AFROSAI Environmental Auditors Demand Implementation of Laws

Environmental Auditors, AFROSAI, ImplementationThe African Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions – (AFROSAI) has called for the implementation of laws, regulations and mapped out programmes on environmental protection on the African continent.

AFROSAI believes such action would bring down the economic hardships on African citizens and its resultant increase in societal ills.

This is following the successful completion of cooperative environment audit on the drying up of Lake Chad by the AFROSAI working group on environmental auditing meeting in Abuja.

Representatives of about 54 supreme audit institutions attended the meeting.

They looked at the possibilities for a proper environmental impact re-assessment that will ensure strict monitoring and control of activities in the basin and beyond.

They also focused on the role of both the citizens and government, especially towards ensuring implementation of multilateral agreements on environment arising from environmental audits.

The Acting Auditor-General of the Federation, Ms Florence Anyanwu, said that terrorism, poverty, unemployment and increasing economic discomfort are direct effects of the failure of governments so far to implement recommendations and environmental plans of action in the continent.

She maintained that the only way to progress is to ensure implementation of the recommendations.

Talks are already ongoing for the cooperative environmental audit project on Niger by the Niger Basin Authority and the supreme audit institutions of the nine member countries.

An environmental roadmap for service delivery, sustainability needs, performance requirements and legislation are expected to follow.

Solving Africa’s Challenges With Technology Tops Talks At Digital Summit

Experts in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Africa are in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, for the Innovation Africa Digital Summit, which opened on Tuesday, with talks centred on the transformation of the continent with digital technology.

The experts at the Summit gathered to fashion out ways of exploiting the numerous and untapped opportunities in the technology sector in the continent to ensure transformation, development and growth.

At the Summit, the experts expressed optimism that Africa’s underdevelopment and the numerous challenges such as insecurity, poverty and unemployment could be eliminated through digital technology.

They stressed that increased efforts must be made by governments and the private sector to develop the sector, as ICT innovations had become the major determinants of how citizens live and work as well as grow economically.

It is the 14th edition of the Innovation Africa Digital Summit and it is holding in Nigeria for the first time, with one major focus – how to induce organic growth in Africa by finding effective ways to harness the continent’s digital growth potentials.

Key players in the ICT sector from over 30 countries on the African continent are attending the summit and they are convinced that the dwindling oil prices should not affect Africa especially with the many opportunities that digital transformation presents.

The Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone, Yusuf Kazaure, was one of those that gave a speech at the Summit tagged the ‘Live Changing and Development Foundation for Africa’.

An integrated technology expert and the Managing Director of EMC, Nicholas Travers, told the Summit that the present innovations in the communication technology sector could set unprecedented paces in the continent.

But, according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Extensia, Tariq Malik, for Africa to take full advantage of the available opportunities, government and indeed the private sector must commit appropriate investment in the digital and communication sector.

More than oil and gas or any other sector, the Information and Communication Technology sector, when appropriately channelled and nurtured, could employ millions of Africans, at least 40 million in Nigeria, according to key players.

The experts on digital technology said it was high time Africa took charge of its technological advancement and channel it to the development of the continent and a better life for its people.

Nigeria To Host Sierra Leone Vs Cote d’Ivoire Game

sierra-leoneSierra Leone will host their Group I of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Cote d’Ivoire in Nigeria on September 6.

The match will be played in Lagos as Sierra Leone are banned from hosting international matches, owing to the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus.

Leone Stars had to play their home tie against Ivory Coast in the 2015 Nations Cup qualifiers in Abidjan after failing to secure a neutral venue.

The Lagos State Football Association (LSFA) will provide use of the stadium and medical facilities for the game, while the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) will cater for all other logistics.

The Teslim Balogun Stadium, which was used during the 2009 Under-17 World Cup, will host the game.

The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, said that on receiving the request from the Sierra Leone Football Association, the NFF approached the Federal Ministry of Health for an approval.

“We are delighted to announce that we have received the go-ahead from the Federal Ministry of Health to host the match. The Sierra Leoneans will come with a delegation of 32, made up of mostly overseas-based professionals, technical crew and officials of the SLFA, to be led by its president, Isha Johansen.

“We are happy about the go-ahead because, once more, our country has an opportunity to underscore its leadership role on the African continent, nay global sphere.

“The NFF has initiated discussions with the Lagos State Government and the Rivers State Government on preventive measures, such as keeping Sierra Leone’s small delegation in a special hotel where they can be monitored at all times,” Mr Pinnick explained.

Jidenna Apologises To Nigerians For ‘Kidnap’ Comments

jidennaNigerian-American sensational singer, Jidenna has penned an open letter to Nigerians after coming under fire for kidnap comments he made in a recent interview.

The ‘classic man’ crooner through his official website calls Nigerians his brothers and sisters and says he will always be proud of his Nigerian heritage.

Read the full letter below:

To all my Nigerian brothers and sisters…

I am, always have been, and always will be proud of my Nigerian heritage. I understand the pain and anger caused by some of the comments I made in a recent interview, and I wanted to address you directly. Contrary to popular belief, this interview was not the first in which I mentioned Nigeria. In fact, I’m frequently bragging about how Nigerians attend the world’s most prestigious institutions, and how we are known to produce world class doctors, entrepreneurs, innovators, lawyers, engineers, professors, athletes and artists. Unfortunately, people tend to leave these moments out, and, in this case, highlight stereotypes. I would never do or say anything to intentionally disgrace the legacy of my father nor my fatherland. But to not relay my own story, both the good times and the bad, would be a disservice.

My name is Jidenna, which means “to hold or embrace the father” in Igbo. It was my father who gave me this name and who taught me countless parables, proverbs, and principles that made me the man I am today. These same principles helped me to write the record “Classic Man.” When I brought home a 98 percent on a test, my father would say, “ah ah, where are the other two points? Go and get them, then bring them back.” My father and Nigerian culture has always stood for excellence. While the majority of my childhood memories are beautiful, I also have experienced the challenges that Nigeria has faced since Independence.

When I was 5 years old, my family was robbed at gunpoint, my mother was beaten, family members were kidnapped, and I was shot in my foot. As is the case with all kidnapping, targeting those who are perceived to be wealthy is the objective. In this instance, my father was the target because of his prominence in the community. This was a traumatic experience for my family that would shape our entire lives and our experiences in both Nigeria and America. As a little boy, I swore that I would never let that happen to my family again. As my father often said, “Once you’re bitten by a snake, you‘ll be ready to shoot a lizard!” At the time of my father’s burial 5 years ago, my family in the village was concerned about increased targeting for kidnapping since the rate of abductions had increased dramatically in the area we are from. We were traveling from America, which along with our biracial appearance, had the potential to attract attention and pose a threat to our security. In light of what happened in the past and the tense climate at the time, my family took precautions to ensure our safety. This was not an uncommon protocol at the time. I recognize incidents such as these are not unique to Nigeria or the African continent, and there have been significant improvements in the region since this period.

In the recent interview to which I’ve been referring, I shared my family’s experience traveling from the States back home for the burial. In this interview, I used the term “light-skinned.” When using this term, I was actually referring to my immediate family’s mixed or biracial appearance. See, no matter what language I use to describe my heritage, I’m certain that someone will feel some kind of way. This is a larger discussion not meant for this statement, but certainly derives from our colonial past and postcolonial present, and in the States, from the days of slavery to the present times. My comments about skin tone were related to the notion of perceived wealth and value, not my personal beliefs. My point was never to imply that biracial or “light-skinned” people are the only ones or the most targeted group of people kidnapped, or that I myself was wealthy at the time. Rather than focus on my perceived value, let us continue to focus on the value of Nigeria.

There is no question that Africa is playing a pivotal role in the future of our planet and that Nigeria, with it’s booming economy and burgeoning middle class, is a driving force. I will continue to play my role in the Renaissance taking place in Nigeria and Africa at large. We may not agree on everything, but know my heart is your heart, and my experience is part of our collective experience.

Jonathan, Zuma In Phone Conversation Over Xenophobic Attacks

President Zuma calls President Jonathan concerning recent xenophobic attacksSouth African President, Jacob Zuma, has had a telephone discussion with Nigeria’s President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan over the recent xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreign nationals in South Africa.

The two Presidents reaffirmed the warm and cordial relationship between South Africa and Nigeria and pledged that the two countries will continue to work together for the good of their citizens, and Africa as a whole.

President Jonathan expressed his support for the efforts of South Africa to arrest the attacks on foreign nationals and to ensure the safety and security of all citizens.

President Zuma will attend the inauguration of the President-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, General Muhammadu Buhari, which is to hold on May 29.

Last week,  President Zuma held a closed door meeting with various foreign national groups and African civil society groups to seek an end to Xenophobic Attacks.

Kofi Annan Urges Nigerian Politicians To Shun Selfish Political Interests

AnnanA former Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Kofi Annan, has urged Nigerian politicians not to jeopardise the future of Africa because of selfish political interests.

According to him, the future of the African continent is in the hands of Nigeria and the success or failure of the February elections will mean same for the African continent.

Mr Annan spoke at a forum held  in Abuja organised by civil society groups on peaceful conduct of the February general elections.

Having expressed dissatisfaction over the way democracy is run in most African countries, Mr Annan, who was the guest speaker at occasion, urged Nigerian politicians to do their best to ensure that the elections were free, fair and credible.

According to him, the elections provides an opportunity to confirm Nigeria’s progress in the eyes of the international communities.

Other guest at the forum identified corruption and conducts of politicians as responsible for past elections violence.

The group called on the international communities to sanctions anyone who compromises the peace of the country during and after the polls for selfish political interests.

This is the first time, since 1998 that the former UN Secretary General is meeting with Civil society groups to amplify the voices on the need for politicians to ensure that elections are peacefully conducted in February.

There have been several calls on Nigerian politicians to focus their campaigns on issues needing solutions and avoid statements that could trigger violence, the kind experience after the 2011 elections that led to the loss of lives and destruction of property in the northern part of the nation.

NNS Thunder Heads To Australia For Int’l Fleet review

Nigeria’s NNS Thunder has left the city of Calabar to represent Africa for the Royal Australian Navy’s International Fleet Review (IFR) slated for 3rd to the 11th of October this year in Sydney, Australia.

Joining about  Fifty other countries of the world including Russia and America and South Africa being the second African country to represent the continent, the international event is to be reviewed by the queen of England to mark the 200 years battle of Trafalgar.

The Flag officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command Rear Admiral Joe Aikhomu disclosed this at the Nigerian Port Authority NPA jetty in Calabar, Cross River State Capital been venue for the take-off point of the NNS thunder ship conveying forty officers and 140 ratings of Nigerian Navy participating.

According to the Rear Admiral the voyage to Sidney is a friendly and diplomatic expedition urging the crew to see the mission as a training program meant to enhance the Navy’s proficiency.

NNS THUNDER will be making outbound port calls at Luanda, Cape Town, Port Louis, Freemantle and Sydney and on the in-bound leg visit Melbourne, Albany, Port Des Galet, Durban, Walvis Bay and Pointe Noire.

The officers on board are expected to be back to the country within the next four to five months.

Labour Minister Says Millions of Jobs Have Been Created

Minister of Labour and Productivity; Emeka Wogu says the unemployment situation is global and not just in Nigeria and to address the issue the administration has so far created millions of jobs.

While speaking as a guest on ‘View From the Top’ the honourable minister acknowledged that unemployment is a global problem but also stated that the Jonathan administration in collaboration with his ministry has found solutions for unemployment in the pipeline.

“When people talk about unemployment, they try to situate it only within the African continent and particularly Nigeria, but the unemployment problem is global

But I want to tell you that the current administration under President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has taken various initiative aimed at forcing the unemployment situation down”

The minister stated further that some innovative initiatives, compared to other countries, had been put in place by the administration in a bid to tackle the unemployment issue in the country .

He however claimed that the Jonathan administration has created millions of jobs for Nigerians directly and indirectly, thanks to research work done by his ministry on 15 sectors like Agriculture where the minister said more than a million jobs have created in the sector alone.

He also stated that a scheme being run by his ministry has under its umbrella 3,000 individuals billed for empowerment.

 

Islamists Kill French Soldier In Northern Mali

France said on Sunday a third French soldier had been killed in fierce fighting with Islamist rebels in northern Mali but could not confirm Chad’s report that its troops had killed the al Qaeda commander behind January’s mass hostage-taking in Algeria.

A whirlwind seven-week campaign has driven al Qaeda-linked fighters who took over northern Mali last April into mountain and desert redoubts, where they are being hunted by hundreds of French, Chadian and Malian troops.

France’s defense ministry said 26-year-old Corporal Cedric Charenton was shot dead on Saturday during an assault on an Islamist hideout in the desolate Adrar des Ifoghas mountains near Algeria, the third French soldier killed in the campaign.

French army spokesman Colonel Thierry Burkhard said some 15 Islamists were killed in some of the fiercest fighting during the campaign so far but that he could not confirm Chad’s claim that its troops had killed al Qaeda commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar at a nearby camp in the remote Ametetai valley.

“We are facing a very fanatical adversary,” Burkhard said, noting the Islamists were armed with rocket and grenade-launchers as well as machine guns, AK47 assault rifles and heavy weapons. “They are fighting without giving ground.”

The death of Belmokhtar, nicknamed ‘the uncatchable’, has been reported several times in the past and analysts share caution shown by Paris in confirming his demise.

However, the latest report came a day after Chadian President Idriss Deby said Chadian forces had also killed Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, al Qaeda’s other senior field commander in the Sahara.

The killing of Belmokhtar and Abou Zeid, if confirmed, would eliminate al Qaeda’s leadership in Mali and raise questions over the fate of seven French hostages thought to be held by the group in northern Mali, an area the size of Texas.

Rudy Attalah, a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official focused on Africa and now head of risk analysis firm White Mountain research, was skeptical about Chad’s claim.

He said Belmokhtar had in the past carefully avoided operating in the same area as Abou Zeid and was known as an elusive operator who shifted through the desert in small, mobile groups of fighters.

“I don’t think they killed him at all,” Atallah said, adding Chad might be seeking to divert domestic attention from its 26 soldiers killed in the operation. “Deby is under a lot of pressure. Announcing these killings redeems his troops.”

An unidentified participant in militant website discussions said in a message posted on several jihadi forums that Belmoktar was “alive and well and leading the battles himself”, the U.S.-based SITE monitoring service reported on Sunday.

Belmokhtar would soon issue a statement himself, SITE reported the participant saying.

‘MR MARLBORO’

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has pledged to avenge the French assault on its fighters in Mali, which Paris said it launched due to fears its former colony could become a launch pad for wider al Qaeda attacks.

Belmokhtar, whose smuggling activities the Sahara earned him the nickname “Mr Marlboro”, became one of the world’s most wanted jihadis after masterminding the raid on the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria in which more than 60 people were killed, including dozens of foreign hostages.

Abou Zeid is regarded as one of AQIM’s most ruthless operators, responsible for the kidnapping of more than 20 Western hostages since 2008. He is believed to have killed British hostage Edwin Dyer in 2009 and 78-year-old Frenchman Michel Germaneau in 2010.

France and Mali have said they could not confirm his death.

French radio RFI and Algerian daily El Khabar have reported that DNA tests were being conducted on members of Abou Zeid’s family to confirm whether a body recovered after fighting in Adrar des Ifoghas was indeed the Islamist leader.

Mali’s army, meanwhile, said it had killed 52 Islamist rebels in desert fighting some 70 km (45 miles) east of Gao, northern Mali’s largest town, with support from French helicopters and ground troops.

“There was a big fight with lots of enemy killed,” said Lieutenant Colonel Nema Sagara, the Malian army’s deputy commander in Gao. “Our troops went out to battle and they met them. There are no dead on the Malian side.”