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Energy Poverty Has to be Tackled Headlong — Osinbajo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says energy poverty has to be tackled headlong for African countries to attain middle-income status and an inclusive  prosperity for its people.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said the vice president delivered a Special Public Lecture at the University of Pennsylvania (UPENN) in Philadelphia, U.

S.

The vice president spoke on the title “Energy Transition in Africa.

Osinbajo outlined specific pathways that would lead to climate-positive economic growth on the continent and at the same time lead to the realisation of the global net-zero emissions targets.

“Africa’s endowments, renewable energy, natural resources and a young workforce, present a compelling set of circumstances for several pathways to climate-positive growth.

“Low emissions consumption and production, the point being that Africa can, instead of going the carbon-intensive path to providing energy, goods and services for its own needs, take full advantage of green technologies and practices.

“There is the distinct advantage that Africa can actually pursue a green course of growth without worrying about costly legacy infrastructure.”

The vice president said that second pathway had to do with the recognition that global zero carbon ambitions could be realised without intentional carbon removal technologies and practices.

He said that Africa could ramp up her own potential to do it at scale through a combination of planned land use and ecosystem management, and investment in emerging engineered removal technologies.

“The third pathway is that, with its abundant reserves of renewable energy and raw materials, Africa can become a hugely competitive green manufacturing and energy hub for the world that could also accelerate the greening of global industry.

“Thus, the paradox of an energy-poor continent becoming the green industrial powerhouse of the world is easily resolvable and must be.”

The vice president proposed that the developed world change its perception of Africa.

He charged that the continent should not be seen merely as a victim but as a solution in the climate change conversations and the attainment of the global net zero targets by 2050-2060.

On energy poverty,  Osinbajo argued that it could  only be resolved if there was a significant investment in renewable energy.

“And that can only happen if we create the energy intense anchor demand that makes the investment in additional renewable energy bankable.

“Therefore, it is not which comes first – renewable energy generation capacity or industrial deployment, both must be developed concurrently.”

Osinbajo also spoke on Africa’s dependence on its oil and gas resources.

He said that the use of gas as a transition fuel would not significantly derail the commitment to carbon-negative growth.

“Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan attempts to chart an energy transition pathway which has as its bedrock, the development of renewable energy, specifically solar.

“The plan is to develop 250 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2060.

“The plan outlines our decarbonisation strategies in the areas of power, oil and gas transportation; it also militates against medium to long-term job losses in an industry that has dominated the economy for decades.

“It recommends the role of gas as a transition fuel, to balance large influxes of solar power on the grid, its use as a cheaper, and relatively clean option for base load power for industry, as we watch the cost of solar batteries plunge.

“There are also practical ways in which gas, especially propane, will bridge the gap before the full use of renewables is commercially practical.

“To illustrate the point practically, recently some discussions have been taking place about the decommissioning of industrial scale diesel and petrol generators used at base stations of telecommunication companies in Nigeria,” he said.

Previous speakers who had featured at the UPENN Special Lecture series hosted by the U.S. Ivy League University’s Centre for Africana Studies, include Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and the President of Botswana, Mr Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Earlier in her welcome remarks, Prof. Beth Winkelstein, Interim Provost, UPENN, said that  the planet was facing an existential struggle against climate change for the earth.

“And indeed for us to last, we must join with our fellow nations around the world in this struggle.

“Like many countries, including the United States, Nigeria is challenged by competing and sometimes conflicting interests and its development prospects are complex.

“Nigeria holds amongst the continent’s largest proven oil reserves and faces a potentially perilous future of climate-induced sea level rise and drought.

“In short, global progress in the battle against climate change needs Nigeria’s partnership and participation,” she said.

On his part, Prof. Tukufu Zuberi of the Africana Centre, spoke about the relationship between the university and Nigeria.

He thanked the vice president for honouring the institution’s invitation, noting that the lecture series was part of its efforts in correcting the negative perceptions about Africa.

“Africa in many ways, has not been treated fairly in conversations, often this treatment is simply a result of not understanding Africa,” he said.

After the lecture, Wale Adebanwi,  Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, led an interactive session with the vice president.

Earlier on arrival, Osinbajo had met with the leadership of the university and was later conducted around the Penn Museum by Prof. Tukufu Zuberi.(NAN)

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Police Neutralise Kidnap Suspect, Arrest 4 others in Delta

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The Police Command in Delta has neutralised a suspected member of a kidnap gang during a shootout in Ughelli North Local Government area.

The command’s spokesman, SP Bright Edafe told newsmen on Friday in Warri that the other members of the gang escaped during the shootout.

Edafe said that the incident occurred on Thursday near the Adjekota-Ogor communities  of Ughelli North.

He said that the team of police operatives deployed by the Commissioner of Police (CP), Mr Olufemi Abaniwonda, intercepted and engaged the hoodlums resulting in the death of one of the gang members.

Edafe said that the team lead by ASP Julius Robinson, acting on credible intelligence, stormed a criminal hideout on the Ughelli/Patani Road by an abandoned filling station.

“The hoodlums on sighting the police opened fire on the team, and the police responded.

“In the ensuing gun duel, one of the hoodlums sustained serious gun shot injuries while others escaped.

“The injured suspect was taken to the hospital where he died while receiving treatment,” he said.

Edafe said that two Beretta pistol and five rounds of live ammunition were recovered from the gang members.

The command’s spokesman said that a manhunt was already underway for the fleeing members of the gang.

Edafe also said that the police special team arrested four robbery/kidnap suspects in Sapele Town on Wednesday.

He said that ASP Robinson led the police team to the suspects hideout in Sapele and effected the arrest.

According to him, one locally made cut-to-size gun was recovered from the suspects.

Edafe said that preliminary investigation revealed that aside the hoodlums’ involvement in cult-related activities, they were also suspected to be armed robbers

The police spokesman said that investigation into the case was ongoing. (NAN)

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NDLEA seized 761,000 Tonnes of Illicit Drugs in 3 Years, Says Marwa

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Retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, the  Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), says the agency seized 761,000 tonnes of  illicit drugs and substances between January 2021 and March 2024.

Marwa said this during a special Juma’at service as part of  activities to mark the 2024 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at the National Mosque in Abuja on Friday.

Reports says that June 26 every year is set aside to commemorate the day and the theme of the 2024 World Drug Day (WDD) is: “Evidence is Clear, Let Us Invest in Prevention”.

The NDLEA boss said that the 2018 drug use survey showed that 15 million Nigerians abused drugs, saying that it was three times the global average.

Marwa, who described the report as unacceptable said that the aim of the year 2024 World Drug Day (WDD) Campaign was Prevention.

“Money-making is the major reason drug barons are persistent inspite of the efforts of the agency to curb to the barest minimum drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

“When you look at the population of Nigeria and you take out 15 million, it means the rest are not.

We don’t want even a single Nigerian to enter that basket of users.

“We have made seizures in three years of 761,000 tons but they still keep coming and we have to look at the other side.

“Now, assuming we didn’t seize it, were will it be? it will be on the streets and the money would have been used for very negative purposes or it would have gone to the criminals.

“We are doing our level best, supported by the government to make sure the supply reduction is very effective,” he said.

Speaking further, Marwa said that prevention was very important in dealing with drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking, adding that the agency had recommended a two track approach.

He said that the first and most important track was global which was the entire society, all fragments, beginning with the family, parenting, adding that the children should be taught as they grow up why drug use was bad.

“We have children killing their parents. So in anyway, parentage and parenting is also important.

“Most important is the community level, the traditional institution, religious bodies, both christian and Muslim should include in their sermons and the advocacy in the school system and the curriculum.

“There should be  random drug tests. For instance, we have promoted drug tests for students, tertiary institutions and drug tests before marriage.

“When you go for the wedding, bring the HIV, the genotype and bring drug tests that are negative.

“These are some of the steps on this side. On the other side is to deny availability of drugs and access. You have to have drugs first to abuse it.

“And it’s our job as NDLEA to launch operations to seize drugs, arrest the offenders, take them to court, and seize their assets as well, “he said.(NAN)

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E-border Solution’ll Help Check Transborder-related Crimes, Says Immigration Chief 

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Kemi Nandap, the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (CGIS), said the e-border solution deployed across the country’s border posts would help check transborder and other related crimes.

Nandap stated this on Friday in Kongolam, Mai’aduwa Local Government Area of Katsina State while addressing immigration officers, during her assessment tour to the border post in the area.

“I know the government has deployed an e-border solution and I am here to see how it is.

“The essence of e-border solution is to improve border management by ensuring that the way we manage our borders is intelligence-based.

“It will help us have accurate information in terms of monitoring who goes out and who comes in, thereby helping us in tackling transborder crimes such as smuggling of immigrants and other forms of insecurity,” she said.

She, therefore, charged the immigration officers to understand why they were posted there and what their mandate was.

“And you must do the job professionally. The era of leaving your job to others is over,” she observed.

The comptroller-general further stressed the need for effective synergy with other agencies operating at various border posts.

“Synergy with other agencies is compulsory because security is a collective effort.

“But your core mandate must be observed strictly and diligently by you.

“The mandate is to secure the country’s borders and the President has mandated us to ensure that our borders are secure.

“And I am determined to deliver. That is why I’m here,” she said.

Nandap explained that although every agency has its mandate, “all agencies can work collectively to achieve the same goal.”

She said the tour would enable her to focus on the challenges observed to tackle them and ensure effective border management.

She reiterated the service’s commitment to ensuring the welfare of the personnel is given the required attention while providing them with the modern facilities and logistics they require to enhance their operations. (NAN)

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