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ECOWAS: Oduah bows out as ECOFEPA President

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Senator Stella Oduah (Nigeria) has been commended by ECOWAS Parliamentarians for a job well done as the President of the ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association (ECOFEPA).

This is even as Hon. Filomena Vieira Martins (Cape Verde) was unanimously elected as president along with other members of the Bureau, to take over from Oduah whose term lapsed in May.

Other members of the Bureau elected include Hon. Kaboule Reine Bertille Sakande Benao (Burkina Faso) 1st Vice President and Hon. Biodun Olujimi (Nigeria) as 2nd Vice President.

Hon. Guiro Oulimata (Senegal) was appointed to serve as Secretary General while Hon. Fatoumatta Njai was elected as the Association’s Treasurer.

The new Bureau was unanimously elected following their proposal by the Stella Oduah-led out-gone executives at a meeting held at the Seat of Parliament in Abuja.

The election followed the presentation and review of the activities of ECOFEPA in the last two years, while Hon. Stella Oduah, a Senator in Nigeria, presided over the association.

Presenting the report, they noted that the Association spent thousands of Dollars on Humanitarian service in the sub-region and visited victims of insurgency in North East Nigeria in 2017 where the President, Oduah donated N850,000 while ECOFEPA donated clothes worth $1,600.

Reacting to the assessment report on the tenure of the Oduah-led Bureau of ECOFEPA, members of parliament did not mince words in commending the out goint executive.

They particularly commended the President for her selfless service, using her personal funds to handle many of the activities of the Association.

Hon. Njai Fatoumatta (The Gambia) while commending the leadership, urged the incoming executive that there were more jobs to be done especially in the area of advancing the course of women in politics.

Hon. Niamali Fatimata Fomba (Mali) particularly commended outgoing President Stella Oduah for her dedication to the association.

She noted how the President always boosted the visibility of the association by sponsoring media events.

Fomba stressed that even after losing her son, Oduah still persevered and didn’t forsake the association.

For Hon. Moreita Moniz Martina (Guinea Bissau) said: “I would like to congratulate the bureau for this report because here there are many activities that were carried out, I was not even aware that ECOFEPA had done so much and therefore the Bureau deserves commendation”.

For Hon. Oulimata Guiro (Senegal), she described the activities carried out by ECOFEPA as noble while Hon. SESAY K. Veronica (Sierra leone), while commending ECOFEPA, urged the organization to extend its humanitarian visit to Sierra Leone.

She appealed that the nation had suffered a lot, stressing that after suffering from Ebola, the country also experienced mud slide.

She urged ECOFEPA to also look into the problem of teenage pregnancy and early marriage that we must take into cognizance.

Hon. Adama Sylla (Senegal) said that the activities of ECOFEPA was acknowledged during her campaign to be a member of the Senegalese Parliarment, urging the new members to do a good job.

The newly elected executive will be inaugurated December 10.

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Osinbajo urges Africa, Europe embrace digital economy

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VP AT 2018 AFRICA EUROPE HIGH LEVEL FORUM

VP AT 2018 AFRICA EUROPE HIGH LEVEL FORUM


Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called Africa and Europe to work together to advance and harvest the economic benefits of digital economy.

Such collaboration, he said, would at the same time prevent a counter-productive widening of the digital gap.

Osinbajo stated today on Tuesday at the Africa-Europe High-Level Forum in Vienna, Austria, which had in attendance other African and European Heads of States.

The meeting, which was organized by the European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) held in Vienna, Austria.

Osinbajo who spoke on ‘Taking cooperation to the digital age’, noted that investments in digital technology could make important contribution to growth and development by fostering productivity gains from continuous innovation.

“Given our fast-growing population in Africa, we are, of course, keen to work together to boost the job creation potential of new technologies rather than concentrating on jobs destined to disappear in the digital age.

“Faster growth, sustainable development and job creation are also vital for reducing irregular migration from Africa to Europe. In our globalized world, people can see disparities in standards of living across regions quite easily.

“This means there must be increasing openings for entrepreneurship and jobs in home countries for those who would otherwise embark on risk journeys in search of opportunities. In Nigeria we are taking urgent and practical steps to provide such opportunities for our rapidly increasing youth population.”

Prof. Osinbajo also highlighted the strides made by the Buhari’s administration in developing Nigeria’s technology sector through supporting public-private sector initiatives and the advisory group on technology and creativity.

He noted that the advisory group had been working to build an ecosystem for funding, training, infrastructure and intellectual property protection.

The Vice President added that the country’s Social Investment Programme has been leveraging on technology tools to drive it in its bid to improve the economy and lives of Nigerians.

“Under our social investment programme, 75,000 young people are being trained in coding, software development, hardware maintenance, animation and data management, and we’re set to train another 200,000 young men and women.

“Similarly, we have established 8 technology hubs to support tech startups across our six geopolitical zones and two major cities of Abuja and Lagos.

“We’ve encouraged partnership to establish venture funds to support innovation and are now engaged in talks to establish a $500 million innovation funds with bilateral and multilateral partners.

“We’ll be deploying digital methods and tools on a larger scale to expand learning opportunities for younger Nigerians, as conventional education through brick and mortar institution can no longer be viable given the huge numbers and limited resources.

“Already, 200,000 out of our 500,000 young graduates in our N-Power scheme have tablet devices, which we use for on-the-job training and further skills acquisition. This experience will guide our efforts as we seek to expand digital literacy at earlier stages of education.

“Similarly, our education curriculum is being reworked to emphasize Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. The Arts have been included because of the growing recognition of the strengths of our country, especially in the arts, music, film and literature.”

Osinbajo also highlighted the growth in e-commerce in Nigeria, with references to leading e-commerce platforms that have leveraged on technology to grow their businesses.

He said, “Financial technology is being used in our efforts to rapidly scale up financial inclusion.

“Working with our banks, TELCOs and FinTech companies, we’ve used digital tools and platforms to provide interest-free micro loans to up to 1.3 million Nigerians and about 300,000 received Conditional Cash Transfers by the same means.

“We hire, pay and train online 500,000 young men and women in the largest post-tertiary direct jobs programme in Africa. Through participation in this scheme, present and future beneficiaries would be brought into databases for unique biometric identification.’’

The Vice president also thanked European countries for their support, while calling on other EU member states to partner with Nigeria and Africa to impart skills, raise resources, promote investment and provide infrastructure to build a digital economy.

“I’m optimistic that our efforts would attract strong support and active engagement of our partners in the European Union.

“Indeed, already, we have some good examples of that in the African Digital leaders Training programme, which is a partnership between Ventures Platform of Nigeria and Enterprise Lithuania with funding from the European Union.

“This innovative programme would provide digital skills training for 50 young Nigerians in Lithuania, while at the same time, relieving temporary labour shortage in that country. A reintegration component is also built into the package.

“We have a moment in the history of Europe-Africa relations that can yield tremendous mutual benefits. Let us seize this moment,” he said.

Earlier on Monday night, Osinbajo had an interactive session with the Nigerian community in Austria during a town hall meeting.

At the meeting attended by leading members of the Nigerian community in Vienna, the Vice President commended the work of Nigerians in Diaspora, noting that that the Nigerian community was adding value to the country.

“We very strongly believe that our country can do much better than where we are, we have practically everything that it takes to make the country work.

“In fact we have more than what it takes to make the country do exceedingly well; there is no question about that. But corruption has been the major problem in the country.

He said that Nigeria “must tackle the monster of corruption. There is no country in the world that can survive when its resources are stolen the way our resources were stolen’’.

“It doesn’t really matter how you slice it or describe it, so long as a few people can take government or public resources and do with it as they like, they are not likely to be able to do the basic.”

He also urged Nigerians to continue to support the work of the administration in making the country better through provision of more infrastructure and tackling grand corruption, among other development initiatives.

“Today our country earns 60 per cent less than it earned five years ago, but we have spent N2.7 trillion in two budget cycle in infrastructure, that is the highest in the history of our country,” he said.

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BREAKING: Police Lock Down NASS

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Officers of the Nigerian Police Force have occupied the National Assembly Complex. The operatives, who have shut all entrances to the premises, prevented workers from gaining entry.

More details soon….

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War against terrorism: Buhari warns Amnesty International

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President Buhari

President Buhari


President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed concern that consistently damaging report of global human rights watchdog, Amnesty International (AI), over Nigeria’s war against terrorism, is dampening the morale of the nation’s military.

A presidency statement issued non Monday’s reaction to the AI’s latest report, stressed that the situation now appears as if Nigeria is also fighting terrorism was against the global organisation.

“While President Muhammadu Buhari cherishes and encourages the noble ideals on which institutions like Amnesty International are founded, the organisation’s operations in Nigeria seem geared towards damaging the morale of the Nigerian military.

“It often appears as if the Nigerian government is fighting two wars on terror: against Boko Haram and against Amnesty International”, said the statement issued by presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu.

He declared that the “obvious bias and inaccuracies in Amnesty International’s recent country reports on Nigeria risk Amnesty’s reputation as an impartial international organisation”.

President Buhari therefore appealed to the leadership of Amnesty International to scrutinise its advocacy in Nigeria, especially as it relates to the war against terrorism.

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