NEC Urges Strict Adherence To COVID-19 Response Guidelines During Sallah Festivities

 

Ahead of next week’s Sallah festivities, the National Economic Council is urging for strict adherence to the COVID-19 response guidelines across the country, after receiving a regular state performance report from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

According to the report, the Coronavirus positivity rate has gone up in the country just as 3 cases of the Delta variant have now been detected.

This disclosure was made today at the Council’s 118th meeting, which was held virtually and was presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, with State governors, federal ministers, the Central Bank Governor, and other senior government officials in attendance.

The Council received the state performance report on COVID-19 from the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, who noted that the Delta variant is a new variant identified in 103 countries and is 60% more transmissible than the highly infectious Alpha variant which was previously identified.

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The DG said despite the low number of cases in the country, the positivity rate has gone up and Lagos State has a larger burden of 70%-80% cases in the country, having recorded an increase in the number of cases in the last 10 weeks.

The NCDC, therefore, urged the Council to ensure the sustenance of effective COVID-19 response nationwide, while improving public health awareness, adherence to public health, and social measures. The agency also called for the re-activation and sustained functioning of isolation centres as proactive preparatory measures towards tackling a possible third wave.

The Council was also briefed by the NEC Ad-hoc Committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to ease the lockdown of the economy. According to Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta State Governor and Chairman of the Committee, with the emergence of the Delta variant in Lagos State, there has been an increase in monitoring activities at entry points across the country.

The Committee noted that State Governors will continue to monitor the situation for the next one week to see if there will be a need for an emergency Ad-hoc committee meeting on the situation.

 

The Council also received an update on cholera cases in some parts of the country.

Also today, the Council received and discussed the initial report of its Ad-Hoc Committee interfacing with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on the complete deregulation of the downstream sub-sector of the industry, and appropriate pricing of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). Observations and comments were made and it was resolved that an updated version will be submitted by the Committee inclusive of observations raised at today’s meeting and then an updated report be made to the National Economic Council (NEC) for further action.

This resolution comes even as the Council noted that the Federal Government is working out modalities of providing Autogas conversion kits, and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)/ Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), mass transit buses to major cities nationwide as cheaper alternatives to PMS/petrol for transportation and fuel.

In the same vein, the Council received updates on the FG Budget Support Facility to States as the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning informed the Council that with the agreement reached on the matter with the CBN providing a bridge financing facility to the States, deductions from State Governments will now commence from July.

Regarding panels of inquiries in the States on EndSARS protests, Vice President Osinbajo noted that a number of States had submitted their reports and more reports are being awaited. He encouraged State governments to turn in the reports while noting that the panels are still sitting in some States.

According to the VP, the Council will have a full consideration on the reports from the States, make a compilation of the reports and review the implementation options.

So far, reports have been received from Ekiti, Enugu, and Nasarawa while more reports are being awaited.

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Prof Osinbajo also encouraged the States that haven’t completed the panel’s work to send in interim reports.

In addition, the Council received a presentation on Flood Disaster Risk Management in Nigeria for 2021 by the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, and the Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

It urged State Governments to take proactive and necessary mitigative measures in addressing the envisaged 2021 flood disaster in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic while encouraging relevant Federal Ministries, Department, and Agencies (MDAs) to take necessary actions.

 

Other highlights:

FINANCIAL UPDATES:

The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning gave the Council an update on the underlisted accounts as follows:

1. EXCESS CRUDE ACCOUNT (ECA)

Balance as at 13th July, 2021: – $60,852,533.19

2. STABLIZATION ACCOUNT

Balance as at 13th July, 2021: – N26,346,419,015.43

3. DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES ACCOUNT

Balance as at 13th July, 2021: – N23,573,977,607.78

PICTORIAL: You Stand On The Shoulders Of Giants, Osinbajo Tells Nigeria’s Olympic Team

 

As Team Nigeria to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics prepares to leave the shores of the country, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has called on the team to replicate the outstanding performances of past Nigerian Olympians, noting that “you stand on the shoulders of giants.”

Recalling the exploits of past Nigerian teams, the Vice President added that “you will also carry with you the encouragement of the great exploits of Nigerian Olympians before you.”

Prof. Osinbajo stated this today at the send forth ceremony for Team Nigeria to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, at the Presidential Villa. The event also marked the formal handover of the Nigerian contingent to the Nigeria Olympic Committee and the unveiling of the team’s official outfit and kit.

He reminded the team of “such legends as Chioma Ajunwa who won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics for the long jump and became the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a field event.

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“The Super Eagles in 1996 who won the gold medal for football; that was the team that had the greats; Augustine Okocha, Celestine Babayaro, Daniel Amokachi (who was present at the event,) Sunday Oliseh, Taribo West, Kanu Nwankwo, Abiodun Obafemi, Emmanuel Amuneke, Emmanuel Babayaro, Garba Lawal, Joseph Dosu, Kingsley Obiekwu, Mobi Obaraku, Uche Okechukwu, Teslim Fatusi, Tijani Babangida, Victor Ikpeba, and Wilson Oruma —that was the year we defeated the world’s best footballing nations – Brazil and Argentina and we all held our heads high.”

Continuing, the VP said “in 2000, in Sydney again we beat the best in the world, we won the gold in 4×400 meter relay after the American team was disqualified for using performance-enhancing drugs. Our team then was Clement Chukwu, the late Sunday Bada, Enefiok Udo-Ubong, Jude Monye, and two other members of the team, Fidelis Gadzama and Nduka Awazie.

“And for anyone who thinks we are joking, maybe they haven’t seen our exhibition basketball game on Saturday with the USA team, especially that amazing block by Precious Achiuwa against KD – Kevin Durant, who is probably the best player in the NBA right now. So, Precious, you are the real MVP!

“You stand on the shoulders of giants and with the quality and intensity of training you have received and your exploits during the qualification series for the Olympic Games, I am confident that by God’s grace, you will again make history and beat the best in the world.”

Urging the team to promote the Olympian ideals, Prof. Osinbajo said “Olympics is about fair play, honesty, teamwork, respect, and friendship. I trust that you will, as worthy ambassadors of Nigeria, represent our nation excellently.

“Fair play clearly enjoins every athlete not to use any prohibited substances or to cheat in any way. Half of the joy and satisfaction of victory is that it was won fairly.”

“Every one of you participating in the games is opening a page in history for yourself, your families, your community, and the nation.”

Prof. Osinbajo then assured the team of the prayers and support of all Nigerians as they compete with athletes from other nations.

His words: “Your performance at the games will inscribe your names in national and world sporting history. You carry the hopes and aspirations of millions as you compete in Tokyo. But you will in this endeavor, have the assurance of the prayers and best wishes of all Nigerians.”

While commending the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare for coordinating the various sporting Federations in preparation for the Games, the Vice President urged the athletes to make good use of facilities at its training ground in the City of Kizarazu to put themselves in proper shape ahead of the Games.

He urged the team to continue to observe all COVID-19 protocols and to strictly adhere to the IOC Playbook in order to safeguard their health and those of others around them.

Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, said the athletes were ready to do the country proud and presented to the Vice President, the made-in-Nigeria kits for the Nigerian contingent.

“I am happy to announce today that the complete kit for Team Nigeria to the Tokyo 2020 Games was produced with a heavy dose of local content. We thank AFA Sports, Africa For Africa, a local sports equipment manufacturing company for delivering on the production of uniforms for Team Nigeria. This is a veritable testament and commitment of the Buhari administration to support and grow local content and industry in all sectors of the Nigerian economy.”

On his part, President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engr Habu Gumel thanked the President and the Vice President for honoring Team Nigeria and assured that the contingent will not disappoint the country.



“I am happy to inform Mr. President that all the 15 athletes on Olympic Scholarships qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, which slowed down the training momentum for the Games, we are still optimistic that the crop of Nigerian qualified athletes will do our nation proud at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

One highpoint of the occasion was the formal handover of Team Nigeria to the Nigeria Olympic Committee by the Vice President and the Sports Minister, and the unveiling of the official outfit and kit of the team.

Present at the ceremony were Federal Legislators, officials of the Japanese Embassy in Nigeria, 45 athletes and their coaches, officials of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, and the Nigeria Olympic Committee, among others.

Osinbajo Leads Collaborations With UN To Improve Food Systems In Nigeria

Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

 

In line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda to lift 100m Nigerians from poverty within a decade and the globally acclaimed Sustainable Development Goals, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, is leading the Federal Government’s collaboration with the United Nations to improve Nigeria’s food systems.

The effort is to attack the menace of hunger, combat malnutrition, reduce poor diet-related diseases among others.

The Federal Government and the United Nations had led series of public dialogues at national and sub-national levels that culminated today in the presentation of the Nigeria Food Systems mapping report to State governments across the six geo-political zones.

Prof. Osinbajo made the presentation at a Consolidatory Dialogue for the UN Food Systems Summit held in Abuja, attended by some State Governors, the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Ms. Amina Mohammed, members of the Federal Executive Council, Nigeria’s development partners, and other dignitaries from the academia, private and public sectors.

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Speaking at the event, the Vice President said aside from the goal of realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and guaranteeing food security for a growing population, the sustainable food systems effort fits into the plan of the Buhari administration to eliminate poverty across Nigeria.

According to the Vice President, “for the government of Nigeria, our commitment to sustainable food systems is one of the key strategies for eliminating poverty across Nigeria.

“We know that our target of lifting a hundred million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade is only achievable if we focus on substantially improving agriculture and food systems which assure us of not just good food, but also jobs.

“This perspective on addressing hunger, malnutrition, and poverty runs through our policy frameworks, including our recently launched National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy, and our Nutrition Policy that addresses the issues of a sustainable and nutrition-sensitive food system.”

The President had previously named his deputy, the Vice President as Chairman of the Steering Committee to oversee the implementation of the National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy. The VP is also the Chairman of the National Council on Nutrition.

Emphasizing the need to develop more efficient food systems, the Vice President noted that “our food system must be resilient enough to significantly impact nutrition security, and our collective efforts must reduce the malnutrition numbers.

“We must realise that defining bold steps to improve food systems and by extension, food security ensures that children have improved health, early development, and increased intellectual and emotional readiness to learn.

“This translates to positive school engagement and improves the potential of children growing into healthy adults.

“On the other hand, imagine a generation of adults who suffer arrested physical and mental health, and the social and economic burden on their families, their communities, and the nation. Imagine the implications of approximately 50% of Nigeria’s population being at risk if we do not get it right.”

Prof. Osinbajo called on all stakeholders to translate the recommendations of the dialogues to prompt action, noting that “it would mean embracing the changes required in modernization of farming practices, mechanization, and reduction of post-harvest losses.”

“We must ensure that we practice environmentally sustainable production; we must empower our communities by creating jobs and livelihoods to sustain the food systems we desire,” the Vice President added.

Prof. Osinbajo said the call by the United Nations Secretary-General on sustainable food systems is apt and timely, noting that “it provides the opportunity to holistically re-examine all the elements of the Food System in Nigeria.”

He added: “I have no doubt that the 39 dialogues held nationally and sub-nationally have been accessible to all stakeholders and able to identify those challenges that still clog our wheel of progress especially in the relevant sectors.”

Other dignitaries at the event include Ministers of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Nanono; Health, Dr Osagie Ehinare; Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed; Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, and the convener of the Dialogue, Mrs Olusola Idowu.

Also at the event, Prof. Kola Amigo from the Ahmadu Bello University presented the findings from the various UN Food Systems dialogues held in the country, and a group of Nigerian children similarly voiced out their views on the dialogues.

International Day Against Drug Abuse: Osinbajo Attends Premiere Of Nollywood Movie

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

 

In support to the global campaign against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday attended the premiere of a movie titled “The Silent Baron.”

According to a statement by the Vice-President’s spokesperson, Laolu Akande, the movie features some internal challenges of agencies fighting drug barons and highlights how the couriers are recruited including by fooling ladies and their parents with false promises of taking the ladies abroad.

“Starring some top Nollywood actors, the movie features the duplicitous life of a young man named Anselm, disguised as a foreign-based professional who only visits Nigeria on short vacations. He lures young ladies with gifts, alluring words and under false pretences as couriers for his illicit drug trafficking business. In the end he was caught.

“The movie brings to the limelight, the commendable role of the NDLEA in the fight against drug trafficking especially at a time when the agency is aggressively exposing the menace with a significant number of arrests in the last couple of months,” the statement read in part.

The film was produced by Ifeanyi Ukaeru, in partnership with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to highlight the dangers of abuse and trafficking in Nigeria.

The vice-president was accompanied by the Executive Chairman of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd); the Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, and other top government officials.

The movie premiere is part of activities marking the 2021 United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking which falls on the 26th of June, every year. It is produced by Ekwe Nche Entertainment Ltd, the NDLEA, among other partners.

Climate Change: Nigeria Will Continue Its Frontline Advocacy For Net-Zero Emissions – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria will continue its frontline advocacy for a ‘just transition’ to net-zero emissions.

Net-zero emissions is aimed at completely negating the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activities; it is to be achieved by reducing emissions.

The Vice-President in a statement signed on Friday by his spokesperson, Laolu Akande disclosed this in Abuja while presiding over a virtual meeting on net-zero emissions with other top Federal Government officials.

Osinbajo maintained the position that the funding for gas and fossil fuel projects in Nigeria and other developing countries be sustained during the global transition to net-zero emissions.

He also asserted that Nigeria will play a critical role with other gas exporting countries to stop the defunding of gas and fossil fuel projects in developing countries.

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The Vice President noted that it was vital that the Forum of Gas Exporting Countries (GEC) join forces together to prevent the defunding of gas and fossil fuel projects, especially from developing countries, by international bodies and institutions.

According to the VP, concrete steps should be taken by the GEC Forum to stop further plans by international bodies and Western countries on defunding of gas/fossil fuel projects as it does not benefit developing countries especially.

He noted that it was vital Nigeria plays a significant role in achieving a consensus with the GEC Forum on these issues, even as the 26th United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) – which is scheduled to hold later this year – approaches.

In the same vein, the Vice President asked the Inter-ministerial committee on Climate Change, led by the Federal Ministry of Environment, to finetune Nigeria’s position for COP26, while the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources would focus on strengthening the country’s strategy, particularly in its initiative to use gas as a transition fuel.

Both the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, and Minister of Foreign Affairs were directed to work together, ensuring the GEC Forum reaches a consensus that reflects Nigeria’s advocacy on defunding of gas projects.

Other top Federal Government officials in attendance at the virtual meeting include the Ministers of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar; Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of State, Environment, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor; Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba, and the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Bitrus Bako Nabasu.

Nigeria Needs Leaders Prepared To Unite Nigerians, Says Osinbajo

File photo of Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

 

With the challenges affecting the country at this time, there is a need for proactive leaders who are prepared to bring Nigerians together.

This view was expressed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, in Lagos at the weekend during a courtesy visit to the palace of Oniru of Iruland, His Royal Majesty, Oba Abdulwasiu Omogbolahan Lawal, on the occasion of the monarch’s first coronation anniversary.

Commending the Oba for being a leader to people of diverse socio-ethnic backgrounds, Prof. Osinbajo said, “our country needs all the leaders, the best leaders, the most proactive leaders, leaders prepared to bring the country together. Lagos is a microcosm of Nigeria, everybody is here, if things work out well here, things will be okay in the country.

Addressing the Oniru directly the VP observed that “I am sure your role here is that of someone who brings together communities not just Yorubas, but everybody. And I can see that from your choice of chiefs, you have gone to other parts, and I think this is the attitude of great leaders.”

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While praying for the Oba for a successful reign on the throne, the Vice President said the progress of his kingdom and its people will be determined by the quality of leadership he provides, which is a yardstick to measure the role of traditional rulers in the country.

His words: “you should know that you are always in my prayers because I believe that your role is crucial not just for the development of this state, but for the whole country.

“Today you cannot relegate traditional rulers because of the exposure and education of those who occupy that position.”

On his part, the Oniru of Iruland thanked the Vice President for his leadership and commitment to the progress of the country.

While pledging the support of the entire kingdom for the Federal Government, the Oba said the Vice President’s leadership is an example for other leaders across the country to follow, noting that “you are a leader whose direction we will continue to follow”.

His words: “the relationship between the Vice President and I had been very cordial. We belong to the same school of thought. He calls and advises me on several issues.

“I want to assure you, Mr Vice President that I will not disappoint you, I will ensure the progress of this kingdom and I will be just.”

Also speaking later in an interview with journalists at the palace, Prof. Osinbajo said the future of Iruland is bright with an Oniru like Oba Abdulwasiu.

“I have known the Oniru for quite some time now. He is somebody who I have a great deal of respect for, and I know that the future of this community is bright with an Oniru like himself.

“He is not just someone who is thoroughly educated but a visionary. He is someone who sees the future and is ready in ensuring that he brings the future in a very short time,” the VP added.

Osinbajo Launches Kemi Adeosun’s ‘Dash Me’ Foundation

Former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and Yemi Osinbajo at the launch of the Dash Me Store

 

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has launched the Dash Me Store, an outfit of the Dash Me Foundation founded by the immediate past Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun.

The store is established to mobilise resources for onward distribution to vulnerable people in the society via grassroots charities.

The Vice President during the opening on Sunday said, “I am excited to be here for several reasons, but most of all because of Mrs Adeosun’s commitment to the notion that all service to man is actually service to God, and she took that very seriously.

“This is why, as Minister, she prioritized the Social Investment Programmes, when for the first time, the country voted almost N500B of our annual budget to welfare programmes which are called the Social Investment Programmes, which involved engaging 500,000 young men and women and also giving microcredit to about 2 million traders and also a home-grown school feeding programme for 9.5 million children daily in public schools across the country.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo speaks at the event

 

“I am therefore really not surprised that she has decided to use some of her enormous talent and influence to establish an organization that raises funds and provides resources for indigenous grassroots charities working with orphaned and vulnerable children, disadvantaged youth, and victims of domestic violence,” he said.

Speaking on the establishment of Nigeria’s first thrift-for-charity online store, Prof. Osinbajo said adding social enterprise to philanthropy with a structure that allows for resource mobilization for charity as well as creates the opportunity for people to earn a living in the process, should be the way to go.

“What I think is happening here is that philanthropy is not like it used to be when all you needed was a good and kind heart and you didn’t need to plan or organize as you would a business for-profit”.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and former Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun

 

According to the Vice President, one of the factors responsible for the impactful implementation of the Social Investment Programmes of the Buhari administration over the years is the realization that “you can’t reach Nigerians if you don’t have a plan for the grassroots”.

He said the realization has influenced the structure designed for the SIP and is largely responsible for the successes of the programme (which is now regarded as one of the biggest social welfare schemes in the continent).

“What Kemi and her team have done is to bring the new notion of social enterprise to this project. Philanthropy run with the discipline, attention to detail, and financial prudence of a successful business, and she can do all of that, and I am sure her team is imbibing that, given her background in finance in both the private and public sector.

“The idea of this thrift-for-charity store is brilliant and the first of its kind in Nigeria. It is a unique model which does not just give to the needy in the conventional way of merely handing out donations.

 

“It is an innovative and structured way of aggregating donations to earn income to transform the lives of the vulnerable and needy while creating jobs in the process.

“I must say that your focus on funding grassroots charities is so crucial and I know that, having campaigned with you on behalf of our party, the APC all around Ogun and in every part of Nigeria, it is clear that you can’t reach Nigeria and Nigerians if you don’t have a plan for the grassroots”, Osinbajo added.

In her response, the former Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun said the idea of the store is to aggregate donations of different kinds for charitable causes, noting that Nigerians from different fields of endeavour and from across the country would be enabled via the online store to contribute to supporting the needy in the society.

She said the organisation would work closely with charitable organisations in the grassroots to ensure that funds and other materials donated via the Dash Me Store get to actual beneficiaries.

 

Osinbajo Unveils Photo Book On Gbajabiamila, Describes Him As ‘Bridge Builder’

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Speaker of the House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila

 

Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has described the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, as a bridge-builder and one of the most resilient, resourceful, and successful Nigerian politicians.

Prof. Osinbajo said Gbajabiamila’s bridge-building cuts across tribes, religions, political parties, and generations, noting the successes the Speaker has recorded as a politician.

The Vice President spoke at the public presentation of a photobook ‘Gbajabiamila: The Long Road,’ authored by Mr. Ayo Adeagbo, the Special Assistant on Visual Communications/Personal Photographer to the Speaker, in Abuja at the weekend.

 

While congratulating Mr. Adeagbo for the book, a collection of the photographs of the Speaker’s political journey, Prof. Osinbajo said: “Ayo has proved to be a creative and faithful storyteller of the political journey of the charismatic and photogenic Speaker.”

He said having done a personal review of the book, “I really think Ayo has done a good job. But I think the job was made easier by the fact that his subject is one of the most resilient, one of the most resourceful and most successful Nigerian politicians, having won elections five times in the last 18 years.

“He is an effective bridge builder across tribes, across religions, across political parties, and even generations. He has proved to be an innovative mediator and an honest broker in several local and national disputes and conflicts.”

Prof. Osinbajo, who said he is himself a collector of photographs, added that the book tells a lot of stories about the Speaker’s political journey.

The VP went on to share and display his collected photographs of some of the Nigerian politicians such as himself and President Muhammadu Buhari; the Senate President, Distinguished Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, the Speaker; the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun; Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and the Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi.

Prof. Osinbajo said he was pleased “to unveil this excellent photobook” by Mr. Adeagbo, whom he described as a well-celebrated and great photographer.

In a remark, the Senate President, Lawan, said the book truly presented the Speaker’s long political journey, which he said could as well be rough.

He said since his emergence as the President of the Senate and Gbajabiamila as Speaker on June 11, 2019, they have been working together assiduously and harmoniously for the good of Nigerians.

Lawan, who said he and the Speaker have come a long way, noted that: “This Speaker has been very supportive of the bicameral Legislature. Of course, the two chambers have to work together for the success of the Legislature. We work together with the Executive for good governance.

“I want to assure you, Mr. Speaker, that I for one, and the entire Senate, will continue to support you and the entire leadership of the House because we have a joint task. We have only two years. It may appear to be a long time, but that is not.”

He assured that the National Assembly would soon pass critical legislation like the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill, and the constitution (amendment) Bill.

On his part, the Speaker commended Mr. Adeagbo for coming up with the photobook, saying it is part of the historical stories that would survive generations.

He said: “My name and picture grace the cover of this book, but the stories it tells aren’t mine alone. Every person who appears in the pictures that make up this book, every event that is catalogued there, every smile, every frown all tell different stories.

“All of those stories are important. As a people, we haven’t always been good at keeping our records and telling our own stories, but that’s changing and it’s a good thing.

“I hope that in this generation and the next, we will learn lessons from these stories, and be inspired and motivated by them. And I hope that the stories we tell bring us closer together as friends, brethren, and citizens.”

He thanked the Vice President and all the dignitaries that attended the event and called for more encouragement for young Nigerians to showcase their talents.

In a goodwill message, Lagos State Governor, Sanwo-Olu, described the book as a creative one, which tells a lot about the Speaker.

“I’m honoured to be here to say a few words. Tonight is about the young array of Nigerians that have come here to say something.

“The book isn’t so much about my brother and my friend, but about the creativity of these young Nigerians. I congratulate the Speaker for this book. We should encourage so many other young Nigerians to showcase their talents.”

Also, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said the Speaker’s political journey has been a long one.

He said: “In 2003, he (the Speaker) came to the House on the platform of AD. In 2007, he returned as a member of AC, and in 2011, he graduated to ACN. In 2015, he came on the platform of the APC.

“This is a reflection of the resilience and the hard work you’ve done over the years to come to this office. I use this opportunity to wish you the very best and say that your best days are yet to come.”

The Minister of FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, in his goodwill message, said Gbajabiamila has proved to be a man of great honour and integrity over the years.

He congratulated the National Assembly for marking two years, saying the federal Legislature has provided the needed support for good governance.

There were also remarks from Senator Rochas Okorocha and the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, who described the Speaker as a patriotic and true Nigerian.

Osinbajo Receives Second Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has received his second dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The Vice-President took the shot on Saturday at his official Aguda House residence in the State House, Abuja.

The second dose is being administered exactly 12 weeks after the first shot was taken on March 6.

He was vaccinated by the Chief Nursing Officer at the State House Clinic Nurse Esther Tukur.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari also received his second dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday at the State House in Abuja.

The President’s innoculation was done by the Chief Personal Physician to the President, Dr. Suhayb Rafindadi Sanusi after which he was presented with the e-vaccination card by the executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib.

The Presidential steering committee says it aims to vaccinate 40% of eligible Nigerians and another 30% in 2022 to attain 70 percent coverage of estimated 200 million people by 2022.

A New Nation Is Birthing Already, Says Osinbajo

A file photo of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo 

 

 

A new Nigeria is in the making, but it is currently covered by the clouds and travails which will certainly give way to a glorious and bright new morn of a new nation, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, (SAN).

He spoke this morning at the National Prayer Breakfast, which held at the NAF Conference Centre, Kado, Abuja.

According to Prof. Osinbajo, “the new nation is birthing already. It is covered by a cloud, but the cloud will pass, and God Almighty will take all of the glory for the birthing of a new nation.”

While he noted that the theme of the Prayer breakfast, the “Birth of a New Nation”, was significant, especially in these times, the Vice President emphasized the need for collective prayers, faith, hope, and action, adding that Nigeria would prevail over the challenges of today.

He said today’s National Prayer Breakfast “comes at a time of great travail and tribulation for the nation: in the throes of a pandemic for well over a year, leading to a severe economic downturn, loss of jobs and livelihoods; and as we climbed out of the recession, we have been faced with an unprecedented scale of insecurity, in different zones of the nation.

“But we know that every time that a nation where the lives of the children of God is challenged, it is God’s call to His people to take action. It is an opportunity for God to demonstrate that He is God over the nations, that He is the creator of the heavens and the earth, that He knows the beginning from the end. But God also wants us to know that He has ordained us to speak to life.”

Referencing the Holy Book, Prof. Osinbajo recalled the work and prophetic actions of men and women of faith who played vital roles in nation-building during biblical times.

“So, the Scripture has consistently shown us that children of God are central to the birth of a new nation, the rebirth of nations. They must desire the change, cry to God, be ready to make the sacrifice of repentance,” he said.

Describing the people of God as the salt of the earth, the Vice President said, “As we are the salt, we are also the light, the light ends the darkness; it marks the end of the night of weeping and marks the glorious sunlight of the morning of joy. So, the pouring of the salt into the source of the water, the source of the problem, is the prophetic act we perform today,

He referenced 2 Kings 2:19-22, and said, “we, the salt, are also poured today by prayer and prophecy, to the source of our nation’s problems. And as we pray and prophesy, a new nation will be birthed; one where, like the city to which Elisha went, the land was healed, the people prospered and peace and joy prevailed.”

Prof. Osinbajo thanked the organisers, as well as the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.) whom he described as the “father of the Nigerian Prays movement.”

In the same vein, the Vice President commended Gen. Gowon “for his commitment and dedication to this nation from his youth, when he was Head of State when he led the fight to keep Nigeria one, to his later years as an elder statesman where his well-seasoned words uttered in Godly wisdom have counselled our nation’s leaders for decades.”

The Vice President joined Gen. Gowon; CAN President, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, among other dignitaries who attended the meeting.

Nigeria Will Continue To Support, Standby Gambia – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo receives Gambian Envoy

 

Nigeria will continue to support the aspirations and activities of the government and people of The Gambia especially in ways that promote African brotherhood, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this today when he received, at the Presidential Villa, the Special Envoy of President Adama Barrow of The Gambia, Hon. Mamadou Tangara is also the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad.

The Special Envoy came to personally deliver a message from The Gambian President to President Muhammadu Buhari.

“We strongly remain in support of all of the activities of the government and people of The Gambia and stand with you in all ways,” the Vice President said while receiving the message on behalf of the President.

“The Nigerian government remains committed to its relationship with The Gambia. It is a long-standing relationship of brothers of so many years, and we consider it an important relationship not just within the ECOWAS sub-region but also we consider that as African brothers, we owe a responsibility to ourselves and to the world, to work together for the best purposes and for the best objectives that we have set for ourselves as a people.”

 

Extending Mr. President’s warm regards to his The Gambian counterpart, Prof. Osinbajo assured that President Buhari will treat President Barrow’s request with “all the urgency it deserves”.

Speaking shortly after presenting President Barrow’s special message, Mr. Tangara said he is in Abuja to solicit Nigeria’s support for his country’s quest to produce the next President of the ECOWAS Commission.

The Special Envoy said Nigeria’s support will be instrumental in actualizing his country’s ambition, and noted that The Gambia is committed to serving the commission with dedication and in accordance with the ideals advocated by Nigeria, especially in repositioning the commission for better results.

Appreciating Nigeria’s contributions to the prosperity and progress of The Gambia, Mr Tangara said his country owed much of its growth in the different sectors to the immense assistance provided by Nigeria.

He noted Nigeria’s support to The Gambia in the areas of the judiciary, military, and education, among others, stating that if Nigeria was to withdraw its technical support, for instance, “The Gambia’s judiciary will crumble and be in total chaos… We thank Nigeria for all the support.”

Other members of The Gambian delegation included the country’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Mohamadou Musa Njie, while the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Gabriel Aduda led other officials from the ministry to the meeting.

Osinbajo Asks European Countries To Invest In Africa

A file photo of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo speaking at an event.

 

While investments in fossils are being sustained in wealthier countries, banning gas investments in developing nations raises questions around equity, justice, and inclusion as the global community approaches the Net-zero emission target of 2050.

Therefore, a just, equitable, and inclusive global energy transition especially for developing economies is imperative.

Those were the views expressed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, in his keynote speech today at the 7th Annual New York-based Columbia University Global Energy Summit organized by the Columbia Centre on Global Energy Policy.

This year’s edition which held virtually, focused on shaping the current energy system, what is ahead for energy policy, energy markets, geopolitics, technology, and efforts to reduce emissions while addressing climate change.

According to Prof. Osinbajo, “the global energy transition must be inclusive, equitable and just, taking into account the different realities of various economies and accommodating various pathways to net-zero by 2050.

“Nigeria and countries across Africa are committed to a net-zero future, especially given their vulnerability to the adverse effects of climate change, and all have expressed commitment to their national development contributions under the Paris Agreement, however greater support in developing and implementing robust energy transition plans is needed.

“Clearly the Continent will require an unprecedented scale of investments. An energy mix compatible with a 1.5°C pathway would require $40 billion to flow into Sub-Saharan Africa annually; a fourfold increase compared to the $10 billion invested in 2018.”

The VP submitted “that a just energy transition for developing economies is central to the right to sustainable development and poverty eradication as enshrined in relevant global treaties including the Paris Agreement.

He then added with concern “ that globally, we are seeing wealthier nations and institutions banning all public investments in fossil, including natural gas. Examples include the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom (UK) and Denmark to name a few, as well as specific institutions such as the Swedfund from Sweden, CDC from the UK, the European Investment Bank, and the Investment Fund for Developing Countries from Denmark.”

In clear advocacy for a fairer approach, the VP said, “an inclusive and equitable transition will also take into account the principles of common but differentiated responsibility and leaving no one behind, that are enshrined into global treaties around sustainable development and climate action.”

Speaking on the Nigerian context, Prof. Osinbajo noted that “it means building sustainability into our economic planning, and so we have developed an Economic Sustainability Plan, which includes our flagship “Solar Power Naija” programme aiming to electrify 5 million households and 25 million people by 2023 leveraging solar mini-grids and stand-alone systems. We believe in the potential of off-grid renewables to close the energy deficit in Nigeria and across Africa.”

“But we also look to developed countries, the private sector, and development agencies to recognise the potential that a just and clean energy transition can bring to the development of our continent and other developing regions.

“We hope to work jointly towards common goals including the market and environmental opportunity presented by the financing of clean energy assets in growing energy markets,” the Vice President explained.

Emphasizing the need for equity, Prof. Osinbajo said “limiting the development of gas projects, poses dire challenges for African nations, while making an insignificant dent in global emissions.”

Making a case for justice, social justice, and fairness, the VP said “what is often not sufficiently considered in thinking through the transition to net-zero emissions is the critical role that energy, in our case, gas plays in catalyzing economic development and supporting people’s health and livelihoods, especially in poorer countries.

“Natural gas is currently used for industry, fertilizer manufacturing, and cooking – which are more difficult to transition than power generation.”

On the access element of the energy transition, the Vice President explained that “it must be linked with the emission reduction aspect.”

He noted that “pathways to reaching net-zero by 2050 have to include first ending energy poverty by 2030. If energy access issues are left unaddressed, we will continue to see growing energy demand being addressed with high polluting and deforesting fuels such as diesel, kerosene, and firewood.

On her part, the CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy, Mrs. Damilola Ogunbiyi, said the funding of projects that will guarantee cleaner energy sources will be critical to the attainment of net-zero by 2050.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Founding Director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, Prof. Jason Bordoff said the annual gathering of energy experts is part of the contributions by the Centre in addressing pressing energy issues and expressed delight in having the Vice President share perspectives at the 2021 summit.

Other participants at the summit include American energy expert and Vice Chairman of IHS Markit, Daniel Yergin, who moderated a fireside chat with the Vice President after his keynote address, and Ms Caitlin Norfleet, the Event Manager of the Center on Global Energy Policy, among others.