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Obi, Nweke, others, Urge Youths to Take Action to Attain the SDGs by 2030




Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi and former Information Minister, Mr Frank Nweke Jr., have urged Nigerian youths to take  positive actions to actualize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

They noted that  the action youths took today would help in actualising and achieving United Nations  SDGs in 2030.

They gave the advice during the “Shaping the Future Conference” organised by Boys Champion (BC)  Foundation in Enugu.

The theme of the conference is entitled: “Accelerating Actions to Achieving Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria Through Entrepreneurship and Civic Engagement.

Speaking at the event, Obi said that government must see pride in its youths by providing necessary opportunities that would make them thrive.

The former Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 General Elections, also said that youths must stand up and question those that stole their future.

Obi said that few people who held the youths at ransome succeeded because young people pretended as if  nothing was happening.

He advised hem to hold their leaders accountable noting that they continued to steal because youths allowed it and “no matter how you train a thief, he will remain a thief until the youth stand up, say no and they will stop,”.

Obi, whose speech was centred on “Inculcating Entrepreneurial Spirit in Youths,” said entrepreneurship was the future for the Nigerian youths, adding that government had to create entrepreneurs to achieve SDGs.

“What makes a society is the entrepreneurship and those countries that are doing well today is because their system invested on entrepreneurship.

“Businesses and service will boom but government must drive the process. Nigeria is not working because it is a consumption country instead of production.

“We cannot continue like this because all the money they are stealing and sharing belong to your future and there must be a change,” Obi said.

He said that God gave Nigeria everything except leadership, adding that states like Kogi, Niger and Borno could turn around Nigeria if they engaged in production through entrepreneurship.

In a speech titled “Responsibility of Hope”, the former Minister of Information, Mr Frank Nweke Jr, said youths must take responsibility by getting involved on the happening around.

He said, “The greatest skill is the shared responsibility.

“The action you take today will determine the responsibility of hope for tomorrow, if you give up on things happening around you, you will have yourselves to blame.”

Dr Innocent Kasarachi, a lecturer from the University of Port Harcourt and a motivational speaker, who took time to explain how he suffered before becoming what he was, said Nigeria only judge the container while leaving the content.

Kasarachi, who took pride in his disability, urged youths to discover whom they were and never allow anything to drail them.

“First, you must work on your mind,  make positive decisions and stand on the right side. Select your areas of interest and do something, I believe that the needed change is coming,” he said.

Speaking also,  founder of Boys Champion, Nelso Alumona, said the gathering was aimed at opening up a conversation on how far the country had gone in achieving SDGs and how far they had continued to make effort towards it.

According to him, the discussion became necessary as the world is very close to 2030 in achieving 2015 United Nations SDGs.

He added that  right now, countries were half way into 2030 agenda.

“We are trying to see how we can accelerate the achievement of SDGs by looking critically on entrepreneurship, being the driven force and those young leaders on communities who have taken civic action in their communities to solve global problem.

“We chose the like of Peter Obi, Kasarachi, Nweke and others because of their pedigree and background given the theme of the conference.

He said, “Dr Kasarachi is working with young people at the University of Port Harcourt as a professor and has been  moving round the world  advocating for total inclusion of people with disability

“Somebody like Peter Obi is an entrepreneur that is  known worldwide, while Frank Nweke is sitting on the board of a lot companies and Organisations and so is others,” he said.

Alumona explained that he  initiated a ‘Change Mega Challenge’ in this year’s conference aimed at supporting youths who were taking entrepreneurial and civic actions in solving problems in their communities financially.

He said that they received 632 applications, which they  narrowed  to 13 and from the number six finalists were selected.

“Three winners will go home with N1 million each today.

“Our expectations after this conference participants will continue to accelerate actions to achieve SDGs through entrepreneurship and taken actions in their communities,” Alumona said.

Reports says that BC is a non-profit organisation that leverages mentorship, sports, education, peace building and empathy to empower boys. (NAN)


FG Revokes 924 Dormant Mining Licences as Minister Decries Racketeering




The Federal Government has revoked additional 924 dormant mining licenses.

Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake announced this on Wednesday in Abuja as he decried the racketeering of the issuance of the licences.

He told newsmen that mining licence racketeering was impeding the development of the sector and obstructing genuine investors from showing interest in Nigeria’s mines.

Licences revoked were 528 for exploration; 22 mining leases, 101 quarry licences and 273 small-scale mining licences.

The minister explained that a grace period of 30 days was given to defaulters to rectify their statuses, and to state reasons for dormancy on the sites allocated to them in line with Constitutional provisions.

He said that 963 licences were published in the official gazette of the Federal Government in December 2023 awaiting revocation.

Out of these, only 39 of the listed licence holders responded to the warning as they either moved to site immediately or they stated challenges hindering their operations, he added.

Alake stated that the revocation of the licences was taken to sanitise and reposition the mining sector to boost Nigeria’s economic profile and to accelerate its industrialisation.

He noted that the “first-come, first-served’’ rule in the licencing regime was a disincentive for genuine investors as the rule prohibited issuance of fresh licence on a site already allocated.

The ministry revoked 1,663 mining licences in November 2023 because of failure by licensees to pay statutory charges and other dues to the Federal Government.

Alake said that following the revocation of the 1,663 licences in 2023, government received a lot of pressure to reconsider the punitive measure.

According to him, in response to the pressure, government issued a policy for defaulters to make restitution and show remorse in order to be considered for reinstatement.

He said that the restitution varied depending on the category of licence revoked.

“The highest, which is on mining attracts a restitution N10 million per revoked licence payable to the Federal Government.

“For the small-scale licences, the restitution is N7.5 million for reinstatement and for exploration licence, the restitution is N5 million,’’ Alake said.

The minister warned in his 2024 New Year goodwill message that more mining licences would be revoked for other categories of defaulters.

He warned also that Nigeria’s mining sector would not continue to suffer from low investments because of nefarious activities of individuals who bought licences for promising mine sites only to resell them at the illegal market.

He added that the practice was tarnishing Nigeria’s image and was diverting funds that could be used for exploration to the illegal market to acquire licences at exorbitant prices.

Alake stressed that Nigeria was losing a significant amount of Foreign Direct Investment to the untoward practice. (NAN)

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Sokoto Assembly Adopts Motion to Establish Skills Centre for Displaced Widows




The Sokoto State House of Assembly, on Wednesday, approved a motion advocating for the establishment of an Educational and Skills Acquisition Centre to support widows displaced by banditry and other security challenges in the state.

The motion, which was moved by Alhaji Abubakar Shehu (APC- Yabo) and seconded by Alhaji Atiku Liman (PDP-Silame), also urged the state government to repurpose the Sultan Maccido Waqf Centre for the initiative.

Shehu highlighted that the Sultan Maccido Waqf Centre, originally established by the State Zakkat and Endowment Commission in collaboration with Qatar Charity Organisations, could serve the purpose effectively.

He stated the importance of empowering widows and their children, emphasising the need to transition them from dependency to self-sufficiency.

“The conversion of the Centre into an Education and Skill Acquisition Centre for widows and children displaced by banditry is crucial to empower them economically and prevent them from becoming liability to the society,” he stated.

The lawmaker expressed concern about the sight of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the metropolis, often seen begging without access to economic activities or education.

He said the proposed center would offer training in various skills such as catering, knitting, tailoring, cream making, welding, mechanics, carpentry and building, among others.

Shehu emphasised that funding for the centre should be a joint responsibility of the state government, Zakkat Commission, international donors and individual contributions.

Contributing to the discussion, Alhaji Bello Idris (APC-Gwadabawa North) stressed the importance of conducting a comprehensive census of IDPs in the state to ensure proper support and utilisation of the centre once established.

Following deliberations, Speaker Alhaji Tukur Bala conducted a voice vote, and the motion was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers. (NAN)

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Undertake Reforms for Functional Justice System – Tinubu Tells Judiciary 




President Bola Tinubu has called on the nation’s Judiciary to embark on reforms that will ensure functional justice system and support economic growth.

Tinubu gave the charge on Wednesday when he declared open the National Summit on Justice, 2024, held at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja.

Represented by his Vice, Kashim Shettima, the President also emphasised the need for a legal framework that would guarantee basic human and political rights of individuals and provide security for all Nigerians.

According to him, much can be achieved when institutions of government, including the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, unite to acknowledge their challenges and brainstorm.

” This is with a view to proffering solutions to the problems bedeviling Nigeria,” he said.

The President, therefore, urged the judiciary to align its activities within the tenets of his administration’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

” Particularly as they relate to the priorities on inclusivity, fairness, rule of law, and anti-corruption stance, among other things”.

He said that his administration had pledged to be impartial and adhere to constitutional principles.

Tinubu said that the Summit availed institutions in the justice sector “with an opportunity to push boundaries by identifying needed system changes and critical reforms that would allow Nigerians to reap the benefits of huge investments in the sector.”

He explained that the Federal Government was determined to implement its policies and promises made to Nigerians for a renewed hope, through the instrumentality of the “law and the dictates of justice to create opportunities for our people.”

President Tinubu said that his administration made funding for the third arm of government a top priority, doubling it in the Renewed Hope budget 2024 by more that 100 per cent from 2023, budget.

” I urge the leadership of all justice sector institutions to seek a new direction and focus on outcomes by creating a justice system that truly responds to the needs of our citizens.

” I demand informed and coordinated responses to the identified challenges plaguing the effectiveness and efficiency of the sector.

” I demand performance so that Nigerians can feel and acknowledge the impact of your reform efforts.

“;Ultimately, the expectations are that law and justice should aim to ensure public safety, economic development, peaceful co-existence, and the well-being of our people.”

Earlier, the President of Senate, Godswill Akpabio commended the commitment of all stakeholders in the justice sector in building a consensus that would ensure a more robust judicial system.

He underscored the commitment of the National Assembly to a more vibrant and transformative justice system

He assured that the legislature would play its part by deliberating on the outcome of the summit in a bid to enshrine the outcomes into law.

On his part, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Okukayode Ariwoola, said giving the high expectations from the judiciary, undertaking a holistic reform of the sector had become necessary.

He noted that constitutional, statutory and operational reforms in the justice sector was imperative in meeting the aspirations and yearnings of the general public.

The CJN attributed most of the achievements recorded in the judiciary to the support of Tinubu administration, particularly in the enhancement of the welfare of judicial officers and improvement in their working environment.

In the same vein, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Lateef Fagbemi, emphasised the significance of the revised draft national policy on justice.

He noted that building a national consensus on the advancement of the justice sector has become necessary. (NAN)

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