced that over 21,000 individuals will benefit from ECOWAS stabilisation funds for victims of flood disasters in six of the most affected states.

Mr Abubakar Kende, Secretary General of NRCS, disclosed this information on Thursday in Abuja during an inception meeting for ECOWAS humanitarian support for people affected by floods in Adamawa, Anambra, Oyo, Kebbi, Kogi, and Rivers states.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the meeting, themed ‘Building Stronger and Resilient Families in Nigeria,’ was organised in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

During the meeting, ECOWAS presented a cheque for $906,200 to the Red Cross to aid in the effective implementation of its stabilisation programme.

Kende, represented by NRCS Director of Disaster Management Mr Benson Agbo, stated that the stabilisation funds would be used to support flood victims.

‘In our effort to allev
iate the suffering of the vulnerable in Nigeria, we have signed a tripartite agreement with ECOWAS and the Humanitarian Ministry.

‘This agreement aims to support communities affected by flood disasters in Adamawa, Anambra, Oyo, Kebbi, Kogi, and Rivers states.

‘We are ready to deliver essential humanitarian aid to 21,000 individuals in 3,500 households across these six severely affected states. This gesture will ensure that flood survivors can return to their normal lives,’ he said.

Kende appealed to stakeholders to provide the necessary support to boost the socio-economic well-being of the victims.

‘We encourage relevant stakeholders to act and provide the necessary infrastructure needed to control and mitigate the effects of flooding, thereby improving people’s lives.

‘As the implementing partner, the Nigerian Red Cross Society will execute the project in the six states, ensuring timely and efficient delivery of assistance and maintaining a transparent process,’ Kende said.

Mr Guy Adoua, Deputy Countr
y Director of WFP in Nigeria, stated that the programme had built an enduring structure critical to delivering food and nutrition to vulnerable people.

‘We have not only addressed immediate food and nutrition needs of these vulnerable communities, but we have also made significant strides in strengthening their resilience.

‘Our work in Nigeria during 2021-2022 has demonstrated the profound difference that coordinated efforts and strategic partnerships can make.

‘WFP will provide multi-dimensional assistance to 14,394 people in Katsina and Sokoto states using the ECOWAS funds,’ Adoua said.

According to him, this assistance will include food and nutrition support, building capacity for state systems, and psycho-social support to promote social cohesion and peace for six months.

Prof. Fatou Sarr, ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs, stated that ECOWAS would continue to support member states in improving the livelihoods of their citizens.

‘Our focus will continue to be people-center
ed; therefore, projects such as this will remain the focus of ECOWAS programming. We invite you all to join us in changing the lives and livelihoods of our people for good, especially those at the grassroots,’ Sarr said.

She also presented a cheque for $1 million to WFP to ensure the effective implementation of the ECOWAS stabilisation programme, providing food and nutrition especially to victims of violence in Nigeria.

Mr Valentine Ezulu, Director of Humanitarian Affairs in the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, assured stakeholders of the federal government’s determination to provide mechanisms to mitigate the impact of floods and their consequences.

He appreciated ECOWAS’ intervention in Nigeria and stated that the project would help improve food security and nutrition for vulnerable groups in the affected states.

He recalled that the 2021 phase one beneficiaries of the ECOWAS Food and Nutrition support were Borno, Katsina, Zamfara, and Sokoto states.

Source: News Agenc
y of Nigeria

Nigeria deploys troops for peace keeping in Gambia

The Armed Forces of Nigeria on Friday, announced the deployment of 197 personnel for the peace keeping mission in the Gambia.

The Chief of Operations Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen. Boniface Sinjen made the announcement in Jaji, Kaduna State, at the graduation of troops of Nigerian Company 9 Economic Community of West African States Mission in The Gambia (ECOMIG).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 197 troops began Pre-Deployment Training (PDT) on May 4, at Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPKC) Jaji Kaduna State.

According to him, the PDT is in line with the commitment of the Chief of Army Staff , Lt -Gen Taoreed Lagbaja and the Armed Forces of Nigeria in deploying quality peacekeepers in support of international peace and security.

He said that the training had equipped them with the necessary tactical skills and knowledge required for peace support operations.

‘It has prepared you for the protection of civilians and the accomplishment of assigned tasks u
nder the ECOMIG mandate.

‘You have learned the importance of teamwork, leadership and cultural sensitivity as well as other factors that would ensure your success in the mission area.

‘You have been trained in the latest techniques and procedures for maintaining peace and stability in a complex environment and instilled with the values of discipline, respect for human rights and compassion for the people you are going out there to protect.

‘Your mission comes at a critical time, as The Gambia faces a period of uncertainty and instability, ‘he said.

Cross section of troops deployed for peacekeeping mission in Gambia on Friday at Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre Jaji Kaduna state

According to him, the country’s political crisis has affected the lives of many innocent civilians and their presence will sustain the existing peace and stability to the region.

‘Your role is crucial in maintaining peace, protecting lives and promoting sustainable development.’

Sinjen charge
d the troops to uphold the highest standards of professionalism, discipline and respect for human rights.

He advised them to adhere strictly to the ECOWAS’ mandate, which guides your mission and ensure that your actions align with the principles of peace, stability and human rights.

‘Remember that your conduct will not only reflect on yourselves but also on your country, the ECOWAS region and the international community.

‘Additionally, your training has exposed you to the culture and religious diversity of The Gambia.

‘You are, therefore, expected to approach all interactions with sensibility and respect. Be mindful of the local customs, traditions and socio-political dynamics of the mission area.

‘You must remain vigilant in the face of potential security threats and avoid any actions that may be perceived as insensitive,’ he said.

He said that as peacekeepers in a sovereign nation, they must adhere strictly to the UN principles and guidelines for peacekeeping operations.

‘Respect the sovereignty and
territorial integrity of The Gambia and avoid any actions that may be perceived as interference in the country’s internal affairs.’

He said the Armed Forces of Nigeria had zero-tolerance on sexual exploitation and abuse in line with United Nations’ policies.

‘Therefore, any form of sexual exploitation and abuse will be met with severe consequences.

‘As ambassadors of the armed Forces of Nigeria and our great nation, you must uphold the esteemed values and enviable image of this country, ‘Sinjen said.

Earlier, the Commandant of MLAILPKC, Maj-Gen. Ademola Adedoja, said the six weeks training had been intense, comprehensive, and was conducted in line with the Standard UN Core Pre-Deployment Training Modules.

Adedoja said the PDT was to equip the earmarked unit with the requisite skills and knowledge to function effectively and efficiently in their deployment to the Gambia.

He said as part of their training, the troops were taken through crosscutting issues like Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Conflict Relat
ed Sexual Violence, Conduct and Discipline as well as Protection of Civilians amongst others.

‘This graduation is a testament to the capacity and capability of the MLAILPKC as a United Nations accredited Centre to conduct quality training of prospective peacekeepers for deployment to multidimensional Peace Support Operations in fulfillment of her mandate.

‘The Centre has within the last six weeks been able to train, retrain and refresh the troops on requisite knowledge and expertise to succeed in a Peace Support Operation environment.

‘ It is my fervent belief that these men are better informed and equipped to perform their roles in the Gambia, ‘Adedoja said.

He said the graduation ceremony once more showed the commitment of Nigeria and the Nigerian Armed Forces to global peace and security.

In attendance at the ceremony include the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Team Lead, Governance, Peace and Security, Matthew Alao,

Troops deployed for peacekeeping mission in Gambia on Friday at Martin
Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre Jaji Kaduna state

In a related development earlier the UNDP Team Lead, Governance, Peace and Security, Mr Mathew Alao, said good leadership and national cohesion were critical for fostering stability, progress, and prosperity within our great nation.

Alao stated this at the graduation ceremony of the Leadership and National Cohesion Course 1 (LNC), at Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peace Keeping Centre (MLAILPKC) in Jaji.

Alao said the graduation was a significant step towards the advancement of peace, security, and unity within our beloved nation, Nigeria and ECOWAS sub-region.

‘Leadership starts with us as parents that bring little children to this world. Leadership starts from grassroots.

‘Unfortunately, we have lost it. Nigeria today is very individualistic. It’s all about I and my family. And this is leading us to nowhere. This is why this course is very critical at this moment.

‘If nothing is done to address the leadership de
ficit from the family unit, from the community unit and community level, we are not going anywhere. Money cannot save our society,’ he said.

He commended the participants of the training for dedication to the programme.

‘Over the past two weeks, you have dedicated yourselves to an intensive programme that not only on leadership skills but also fosters an understanding of the essential tenets of national cohesion.

‘Your presence here signifies a commitment to making Nigeria a better, more unified country, ‘he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Why coups persist in Africa- UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has identified lack of core value and over-ambition of young military officers who do not want to wait for their turn as the major causes of coups d’├ętat in Africa.

The UNDP Team Lead, Governance, Peace and Security, Matthew Alao, said this in an interview with newsmen after the graduation ceremony of the Leadership and National Cohesion Course at Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre, Jaji, Kaduna State.

Alao said that though the military cannot be divorced from the society where it situates, but over-ambition by young military officers, eroding core societal values, religious beliefs, and lack of education are the key reasons for more coups in West African countries and Africa at large.

Alao who noted that the fundamental problem the world is facing today is the lack of core values, said this resulted to persistent coups and counter-coups staged in Africa by military officers.

‘Our core values are fast breaking down. You will
see agitation and expectation on so many issues that may not be reality.

‘Most people don’t go to school. Some do go to school but do not have employable skills. This contributes to what is happening.

‘And, because the military cannot be divorced from the society where it situates, they also feel part of that agitation. When that cry is going on, it speculates and overshadows the event. I think that is one of the reasons for coups.

‘Then, may be over-ambition by the young officers, they don’t want to wait for their turn. The idea of young people wanting to be there is another cause of coups.

‘Young people need to learn, because if young people don’t learn, we will continue to somersault. After all, this country was ruled by 27-year-old officer at a time.

At a point they delivered, but they didn’t deliver well. If the military of those days had the necessary experience and requisite vision, when Nigeria was still in the morning, they would have planned our future and laid the foundation and we wouldn’t b
e where we are today.

‘We wouldn’t be clamoring for roads, infrastructure, and all that.

Suppose the people that found this country, like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, were able to do something up to the late 80s, Nigeria would have been better than this. The situation we are now is dangerous.

‘In those days, Ibadan was flourishing, Kaduna was a hub, Lagos was a factory ground, but within a blink of an eye under the Structural Adjustment Program, everything collapsed.’

The UNDP Team Lead, Governance, Peace and Security, Matthew Alao during an interview with newsmen in Jaji, Kaduna State on Friday

He expressed concern that this leadership deficit was taking a toll on the country and should be addressed right from the family unit to the community level.

Alao described Nigeria today as very individualistic, saying, ‘We have lost it. Now it’s all about I and my family. And this is leading us nowhere. This is why this course is very critical at this moment.’

‘Leadership starts with us as parent that brings little
children to this world. Leadership starts from grassroots.

‘Unfortunately, we have lost it. Nigeria today is very individualistic. It’s all about I and my family. And this is leading us to nowhere. This is why this course is very critical at this moment.

‘If nothing is done to address the leadership deficit from the family unit, from the community unit and community level, we are not going anywhere. Money cannot save our society.’

‘As an individual, how much do we need, how much can we use to take care of ourselves in a day? And how much are we earning?

‘And how much of resources committed to us are we diverting that is causing the crises today? That communal relationship

and values been thought to us while growing up has left us and that is why we are stuck today.

‘Everybody is looking for downfall of our leadership. We don’t build up by looking for downfall of our leaders,’ he said.

He said the leadership course, which happened to be the brainchild of the past Commandant of the Peacekeeping Centre, M
ajor General Obinna Onubogu was born due to the spate of coups happening in West Africa.

‘They felt that providing leadership training to the middle-level military and civilians is an antidote to it.

‘They felt that because that quality training, that orientation on subordination is weakening in the military and political space of West Africa.

‘They felt that UNDP, with the funding made available by the government of Japan, is sponsoring it,’ Alao added.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Blood donation noble act of giving-NNPC

Mrs Mirian Anabui, Manager Diagnostics Services NNPC Medical Services Limited (NMSL), has described blood donation as a noble act of giving that symbolises the essence of humanity.

Anabui expressed this view on Friday in Abuja at an event to commemorate the 2024 World Blood Donor Day.

The theme of the event was ’20 years of Celebrating Giving: Thank You Donors!’

‘We stand united in gratitude and admiration for the noble act of giving; the act that sustains lives, fuels hope, and embodies the essence of humanity.

‘Today, we come together to celebrate a remarkable milestone: 20 years of giving.

‘With each donation, you have provided hope to those in need, strength to the vulnerable, and reassurance to the weary,’ she said.

According to her, donors have represented the spirit of solidarity and compassion; demonstrating that a single act of kindness has the power to transform lives and shape the course of our shared humanity.

She urged them to reaffirm their commitment to supporting blood donation initiati
ves, raising awareness and advocating for equitable access to safe blood supplies for all.

‘Together, we can ensure that the legacy of giving continues to thrive and that future generations inherit a world where the gift of life knows no boundaries,” she said.

Delivering a lecture, Mr Oyetunde Akinloye, a educator, Blood Safety Consultant, said that the event was to create awareness for blood donations to ensure the quality, safety and availability of blood and blood products.

According to him, there is life in every drop; hence the need to give blood.

Akinloye said that blood services were vital part of the healthcare system, providing life-saving transfusion for a variety of medical conditions.

‘However, maintaining a sustainable blood supply can be challenging due to factors like short shelf life of blood products, fluctuations in donor availability and increase demand for blood transfusions.

‘Others are fund, high turnover of trained, skilled personnel and infrastructure/equipment,’ he said.

ding to him, blood transfusion situation in Nigeria lacks of reliable data.

Akinloye said that enhancing blood service sustainably should be a national blood policy.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that certificates was given to donors.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

EFCC, FBI strengthen partnership on fight against crimes

The Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ola Olukoyede and Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Christopher Wray, when he led a team of the Bureau’s top officials on a visit to the EFCC Chairman in Abuja

By Isaac Aregbesola

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have strengthened their partnership towards tackling the old and emerging crimes that are of mutual interests to Nigeria and the United States. .

FBI’s Director, Christopher Wray, said this on Friday when he led a team of the Bureau’s top officials on a visit to the EFCC’s Executive Chairman, Mr Ola Olukoyede in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two agencies have strengthened their partnership on a renewed strategic alliance against crimes.

Wray, in his remarks, expressed delight at the bond that had existed over the years between the EFCC and FBI and called for upscaling in the face of common crime threats that confront Nigeria
and the U.S.

‘Thank you for your hospitality and in particular, for the partnership that exists between the FBI and the EFCC across a wide range of threats that we face together.

‘We have had a relationship over the years and this is a reflection of how stronger than ever we are looking forward to taking our partnership to higher and higher levels in tackling threats that affect the people of Nigeria and the people of the United States.

‘We have had close partnerships in shared values and focus and I want to say thank you for the wonderful partnership,’ he said.

Responding, Olukoyede appreciated the FBI for being the EFCC’s personnel and institutional capacity building benefactor over the years and expressed optimism that the collaboration between the two agencies would be taken a notch higher.

‘We value the partnership between the EFCC and FBI. Over the years, this partnership has existed and it is for mutual benefits.

‘We have to acknowledge that we have benefitted from your manpower and capacity deve
lopment programmes, which have added value to the capacity of our operatives and our Academy.

‘We also want to thank you for the technical support that you have provided over the years for the EFCC and by extension, Nigeria,’ he said.

Olukoyede requested that the collaboration and strategic partnership between two agencies should be strengthened in mutual interest of Nigeria and the US, especially as criminality has become borderless.

‘Some of the crimes we fight are borderless crimes, so it is extremely important for law enforcement agencies across the world to come together to collaborate.

‘Law enforcement agencies must collaborate more. Our activities must be borderless so that we will be able to challenge the activities of the bad guys,’ he said.

He assured Wray and his team of the Commission’s commitment to collaboration with the American agency.

Olukoyede noted that achieving the shift in paradigm in the operations of the commission called for new dynamism and mechanisms in the tools of the anti-c
orruption fight.

‘The major thrust is to use the instrument of prevention to tackle corruption in the country.

‘The EFCC has done well over the years in the areas of investigation and prosecution, but upon my assumption of office, I decided to look at the sources and causes of these problems.

‘We will not just enforce but also look at prevention, since it is also within our mandate. So, we decided to set up a new department, called Fraud Risk Assessment and Control,’ he said.

He expressed optimism that contract and procurement fraud would soon be a thing of the past.

According to him, the commission is going to ensure e-procurement in the entire nation so that it would be easy to track the execution of projects.

‘That is one of the key innovations we have brought into our activities and we are really going to follow it through.’

Other officials on the FBI delegation include: Charles Smith Jnr, Sydney Schaur, Joshua James Moldt, William Michael Miller, Vanessa M. Tibbits, William B. Stevens, Leigha Rams
on, Sofie Admire Sosenzweig and Dr. Jim Oscar.(NAN) www

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Veritas Kapital workers donate blood to save lives

In commemoration of the World Blood Donor Day, staff of Veritas Kapital Assurance Plc, on Friday donated blood to the nation’s blood bank to save lives, and as service to humanity.

The blood donation drive was through a partnership with the Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service(LSBTS) and the National Blood Service Commission(NBSC) in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the World Blood Donor Day is held annually on June 14 to appreciate voluntary, unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and to raise awareness of the need.

The 2024 World Blood Donor Day, which marks the 20th year anniversary of celebrating blood donors, is with the theme: ’20 years of celebrating giving: Thank you, blood donors!’.

Commenting, Mr Sunkanmi Adekeye, Executive Director, Operations of Veritas Kapital Plc, said that the blood donation was done simultaneously in the insurance company’s Lagos and Abuja offices.

Adekeye said this was part of the insurance company’s Corporate Social Responsibility(C
SR) to the public and to also support the government’s campaign on voluntary donation into the country’s blood bank.

Adekeye explained that Veritas Kapital had keyed into the blood donation programmes since year 2022 when it partnered the NBSC in Abuja for its staff to donate blood.

The Executive Director noted that the insurance company extended the mandate to staff of its Lagos office through the LSBTS this year, as a commitment to reach more Nigerians who need blood.

‘As a corporate entity, we are committed to saving lives and giving more people opportunities to live; service to humanity is the best gift of life.

‘We are fully aware of the importance of blood for survival, and as a dutiful insurance firm, we are committed to support government’s campaign and effort to ensure sufficient blood supply in the nation’s blood bank.

‘We need all Nigerians to live in good health and sound mind, as it is a living being that can be insured; hence our effort to also contribute and champion the course of blood d

Reacting, Mrs Temitope Balogun, Lead Team, LSBTS Voluntary Blood Donation Drive at Veritas Kapital, lauded the underwriting firm for partnering with LSBTS and championing the mission for sufficient blood supply in the country.

Balogun said that Veritas Kapital through its partnership with the blood donating services has joined the league of companies with life saving culture in the country.

‘Veritas Kapital is now on the list of partnering companies with the LSBTS and saving lives of Nigerians,’she said.

According to Balogun,voluntary blood donation increases the availability of blood in blood bank for those who need blood urgently to survive.

She listed patients in need of blood to include: sickle cell and cancer patients, children that are anemic and need blood transfusion, accident victims, a woman who delivered of a baby with complications or bleeding, among others.

According to her, blood donation is beneficial to donors, as it helps them to shed excess iron in the heart, ascertain their b
lood pressure and hemoglobin level, as well as check their prostrates and weights.

Balogun advised male Nigerians to donate blood every three months and for women, every four months.

This, she said, would help in maintaining appropriate well-being as well as contribute to saving the life of others.

NAN also reports that Veritas Kapital Assurance Plc is a leading insurance company in Nigeria licensed to cover all classes of non-life insurance products and services.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Adewumi pledges support for golf development in Nigeria

Dr Rowland Adewumi, a golf enthusiast and promoter has pledged to invest more in the development of golf in Nigeria through his ‘Rowland Adewumi’ golf classic tournament.

Adewumi stated this on Saturday at the tee-off of the tournament at the prestigious IBB International Golf and Country Club, Abuja, where both professional and amateur golfers are slugging it out for honours.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the inaugural tournament is meant to serve as a veritable platform for the development of amateur and professional Nigerian golfers to international standards.

The philanthropist stressed the need to have sustainable tournaments for golf development across the country, in line with international best practices.

‘I think the game of golf has been lagging behind, so I just decided to make my own contribution to the develop the game better in Nigeria.

‘This is the inaugural tournament and I intend to make it a yearly affair in the spirit of developing the sport further.

‘So apart from the
game, we intend doing charity today, so we are supporting about four charity homes/orphanages and widows, so it’s not all about the game but at the same time supporting charity,’ he said.

Adewumi, who is a professional golfer Handicap 7 with the IBB Int golf and country club called on government and the private sector to show more commitment to the development of the sport in the country.

‘We need to support the pros in the country,, because if you look at the ranking in the world, Nigerian pros are not performing better.

‘So I think the private sector, the government and other stakeholders need to support the pros as well to lift up the game to a higher height,’ he added.

He said the tournament was put together to celebrate his 50th birthday, but promised to make it an annual event that will serve as platform for grooming professional and amateur golfers.

Earlier, Captain of the IBB International Golf and Country Club, Ibrahim Babayo extolled the support of Adewumi to the growth of the sport in the cou
ntry, while calling on others to emulator him.

‘We have got talents that are not opportuned to be exposed to this game and this philanthropist, Dr Adewumi has created a platform for these talents.

‘I can tell you what he has done for us in this club is unprecedented, so we wish him happy birthday.

‘We thank him for deepening the game of golf in Nigeria, we thank him for the sponsorship he’s been doing in IBB golf club, he’s one of our biggest donors and he’s been supportive of all our programmes,’ he said.

NAN reports that the three-day tournament featured more than 100 golfers competing in a stroke play format over the renowned 18-hole, lush green IBB golf course.

A total of N20 million prize money and other consolation prizes are up for grabs at the end of the classic.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

EU consultant says AI, art can play significant roles in food security

Patricia Carvalho, a Policy Support Consultant of the European Union (EU) said science, technology in the form of Artificial Intelligence (AI), arts, and culture have significant roles to play in ensuring food security in Africa.

Carvalho said this via webinar in the course of a media briefing organised to unveil the S-T-ARTS4AFRICA Programme, an art-driven initiative aimed at creating opportunities for African artists to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to proffer solutions.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the S-T-ARTS4AFRICA Programme is an initiative driven in Nigeria by the Gallery of Code, a research, development, and innovation company.

The EU consultant said it would be intriguing to get to the core of what artists could achieve in promoting food security and access to clean water using science and technology tools such as AI.

‘We believe that science, technology, arts, and culture can play a significant role in tackling socio-economic and ecological challenges that are science-relate

‘Through host institutions like the Gallery of Code, using an already existing approach from the European continent, we are connecting local and international artists with regional stakeholders to boost synergy among continents.

‘Currently, there are eight residencies going on in Africa under the S-T-ARTS4AFRICA programme.

‘One of the residencies is in Nigeria. The second one is in Tanzania. The third one is in Senegal, and there are two in Ghana, among others.

‘At the end of the projects, there will be a final event in Senegal to bring all the residency hosts together at a meeting point to connect.

‘It is a short project but not a one-off collaboration, and I believe that lessons will be taken away from it and will be applied across continents,’ she said.

She reaffirmed EU’s commitment to supporting the programme and praised the visual artist that the Gallery of Code is working with to develop an innovative modular storage system for roots and tubers like Yams.

Speaking at the briefing, Mr Oscar E
kponimo, the Managing Director of Gallery of Code, stated that the initiative is a dedicated version of STARTS for Africa, an EU-led intervention in Nigeria.

‘STARTS was initiated in 2016 but now there is a dedicated version for Africa.

‘This is the first phase and the first time this is coming up in Africa and a Nigerian has been selected from among 300 applicants.

‘Jibril Baba, a visual artist, has just been awarded a grant to support his project – a smart technology (model) that will address food storage challenges, boost food production, and curb rising food insecurity gaps in Nigeria,’ he said.

Ekponimo stated that the EU is pushing for innovations, with an artistic perspective because innovation is more practical and impactful when it is artistically driven.

‘Our visual artist that has been selected is to implement a model yam barn that will use artificial intelligence to monitor the change in climate conditions and also check the air quality around the yams, as well as monitor the possibility of s

‘This will automatically control food wastage and address food insecurity.

‘This will be the first of it’s kind and the project is still in its early stages,

‘We have just finished the reflection stage and going further to the actualisation stage.

‘I am happy to say that there will be a final exhibition in Nigeria and our artist has also been selected to exhibit at a festival that will be held in Austria early in September,’ he added.

Dr Femi Adeluyi, the National Co-ordinator, National Talent Export Programme (NATEP), a new initiative of the Federal Government, said the project ‘is in full alignment with what the President Bola Tinubu administration seeks to achieve by investing in the creative industry.

‘This is a good model that could be enhanced and made elaborate.

‘Today it’s yams we are focusing on. Tomorrow it could be another agricultural product, and we can leverage this one.

‘We want opportunities where our artists can showcase their skills and our products abroad and then benefit
from such investments.

‘This can enhance our socio-economic strength, and it shows we have a lot of value that we can bring to the table,’ he said.

Speaking on the initiative, Baba said the core of the project ‘is a prototype yam barn; a modular storage system where yams will be slotted into storage spaces and use sensors that can check the climate conditions, and air quality and equally shield the yams from too much sunlight.

‘During our preliminary research we visited different states in the Northeastern part of the country and discovered that out of 1,500 yam tubers harvested, 600 are lost due to lack of a good storage system.’

According to him, the production of the yam barn can help reduce wastage due to spoilage while increasing productivity and strengthening the chances of ensuring food security in Nigeria.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Expert backs commission’s move to sanitise digital lending space

Money Lenders Association, has commended the continuous actions by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) to sanitise the digital lending space in Nigeria, saying it is a welcome development.

Chairman of the Association, Mr Gbemi Adelekan, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday, said efforts of the FCCPC resulted in growth of online lending applications.

Adelekan, also the Managing Director of Trafalgar (Kwikpay Credit), said that the use of online lending applications, when compared to traditional financial institutions, had witnessed significant growth in the past few months.

He, however, noted that this growth also led to increase in default rate due to the economic situation and financial constraint for some customers.

He furthered stated that the growth in the industry had also attracted licensed players and some unregistered operators that were violating the consumer rights in the country.

Adelekan recalled that in August, 2022, the FCCPC issu
ed interim guidelines on the registration of digital lending platforms in the country.

These guidelines, he stated, were necessary to curb these unlawful practices in the eco system and help to sanitise the industry.

According to him, the FCCPC has made significant progress in monitoring this important sector as the commission continues to investigate and track most of these illegally operating DMLs.

‘While most licensed Digital Money Lenders (DML) are operating their loan app business ethically, in compliance with the prevailing laws of the land and lending principles, we also have a few bad eggs in the industry.

‘Most of these unscrupulous lenders are unregistered and without the required licenses, thereby contravening various regulations and guidelines introduced by FCCPC and the various regulatory bodies of the government.

‘These illegal operators use threatening and arm-twisting tactics as part of their collection strategy,’ he said.

Adelekan stated that the continuous investigation and surveillanc
e by the commission demonstrate its commitment to tackling these unwholesome practices head on.

He said that as of today, over 230 digital money lenders have been registered by FCCPC with 88 existing loan operators put on watch list.

He noted that the commission had also delisted 47 Loan apps from operating online on the google play store and also blocked the bank accounts of lenders violating the contraventions.

Adelekan charged the general public to desist from patronising illegal loan apps, saying any loan application that has approved and disbursed funds to you without the necessary verification was a red flag.

‘The association advises the general public to exercise caution when applying for loans online, to only select licensed and approved Digital Money Lenders (DML) on the FCCPC’s website.

‘This will help to reduce the rate at which these illegal loan apps name, shame and contravene the rights of consumers,’ he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria