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No Going Back on Attainment of Sustainable Development Goals – Diri

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From Tayese Mike, Yenagoa

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, says his government remains committed to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined by the United Nations to enhance the living conditions of the people of the State.

Governor Diri who gave the assurance when he visited the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dr.

Amina Mohammed, at the UN headquarters in New York, United States of America, said the continued collaboration with the global body would fast track development in such areas as education, health, youth, and women empowerment, food production and the environment.

In a statement by his Director, New Media Kola Oredipe and made available to Daily Asset, the Governor who congratulated Dr. Mohammed for rising to the enviable position and for her great work at the UN, stated that the collaboration would enhance the prosperity agenda of his government to the people of the State, insisting that his government is building critical infrastructure that will provide great opportunities to open up Bayelsa State for more investments in different sectors.

“First, we are here to congratulate you on your appointment and to say that you are a worthy ambassador of Nigeria in the United Nations. So far, you have done very well occupying this office, please continue to help humanity. We have come to strengthen the existing relationship between Bayelsa State and the UN. We are committed to the attainment of the SDGs for the betterment of our people in education, health, sanitation, access to clean water and ensuring we live in a safe environment devoid of pollution”, Diri stated.

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He said that the State Government took a deliberate effort to open up the maritime domain with the three ongoing Senatorial roads linking several riverine communities and corridors to the Atlantic Ocean where so many opportunities exist for the establishment of a sea port and massive aquaculture project.

“Yes, we are an oil producing state but we have more wealth in the sea and agriculture. Because, we are located in the Gulf of Guinea, we must also strive to tackle the security issues on our water ways to attract serious investments.

I have offered to host the meeting of the Gulf of Guinea in Yenagoa. When our waterways are safe, we can tap the tourism potential there in. We already have an agreement with a European consortium on deep sea fishing and ship building, an investment capable of providing over 2,000 jobs.

The roads we are constructing along the three corridors will take us to Brass, Agge in Ekeremor to develop a deep sea port and also link us to the Ocean through Oporoma”, Diri said.

On the unabated environmental pollution and degradation, Governor Diri, said the ongoing clean-up in Ogoni land by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) should be extended to the entire oil-rich Niger Delta and that Bayelsa State is worst affected by incidents of oil spills leaving behind attendant devastated ecology and health issues.

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“You are very familiar with our stories and the Niger Delta environment. We must commend what you started in Ogoni as then Minister of Environment. Our land, rivers are polluted. The remediation of the region must be total. Bayelsa State is worst affected.”

In her response, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Dr. Amina Mohammed, appreciated the pace of development in Bayelsa State since its creation in 1996 and that the UN was ready to deepen the existing relationship with the State to support ongoing development efforts by the current administration.

“A lot has happened in terms of infrastructure in Bayelsa State since creation alongside my own State of Gombe. We are here to support nations, communities to grow. We are working with leaders like you to add values to the lives of the people and create opportunities for the young people to harness their potential. Here, we are working hard to realise those SDGs and make our society better”, she stated.

Dr. Mohammed who welcomed the request for the hosting of the Gulf of Guinea meeting by Bayelsa State, said the UN was disturbed at the level of environmental pollution in the oil-rich Niger Delta, a situation she described a ‘complete disaster.’

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“It is not just about Ogoni land but the remediation should be for all oil producing places. The means of livelihood of the people, fishing and farming are greatly affected. The oil pollution is a complex thing and it is a complete disaster which requires urgent intervention,” she added.

On the entourage of the governor to the UN headquarters were Ambassador Lot Egopija, Nigerian Consul-General in the New York, Hon. (Dr.) Fred Agbedi, Member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Barrister Patience Ranami Abah, Permanent Secretary, Bayelsa State Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investments and Major Lancelot Anyanya (rtd.).

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NEWS

Envoy Lauds NADDC for reviving Automotive Industry

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The Nigerian Ambassador to Japan, Mr Husaini Moriki, has commended the Director-General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Mr Jelani Aliyu, for reviving the Nigerian Automotive Industry.

Moriki made the commendation during Nigeria’s delegation meeting with key Japanese automotive manufacturers in Japan.

According to him, Aliyu had successfully brought many reform initiatives to the industry that have yielded results in terms of investment capacity building of Nigeria’s auto industry players.

The ambassador, therefore, urged the Japanese companies to identify areas of focus that the companies would like the Nigerian government to intervene in.

Moriki added that the intervention will be aimed at providing a better business environment

He said that this cannot come at a better time than now when the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) and the Auto Policy were being reviewed by the council.

He urged the Japanese companies to collaborate with the council in training of Nigerian youths at the 18 Automotive Training Centers built by the council across the country.

Speaking earlier, the NADDC boss called on Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Suzuki and Yamaha to set up mega production and assembly plants in Nigeria.

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According to him, Honda West Africa, Nissan/Stallion, Toyota/Elizade, Mitsubishi/CFAO, Suzuki/Boulos, Isuzu/Kewalrams and Yamaha/CFAO were already building vehicles in the country.

Aliyu said, “these larger investments would come at a time when the need for diversification in Nigeria is paramount to the country’s economy as the population continues to grow.”

The DG added that the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, was also opening up Africa-wide opportunities for Nigerian automotive manufacturers.

“The discussions with the companies were very fruitful, with strong potential for the various manufacturers to significantly increase their operations and market footprint in Nigeria.

“This will contribute at an even higher level to the growth and
sustainability of the Nigerian Automotive space,” Aliyu dis.

He added that the council had engaged an international firm, KPMG, to support with the review of the Auto Policy.

This, he said, is in order to beef it up to the current pattern of global and regional automotive production and distribution.

He said: “KPMG is getting good support from the AAAM – African Association of Automotive Manufacturers.

” As soon as the draft policy is done by KPMG, it shall go as an executive bill to the National Assembly.

“The Senate and House Committees on Industry are giving their full support towards having this reviewed policy be backed by a legal framework.”

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While highlighting some of the key areas of the reviewed policy, Aliyu said ”when the draft becomes law, it would further boost the financial advantages of local production/assembly.

“It will also provide clear import duty differential between locally
assembled vehicles and those imported fully built and also provide tax waivers.

“Other key areas would include facilitating the establishment of dedicated customs corridors/services, provision of single digit capital financing for both manufacturers and buyers.

“It will also entail mandatory government patronage, all in favour of local production/assembly,”Aliyu added.

On his part, the Chairman, House of Represenatatives Committee on Industry, Mr Enitan Badru, promised to provide necessary legislative support to the new auto policy.

He said,”so that it gives the investors the confidence and stability to invest in Nigeria.”

Badru underscored the importance of the vehicle financing scheme, saying it would bolster the purchase of locally produced vehicles. ( NAN )

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NEWS

2023: 260 Enugu Councillors Pledge to Deliver PDP Candidates

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 Councillors in the 260 electoral wards in Enugu State have pledged to deliver all the PDP candidates in the state in the 2023 general polls.

They assured Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State that they would work round-the-clock and mobilise massively in their respective wards to ensure that the party wins the elections.

They gave the assurance on Tuesday when they paid a ‘Thank You’ visit to the governor at the Government House, Enugu.

They unanimously declared their support for the governor, the PDP governorship candidate, Mr Peter Mbah, and all the other candidates of the party.

They expressed gratitude to the governor for the uncommon leadership role he played in their emergence as councillors .

The councillors said that if not for the magnanimity and selfless leadership style of the governor, none of them would have emerged as a councillor.

They also appreciated the governor for always believing in youths, disclosing that 99.9 per cent of the present councillors in the state were youths.

Speaking on their behalf, the Coordinator of 260 Ward Councillors in Enugu State and Leader of Udenu Legislative Council, Mr Nnamdi Odo, said Ugwuanyi had done well for them.

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According to him, the past councillors during previous administrations did not enjoy the privilege they enjoyed during the selection process leading to their emergence, stressing that they emerged without godfathers.

“Your excellency, we came to thank you and to assure you that we are going to deliver our wards to the PDP come 2023.

“There is no ward in the 260 wards that will be lost to the opposition,” he said.

Stressing their eagerness to work as grassroots mobilisers, Odo said they had the strength to work and were eager to work.

“It is not that of social media. We are on the ground at the grassroots.

“The debt we owe you our father and leader and our great party, the PDP, is come February 2023 we will deliver all the candidates of our party starting from you, our governorship candidate, Mr Peter Mbah, and other candidates.

Odo lauded Ugwuanyi for his youth-friendly initiatives.

“You are the only governor in this state who came and accommodated many youths in your administration through political appointments and election into public offices,” he said.

He thanked the governor for the prompt payment of salaries.

“At the end of every month our parents receive their salaries, workers are not being owed and you constructed projects in all nooks and crannies of Enugu State,” he said.

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In his remarks, Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, Mr Edward Ubosi, encouraged the councillors to remain focused, steadfast and committed to the ideals of the PDP and progress of the Ugwuanyi-led PDP administration.

He thanked them for opting to work for the victory of the PDP at the polls in 2023, assuring them that they stood to benefit more in the future.

Responding, Ugwuanyi appreciated the councillors for the solidarity and support.

He attributed their emergence as councillors to the will of God.

The governor thanked them for their contributions towards the peaceful atmosphere in Enugu State and reiterated his administration’s commitment to their well-being.

Ugwuanyi disclosed that Enugu was not among the eight states in the country listed to be owing workers at least six months salary arrears.

He called on the councillors to continue to pray for his administration, the state and a peaceful transition in 2023. (NAN)

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Foreign News

UNICEF Awards $170m Malaria Vaccine Contract to GSK

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United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has awarded a contract for the first ever supply of a malaria vaccine to GSK with a value of up to 170 million dollars.

Newsmen report that GSK plc, formerly GlaxoSmithKline plc, is a British multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company with global headquarters in London, England. Established in 2000 by a merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham.

UNICEF in a statement issued from New York on Tuesday said the landmark award would lead to 18 million doses of RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) being available over the next three years, potentially saving thousands of lives every year.

In 2020, nearly half a million children died from malaria in Africa alone, a rate of one child death per minute.

Etleva Kadilli, Director of UNICEF’s Supply Division said the vaccine rollout would give a clear message to malaria vaccine developers to continue their work because malaria vaccines are needed and wanted.

“We hope this is just the beginning. Continued innovation is needed to develop new and next-generation vaccines to increase available supply, and enable a healthier vaccine market.

“This is a giant step forward in our collective efforts to save children’s lives and reduce the burden of malaria as part of wider malaria prevention and control programmes.”

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According to WHO data, more than 30 countries have areas with moderate to high malaria transmission, where the vaccine could provide added protection against malaria to over 25 million children each year once supply scales up.

The RTS,S malaria vaccine is the result of 35 years of research and development and is the first-ever vaccine against a parasitic disease. The vaccine acts against Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly malaria parasite globally and the most prevalent in Africa.

In 2019, pilot routine vaccine use was launched in three countries – Ghana, Kenya and Malawi – as part of the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme coordinated by WHO.

The experience and evidence generated by the pilots informed WHO’s recommendation in October 2021 for widespread use of the first malaria vaccine in countries with moderate to high P. falciparum malaria transmission.

Soon after, in December 2021, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance’s decision to provide funding for malaria vaccine programmes in eligible countries opened the pathway for broader roll-out of the vaccine.

“We recently opened the first application window for Gavi support in rolling out the malaria vaccine.

“Thanks to UNICEF’s procurement work, we now have more certainty on supply and can move a step further towards getting this life-saving vaccine to the people who need it the most.

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“As manufacturing ramps up over time, we hope that increasing volumes will also lead to more sustainable, lower prices,” Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said.

Dr Kate O’Brien, WHO Director of the Department of Immunisation, Vaccines and Biologicals said lives are at stake, every day.

“WHO welcomes the progress to secure supply and timely access to vaccine so that more countries can begin to introduce this additional malaria prevention tool as rapidly as possible.

“Given the initial limited supply, it is crucial that children living in areas where the risk of disease and need is highest are prioritised first.”

This award is the culmination of 18 months of intensive preparation and consultation with industry and partners.

As the largest buyer of vaccines in the world, UNICEF accelerated action to conclude procurement negotiations, to ensure there are no delays in securing available supplies of the malaria vaccine to help protect vulnerable children.

Demand for the malaria vaccine is expected to be high among affected countries. As with any new vaccine, supply will be limited at first and will increase over time as manufacturing capacity ramps up to the level required.

As volumes increase, costs per dose should decrease. Plans are already underway to boost production, including through technology transfer, so that every child at risk will one day have the opportunity to be immunized against this killer disease.

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“We must not lose sight of the need to accelerate access to this and future malaria vaccines, and to make the necessary investments in malaria control and immunization services, as well as in research and development.

“Effective malaria and immunization programs are both key to the successful delivery of a malaria vaccine and contribute to stronger health systems overall,” Dr Ashley Birkett, Global Head of Malaria Vaccines and Biologics at PATH, said.

UNICEF supports the regional diversification of vaccine production and encourages GSK and other pipeline manufacturers to consider partnering with companies in Africa as part of this effort. (NAN)

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