General news

Plateau Speaker applauds Tallen’s ministerial appointment



Mr Abok Ayuba, the Speaker of the Plateau House of Assembly, has described the appointment of Dame Pauline Tallen by President Muhammadu Buhari, to serve as a Minister as a  ‘perfect choice’ from the state.

Ayuba made this known in a statement issued by his Press Secretary, Mr Bulus Azi, on Friday in Jos.

The speaker was optimistic that Tallen, a technocrat and a politician, would excel.

“Tallen will put her wealth of experience into good use in supporting the President, implement his policies and programmes.

“As a former commissioner, minister, and deputy governor, she has demonstrated high capacity, hard work and a deep sense of patriotism in achieving result.

“So, I have no doubt that as a Minister, Tallen will bring her wealth of experience and expertise to support the President in achieving the Next Level agenda,” he said

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Tallen was among the 43 ministers inaugurated on Wednesday by the President.

NAN reports that Tallen has since assumed duty as Minister of Women Affairs.


NCDC announces 195 new COVID-19 cases, death toll hits 1,100



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced 195 new cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in the country.

The NCDC made this known on its official twitter handle on Monday.

According to the agency, the new infection takes the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 57,437.

The health agency sadly reported two new deaths raising the death toll in the country to 1,100.

It also reported that 105 patients who had been treated and had also recovered from the infection were discharged across the country.

The NCDC said that Enugu State recorded the highest number of new cases with 51, followed by Gombe with 40, Lagos with 39, Plateau with 23, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),  with 15.

Among other states that recorded new cases were  Rivers (12), Kaduna (8), Ondo (3), Bauchi (2), Edo (1), and Ogun (1).

According to the agency, till  date, 57,437 cases have been confirmed, 48,674 cases have been discharged and 1100 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the FCT.

The health agency said a multi-sectoral national emergency operation centre (EOC) activated at Level three, had continued  to coordinate the national response activities across the country.

Meanwhile, the agency has warned that majority of Nigerian states were not testing enough.

It said, “We do not have enough data coming out of these states to ascertain if we are improving or not or where exactly we are.

“So we have to work together; in summary, it is way too early to make any interpretation whether we are flattening the curve or not.”

The NCDC appealed to more states to test consistently so that progress could be monitored on a national level.

Edited By: Ejike Obeta
Source: NAN
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Why FG is commercialising NFC — Lai Mohammed



The Federal Government says it is reforming and commercialising  the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) to address the agency’s teething challenges and reposition it for improved performance.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made this known on Monday in Abuja while inaugurating a Steering Committee for the Reform and Commercialisation of the Corporation.

He said the federal government has engaged the services of a Business Development Consultant to conduct a due diligence on the corporation and sector and recommend a strategy that is suitable for its reform and commercialisation.

Mohammed said the NFC, which was established with a mandate to plan, promote, organise and co-ordinate the development of the Nigerian motion picture industry, has not been able to meet up with its statutory functions.

He noted that since its establishment, the Corporation has faced several challenges including inability to engage in commercial film production.

The minister said the law establishing NFC limits its operational functions such that it cannot leverage on the private sector-led growth of the industry.

He added that the National Film Institute (NFI), a unit in NFC, is not empowered to leverage its technical and professional capabilities for commercial purposes and revenue generation.

Mohammed said the NFC’s civil service structure comes with bureaucratic limitations, budgetary constraints and operational inefficiency.

“A critical look at the existing organizational structure shows that NFC is over-bloated and needs to be restructured to reflect its purpose.

NFC has obsolete equipment, with some dating back to colonial times,” he said.

The minister noted that the reform of the corporation will help in the efforts of the government to reposition the nation’s film industry, Nollywood, and make Nigeria the capital of entertainment in Africa.

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

The minister noted that Nollywood could perform better if the NFC is restructured and needed infrastructure enabling environment are provided.

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

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 is 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 commercialization 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 privatization 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 are, 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 to the committee.

NFC, established by Decree No. 61 of 1979 and is 100 per cent  owned by the Federal Government and has its registered office in Jos, Plateau State.

 It is established to distribute documentary films on different aspects of Nigeria’s socio-cultural and political life and provide film services for the Federal Government.

The corporation is to train young talented Nigerians in the art of film making, conducting research into Nigerian films and provide technical and financial support to film Industry and practitioners.

NFC is also established to regulate and organise professional practice in the film industry.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
Source: NAN
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General news

World Peace Day: NGO organises arts exhibition to promote peace, peaceful co-existence



The Dialogue, Reconciliation and Peace (DREP) Centre, a Jos-based Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), has organised an arts exhibition in some communities to mark the 2020 World Peace Day.

DREP Programme Manager, Mr Chris Ogbonna, said at the event that the initiative was to promote peace and peaceful coexistence in communities in a unique way.

“We want to see how we can use art to promote peace by deviating from regular meetings and dialogue sessions.

“The idea is to use people with different skills such as arts to engage communities with their works.

“We are using the World Peace Day to unveil these kinds of arts exhibition and promote peace,” Ogbonna said.

He said that the arts exhibitions would take place in six communities in Plateau in the next six days.

He also stated that the idea of the exhibition was to see how to impart artistic knowledge into young people.

According to the programme manager, if the youths channel their energies into gainful ventures, they will have less time for vices.

He said the group had been giving grant to artists every year to encourage them in telling the story of peace.

Dr Jacob Onoja, a lecturer with the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Jos, one of the exhibitors, said that he engaged in arts that dealt with peace in communities.

Onoja said that going into the area of peace, conflict and dialogue he had seen the devastation in communities and that the devastated family members had suffered as a result of crises.

“The best way I can express it is that, in the quietness of the studio, tell the story by inscripting words in symbolic forms.

“When people relate with works of arts, you see the reactions it will elicit.

“The stories that are crafted into my works are stories of peace which if every community  imbibes, they will help to propagate peace,” he said.

Mrs Becky Soemlat of Plateau Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Hospitality, lauded DREP’s initiative of promoting peace through arts.

Soemlat described the exhibition as a welcome development that would tell the story of how peace would be achieved.

She said that the ministry had been partnering with  artists to see how they could project the peace in the state.

Alhaji Salisu Hassan, Nasarawa Filin Ball Community leader, where the exhibition was held, urged DREP and the exhibitors to mentor youths in arts.

Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf
Source: NAN
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COVID-19: Plateau surveillance team attacked in communities – Commissioner



The Plateau COVID-19 Surveillance teams are attacked and molested in some communities while discharging their duties, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Nimkong Lar, has said.

Lar disclosed this on Monday at the Government House, Jos, during a stakeholders meeting comprising political and religious leaders and heads of government organisations to discuss the COVID-19 situation in the state.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Martins Azzuwut, the commissioner expressed concern at the practice, saying massive community engagement was required to address the problem.

“The surveillance teams are attacked or molested for going to move people to treatment centres.

“Our state is battling with inadequate reagents and consumables to conduct the COVID-19 testing, and more manpower is required for contact tracing for people of interest to the disease.

“We need to scale up community awareness, procure laboratory consumables, testing centres should be supported for more testing and response teams need motivation,” he said.

He urged local government chairmen to support response teams in their respective domains to enable them to discharge their duties diligently.

Lar also said that non-compliance to COVID-19 protocols, hesitancy of confirmed patients to commence treatment and backlog of pending results were major reasons for the high number of cases of the virus in the state.

He said the state had recorded 31 deaths out of the 3,231 confirmed cases recorded in the state as at Sept. 20, explaining that the low number of deaths was due to early diagnosis of the disease.

He said that Plateau being the third highest in the number of confirmed cases in the country was as a result of the large number of community testing in the state.

“We are the first state to test civil servants and a committee is being set up for massive testing when school resumes,” the commissioner said.

In his presentation, the Chairman of Plateau Research Team on COVID-19, Prof. Noel Wannang, said the team had made remarkable progress in the cure of the disease using indigenous plants in the state.

Wannang said the team had started phase two of its research, saying the team needed about three weeks to conclude that phase, adding that this was a great progress in the stage of research.

According to him, the first phase of research has been concluded which is the safe test of the drugs for consumption.

He added that the drugs had undergone pre-clinical trials using eggs, chicks, mice, rats, guinea pigs and rabbits.

The chairman said when the research was concluded, the drugs would be used to treat and cure COVID-19 placing Plateau as international for its scientific achievements.

In his remarks, Gov. Simon Lalong said that the biggest challenge in combating the pandemic in the state was lack of compliance to guidelines and protocols, as well as denials and resistance to contact tracing and testing by some individuals.

“Addressing the challenge requires the support and cooperation of critical stakeholders. They are crucial to curtail further spread of the disease.

“Your presence here today is therefore very crucial as we work together to take measures that will lead to greater sensitisation and enforcement within your spheres of influence.

“We need to curtail further spread of the disease by engaging our people to take personal responsibility for their health and the health of others.

“Many people are not using face masks nor washing their hands or maintaining social distancing. Indeed, others carry on as if there is no COVID-19, in spite of the fact that we have recorded deaths that are associated with the disease.

“We need to engage our people more and let them know that this pandemic may stay with us for a longer time,” Lalong said.

He assured the people of the state of his commitment toward overcoming the disease, saying he was in constant touch with the Federal Government, the private sector and international partners to ensure that the state received the attention it deserved.

Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare and Abdullahi Yusuf
Source: NAN
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