Mr James Lalu, the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) on Wednesday unveiled the Nigerian Disability Partnership Group (NDPG) to coordinate implementation of the commission’s five-year Strategic Development Plan. Speaking during the unveiling in Abuja, Lalu said, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) form 15 per cent of Nigeria’s population. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that members of the Group’s Secretariat include, Mr Abba Isawa as Coordinator, Adewale Olasoji Ebenezer in charge of PRS, Mrs Olanike Akinbola, Head of Women and Gender and Ikem Uchegbulam. Others are Mariam Saleh Hassan as Legal Adviser, James Hassan as Director Human Resource, Haruna Mohammed as Technical Adviser, Fatima Doki Abubakar and Maria Kamba. According to him, the current needs in the disability community is very high, adding that the Commission is committed to promote disability inclusive development. “The coming together of the World Bank (WB), Foreign and Common Wealth Office of the British High Commission and Sight Savers to form the NDPG is very important to us as a community. “The partners are ready and willing to provide all the necessary technical and financial support to support the Commission to enable us achieve the long, short and medium term target as we set in our five year Strategic Development Plan “The partners have already shown their commitment; we welcome them with the the beautiful idea and it is a very important thing for us as an institution to set the pace; that is why we are setting up a secretariat here and the secretariat has been inaugurated. “One.of the functions of the Secretariat is to ensure the implementation of the five year Strategic Development Plan, then bringing the total commitment of everybody on disability in Nigeria, whether local or international,” Lalu said. He explained that the secretariat would also carry out activities to be able to provide data on what is happening in the disability community, including the impact, beneficiaries and many others. Lalu added that ten per cent slot in the National Social Investment Programme has been allocated to the disability community, adding that the commission is working to fill up the slot. “We are also working on so many areas to benefit PWDs and that is why this Group is inaugurated today”. Also speaking, Dr Adebukola Adebayo, the Technical Assistant of the Group from.the World Bank said disability is a multi-sectoral issue, adding that it cut across all aspects of life. He said there are a lot of international development partners, Civil Society Organisations and organised private sectors, working across sectors such as Education, Agriculture, health, transportation and others. According.to Adebayo, it is important to harmonise these efforts, stressing that the NCPWD, WB, Foreign and Common Wealth Office in the British High Commission and Sight Savers came together to set up the NDPG. “The primary goal is to provide technical and financial support to the Commission, to meet its mandate across all these sectors. ” So in the long run, the whole idea is to ensure that whatever is done in the support of PWDs are documented and harmonised to avoid duplication, waste of resources and unnecessary competition. “To also ensure consolidation and complementarity of efforts across the sectors. That is the major goal the NDPG is set up to achieve. “The secretariat of the NDPG is domicile at the Commission and run by it staff, but with the technical and other form of support from development partners,” he said.
. The Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) says it has collaborated with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and other stakeholders in Jigawa in the fight against corruption.
The Executive Secretary of the committee, Prof. Sadiq Radda, disclosed this to the Nigeria News Agency on the side line of Public Education/Citizen Enlightenment Campaign in Dutse on Thursday.
Radda stated that the fight against corruption is a collective efforts which all relevant stakeholders must join hands to fight.
He explained that the Agency had recorded tremendous success since it was established by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016.
Ladda wondered why the issue of fighting corruption was only focused at the national level with less attention given to grassroots.
“It is against this background that we engaged NOA and relevant stakeholders to assist in the sensitization and enlightenment campaign against corruption in Jigawa”
“We conducted the programme in 16 states of the federation, Jigawa is now the 17th state that we are organizing this kind of programme”
“Corruption became a cankerworm in our society capable of destroying not only the present generation but even the generation yet unborn,” he said.
Earlier in a speech, the Jigawa State Director, NOA, Malam Shuaibu Haruna pledged that the Agency would assist in the mobilization and sensitization of the campaign against corruption in the state.
Haruna commended President Buhari for the giant strides in the fight against corruption, resuscitation of the economy and entrenchment of vibrant security architecture in the country.
Also speaking, the Secretary to Jigawa State Government (SSG), Alhaji Adamu Fanini, thanked PACAC for organizing the programme in the state.
Fanini, who was represented by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics (PRS), in Jigawa Local Government Service Commission (JLGSC), Alhaji Abdullahi Sa’id, pledged that the state government would engage all relevant stakeholders in the crusade against corruption.
Edited & Vetted By: Wale Ojetimi
The Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu
By Constance Imasuen
Abuja, Aug 15, 2018 The Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, says the ministry is collaborating with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to include the ICT and Telecom industry on Forex priority list.
Shittu, represented by Mr John Emeawa, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics (PRS), Ministry of Communications, disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja while inaugurating the ICT, Computers/Devices Service Centre.
The centre was established by the Ministry of Communications and Certified Computers Manufacturing of Nigeria (CCMON).
“In this regard, I will proudly say that Nigeria has an array of young people with great energies and creative abilities to launch Nigeria into the league of world leading economies by leveraging on ICTs.
Shittu stressed the need for the nation to adopt a deliberate, planned and sustainable national programme for developing a competent, knowledge-driven workforce and society.
He said sustained access to ICT tools was a critical component of competent and knowledge-driven workforce.
The minister said in ensuring a competent workforce that the Certified Computer Manufacturers of Nigeria (CCMON) seeks to collaborate with the ministry and its agencies to establish the centre.
According to him, the ministry fully identifies with CCMON since its activities align with the mandate of the ministry because we know that their value propositions will be beneficial to the sector.
“Our collaboration with CCMON is intended to transform and build the capacity of the workforce in digital literacy and in preparation for a full implementation of the National e-Government Master plan.
“ICT Roadmap and also equip benefitting tech savvy youths with entrepreneurial and job creation skills.
“I am happy to inform you that the Computer Service Center aligns with the implementation of the Federal Government Local Content Initiative,“ he said.
Shittu said the centre will support all systems bought in the public service, saying it was a pilot project of the ministry with plans to be replicated in every MDAs to provide after sales and services support.
“Such after sales support will ensure that computers bought by government are duly maintained.
“This will stop all incidents of breakdowns and malfunctioning of computers used for government business.
Consequently, the centre is for skills acquisition of staff that will provide services to various MDAs.
“The programme, therefore, will save costs for government and eliminate huge maintenance costs in government IT infrastructure.
“ I wish to state that our ministry will continue to support CCMON as well as other equipment manufacturers to provide policy direction, who may wish to set up an assembly plant in Nigeria in the future,‘’ he said.
In her opening remarks, Mrs Nkechi Ejele, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications, said the centre would serve as a model for promoting in-house maintenance of ICT devices.
Ejele said the centre would also carry out preventive maintenance, encourage purchase of locally manufactured ICT devices.
“Increase the life span of systems and serve as a training centre for devices repair and maintenance thereby lowering the total cost of ownership.
“As a ministry, we have consistently stated the ICT sector of the Nigerian economy has the capacity to serve as one of the leading sources of government revenue, if the enabling environment is created through partnership and investment.”
Pedro said the coming together of local manufacturers to set up a unified service centre will reduce cost and provide efficient services.
Edited by: Felix Ajide
Harare, Aug. 2, 2018Observers from the Commonwealth on Thursday condemned the use of force by security services to break up protests in Harare over Monday’s presidential election.
Former colonial power Britain also said it was deeply concerned by the situation, while the United Nations had earlier called from restraint from all sides in the bloody aftermath to Monday’s election.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa meanwhile said he had been talking to opposition leader Nelson Chamisa to try to defuse tension after clashes on the streets of Harare in which troops opened fire on opposition demonstrators, killing three.
The streets were calm on Thursday morning although many shops were shuttered in the city center.
But the dispute over the conduct of the elections and the subsequent violence has punctured the euphoria over the army’s removal of longtime strongman Robert Mugabe in November 2017 and the hope that Zimbabwe might be entering a new era of democracy after decades of political repression and economic ruin.
The international community’s view on the election is crucial to Harare’s efforts to patch up relations after years of hostility under Mugabe and secure the billions of dollars of donor funding and investment needed to rebuild its economy.
But observers from the Commonwealth, the group of mainly former British colonies that Mnangagwa had been hoping to rejoin, did not mince their words.
“We categorically denounce the excessive use of force against unarmed civilians,” former Ghanaian president John Mahama said in a statement on behalf of the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth also urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to expedite the announcement of the results of the presidential vote.
The observers had on Wednesday reported a number of problems with the poll, including voter intimidation.
A British Foreign Office minister, Harriet Baldwin, urged political leaders to ensure calm and restraint.
The European Union said the elections were competitive and freedoms were respected, but that there was a lack of a “truly level playing field”.
Writing on Twitter, Mnangagwa also called for an independent investigation into the violence and offered his condolences to the families of victims.
He said he had been in contact with Chamisa. But there was no response from the MDC Alliance leader, who claimed several times on Twitter to have “won the popular vote” but provided no numbers or concrete evidence of fraud by the ruling ZANU-PF party.
The deployment of soldiers and their shooting and beating of unarmed protesters is likely to set back efforts to end the pariah status that Zimbabwe acquired in the latter half of Mugabe’s nearly four decades in charge.
In particular, it is likely to confirm suspicions that the generals who ousted Mugabe – including army chief-turned vice-president Constantino Chiwenga – remain the pre-eminent political force.
“The unmeasured military response bears witness to a security apparatus little reformed since the Mugabe era,” said Christopher McKee, chief executive of political risk consultancy PRS Group.
“It matters little whether this heavy-handed response came on Mnangagwa’s orders: evidence that the president lacks the authority to control the security forces will be just as damning in terms of the impact on Zimbabwe’s international rehabilitation.”
Piers Pigou, a Zimbabwe expert at the International Crisis Group think-tank agreed, saying: “Deployment of the army reveals the uncomfortable truth that, eight months after Mugabe was ousted in a coup, the army remains the pre-eminent political force.”
China, an important source of funding under Mugabe and Mnangagwa, said however, it believed the election had generally proceeded in an orderly fashion. A foreign ministry spokesman “noted” reports of Wednesday’s violence.
In Harare on Thursday morning, shops were shuttered and soldiers loitered on streets strewn with rocks and embers from fires set by the demonstrators.
The website of the election commission, which is expected to start announcing presidential election results on Thursday, was offline after being taken out by unidentified hackers overnight.
“Yesterday was a very sad day for Zimbabwe,” said minibus driver Gift, glancing over his shoulder at a soldier smoking a cigarette.
“We hope things remain quiet and we can all just forget about this election. We don’t know if it was fair. The government will do what they want.”
Guinea Bissau political rivals have agreed to a road map that includes the formation of a new government.
A statement from regional mediators seeking to end a year-long political crisis in the West African country said.
President Jose Mario Vaz dismissed Prime Minister Domingo Simoes Pereira in August 2015 and the country’s political institutions have been paralyzed by infighting since then.
Observers hoped the appointment of Baciro Dja as prime minister in May would ease the deadlock but he has failed to win the support of a key faction within the ruling PAIGC party.
The United Nations has warned that the crisis might benefit drug traffickers and attract “extremist terrorist groups” seeking to gain a foothold in the region.
The former Portuguese colony is notoriously unstable and had seen nine coups or attempted coups since 1980.
The turbulence had helped it become a major transit point for cocaine trafficked from South America to Europe.
A team of mediators from regional bloc ECOWAS, led by neighboring Guinea’s President Alpha Conde and Sierra Leone’s Ernest Bai Koroma, spent Saturday in talks with stakeholders in the capital Bissau.
“The parties consulted have all shown their support for the plan proposed by mediators,” said Guinea’s government late on Saturday, after meetings with the president, prime minister, PAIGC as well as the main opposition party PRS.
“The signals being sent are reassuring that the crisis in Guinea Bissau is beginning to ease,” the statement said.
The six-point plan includes a preliminary agreement to form a consensus government, an agreement to reform the constitution and the defense sector, it said.
It gave no timeframe for the new government.
Previous internal and external efforts to resolve the political deadlock have failed.
The crisis has prevented parliament from agreeing to budgets and has blocked international aid on which the poor, cashew-exporting country of 1.7 million depends.
The country faces a budget shortfall after the IMF said it would withhold future payments unless the government backtracks on loan bailouts for two private banks.
Edited by: Dorcas Jonah/Felix Ajide