African Heads Of State Sign Charter On Maritime Security

Heads of State in Africa sign Charter on maritime safety African leaders have adopted and signed a draft Charter on Maritime Safety, Security and Development.

The agreement is aimed at establishing a roadmap on maritime security in Africa and causing development and economic growth through Africa’s oceans and seas.

At a summit in Lome, the capital of Togo, the African leaders signed the charter which is the culmination of previous summits, to provide peace, security and stability on Africa’s blue economy.

Over 90 per cent of Africa’s trade is maritime-based.

Prior to the signing of the charter, series of discussions were held by international maritime specialists and experts who met for five days.

They examined maritime piracy, trafficking, illegal fishing, development of the blue economy and protection of marine ecosystem.

These discussions culminated in a charter the Chairperson of African Union (AU), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and President Idriss Deby of Chad referred to as an uncommon feat.

Chairperson of African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Channels Television’s correspondent, Omelogo Nnadi, says nearly 3,000 delegates from 54 African countries and and outside the continent were in Lome for the African Union Extraordinary Summit on maritime security and development.

The summit had focused on mapping out an African strategy for the protection of the continent’s seas.

A Very Major Step

For the development of the continent’s blue economy to happen, Africa needs to run like a cheetah, UN Economic Commission Executive Secretary, Dr Carlos Lopes, says.

“What we need is a much deeper understanding of the transformation that is required by the continent and that transformation can be represented by the fastest moving animal on earth which happens to be in Africa – the cheetah,” he pointed out.

He said Africa must prepare for the worst while expecting the best.

The Chairperson of the AU Commission had listed major challenges facing the continent’s maritime development.

She says Africa needs to have its own products being transported out of the continent with its own vessels.

Nigeria’s Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo says the charter is a major step

After the signing of the Charter on Maritime Safety, Security and Development, the President of Chad, Mr Deby and the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, said the agreement was a big achievement for Africa’s development.

“One of the critical things here is that we have been able to get everyone to agree, which by itself, is a very major step. It, of course, enjoins every African country to provide certain services and armed services in their own locality,” Professor Osinbajo stressed.

Before now, vast potentials of Africa’s blue economy have been infiltrated by criminals, pirates and smugglers, but the leaders have made a strong commitment to the monitoring and coordinating of activities in the continent’s waters through the charter.

Part of what the leaders plan to achieve with the new charter are job creation and revenue increase that could run into billions of dollars.

Agric Minister Says Nigeria Can Cutdown $4.6bn Wheat Import By 2018

Audu-Ogbeh--Agric-Minister- economyThe Minister of Agriculture, Mr Audu Ogbeh, on Thursday said Nigeria can save N635 billion annually from wheat importation starting from 2018 when the country is expected become self sufficient in wheat production.

Mr Ogbe said 350 thousand tonnes of wheat is expected in the coming harvest season from up to 100 hectares of land cultivated in the northern part of the country, nearly 30 years after Nigeria’s wheat yield was label unacceptable.

He said the new breed of wheat recently nurtured in partnership with a Tunisian firm is gluten free and the Nigerian Milling Association is already queuing up to buy the entire harvest.

The Minister said Nigeria runs a risk of going hungry unless it ceases to engage in agriculture as a one season event, adding that to ensure the needed expansion, land clearing, quality control and crops certification, and mechanization are a must now.

Other areas that, according to him require urgent attention, are irrigation plans for farmlands across the states to rule out the threat of drought, the successful lobbying of banks to bring down interest rates so that as many Nigerians as possible will be encouraged to get into agriculture especially the youth.

Channels Television’s Omelogo Nnadi reports that if global projections that Nigeria’s population will grow up to 450 million by the year 2050 are anything to go by, then Nigeria must start now to produce more food domestically.

She adds that this is to ensure there is enough food to feed Nigerians, plus more to export to North Africa where up to 80 million people are said to depend on produce exported from Nigeria.

Petrol Queues: NNPC, PPMC Say No Cause For Panic Buying

Petrol liftingThe Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) have assured Nigerians that there is enough petrol to sustain the country’s 40 million litres daily sufficiency.

The corporation said there was no cause for panic buying, as the available Premium Motor Spirit would last until November supplies are made in the next few weeks. According to the NNPC, the expected imports will last until December.

Also emphasising the NNPC’s statement, the Executive Director, Commercial of the PPMC, Mr Justin Ezeala, said daily supplies of petrol to petrol stations across the nation had  been sustained, with over 600 million litres that would last 16 days.

Mr Ezeala said the PPMC could not explain why the queues were building up, but urged Nigerians to report any sharp practice, such as hoarding and sales above the pump price of 87 Naira per litre so that such defaulters could be punished.

The build-up of queues at petrol stations across Nigeria had become a sight too many in the recent past.

The inception of the present government early June was marked by a scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, lasting a few weeks and blamed on outstanding debt owed oil marketers.

A few weeks to Christmas, the queues are slowly returning.

“Vehicle owners on long queues across the Federal Capital Territory, have different reasons for their determination to fill their tanks, most of which centred of apprehension that there would be scarcity,” Channels Television Correspondent, Omelogo Nnadi reports.

To douse this apprehension, the management of the NNPC and PPMC said there was no reason for panic buying, as there was enough petrol to last the oil-rich nation several weeks, with a constant daily dispatch across states.

Electricity Commission To Involve Consumers In Fixing Tariff

smart metersThe Chairman of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERDC), Dr Sam Amadi, on Wednesday said plans are under-way for electricity consumers to jointly fix electricity tariff with distribution companies.

He also said consumer groups will be set up shortly to introduce orderly intervention in tariff and regulatory activities.

He further noted that this will require regular meetings between distribution companies and consumer groups before tariffs are set for electricity which will also be subject to approval by the commission.

This move, according to Channels Television’s correspondent, Omelogo Nnadi, is set to eliminate over-bloated tariffs and the incessant complaints by consumers.

Moro Assures Nigerians Of Security During Elections

Security_NigeriaThe Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, on Thursday assured Nigerians that efforts are on to ensure peace and stability throughout the period of the general elections .

Speaking during a press conference in Abuja, Mr Moro promised that the Federal Government will deploy security personnel before, during and after the elections adding that the anxiety over a peaceful process is unwarranted.

He asked Nigerians to avoid activities that might instigate violence saying that the country is more important that any individual or group of persons.

Mr Moro also noted that despite the insurgency in some parts of the country, adequate resources are being mobilized to ensure peace throughout the elections and beyond.

The risk of foreigners infiltrating the country during the elections, the threats of violence peddled by individuals over the presidential elections and safety of the citizens were also raised during the meeting.

Meanwhile, at a separate news conference, the Coordinator of the National Information Centre (NIC), Mr Mike Omeri, drew attention to a planned attack by members of the Boko Haram sect, warning Nigerians to be on high alert especially as the elections approach.

Channels Television’s correspondent, Omelogo Nnadi reports that with roughly two weeks before the elections, many Nigerians view the safety of their lives and property as important as voting their candidates into power.

Univeristies Yet To Access N65 Billion Education Fund-TETFUND Boss

TETFUND_BabayoThe Chairman of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), Dr Babayo Musa, has asked chief executives of tertiary institutions to comply strictly with ethics and regulations of procurement or risk continued cut off from the huge intervention funds mapped out for institutions.

Dr Babayo said large volumes of yet to be accessed tertiary education funds running into billions of naira are domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as a result of institutions’ failure to adhere to the ethics and due process for access to allocated funds.

“The funds are not accessed because we want to be sure they are used judiciously. If the requirements are not met,we can’t release funds no matter the pressure”, he said, adding that his agency was interested in monitoring every of the projects that the funds are used for in order to prevent qualitative corruption which might even be more dangerous than quantitative corruption.

The TETFUND boss said additional funds, being proceeds from 2013, will be disbursed in two weeks and tertiary institutions must meet requisite standards to access them.

Dr Babayo made this disclosure during the public presentation of the report of the National Conference on Transparency, Accountability and Ethical Values in Tertiary Institutions for Sustainable Growth.

The report deals extensively with corruption in tertiary institutions, challenges in management and funding and also ethics and compliance in public procurement, non adherence to which have resulted to about 65 billion naira of yet to be accessed funds left in the coffers of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund as at May 2014.

Channels Television’s Omelogo Nnadi reports that the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission has had numerous petitions coming in from students, staff, unions and other players in tertiary institutions causing it to conduct a university study system review. Hopefully this will pave way to correcting corrupt-prone processes and salvaging the country’s tertiary education sector.

Nigerian Centenary: Leaders Identify Insecurity As Major Threat To Democracy

African leaders at a one day conference in Abuja today identified security as a major threat to the existence of democratic institutions in Africa.  This, the leaders said while lamenting the security crisis in Nigeria.

French President, Francois Hollande, who expressed interest in Africa’s agenda for security, with Nigeria taking the lead, used the occasion of the centenary celebrations to express support in fighting terrorism in Nigeria.

“I assure you Mr President that your struggle is also our struggle and we will always stand ready to provide not only political support but support anytime you need it because the struggle against terrorism is also the struggle for democracy” Mr Hollande said.

The conference, which had no pomp and pageantry, was organised to celebrate Nigeria’s 100 years of existence.

The conference was attended by over 30 presidents and heads of governments from around the globe, and captains of international organizations, who came to rejoice with Nigeria and find lasting solutions to challenging issues for the country and Africa, including security, peace and development.

President Goodluck Jonathan who welcomed the heads of state to Nigeria said this is time to look back with gratitude and forward with hope and confidence.

“Today, as our Nation marks its first 100 years, we look back with gratitude to God and with pride in our citizens. We look forward also, to the future, with hope and confidence.

“In this hall and beyond, I am delighted to welcome many of our past, current and future leaders, as well as our friends and partners, from near and far, persons and nations that have stood with us in times past, and whose friendship we will continue to cherish” he said

Security and terrorism took center stage at the conference, a matter President Jonathan said collaborative work among governments is necessary so that all perpetrators of acts of terrorism are rounded up and made to face justice.

“This gruesome and mindless act of savagery is not Nigerian. It is not African. Let me assure all Nigerians that we will spare no resource in bringing those murderers to justice.

“Terrorism must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. We all must work together, collectively, to rid our world of haters of peace, who use terror to maim, kill, instil fear and deny people their rights to peace and security.

“The Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria is one of such condemnable acts of terror. We have continued to deploy human and military intelligence, in close collaboration with our partners, to bring an end to their nefarious activities. Greater regional cooperation in intelligence gathering and control of insurgents will ensure not only Nigeria’s security, but also the security of our neighbours” he noted.

President Jonathan’s call, with the recent massacre in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states a case in point, elicited both condemnation and offers for support from other world leaders.

Channels Television’s Omeologo Nnadi reports that so many issues have been raised on security, peace and development at the occasion of Nigeria’s centenary celebrations; points Nigeria must note going forward.

She also adds that after today’s (Wednesday) conference and other activities lined up for the anniversary, many Nigerians will look forward to decisive action and the much needed impact to stamp out the menace of terrorism and stop the ongoing massacre of innocents especially in northern Nigeria.

Bomb Blast Victims Lament Neglect By FG

Victims of bombings by Islamic militants in the Northern part of the country have appealed to the government to fulfill its promise of assisting them to pick the pieces of their lives.

The victims told Channels Television’s correspondent, Omelogo Nnadi, that the federal government is yet to fulfill the pledges made to alleviate their pains and sufferings years down the line.

In a special report by Channels Television, some of the victims  recounted the challenges they face living with their defects and losses.

On October 1st 2010, the first set of explosives was detonated in Abuja during the 50th independence anniversary celebration, where President Goodluck Jonathan and dignitaries from around the world were in attendance.

A dozen people were killed and about two dozens injured.

Barely two months later, on the eve of year 2011, another explosion rocked a beer garden and mini market at a military cantonment popularly known as Abacha barracks in Abuja leaving 30 dead and scores critically injured.

These two bomb blasts in 2010, opened up a new era of bombings through 2011 and 2012 in the federal capital and across the northern part of the country. Some were credited to the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) and majority in the later stages, to the Islamic sect – Boko Haram.

These bombings left carnage in their trail and scores of wounded and bereaved persons.

Mrs Chioma Dike lost her husband and two sons and a daughter while Mr Ebuka Obiakor lost his two daughters.

A 17 year old boy, Gabriel Abu, who was 15 when he was caught up in one of the explosions at the Mogadishu Cantonment on December 31st, 2010 sustained many injuries and lost one of his legs.

Abu has since been using an artificial limb which is not in good condition.

Two men, Clement Obi and Ebuka Obiakor both lost their left eyes as a result of the United Nations building bombing in Abuja in August 2011 which left 23 dead and 129 injured, and the Madallah bombing in December of same year with some 40 persons dead and over 50 injured.

“They abandoned so many of us in the hospital” after the bomb blast, Obi said.

Obiakor disclosed that “they directed us to FCT, that they were the ones who would manage the treatment here in Nigeria but when we got there, the response we got from them was not encouraging at all”.

They told Channels Television that they have undergone different surgeries and treatments with little or no funds to get the appropriate treatment.

All these victims lamented the unfulfilled promises by the federal government but expressed hope that good fortune will come their way.

No convictions have been made for other bombings where more than a 1000 have lost their lives in three years and a lot more injured and left with indelible scars.

The victims said they are hoping that while efforts are made to bring justice to them, the government will hasten to take a fresh look into their situations especially those who still require recurring medical checks and treatment.