In response to the spate of incessant killings, kidnappings, banditry and armed robbery in the country, the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN) yesterday flagged-off a nationwide peace campaign to help end the menace.
While performing the flag-off ceremony in Abuja, National Commandant of the corps, Ambassador Dickson Akoh, said peaceful Nigeria was achievable if Nigerians collectively made peace not just a passion, but our priority.
According to him, the proposed campaign was tagged; ‘Let’s give peace a chance.’
He also explained that the proposed campaign was in response to the 100 days countdown message to the 2019 International Day of Peace by the United Nations Secretary General.
He said: “As an affiliate of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and in line with its commitment to promoting national creativity, peace and youth development, the Peace Corps of Nigeria has celebrated the International Day of Peace annually since 2012.
“As the global community prepares to celebrate this year’s International Day of Peace with the theme; “Climate Action for Peace,” we must remind ourselves that peace cannot be attained in the midst of avoidable crisis, the kind that we are witnessing today in the country.
“It is a sad development that Nigeria is today in the vice grip of inexplicable violent killings of horrendous proportions, which should attract the concern of well-meaning individuals and the government.
The commandant further said that the corps was also concerned with what he described as the ‘gun culture,’ which he said was gradually taking dominant position in the daily lives of Nigerians and was threatening the foundation of peace and security of the country.
Akoh said the corps would mobilise the youth to play an active role in peace and conflict resolution by forming a new unit of peace missionaries and NGO networks in the grassroots, concentrating on building the culture of peace and a near-violent conflict free society.
He stressed the determination of Peace Corps of Nigeria to join hands with relevant government agencies and NGOs to end wanton and senseless killings through campaign, peace building and advocacy.
Firm denies loss of N1.01bn revenue in C’River
revenue consulting firm in Cross River State, Flourishing Vine Unique Services Limited, has denied allegations that the state government has lost over N1.01 billion as revenue due to its activities in Akamkpa.
Reacting to an open letter to the state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by some ‘Concerned Cross River Indigenes,’ the firm debunked the allegation that its activities had led to the loss of about N1.015 billion revenue loss to the state government.
It will be recalled that the Concerned Cross River State Indigenes had written an open letter in one of the national dailies (not New Telegraph), demanding that both the state governor and the commission probe the activities of the firm, especially the loss of revenue to the state.
But the company over the weekend dismissed the allegation, describing the petition as “frivolous and falsehood,” and blamed the petition on political interest ahead of the governorship race in 2023.
According to the Director of Administration, Flourishing Vine Unique Services Limited, Mr. Asuquo Akpan, who issued a release to newsmen on the development in Calabar at the weekend: “We are here, letting you know that the cause of these frivolous allegations and falsehood is the political interest and ambition of one man who has vowed to crush any person in his local government area of origin who refuses to come under his influence.”
FG, DisCos committed to tackling challenges of retail electricity – ANED
he Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) has restated the commitment of distribution companies (DisCos) and the Federal Government to tackling challenges affecting retail electricity distribution in the country.
Mr. Sunday Oduntan, the Executive Director, Research and Advocacy of ANED made this known in a statement in Abuja yesterday.
Oduntan said the Federal Government and the DisCos remained committed to working together in order to address current challenges of retail electricity distribution.
He said commitment by the DisCos and Federal Government was demonstrated by the recent Siemens initiative and recent regulatory activities.
According to him, the on-going Meter Asset Providers (MAP) programme is another collaborative effort of the Federal Government and the DisCos.
“The distribution franchise consultations, the present wrap-up of the minor electricity tariff reviews, among others to provide affordable and consistent power supply for electricity customers are such collaborative efforts.
“It is the hope and expectation of the DisCos that collectively, the aforementioned initiatives and activities in tandem with respect for sanctity of contracts, increased regulatory and policy certainty, will provide the enabling environment.
“That will result in a Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) that is commercially viable and sustainable, thereby, attracting the desperately needed investment that continues to be elusive in the sector,” he said.
Reacting to a recent report on government trying to pay N736 billion to investors to repossess the DisCos, Oduntan described it as sensational.
He said the report itself clarified that to do so within the provisions of the Share Sale Agreement would require a sum in the region of $2.4 billion (about N736 billion), some of which would be paid as compensation to the investors.
“This is not a desirable outcome. It is noteworthy that government is yet to pay the investor in Yola DisCo for its negotiated return to government,” he said.
36 foreign, local firms grab NNPC’s oil swap deals
hirty-six foreign and local oil trading firms have grabbed the contracts for the 2019/2020 Nigeria’s crude oil for product swap.
Nigeria swaps large volume of 445,000 oil barrels per day originally allocated for local refineries due to gross inefficiency of the installations.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday declared that 36 firms, including Total, Sahara, Oando and Vitol, among others, came up as 15 consortia/groups to secure the deals.
Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Mallam Mele Kyari, who announced the winners of 2019/2020 oil swap, otherwise known as Direct Sale of Crude Oil and Direct Purchase of Petroleum Products (DSDP) arrangement, maintained that this was done in line with NNPC’s avowed commitment to transparency and accountability in all its activities.
“Fifteen consortia/companies made up of reputable and experienced international companies and Nigerian downstream companies emerged successful to undertake the 2019/2020 DSDP arrangement.
Kyari, according to a statement by the Corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, maintained that the contract is for one year, effective 1st October, 2019 to 30th September, 2020.
He listed the successful companies to include BP Oil International Ltd./Aym Shafa Ltd; Vitol SA/Calson-Hyson; Totsa Total Oil Trading SA/Total Nig. Plc.; Gunvor International B.V./AY Maikifi Oil & Gas Co. Ltd.; Trafigura PTE Ltd./A. A. Rano Nig. Ltd and Cepsa S.A.U./Oando Plc.
The list also include Mocoh SA/Mocoh Nig. Ltd.; Litasco SA/Brittania-U Nig. Ltd./Freepoint Commodities; Mrs Oil & Gas Company Ltd; Sahara Energy Resource Ltd; and Bono Energy Ltd./Eterna Plc/Arkleen Oil & Gas Ltd./Amazon Energy.
Others are Matrix Energy Ltd./Petratlantic Energy Ltd./Utm Offshore Ltd./Levene Energy Development Ltd; Mercuria Energy Trading Sa/ Barbedos Oil & Gas Services Ltd./Rainoil Ltd./Petrogas Energy; Asian Oil & Gas Pte Ltd./ Eyrie Energy Ltd./ Masters Energy Oil & Gas Ltd/Casiva Ltd; and Duke Oil Company Incorporated.
NNPC stated that the tender process comprised technical and commercial bid submission respectively, evaluation and shortlisting, then commercial negotiations with prequalified companies and engagement of the successful consortia/companies by NNPC.
“Under the DSDP arrangement, the under 15 consortia/companies shall, over the contract period, off take crude oil and, in return, deliver corresponding petroleum products of equivalent value to NNPC, subject to the terms of the agreement,” the statement declared.
In his takeover note on 8th July, 2019, Kyari had promised to open NNPC books to public scrutiny, saying as a publicly-owned company, Nigerians deserve to know about the operations of the Corporation.
He reiterated his management team’s commitment to transparency and accountability, when he had a maiden town hall engagement with the staff of the Corporation where he launched the team’s policy direction tagged: Transparency, Accountability, Performance and Excellence (TAPE).
Powerful politicians behind Obono-Obla’s ordeal, says SPIP
he Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) yesterday said some powerful forces at the corridors of power were behind its suspended Chairman, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla’s ordeal.
The panel, however, faulted a claim that Obono-Obla had not only engaged but abuse of office and was reckless in his conduct.
The position was contained in a statement by the prosecutor with the SPIP, Oluwatosin Ojaomo.
According to him, Obono-Obla was persecuted for his doggedness in the anti-corruption fight by “some powerful forces at the corridors of power” who are uncomfortable with his high-profile individuals being investigated by the SPIP.
Ojaomo argued that the current move to edge out the panel’s Chairman was a reflection of how powerful the forces behind corruption have become in society.
The statement reads: “Chief Obla has continued to investigate corruption allegations brought before the panel without putting political colouration, he investigate a complaint of corruption and corrupt practices across party lines.
“At this point the only letter purportedly suspending Chief Obla is the one that emanated from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, there is no statement whatsoever from the official quarters most especially from the President spokespersons affirming the state of the event on this matter.
AU commends FG’s directive to ban forex for food importation
he African Union, Economics, social And Cultural Council (ECOSOC), Nigeria chapter, has commended the federal government’s decision to stop the provision of foreign exchange for importation of food into the country.
AU said the decision would enhance development in agriculture and enable producer in the sector harness the benefit of the African continental free trade agreement recently signed by the country.
The council in a statement signed by the Nigerian representative, Hon. Oba Olasunkanmi John in Abuja yesterday, however, urged the federal government to ensure adequate investment in the agricultural sector to enable the country to meet up with the food demand that had been one of the major reasons for food importation.
Study links silent strokes to cognitive decline
anadian researchers have discovered that covert or ‘silent’ strokes could double the risk of cognitive decline in seniors.
These are the results of the NeuroVISION study published in ‘The Lancet’.
While an overt stroke causes obvious symptoms, such as weakness in one arm or speech problems that last more than a day, a covert stroke is not obvious except on brain scans, such as mammogram resonance imaging (MRI).
A silent stroke is a stroke that does not have any outward symptoms associated with stroke, and the patient is typically unaware they have suffered a stroke. Despite not causing identifiable symptoms, a silent stroke still causes damage to the brain and places the patient at increased risk for both transient ischemic attack and major stroke in the future.
The risk of silent stroke increases with age but may also affect younger adults.
Each year, approximately 0.5 per cent of the 50 million people age 65 years or greater worldwide who have major, non-cardiac surgery will suffer an overt stroke, but until now little was known about the incidence of impacts of silent stroke after surgery.
Co-principal Investigator of the NeuroVISION study, Dr. PJ Devereaux, said, “We’ve found that ‘silent’ covert strokes are actually more common than overt strokes in people aged 65 or older who have surgery.
Dr. Devereaux is a cardiologist at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), professor in the Departments of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, and Medicine at McMaster University, and a senior scientist at the Population Health Research Institute of McMaster University and HHS.
Daily Trust invites nomination for African of the Year Award
aily Trust, an Abuja-based private media outfit, has called for nomination of exemplary personalities for its coveted African of the Year 2019 award.
The media outfit, in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, said that the nominations would begin on Monday, August 19, and close on October 18, 2019.
Mr. Mannir Dan-Ali, CEO/Editor-in-Chief of Media Trust Limited, publishers of Daily Trust, who signed the statement, said that ideal nominees should be “ordinary Africans, who have made extra-ordinary contributions to humanity in any field from any part of the continent.”
He said that the award consisted of three components – a permanent plaque, a certificate of merit and a cash reward in aid of the awardee or his/her chosen charity project.
Dan-Ali said that valid entries for the 2019 award would be for works, events or activities undertaken by the nominee between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019.
According to him, nominations are to be made online at award.dailytrust.com.
“The eventual winner will be selected by a seven-member prize committee chaired by Mr. Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana.
“Other members of the committee, who represent Africa’s regional blocs are Ambassador Mona Omar (North Africa), Mr. Amadou Mahtar Ba (West Africa), Ms. Gwen Lister (Southern Africa), and Mr. Pascal Kambale (Central Africa).
Also on the committee is Prof. Sylvia Tamale, representing East Africa, while Mr Kabir Yusuf, Chairman of the Board of Media Trust Limited, is to represent the award promoters.
Recalling that the award was in its 12th edition, Dan-Ali said that the African of the Year Award was inaugurated in 2008 by Daily Trust in fulfilment of the newspaper’s commitment to African unity and sustainable development across the continent.
PDP begins screening of aspirants for Bayelsa, Kogi polls today
he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will begin the screening of aspirants seeking to fly its flag in Kogi and Bayelsa States today.
Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde is Chairman of the screening committee.
About 22 aspirants had picked the party’s nomination form in Bayelsa State while 12 collected in Kogi State.
A source at the PDP National Secretariat disclosed that the screening would hold at the party’s presidential campaign office at Maitama district of Abuja.
The decision to hold the screening in Abuja might not be unconnected with the tension created at the state chapters of the party.
Briyia’s resignation confirms how INEC rigged 2019 election –PDP
he Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the action by the former Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Frankland Briyia had confirmed the rigging of the 2019 general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Briyia resigned as REC and joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a governorship aspirant in Bayelsa State.
PDP in a statement yesterday by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the REC’s resignation “within the confines of his office amply exposed INEC as a partisan electoral umpire under the watch of Professor Mahmood Yakubu.”
It noted that the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari did not sanction Mr. Briyia, even after he brazenly announced his ambition right in INEC facility “betrays APC’s embedded interests in the commission, which manifested in the manipulation of processes related to the Presidential elections.”
The party noted that INEC, in a statement, denied receiving any resignation letter from Mr. Briyia at the time he announced his governorship ambition.
“Our party, therefore, calls on President Buhari to come out clean on the real reason he failed to sanction the Cross River REC in line with the law,” the statement added.
It also urged Mr. President to speak out on allegations in the public space that his presidency failed to sanction Mr. Briyia because of the role he allegedly played in favour of the APC in the Presidential election.
The party, however, expressed confidence that justice would be served at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal where Nigerians reposed hope for the retrieval of the Presidential mandate stolen by the APC.
It further called on the National Assembly to open a public hearing on the issue as a well as effect amendments in the Electoral Act to check the appointment and retention of persons with political leanings as electoral officers as well as recommending stringent sanction for infringements in that direction.
Financial inclusion: Stakeholders meet on prospects, challenges
s Nigeria seeks to drive financial inclusion with the target of achieving 80 per cent penetration by 2020, stakeholders in the financial service sector will converge soon to discuss implementation framework through micro insurance and pensions.
The stakeholders, who will converge at the 4th edition of the National Association of Insurance and Pension Correspondents (NAIPCO) conference billed to hold on August 29, 2019 at the Four Points By Sheraton Hotel, VI, Lagos, will explore various ways the two sectors have been deepening financial inclusion through micro agenda.
The conference themed, “Financial Inclusion: The Micro Agenda For Insurance and Pension Sectors,” will provide room for the stakeholders to discuss the micro insurance guideline and micro pension plans and how it can be an effective tool to deepen financial inclusion in the country.
The micro insurance guideline is a concept launched by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), while micro pension plan was recently launched by National Pension Commission (PenCom). The two concepts are expected to deepen insurance and pension penetration, especially, in the informal sector of the economy where players were largely financially excluded.
The event, to be chaired by Mohammad Ahmad, a former director general of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), has, as special dignitaries, the Acting Director General , PenCom), Aisha Dahir-Umar, and the Commissioner for Insurance, while the Managing Director/CEO, Achor Actuarial Services Ltd, Dr. Pius Apere, is the Guest Speaker.
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