US Partners DISCOs For Improved Electricity In Nigeria

ElectricityThe government of the United States of America has signed a memorandum of understanding with Nigeria’s government to improve electricity supply.

The partnership which is expected to inject nine million dollars annually into the sector is also expected to provide technical support to the distribution companies.

Representatives of electricity distribution companies, the Ministry of Power and the American government, all witnessed the signing of the agreement between the U.S government and electricity distribution companies.

The U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle said that the partnership is aimed at opening up business opportunities in Nigeria, as access to electricity would reduce the cost of doing business in the country.

Away from the business opportunities the partnership will provide, representatives of some electricity distribution companies at the event asked the U.S government to help build their capacity to distribute power and collect tariff from consumers.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, who was represented at the event by his SSA, Lanre Akinsola, said that government is making efforts to relieve the sector of its over-dependence on gas.

Electricity generation and distribution has dropped below 3,000 megawatts in recent times, causing perpetual darkness in some parts of the country.

Often, the Ministry of Power has blamed the sharp fall on acts of vandalism of gas pipelines and other installations across the country.

US Ambassador Entwistle Commends Nigeria’s Efforts To End Malaria

US On MalariaAs the world commemorates the World Malaria Day, the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, says Nigeria has made historic progress in turning the tide against malaria In the past 15 years.

In a statement issued from the public affairs section of the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, Ambassador Entwistle said that since 2011, an aggressive programme to fight malaria in Nigeria reduced mortality rates among children under five by 18 per cent.

He said malaria among this same group declined by a remarkable 15 per cent.

The Ambassador also added that the United States remained strongly committed to working with Nigeria and all her partners to intensify the efforts to free people from the tremendous burden of malaria.

The United States also pledged to support Nigeria by training medical personnel and community health workers to care for people with the disease.

U.S. Urges Nigeria To Curb Unemployment With Micro-Financing

US EmbassyThe United States has asked the Nigerian government to invest in micro-finance to encourage small businesses that would reduce unemployment.


The call was made by the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, on Tuesday.

He also advised the government to make the Nigerian business environment friendly for foreign investors.

The Ambassador made the call in Abuja on Tuesday at a meeting with the Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, to discuss the government’s blueprint for tackling unemployment and how the American government could assist.

Dr. Ngige outlined government’s plans to reduce unemployment and appealed to the United States government to assist Nigeria

.

Earlier, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Waba, presented a national action plan for job creation to the Labour Minister while urging him to take job creation and security as priorities of his administration.

Some of the other issues discussed by the workers union were the National Minimum Wage, establishment of a Labour Advisory Council and employment of casual workers by some companies.

US Embassy Trains Govt. Spokespersons On Information Management

US EmbassyThe United States Embassy in Nigeria has called on the spokespersons of governors of the 19 northern states of the country not to withhold information about government activities from the public.

This was at a 2-day workshop it organised for the spokespersons in collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), in Kaduna State, North West Nigeria.

The essence of the workshop was to assist the participants to refine and learn new techniques on effective press office operations, with particular emphasis on countering radical narratives and creating a strong network of spokespersons throughout the government of Nigeria.

In his speech, the U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, explained the importance of unfettered access to information in the development of democracy and promotion of good governance.

He said that the training would assist the participants to discharge their functions effectively.

Addressing the participants, the Guest Speaker and an America-based Media Consultant, Eduardo Cue, said that the essence of the workshop was to update the skills of the government’s image makers and to also shape the public knowledge of government through the media.

In his address, the NUJ President, Mr Abdulwaheed Odusile, said that the spokespersons were critical in making the government activities open and accessible to the people.

He stressed the need for government officials to exhibit honesty, transparency and collaborate with the media on information dissemination and management.

On his part, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, who was represented by his deputy, Bala Bantex, charged the spokespersons to make available to the public, the activities of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government at all levels.

Some of the participants said that the workshop would enable them to understand the best ways of managing information as it relates to the activities of their various state governments, and most importantly on how to relate with the media and the public in general.

At the end of the workshop, it is expected that the government spokespersons would be able to make decisions that will satisfy the public interest and their employers, as well as their personal values and professional standards.

Nigeria’s Presidency To Restore U.S. Military Programme

US-Nigeria-ArmyNigeria’s Presidency seems set to reverse the decision by the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan on the cancellation of the military training of Nigerian Armed Forces in the United States.

Latest report indicates that President Muhammadu Buhari is now ready to restore the United States military program to train Nigerian troops.

The training has become necessary because of what government calls ‘growing aggression in the north-east’. The military has been tackling a terrorist group, the Boko Haram, in the region for over five years now.

The terrorists are trying to establish an Islamic State and end western education in the region.

The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, insists that Nigeria and the U.S. have military training agreement.

Mr Entwistle said:”We had at Nigeria’s request agreed to train some battalion. Some of the trainers in the world have been provided by the United States”.

Former President Jonathan on December 14, 2014, ended the US government’s training programme for Nigerian soldiers.

The Nigerian government requested for the suspension of the programme less than a month after Washington said it refused to sell the country Cobra attack helicopters.

“At the request of the Nigerian government, the United States will discontinue its training of a Nigerian Army battalion,” the US Embassy in the capital, Abuja, said in an e-mailed statement.

U.S Tasks Nigeria On Violence Free 2015 Polls

Election ViolenceAhead of the forthcoming 2015 general elections, the United States Government has urged Nigeria to ensure the conduct of free, fair and credible elections that would be free of violence.

The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, says it is only when the votes count that the electorate would accept the outcome of the result.

This was on Monday while declaring open a workshop for journalists on community reporting in the build up to the 2015 elections, organized by the American Embassy in collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Kaduna, North-West, Nigeria.

According to the Ambassador, the 2015 elections present a golden opportunity for Nigeria to demonstrate its lasting commitment to democratic values and institutions.

While stating that the United States was ready to support Nigeria on its journey to another democratic path, he emphasized the need for the government to tackle the issue of insecurity in all areas affected by insurgency.

He called on Nigerians to refrain from advocating , fomenting or condoning violence before, during or after the elections.

Mr Entwistle also urged political parties and the government to ensure that all registered voters participate freely in a peaceful and transparent process.

Also as Nigeria’s elections draw near, journalists are expected to play a greater role in informing the public with a view to allowing them make good choices on who would run the affairs of the country for the next four years.

The Guest Speaker, Professor of Mass Communication from University of Nebraska, USA, Gary Kebbel, said that the aim of the workshop was geared towards supporting Nigerian journalists to do a better job during the forthcoming election.

According to him, journalists have a key role to play in ensuring a free, fair and violence-free 2015 general elections.

The NUJ President, Mr Mohammed Garba, advised them to provide an impartial and complete set of information that would allow the citizens to make informed decisions.

He also urged the federal and state governments to step up the fight against insurgency in the north east and other affected areas to ensure the safety of the electorates, Journalists and electoral officials.

Some of the journalists covering the north eastern part of the country also allayed the fears of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) about conducting a violence free election in the zone, due to intensified deadly attacks being carried out by the Boko Haram members in the zone.

They called for proper equipping and motivation of the nation’s security forces to enable them face the terrorists squarely.

U.S. To Establish Health Centres For Ebola In Nigeria

Ebola_healthworkersThe American government has promised to collaborate with Nigeria in containing the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease.

The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, told reporters in Abuja on Monday, after a close door meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, that his government would partner with Nigeria in providing and managing Ebola emergency treatment centres across the country.

The Ambassador was, however, not specific as to whether or not, the American government would supply the experimental drug, which is currently being used in the United state, to Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Professor Chukwu said the Nano Silver experimental drug for Ebola, which was provided by a Nigerian scientist was not used on the Nigerian medical doctor that survived the virus.

According to him, the use of the Nano Silver drug had been temporarily suspended for now.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) gave approval for the use of untested drugs in the treatment of Ebola patient, in an attempt to contain the disease it said was vastly underestimated. It said: “It is a public health emergency of international concern”.

WHO also said that extraordinary measures were needed to contain the disease that had claimed over 1100 lives in West Africa since it broke out this year.

The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, declared the outbreak of the disease a National Emergency and had approved an intervention fund of 1.9 billion Naira to contain the spread.

Ebola Virus was first detected in a Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer, who flew into Lagos, Nigeria and died on July 25.

Since his death, three more deaths have been recorded, all of which were persons that had primary contact with Late Sawyer before his death.

 

2015 Elections: Jega Seeks Collaboration With United States

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has asked for more collaboration with the U.S. on electoral process in the country.

The commission’s Chairman, Prof. Attaihiru Jega, made this request on Monday during a visit to his office by the U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle.

According to him, INEC is doing everything possible to improve on the electoral process to ensure that elections in the country are credible and transparent.

He said: “We are not promising a perfect election in 2015 but we are confident that we will do our best. We have taken some steps to achieve this. For instance, staff training, in collaboration with development partners, strategic plans and re-organised staff. We are planning a retreat to finalize the timetable for 2015.

“We are still on the Continuous Voters Register and have held series of meetings with security agencies, Civil Society Organizations and development partners ahead of 2015. While it is the responsibility of INEC to organise civic and other registration awareness, the commission faces challenges of funding as well.

“The resources available to discharge that responsibility are usually insufficient, given the enormity of the task of dealing with a large illiterate population and to get them really understand what to do not only during voting but the larger issues of costing good candidates and so on. So there is a lot of things the CSOs can do”, he said.

Mr. Entwistle, while pledging the Obama administration’s commitment to a transparent election in Nigeria come 2015, however, asked Nigerian politicians to ensure that their comments do not provoke tensions that would lead to violence.