Paris Launches Works On 2024 Olympic Village

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe speaks with workers after a ceremony marking the start of the constructions of the future Olympic and paralympic games village for Paris 2024 Olympic games, on November 4, 2019 in Saint-Ouen. PHOTO: GONZALO FUENTES / POOL / AFP


The French government on Monday launched construction on a massive project to build from scratch the village for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, a development that aims to reinvigorate the poorest area in the country.

The Olympic village, which will house some 15,000 athletes and officials, is being built in the Seine-Saint-Denis area north of Paris, which for years has suffered from social tensions and neglect.

But the project is also controversial locally as it will force the relocation of residents, businesses and even schools in the area where the village is to be constructed.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe launched the works, which are set to last over three years, in the suburb of Saint-Ouen.

Putting a strong emphasis on legacy, the authorities plan after the games to reconfigure the area into a new neighbourhood that will offer a total of 3,000 homes and also increase participation in sports.

“If we want them (the Games) to be a success we must make sure that all this organisation, all this financing and this mobilisation does not just vanish when the Olympic flame goes out,” said Philippe as he launched the works.

“It needs to last,” he added.

‘Idiotic acts’

Legacy is now a huge aspect of Olympic developments, especially after the success of the London 2012 Olympics which helped breathe new life into the east of the British capital.

There have already been protests locally against the Olympic village project, which requires the clearing of a zone that is home to over 20 businesses, three schools, a hotel, a student residence and a residence for foreign workers.

“We have been here for 40 years and now there is no longer any space for us,” said Boubacar Diallo, who represents foreign workers living in a residence.

Two new residences should be finished by 2022 to house all those affected. But the residents are rejecting the temporary housing on offer until they are completed.

Responding to the criticism, Solideo, the public company overseeing all the works, insisted the local area would get a boost.

“What is going to happen over the next 3-4 years is compensation for what has not happened the last 30 years”, it said.

The budget for the games amounts to 6.8 billion euros ($7.6 billion), 1.5 billion of which will come from the state.

The French authorities have long expressed concern over the stark disparities in the Paris area, with wealthy citizens concentrated in the centre but northern areas far less well-off.

A report in June said rising property prices had widened the gap between rich and poor in the Paris region, where the number of people living in poverty has increased.


France Returns Nigeria’s Stolen Artefact

Stolen ArtefactThe Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has warned against the trafficking of the nation’s cultural heritage.

The Minister was speaking at the handover of the trafficked Nok terracotta by the Ambassador of France in Abuja.

He appealed to other countries who are yet to return trafficked artefacts from Nigeria to borrow a leaf from the French government.

On his part, the Director General of the National Commission for Museum and Monuments, Mr Yusuf Usman, urged Nigerians to pay more attention to their cultures.

He said that the nation is blessed with diverse cultural landscapes that could serve as a major revenue earner for government if well harnessed.

France Pledges Support For Nigeria To Combat Terrorism

France Pledges Support For Nigeria To Combat TerrorismThe French government has pledged to work with the Federal Government of Nigeria towards combating the menace of terrorism.

The Director, Military Intelligence of the Republic of France, General Christophe Gomert, declared his country’s unwavering support to Nigeria on Wednesday at a meeting with Nigerian government officials in the nation’s capital city, Abuja.

General Gomert said the fight against global terrorism could be won through effective collaboration between the two countries.

The Chief of Nigeria’s Defence Intelligence, Air Vice Marshal Monday Morgan, also said that Nigeria would continue to build on the existing bilateral relationship between both countries.

This comes few weeks after attacks in Paris, which the Islamic State claimed responsibility for.

After the near-simultaneous attacks that killed about 130 people in Paris, the French President, Francois Hollande, said it was an ‘act of war’ organised by the Islamic State militant group.

Days after the Paris attack, suicide bombers carried out attacks in Yola and Kano, which President Muhammadu Buhari also condemned in strongest terms. He urged Nigerians to increase vigilance even as the military tried to end the activities of the Boko Haram in the north-east.

France Donates Books To N/Army Language Institute

French_DonationThe Nigerian Army has received a boost in its fight against insurgency, as the French government donated books to the Nigerian Army Language Institute (NALI), in Ovim, Isikwuato Local Government Area of Abia State.

The Commandant of NALI, Col. Joseph Ajanaku received the books from the France Defense Attaché in Nigeria, Col. Marc Humbert.

Col. Humbert said the mastery of French will enable the Nigerian Army personnel adapt in their various military assignments with their French-speaking couterparts, especially in neighbouring countries where the fight against Boko Haram has been extended to.

Ajanaku commended the French government, adding that it is the first country to assist the college in achieving the objectives for which it was set up.

He also noted that the first set of students just commenced activities on August 1, 2015, starting the French Basic Course 1, maintaining that the donated books will help them to be proficient in French language.

He further noted that NALI was established to teach seven languages including Arabic, French, Swahili, Portuguese, German and Chinese while other will be added in due course in line with Nigeria’s bi-lateral agreements with other nations.

Nigerian Air Force Release French Aircraft

AircraftThe Nigerian Airforce has released an Antonov aircraft said to be carrying some military hardware arrested at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in the early hours of Saturday, December 6, 2014.

The aircraft was released to the French Government on Monday.

Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Molusola Amosu, who authorized the release noted that even though the French Government had a block clearance for the year, it did not have the clearance to operate that category of flight in the country.

He, however, added that after thorough investigation, the aircraft was not found wanting in anyway.

He noted that the diversion was in line with standard practices world over.

On his part, the French Defence attaché explained that the aircraft was carrying helicopters and Christmas presents for its soldiers stationed in the Chadian capital.