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OPEC Secretary-General, Barkindo Dies at 63

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Dr Mohammed Barkindo, the Secretary-General, Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), is dead.

Mr Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), confirmed the development in a statement posted on his official Twitter page on Wednesday.

“We lost our esteemed Dr Mohammed S Barkindo.

He died at about 11.
00 p.m. on Tuesday.

“Certainly a great loss to his immediate family, the NNPC, our country Nigeria, the OPEC and the global energy community.

“Burial arrangements will be announced shortly,” Kyari said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Barkindo, who is the outgoing OPEC secretary general, was in Nigeria where he delivered the Chairman keynote address at the ongoing Nigerian Oil and Gas Conference (NOG) in Abuja on Tuesday.

At his last official outing at the NOG, Barkindo was given a standing ovation by industry stakeholders for his outstanding contributions to the Nigerian and global oil and gas industry.

He had earlier in the day visited President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa where he was hailed by the president for being a “worthy ambassador to Nigeria.”

Born on April 20,1959 in Yola, Adamawa, Barkindo served as the Secretary General of OPEC since Aug. 1, 2016 and would have bowed out on July 31, 2022 following the completion of his tenure.

He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, in 1981 and Masters of Business Administration degree from Washington University in 1991.

Prior to MBA, in 1988 he earned a PostGraduate Diploma in Petroleum Economics from Oxford University.

Also, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Federal University of Technology Yola.

Barkindo previously served as the acting Secretary-General in 2006 and represented Nigeria on OPEC’s Economic Commission Board from 1993 to 2008.

He also led the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation during 2009 to 2010 and headed Nigeria’s technical delegation to UN climate negotiations since 1991.

Barkindo will be replaced by Mr Haitham Al-Ghais, a veteran of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), as the organisation’s Secretary-General following his demise.

In a tribute to Barkindo on his contributions to the global energy industry, OPEC said he was instrumental in expanding the organisation’s historical efforts to support sustainable oil market stability.

“This was through enhanced dialogue and cooperation with many energy stakeholders, including the landmark Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) since its inception in December 2016.

“These efforts are widely credited with helping to stabilise the global oil market since the unprecedented market downturn related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and providing a platform for recovery, “OPEC said in the statement posted on its website.

The statement noted that before being appointed the Secretary-General, Barkindo held a number of key roles at OPEC between 1986 and 2010, including as acting Secretary-General in 2006.

“He is known internationally for helping to produce the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto protocol as the leader of Nigeria’s technical delegation to the UN negotiations in 1991.

“He has remained a key contributor to the UNFCCC process, including most recently at the 26th Conference of Parties (COP) meeting in Glasgow in October and November 2021,” it said. (NAN)

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Education

Benue Born Medical Doctor Breaks Uncommon Grounds in Literature

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By David Torough, Abuja 

A Benue born Medical Doctor and a writer, Dr Mark Ogbodo, has broken uncommon grounds in literature as his third Novella, “Untold”, has been certified and approved by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), as a general reading material.

In a letter, the Executive Secretary of NERDC, Prof.

Ismail Junaidu, stated that the book, Untold, has been assessed by NERDC and found useful, and therefore, “it is recommended as a general reading material”.

The approval made it the second approval of Dr Ogbodo’s books, as the first Novella, “Amour Maternel”, was also approved by NERDC as a supplementary reader for all JSS 2 classes in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Fellow, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) who is also the immediate past Deputy Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Lafia (FULafia), Professor Idris Amali, has congratulated Dr. Ogbodo for his successful outing in another literary work.

“This is an important achievement to be on a national reading list. This is creativity with a purpose with immediate impact. 

“The concept well held for many years that there is no money in literary creativity is becoming a thing of the past and the era of milking the author without replenishing the milk is no longer tenable in the 21st Century. 

“Thus, the exploitation of the third world creative writers by the west is mellowing down. The Nigerian writers can today pursue his copyright issues to a gainful and logical end. 

“This position therefore makes  Dr. Mick Ogbodo, a potential instant  millionaire from the sales of his latest outing which has been placed on a national reading list of schools nationwide. This is a great feat.

“This situation should spur you to write more specific literary creativity  that targets such an audience which would attract a national audience for a specific purpose like the one you have written.

“Let me therefore congratulate you for this achievement. Manage the success well,” Prof. Amali stated.

Ogbodo who is the Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Medical Association, Benue State Branch is also the Chairman, Publication Committee, Nigerian Medical Association, Benue State Branch as well as the Secretary, Association of Nigerian Authors, Benue State Chapter.

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Tinubu Approves Implementation Of Oronsaye Report, To Merge Agencies

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President Bola Tinubu has ordered the full implementation of the Oronsaye report.⁣

⁣Consequently, it announced the merging, subsuming, scraping and relocation of several agencies of government. ⁣

⁣The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, revealed this to State House Correspondents after Monday’s Federal Executive Council meeting at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

“So in a very bold move today, this administration, under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, consistent again with his courage to take very far-reaching decisions in the interest of Nigeria, has taken a decision to implement the so-called Oronsaye Report.

⁣“Now, what that means is that a number of agencies, commissions, and some departments have actually been scrapped. Some have been modified, and marked while others have been subsumed. Others, of course, have also been moved from some ministries to others where the government feels they will operate better,” said Idris. ⁣

⁣Consequently, the President constituted a committee to implement the mergers, scrapping and relocations within 12 weeks, said Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Policy Coordination, Mrs Hadiza Bala-Usman. ⁣

⁣Submitted in 2012, the Oronsaye report on public sector reforms revealed that there are 541 — statutory and non-statutory —Federal Government parastatals, commissions, and agencies.⁣

⁣A year earlier, the then President Goodluck Jonathan had set up the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalisation of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies, under the leadership of former Head of Civil Service, Stephen Oronsaye.⁣

The 800-page report recommended that 263 of the statutory agencies be slashed to 161; 38 agencies be scrapped; 52 be merged and 14 be reverted to departments in various ministries.⁣

The report also recommends that the law establishing the National Salaries and Wages Commission be repealed and its functions taken over by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Responsibility Commission.⁣

⁣It advised the FG to merge the nation’s top three anti-corruption agencies—the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission and the Code of Conduct Bureau.⁣

More details shortly… ⁣

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How SOAR Initiative is Changing SGBV Narratives in Abuja Community

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Pigba Kasa community in Apo District, Abuja, says the intervention of Sexual Offences Awareness and Victims Rehabilitation Initiative (SOAR Initiative), an NGO, is changing the narratives on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the community.

The community members stated this during the graduation of beneficiaries of the NGO’s ‘Right to be a Girl’s Project’ in the community on Monday.

Reports says that the project, a nine-month intervention, is being supported by Mundo Cooparente, a Spanish humanitarian aid organisation.

The project is designed to empower 240 vulnerable adolescent girls from ages 10 to 16 with the right information and life-skills to protect themselves from violations, improve their ability to speak out against SGBV and forced marriage.

The Chief of Pigba Kasa community, Ayuba Kulobi, described the project as a game changer in addressing the challenges of SGBV in the community.

Kulobi said that prior to the project, the incidence of SGBV was high,but now on a downward trend due the  NGO’s intervention.

He particularly said that the Right to be a Girl’s Project has empowered adolescent girls with the needed information on how to protect their rights and seek redress when violated.

He added that the NGO helped the community to set up a Community Protection Committee (CPC) centre, where community members meet monthly to share ideas and advise families on how to address SGBV.

“More so, we now have access to the police, and we can call them anytime we have issues of SGBV. Gladly, the police intervened promptly and made arrests.

“Due to these interventions, we now hardly record cases of SGBV in our community,” he said.

The Deputy Chairperson of CPC in the community, Ms Christiana Manji, said the community members were now speaking out courtesy of the project.

“Hidden issues are now being exposed because people now know their rights and can seek redress,” she said.

Similarly, the committee’s secretary, Mr Ibrahim Idris, said that several persons have been arrested over alleged domestic and sexual abuse.

Some of the beneficiaries of the project thanked SOAR Initiative for the gesture, saying it broadened their knowledge on the rights of the girl-child among others.

One of them, a 13-year-old Jessica George, said she now knows a lot about sexual abuse, dangers of early marriage and self-esteem.

The story was the same for Mary Ayuba, a 10-year-old, who said that the project has empowered her to defend herself against SGBV.

“I am so empowered that I can now help other girls to overcome SGBV and enlighten them on how to seek help,” the girl said.

The Youth Advocate of the NGO, Miss Lolade Ipele, expressed satisfaction on how the adolescent girls embrace the 12-week project.

“I saw them grow from timid girls to intelligent girls with confidence to face the future,” Ipele said.

The Project Officer, Mr Yakubu Levi, said that the project was implemented in two communities – Chafuyi and Pigba Kasa, leveraging four public schools serving the communities.

Levi said that the girls were trained on safe spaces and other life skills, including access to case management, psycho-social counseling, and legal-aid services.

For sustainability, the project officer said that the NGO would support the establishment of a girls’ club in the four benefiting schools in collaboration with FCT Education Secretariat. (NAN)

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