“G7+” still lacks representation: Russian foreign ministry



Any global affair could not be a success without China’s participation, the ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova told RIA Novosti news agency.

Russia agrees with the comments made by United States President Donald Trump that the G7 is “a very outdated group of countries,” which does not properly represent “what’s going on in the world,” she said.

Zakharova also praised the Group of 20 as an effective and well-established format, which includes both the G7 and BRICS countries.

She made the remarks after Trump said Saturday that leaders of Russia, South Korea, Australia and India should be invited to this year’s G7 summit.



FG urges states to provide infrastructure for film industry devt.



The Federal Government on Monday called on states to provide necessary infrastructure for the growth of the film industry  to create wealth and employment for youths.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call in Abuja while inaugurating the Steering Committee for the Reform and Commercialisation of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC).

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Federal Government is partially commercialising the NFC to effectively discharge its mandate to plan, promote, organise and co-ordinate the development of the motion picture industry in the country.

Inaugurating the committee, the minister underscored the need for states to invest in  infrastructure to boost the film industry because of its potentials to create jobs and boost the economy

Relying on International Monetary Fund data, Mohammed said the Nigerian film industry, Nollywood, is the second largest employer of labour and contributed N893 billion to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015.

The minister also noted that Nollywood could perform better if the needed infrastructure such as film houses and enabling environment were provided.

In a comparative analysis, the minister disclosed that Nigeria has only 142 cinema houses compared to South Africa with 782 cinema houses.

According to him, the US has  40,393 cinema houses while India and China have 11,209 and 50,976 cinema houses respectively.

“You cannot have a successful film industry without adequate cinema houses because the major revenue source of the industry is exhibition .

“The most successful film in Nigeria today is “Wedding Party 1 and 2”  that grossed about two million dollars within a week through the cinema houses.

“You can imagine  a gross of 2 million dollars using only 142 cinema houses, and how much the film would have grossed if we have about 1000 cinema houses for exhibition,” he said.

“That is why it is important to appeal to our state governments to invest in infrastructure in the  industry.

“I do not  think it will be too much  for the state government to ensure they build one cinema house in each local government area of their states to give us an additional 774 cinema houses in the country.

“In India, 14 million people attend cinema daily and I can imagine the impact it will have on the economy,” he said.

The minister also underscored the need for states to look into building purpose-built arenas for concerts and shows to encourage creative artists.

“I will advise state governments to look into having arenas in each senatorial district or one in the state capital.

“I do not know of any place where we have purpose-built arena today because most places where we have concerts are not purpose-built.

“We have artists in Nigeria that can sell out anywhere in the world;  Burna boy, Wiz Kid and Davido sold out in Arena 02 in London and in other big arenas over the world.

“The biggest arena in Nigeria which is not even purpose-built can only accommodate about 7000 people whereas the Arena 02 in London accommodates up to 20,000 people,” he said.

The minister also canvassed for easy acquisition of land and tax waivers for artistes and investors who would like to build cinema houses or invest generally in the industry.

He noted that apart from wealth and employment creation, promoting the film industry would help to build inclusion and reduce social tension.

The minister noted that the intention of the administration is to make Nigeria the capital of entertainment in Africa,

He said though the film industry had been largely driven by the private sector, the Federal Government had been supporting the industry by providing enabling environment and funding.

“In 2013, there was “Project Nollywood” in which the government made available to the sector about 17 million USD for the growth and promotion of the industry.

“I am also aware of the various multilateral injection of funds to this industry and we have also embarked on revolutionary reforms to reposition the industry,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Alex Okoh, the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), said with the tremendous potentials of the film industry to reposition the nation’s economy, the government needed to play a prominent role.

Okoh said that the government was reforming the NFC to take the leading role in harnessing the potentials in the sector.

He, however, clarified that the reform process “is not a privatisation of the corporation but the commercialisation of this important enterprise and agency of government.”

“The clarification is that in this reform process, there is no transfer of ownership, no sale of shares and no privatisation of the entity.

“It is basically to ensure the resident value of the enterprise and its commercial viability,” he said.

He said the steering committee  being chaired by the minister would consider and approve the recommendations submitted by the project delivery team for the commercialisation of the corporation.

Other members of the steering committee inaugurated by the minister were Okoh, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Grace Gekpe and the Managing Director of NFC, Chidia Maduekwe.

The Director Information and Communication of BPE, Dikko Mohammed, will serve as the Secretary of the committee.

Edited By: Mufutau Ojo)
Source: NAN
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Russian, WHO discuss cooperation in fight against COVID-19



Russian Health Ministe, Mikhai Murashko and World Health Organisation (WHO), Regiona Director for Europe, Hans Kluge met on Monday to discuss cooperation in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There was a meeting with Hans Kluge. The main issues we discussed are related to our cooperation in fighting COVID-19,” Murashko said.

The health minister thanked the WHO European office for active interaction on issues related to COVID-19.

According to Murashko, Russia has carried out a series of events to support health systems in neighbouring countries and opened up access for medical professionals to information materials related to the treatment of patients with COVID-19.

The minister specified that he discussed with Kluge opportunities to promote medications and vaccines developed by Russia to the markets of other countries.

Similarly, Kluge expressed the health body’s appreciation to Russia for the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V.

“The WHO is very appreciative to Russia for the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly Sputnik V. I would like to thank the Russian Federation for great steps to develop a safe and effective vaccine,” Kluge said

Russia became the first country to register a vaccine against the virus that causes COVID-19 in early August.  The country has since reached agreements with more than 20 countries to deliver over a billion doses of the vaccine and agreements with five nations to mass produce it.

Kluge went on to meet with Anna Popova, the head of Russia’s consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, which has been in charge of handling the COVID-19 situation in Russia.

The two discussed issues of immunisation, especially of children, from other kinds of diseases, a process that was interrupted in many countries by the pandemic.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/
Source: NAN
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COVID-19: Organisation to empower 500,000 vulnerable Nigerians



Community Excellence and Development Initiative (CEDI), a non-governmental organisation, on Monday said it remained committed to empowering 500,000 vulnerable Nigerians amidst COVID-19 pandemic.

The Project Officer, Health and Education of CEDI, Betty Essien, made this known in a statement issued to newsmen in Abuja.

According to Essien, the aim is to complement the Federal Government’s effort to support Nigerians who need help, especially on COVID-19 pandemic, to reduce the impacts.

CEDI cannot be silent in this trying time in the country and the world at large.

CEDI plans to reach at least 500,000 vulnerable Nigerians with information on COVID-19 and provide relief materials especially efficient stoves and foodstuffs.

“To promote clean environment and reduce the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic even beyond 2020.

CEDI calls on concerned individuals and institutions to lend a helping hand to those in need to make the world a better place even after the pandemic,’’ she noted.

Essien explained the donations of N107,794 by CEDI’s friends and partners in Australia, U.K. and United StatesA., to be part of the Emergency Support for COVID-19 Project.

She said that the organisation also empowered them with workshop and donation of items.

The items include face masks, efficient stoves, briquettes, rice, beans, cassava floor (gari), spaghetti, packets of magi cube, groundnut oil and tomatoes.

Essien said that the project was carried out in Agwan-Tiv community ACO Estate, Lugbe, Abuja to support 80 most vulnerable households, to ameliorate the impact of the pandemic and reduce its spread.

According to her, the 80 beneficiaries comprising men and women are mostly widowers and widows and are being supported through the life-saving project.

“The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to the death of individuals in many countries including Nigeria.

“About 40 per cent of Nigerians live below poverty line of about of 381.75 dollars, equivalent of N137, 430 per year; therefore support not just to individuals, but households,” she added.

She, however, decried global lockdown of business operations, particularly in Nigeria.

According to her, it has negatively impacted on daily-wage workers, especially women who depend on limited financial savings to survive within rural communities.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Donald Ugwu
Source: NAN
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53 security personnel forces killed as violence escalates in Afghanistan



At least 53 members of the Afghan security forces were killed in overnight attacks by the Taliban in five provinces, officials said on Monday.

A further 51 were wounded in the clashes that occurred in the Afghan provinces of Uruzgan, Takhar, Kapisa, Maidan Wardak and Balkh, according to the officials.

The deadliest incident was in southern Uruzgan province, where more than two dozen Afghan security forces were killed, according to local media reports corroborated by a provincial councillor.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry said that 98 civilians were killed and 230 others were injured by violence throughout Afghanistan in the past two weeks.

The surge in attacks comes in spite of peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government in the Gulf state of Qatar and as the world observes International Day of Peace.

The United States envoy for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, who orchestrated the talks, called the escalation regrettable.

“Over the last few days, there has been a clear rise in violence in Afghanistan,’’ Khalilzad tweeted.

The Chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, called on the Taliban to accept a ceasefire.

“Our homeland has been burning in war and conflict for more than 40 years and many lives have been lost in this endless war,’’ Abdullah said in a statement.

There is no doubt that people hate and are tired of the ongoing war and conflict in the country, he added.

Historic peace talks started on Sept. 12 in Doha, bringing together delegations from the warring sides for the first time in 19 years.

In spite of this, however, people in Afghanistan are killed every day.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde
Source: NAN
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