UN General Assembly holds first in-person plenary since March



The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday held its first in-person plenary meeting in nearly six months.

News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the UN shut down its New York headquarters in March to check spread of the coronavirus.

The move was also in compliance with the host government’s shutdown orders and social distancing directive.

This prompted the 193-member Assembly to suspend physical meetings and go virtual.

NAN reports that the UN is currently in Phase 2 of a gradual reopening process that began on July 20.

Thursday’s meeting held under strict social distancing rules and in line with the Phase 2 guidelines that permit only 40 per cent of normal occupancy.

Welcoming the delegates, President of the Assembly, Amb. Tijani Muhammad-Bande, thanked them for defying the pandemic to advance the goals and principles of the UN during the period.

“As the chief deliberative body of the United Nations, this Assembly has continued the work of our Organisation throughout the period.

“It has done so in full partnership with the Secretariat and all other UN organs.

“I commend you for your foresight in adopting Decisions 74/544 and 74/555, which have allowed the Membership to adopt more than 70 resolutions and elect Chairs of the Main Committees for the 75th session of the General Assembly.

“This has ensured business continuity on critical issues for the Assembly and for the United Nations,” he said.

Muhammad-Bande, who is Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, lauded Member States for their commitment to the fight against COViD-19.

This, he said, resulted in the adoption of two resolutions “with wide co-sponsorship, calling for solidarity and global access to medicines and medical equipment”.

The UN Chief highlighted other achievements of the lawmaking body during the pandemic to include successful conduct of election for the presidency of the 75th session of the Assembly.

The election held on June 17 alongside those new members of the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.

Muhammad-Bande lauded the World Health Organisation, the UN Secretary-General and the Economic and Social Council for their leadership in the COVID-19 response.

“The entire UN system has rallied to address the needs of the people we serve.

“I pay particular thanks to our humanitarian workers in the field and our Peacekeepers, who continue to protect communities in the most complex environments around the world.

“These efforts are critical as we begin the Decade of Action and Delivery to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, or as it is likely to become, the decade of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I urge you to galvanise multilateral action now and fulfill our financing for development and other commitments. We remain in this together,” he said.


Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)


‘Watchmen,’ ‘Schitt’s Creek’ rule at virtual Emmys with pandemic and political twists



Media family saga “Succession,” dystopian drama “Watchmen” and feel-good comedy “Schitt’s Creek” dominated the Emmy Awards on Sunday in a show sprinkled with jokes about the coronavirus pandemic, political jibes and appeals for racial justice.

“Hello, and welcome to the PandEmmys!,” said host Jimmy Kimmel, opening the show, where most celebrities took part remotely from their sofas and backyards dressed in a variety of gowns, hoodies and sleepwear.

“It seems frivolous and unnecessary to do this during a global pandemic,” Kimmel said as he opened the live show from Los Angeles.

“What’s happening tonight is not important. It’s not going to stop COVID. It’s not going to put out the fires, but it’s fun.

“And right now we need fun. … This has been a miserable year. It’s been a year of division, injustice (and) disease,” he added.

HBO’s “Succession,” the wickedly juicy tale of a fractious media family, was named best drama series, while Jeremy Strong won best actor for his role as a downtrodden son. “Succession’s seven-Emmy haul included writing and directing.

In one of the most pointed acceptance speeches of the night, “Succession” creator Jesse Armstrong made a series of what he called “un-thank yous.”

“Un-thank you to the virus for keeping us all apart this year. Un-thank you to President Trump for his crummy and uncoordinated response.

“Un-thank you to (British Prime Minister) Boris Johnson and his government for doing the same in my country.

“Un-thank you to all the nationalist and sort of quasi-nationalist governments in the world who are exactly the opposite of what we need right now,” said Armstrong.

HBO’s alternative-reality show “Watchmen,” infused with racial themes, won for best limited series, while actress Regina King won for her lead performance as the show’s kick-ass police detective.

“Watchmen” was the night’s biggest winner with a total of 11 Emmys, including technical awards handed out last week. HBO was the biggest overall winner, with 30 Emmys, followed by Netflix with 21.

“Watchmen” creator Damon Lindelof dedicated his Emmy to the victims and survivors of the 1921 massacre of the Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which partly inspired the series.

Several celebrities, including King, presenter Sterling K. Brown, and “Mrs. America” supporting actress winner Uzo Aduba, wore Black Lives Matter-themed tee-shirts or urged viewers to vote in the Nov. 3 United States elections.

“Schitt’s Creek,” a sleeper hit on the small Pop TV network about a wealthy family forced to live in a rundown motel, won a total of nine Emmys.

“It also won best comedy series as well as acting awards for Canadian stars Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, his son Daniel Levy, and Annie Murphy.

The coronavirus pandemic meant no red carpet and no physical audience. Instead, producers sent camera kits and microphones to all the nominees, scattered in 125 places around the world, who chose how and where they wanted to be seen.

The “Schitt’s Creek” winners got their trophies delivered to them in a restaurant-style setup in Ontario, Canada, by a person dressed in a custom hazmat suit, designed to resemble a tuxedo.

The biggest shock of the night came when former Disney Channel actress Zendaya, 24, was named best drama actress for playing a teen drug addict in HBO’s “Euphoria,” beating presumed favourites Laura Linney (“Ozark”) and Jennifer Aniston (“The Morning Show.”)

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” was named best variety talk series for the fifth successive year, and the British comedian accepted wearing a red Liverpool soccer shirt in honour of his favourite British team.


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara)
Source: NAN
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Nigeria to participate in agriculture transformation initiative -FAO



The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) on Monday says Nigeria has expressed its interest to join the Hand- in-Hand initiative to accelerate agricultural transformation and sustainable rural development.

Mr David Tsokar, FAO National Communication Officer, made this known in a statement in Abuja.

The statement said that the country was ready to join the other 20 countries currently involved in this new initiative.

“There are incidents of floods in most parts of the country, where much of the food is produced, like we have in Kebbi state; we have also seen growing conflicts over land resources;

“ Yet many farmers still face challenges related to market access and these affect farming and food production.

According to the statement, the Hand-in-Hand initiative was launched in 2019 by FAO’s Director General, Qu Dongyu, to support evidence-based, country-led and country-owned investments for eradicating poverty and ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition.

“The initiative will help countries to develop independent investment plans to close food gaps, end malnutrition, support economic development and reduce environmental impacts with concrete evidence.

All of which will lead to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals particularly goals number one and two on poverty eradication and ending hunger,”

The statement said that through the initiative, FAO would bring its technical expertise in all ares of its mandate, with emphasis on innovation and digital technologies.

FAO, however, assured commitment to support the country’s development through the initiative, innovation digitalisation of agriculture and called for a quick ratification and domestication of pending international legal instruments.

According to the statement, the minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sabo Nanono said the initiative was a good one and timely for the country to ensure food security and nutrition to all Nigerians.

“ Despite the plethora of challenges that have threatened food security in the country, the current administration is focused on empowering the rural people through modern food and agricultural systems that emphasize a value chain approach to feed its people and create jobs,” he pointed out.

The statement said that the minister directed that a letter expressing Nigeria’s interest to participate in the initiative be drafted immediately.

He also nominated a focal point from the Ministry, to liaise with the FAO team and other Government experts from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in assembling required data for analysis.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz
Source: NAN
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KDSG attracts 25 new business worth $500m – El-Rufai 



Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state, says his administration has attracted 25 new businesses worth over $500 million as it continues to open up the business space in the state.

El-Rufai made the disclosure on Monday at the opening of the 5th Kaduna Investments Summit.

He said that the over $500 million was invested by local and foreign companies.

The governor explained that the summit was one of the means through which the government showcase and market Kaduna State to national and international audiences as the prime investment destination in Africa.

This year’s theme is “Infrastructure, Industrialization and Innovation.”

According to him, the target of the government is to make Kaduna as the number one state for doing business and the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in the country.

He said among the recent investments were the setting up of a tomato processing plant by TomatoJos, an Agro company, and Damau Milk Farm by Arla, designed to transform livestock production from a culture into a business in the state.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, who joined the virtual summit as special guest, commended the efforts of the Kaduna State Government to establish its credentials as the investment destination of choice in Nigeria.”These efforts have received just recognition in the response of the business community which has put in new investments in the state.

“It is hardly a surprise that Kaduna State has emerged as the leading destination for foreign direct investment within Nigeria.

“This is a further affirmation of the ranking of the state as Number One for Ease of Doing Business by the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2018.” the president said.

“It is a fitting statement of the resilience of the Kaduna State Government that it is able to host #KadInvest 5.0 amidst the severe disruptions caused by COVID-19.

“This is the sort of focus that can help the country to navigate the challenging consequences of the pandemic,” Buhari added.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that keynote speakers at the 2-day summit include President of African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi, Mr. Bismark Rewane, Prof. Doyin Salami and Chinelo Anohu.

Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed
Source: NAN
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Security: FRSC tasks officers on accurate database of vehicles



The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has called on officers to provide accurate and reliable data base of vehicle and ownership details to check crimes and criminality on the roads towards enhancing National security.

Speaking at the one day workshop organised for desk officers on Monday in Abuja, the Corps Marshal, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, noted that the road provided a veritable transit path for crime and criminality.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the year 2020 National Vehicle Identification Scheme (NVIS) desk officer’s workshop theme is “The Imperatives of Data Accuracy in the Light of Prevailing Security Challenges”.

Oyeyemi said that NVIS desk officer’s workshop was critical in the light of the myriads of security challenges experienced in the processes and the country at large.

He said that the NVIS desk officers were responsible for upload of information with regards to registered vehicles and ownership details into the database, saying that the workshop was strategically targeted at stock taking and examining issues.

According to him, Our NVIS process must continue to offer its relevance to the national security architecture through accurate and reliable database.

NVIS desk officers must continue to promote integrity, transparency, good and professional service in their interactions with the clients and stakeholders.

“The NVIS data base must sustain the trust of Nigerians as a dependable super structure in the recovery of stolen vehicles.

“Desk officers must ensure there is prompt reporting of all recovered stolen vehicles. So far, this year, 34 vehicles have been recovered through our process, ” he said. 

Oyeyemi reiterated the commitment of management towards the continuous maintenance and upgrade of FRSC platforms to constantly meet the demands of the contemporary society.

He noted that the management had expanded the scope of coverage nationwide to strengthen the resolve of the corps and make road crash data in Nigeria more reliable and intentionally acceptable.

“Station offices have been established signaling the presence of FRSC in all motorising Local Government Areas (LGA) of the Federation.

“Station officers and Marshals have already been posted to the respective LGAs and have just completed thier training for the task.

“The concept of station offices is to reduce FRSC dependence on secondary sources of data while harnessing prompt, accurate and first- hand data collection and processing, ” he said.

The FRSC boss admonished NVIS desk officers to constantly reflect on the importance of data to planning, research and policy formulation, especially as it relates to issues of crimes and criminalities.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz
Source: NAN
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