Nigeria has appealed for global support for its candidate as election process for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General position began on Monday in Geneva.
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s two-time Finance Minister and a development economist is vying for the job alongside candidates from Mexico, Egypt, Moldova, UK, Saudia Arabia, Kenya, and South Korea.
At a reception held in Geneva to garner support for Iweala, Mr Adebayo Adeniyi the Minister of Trade and Investment described her as a global icon with proven leadership skills that the WTO required.
Adeniyi, who was represented by the Mr Abdulhamid Adamu, Charge d’ Affairs of the Nigerian Trade Office in Geneva listed some of Iweala’s achievements as spearheading negotiations and reforms that enhanced transparency of government accounts and strengthening institutions against corruption, among others.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that in the first phase of the election process, Amb. David Walker, Chair of the WTO’s General Council and his colleagues from the Dispute Settlement body, Mr Dacio Castillo as well as that of the Trade Policy Review body, Mr Harald Aspelund will commence consultations with all WTO members.
The consultation is geared toward assessing their preferences to determine which candidate is best placed to attract consensus support.
At the end of the first phase of consultation three candidates will be dropped thereby paving the way for five candidates to move to the next level.
Okonjo-Iweala in an interview with NAN expressed her readiness for the job saying she possessed the required competence.
“I want our partners and the WTO members to know that I have the bundle of skills required to lead the organisation at this time and put it ahead and face it towards the future.
“I am hoping that they will support me.
“I have had constructive discussions with the WTO members and feel really good and confident but nothing is done until it’s done. So I don’t want to be overconfident “ She said.
She also expressed appreçiation to President Muhammadu Buhari and his Chief of Staff Prof. Ibrahim Gambari for nominating and supporting her.
Okonjo-Iweala also expressed gratitude to the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama for his support.
The WTO election process usually lasts up to two months.
So far, no date has been fixed yet for the announcement of the winner.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Obiano inaugurates 18-member task force on human trafficking, irregular migrationar migration
Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra has expressed concern over the growing number of indigenes falling victim of human trafficking in the state.
He spoke on Tuesday in Awka during the inauguration of an 18-member task force to curb human trafficking and irregular migration in the state.
Obiano, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solomon Chukwulobelu, described the development as “a serious subject matter in the state which we are already aware of.
“The trend seems to be growing that occasionally, the matter comes up at the state Security Council meeting,” he said.
He recalled that efforts were made in the past to receive evacuated indigenes of the state in Lagos and Port-Harcourt, who were rescued and repatriated back to Nigeria from different countries.
According to him, they were later rehabilitated and reintegrated successfully into society.
Obiano lauded the efforts of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and pledged to donate a property to serve as the state command of the agency.
In a remark, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, described human trafficking and irregular migration as a national concern with a large number of Nigerians trapped in other African and European countries.
“This is apart from hundreds that continue to die in the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea,” Okah-Donli said.
She said that more worrisome was the case of young girls, being trafficked from the South-East and neighbouring states to Mali, Burkina Faso and other countries in the West African sub-region.
She said that 528 indigenes of Anambra were rescued by NAPTIP between 2004 and July 2020, consisting of 426 females and 102 males.
Okah-Donli said the victims were mostly from Onitsha North and South, Anambra East, Anaocha, Awka North and South, Idemili North and South Local Government Areas.
“These victims were subjected to child labour, domestic servitude, recruitment for foreign travels, sexual exploitation and sales of babies.
“Between 2017 and 2020, the International Orgaisation for Migration (IOM) returned 34 indigenes of the state from various parts of the world, comprising 29 females and five males,” she said.
The NAPTIP boss, therefore, said the task force had a pivotal role to play in ensuring adequate sensitisation at the grassroots and among vulnerable groups providing services and support to victims.
She, however, called for strong political will and budgetary provisions by the state government, in addition to the commitment of traditional institutions, religious and community leaders to deal with the phenomenon.
Also, Mrs Ruth Mbugua, the Protection Officer of IOM, said coordination and operationalisation of the task force was key to tackling human trafficking.
Mbugua said her office had supported the establishment of six task forces in Rivers, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states since January.
“Task forces create a strategic, coordinated and collaborative framework for a more effective response to trafficking in persons,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that members of the task force were drawn from the Police, Civil Society Organisatiosn, Immigration, Federal Road Safety Commission, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and youth groups.
Others were individuals from rights groups, Ministries of Women Affairs and Justice as well as offices of the SSG and Government House.
Responding, Dr Obianuju Nwogu, the Attorney-General of the state and Chairman of the task force, pledged the commitment of the state judiciary to the fight.
“We have able lawyers and we are expanding the number for the purposes of this job.
“We have all the apparatuses it will take, including regular courts, the Child’s Right Courts and the Administration of Criminal Justice Law to carry out the task,” she said.
Nwogu, who is also the state Commissioner for Justice, was represented by Mrs Ngozi Iwouno, the Director, Civil Litigation.
Earlier, NAPTIP was received by Mr Benjamin Okoye, the Traditional Prime Minister of Awka, when the group paid a courtesy visit to Obi Gibson Nwosu, the Traditional Ruler of Awka Kingdom.
Edited By: Sam Oditah
Buhari congratulates Plateau Dep. Gov. Tyoden at 70
President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the Deputy Governor of Plateau, Prof. Sonni Tyoden on the occasion of his 70th birthday.
The President, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Tuesday rejoiced with his family, friends, associates, the government and people of Plateau.
According to him, Tyoden has distinguished himself as a grassroots politician, former university teacher and Vice-Chancellor.
Buhari urged the deputy governor to remain committed in contributing to the development of his state under the All Progressives Congress (APC) and be a role-model to his numerous former students.
He prayed God to endow the septuagenarian with robust health and longer life as he continues to serve his state, country and humanity.
Edited By: Felix Ajide
Barbados tourism expert advises African operators on innovation
Jamie-Lee Abtar, Executive Director, Black Asian and Minority Ethnic Women in Travels from Barbados, on Tuesday urged innovativeness among African tourism practitioners to enhance speedy recovery from COVID-19 pandemic losses.
Abtar gave the advice during the youth tourism conference session of the 16th AKWAABA Africa Travel and Tourism Market, organised by Mr Ikechi Uko, with the theme: “The Role of the Youth in Restoring Tourism Growth in Africa”.
She said that being innovative distinguished a leader from a follower, urging tourism practitioners across Africa to turn their visions into products and services.
According to her, innovators understand that innovation never happen in a vacuum.
“To be able to recover from the losses of COVID-19 pandemic, we must be inspired to be innovators, leaders, collaborators, digital disruptor and be distinctly different.
“The characteristic of a great innovator is that they see a space others do not and they invent something new, they don’t just listen to what people say but they take initiative.
“These are virtues we must imbibe to scale through this critical period; as tourism practitioners, always be prepared for change and be active in making the change happen.
“To be distinctly different can be challenging but essential for your business to thrive,” she said.
Mel Tlhapi, Managing Director, Mel Prods South Africa, advised African governments to allow youths participate in tourism policy creation to generate experienced and unique ideas.
Tlhapi urged the youths involved in tourism business to always upgrade themselves academically to stay relevant in the industry, advising them to stay fearless regardless of the negative effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the industry.
She urged practitioners to solely embrace an aspect of the tourism value chain and remain vibrant in it instead of embracing so many chains without being professionals.
“I advise the youths to create niches for themselves in the industry, be fearless and embrace just an aspect of the tourism value chain, be well grounded in it and do not be a jack of all trade,” she said.
Chiamaka Obuekwe, Managing Director, Social Prefect Tours, spoke on the importance of collaborations to promote intra Africa travels.
Obuekwe said that personal rebranding, reputable business arena and mentorship were very essential to restoring tourism growth in Africa, urging tourism practitioners across Africa to take them seriously.
She said that Africans must consciously rewrite their stories to correct the negative perception of the international communities, going by the challenges of insecurity, poor infrastructure and other social vices projected to the world.
According to her, the negative perception could only be corrected by beginning to tell beautiful stories of Africa and rebranding the continent.
” The youths have a lot to do in tourism development across Africa but African governments must create the needed infrastructure to woo investors and tourists.
“I advise that we in Nigeria create a tourism package to showcase our tourism potential, just like we have events like Magical Kenya, Remarkable Rwanda and Incredible Ghana.
“I suggest we have a tourist festival like “Great Nigeria” or “One Nigeria” to showcase our rich cultural and tourism endowments which will be an annual event,” she said.
Carmen Imbili, Chief Executive Officer, Xceptional Tourism Services from Namibia, said huge confidence must be displayed by operators to forge ahead, be innovative in order to achieve post COVID-19 recovery in the tourism industry
Imbili urged practitioners to explore the power of technology and invest hugely in it as a way of life.
She called for collaborations across tourism practitioners in Africa for speedy recovery of the industry.
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Wale Ojetimi
Buhari consoles with Borno on loss of two Emirs
President Muhammadu Buhari has described the death of two Borno Emirs – the Shehu of Bama, Shehu Kyari Ibn Umar El-Kanemi and the Emir of Biu Mai Umar Mustapha Aliyu in a rapid succession as a “rare double tragedy,” and a painful loss to the people of Nigeria.
In separate letters of condolence delivered to Gov. Babagana Zulum and the Shehu of Borno, Shehu Abubakar Ibn-Umar Garbai El-Kanemi by a government delegation led by Malam Adamu Adamu, the Minister of Education, President Buhari said “such a rare tragedy is especially painful for the people of Borno and Nigeria at large.”
In the letters, according to his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, Buhari said, “their contributions to keeping the peace and stability in their respective Emirates, especially in the wake of recent years of violence and disturbances caused by Boko Haram have been appreciated by the government and people of Nigeria.
“Their exemplary leadership in the face of adversity is worthy of emulation by their successors.”
The leader of the delegation commended Zulum for doing so much in the face of personal danger to make peace and safety of his people his number one agenda.
In his remarks, the governor urged the delegation to convey the gratitude and appreciation of the government and people of Borno to President Buhari for his love, respect and caring attitude towards the state and its people.
Members of the delegation included two ministers of state, Mustapha Shehuri, Agriculture and Rural Development and Abubakar Aliyu, Works and Housing as well as Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.
Edited By: Felix Ajide