Renewing hope for Persons with Disabilities

The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities is a non-governmental organisation that has, on many occasions, raised concerns about the population of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in the country. The argument of the organisation has been that without an accurate figure on PwDs, it will be difficult to make adequate plans for their wellness. It alleges that the 2006 Nigerian census recorded 3.2 million people as living with disabilities, or 2.32 per cent of the total population of 140 million people in that year which, according to it is inaccurate. It then enjoined the National Population Commission to cooperate with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development for a fair capturing of the PwDs in future census. Concerned persons living with disabilities have also observed that the ratified United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of 2007 and its Optional Protocol in 2010 have no any impacts on the management of PwDs across the country. According to them, the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, charged with submitting reports on progress might not have been doing so, thus limiting the understanding of disability to a treatise of welfare and charity, resulting in total neglect of the several rights of the PwDs. For instance, Mr James David Lalu, the pioneer Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, explains that it takes 20 years struggle to recognise the rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWD) in the country. 'There are a lot of things to put in place in a particular building before you can achieve an effective accessibility. 'One of the efforts we are making is to create a programme to bring together experts on accessibility, within and outside the country'', he explains. See also Commission urges NASS to establish Disability Trust Fund Similarly, Mr Abdullahi Usman, President, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, notes that many PwDs are live in abject poverty 'and if you go to some parts of the co untry, they engaged in street begging because they are not educated enough to know the dangers of it. 'Our members needs skills acquisition training. If the Federal Government can help us to admit our members into skills centres to acquire different skills, we will appreciate that''. Concerned by this condition of the people living with disabilities, President Bola Tinubu's administration through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, announced a new policy direction under the Renewed Hope Agenda that in every social intervention programme undertaken by government, 10 per cent of such would be reserved for PwDs. Suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Betta Edu, who announced the new policy while inaugurating various empowerment programmes for persons with disabilities in Abuja, said that the President directed that the disability community should be given priority in all intervention programmes of government. 'Already, we are into conditional cash transfers for 15 million househ olds; out of this figure, 10 per cent is reserved for the disability. 'So, we are happy and very proud of the disability commission for pushing on all fronts to ensure that the Renewed Hope Agenda is actually achieved,'' she noted. 'We are providing Point Of Sales (POS) machines to persons with disability across the country so that they can be the last mile distributors of the funds to people living in villages and hard-to-reach areas. 'We also gave N130, 000 each, as scholarship to some physically challenged students in tertiary institutions. 'Beyond this, we have also been able to bring officials of the Corporate Affairs Commission to carry out proper registration of their businesses and N20 million has been released for that purpose. See also Commission urges persons with disabilities to embrace sports for improved mental health 'We are having several other interventions such as giving out grants to associations linked to persons with disabilities,' she said. Edu said that the Federal Government wou ld be committed to supporting the educational needs of citizens, persons with disabilities inclusive. She also said that the ministry would collaborate with the Ministries of Finance, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, among others, to eradicate poverty in the country. 'Some people are poor because they do not have access to education while others are poor because they do not have access to quality healthcare services or are poor because they do not have access to jobs,'' she observed. She said that the ministry had been given a full department to coordinate the overall national responses on issues relating to persons with disabilities in the country. Sharing similar sentiments, Mr Abdullahi Usman, President, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, therefore, commended the president for the gesture and for rectifying the African Charter on Human Rights and the rights of persons with disabilities in the country. Usman, however, decried the slow level of implementation of the pr esidential directive which he said that only half of his members had so far benefited from the intervention programme. 'First, we must appreciate the government of Tinubu with the Renewed Hope Agenda and for his wonderful job of ensuring that there is equal opportunity for all citizens. 'All we are asking for is to have equal opportunity where inclusive society will be guaranteed because nothing about us is without us,'' Usman pleaded. Ms Chisom Onyekwere, one of the beneficiaries of the Renewed Hope intervention programme that got POS machine, also expressed gratitude for the gesture. See also Multi-stakeholders approach crucial in implementing Abia disability law- Group 'I am a living witness of the Renewed Hope intervention programme and for me, the president has made impact in this one year of his government because I was given POS machine and a token of N100,000 to startup my business through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs,'' she said. Mr Halilu Gayam, Chairman, Nasarawa State Association of the Deaf, however said that his members had yet to feel the impact of the Renewed Hope intervention programme. 'We in Nasarawa State have yet to feel the impact of president's intervention but we use to see in television as other states benefit and we hope our turn will come. 'Majority of our members in Nasarawa State are well educated because we have special needs school and the areas we would need Federal Government support is job opportunities,'' he said. Also, Ms Brisca Aaron, Executive Secretary, Bauchi State Agency for Persons with Disabilities, said that the state had benefited from the Federal Government's intervention programmes. 'The policy has been implemented in Bauchi State because the state is benefiting from the relief materials and other social interventions of the Federal Government to persons with disabilities under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs. 'Bauch is the first in the North-East region of the country to domesticate the discrimination against Persons with Disabilities Law and we have strong synergy with the Federal Government in promoting disability inclusive projects, especially as it relates to their education, health and social wellbeing,'' she said. Observers, nonetheless, believe that Tinubu means his promise on the Renewed Hope Agenda when he said that it would leverage the nation's population and resources with main focus on unleashing the nation's full economic potential. (NANFeatures) **If used please credit the writer and News Agency of Nigeria Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Urban renewal: Enugu govt creates new estate in Udi community

The Enugu State Housing Development Corporation (ESHDC), and the Okofia Ukana community in Udi Council Area, on Saturday, signed a partnership agreement for housing development in the community. The partnership also entailed the signing deed of customary grant for the use of large expanse of the village land for new residential and commercial houses. Mr Gerald Asogwa, the General Manager, ESHDC, and the Corporation's Secretary, Dr Anayo Edeh, signed on behalf of the corporation while Mr Chijioke Achi, the Chairman of Okofia General Assembly (OGA) and the Village Secretary, Mr Chijioke Orji, signed on behalf of the community. The ceremony which took place at the palace of the eldest man in Okofia, Chief Jeremiah Ebunyebe, was witnessed by the directors in the housing corporation as well as elders and men of Okofia community. Asogwa said that the acquisition of the land in the community's Achievers Layout would fast track the urban renewal programme of the state government. He said that Gov. Peter Mbah had planned to expand the Enugu city as the state capital was already filled up. 'There is no way we will continue to restrict the city growth to the area it occupies today. 'The Uwani area, developed years ago is already filled up, the same thing with the Independence Layout, the same thing with GRA. 'What the Governor wants to do now is what other states have been doing such as Lagos state with its Garden Atlantic City or Epe/Lekki,' he said. See also Author challenges gender disparities with new book titled 'Ichabod' According to him, it is what a people do in a place that it becomes. 'In the next couple of months that particular area which we call Blossom Garden Solar City, in which part of your land belongs, is going to have a new face like other major estates in the city,' he said. Asogwa thanked the leadership and people of Okofia on behalf of Gov. Mbah and promised that the decision it took to key into the trajectory of the governor would not be in vain. 'We will develop that place and you people are going to be proud of your decision,' he said, adding that a road project had already begun to link the capital city to the estate up to the surounding villages. He said such development would increase the value of the land, reduce travel time to the capital and open up the area for other investments. The OGA chairman, Achi, said that with the signing ceremony the community had given the corporation authorisation to begin its renewal programme in the Achievers City Layout, Phase 1 covering a total of 800 plots. Achi assured that both parties would keep to the terms of the agreement, saying that, 'it is our desire that the corporation will execute the project satisfactorily. 'We use this opportunity to thank the Enugu Gov. Mbah for bringing development to the rural community and for other department strides on various parts of the state. 'We are satisfied with what he is doing in Enugu state as projects dot every corner of the state'. See also Nigerian, 2 others win 2023 Waislitz Global Citizen Awards The chairman praised Mbah for restoring water supply in the state capital, and appealed to him to extend the water scheme to Ukana and other rural communities. He also lauded the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Uche Ugwu, for being a true representative of the people and supporting the governor to enable him to realise his development agenda Source: News Agency of Nigeria

AKK gas pipeline critical to Nigeria’s industrialisation, economic growth – Edun

The Minister of Finance/Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun has described the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline project as critical to the industrialisation and economic growth of Nigeria. Edun stated this on Friday, during a working visit of three cabinet Ministers to the AKK gas pipeline project site where they inspected the River Kaduna crossing milestone of the project in Kaduna. This is coming just as the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Ltd, Mr Mele Kyari, assured Nigerians that the project would be delivered by the end of the first quarter 2025. This is contained in a statement by Olufemi Soneye, the Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPC Ltd. Edun was accompanied on the visit by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr Mohammed Malagi, and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo. Speaking at the project site, Edun described the AKK gas pipeline as the pipeline of prosperity, which is very dear to the President, because it wil l deliver the critical infrastructure needed to trigger the nation's economic growth and industrialisation. 'The AKK gas pipeline is crucial for this administration and its delivery is in line with Mr President's strategy of bringing prosperity to the people,' Edun added. Malagi said the AKK gas pipeline project was a testimony that the Federal Government's 'Decade of Gas' has commenced in earnest. 'Nigerians should be proud of the AKK Gas Pipeline project. With the delivery of this project, the prosperity that Mr President is always talking about is unravelling right here before our eyes,' he said. See also FG to explore alternative funding model for oil, gas industry development - NUPRC Also speaking, Ekpo described the gas pipeline as part of the Federal Government's many efforts to harness the nation's abundant gas resources toward improving power generation, revamping ailing industries and creating employment opportunities. Ekpo urged all stakeholders to support the NNPC Ltd. towards delivering the project and several other gas projects as the country depends on it to bring prosperity to the people. The three ministers, who lauded the NNPC Ltd. and its project partner, Brentex/CPP Ltd (BCL) on the progress made so far, also expressed optimism that the NNPC will deliver as promised. Earlier, the GCEO NNPC Ltd, Mr Mele Kyari gave the assurance the Project would be delivered by first quarter of 2025, as major segments of the job have been completed. 'Without promising too much, we assure you that this project will be delivered on schedule. 'Our mission is to work towards delivering it by December 2024. But we are confident this project will be delivered by first quarter of 2025,' Kyari said. The GCEO, who said the NNPC Ltd. recognises the strategic importance and enormous value of the project to Nigeria's economy, said the Company was bankrolling the project on the back of its own balance sheet. Gov. Uba Sani of Kaduna State, represented by his deputy, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, said the completion of the A KK gas pipeline would herald the much-needed economic and industrial revival in the state. 'If you know about the Kakuri Industrial Area and how most of our factories there have become moribund, you will understand why we in Kaduna State are all excited about the AKK Gas Pipeline. See also NUPRC rallies stakeholders, investors for gas flare elimination 'Without doubt, the pipeline will revamp our industries and bring about a huge impact on our people. We can't wait for it to be completed,' the Governor said. The AKK gas pipeline is a 40 inch by 614km linear pipeline system running from Ajaokuta in Kogi State to Kano state. It has associated intermediate terminal gas facilities and other related equipment to transport natural gas to off-takers at Abuja, Kaduna and Kano. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

HM the King Congratulates Grand Duke, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg on National Day

Rabat - HM King Mohammed VI sent a congratulatory message to Their Royal Highnesses Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa of Luxembourg on their country's national holiday. In this message, HM the King expresses His best wishes for health and happiness to Their Royal Highnesses and prosperity to the people of Luxembourg. "The Kingdom of Morocco looks forward to enriching, jointly with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, their excellent friendship," the Sovereign underlines in this message.

Copyright Infringement: Musician kicks as AGF takes over MTN criminal trial

A musician, Maleke Moye has alleged injustice in the directive by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, for a take over of the ongoing trial of MTN Nigeria and its CEO, over alleged copyright Infringement. The musician said that the minister's directive for the prosecuting agency, Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), to hands off the trial and forward the case file to his (AGF) office portends impending dangerous precedence. Moye's position is contained in a press release issued by his lawyer, Rockson Igelige, which was made available to newsmen on Saturday in Abuja. It will be recalled that NCC filed criminal charges against MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd, Karl Toriola, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Nkeakam Abhulimen, Fun Mobile Ltd. and Yahaya Maibe alleging copyright infringement. In the three-count charge, before a Federal High Court, Abuja, NCC alleged that the defendants, between 2010 and 2017 'offered for sale, sold and traded for business'', infringed musical works of Moye without his consent and authorisation. The commission alleged that the defendants used musical works and sound recordings of Moye with subsisting copyright, as Caller Ring Back Tunes, without the authorisation of the artiste. According to NCC, the alleged offences are contrary to and punishable under Section 20 (2) (a) (b) and (c) of the Copyright Act, Cap. C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. At the last hearing in the trial before Justice Inyang Ekwo on June 15, NCC prosecution lawyer, Gladys Ojo had accused MTN Nigeria's CEO, Toriola, of evading service of court documents See also Plantain thief bags 4 months jail term for stealing However, in a letter dated June 19, referenced DPPA/JACK/271/24, the AGF, through the office of the Director of Public Prosecution, directed the NCC to 'promptly' hands off the trial, forward the case file and court processes to his office. According to the AGF, the decision was taken, following a petition by MTN Nigeria and its CEO, and in l ine with Section 174 (1) (b) of the1999 Constitution, relating to entry of 'Nolle Prosecui' in a criminal matter. The section provides: 'The Attorney-General of the Federation shall have power - (b) to take over and continue any such criminal proceedings that may have been instituted by any other authority or person.' Section 174 (3) further provides that, 'In exercising his powers, the Attorney-General of the Federation shall have regard to the public interest, the interest of justice and the need to prevent abuse of legal process'. In a copy of the petition by the MTN Nigeria to the AGF, dated May 14, obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the company alleged that the charge was constituted to smear and embarrass MTN and its CEO. MTN through its lawyer, Ogden Alade contended that the criminal charge was calculated to 'harass embarrass and force the hands of its clients to do the bidding of the musician by paying hundreds of million of Naira for alleged act of infringement' MTN said it complied w ith the provision of applicable laws in the musician songs and did not connive with any person to defraud or violate the right of the musician See also Nigeria ripe for a new Constitution- Ndarani The company added that it had indicated its goodwill and readiness to settle the case amicably under just and fair circumstances without undue pressure and influence, as well as prejudice to its rights and defence. MTN said there is an ongoing civil suit on the alleged copyright infringement where the musician is seeking damages of N500 million, before another Federal High Court. 'The prosecution of the case and trial of MTN and its CEO will erode the corporate image of MTN and depletes its profitability, thereby affecting its share price in the Nigeria's stock market and taxes payable to the Federal Government by the company. 'It will also discourage foreign investment for fear of harassment 'It is in the light of this, that we wish to crave the kind indulgence of your good office in critically examining this matter and exercising your powers under Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution in the overall interest of justice and to prevent abuse of legal process,' the letter read in part. Reacting to the decision of the AGF to the MTN petition, the musician alleged that the minister used his office 'as a tool for oppression against an ordinary Nigerian'. 'While we concede that the AGF is empowered under the law as the Chief Law Officer, to discontinue any criminal trial, we also know that the sacred trust vested in the AGF must not be abused. 'The responsibility of entering a 'nolle prosequi' must actually be exercised justifiably. 'Sadly in this instance, there is no justification, whatsoever, for the AGF to thwart the prosecution of MTN. See also Blacksmith in trouble for defiling 7-year-old girl 'The case, indeed, serves the crucial purpose of giving justice to Mr Moye who has expended time resources and energy to create a work of art which MTN and its cronies have willfully stolen and appropriated the income t o themselves,' Moye's lawyer said. He called on the AGF to allow justice to take its course and direct MTN to present its case in court. According to him, doing otherwise would suggest that the AGF did not trust the Federal High Court, where the matter is pending, to do justice in the case. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Climate Change: Forum to assist NGOs, SMEs, others access funding

The Africa Business Ventures and Investment Group says it will assist Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and others access funding to address climate change and infrastructure deficit in Africa. The Chairman of the Board, Mr Moses Owharo, made this known at the inaugural Washington DC edition of the African Infrastructure, Climate Change and Investment Summit (AICIS) and Exhibition held via zoom, on Friday. The Summit with the theme 'Fastening Collaboration with United States of America in Fostering Climate Resilient, Economic and Infrastructure, and Industrialisation in Africa' was organised by the Group. Those in collaboration with the Group include Office of Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), and the private sector. Owharo, who is also a Harvard Business School Alumni, said the forum usually organised international conferences and Summit where policy makers, government and private sectors come together to look at challenging issues. 'We have had pro grammes in Ghana, Russia and other countries. 'This one holding is in the Washington DC, USA and due to some challenges; we are doing it in both Nigeria and U.S. via zoom. 'The objective is to set up a fund for Africa. That fund will assist organisations and even governments across Africa. This is because government cannot do it alone. 'Where there are gaps, we want to close the gaps. So we will set up those funds that practitioners, NGOs, Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SMEs), local governments and countries in Africa will participate. 'We will not do it alone, we will work with UN, American Government, Nigerian Government and other countries in Africa. 'This is to ensure that our deprived NGOs, CSOs SMEs and citizens of African can have resources that can be used to be actively involved in climate change actions and area of economy development,' Owharo said. On the area of Mining, he said that a lot of small scales Miners in Africa did not have capital to involve in active mining. According to him , lack of capital usually push them into illegal mining that lead to collapse of mining site and death of Miners He stressed that mining was a good venture but they needed training, capacity building and initial seed funding. 'There is need to open a portal or data base for them. 'That is one of the things that we are doing, especially with SMEs that are into commodity. 'We want to help them package and showcase their commodity to the international community which will increase their revenue. 'We also want to help them source for funding from funding agencies across the world,' he said. Owharo further explained that the group also had partners in health infrastructure that would want to donate medical equipment to institutions that could deliver quality health care services to their community. He also said that the group was in collaboration with Ministries of Trade and Investment, Foreign Affairs, Environment and SGF, Climate Change Council and many others. Owharo added that the group would expand an d solidify its relationships with both international and local partners. Meanwhile, Prof. Chris Schrage from the University of Northern Iowa, said that Africa needed to address the issue of mismanagement. Schrage, who said that some African countries have unique transportation and educational system, added that climate change campaign should start from the schools. She said that this was necessary to enable the young one get educated on dangers of climate change and how to address it. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that during the Summit, Dr Brima Deen and other experts on infrastructure, climate change and business investments from Washington DC and Abuja in Nigeria made impactful presentations. Source: News Agency of Nigeria