Jamaica mulls audio-visual exchange with Nigeria

The Jamaican government says it intends to pursue a robust collaboration with Nigeria in the film and animation industries. The Jamaican High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Lincoln Downer, disclosed this during a courtesy visit to the Minister of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, in Abuja. This is contained in a statement by the minister's media aide, Nneka Anibeze. Downer emphasised the strong relations between Jamaica and Nigeria, highlighting the existing creative industry exchanges and expressed enthusiasm for expanding these collaborations. He noted that Nigeria had supported Jamaica through the technical eco-programme, which had facilitated exchanges in areas like Batik and jewelry-making. 'There is a lot of scope for collaboration, particularly in the area of film and animation. 'Nigeria has supported Jamaica over many years in the creative industry through the technical eco-programme, where artisans have been dispatched to Jamaica for exchanges in areas of Batik and jewelry-ma king. 'We are hoping that sometime in the future, these collaborations can be expanded. We also note that Nigeria and Jamaica are in very close relations when it comes to entertainment. 'A lot of Nigerian entertainers like Burna Boy and WizKid, have come to Jamaica, and even Victor Thompson who was in Jamaica last month. We are looking forward to these sorts of exchanges between both countries and to see how we can establish a framework for deeper collaboration between the two countries. 'On Monday, we celebrated 54 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Jamaica. 'We are interested in future collaborations with Nigeria because we recognise Nigeria as not only the cultural hub of Africa but of the globe. We also have a rich culture so we are interested in forging a stronger alliance with Nigeria,' he said. Musawa welcomed the proposal, expressing interest in the audio-visual film production agreement and Jamaica's film development initiative. She also highlighted Nigeria's IDICE programme, which provides financial support to creatives. 'There is a natural partnership between Nigeria and Jamaica especially in arts and culture. 'I am happy about the cultural exchange being proposed by the Jamaican government and the positive values that can come out of that. 'We are interested in the audio-visual film production agreement proposed by Jamaica. I am excited about your film development initiative which is just like Nigeria's IDICE, which empowers creatives to flourish through financial support. 'We are looking forward to discussing other opportunities that can support creatives in the industry,' she said Also, the Director of International Cultural Relations, Mrs Zainab Ali-Biu, sought Jamaica's support for proposing an International Day for Afrobeat music to UNESCO. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NILDS to partner Abuja Varsity to expand its programmes

The National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) says it plans to partner with the University of Abuja to expand its academic programmes. Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, the Director-General, NILDS, said this at the orientation programme for the 2024 NILDS/University of Benin (UNIBEN) post graduate students in Abuja on Monday. 'This will showcase NILDS as indeed the citadel of learning, character moulding and intellectualism,' he said. Represented by a consultant of the institute, Dr Kabir Ahmed, Sulaiman said that the orientation was to acquaint the students with the rules and regulations guiding the operation of the institute. He said that the institute placed great premium on high moral and ethical standards saying that there was no short-cut to success and students must always play by the rules. Sulaiman said that the institute would soon commence a Masters Degree Programme in Governace in collaboration with some renowned educational institutions. 'I am pleased to inform you all that a s part of our efforts in ensuring that we strengthen our post graduate programmes, a master's degree programme in Governance will soon commence in the Institute. 'This is a collaborative tripartite agreement between the NILDS, University of Benin (UNIBEN) and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN). 'Also, the Open Distance Learning (ODL) Programme in professional certificate courses in diverse areas will soon commence. 'I am equally pleased to inform you all that there is also a collaboration between NILDS and the Federal University Lokoja for doctoral programmes in Election and Party Politics, Parliamentary Administration, Legislative Studies, Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, Leadership and Strategic Studies, and Social Works,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

ACCI tasks officials on prosperity of business community

The President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Emeka Obegolu, has charged its newly inaugurated Governing council members to ensure prosperity of Nigeria's business community. Obegolu, represented by his 1st Deputy President, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, said this while inaugurating the Governing Council of ACCI's Four Centres in Abuja. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the inaugurated officials would be responsible to drive affairs of the centres. The centres include: 'the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce Dispute Resolution Centre (NCC-DRC) to be chaired by Prince Adetokunbo Kayode and Mr Patrick Ikwueto, as vice-chairman. 'The BEST Centre, with Prof Adesoji Adesugba as Chairman and Mr Ezenwa Anumnu as his vice-chairman. 'The Abuja Trade Centre (ATC) is chaired by Dr Johnson Anene, and Mr Abiodun Odusanwo is his vice-chairman. 'The National Policy Advocacy Centre (NPAC) has Dr Aliyu Hong as chairman while Mr Dozie Mbanefo is serving as his vice-chairman.' Obegolu emphasised the trans formative potential of these centres in shaping the business landscape not only in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) but also across Nigeria. 'The Centres will play a major role in promoting international trade, resolving commercial disputes, fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, and advocating conducive business policies. 'I urge the newly inaugurated leaders to leverage their expertise and networks to drive the success of these Centres, thereby, contributing to the overall prosperity of the business community.' Responding on behalf of the officials, the chairman of Abuja Trade Centre expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve. Anene pledged the commitment of the officials to the development and success of the various centres. The inauguration of the Governing Councils marks a significant step in ACCI's mission to create a vibrant and resilient business environment, driving sustainable growth and prosperity for all stakeholders. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Shettima departs for 2024 US-Africa Business Summit in Dallas

Vice-President Kashim Shettima is expected to depart Abuja for Dallas, United States of America, to represent President Bola Tinubu at the 2024 US-Africa Business Summit. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit is organised by the Corporate Council on Africa. Mr Stanley Nkwocha, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Communications, Office of The Vice-President, said this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja. Nkwocha said Shettima would join other political and business leaders across Africa, the USA and beyond for the summit. According to him, the summit will feature high-level dialogues, networking business sessions and the plenary, all scheduled for the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. He said that the African leaders expected at the summit include, the President, Republic of Liberia; Joseph Boakai, President, Republic of Malawi; Lazarus Chakwera and the President, Republic of Angola, Joao Lourenço. Nkwocha said other African leaders that woul d grace the summit are the President, Republic of Botswana, Mokgweetsi E. K. Masisi, President, Republic of Cabo Verde, José Maria Neves, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Kingdom of Lesotho, Nthomeng Majara. He said besides the summit's plenary, Shettima would speak at the Roundtable on African Infrastructure Investment with a focus on impact and returns. 'He (Shettima) is also scheduled to speak on a high-level panel on agribusiness, focusing on transiting 'from food insecurity to thriving agribusinesses. 'Additionally, the Vice-President will speak at a plenary session on Navigating Africa's Energy Future as well as chair a session dedicated to promoting the 'invest in Nigeria' initiative. 'He is also expected to attend other meetings and engagements on the sideline of the summit.' Nkwocha said that Vice-President Shettima is expected back in the country at the end of his engagements in the US. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

A Network Of Traditional Leaders Is Helping Kaduna Communities Find Missing Children

Aisha Muhammed's daughter was missing. Three-year-old Talatu (not real name) was nowhere to be found. That cold realisation brought tears to Muhammed's eyes. 'At that time, I could not think straight, I was just crying and begging God to forgive me for my wrongs and bring back my only child,' she said. Muhammed was expecting her daughter's return on a Sunday morning. Talatu had slept over at her aunt's house, a stone throw away from her own home in Rigasa area of Igabi Local Government Area (LGA) of Kaduna state. When she inquired on the phone about her child, she got the shocking news that Talatu went missing 12 hours ago. Apparently, Talatu went outside to play with other children in the same compound but, unlike the others, did not return indoors after 6:00 pm. Five hours after a door-to-door search and she was still not found. Muhammed remembered a report she had heard on radio about children stolen from their community and taken to another state or region for sale. This put her into more despair. 'It was my mum that suggested we report the matter to the police station,' she narrated. 'So we all went to my aunt's place and together we left for the police station where I reported the matter describing my child's appearance and the time she was missing.' A frightening trend In recent times, there have been reports of missing children from the northern part of Nigeria on account of child trafficking. In some instances, they were located in southeastern Nigeria where they were renamed and sold. For instance, in 2019, the Kano State Police Command arrested eight suspects involved in the kidnapping and trafficking of nine children. The victims, who were reunited with their relatives, aged between two and 10, were kidnapped from various locations within the state capital and trafficked in Anambra State. What started as isolated cases of missing children in Kano State gradually grew to become a great source of concern as Kaduna State also recorded such cases with some suspected traffickers arrested. In Sept. 2023, the police in Kaduna State had arrested four suspected child traffickers, Rahila Gajere, a retired social worker; Ngozi Peter, a nurse; Maryam Afaka; and Blessing Eze, in Zaria LGA. During questioning at the police command, Afaka confessed to supplying Peter with stolen children and receiving payments ranging from N25,000 to N50,000 for each newborn from girls with unwanted pregnancies. Some children are allegedly picked or lured by child traffickers who travel far to either sell or enslave them. According to the latest figures shared by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), 64,000 cases of disappeared persons have been reported across Africa. In Nigeria alone, over 25,000 have been reported missing. Almost 14,000, more than half of the missing, are children. Collaborations The traditional institution comprising of a district head (Hakimi), village heads ( mai unguwa), area chiefs (sarkin unguwa) and other community leaders in Rigasa ward of Igabi LGA took it upon themselves to accom modate missing children found in the community pending when their caregivers come for them. One of these traditional leaders is Salisu Sani, popularly known as Baba Zango, who is the (sarkin samarin gunduman Rigasa) youth leader of Rigasa ward. He was assigned by the ward's district head, Muhammad Idris, to oversee the case of missing children and adults in the community through collaboration with the police, the area chiefs and village heads. 'Almost every day, when parents who are searching for their missing children search everywhere to no avail, the moment they come to us, I immediately place a call to all the various village chiefs and heads; and with the help of God, the missing children are found and reunited with their parents. 'We have a very good relationship with the police and other security operatives; that is why they refer people who report cases of missing children or persons to us at the district head's office,' Zango said. When Muhammed reported that her daughter was missing to the polic e, the officer taking the report told her to meet Baba Zango at the district head's office in Rigasa, saying he had the contact of all the village heads in the ward. When they did, Zango placed a call to the village heads in proximity to where her daughter went missing. Unfortunately, most of them said they had no one with Talatu's description. After several more calls and a request for one of the heads to check their Whatsapp platform on Talatu's issue, Baba Zango later called a village head from another chiefdom. It was reported that two girls of the same age as Talatu were found in the evening and had spent the night in that village head's home. 'We immediately went to the traditional head's house to check if Talatu was one of the found children,' Muhammed continued. Fear, however, made her lag behind. She could not bare hearing a negative outcome. But then, there was Talatu playing with the other girl in her company, unconcerned and unaware of her predicament. When she saw her family, she ran and embra ced them. That was not the end of the matter. The process did not work that quickly without some checks. Muhammed was not allowed to take her child home because of a policy in the palace which stated that she would have to come with the father of the child or any respected man known by the palace. Muhammed's husband was out of town and she had not informed him about the situation because she feared he would blame her for being careless. So she called Baba Zango who came and stood for her before the child was released. The Whatsapp group 'In the past, when a missing child was found in our community, we searched house to house looking for the parents. Sometimes we use the town crier to announce that a child is missing or found. 'Nowadays things have changed with the help of technology. We place calls to our colleagues to enquire about a missing child,' Mai Unguwa Yusuf Abisai said. Abisai, who is the village head of Kutungare, Mashi Gwari village in Rigasa explained that they now have a Whatsapp group wh ere issues related to missing children are treated with their pictures and names posted on the platform for easy identification. This WhatsApp group has all the village heads of a particular chiefdom in the ward, alongside members of the palace. Other important information related to these villages were also passed in the online platform. Abisai added that the Whatsapp group was created six years ago with each chiefdom in Rigasa ward having their own unique group. 'From January to date, we have found over 20 missing children who have been reunited with their families. Some spend some hours with us while others spend days. 'Right now I have two children under my care which I posted on the group; it turns out that one of the children's parents had visited a colleague of mine searching for the child and she was referred to my house.' Who takes care of the children? The Children are taken care of by the village heads' wives. They stay with the children before their parents or relatives come for them. 'We p rovide their feeding and our wives bath and cloth them for the number of days they are with us,' Shittu Abubakar who is the village head of Lokoja road, said. 'We don't charge any fee from their parents for taking care of the children. But some parents usually give our wives gifts or money when they come to pick their children.' Abubakar, however, lamented that some parents do not appreciate their effort and claim their children were playing outdoors and not missing. Due process before release When parents or caregivers find their child in a village head's custody, they are required to follow some procedures before the child is released. Abubakar explained that a form has to be filled by parents who come to pick their children in which they are required to write their name, address, phone number and other important details. He added that the father of the child has to be present or someone known in the community, before a child is released. 'We don't just give out children to anyone like that because o ne may claim someone else's child. That is why we document information regarding the child and the parent. 'We also advise parents to be more careful while taking care of their children by cautioning them about leaving a small child outside alone with the excuse of playing,' he said. According to the village head, some parents refuse to fill the forms and sign. They ask 'don't you trust me?' But after an explanation is given to them on the importance of keeping records, they oblige. Due to the high population of the Rigasa community, certain persons opt to keep a missing child in their homes rather than take them to their village head. This causes delays in child-parents re-union, Abubakar revealed. There is also the lack of financial support from the government or non-governmental organisations for proper upkeep of such children. 'We feed and take care of these children from our personal purse, accommodating them in our homes because children are for everyone,' Abubakar said.(NAN) ***This is supported b y the Solution Journalism Africa Initiative (Phase II) with collaboration of the Nigeria Health Watch. ***If used, credit the writer and the News Agency of Nigeria Source: News Agency of Nigeria

We’re prepared against floods in FCT – FEMD

The Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Department (FEMD) says it is well prepared to prevent residents from dying to flooding in the territory. The Director of the department, Mr Mohammed Sabo, gave the assurance in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday. Sabo explained that the department had all the data required to put prevention and mitigation measures against flooding in the FCT. 'Sometimes in February, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), released the 2024 Seasonal Climate Prediction report. 'The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) has equally released the 2024 Annual Flood Outlook. 'These are the documents we used in preparing for the rainy season. 'As such, we have all the critical data needed to adequately prepare our prevention and mitigation measures against flooding,' Sabo said. He said that based on the reports, FCT might not be in danger, but all the surrounding states of the territory were susceptible to flooding. He said that i n response to the prediction, FEMD had adequately put measures in place to ensure effective response to the likelihood of flash floods in the territory. 'I assure you that we are well prepared to respond to any flood that may occur in the FCT,' he insisted. The director added that the department would equally mount signposts to enlighten and caution residents on the dangers of flood and install additional barricades in flash flood areas. 'We are ready to collaborate with our stakeholders to ensure that all the roads that experience flash floods during the rainy season are barricaded to prevent vehicles from plying them. 'This is to prevent loss of lives to flooding during rainy seasons,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

ATIKU ABUBAKAR’S PENCHANT FOR DISTORTING FACTS

Former Vice President and Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Candidate in the 2023 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is fast developing a reputation for distorting and manipulating facts for his self-serving objective of discrediting the current administration. In his latest press statement, the defeated PDP presidential candidate made wild claims on a number of issues that need to be corrected so that the public will not be misled into accepting fallacies as the truth. The President Bola Tinubu-led administration believes that every true and patriotic Nigerian, regardless of political differences, should work to promote the unity and economic well-being of the country and not delegitimise genuine efforts of the Federal Government to encourage local and foreign investments into the economy. Contrary to Atiku's claim, the Tinubu administration, within its first year, has attracted over $20 billion into the economy. While President Tinubu was in New Delhi, India for G20 Summit last year August, Indian busi ness leaders committed over $14 billion in new investments. A substantial part of this sum is already in the country. In an unmistakable vote of confidence in the economic reforms being executed by the Tinubu administration, foreign investment in Nigeria's stock market has ballooned, from N18.12 billion in Q1 2023 to N93.37 billion in Q1 2024, an increase of 415%. The last time Nigeria saw such level of investment was in the first quarter of 2019, when N97.6 billion was invested. The market, since Tinubu came to power, has broken records and created more wealth for the investors. During President Tinubu's recent trip to The Netherlands, the Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, announced a fresh $ 250 million investment by Dutch businesses in Nigeria. Different sectors of the economy, especially telecoms, manufacturing, solid minerals, oil and gas, e-commerce, and fintech, are attracting new Foreign Direct Investments from discerning investors who know Nigeria is a good market for bountiful returns. We found it str ange that Alhaji Atiku could accuse President Tinubu of conflict of interest in the award of Lagos-Calabar Coastal highway to Hitech Construction Company which he claimed is owned by Chagoury family because the President's son, Seyi Tinubu, sits on the board of CDK, a tiles manufacturing company, based in Sagamu, Ogun State. Nigerians should, by now, be well accustomed to Atiku's hypocrisy on many national issues. Is it not amusing that the former Vice President, a man who openly said he formed Intels Nigeria with an Italian businessman when he was serving in the Nigeria Customs Service, a clear breach of extant public service regulations, is now the one accusing someone else of conflict of interest? When he was Vice President of Nigeria between 1999-2007, he maintained his business links with Intels that won major port concession deals. Was this not an abuse of office, a flagrant violation of his oath, that a company where he was a co-owner won major government contracts and concessions when he was vice p resident? As Chairman of the National Council on Privatisation, he approved sales of over 145 State-owned enterprises to his known friends and associates and openly said during his failed campaign for the presidency last year that he would do the same, if elected. It is important to state clearly that Seyi Tinubu is a 38 year-old adult who has a right to do business and pursue his business interests in Nigeria and anywhere in the world within the limits of the law. The fact that his father is now the President of Nigeria does not disqualify Seyi from pursuing legitimate business interests. For the records, Seyi joined the Board of Directors of CDK in 2018, more than six years ago. He is representing the interest of an investor company, in which he has interest. He is not a board member because his father is a friend of the Chagourys. Information about owners and shareholders of CDK is a matter of public record that can be openly accessed from the website of the Corporate Affairs Commission and CDK's. Atiku and his proxy did not need a little-known journal to recycle open-source information to make a fallacious argument. The Chairman of CDK and the highest shareholder of the company is respected General TY Danjuma (rtd). The Chagourys are minority shareholders in the company, and only one member of the clan is on its five-man board. We wonder how Seyi's membership of the board of CDK conflicts with Hitech Construction Company's work on Lagos-Calabar Coastal superhighway. Alhaji Atiku has been waging an unrelenting war against this all-important and transformative project for no justifiable reasons other than bad politics. Atiku knows that its grand success and other projects to be unfurled, such as the Badagry-Sokoto superhighway, will be a major boost for President Tinubu and finally upend his perennial presidential ambition. If not blinded by political ill-will, Alhaji Atiku knows that the right thing for him to do is to applaud President Tinubu for the ambitious and audacious Lagos-Calabar Highway, which w as authorised by the Federal Executive Council. It is important to remind Alhaji Atiku that infrastructural projects such as the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway are used to galvanise the economy. In the US, President Joe Biden has used his $2 trillion bi-partisan infrastructure deal to revamp decaying American infrastructure and inject life into the US economy. How can an elder-statesman be waging a campaign of calumny against the economic fortunes and prosperity of a country he wishes to govern or trying to scuttle a project that will bring prosperity to nine coastal states and the nation in general? That Nigeria's economy is being reclassified by the IMF as the fourth largest in Africa is stale news. This happened because of the devaluation of the Naira and President Tinubu's determined effort to set the economy on the path of sustainable growth. Under the progressive, bold, inventive, and innovative leadership of President Tinubu, Nigeria will bounce back to where it rightfully belongs as Africa's largest market and biggest economy. The Tinubu administration targets a $1 trillion economy in the next few years, with audacious economic programmes and critical infrastructure projects in key sectors . With revenue rising in trillions and the creation of the Renewed Hope Infrastructure Fund, which is poised to raise over N20 trillion this year alone, we have no doubt that the $ 1 trillion economy is realisable. Bayo Onanuga Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Army tasks commanders on effective operational analysis, adaptability

The Nigerian Army has charged its operational commanders, and those of other security agencies, to ensure effective operational analysis and adaptability in tackling the nation's security challenges. The Director Consult, Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC), Maj.-Gen. Abubakar Ndalolo, made the call at the opening of a week-long Army Headquarters (AHQ) Garrison Operations Planning Cadre 2024, on Monday in Abuja. The event has the theme, 'Sustaining Capacity Building and Mult-Agency Cooperation: An Approach to Defeating Insurgency and Terrorism in Nigeria.' He said the security threats facing the country were complex and multifaceted in nature, hence, the need for predictive effort to overcome them. Ndalolo said the complexities of the security of Nigeria's environment had affected modern warfighting, which demanded meticulous operational planning to achieve the desired result. According to him, since contemporary threats transcend the domain of any particular security agency, it is advised that operatio ns planning is best done in a multi agency setting. He commended the Nigerian Army for recalibrating its cooperation with sister security agencies and paramilitary organisations to ensure the safety and defence of the country. 'Training together, working together, sharing knowledge, and deploying diverse expertise by all the security agencies will help to achieve better outcomes than an individual agency's effort. 'Let the security agencies refresh themselves with the basics of operational planning and mix implementation. 'Remember, your dedication, professionalism and commitment to keeping our nation secure and safe is a sworn duty we all owe Nigerians,' he said. Ndalolo said the essence of the cadre was to sharpen the skills of the participants in operational arts and campaign planning, and in a multi-agency setting. He added that the event would help them to be able to plan and execute operations in a robust manner that would ensure that the mission's success would be accomplished easily. 'This is p ossible because the essentials that are required - to analyse, strategise, adapt and react - will be at their fingertips,' he said. Earlier, the Commander, AHQ Garrison, Maj.-Gen. Koko Isoni, said operations planning played a crucial role in ensuring the success of any military operation. Isoni said the cadre had brought together tactical and operational level officers from various Nigerian Army formations, sister services, security agencies and paramilitary organisations within AHQ Garrison area of responsibility. He said the cadre was tailored towards refreshing participants on the various aspects of operations planning process so as to enhance their skills in operational arts and campaign planning. According to him, the planning cadre is designed to improve participants' ability to think critically, anticipate potential obstacles, and develop innovative and achievable courses of action to accomplish the operational end state within a joint environment. 'It is crucial to recognise the ever evolving nat ure of warfare and the challenges we have struggled with where our adversaries are becoming increasingly evasive, innovative and sophisticated. 'But we must adapt accordingly and neutralise them completely in light of their formation. 'Armies world over are continually engaged in training and capacity building to enable them triumph over contemporary security challenges. 'To this end, the Nigerian Army equally recognises these challenges and therefore seeks to develop capacity through realistic training aimed at enhancing its operations. 'Additionally, army headquarters' garrison experience in various engagements have helped us draw lessons and identify gaps in the conduct of operations. 'To this end, this year's operations planning cadre is expected to amplify existing efforts by the garrison in collaboration with other sister agencies and paramilitary organisations to meet its operational end state,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria