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Gabon to be first African nation paid to fight deforestation

[FILES] This aerial picture shows smouldering peatland after a fire blaize. (Photo by ADEK BERRY - AFP)

Gabon will become the first African country paid with international funds to preserve its forests in an effort to fight climate change, the United Nations said Sunday.

Norway will provide Gabon, which is almost 90 percent covered by forest, with $150 million (136 million euros) to battle deforestation, according to the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), which the UN launched to bring together the region’s nations with Western donors.

The “historic” 10-year deal will be awarded to Gabon for “both reducing its greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation, and absorptions of carbon dioxide by natural forests,” CAFI said in a statement.

The announcement comes ahead of a major UN climate summit on Monday that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called to ask countries to raise their greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Gabon has been a leader in Central Africa in preserving its rainforests, creating 13 national parks since 2000 that cover around 11 percent of the country.

It has around 12 percent of the Congo Basin forest, the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest, and is home to almost 60 percent of the surviving forest elephants in Africa, which CAFI said was “a key indicator of sound natural resource governance”.

A major scandal involving a huge haul of illegally logged kevazingo, a tropical hardwood, led to the vice president being sacked, and British-born environmental campaigner Lee White being appointed forestry minister.

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Kogi governor tasks youths on skills acquisition for self-reliance

Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has urged youths in the state to engage themselves in a meaningful endeavour that would bring dignity and prosperity to them and the society at large.

Bello gave the advice when some of the beneficiaries of the State Government skills acquisition programmes, visited him at his Okene residence on Sunday.

The beneficiaries are currently undergoing training with an indigenous metallurgical company called ”Leroi Resources Nigeria Limited”.

The governor emphasized the need to train youth in various skills in order to meet the manpower demands in industries and equip them for opportunities to be self-reliance.

Bello stressed the importance of enrolling youths in skills acquisition, especially in metallurgical fabrication, noting that the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, had embarked on the construction of a 614km gas pipeline from Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano under the NNPC.

He added that the youth who were trained in pipeline welding and metallurgy would be an advantage in gaining employment.

He, therefore, urged Nigerian youths to engage themselves in a meaningful endeavour that will bring dignity and prosperity to them.

Earlier, the company Managing Director, Engr Kabiru Raji, who led the team of the beneficiaries on the thank you visit the governor, thanked him for the support the company had received in the course of the training.

He noted that the company specialised in outsourcing, training and management of industrial welders and poised to equip trainees with adequate theoretical and practical knowledge.

”In partnership with the state government, LEROI is currently training about 350 young men and women on pipeline building and other welding activities,” Raji said.

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Arsenal fans beg Unai Emery to start Bukayo Saka against Aston Villa

Arsenal Bukayo Saka

Bukayo Saka, Arsenal’s latest revelation, is already becoming the fans’ favourite at the Emirate after his superb showing in their 3-0 Europa win away at Frankfurt.

The 18-year-old starlet grabbed a goal and two assists as the Gunners saw off last season’s semi- finalists Eintracht Frankfurt at the Commerzbank-arena.

Arsenal hosts Aston Villa on Sunday, with a section of fans urgingUnai Emery to start the teenage sensation against the Villans.

Rob Holden wrote on his instagram handle, “After that performance in the Europa, he deserves it. What’s the point in scoring and assisting if he doesn’t get a chance?”

Luka tweeted, “Yes, unless he’s super tired. But he should make the bench. Reiss got rested so he might start.”

Another fan known as King Laca, overwhelmingly rooted for his inclusion citing Lacazette’s injury lay-off as a reason to start the teenager.

“Yes with laca out… auba can play central. And Saka will slot in perfectly.”

Louis Shiner wrote on his instagram handle, “Yes he deserves a reward for such a good game.”

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NAF chief tasks personnel on civil-military relations

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The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on Saturday implored Nigerian Air Force (NAF) personnel to maintain good civil-military relations in order not to put the Force in disrepute.

Abubakar made the call during the inauguration of renovated four blocks of one-bedroom flat at the second officers’ transit quarters at NAF base in Kaduna.

“I implore all of you to maintain good civil-military relations in order not to put the Service in disrepute, ” Abubakar said.

The NAF chief was represented at the event by the Air Officer Commanding, (AOC), Air Training Command, Kaduna, AVM Muhammad Sulaiman.

Abubakar said the renovation of the quarters was a fulfillment of his earlier promise to build new residential houses and renovate existing ones for personal, to enhance their professional competence.

He also said that providing new infrastructure for personnel was a goal set by the force in the discharge of its constitutional responsibilities.

Abubakar said the NAF had prioritised the provision of good quality living accommodation for married and single personnel.

“Let me, therefore, register my profound gratitude on behalf of officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the air force and our families and pledge our continued unalloyed loyalty.,” the NAF chief added.

He said the Force had continued to bombard logistics strongholds of Boko Haram fighters in the North-East and destroying their camps along the fringes of Lake Chad.

“The Federal Government is giving full backing to the military operations as appreciable successes have been recorded.,” he stated.

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VP Osinbajo: Nigerians better together, division no option

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, spoke to reporters in Kano, just now, answering questions on the xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa. Below are his verbatim comments-

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says it is very important and more beneficial for Nigeria as a nation to remain together, than to be apart.

“Rather than promoting division, Nigerians should continue to promote unity and togetherness,” Osinbajo said on Saturday in Osogbo while delivering the 8th convocation lecture of the Osun State University.

He spoke on the theme “Six Decades of Chequered Nationhood: Nigeria Still Holds The Key To Africa’s Development”.

“It is not not true that our diversity is an impediment to our sustainability; our strength is in our size.

“Great nations are those that stay together despite their diversity.

“Going our separate ways will not solve our problems; staying together will be of great benefit to us.

“Nigeria still holds the key to Africa’s development and remains a regional champion.

“Our manifest destiny is to lead Africa and the world, so we must be united.

“Nigeria’s outstanding endowments are facing challenges, but the nation must follow the path that made other nations great.”

He emphasised the need for Nigeria to embrace merit over quota in appointments, and also invest in human development capital.

The Vice President said that President Muhammadu Buhari was doing everything possible to lift Nigerians out of poverty.

“The Federal Government is investing in infrastructure, agriculture, education, power, technology, innovation and social investment programmes to empower Nigerians.

“On a daily basis, the Federal Government feeds 9.5 million children under its National School Feeding Programme in 26 states in the country.

“Already, 520 Nigerians have been engaged under the N-Power programme, while tradermoni programme to empower petty traders is still ongoing,” he said.

Osinbajo also said that the Buhari led-administration would continue to fight against corruption to move Nigeria forward.

He said that the menace was fighting back, but declared that its kicks would not deter government’s resolve to flush it.

In his remarks, Gov. Gboyega Oyetola urged the graduating students to be good ambassadors of the university wherever they found themselves.

Prof. Labode Popoola, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, in his speech, said that 49 students made First Class, while 670 had Second Class Upper.

Popoola said that 892 students made Second Class Lower, 194 Third Class, while nine graduated with Pass degrees.

Newsmen report that interior minister Rauf Aregbesola, Mr Jim Ovie, CEO Zenith Bank, Mr Wale Babalakin, Chairman, University of Lagos Governing Council, and Mrs. Nike Okundaye, CEO Nike Gallery, bagged honorary degrees at the ceremony.

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Ecobank Nigeria announces appointment of key officers

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Ecobank Nigeria has announced the appointment of key Management Officers across various levels. Amongst those appointed are Kenneth Okere, who is now the Company Secretary & Chief Legal Counsel; Ibukunoluwa Oyedeji, Chief Financial Officer (CFO); Abiola Aderinola, Financial Controller; Adetokunbo Uko, Treasurer and Akintunde Dawodu, Chief Compliance Officer and Head, Compliance & Control. All the appointments have since been ratified by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Commenting, the Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan, said the appointments are in line with the bank’s Roadmap to Leadership Transformation Programme. He also noted that Ecobank which also promoted over 950 staff early this year, is committed to meritocracy, providing exciting career opportunities to deserving staff in order to achieve improved profitability, cost efficiency, regulatory compliance and customer excellence.

The new Company Secretary and Chief Legal Counsel, Kenneth Okere has over 26 years legal experience. He has held various senior roles within the Legal department in Ecobank Nigeria. He previously worked at Metropolitan Bank, Omega Bank and Bayo Osipitan & Co. (Legal Practitioners). Kenneth Okere holds an LL.B, B.L and LL.M in Law from the University of Jos and University of Lagos respectively. He is also a Member of both the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and International Bar Association (IBA).

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Ibukunoluwa Oyedeji, has over 20 years’ experience in funds/assets management, credit analysis, treasury management and securities trading. She was until this appointment the country Head for the Securities, Wealth and Assets Management business of the Ecobank Group. She previously worked at the FBN Capital Assets Managements, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Goldman Sachs international, HSBC Global Market and Morgan Stanley international. Ibukun holds a Bachelors’ degree in Economics from the University of Ibadan and Master’s degree (MSc) in International Securities and Investment Banking from ISMA Center, University of Reading, UK. She is a CFA Charter holder, Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA) and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) of Nigeria.

Abiola Aderinola, the new Financial Controller, has over 19 years banking experience covering various aspects of financial control function & regulatory reporting, MIS, performance management, management & statutory reporting, and strategic planning. He started his banking career with metropolitan bank and later on in his career worked as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Ecobank Zambia. Abiola holds, a BSc Degree in Banking & Finance from Olabisi Onabanjo University, an MBA from University of Lagos and a Diploma in International Financial Reporting. He is also an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ACA) and an Associate Member, Accounting Technician (AAT).

Adetokunbo Uko, the Treasurer, Ecobank Nigeria has 25 years banking experience covering Treasury and Financial institutions Marketing, Retail Banking, Public Sector, Credit & Marketing and Branch Operations. She began her banking career with Gulf Bank in 1994 working in Branch Operations, Sales/Marketing roles, and Treasury. She also worked at Oceanic Bank (now Ecobank) as Head, Treasury & Financial Institutions and Treasurer. Adetokunbo is a member of the Financial Markets Dealers Association (FMDA) and Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN). She holds an MBA from Obafemi Awolowo University and a B.A. in English from Ogun State University.

Akintunde Dawodu, Chief Compliance Officer and Head, Compliance & Control started his banking career in 1996 with Guaranty Trust Bank where he worked in Branch Operations. He was until recently Managing Partner for BILD professional services. Tunde possesses over 18 years valuable banking experience. He holds a B.Sc. Degree in Finance from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is an Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ACA), Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (ACIB), Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (ACTI) and an Associate Member of the Nigeria Institute of Management (AMNIM).

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BREAKING: Naira Marley Barred From Performing At Unilag

Hip hop artiste, Naira Marley, was on Friday night stopped from performing at a show inside the campus of the University of Lagos, Akoka.

The event organised by mobile phone manufacturer, Infinix, is currently taking place at the Sports Centre of the institution.

According to findings by SaharaReporters, the decision to stop Naira Marley from performing stems from his poor public perception and ongoing court case over cyber fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

More details shortly…

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Governors inaugurates committee to initiate uniform policies in APC states

Governor Abubakar Badaru Babura of Jigawa

The Progressive Governors’ Forum of the All Progressives Congress has inaugurated a governance programme steering committee to ensure uniformity of policy initiatives in all the APC controlled states.

Governor Mohammed Badaru of Jigawa, who is the Chairman of the committee, said this at a news conference in Abuja on Friday.

Badaru said that all the APC governors had agreed to key into the policy document to be designed by the steering committee.

According to him, the essence of the committee is to sharpen the identity of the APC governors.

He said governance programmes such as agriculture and education would be looked into and adopted as uniform policies in all the APC controlled states.

According to him, the idea is to ensure that APC emerges as a distinctly social democratic party when compared to other political parties.

He said: “The mandate of the Governance Programme Steering Committee is to focus more on strengthening the capacity of our states to have increased commitment to implement approved initiatives.

“This may require more initiatives around issues of capacity development for functionaries of our state. This will have to be well tailored around the initiatives we subscribed to rather than the generic approach.”

Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau, who is co-chairman of the committee, said that the idea would settle all public debates around the distinction between APC and and other parties.

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Prof. Sonni Tyoden, said that uniformity of policy initiatives among the APC states was fundamental to achieve the vision of the party.

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Abia guber: Tribunal dismisses petition against Governor Ikpeazu

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The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, on Friday dismissed the petition filed by Dr Alex Otti of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, against Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Otti, was challenging the re-election of Ikpeazu, in the March 9, governorship poll in the state, alleged massive irregularities in 15 of 17 Local Government Areas in the state.

But the tribunal led by its chairman Justice Lekan Ogumonye, in a unanimous Judgement dismissed all his prayers in the petition.

The panel held that the petitioners failed to prove his allegations of over-voting in the said Local Governments.

The tribunal also ruled that the petitioners could not prove the allegations of non-compliance with the electoral act made against the Independent National Electoral Commission during the conduct of the election.

The tribunal, therefore, dismissed the petition for lacking in merit.

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NCC strengthens cyberspace security to protect telecoms consumers

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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has initiated actions to strengthen cyberspace towards protecting telecoms consumers across the country against hackers and cyber criminals that have been deploying sophisticated systems to swindle Nigerians.

Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau of NCC, Mrs. Felicia Onwuegbuchulam, made the disclosure, in her opening remarks, during the 53rd edition of consumer town hall meeting, with the theme: Mitigating Effects of Cyber Crime: ‘Roles of Telecom Consumers,’ organised by the NCC, held at Tees Resort Event Hall, Ilora Road, Oyo town, Oyo State, yesterday.

Onwuegbuchulam, who was represented by deputy director, Consumer Affairs Bureau of NCC, Mr. Ismail Adedigba, stated that, “It is note worthy that, as the commission embarks on various initiatives to increase access to the internet for Nigerians for positive engagements, we are, nonetheless, conscious of dishonest individuals using the internet for illegal activities.

“The hackers and cyber criminals deploy sophisticated systems to intrude into victims connected devices as telecoms consumers to perpetrate their exploitation schemes.

“Cybercrime is on the increase and the commission is committed to using its various outreach programmes to embark on series of awareness campaigns with a view to keeping consumers well informed on the risks associated with being online.”

Adedigba, earlier in his welcome address, said the NCC has realised that liberalisation of the telecoms industry has led to an unprecedented increase in the usage of Internet-based solutions and services, and that the commission has initiated a process to establish an Internet Industry Code of Practice for Internet Service providers in the country.

“The Internet Code is a regulatory intervention expected to secure the country’s cyber space against imminent threats from cyber attackers as well as addressing issues such as online child protection, privacy and data protection among others.

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