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Friday, January 31, 2020

EU lifts Jigawa, Kano States with water, sanitation facilities - NaijaAgroNet

Estimated one million people in six Local Government Areas (LGA) of Jigawa and Kano States will benefit from improved access to safe water and sanitation facilities following the completion of several water and sanitation facilities in the six LGAs, 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 people in Nigeria have access to safe WASH services.

Data from the WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH NORM) show that 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 lack of WASH facilities in schools are of serious concern as children who do not have access to water, 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. 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.

Access to clean drinking water is a human right - just like the right to food and the right to live without torture and racial discrimination. And ending open defecation and making water, sanitation, and hygiene services available to all Nigerians is one of the biggest challenges as construction and management of facilities requires sustained investments and more partnerships, especially with the private sector. The Nigeria Government should invest 3 times more in the water sector making sure that every Nigeria has access to clean water and a toilet as the lack of access to water is impacting the wellbeing specially of the most vulnerable.

The EU, through UNICEF, is supporting the Government of Nigeria to achieve the objectives of the national campaign on an open defecation free Nigeria launched last year and the state of emergency declared on the WASH sector by the President in 2018.

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 invested more than 250 million Euros in the Nigerian water sector, aimed at improving the WASH conditions of more than 10 million people in 14 States across the country.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Ekiti gears up for total zero oil diversification - NaijaAgroNet

The Ekiti state government has disclosed plans to domesticate the Federal Government’s zero oil strategy for total diversification of the economy in its drive to reposition the state’s finances, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr Femi Ajayi, disclosed this during the presentation of the detailed analysis of the 2020 budget to stakeholders in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday.

Ajayi said the size of the 2020 budget of N124,724,869,355.95 made up of N53,538,093.59 and N71,186,775,549.36 capital and recurrent expenditures respectively was within the ambit of the requirements for the fiscally sustainable plan of the Federal Government

He explained that the budget was in line with fiscal policy of having a purposeful and all-inclusive budget that will serve as a tool for the implementation of socio-economic policy and prudent management of available resources.

The Commissioner said the 2020 budget preparation took into cognizance the interests of all towns, communities and interests groups, adding that the budget was woven round the five cardinal programmes of the administration to deliver on its electioneering promises to the people of the state.”

According to him, “The 2020 budget represents a reduction of N5,199,602,779.06 or (4%) from the 2019 budget size of N129,924,472,135.01. the operational dynamics of the 2020 budget was to reduce the budget performance variance in the 2020 fiscal year to ensure compliance with the requirement of the state fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability programmes for results which allows only 20 per cent variance in implementation.”

Ajayi added that the reduction was also informed by the need to have a more realistic budget, considering the dwindling allocation from the federation account.

Analysing the 2019 budget of restoration upon which the 2020 budget of deliverables was hinged, the Budget commissioner said 2019 budget was prepared to restore the core values of Ekiti people and revamp the state economy which was designed to widen the scope of revenue generation by widening the tax net and blocking all leakages in the revenue accrued to government.

He explained further that the budget was financed principally from revenue from federal allocation, internally generated revenue, value-added tax, funds from international donor agencies, grants from the federal government and other sources.

The commissioner also explained that the focus of the 2020 budget, christened “Budget of Deliverables” was to establish a fiscal framework that would transform the socio-economic activities of the state and situate Ekiti in the right perspective in the committee of states in Nigeria. He added that the budget was to drive Ekiti towards agricultural, industrial and knowledge base of the Nigerian economy through completion of all ongoing capital projects across the state and commencing other legacy projects.

He highlighted the objectives of the budget to include consolidation of the achievements recorded in core values of the state; establishing a fiscal framework that will positively translate the present economic realities to a major viable agricultural and industrial base of the Nigerian economy; to pursue aggressive revenue generation drive within the ambit of the law and reduce the dependence of the state on allocation from the federal government; to invest in human capital and strengthen the human resources base through strategic investments in qualitative education and health care delivery to all as well as improve ease of doing business and provide enabling socio-economic environment required for the success of government reforms.

While seeking the continued support of the people for Governor Kayode Fayemi administration to bring its lofty ideas and programmes into reality, the commissioner noted that the implementation of the budget will further improve the lives of the people and stimulate economic activities in the state.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor
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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Gov. Ortom escapes herdsmen attack in his farm - NaijaAgroNet

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has recounted how he was attacked by suspected herdsmen while at his farm located along Makurdi-Naka road in Makurdi, Benue State capital, last weekend, reports NaijaAgroNet.

While speaking during an interview with newsmen in Makurdi, the governor said;

“Just last week, I was on my farm that is situated in the outskirts of Makurdi town when armed herdsmen came there and shot at me. They also shot at the vehicle of our Livestock Guards who came there and shattered it. We had to call the joint military security team, Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), who came and saved the situation,” Ortom lamented.

The governor vowed never to bow to any attempt to intimidate him for speaking up for his people. He also repeated his call for arrest and prosecution of Miyetti Allah leaders for allegedly instigating violence against farmers in Benue state.

Benue state has recorded one of the highest numbers of farmers/herdsmen attacks.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Monday, January 27, 2020

NLNG signs sale, purchase agreement with Eni - NaijaAgroNet


Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) and Eni have signed a LNG Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) for some of the remarketed volumes from NLNG’s Trains 1, 2 and 3, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The agreement, according to the General Manager, External Relations, Eyono Fatayi-Williams, is for the supply of 1.5mtpa for a 10 year term on a Delivered Ex-ship (DES) and Free on Board (FOB) basis.

The agreement, Fatayi-Williams told NaijaAgroNet, signified customers’ confidence in NLNG as a trusted, safe and reliable LNG supplier in the world.

The company added that it is primed for taking up a position in the ranks of top LNG companies with plans to grow its market share. The SPA with Eni advances the ongoing plans by NLNG to remarket volumes from the three trains.

NLNG is an incorporated Joint-Venture owned by four Shareholders, namely, the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (49 per cent), Shell Gas B.V. (25.6 per cent), Total Gaz Electricite Holdings France (15%), and Eni International N.A. N. V. S.àr.l (10.4 per cent).

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

ASH commends Adams on smoking cessation report - NaijaAgroNet

The Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Jerome Adams, has been commended for the release of “Smoking Cessation: A Report of the Surgeon General," reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) gave this applause, Thursday in a press statement endorsed by Megan Arendt and made available to NaijaAgroNet, saying that Surgeon General deserves commendation for once again leading the fight against tobacco addiction, disease and death.

ASH noted in particular, Dr. Jerome Adams and his staff should be commended for making it clear that access to treatment greatly improves success in quitting and that providing access is a critical component in the fight to end the tobacco epidemic.

"For too long, cessation has been the ugly step child of the tobacco control movement and the nation’s public health priorities. There are several reasons for this: confidence that the epidemic can be ended by preventing youth uptake, a misunderstanding that cessation treatment is costly, and a thinly-veiled belief that adult smokers brought it upon themselves," Arendt said.

Pointing that "We have made great strides in reducing youth tobacco use (although the vaping crisis threatens to undermine that success). But victory over big tobacco requires fighting on all fronts, as outlined in the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). We cannot expect to win without large numbers of adult smokers quitting, and many can’t quit without therapy."

Emphasising that even where access to cessation is available, it is inexplicably limited. Many health plans that cover nicotine replacement therapy impose strict time limits, even though it is in their own financial interest to help smokers quit.

"Most smokers want to quit, but many are highly addicted to the nicotine and can’t do so cold turkey or on their first try. As the Report highlights, several quit attempts are often required," Arendt maintained.

ASH equally said that while the benefit of cessation for smokers is obvious, society as a whole profits from smokers becoming non-smokers. Smoking costs the country over $300 billion annually, and much of that cost is borne by governments, meaning taxpayers. As Dr. Adams shared today, every American pays roughly $1,000 every year to cover the national cost of smoking.

The group insisted on the imperative to stop seeing smokers as the perpetrators of the tobacco epidemic. As the Report notes, nearly all started in adolescence, and became hooked on a product that was engineered to be as addictive as possible.

"Children cannot sign contracts, vote, or rent a car; legal authority comes at the age of 18 for a reason. Certainly, a middle schooler cannot consent to become a nicotine addict. The blame for the tobacco epidemic rests squarely on the tobacco industry, but governments bear some responsibility for allowing a product that is addictive and kills when used as intended to be sold in nearly every corner store," the group said.

The human right to health – which is well recognized in international law – says that every human has the right to the highest attainable standard of health. In a rich society like the U.S., access to smoking cessation treatment is certainly attainable.

"We also have a duty under human rights to seek equity in human development, especially for vulnerable populations. Racial minorities and the LGBT community have been particularly targeted by tobacco industry marketing, and consequently suffer disproportionately from the tobacco epidemic," ASH submitted.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Marathon Oil meets President Mbasogo, commits to support Gas Mega Hub - NaijaAgroNet

The Marathon Oil Corp, one of the biggest energy investors in Equatorial Guinea, has met with the country's president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, committing to increase its investment in the required infrastructure to support the Government’s vision for the Gas Mega Hub, reports NaijaAgroNet.

In company of H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo met this week with Marathon Oil Chairman, President and CEO Lee Tillman and Executive Vice President Mitch Little to discuss Marathon Oil’s short and long-term future plans in the country.

Marathon Oil reiterated its commitment to Equatorial Guinea and towards the development of the country’s Gas Mega Hub, including unlocking funding to promote the delivery of gas from neighboring countries and cross-border fields to maximize existing facilities and possibly consider a second LNG train. Marathon Oil also declared support for the Ministry’s efforts to construct a modular refinery in Punta Europa by undertaking a conceptual study on the Ministry’s behalf.

“Marathon’s disciplined and consistent performance is going to ensure that Equatorial Guinea can continue to count on a partner that is tried, true and tested when it comes to running world-class gas projects. I have no doubt that under Chairman, President and CEO Lee Tillman, Marathon will continue to be a strong, resilient, and well positioned partner for the future of Equatorial Guinea,” stated H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons

Marathon Oil continues to prioritize the ongoing Alen backfill project currently under implementation with Noble Energy, Glencore, Atlas and Gunvor. Efforts are underway to accelerate gas for delivery by year end 2020, while currently scheduled for first quarter 2021. The project is an important step towards replacing declining output from the Alba field.

Furthermore, both parties agreed to immediately commence feasibility studies related to methanol to gasoline and other methanol derivatives, in coordination with the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons. “President Obiang expects and demands of my Ministry and Marathon, today and for the foreseeable future, to work on creating an integrated set of solutions that are required — ranging from producing hydrocarbons in Equatorial Guinea efficiently to developing policies that encourage long-term investments that create jobs and opportunities for our citizens,” added H.E. Minister Obiang Lima.

Many foreign investors are planning to increase their investment in Equatorial Guinea this year, or enter the market to tap into several opportunities across the hydrocarbons and mining value chains under the Year of Investment initiative.

Details of the program are available at and interested investors are encouraged to contact the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons to discuss investment opportunities and projects.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Putin reappoints Novak energy Minister - NaijaAgroNet

The Russian President, Vladimir Putin has reappointed Alexander Novak as the country's energy minister, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Reacting to the appointment, the African Energy Chamber welcomes the reappointment of Minister Novak who has always supported the establishment of new alliances with Africa and believes this move signals the potential for further cooperation for Russia and Africa.

“Minister Novak has ensured that African companies have a seat at the table, built partnerships and pushed President Putin’s mission to broaden and strengthen relationships with Africa,” said Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, NJ Ayuk. “The African Energy Chamber has always enjoyed a good relationship with him and the Russian energy sector and, we look forward to furthering our collaboration,” he said.

Having maintained his seat as energy minister since 2012, Novak’s reappointment is received as the Kremlin’s commitment to the continuation of the OPEC+ strategy which has already seen Russian companies benefit from bilateral cooperation with OPEC member states and boosted oil prices.

"Alexander Novak has emerged as the reliable and dependable bridge between OPEC and non-OPEC in the Declaration of Cooperation. He has earned the respect and admiration of all participating countries in the OPEC+ group," said H.E. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary General of OPEC. Adding that, “His reappointment as Russia’s Energy Minister at this crucial juncture will further strengthen the collaboration with OPEC in our noble course to maintain oil market stability in the interest of producers, consumers and the global economy.”

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Pix: Novak

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sylva earns DEMS’ passmark with digitization in oil & gas - NaijaAgroNet

The leadership of Digital Economy Media Support Volunteers’ (DEMS Volunteers’), an NGO tracking all development activities in the nation’s public and private sector on digital economy, has assessed activities of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva since his appointment and gave him a pass mark.
A report released weekend in Lagos on the reforms adopted so far by the ministry in the last couple of months, have shown marked departure from the way and manner the operations of the nation’s oil and gas sector had been.
The Director General of the NGO, Prince Stan Okenwa noted that “Starting from the downstream sector, the 2019 December can be rated as yuletide season in Nigeria that never experienced any form of fuel scarcity due to new ideas and digital tracking systems put in place by the ministry.”
The DG in a statement signed by the Director of Communications, Mr Peter Oluka, said “There had been steady supplies and uniform price of petroleum products especially petrol across the federation and this has continued both off and on yuletide season.
“The relentless efforts of the Minister in coordinating the planning of Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7 Final Investment Decision (FID) earlier this month, remains a game changer in Nigeria’s drive to lead the continent in gas revolution.
“Further investigations made DEMS Volunteers’ revealed that various transformation processes are currently ongoing in NNPC which include but not limited to digital installations, growing from Business Unit Focus Areas (12 BUFAs), Transparency, Accountability and Performance Excellence (TAPE). We are aware that the Ministry is considering the Incorporation of NNPC and its existing Joint Venture Companies as government is currently working on the modalities.
“Still on the downstream, DEMS Volunteers’ is aware of a special consideration by the ministry to introduce two new regulators; one for the Upstream (the Commission) and another for the Midstream & Downstream (the Authority) to open enormous opportunities to local investors and consequently create massive job opportunities in the country.
“To us as an NGO, the move will deepen investments in pipeline engineering design, procurement &construction, terminal operations, pipe mills, fabrication of pressure vessels, storage facilities, pipe transportation and laying equipments, Refineries, Central Processing Facilities and also investment in Gas-based industries (Fertilizer, Methanol, Petrochemicals, LPG and CNG) etc. Besides, open access for oil and gas transportation will be fully enhanced.
“On the upstream sub-sector, DEMS Volunteers is convinced that the ministry is coming up with more robust fiscal provision, acreage management, drilling-or-drop programme, and will not only retain investors, but more players will join the leagues of high-value operators.
“We are further thrilled by the planned use of technology for pro-active leak detection in the Niger Delta to end instances of oil pollution.  
“We are also convinced on the way and manner the Ministry under Chief Timipre Sylva, is driving the Nigeria Gas Flare Commercialization Program (NGFCP).
DEMS Volunteers’ is also pleased with the tenacity with which the Technical Adviser to the Minister on Gas Business, who doubles as the Program Manager of NGFCP, Mr Justice Derefaka is driving the scheme, designed as the strategy to implement policy objective of the government for the elimination of gas flares with potentially enormous multiplier and development outcomes for Nigeria in terms of job creation and ending gas flaring.
“We are aware that the key objective of the NGFCP is to eliminate gas flaring through technically and commercially sustainable gas utilisation projects developed by competent third party investors who will be invited to participate in a competitive and transparent bid process. 
DEMS Volunteers’, however encouraged the Minister to hasten the ongoing harmonization of existing versions of PIBs so that a more reliable document would be transmitted to the waiting National Assembly for legislative surgery in the interest of the nation.

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

2bn mosquito nets delivered globally since 2004

The RBM Partnership to End Malaria has revealed thagt some 2 billion insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) were delivered globally since 2004, reports NaijaAgroNet.

This development and scale up of nets, RBM said were responsible for 68 per cent of the malaria cases prevented in Africa since 2000, contributing to global efforts that saved over 7 million lives and prevented another 1 billion malaria cases.

A new video highlights the global collaboration it took to boost funding, pioneer, produce, and deliver the insecticide-treated mosquito nets to millions of families around the world living at risk of malaria, a preventable disease that kills a child every 2 minutes.

The film follows the journey of one of the life-saving mosquito nets passed among representatives from the global malaria community including advocates, a scientist, global leaders and malaria-endemic country health workers to reach a family in Nampula, Mozambique, one of 5 countries with the highest burden of malaria. It also features a classroom of young women in Nyanza Province, Kenya, including Clementina Akinyi. Ms Akinyi, now in her last year of high school, grew up sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets, and was photographed as a young child under a mosquito net – an image which became iconic for the fight against malaria.

According to the latest World Malaria Report, between 2010 and 2018, the number of pregnant women and children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa who slept under an insecticide-treated net more than doubled, up from 26% to 61%. Each net is typically effective for up to 3 years and 20 washes and, on average, protects two people simultaneously.

Some key initiatives driving this progress include The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), which purchased and worked with malaria-endemic countries and partners to distribute 1.13 billion and 400 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets, respectively. Many other governments, notably the UK, and organisations, including UNICEF, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the World Bank, the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets initiative and Against Malaria Foundation, also made significant contributions to the 2 billion net milestone.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, World Health Organization (WHO), said “Insecticide-treated nets have saved lives, prevented suffering and brought us 2 billion steps closer to our vision of a malaria-free world. With country leadership and global partnership, they will continue to play a vital role in fulfilling that vision.”

Also, Dr Abdourahmane Diallo, CEO, RBM Partnership to End Malaria, said “The milestone of delivering 2 billion life-saving nets is a hallmark example of effective global partnership and sustained commitment over the past two decades. As we enter a new decade, we must now step up action to meet the ambitious global targets of further reducing malaria deaths and cases significantly by 2030. Political commitment and engagement from all levels of society will be crucial to ensure we reach those most vulnerable – pregnant women and children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa – who still suffer from malaria with life-saving mosquito nets. Equally, we need to continue investing in developing, testing and scaling up nets with new insecticides and active ingredients to stay ahead of the evolving mosquito.”

Dr Marijke Winroks, Chief Staff, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and RBM Partnership to End Malaria board member noted that this is a great milestone. 

"With increased domestic and international investment, we can help close the gap and make sure everyone at risk for malaria has an insecticide-treated net – breaking the transmission cycle and helping more countries on the path to elimination,” Winroks said.

Clementina Akinyi, Kenyan schoolgirl featured in the film, explains that she does not fall sick due to her use of the nets.

“I don’t fall sick because I’m using the nets. Me and my sister are now champions for mosquito nets, and we are now advising people at school to use the nets. I advise everyone to use nets to prevent malaria, because malaria is a deadly disease.”

While current evidence suggests that nets treated with pyrethroid insecticides continue to be effective against the mosquito, resistance to pyrethroids – the only insecticide class currently used in ITNs – is widespread and highest in the WHO African Region.

To combat insecticide resistance, partners are developing, testing and scaling up nets with new insecticides and harnessing data to better target where to distribute current and new nets. Some of the new nets, which include combinations of insecticides and other active ingredients, have been approved by WHO while others are being piloted to build the epidemiological evidence needed for their public health value to inform WHO policy recommendations and to assess the cost-effectiveness of the nets under pilot conditions.

The Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC) leads implementation of the pilot New Nets Project which began in 2019 in Burkina Faso and will expand in 2020 to Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria and Rwanda. The pilot project is funded by the Global Fund and Unitaid. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and U.S. Agency for International Development are providing supplementary funding. Funding for PMI in 2020 includes an additional US$15 million to invest in the use of mosquito nets treated with new types of insecticides. And, in October 2019, MedAccess and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced an agreement with a mosquito net manufacturer to accelerate the availability of 35 million new nets, which is expected to help lower prices and further increase the use of these tools.

Between 2006 and 2017, the mosquito net market increased fivefold with prices falling from approximately $4.50 to $2, greatly increasing value for money and significantly expanding net coverage from 5.5 million in 2004 to almost 200 million in 2018.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Foresight Africa: Top priorities and agenda 2030 - NaijaAgroNet


The new year 2020 Report marked the beginning of a promising decade for Africa. Through at least the first half of the decade, economic growth across Africa will continue to outperform that of other regions, with the continent continuing to be home to seven of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies. Collective action among African and global policymakers to improve the livelihoods of all under the blueprint of the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 is representative of the shared energy and excitement around Africa’s potential.

With business environments improving, regional integration centered around the African Continental Free Trade Agreement progressing, and the transformational technologies of Fourth Industrial Revolution spreading, never before has the region been better primed for trade, investment, and mutually beneficial partnerships.

The recent, unprecedented interest of an increasingly diversified group of external partners for engagement with Africa highlights this potential. Despite the continent’s promise, though, obstacles to success linger, as job creation still has not caught up with the growing youth labor force, gaps in good and inclusive governance remain, and climate change as well as state fragility threaten to reverse the hard-fought-for gains of recent decades.

This special edition of Foresight Africa highlights the triumphs of past years as well as strategies from our experts to tackle forthcoming, but surmountable, obstacles to a prosperous continent by 2030.

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