PPDC unveils access to justice consortium

A NGO, the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) has unveiled a consortium on access to justice and effective justice delivery in Nigeria and Africa at large. The inaugurated Consortium include PPDC, Citizen Gavel, Hope Behind Bars Africa (HBBA), Law Hub Development and Advocacy Centre (Law Hub), and Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (CSLS). Speaking during the inauguration on Thursday in Abuja, Mr Kenechukwu Agwu, the Senior programmes Manager PPDC, said access to justice space is shrinking. Agwu underscored the importance of swift and efficient justice delivery, lamenting the detrimental effects of delayed justice on individual rights, public trust in the judiciary among others. He however, said that it was quite very small adding that the core of access to justice was speed, trust and perception. He said, 'if I perceive that I'm not getting justice, then justice is not served, because justice needs not just to be served, but needs to be seen to have been served. 'In fact, there's an emergency in the access to justice sector in Nigeria 'We partnering with a few of the organisations that have track record over time. 'There's going to be a larger meeting under our project to bring together all the civil society actors in the justice space to a roundtable discussion, 'he said. Agwu said that the centre has been working with the government, specifically in the states. Also speaking, the Director Partnerships and Innovation, PPDC, Ms. Lucy Abagi said that the centre was looking at how it can sustain impact, strengthen organisations and provide a platform where innovations could thrive. 'We created the innovation hub last year. And currently we have about 50 organisations and professionals on the hub across five african countries. 'And under the component of the hub, we have the access to justice consortium. And today we gathered our partners that we actually looked at their strategic position in their objectives, their mandate, and it fits into what we want to do as an organisation, 'he said. Also, Munachi Okoro, Head of Communication and Knowledge, said that the PPDC had been committed to enhancing transparency, accountability, and good governance through various initiatives. Okoro said that PPDC's Access to Justice program emphasises the use of technology that could support the transformation of systems, processes and strategic procedural reform initiatives. This, she said would address the inherent and systematic delays in the administration of civil proceedings and criminal justice. 'The Access to Justice Consortium recognises that collaboration is key. By bringing together diverse stakeholders, the consortium fosters a comprehensive approach to tackle access to justice challenges. 'This collaborative effort will lead to the development of sustainable solutions that create a more efficient, equitable, and accessible justice system, 'she said. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that discussions focused on the current landscape of access to justice in Nigeria, highlighting key challenges an d barriers faced by various communities. Consortium members identified short and long-term objectives, prioritised key areas for intervention, and developed detailed action plans for each strategic priority. The meeting also addressed resource Mobilisation and fundraising strategies, stakeholder engagement and communication plans, and the establishment of a monitoring and evaluation framework to assess the impact of consortium activities. NAN reports that PPDC is a non-governmental organisation and social enterprise dedicated to fostering transparent and accountable governance while increasing citizens' participation in governance processes. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Union faults conversion of colleges of education to varsities

The Senior Staff Union in Colleges of Education (SSUCOEN) has appealed to the Federal Government to stop incessant conversion of the Colleges of Education to universities. Mr Danladi Msheliza, President of SSUCOEN said this in a communique jointly signed by Nwenyi Isioma, National Secretary of the union on Thursday in Abuja. The communique was issued at the 38th National Delegates Conference of the union held at Federal College of Education (Technical) Bichi, Kano State. Msheliza said that the Conference viewed recent decision to convert some Colleges of Education (COEs) to universities as a misguided and short-sighted move. According to him, this will have far-reaching devastating consequences for the education sector. 'This conversion will not only lead to the erosion of the unique identity and purpose of COEs, which have historically provided high-quality teacher training but also threaten the very existence of these institutions. 'Moreover, it ignores the critical need for specialised teacher train ing and development, and will likely result in a watered-down, generalised education that fails to meet the specific needs of our students and educators. 'We urge the Federal Government to recognise this ill-conceived decision and prioritise preserving and strengthening our COEs, rather than dismantling them under the guise of a so-called upgrade,'he said. He also noted that the conference expressed concern on the removal of subsidy on fuel and electricity tariff. He noted that this had caused untold hardship for Nigerians and therefore called for immediate reversal of the anti-masses policies. Msheliza also noted that conference strongly condemned the government's proposal to impose a cybersecurity levy on the already overburdened citizens and businesses. 'This move is nothing short of a draconian measure that will only serve to further suffocate the struggling masses and stifle innovation and growth in the digital economy. 'The government should focus on investing in robust cybersecurity measures, pro moting digital literacy, and supporting the development of a vibrant and inclusive digital ecosystem that benefits all Nigerians,'he said. He said the conference however called for the re-enactment of the Act establishing Federal Colleges of Education. On minimum wage, he said the conference called for approval and support on what organised labour was pushing forward as the new minimum wage. He also said other demands of the conference include the payment of revitalisation fund, mainstreaming of staff of Demonstration Schools, among others. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NNPC Ltd., Schlumberger sign agreement to boost upstream operations

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.), Energy Services Limited (EnServ) and Schlumberger (SLB), a renowned global technology company, have signed a technical partnership agreement toward bolstering upstream operations. The agreement was signed at the NNPC Ltd's Corporate Headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, with senior management teams from both companies in attendance. Speaking shortly after the signing, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Ltd., Mr Mele Kyari described the ongoing reforms within the industry as a trigger for potential release of investments in the short term. Kyari, in a statement issued by Olufemi Soneye, the Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPC Ltd. described the agreement as part of strategic reforms aimed at unlocking opportunities in the nation's oil and gas industry. 'Quite a number of reforms are unfolding, and at the back of it is a potential release of investment that we are seeing in a very short term. 'Our physical environment is excellent t oday; contracting processes have been reviewed, by virtue of the clear reforms the President has put in place; and ultimately, we are already seeing substantial energy going into unlocking opportunities,' Kyari said. Highlighting the numerous benefits of the partnership, Kyari said it would lead to increased activity and more drilling campaigns that would add value to the two organisations. He said that NNPC was working on a rig share platform with a definite plan around well drilling activities and associated operations in the coming years. This, he said would increase crude oil production and support the ongoing plan to deepen gas utilisation within the country. Kyari, who expressed confidence in the long-standing relationship between NNPC Ltd. and Schlumberger, said the NNPC would leverage on the assets within its control to accelerate the values that will come from this partnership. 'We are counting on Schlumberger as our partners of 70 years. We are in business; we see the opportunities and strategi c need to work with you and ultimately, we will create value for our country,' the GCEO noted. Earlier in his remarks, Mr Olivier Le Peuch, the Chief Executive Officer, Schlumberger, said the agreement would accelerate the achievement of Nigeria's exploration and production targets, which would foster Nigeria's economic growth and prosperity. 'We are here to celebrate the strategic partnership that we signed with EnServ as a technical partner. 'This agreement is geared towards unlocking the capacities of EnServ for Nigeria, which potentially will help NNPC Ltd. to achieve its exploration and production targets. 'We look forward to using this technical partnership as a springboard to accelerate the vision that the industry needs,' Le Peuch said. According to him, as a company that has been on the shores of Nigeria for 70 years, it remains committed to investing in local talents and building capacity through technology and performance. 'We are pleased to be at the centre of this transition and are in a po sition where we can bring our technical capability, technology, and capacity to the country so as to support the operations of NNPC Ltd,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Entrepreneur identifies need for Tinubu to rejig cabinet

By Oluwatope Lawanson Dr Stephen Akintayo, a Real Estate Expert and Chairman of Gtext Holdings, says there is need for President Bola Tinubu to quickly rejig his cabinet to actualise his 'Renewed Hope Agenda'. Akintayo made the remark in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday while reacting to Tinubu's first year in office as Nigeria's 16th President. 'There's a need to rejig the system. 'We have seen some few agencies of government under the new administration doing exceptionally well, while others have gone to sleep. 'The President definitely needs to sanction some that are below expectations so that they sit up,'' Akintayo said. Urging Nigerians to be patient, Akintayo said he believed the President would reposition the country for the better. He added: 'The president has implemented significant reforms to stabilise the economy, reduce inflation, and attract foreign investments among others. 'Overall, the president has shown some desire to get things moving forward. ' We have seen certain decisions that show that he is sincere and really wants to change this nation. 'We need to be patient with our President. We don't even have a choice till another three years before the next election,' he said. NAN reports that Tinubu was sworn-in on May 29, 2023, as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Ebonyi Govt vows to complete airport project amidst harsh economy

By Chukwuemeka Opara Gov. Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi has said that his administration will conclude the Chuba Okadigbo Airport at Onueke despite harsh economic climate in the country. Nwifuru made the declaration on Friday while inspecting renovation works on the airport's runway as part of activities to mark his one year anniversary in office. The governor said the airport was a monumental project captured in the people's charter of needs mantra of his administration and would benefit the people. 'The people take the centre stage in our administration and we must do all possible to give the state the facelift it deserved. 'We are happy with the quantity and quality of asphalt being applied on the runway by the contractor as it is above what we agreed inside the contract. 'Officials of the Federal Ministry of Aviation have inspected the work and declared that it is one of the best in the country,' he said. He noted that when the previous administration in the state commenced the airport project, its in tention was to give Ebonyi, a state of the art facility which includes the runway. 'It was still the same divine mandate platform which we are still operating on and we didn't know that concrete-pavement was not good for runways. 'When we took over, we awarded the contract for the renovation to the Infrastructure Development Company (IDC) because it had its asphalt plant in the state. 'The project has over 220, 000 square metre, 82,000 tonnes with a total coverage area of 3.1 kilometre by 75metres,' he said. Nwifuru noted that the state government had paid N9.6 billion out of the N13.5billion for the runway by the time the contractor sought a review of the project. 'We negotiated with the contractor which wanted a review but we rejected such because it had already generated a certificate for the project. 'We insisted that the review will be based on the balance of N4.7 billion and after the negotiations, we agreed at N17.8 billion. 'We have paid over N15 billion out of the sum and has an agreement with the contractor to pay the balance at the end of the project,' he said. He noted that the government had paid an additional N1.4billion for the completion of the airport's control tower and also undertaking the airport's security lights project. 'We agreed that the project will be concluded by the end of May but surprised that the contractor is asking for an additional 10 days,' he said. The Site Manager of the project, Mr Youseef Zhaib said the project will be completed within a fortnight and commended the governor for making funds available for the projects. 'We have nearly finished the binder cause which remains about half a line and have entered the wearing cast that is the last layer. 'We are praying that rain does not disrupt the work as the raining season is a serious issue,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Towards enhanced access to clean water through private sector interventions

Access to safe water is the most basic human need for health and well-being, according to the United Nations (UN). It says billions of people will lack access to this basic service in 2030 unless progress quadruples. The World Bank estimates that 70 million Nigerians lack access to safe drinking water. It also says that no fewer than 70, 000 deaths are recorded annually in the country among children under the age of five from diarrhea-related diseases. Demand for water is rising owing to rapid population growth; urbanisation and increasing water needs from agriculture, industry and energy sectors. The demand for water has outpaced population growth and half of the world's population is already experiencing severe water scarcity at least one month a year. Water scarcity, according to UN, is projected to increase with the rise of global temperatures as a result of climate change According to WaterAid, an international NGO, the private sector is increasingly acknowledged as an important development partn er in the water and sanitation sector. It says although there were some reservations about the ability of the private sector to meet the needs of the poorest citizens. WaterAid says it is contributing its quota towards meeting the clean water needs of rural community dwellers. Recently 10, 000 residents from four communities in Bwari Area Council of the FCT, had access to clean water through the NGO and its partner's water intervention projects. Mr Williams Kolo, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Coordinator, Bwari Area Council, said this during a WaterAid Project Closed- Out meeting for a 14 months intervention project. The meeting, tagged: Strengthening Water and Sanitation Delivery Project in Bwari Area Council, was organised by WaterAid Nigeria in collaboration with the FCT Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA). Other partners in the project included Bwari Area Council and was funded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Kolo, while presenting an overview of achieved o utcomes of the project, said 10, 000 residents now have access to clean water, WASH management skills and sanitation promotion messages. '10, 000 people gained access to clean water, 647 people gained access to safely manage sanitation facilities, 3,500 people, including women and children, were reached with sanitation promotion messages. 'The organisation constructed and rehabilitated 10, 000 litres and 20, 000 litres capacity solar/electric powered water boreholes in four communities and one school, including water kiosks. 'Also, 115 members, comprising 67 males and 48 females of WASH management structures and hygiene promoters were trained across the four beneficiary communities. 'It is also notable that these water points have been certified to have zero coliform level in the five water facilities procured in the four communities and school', Kolo said. The beneficiary communities, he listed, were Baran-goni, Zuma II, Sabon-Gari, Dakwa and LEA primary school, Tudun-fulani. Kolo further said that in order to sustain and replicate the intervention, an investment plan had been mapped out by the partners, to help the council construct more of the infrastructure in other communities. This, he also said, was to ensure other communities in the council gain access to clean water, while assuring that the WASH unit would help ensure funds for such projects were included in the council's subsequent budget. Speaking on the progress of the project, Mr Nanpet Chuktu, Head of Programmes, WaterAid Nigeria, said the 14 month project was aimed to strengthen WASH delivery in selected communities in the council. This, he further said, was designed to complement the efforts of the government in addressing access to WASH services, while improving hygiene behaviours and outcomes among the target population. The project, he added, focused on increasing access to WASH services by constructing and rehabilitating water facilities in the selected communities and providing gender-inclusive public sanitation facilities and parti cipation. He said: ' Today's meeting with partners and WASH committee representatives is to close out a one year mini project we currently have in the council. 'It is to show accountability and say we started this last year, this is what we promised and this is what we delivered. 'Bwari Area Council is still a work in progress, the council and RUWASSA are the key institutions we are supporting, and therefore, we are still on ground with similar projects. 'This is to first demonstrate a model they can use to improve the status of WASH in the communities and at the same time charge the government to use the models to grow. 'We would like to see that by the next budget cycle, the council has dedicated funding for similar projects in other communities and not just rely on donor organisations.' He also appraised the council's inclusion of 40 per cent women to the WASH committee, while adding that their active participation was impressive. One of the committee members, Mrs Safiya Rafiu from the Baran-goni co mmunity, appreciated the effort by the partners while praying for God's blessings on all who strived to put smiles on the faces of the people. She said that the initiative had not only improved sanitation in her community but had helped the WASH committee sell water at subsidised rate to residents in an effort to maintain and sustain the facility. Mr Peter Saidu, a resident of Zuma II and a WASH committee member in the area, appreciated the initiative, while saying that it was a dream come through for his community. According to him, the Zuma II community had always had challenges with accessing clean water but the intervention has made it possible to have 24 hours water supply. He thanked all partners and donors for the knowledge impact on sanitation and hygiene, while promising to keep the flag flying in the community. WaterAid Nigeria, alongside its partners, also formed and trained WASH committee members from each of the communities, to promote and enhance sanitation and hygiene practices in the area s. Deepening the public-private partnership in the water sector is key to achieving the SDG No.6, according to The Organised Private Sector in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (OPS-WASH), a global coordinating body for private sector engagement in SDG 6. This informed its partnership with the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (AWEN) and other stakeholders to create sustainable interventions across the six geopolitical zones of the country, says OPS-WASH National Coordinator, Dr Nicolas Igwe. While the private sector is contributing its quota, the Federal Government said it will ensure that the water gap in the country was addressed. Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, gave reassurance when the National Water Sanitation and Hygiene Network paid her an advocacy visit in Abuja. 'The major problem in the IDP camps is the issue of WASH, but we have some groups and agencies under the ministry working towards addressing these issues. 'We also build a friend ly environment where the issue of wash is taken to the highest level in the country', the minister said. For the private sector to contribute more effectively to addressing the nation's clean water challenges, governments at all levels should provide them with the enabling environment, regulations and logistics support. (NANFeatures) Source: News Agency of Nigeria