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Monday, July 22, 2019

Health Matters: Merck Foundation partners with Malawian First Lady - NaijaAgroNet

The Merck Foundation to launch their programs in partnership with First Lady of Malawi and Ministries of Health, Information, Education and Gender; Merck foundation to train Malawian doctors in the fields Cancer, Diabetes and Fertility Care to improve access to equitable and quality healthcare in the country.

Also Merck Foundation plans to launch a storybook to teach children and youth strong family values of love and respect- Limbani and Takondwa’s Story; 

In addition, Merck Foundation to launch the “Merck More Than a Mother" Media Recognition Awards and the first Health Media Training to eliminate infertility stigma and sensitize Malawian communities; Merck Foundation to also launch ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ Fashion Awards to create a meaningful fashion trend aiming to educate our communities that ‘Fertility is a Shared Responsibility’.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany in partnership with The First Lady of Malawi, H.E. PROF. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA together with Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Information and Ministry of Gender launched their programs to build equitable and quality healthcare capacity and break the infertility stigma in the country.

H.E. PROF. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Motheremphasized, “I am happy to welcome Merck Foundation to officially launch their programs which are going to be very beneficial for the people of our country. These programs will prove very significant in creating an impact on our people’s advancement, as health is very critical to our social and economic development. The programs will also help to break the stigma of infertility across the country which is very critical. We are happy that Merck Foundation understands our culture and working closely with Dr. Rasha Kelej, the CEO of Merck foundation as an African woman adds value to the success of the programs since she is coming from similar background.”

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother explained, “It is very important for us to underscore our long term partnership with H.E. PROF. GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi and Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother to build healthcare capacity in the country. We will be training Malawian doctors in the fields of Diabetes, Fertility and Cancer care in partnership with the Government of Malawi. Our aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of people of the continent.”

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Free medicare: Hajiya Bala Mohammad commends Fidelity Bank - NaijaAgoNet

The Wife of Bauchi State Governor, Hajiya Aisha Bala Mohammad has commended Fidelity Bank for providing free medical outreach to 1,000 people in Misau Local Government Area (LGA) of Bauchi State, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, reports NaijaAgoNet.

The outreach was organised by the Al-Muhibbah Foundation in collaboration with staff members of the bank. 

Addressing beneficiaries in Misua, Mrs Mohammad urged them to regularly check their health status in order to reduce cases of diabetes, cancer, hepatitis, high blood pressure, amongst other ailments.

She pointed out that malnutrition and lack of access to health facilities are also some of the peculiar problems, that need to be addressed in the state. The outreach which held from June 20 – 21, 2019 at the Misau Secretariat office provided the Fidelity Family with an opportunity to connect with the people of Misau community. Driven purely by altruistic values and an innate desire to make the world a better place, Bauchi Branch staff pulled their resources together to provide free qualitative healthcare to the people.

Working under the auspices of the Fidelity Helping Hands Programme (FHHP), the Bank partnered with Bridge Medical & Consult Services Limited, to provide a wide variety of medical tests and prescription drugs that would help promote the general health and wellbeing of members of Misau community. Targeted specifically at Women and the Girl Child, the outreach featured free cervical cancer screening, blood pressure check, eye and dental checkup, Body Mass Index (BMI), HIV and Hepatitis test, amongst others.

Children also benefited from other medical services such as immunization, deworming, eye and dental care, as well as HIV/AIDS tests, etc. The Fidelity CEO, Nnamdi Okonkwo expressed his appreciation at the massive turn out of people at the outreach. Okonkwo who was represented by the Head, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Chris Nnakwe said the bank was in the business of transforming lives. “At Fidelity Bank, we understand that good health and wellbeing are fundamental to sustainable development.

“As much as the world has made significant progress in looking for solution to health issues, basic access to healthcare remains a challenge in Africa. Fidelity Bank has invested in the Health sector through infrastructural development, medical outreach and others”, he added. Speaking in the same vein, His Royal Highness, Emir of Misau, Alhaji Ahmad Sulaiman (mni, thanked the Fidelity Family for its kind gesture. He urged the bank to do more and keep reaching out to people.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Her Excellency – Hajiya (Dr) Aishatu Bala Muhammad- 1st lady, Bauchi chats with one of the beneficiaries of the medical outreach.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Applause for GEF over #179m support on FAO-led projects - NaijaAgroNet

FAO has welcomed a decision by the Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to provide $179 million to support the UN agency's work with countries worldwide at the critical nexus between agriculture and the environment. This includes projects focussed on biodiversity conservation, transboundary water resources management, sustainable land management, highly hazardous pesticide remediation, and climate change adaptation.

The funding stems from the GEF's Council meeting in Washington this week where governments approved two separate Work Programs totalling some $966 million, the biggest allocation in GEF's history. This will benefit 91 nations, including 30 Least Developed Countries and 32 Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

As part of one of the work programs, the GEF launched two landmark Impact Programs -- on Dryland Sustainable Landscapes (DSL) and Food Systems, Land Use and Restoration. Some $104 million of the funding will go to the DSL Impact Programme, led by FAO, in 11 countries in Africa and Asia, in partnership with the World Bank, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and the World Wildlife Fund. The Impact Program will target efforts to avoid, reduce and reverse further deforestation, degradation, and desertification in: Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malawi, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

FAO has also been invited to play a key role with the World Bank in a second GEF Impact Program the Food Systems, Land Use, and Restoration Program. All these initiatives will address the complex interaction between maintaining resilient production systems in drylands, promoting restoration, and improving livelihoods through a comprehensive landscape approach.

"FAO strongly welcomes the GEF Council's decision which builds on a long standing partnership and significantly contributes to the need to address critical environmental challenges while improving food security," said Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director General, Climate and Natural Resources.

The GEF Council also approved a $101 million work program for the GEF's climate change adaptation trust funds -- the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) of which $44 million are FAO-GEF projects.

This LDCF/SCCF Work Program encompasses a range of adaptation priorities, including climate-smart agriculture and forestry, building urban, rural, and coastal community climate resilience, improving water resource management and availability for agriculture and domestic uses, strengthening climate resilience in vulnerable coastal communities, enhancing adaptive capacity of communities through integrated approaches.

FAO is a partner agency of the GEF, a partnership of 18 agencies and 183 countries to address the world's most challenging environmental issues related to biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, chemicals, and international waters. The GEF provides grants to countries to meet these challenges whilst contributing to key development goals, such as food security.

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ADf4D fiances renewable energy in Cuba - NaijaAgroNet

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the leading national entity for international development aid, together with the Cuba’s Ministry of Energy and Mines and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), inaugurated a new 10 megawatt (MW) solar PV project. The grid-connected project was financed by ADFD with US$15 million under the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility and will deliver enough electricity to power the equivalent of nearly 7,000 Cuban homes.

The solar PV project contributes to the Cuban government’s national objectives to reduce the use of fossil fuels for electricity generation and increase the share of power from renewables to 24 per cent by 2030. This project will mitigate around 12,700 tCO2 emissions annually.

The inauguration took place in the presence of Cuba’s Vice-Minister of Energy and Mines, Mr. Livan Arronte, His Excellency Bader Almatrooshi, UAE Ambassador to Cuba, and Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA.

Speaking on the occasion, His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, said: “ADFD is proud to have partnered with the Cuban government and IRENA in completing this crucial 10 MW solar PV project. We are confident that the impact from this renewable energy venture will ensure widespread economic, environmental and social benefits to the Cuban people.”

He added: “The Fund’s interest in the renewable energy sector reflects its dedication to supporting international efforts to achieve the outlined energy priorities of developing countries and the UN’s SDGs, as well as contribute in meeting global climate targets.”

His Excellency Bader Almatrooshi, said: “As an active member of the international community and under the leadership of the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE proactively supports global efforts to achieve the outlined objectives of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

He added: “The UAE and Cuba enjoy long-standing and robust bilateral relations. This project is a testament to cross-border collaboration in supporting transformative renewable energy projects across the world.”

Commending ADFD and IRENA for their role in supporting national energy, climate and sustainable development priorities, His Excellency Raúl García Barreiro said: “Not only has the funding from ADFD helped in achieving outlined national priorities, but also helped in the completion of this transformative venture. The unique and important partnership with ADFD has aided in meeting the country’s energy targets.”

He added: “Furthermore, the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility is a testament to the importance of cross-border innovative solutions in renewable energy. The 10 MW Grid-connected Solar PV project will help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increase the share of renewables in Cuba’s energy mix.”

The project was approved for funding by ADFD during the second cycle of the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility as part of the ADFD initiative launched in 2013 with a commitment of US$350 million over seven funding cycles to support renewable energy projects in IRENA-member developing countries.

IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera said: “Today marks an important moment for Cuba and the Cuban people. Renewable energy supports energy security, creates jobs and contributes to emission reductions. This 10MW project sets Cuba on a positive pathway to meeting these objectives and demonstrates that through strategic cooperation we can inject momentum into the energy transition."

To date, ADFD has provided concessionary loans cumulatively valued at US$245 million to 24 renewable energy projects over six cycles of the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility.

Notably, from its inception in 1971 until December 2018, ADFD has financed hundreds of development projects in the renewable energy sector around the world worth US$1.187 billion. Driving the objectives of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, these projects have contributed to the production of about 2,584 MW of renewable energy in benefited countries.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Busting the Myths - the truth behind trophy hunting - NaijaAgroNet


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Hunters claim that the fees they pay benefit wildlife conservation, local communities, and the economics of the countries when trophy hunting takes place. They also claim that by targeting ‘problem’ or ‘redundant’ animals their activities represent a legitimate form of wildlife management.Today, international wildlife charity Born Free has released the findings of their 18-month cross-disciplinary investigation into the practice, finally unveiling the truth behind the myths.

Taken from the field, from within hunting organisations, with hunters, communities, academics;psychologists, economists and conservationists, the top line results are broken down in the report, backed with evidence, rather than beliefs and prejudice - with facts from the front line:

MYTH - Trophy hunting aids wildlife conservation

TRUTH: Evidence suggests that, far from benefiting wildlife conservation, the effects of trophy hunting are all too often detrimental. The fact that many species are in serious decline in the very countries which allow them to be hunted tells its own story.

Because hunters value rarity, the rarest species are disproportionately affected by hunting pressure and may be driven towards extinction as a result1. Trophy hunting also has wider implications for the welfare of non-target animals. Removing particular animals on the basis of specified individual traits may have a disproportionate impact on the behaviour of remaining animals in the group, and its genetic integrity.

MYTH - Trophy hunters use humane methods to kill their prey

TRUTH: Some hunting organisations acknowledge that trophy hunters have a responsibility to avoid inflicting undue suffering and should aim to make quick and humane kills. However, many trophy hunting organisations offer awards for methods of killing a trophy animal which might include the use of bows and arrows, handguns, or ‘traditional’ weapons such as muzzle loaders or spears, methods that clearly do not prioritise the welfare of the target animal.

It’s not just at the point of killing where animal welfare is compromised. Target animals may be pursued for long periods of time (in some cases days) during hunts. Individuals may be separated from family groups or populations which may result in considerable stress. In some cases, target animals may be deliberately lured into hunting areas.

MYTH: Trophy hunter fees help the local communities

TRUTH: Local communities do not benefit from trophy hunting to any significant degree. An analysis of data published by the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, found hunting companies contribute on average just 3% of their revenue to communities living in hunting areas. The vast majority of their income goes to government agencies, outfitters and individuals located in national capitals or overseas.

MYTH: Trophy hunting contributes to a country’s economy

TRUTH: Trophy hunting’s contribution to the economy is negligible. A 2017 study concluded that “the current total economic contribution of trophy hunters from their hunting-related, and non-hunting related, tourism is, at most, about 0.03% of GDP” and an economic study published in 2013 estimated that trophy hunting generates just 1.8% of total tourism revenues in countries that allow the practice.

Alternative economic activities can generate far more revenue from wildlife than trophy hunting. Alive elephant may be worth as much as US$1.6m over its lifetime through income from photographic tourism, many times the fee typically paid by a trophy hunter. Furthermore, non-consumptive photographic wildlife tourism can often operate year-round, host a significantly larger number of guests, employ more people, generate higher average revenues, and offer higher staff wages than trophy hunting outfitters.

MYTH: Trophy hunting can help with wildlife management

TRUTH: Trophy hunters do not generally target problem, redundant or old and infirm animals, preferring to set their sights on animals with impressive traits - the darkest mane, the biggest tusks, the longest horns. This often results in the killing of key individuals, removing vital genetic resources and causing disruption to family groups, populations and, by extension, the wide ecosystems of which they form a part.

MYTH: Trophy hunting is well regulated

TRUTH: The degree to which trophy hunting is regulated varies according to the country and species concerned. At an international level, CITES regulates international trade in species listed on its Appendices, which requires that trophies for export conform to relevant definitions, are legally obtained in their country of origin, their export is not detrimental to the survival of the species concerned, and the trophy-hunting operations are sustainably managed. However, the mechanisms for scrutinising the sustainability of trophy hunting operations are weak and left largely to national governments, and there are no provisions relating to the welfare of the animal or animals from which the trophies are derived.

Howard Jones, CEO of Born Free, said “Given that the same conversations kept circling about trophy hunting, whilst the same denials and obfuscation bounced around, we decided to pull together this shockingly eye-opening report.

“It seemed to us that there was something very odd about a human enterprise that could provoke so much interest, produce so much evidence, and generate huge passions, but which washed around in an apparently fathomless sea of conflicting truths.

“Our thanks go to those who must live where hunting takes place and suffer the consequences. At Born Free we are indebted to them and will continue to do all that is in our power to free them and the wildlife with which they live from this absurdity.”

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SDG 2: UN to launch latest edition of ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition’ -NaijaAgroNet

The United Nations (UN) is set to launch the latest edition of ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition’ in the World at its Headquarters in New York, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Also, NaijaAgroNet gathered that the report gives an updated estimate of the number of hungry people in the world, including regional and national breakdowns, and the latest data on child stunting and wasting as well as on adult and child obesity.

“This year’s report also goes beyond hunger, providing estimates for the first time of the number of people who face uncertainties about obtaining food and have reduced the quality and quantity of the food they eat to get by, who we call moderately food insecure.

The report slated for launch on Monday 15 July at Room S-237, also offers analysis of the drivers of hunger, food insecurity, and all forms of malnutrition, and this year includes a special focus on the impact of economic slowdowns and downturns on these three aspects of SDG 2.

It is being launched by five UN agencies – The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the World Health Organization (WHO). The principals of FAO, IFAD, and WFP will be taking questions at the press conference.

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Access to safe water, sanitation services help keep children in school - NaijaAgroNet

Estimated 4,500 people in Riyom local government area of Plateau State, north-central Nigeria will benefit from improved access to safe water and sanitation facilities following the commissioning of a communal solar driven motorized water facility and WASH facilities in a school which include gender segregated latrines and a handpump, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Built with support from the European Union (EU), the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities will go a long way towards ensuring that every child in Nigeria has access to safe WASH services.

“Children who do not have safe access to WASH, are most likely to lose interest in pursuing learning opportunities because they are forced to spend more time in search for water during school hours or stay out of school to recover from illness caused by frequent episodes of diarrhea,” says Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria Representative.

According to the data from the WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH NORM), as many as 47 million Nigerians practice open defecation, only 11 percent of Nigerians have access to complete basic water, sanitation and hygiene services and only 13 percent of schools have access to basic water and sanitation services.

The ripple effect of this is that more than 100,000 children under five years of age die each year due to water borne diseases like diarrhea, of which 90 percent is directly attributed to unsafe water and sanitation.

“Clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are critical for the survival and development of children. Without these basic needs, the lives of millions of children are at risk. We must do better for children by prioritizing WASH on the development agenda,” says Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, Head of EU Delegation in Nigeria.

The European Union Ambassador explains that ending open defecation and making water, sanitation, and hygiene services available to children in rural Nigeria is one of the biggest challenges in Nigeria, construction and management of which requires sustained investments and more partnerships.

In November 2018, the Nigerian president declared a state of emergency in the WASH sector, reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment for eliminating open defecation and launched a national campaign with an objective of achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) status by 2025.

The EU through UNICEF and other development partners is supporting the government of Nigeria to protect the rights of children through the provision of access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene services in needy locations within the country.

The EU funded programmes support WASH projects in urban and rural areas through the provision of water schemes, technical assistance and capacity development to sector institutions and agencies responsible, and improved access to safe water, adequate sanitation and hygiene services in communities. 

The European Union has has invested more than 250 MEUROs in the Nigerian water sector improving the WASH conditions of more than 10 million people in 14 States. Working towards achievieng the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is a priority for the EU and Nigeria. SDG 6 ensure access to clean and sustainable water for all.

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Heavy rainfall, flood may disrupt movements in Lagos

The International SOS and  Control Risks Group have warned that Lagos may be flooded in the coming days due to persistent rainfalls, reports NaijaAgroNet.

They also advised Lagosians to plan their journeys which may be disrupted due the heavy rainfall and flooding.

According to the notice available to NaijaAgroNet, flood and road disruptions may cause some inconveniences to movements.

"Members in the commercial capital Lagos (Lagos state) in the coming days should plan journeys accounting for disruption caused by heavy rain. Reports on 25 June said flooding affected several areas, including in parts of Victoria and Lagos islands. Further rainfall is forecast in the coming days," part of the warning made available to NaijaAgroNet read.

They group further advised that Lagosians should consult the Nigerian Meteorological Agency website for information on weather conditions, and be prepared to adjust itineraries accordingly.

Noteworthy is that roads are prone to flooding and may be impassable after heavy rainfall. 

In addition, they advised Lagosians to liaise with local contacts to reconfirm the status of routes before setting out, allow extra time for journeys and be prepared to postpone travel, if required. It is recommended to hire a car and driver.

"Do not attempt to cross flooded roads. If you come across one, seek an alternative route to your destination. The above advice is not exhaustive; consult the Standing Travel Advice for Nigeria for further Lagos-specific advice," they said.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

UNICEF condemns use of children for human bombs in north-east Nigeria - NaijaAgroNet

The UNICEF has bemoaned the use of children in north-east of Nigeria as human bombs, just as girls top the number of children used for this purpose, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Disclosing this to NaijaAgroNet, the UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins condemned the use of children as human bombs especially in Nigeria’s north-east.

He told NaijaAgroNet in a press statement made available to correspondent that the use of children as human bombs in any combat or non-combat roles in the conflict in north-east Nigeria is condemnable.

“According to several reports, three children - two girls and a boy (ages unknown) – were used to detonate explosives that killed 30 people and injured 40 others at a community football viewing centre in Konduga, Borno today. UNICEF sends its condolences to all those who have been killed or injured in this horrific incident.

“It is unacceptable that children should be used in this way.

“UNICEF appeals to all those involved in this terrible conflict to protect children at all times and to keep them out of harm’s way.

“This incident brings the number of children who have been reported as having been used as human bombs to five, since January 2019. In 2018, 48 children - including 38 girls - were used in suicide attacks.

“We again call on all parties to the conflict in north-east Nigeria to immediately cease all attacks against civilians, to stop using children in this conflict, and to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law.”

NaijaAgroNet gathered that since 2012, non-state armed groups in north-east Nigeria have recruited and used children as combatants and non-combatants, raped and forced girls to marry, and committed other grave violations against children. 

Some of the girls, NaijaAgroNet also gathered, became pregnant in captivity and give birth without any medical care or attention.

In the ongoing armed conflict in north-east Nigeria, more than 3,500 children were recruited and used by non-state armed groups between 2013 and 2017.

The use of children in suicide attacks by armed groups as Person-Borne Explosive Devices (PBIED) significantly increased from 2014 to 2017.

In 2018, a total 48 children (38 girls) were used in suicide attacks whilst 146 (45 boys, 101 girls) children were used in the same way in 2017.

In first quarter 2019, two girls were reported as having been used as PBIEDs. 

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Crude theft: Shell loses 11,000 bopd in 2018 - NaijaAgroNet

The Shell Nigeria has lost some 11,000 barrels of oil per day in 2018 alone, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Just as they called for stakeholders’ concerted efforts to curb the incessant vandalism of crude oil-bearing pipelines, highlighting the danger of continuous sabotage to people and environment. 

The General Manager, External Relations of The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Mr. Igo Weli, said such efforts to curb pipeline sabotage will save lives, secure communities and protect the environment.

Weli spoke in Lagos on Thursday at a Media Workshop on Pipelines Right of Way Encroachment and Vandalism. 

“Shell is concerned the repeated sabotage of recently repaired pipelines exposes the environment and people to renewed and worsening pollution. Oil theft is focused on short term fiscal benefits, ignoring the long-term effects of environmental degradation.”

“Since 2017, sabotage spill rate has risen steeply and crude oil theft from SPDC JV’s pipeline network averaged 11, 000 barrels per day in 2018, an increase of about 20% over previous year. The number of sabotage-related spills increased in 2018 to 111 compared to 62 in 2017 and, since 2012, SPDC has removed more than 1,160 illegal theft points,” he said.

Also speaking at the workshop, Shell’s General Manager, Safety and Environment, Chidube Nnene-Anochie, said irrespective of the cause, SPDC cleans and remediates areas impacted by spills from its facilities.”

According to Nnene-Anochie, “SPDC implements work programmes to appraise condition of, maintain and replace key sections of pipelines and flowlines. In 2018, for example, we installed 70 kilometres of pipelines and 188 kilometres of flowlines. Over the last seven years, SPDC has replacedapproximately 1,300 kilometres distance of flow lines and pipelines.”

She said, “In line with industry regulations, SPDC only pays compensation if the spill is operational.”

Towards the UNEP Report-guided Ogoni Clean Up, Weli said, “SPDC actively supports the clean-up process along with other stakeholders. SPDC remains fully committed to providing its share of $900 million (N283.73 billion) over five years to the Ogoni Trust Fund as stipulated in the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) gazette and the agreed governance framework.”

“The SPDC JV has completed its first-year contribution of $180 million (N54.54 billion). Early 2017, the SPDC JV made available $10 million to help set up HYPREP office and in July 2018, joint venture deposited additional $170 million (N51.52 billion) into an escrow account to fund HYPREP’s activities.”

The company said it is also collaborating with communities to effectively patrol pipelines’ rights-of-way through direct surveillance and GMoU surveillance, proactively engaging government security agencies to prevent crude theft and vandalism and carrying out awareness campaigns to educate community members, surveillance contractors and general public of the requirements of the 1990 Pipeline Act which prohibits any third-party activities 100ft from existing oil and gas right-of-way.

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Pic: L-R: Encroachment Management Lead, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), Ucheoma Amechi; External Relation Manager, Shell Nigeria Gas, Babatunde Olaleke; SPDC’s General Manager, External Relations, Igo Weli; Compliance Monitoring Lead, Temitope Ajibade; and Right-of-Way and Encroachment Lead, Okojie John, at a media workshop on Pipeline Right of Way held in Lagos…

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

GSMA dangles agro value chain fund - NaijaAgroNet


The GSMA Innovation Fund for Digitisation of Agricultural Value Chains has open for entries, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The fund, 
NaijaAgroNet gathered aims to scale digital solutions for the agricultural last mile and improve smallholders’ financial inclusion, livelihood and climate resilience.

The priorities of the fund is for enterprise services targeted at organisations (e.g. agribusiness, cooperatives, etc.) procuring from smallholders with the focus on those living on less than USD 2 per day.

Up to eight grants of £220,000 each are being made available to support projects of 24 months duration. In addition, the GSMA will provide in-kind support and consultancy to assist the development of business plans, and service implementation through market research, user-centric design, business intelligence, user-testing with agribusiness staff and smallholders.

Also NaijaAgroNet gathered that grants are available across two categories of application, namely Mobile Money Driven Category and Data Driven Category.

Applications for funding across both categories, 
NaijaAgroNet gathered are assessed through a two-stage application process.

"Concept Note: The first step will be to submit a Concept Note, which outlines the project objectives, lists proposed partners, demonstrates the consortium’s capacity to deliver the project and explains how the project fits within wider strategy of the business owner.

"Business Plan: A short-list of applicants whose Concepts Notes meet the objectives and eligibility requirements of the Fund will be invited to develop a Business Plan which will further outline the strategy for implementing and scaling the service; provide a budget projection with an indication of how the grant is to be spent, and a workplan for the 24 month implementation period.

All eligible applicants at Concept Note stage, irrespective of whether they ultimately receive grant under this Innovation Fund, will be invited to join the GSMA AgriTech Priority Learning Partners Initiative, where they will gain access to a number of knowledge sharing resources and events, including webinars on the topic of enterprise solutions for the last mile.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that submission of Concept Note applications by 31 July 2019 is ideal.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Enugu massacre: Tragedy of Internal migration - NaijaAgroNet

In this piece, REMMY NWEKE, revisits the Enugu massacre of 2016 and called for justice for the victims forced into internal migration by Fulani herdsmen despite clues based on technological evidence, over three years after.
Dateline is April 25, 2019. Obulum is a four-year old boy literally discovered after his mother, a widow and two sisters were killed during recent attacks by the Fulani herdsmen in his community in South Eastern part of Nigeria. He could be one of the 541,000 newly displaced as at December 2018, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, reports NaijaAgroNet.

As he continued to wander about, members of the security agencies and international aid organisation picked him and sent to the nearby camp for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), thus began his internal migration journey.

With the UNICEF's support, 272,316 IDPs including 121,135 children under the age of 5 were reached with integrated primary health care (PHC) services in health facilities in IDP camps and host communities in the three northeast states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. This figure is out of the 4.5 million children in need of humanitarian assistance according to Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP July 2018), whereas 7.7 million people were in need within same period.

What’s Internal Migration:
Internal migration, according to experts at open source encyclopedia, Wikipedia, is human migration within one geopolitical entity, usually a nation-state. Internal migration ordinarily could be travel for education and for economic improvement or because of a natural disaster or civil disturbance, which often is the case in Nigeria.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that Internal displacement affects some 25 million people worldwide, thus increasingly recognized as one of the most tragic phenomena of the contemporary world, with attendant traumatic experiences arising from violent conflicts, gross violations of human rights and related causes in which discrimination features significantly; displacement nearly always generates conditions of severe hardship and suffering for the affected populations.

“It breaks up families, cuts social and cultural ties, terminates dependable employment relationships, disrupts educational opportunities, denies access to such vital necessities as food, shelter and medicine, and exposes innocent persons to such acts of violence as attacks on camps, disappearances and rape,” the UN Guiding Principles highlighted, pointing out that whether clustered in camps, escape into the countryside to hide from potential sources of persecution and violence or submerge into the community of the equally poor and dispossessed, the internally displaced are among the most vulnerable populations, desperately in need of protection and assistance.

Obulum, may pass for an internal migrant child from Nimbo, a border town in Uzo-Uwani area of Enugu State in the Nigeria’s South East; where some seven villages- Ekwuru, Nimbo-Ngwoko, Ugwuijoro, Ebor, Enugu-Nimbo, Umuome and Ugwuachara were invaded, and scores massacred by over 500 armed Fulani herdsmen, who are rated the fourth deadliest terror group in the world, in the early hours of April 25, 2016.
NaijaAgroNet gathered that Uzo-Uwani has boundaries with the Southern States of Ebonyi and Anambra, and Central States of Benue and Kogi, where these attacks have increased lately till date.

For Enugu State governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Nimbo terrorism happened due to inability of security agencies to successfully act on the counter intelligence report about herdsmen grouping at neighbouring Odolu in Kogi State in preparation for attack.

Igbo social cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by Dr Nnia Nwodo, expressed dismay over the seemingly security lapses which led to the terror attack and likelihood of another attack. They asked the government to carry out thorough investigation to bring those responsible to justice and forestall further occurrences. Declaring “Imeobi views with grave concern and unequivocally condemns the recent slaughter by Fulani herdsmen of our defenseless kith and kin in Nimbo, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State.

The herdsmen, 
NaijaAgroNet reportedly gathered, were bent on occupying a portion of the farming community's land for cattle grazing plotted the attack, and went on to notify the natives about their invasion on April 23, 2016, two days before. This intelligence was promptly reported to security agencies who met but definitely did nothing. However, at about 5.15 am on April 25, 2016, the armed herdsmen numbering over 500 struck killing 40 people. The following day, April 26, 2016, six more bodies were recovered and 14 victims were lying critically ill at Royal Cross Hospital, Nsukka, Nsukka District General Hospital and Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Nsukka.

During the raid, a church, known as Christ Holy Church International, (AKA Odozi-Obodo), at Onu-Eke and 11 houses were burnt by the marauders, resulting in displaced natives fleeing to neighboring communities of Nkpologu and Uvuru, (Uvuru-Agada) even as indigenes of those communities also fled to Nsukka in fear of further attacks.

Invasion of Ukpabi-Nimbo community, known as ‘Enugu Massacre’ by Fulani herdsmen followed similar massacre of hundreds of natives in another farming community, Agatu, Benue State by the same herdsmen, a few weeks before.

There was invasion of neighbouring Abbi, another Uzo Uwani community, by some 30-masked Fulani herdsmen leaving about 19 persons missing and seven houses and motocycles raised.

Still on dateline, April 25, 2016:
Elsewhere on this day, April 25, 2016, in the United States, the known world super power, deployed some 250 more U.S. troops to Syria, and launched cyberattacks on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In Israel, the youngest Palestinian prisoner aged 12, Ms Dima al-Wawi was freed after pleading guilty on attempted manslaughter after approaching an Israeli West Bank settlement with a knife in February of same year. The fact remains she was a victim of the war between Israel and Palestine for some 52 years as the time of filing this report.

EU Intervention:
So, it was not out of place that the European Union (EU) recently pledged to support Nigeria to stem the tide of irregular migration, as affirmed by the Media Officer, EU Mission in Nigeria, Mr Modestus Chukwulaka, who informed NaijaAgroNet in Enugu, capital of Enugu State recently that EU would also work for the integration of returning migrants. Stressing that the union would through political dialogue and development cooperation with the government deal with drivers of irregular migration. Disclosing that the collaboration would equally unravel the long-term and structural root causes and forced displacement of migrants, especially collaborating with the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

In view to facilitating sustainable reintegration of returning migrants, he said, in April 2017, the EU through its Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) launched the Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Africa (JIMPRA) with IOM. Noting for instance that within the framework of the joint initiative, 12, 974 stranded Nigerian migrants have been assisted to return to their home country, including 1,158 in 2019. Emphasising that the initiative, wholly funded by EU aims at improving migrant protection, voluntary return and reintegration. It is being implemented by the IOM in collaboration with Nigerian government.

He further said, JIMPRA was anchored on the principles of saving lives, protecting and assisting migrants along migration routes by way of employing actions that are rights-based and protection-focused to ensure the dignity and safety of the assisted people in line with international standards.

“The initiative ensures that the migration process is safer, more informed and better governed for both migrants and their communities of origin,” he said, pointing out that saving and protecting the lives of migrants and refugees, breaking the business model of smugglers and traffickers and providing legal pathways were at the heart of EU’s policy. NaijaAgroNet reports that the Head, EU delegation in Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr Ketil Karlsen assured on resolution of EU to address the root causes of irregular migration, insisting that migration ought to happen out of aspiration, not desperation. Insisting, EU works in all areas of migration in Nigeria, including migration management, labour migration, irregular migration, return and reintegration, mobility and international protection.

UN Guiding Principle on Internal Migration:
The international community, NaijaAgroNet gathered, has become gradually aware of the plight of the internally displaced, thereby taken steps to address their needs via provision of the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

Thus paving way for a compilation of human rights and humanitarian law relevant to internally displaced persons, since 1993, at the instance of the Commission on Human Rights, prior Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons, Francis M. Deng, who prepared the first study on existing law and provided broad protection for the rights of internally displaced persons, in spite of obvious gray areas and gaps.

In Nigeria, for instance, this guideline has been translated into at least some four languages in Nigeria, including Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba and Fulfude outside the English language out of the 53 global languages for ease of understanding.

Accordingly, the Representative of focused the activities of his mandate on developing appropriate normative and institutional frameworks for the protection and assistance of the internally displaced, undertaking country missions in an ongoing dialogue with Governments and others concerned, and promoting a systemic international response to the plight of internally displaced populations, despite lack of capacity in discharging the responsibility. On the other hand, it is fair to say that the international community is more inclined than prepared, both normatively and institutionally, to respond effectively to the phenomenon of internal displacement.

Working in close collaboration in 1996 with a team of international legal experts, the Representative prepared a Compilation and Analysis of Legal Norms relevant to the needs and rights of the internally displaced and to the corresponding duties and obligations of States and the international community for protection and assistance.

NaijaAgroNet noted that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has since developed a manual, based on the Compilation and Analysis, for the practical use of its staff, especially in field operations. As there are indications that other organizations and agencies emulated UNHCR.

As the anniversary has come and gone unannounced, with the only known report of any investigations over the April 25, 2016 attack on Uzo-Uwani communities, was the five-man arrest reportedly made on May 2016, barely a month after by the operatives of the Inspector General of Police (IGP’s) Intelligence Response Team (IRT) viz: Mohammed Zurai, Ciroma Musa, Sale Adamu, Suleiman Laute and Haruna Laute, and recovered one Gionee L88 mobile phone with a memory card containing the video recording of the massacre in the community.

As such no one has conclusively been brought to book yet and no seeming justice for the Nimbo victims like Obulum, who is now eight years, even as there are rumours that even the five suspects arrested since 2016 that nothing is heard of them again afterwards.

It’s hoped that EU pledge has come to fruition, but will the IDPs get the help earnestly needed to have a change of life, including the likes of Obulum, without misappropriation of the aids.

Maybe, domestication of the UN Guiding Principles on IDPs across 36 states of Nigeria will be a plus to understanding the enormity of conflict and internally displaced persons in our midst. While security agencies must take intelligence seriously and work with requisite information.

Above all, IDPs deserve better life like every one of us. After all, who knows tomorrow?

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*The Fulani herdsmen arrested by Police on Enugu Massacre - Mohammed Zurai, Ciroma Musa, Sale Adamu, Suleiman Laute and Haruna Laute. Courtesy Punch.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Zenith Bank shines with greenhouse feat - NaijaAgroNet


The Zenith Bank Plc has been presented with a Certificate for Greenhouse Gas Auditing by V4 Advisors after a successful completion of the Bank’s Greenhouse Gas Audit for the 2018 Financial Year, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The presentation of the certificate and the report of the Auditors, NaijaAgroNet gathered was done by V4 Advisors at the Zenith Bank Head Office on May 21, 2019.

The Executive Director, Dr. Temitope Fasoranti, who received the certificate on behalf of the Bank said the Bank started this effort with the 2016 Financial Year and has carried out three greenhouse gas audits to date.  He explained that the Bank understands the relationship between greenhouse gas emission and climate change and appreciates the role it is expected to play towards combating the menace of climate change.

Also speaking on the milestone, the Country Manager Lynsey Elston highlighted that Zenith Bank is the first Nigerian bank to consecutively report the carbon emissions of their Head Office in Lagos using a certified tool which is built on the internationally recognized “GHG Protocol”. She commended the bank for proving its commitment to United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Goal 13, Climate Action, in addition to complying with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards"..  In response to her, the Executive Director said the initiative has significantly helped the bank reduce its overall carbon footprints and drive energy efficiency.

V4 Advisors is a UAE-based provider of advisory and consulting solutions on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. The firm’s calculation and reporting tool has been reviewed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) for conformance with the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard.

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Mozambique, ARC sign MoU to mitigate drought, floods - NaijaAgroNet

The African Risk Capacity (ARC) Agency and the Government of Mozambique have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide mid to long-term solutions against the recurrent episodes of drought, floods, and tropical cyclones in the country, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The MoU serves as “a framework to facilitate cooperation and collaboration between the ARC Agency and the Government, and to define the terms and conditions under which the Government and the ARC Agency will work together to address the impact of Extreme Climate Events on Mozambique, including through support provided by the ARC Agency for Mozambique, training of Government officials and other efforts in support of Mozambique objectives.”

Mozambique, which is emerging from two tropical cyclones, is vulnerable to climate change because of its location and geography which expose large areas of the country to tropical cyclones, droughts (every three to four years) and river/coastal storm surge flooding. This vulnerability is heightened by the country’s 2,470 km of coastline and socioeconomic fragility which puts infrastructure, coastal agriculture, key ecosystems and fisheries at risk.

Speaking about the signing of the MoU, the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Director-General of ARC, Mohamed Beavogui indicated that the aim is to work with the Government of Mozambique to understand its own risk profile vis-à-vis the various perils facing the country and develop customised response plans.

“ARC is a Development Insurance Mechanism which links risk profiling, contingency planning and a payout. “Although insurance will never cover all the risks associated with a peril in each country, the ARC approach allows for the risks to be managed in a way that multiplies the benefits from limited resources available to Government. Therefore, helping to save more lives and livelihoods at the early stage of a disaster…before the arrival of humanitarian assistance…,” ASG Beavogui stated.

“The Government of the Mozambique appreciates the onset of formal collaboration with the African Risk Capacity” said HE Adriano Afonso Maleiane, Mozambique’s Minister of Economy and Finance. “We expect that the MoU will initial a well-coordinated take-off of activities towards strengthening the capacities of our climate management authority officials as well as other personnel to better understand our risk profile and provide quicker responses in the event of natural disasters,” he concluded.

Under the MoU, the Government of Mozambique and the ARC Agency will work together through the Program to prepare for the potential participation of the Government as an ARC Ltd member. At the end of the Program, the Government will decide whether to participate in ARC Ltd and its level of participation.

Government involvement in the Program does not commit it to participate in ARC Ltd but rather support an informed decision-making process on climate risk insurance.

ARC is working with other development partners including the African Development Bank as well as the World Bank towards a premium financing support to Mozambique when it decides to take the sovereign disaster risk insurance coverage. 

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

Pix; UN-ASG / Director-General African Risk Capacity, Mohamed Beavogui and HE Adriano Afonso Maleiane, Mozambique’s Minister of Economy and Finance during one of the discussions leading to the signing of the MoU

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Merck Foundation mets Kenyan First Lady to underscore healthcare capacity - NaijaAgroNet

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany underscored their commitment to build healthcare capacity in Kenya during a high level meeting held at the State House between The First Lady of Kenya, H.E. Madam Margaret Kenyatta and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The First Lady of Kenya, had emphasized, it was an honor to meet and hold talks with the Chief Executive Officer of Merck Foundation, Dr. Rasha Kelej. 

"I am looking forward to partnering in the training of more oncologists and experts in diabetes and infertility management, as well as in @BeyondZeroKenya” she said.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother explained, “I am proud and elated to meet Her Excellency The First Lady of Kenya, to discuss Merck Foundation’s commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of people of Kenya by improving access to quality and equitable healthcare in the country by training more doctors in the fields of Fertility, Cancer and Diabetes care through nationwide programs. Also, to work closely to break the stigma of infertility in Kenya and other African countries.”

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Fayemi commissions Gossy Water plant - NaijaAgroNet

NaijaAgroNet: The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has commissioned Gossy Water Production plant, signalling the commencement of full scale production of the popular table water brand, a year after the parent company was liquidated, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The entire Ikogosi was tuned into a carnival, Tuesday, as both the young and the old trooped to the major streets as early as 6.00am singing and dancing in celebration of the return of the company.

Governor Fayemi who led other dignitaries to commission the plant, said it was regrettable that the Gossy Water Company which could have been generating revenues for the State went moribund due to lack of conducive environment for ease of doing business in Ekiti State after he left office in 2014.

The Governor recalled that the bottling company was established as a joint business venture under Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, the first civilian Governor of the State and the investment “made waves in the market thereby boosting the IGR of the State and creating job opportunities for the citizens”.

He described the revitalisation of the company as another milestone in the state government’s determined efforts to revive moribund projects in Ekiti State.

“I am particularly excited about this development because of its expected multiplier effects on the economic lives of the people and governance in the State. I therefore congratulate Ekiti kete, home and abroad, for the restoration of this company which is an offshoot of one of our most prominent tourist attractions, the Ikogosi Warm Springs”, he said.

While lamenting the neglect of the tourism corridors of Ekiti State by the last administration, the governor said Ikogosi resort has now become “a ghost of its former self and hardly enjoys patronage because of its state of dilapidation”.

Dr Fayemi, however, assured that his administration would soon revive the warm spring resort, through private sector investment, and restore it to its pride of place as a first class tourist destination in Africa, with

While promising that his government would ensure an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, the governor said his administration has mapped out strategic plans towards the resuscitation of other abandoned and moribund investments in the State.

The governor commended one of the leaders of Ekiti socio-cultural group, Ugbimo Ure Ekiti, Sir Remi Omotoso for playing a key role in ensuring that the Gossy Water Company returns and called on other Ekiti indigenes to support government in moving the State forward.

In his speech, the Board Chairman of Gossy Warm Spring, Mr Wole Adeyegbe expressed the readiness of the company to run the Gossy brand profitably and extending the brand to related food and beverage segment.

Adeyegbe added that the company has employed Ekiti indigenes, adding that it is planning to have at least 300 of its direct and indirect staff from the State.

Earlier, the Group Managing Director of Fountain Holdings Ltd, Mr Seyi Ayeleso thanked Governor Fayemi for working with Benin Electricity Distribution Company to restore power to Ikogosi Ekiti and its two neighbouring communities; saying that this would help forestall a re-occurrence of power challenge which was part of the reasons for its liquidation by its owner company, UAC.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Pix: L-R: Production Engineer, Gossy water, Engr Ayodeji Ojo; Ekiti State Governor; Dr. Kayode Fayemi and former Managing Director oodua Investment Company, Sir Remi Omotoso; inspecting production process, during the commissioning of Gossy water production plant in Ikogosi-Ekiti…on Tuesday

Monday, May 13, 2019

Shell targets equivalent of 2,400MW electricity from new gas supply project - NaijaAgroNet

The ongoing Assa North/Ohaji South gas development project in Imo State, southeast Nigeria will produce 600 million standard cubic feet of gas per day, energy equivalent of about 2400 Megawatts which is enough to provide uninterrupted electricity to about 2.4 million homes, Managing Director, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor said on Monday, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Okunbor spoke at the media launch of the 2019 edition of the Shell in Nigeria Briefing Notes, an annual publication detailing the activities of the business interests of the global energy giant in Nigeria covering SPDC, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo), Shell Nigeria Gas and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas.

SPDC took the final investment decision on the Assa North/Ohaji South project last December giving a major momentum to the domestic gas aspiration of the Federal Government for increased power generation and industrialisation.

Giving a breakdown of the gas production, Okunbor said 300 million standard cubic feet of gas per day would be processed at a new gas processing plant owned by the SPDC Joint Venture while the remaining 300 million will go to a proposed gas processing plant by SEPLAT Petroleum.

Okunbor said, “The project would be a major game-changer in Nigeria’s quest for energy sufficiency and economic growth as we look to grow the domestic gas market.” He added that the SPDC and its joint venture partners – NNPC, Total and Agip – would continue to explore other areas of support for the expansion of domestic gas supply and continue to make investments under the right conditions.

The Assa North/Ohaji South Gas Development Project ranks top among the Federal Government’s Seven Critical Gas Development Projects aimed at accelerating Nigeria’s aspiration for energy sufficiency and diverse industrial growth.

Explaining the company’s gas development strategy, SPDC’s General Manager External Relations, Igo Weli, said Shell was transforming to a gas-oriented business and currently accounts for about 10 percent of Nigeria’s domestic gas most of which is used for power generation.

SPDC and SNEPCo continue to contribute tremendously to the Nigerian economy. They paid N515.14 billion to the Federal Government in 2018 in taxes, royalties and levies while contracts worth N393.94 billion were awarded to Nigerian companies in the same year.

These contributions, according the 2019 Shell in Nigeria Briefing Notes, are aside the N39.58 billion paid to the Niger Delta Development Commission and another N44.36 billion disbursed for various community-driven projects in the Niger Delta under the SPDC JV Global Memorandum of Understanding.

Shell Companies in Nigeria also made direct spending of N17.03 billion on social investment projects making Nigeria the largest concentration of social investment spending in the Shell Group.

Those who attended the Briefing Notes launch included the SNEPCo’s Managing Director, Bayo Ojulari; SNG’s MD, Ed Ubong and the SPDC’s General Manager External Relations, Igo Weli.

Uboshe Uboshe/Editor

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