Police detain 113 climate change activists over London blockades




“Most of the arrests reported by 6.00 a.m. (0500 GMT) were for breaching an order restricting the location of Monday’s protests and for obstruction of the highway,’’ the force said.

It said those arrested included five people detained on suspicion of criminal damage in south London’s Lambeth area, where protesters vandalised oil giant Shell’s office, spraying slogans including “climate criminals” on the front of the building.

A media report says extinction Rebellion plans two weeks of protests in Britain and 32 other nations.

Activists have parked a trailer with a pink boat bearing the message “tell the truth” at Oxford Circus, one of London’s busiest shopping areas.

They blocked nearby Marble Arch and Waterloo Bridge to traffic in Monday’s “Shut down London” protest.

The boat remained in place and the Marble Arch and Waterloo protests continued.

“We’re here to get people to have a conversation about the impact of climate change.

“I do apologise for the inconvenience caused but I’ve two boys, 10 and 13, and they won’t have enough food to eat in a few years’ time,’’ Gail Bradbrook, one of the organisers, told broadcaster ITV.

Bradbrook quoted renowned broadcaster and wildlife presenter David Attenborough’s warning to a UN climate change summit in December.

Science & Technology

NITDA, NSIA partner on ICT start-ups



The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is to partner with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) towards generating investment in Information Communication Technology (ICT), start-ups, to create  jobs and wealth in the country.

NITDA Director-General, Mr Kashifu Inuwa, said this on Thursday in Abuja when he paid a courtesy visit on Mr Uche Orji, the Managing Director of NSIA.

Inuwa noted that ICT was taking over world economies, hence the need for massive investment that would result in IT infrastructure development in the country.

“It is important to stimulate the IT industry through content localisation rather than importation from other countries, considering especially that the large population of Nigeria consists of young and brilliant innovators,’’ he said.

The director general added that the agency initiated some projects to ensure valuable investments and sustain the ICT ecosystem during the COVID-19 lockdown in the country.

Inuwa said such projects included the COVID-19 Innovation Challenge and the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA).

“For the innovation challenge, young innovators were converged and they came up with technology solutions to cushion the effect of COVID-19.

NAVSA is an initiative to digitise our farming processes and it is already yielding positive result.

“We have trained and equipped over 140 Nigerians who are already benefiting from the scheme and we are currently working to escalate it to every part of the country.

“If we work collectively, we can achieve a lot,’’ he said.

Responding, Orji said the collaboration would benefit the country in terms of developing its economy, especially now that ICT is contributing significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Our mission is to play a leading role in driving sustained economic development for the benefit of all Nigerians.

“We want to create economic stability in the country and IT is a great way to achieve that,’’ he said.

Edited By: Johnson Eyiangho/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Source: NAN





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COVID-19: NIMPORT chairman says IT optimisation key to maritime industry rebound



The Chairman, Nigerian International Maritime Ports and Terminals (NIMPORT), Mr Fortune Idu, says Information Technology (IT) optimisation is key to the rebound of the maritime industry after the COVID-19 pandemic, and should be part of the recovery plan.

Idu said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Wednesday.

According to him, a recovery plan is one put in place to help companies, organisations and industry to respond to sudden change, disruption in business place and help them to bounce back.

He said that generally, the transport industry was about the biggest hit as a result of COVID-19 pandemic; particularly export and import trade which was adversely affected.

The chairman said the lockdown affected the logistics industry as a whole, maritime and international trade facilitation, movement of people to carry out business and signing of contracts, among other things.

“There is a new normal now, economy is struggling to recover, most operators within the maritime industry are advised strongly to look at business continuity plan, the recovery plan to help one respond to emergencies like this.

“This is the time when the recovery plan should become active to help businesses bounce back, and this can be done through IT optimisation,” he said.

He noted that the pandemic was a major sudden change and disruption the world had never seen before, but companies who had this plan put in place before might not experience the magnitude of what was happening now.

Idu said that most companies had various types of recovery processes such as downsizing, restructuring, mergers with other companies and acquisition to become more effective, because disruption like this comes with some challenges.

“Now, for one to survive this time, you need to optimise information technology tools because some of the meetings are done on virtual platform; that means you need to communicate with people at long distance without actually being in physical contact with them.

“Companies that are in this industry that are not responding to the new normal will have a problem, and so the need to adopt the recovery plan of optimising IT facilitation,” he said.

Idu said that the pandemic threw up challenges in the industry; restriction of movement, most businesses opened partially, a lot of companies downsized, documentation processes were affected, and there was serious manpower shortage.

He said that optimising IT in the maritime industry would tackle these challenges and limit people’s visit to the port complex.

The NIMPORT chairman said that cost management was key to business recovery process as inflow had reduced, as some companies had shut down on importation, and the dollar exchange rate in Nigeria had shot up.

“IT optimisation must take the front burner, companies have to cut down on non essential movement, not just cargo. and it will tackle the table to table documentation that rings about human error.

“We will keep on doing our normal things bearing in mind the COVID-19 protocol as we know that a healthy personnel is a healthy company, as people being exposed will bring more problem for the industry,” he said.

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle
Source: NAN
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Edo 2020: Foundation trains 150 observers, harps on self protection



Cleen Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has trained 150 election observers for the Sept. 19, Edo off-cycle governorship election,  and laid emphasis on the need to self-protect while observing the elections.

Mr Benson Olugbuo, the Executive Director of the foundation, made this known on Wednesday at an online training for the foundations Edo polls observer.

Olugbuo advised the observers not to engage in any form of observation that could endanger their lives and property but to only report what their eyes could see without lies or exaggeration.

“The main purpose of this training is to guide observers on what to do during the election exercise and how to go about it.

“But first we must lay emphasis on self protection.

“Every observer has a duty to protect himself or herself first before anything else.

“That is why each observer will be deployed to the nearest polling unit to ones residence.

“Engaging in any form of argument with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), officials or political party agents or citizens is unacceptable.

“In the case of any ugly incidents just walk away and call the centre for guide,’’ he said.

He advised all the observers of the foundation to be well kitted by wearing the entire necessary outfit for proper identification, including the observers’ vest, fez caps and identification cards that would be provided for each person.

He advised those with underlining health conditions not to participate in the exercise and warned strongly against getting intoxicated by any substance or any material enticement that could deter accurate observation and report.

“We strongly advise any observer who feels unwell not to participate in the exercise.

“This is because those with underlining health issues are most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus,’’ he said.

He urged the observers to file their observation reports through the appropriate channel for quick and easy collation of the foundations observation report for quick dissemination to the public.

Mr Gabriel Akinremi, a senior IT officer at the foundation, trained the observers using its mobile application known as `Cleen App’.

He said that the App could be downloaded from either Google play store on Android devices or on Apple play store for Iphone users.

He advised the observers to be well equipped with internet facility, well charged cell phones battery, availability of power banks for backups and telephone call cards for making emergency phone calls.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that the 150 trained observers consist of 50 INEC observers and 100 Edo residents.

Edited By: Cecilia Odey/Donald Ugwu
Source: NAN
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COVID-19: Google, Ministry partner to support youth



Google on Tuesday announced plans to help businesses, job seekers, educational institutions and vulnerable population begin to rebuild and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis locally and across the continent.

Google Nigeria Country Director, Juliet Ehimuan, said at Google Economic Recovery Virtual Roundtable that the economic recovery plan was in partnership with Federal Ministry of Youths and Sport.

The country director said that the tech company’s initiatives would address the need for funding, training and services across identified sectors, including support for 500,000 SMBs and 25,000 teachers.

Ehimuan said that the economic recovery plan was support for vulnerable populations, education, and business to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

She said that this support included a partnership with the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to provide support for youth-owned SMBs.

According to her, it will also provide support for jobseekers in Nigeria to help them acquire marketable skills through certification and training programmes, and involve supporting programmes that enable and improve access to quality education across the region.

‘’Google has set up a digital hub providing free tools and resources to businesses and individuals.

‘’ Through the hub, 500,000 small businesses will receive help getting online or improving their digital presence through Google My Business (GMB) which helps them connect with millions of users every month.

“Small businesses have been hardest hit during this period. Many of them have had to figure out quickly how to pivot their operations to a ‘digital-first’ approach.

“Yet, there remains a gap between those who can access these online opportunities and those who can’t. That’s the gap we want to bridge with these initiatives.

‘’We will continue to do our part to help businesses recover and grow, help more people prepare for jobs, and support students, teachers and underserved communities. And in so doing, we hope to create real economic opportunity for everyone,” Ehimuan said.

Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Head, Brand Reputation, Google Africa, said that to provide assistance to vulnerable populations, has set aside $3 million in grants to support education, entrepreneurship and women empowerment across Africa.

Aderemi-Makinde said that $500,000 of that was going towards a grant to the Praekelt Foundation (a software development non-profit that builds open-source, scalable mobile technologies and solutions).

She said it is to improve the health and wellbeing of underprivileged people in order to help train micro and small businesses in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

According to her, in an effort to help job seekers acquire new skills while they look for opportunities, Google is providing underserved communities and job seekers with $750,000 in IT support scholarships through across Africa.

She said that job seekers could also access the Grow with Google training portal for help in growing their careers or businesses at their own pace and through flexible and personalized training courses.

Aderemi-Makinde said for educational institutions and teachers, Google was working with partners across Africa, through Google for Education, to help deploy its suite of education products in schools and help 500,000 students continue learning.

She said that to help teachers keep teaching, Google aims to give 25,000 educators access to free online training sessions and resources, such as Teach From Anywhere.

‘’Google is also giving a grant of $250,000 to organizations in Nigeria which are developing programs and tools to boost literacy for children in low-income schools in the country. ‘’

Aderemi-Makinde said that Google was also launching a new Marketing Kit tool to help people to put together marketing kits for their businesses with the free Market Finder tool.

According to her, using information from their Google My Business profile the tool helps businesses keep customers informed with their latest news, create custom posters and social posts.

Responding to the partnership, Mr Sunday Dare, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, said governent was focused on creating an enabling environment that promotes youth and economic development in Nigeria.

Dare said that this partnership with Google in Nigeria was critical at this period and looked forward to the positive impact it would have on SMBs’ recovery, enhancing the skills of jobseekers and supporting the education sector.

The minister said that one of the abiding lessons of COVID-19 was the importance and dominance of technology.

According to him, this Google partnership comes at time most appropriate to help ratchet up support for our enterprising youth across Nigeria.

‘’This Google partnership comes at time most appropriate to help ratchet up support for our enterprising youth across Nigeria and I am certain Nigeria youth will take full advantage of this opportunity.

“We are focused on creating an enabling environment that promotes youth and social development in Nigeria,’’ the minister said.

According to him, we look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on SMBs’ recovery, enhancing the skills of jobseekers and improving the digital effectiveness of the education sector.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
Source: NAN
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