Chemical weapons: FG warns producers, marketers

Chemical weapons
Chemical weapons

By Muhammad Nur Tijani

The Federal Government has cautioned producers and marketers of chemical weapons against allowing it into the hands of non-state actors.

Mr Gabriel Aduda, the Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, gave the warning at a sensitisation workshop in Kano on Tuesday.

The workshop was organised by the federal government to educate major stakeholders in the North west on sound management of chemicals as part of measures to prevent its getting into wrong hands.

Aduda said the workshop was also aimed at promoting awareness and safety, by strengthening the understanding of stakeholders on proper handling of chemical and biological weapons.

Aduda said chemical producers, marketers, transporters and users, as well  as regulatory authorities involved in implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) participated in the workshop.‎

‎”The objective among others, is to raise awareness among relevant national stakeholders and representatives of the chemical industries in the North -West zone on the CWC and its national implementation in relation to the chemical industry.

“Ensure that chemical weapons imported into the country are used for the purposes for which they are meant and government also makes sure that these chemicals do not get into the hands of non-state actors; it ‎will‎ have great repercussions,” he explained.‎

The permanent secretary said similar workshops were held in Lagos and Port harcourt.   ‎

Some of the participants who spoke to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) commeded the federal government for organising the event, which they said had enhance their knowledge on how best to handle chemical weapons.‎

They urged the government to evolve a National Action Plan to guide and regulate the use and threat of chemical weapons in Nigeria.

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Patient safety: FG tasked to curb healthcare errors, preventable deaths

Patient safety: FG tasked to curb healthcare errors, preventable deaths
Patient safety: FG tasked to curb healthcare errors, preventable deaths

By Abujah Racheal

As the World marks Patient Safety Day, some Nigerians in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have called on the Federal Government to ensure that healthcare errors that cause unwarranted deaths are curbed.

The Nigerians spoke to our correspondent on the sidelines of an event to mark the first World Patient Safety Day, a day set aside to create awareness on the importance of safety of patients in all developing and developed countries of the world.

Mr Solomon Onuh, a Psychologist said that the celebration should focus on creating awareness regarding the factors that contribute to preventable deaths and to ensure proper patient safety in our hospitals.

Onuh said that there was need for government to focus on the main factors that contribute to preventable deaths such as healthcare associated infections.

According to him, the infections are considered to be the most harmful cause of deaths around the world, adding that both developing and developed countries suffer such deaths

Mrs Tobias Dasat, a Teacher said that the government should conduct awareness campaigns to promote the effects of unsafe healthcare practices and the importance of ensuring proper safety.

Dasat described poor patient safety as a global threat and urged healthcare providers to emphasise the importance of proper hygiene, washing of hands regularly before and after contact with a patient.

A Cleric, Rev. Fr Timothy Chukwudi who also attributed high mortality and morbidity rates in the world to error in medication called on government to punish medical practitioners for avoidable errors.

“Doctors and nurses tend to make errors while prescribing medications which can cause harm to the patient’s life.

“ Surgery, for instance, is the most common and preferred technique for eliminating disabilities and critical injuries.

“It is estimated that surgeries are done mainly for cardiovascular diseases, cancer and orthopedic injuries, but unsafe surgical practices can lead to fatal errors and significant complications,” he said.

NAN, reports that World Patient Safety Day will be observed yearly on September, 17 .

The World Health Organisation launched a global campaign to create awareness of patient safety and urged people to show their commitment to making healthcare safer. (NAN)

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UNGA: Nigeria to seek global support to combat terrorism

Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama
Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama

By Lizzy Okoji

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama has said that the Nigerian Government would use the Forum of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to seek global support fighting terrorism and increasing Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).

Onyeama made this known on Tuesday in Abuja during a Pre-UNGA briefing with newsmen stating the expectations of the Nigerian government during the high level summit from Sept. 17 to Sept. 30.

According to Onyeama, Nigeria would take advantage of its position as President of the 74th UN General Assembly to project the country and articulate priorities of the country, what t seeks to achieve and areas for global support.

He said that President Muhammadu Buhari will be lead the Nigerian delegation which would include Members of his cabinet and some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure Nigeria have the best technical resources.

Onyeama listed other priority issues of the country to be discussed at the summit to include: issues of Peace and Security, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG ) which covers socio-economic, education, humanitarian issues regarding child’s right.

Other issues are: poverty eradication,  illicit financial flows, recovery of stolen assets,

“More strategically as a country, it is an opportunity to project our country as an important member of the international community.

“And having the Presidency of the General Assembly is something that also gives us that higher visibility and great influence.

“We would also want to use that to push agenda of importance to us as a country, our fight against corruption, repatriation of foreign loots, engaging with other countries.

“In our quest to successfully deliver on SDG objectives that cover our social economic challenges, terrorism, and countering violent extremism.

“Is also something we would want to maintain at the highest levels of global priorities because  it is our major challenges.

“Mr President has just come back from a summit of ECOWAS Heads of States on Peace and Security in the West Africa Sub-region so this is still a challenge that we are facing.

“And it is important to use that opportunity to keep the global community engaged and supportive of what we are doing, our fight.

“And also taking the opportunity to a greater United Nations for support in that fight against terrorism but also in the global conflicts taking  place in Africa,” Onyeama said.

Onyeama said tha Nigeria has been very present in Peace Keeping interventions  across the continent under the framework of the African Union.

He added that with such large troops from Nigeria it was important to have financial and other support from the UN peace keeping  division.

The Minister said that President Buhari would also be having bilateral meetings with some Heads of States and engaging with different personalities  like Bill Gates to discuss attracting FDI.

Onyeama explained that the Foreign revenue streams of the Country expected hence,  the  need to diversify  to attract more Foreign Direct Investment into our country.

He said that Nigeria would also be soliciting support of the UN to recharge the Lake Chad which has shrunk by 90 per cent and has affected the source of livelihood of people living across the region.

Onyeama added that  Nigeria  will use the opportunity to canvass support for a number of Nigerians and the country itself vying for certain international position,  engage with countries to try to get their support so that the nation can deliver on the positions.

“For instance, Nigeria is keen to be elected into a category of the International Maritime Organisation.

“We didn’t make it the last time round, so we are persisting this time and with the challenges that we have, maritime challenges, we feel that it is important that we be on the governing bodies for regulating maritime issues.

“We are also vying for a position on the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, we are vying for a seat under part two on the International Civil Aviation Organisation Council.

“We have a candidate that we are pushing to be on the Committee Against Torture, we also have a candidate that we are pushing for election to the United Nations Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

“So, we will be taking advantage of our presence there during the General Assembly to also lobby for these positions,” Onyeama said. (NAN)

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Buhari dissolves Obono-Obla’s SPIP – News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

 

Mr Okoi Obono-Obla
Mr Okoi Obono-Obla

President Muhammadu Buhari has formally dissolved the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) as currently constituted with Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla as Chairman.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has been directed to immediately take over all outstanding investigations and other activities of the SPIP.

The President also said he is awaiting the final Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) report on Obono-Obla.

The panel was established in August 2017 by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, while acting as president, to investigate specifically mandated cases of corruption, abuse of office and similar offences by public officers.

President Buhari thanked all members of the dissolved panel for their services, said the President’s media adviser, Femi Adesina.

Buhari in August suspended Okoi Obono-Obla, from office.

The suspension letter, signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, who also directed him to answer questions from the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission.

According to Mustapha, Obono-Obla was to hand over to Dayo Apata, the Solicitor-General of the Federation, who was holding forte in the Justice Ministry at the time.

Among other things, he is being investigated over allegations of certificate forgery and other corruption-related charges. He was also accused of acting outside the mandate setting up the panel.

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Facebook blocks Netanyahu’s chatbox for election violation

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at Facebook (FB.O) on Tuesday after the social network blocked a “chatbot” from his right-wing Likud party’s account for violating election day rules.

“They took a 100 kg hammer and brought it down on a fly, because it is a Likud fly,” Netanyahu said in a video posted on social media.

“They shut down our means of communication with our voters.”

Israel’s leading YNET news website said the chatbot, a type of automated software that is able to simulate a conversation with a user, had posted results from an election poll on Tuesday while

Israelis were out voting, a contravention of election rules.

The problematic posts were apparently taken down and no longer appeared on Netanyahu’s Facebook page.

Netanyahu appeared to play down the violation, saying: “Someone published a small poll on Facebook.’’

Asked about its intervention on Netanyahu’s account, Facebook said in a statement it works with

“elections commissions around the world to help protect the integrity of elections.”

“Our policies clearly state developers are required to comply with all applicable laws in the country where their app is available.

“We have restricted this bot for violating local law until the polling stations are closed tonight,” it said.

Netanyahu, who is battling for his political career, has been trying to mobilise his base by warning them of low supporter turnout.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu battled for his political survival in the final hours of a close-run election on Tuesday, urging voters to support him to avert a “disaster”.

His voice hoarse from weeks of campaigning, the veteran leader took to the streets and social media, at one point using a megaphone in Jerusalem’s bus station, to urge voters to extend his unbroken decade in power.

Netanyahu, 69, has cast himself as indispensable and blighted by voter complacency over his tenure – the longest of any Israeli prime minister.

Prime minister from June 1996 until July 1999, he has held the post since March 2009 and is seeking a record fifth term. (dpa/NAN)

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Kenya to nationalise airline to boost competitiveness

Kenyan Airways
Kenyan Airways

(Xinhua/NAN) Kenyan government has concluded plans to nationalise its carrier Kenya Airways by end of the year in order to boost its competitiveness.

Sebastian Mikosz, chief executive officer, Kenya Airways, told journalists in Nairobi on Tuesday that all its regional and international competitors are also owned by their respective governments and thus have a financial advantage.

“Government has put in place a steering committee to spearhead the process of nationalising Kenya Airways by the end of the year.’’

In July, the east African nation’s parliament voted to nationalise the national carrier.

Mikosz said that legal and policy reforms will have to be undertaken in order to ensure that the Kenyan flag carrier becomes fully state-owned.

The biggest shareholder of Kenya Airways is the national treasury, which owns 48.1 per cent, while banks control 38.1 per cent and  KLM owns 7.8 per cent.

The rest is owned by the public through the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

According to the CEO, legislative reforms will be required to pave the way for the government to buy out the minority owners of the airline.

“We are currently drafting the amendments that will be passed by parliament to make the airline fully owned by the state.’’

Mikosz revealed that the government will form a holding company where the national flag carrier and Kenya’s main airport will be subsidiaries.

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Xenophobia: S/Africa denies Air Peace plane landing permit to evacuate 2nd batch of Nigerians

Air Peace fleet
Air Peace fleet

By Yunus Yusuf

The evacuation of the second batch of Nigerians from South Africa owing to ongoing xenophobic attacks, suffered an interruption on Tuesday following the delay in granting landing permit to Air Peace.

The airline has volunteered to evacuate Nigerians willing to return to the country following the recent violence against foreigners in the southern African country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the airline in collaboration with the Federal Government had on Sept. 11 evacuated the first batch of 187 Nigerians from South Africa.

There was a plan for the airline to evacuate another batch of 320 Nigerians who had indicated interest to return home, with the flight expected to arrive in Lagos at 7.00p.m on Tuesday.

However, Mr Allen Onyema, Chairman of Air Peace, told newsmen in Lagos that the airline’s B777 aircraft deployed for the operation was still on standby at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

According to him, the aircraft is supposed to have departed Lagos at 1.00 am, but was denied landing permit by the South African authorities.

“We did not take off at 1:00 a.m. as scheduled because South African authorities are yet to give us landing permit.

“We are hopeful that they will give us the permit. Our crew waited till 3:00 am, but when the permit did not come, they went back to the hotel.

“Once we get the permit we will set off to South Africa. We don’t want to speculate but we are hopeful they will give the permit,”Onyema said.

NAN reports that the South African authorities had on Sept. 11 also prevented some Nigerians from leaving the country, by insisting on a fresh profiling exercise in spite of the one earlier conducted by the Nigerian High Commission.

The situation led to several hours of delay before 187 of the more than 300 Nigerians were successfully evacuated.

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Gatefield, Oliver’s Burgers launch campaign against “Shisha” consumption

Campaign on dangers of consuming Shisha
Campaign on dangers of consuming Shisha

By Emmaunel Afonne

Gatefield, a Public Strategy Firm in collaboration with an Abuja’s leading Burger restaurant, Oliver’s Burger  in Abuja launched a campaign on the dangers of Shisha consumption in the country.

Shisha smoking – also called hookah, narghile, waterpipe, or hubble bubble smoking – is a way of smoking tobacco, sometimes mixed with fruit or molasses sugar, through a bowl and hose or tube

Miss Ebiuwairo Uwagboe, Campaign and Media `Specialist, Gatefield, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that  rising popularity of Shisha smoking among young people in Abuja, and other parts of the country was alarming and constituted a major health risk to residents.

“To help bring attention to this issue, Abuja’s leading Burger restaurant, Oliver’s Burger today in partnership with public strategy firm, Gatefield, launched campaign #PipeDown to inform young people about the health risks associated with Shisha by crashing the price of Burgers for one week.

“The #PipeDown campaign aims to educate people especially smokers of the flavored tobacco product about the implications of the behavior on public health and safety.

She noted that Shisha has been proven to be more harmful than regular cigarettes.

“Smokers including second-hand smokers are at the risk of cancer and other respiratory and cardiovascular diseases”, she said

She said that Oliver’s Burger rebranded its trucks and food packaging to reflect the campaign adding that the restaurant also shared branded posters at their stands to buyers carrying messages such as “smoking shisha for one hour is as bad as smoking 100 cigarettes” and  “smoking shisha in public places endangers others”.

She noted that the campaign’s Instagram page @pipedownNG, provided users with the relevant information and facts on the dangers of Shisha smoke.

In his remarks, Oliver Naku, the Chief Executive Officer of the Burger restaurant said that the company felt obliged to ensure that customers live healthy lives.

“It is good to let customers know that this not only endangers them, but the people around them.”

Maryam Hassan, a customer at the launch said: “I have never really been a shisha smoker but I didn’t know it was this dangerous.

“This campaign will help spread awareness on this issue because a lot of people are ignorant of the dangers of Shisha.” She said

Also speaking to NAN, Mr Michael Olaniyan, Technical Resource Officer of the Washington DC based Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids said “This campaign is very important.

“There is a lot of misinformation around Shisha. People think it’s trendy and healthy because of its deceptive flavours; truth is that Shisha is as bad if not more dangerous than cigarettes,’’ he said

But Mr Sebastian Abegunde, a Tax consultant with Deliotte said, it is not about stopping the consumption of Shisha but moderation.

“I believe everything in the world needs to be taken in moderation. Shisha is not something you should take a lot or every day.

“Everything you take in excess has adverse effect in the body, like sugar, if you take too much, at the end of the day, you come down with diabetes.

“The campaign is necessary because people need to pipe down, people who take it should reduce the level of consumption, ” he said

The World Health Organisation has said that one hour session of Shisha smoke was equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes.

The world health agency added that that people are also at risk of hepatitis when they share Shisha pipes.

NAN reports that the Nigerian Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the recently approved tobacco control regulations 2019 prohibit the smoking of cigarettes in public places.

However, this law is yet to be fully implemented as Shisha smoking in public places is still common in many public places in Abuja. (NAN)

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Bande in church service to usher in 74th UNGA

 

Bande joins other Muslims in church service to usher in 74th UNGA

Amb. Tijani Muhammad-Bande, President of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, was among several Muslims that attended a special church service in New York on Monday evening.

The prayer service, hosted by the Church of the Holy Family, United Nations Parish, is an annual tradition of the UN to usher in every new session of the Assembly.

Monday’s edition came shortly after the President of the 73rd UNGA, Ms Maria Espinosa, handed over to Muhammad-Bande at the UN headquarters a few meters away.

Other Muslims at the service included presidential spokesman, Mr Garba Shehu; former Chairman of INEC, Prof, Attahiru Jega, and officials of Nigerian missions to the UN and the United States.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres; the Deputy Secretary General, Ms Amina Mohammed, also a Muslim, and Espinosa, equally attended the service.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that speakers at the occasion underscored the significance of the composition of the gathering to religious tolerance and harmony.

In his address, Guterres said “our presence here sends an important message” at a time of “widespread polarisation and horrific violence targeting people solely for their (religious) identity”.

“We are recognising our human connections and reaffirming respect for each other’s religions, cultures and traditions”, he said.

Speaking later, Muhammad-Bande said the service was a reminder of the “place of faith and the role that empathy and love can in agreeing when we want to disagree”.

He urged all those present to recommit themselves to God and seek His intervention while also doing their best to address the challenges facing the world.

The Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, Bishop Paul Hinder, spoke in similar vein in a sermon.

Hinder called on Muslims, Christians and adherents of other religions to unite and find a common cause in the fight against religious violence and extremism.

The service featured special prayers for the UN and its leaders, for lasting peace in war-torn regions and for a “globalisation of solidarity” against hunger hunger, poverty, disease, among others.(NAN)

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UNGA: Nigeria’s Muhammad-Bande takes over as president

Ambassador Muhammad-Bande: declares interest in UNGA Presidency

By Harison Arubu

Ms Maria Espinosa, the President of the 73rd UN General Assembly, on Monday handed over to Nigeria’s Muhammad-Bande, who will lead the 74th session of the assembly in the next one year.

The ceremony, held inside the General Assembly Hall of the UN headquarters in New York, marked the end of the 73rd session .

The 74th session will formally begin on Tuesday with the inauguration of Muhammad-Bande, who is the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN.

The handover ceremony was witnessed by top officials of the UN led by the Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.

Nigerian officials, including a presidential team, comprising the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Mr Ahmed Abubakar, and presidential spokesman, Mr Garba Shehu, also witnessed the ceremony.

In a short address, Guterres lauded Espinosa for her strong leadership, describing her as a “champion for multilateralism”, who made the UN “relevant to all”.

“I commend her ambitious priorities for this session, which addressed crucial matters of international impact and concern.

“These include gender equality, migration and refugees, decent work for all, environmental protection, the rights of people with disabilities, promoting the voices of young people to advance peace and security, and revitalising the work of the United Nations.

“The commitment of Espinosa to the environment especially ending plastic pollution also stands out,” he said.

The UN chief said he looked forward to working with Muhammad-Bande to advance the organisation’s mission of building  more peaceful and prosperous world.

Earlier in a valedictory press conference, Espinosa said she was satisfied with her achievements within her one-year tenure.

She said her practice of formally reporting back to member states every three months, was very useful, especially for the smaller missions that could cover all the agenda items.

Espinosa said during the 73rd Session, no fewer than 341 resolutions were adopted, making it the highest number in several years.

She reiterated her call on member states to “read the resolutions we have adopted again and let´s deliver and implement them using this norm-setting power of the General Assembly”, she said.

Espinosa is the woman to hold the office of the president of the General Assembly. (NAN)

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