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Abiodun gets Assembly to refinance N109bn loans obtained by Amosun’s government

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Amotekun: Abiodun solicits support from traditional rulers

Ogun State House of Assembly has approved Governor Dapo Abiodun’s request to restructure and refinance N109 billion loan facilities obtained  by his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.

Abiodun  who made the request  in the  letter written to the Assembly and read by the  speaker of the Assembly , Olakunle Oluomo said the loans were obtained between 2015 and 2017.

He said there was a need to refinance the various loans in the debt stock of the State and provide financial relief to the State in managing its available resources and enhance infrastructural development across the State.

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According to the Governor ,some  of the loans as contained in the letter dated March 17, are; Restructured Term Loan (FGN Bond) of N55, 405, 175, 055.11 obtained in 2015; Salary Bailout to State Government and Local Government of N9,779,580,234.86 and N9,139,628,430.00 respectively obtained in 2015 

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Others are: Infrastructural Loan (Excess Crude Account) of N10, 000, 000, 000.00 obtained in 2015; Special Socio-economic Development Intervention Loan N20, 000,000,000.00 obtained in 2017 and Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme of N5,000,000,000.00 obtained in 2017.”

The Majority Leader of the House, Yusuf Sheriff moved the motion for the approval of the loans and seconded by a member representing Ijebu Ode State Constituency, Kemi Oduwole.

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Some of the lawmakers who contributed during the debate unanimously agreed that the move would allow the government to meet the short fall in the price of crude oil per barrel at the international market.

The shortfall, according to them, had impacted negatively on the global economy, thereby resulting in revenue downturn to Governments at all levels in the country.

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The letter dated March 17 partly states;

“I have extensively considered the sustainability of this program to Ogun State and this includes: To increase liquidity and cash flows of the State; thereby providing fund for the State Government for the implementation of socio and economic infrastructural development programs across the State.

” To increase the tenor of the facilities;thereby reducing the monthly debt service and making more fund available for project implementation. To take advantage of the drop in the lending rate, this will confer significant savings in the cost of servicing debt.”

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Buhari reappoints Umar Danbatta NCC executive VC

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Buhari reappoints Umar Danbatta NCC executive VC

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reappointment Umar Danbatta as the executive vice-chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Mr Danbatta, a professor of telecommunications technology, was appointed to the position four years ago by Mr Buhari.

Uwa Sulaiman, the spokesperson for the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ibrahim-Pantami announced the reappointment in a statement on Friday.

Read the full statement below:

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PRESIDENT BUHARI APPROVES DR PANTAMI’S RECOMMENDATION FOR THE REAPPOINTMENT OF PROFESSOR DANBATTA AS NCC’S BOSS

In an effort to consolidate the gains made in the telecommunications sector in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the reappointment of Professor Umar Garba Danbattaas the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission.

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Professor Danbatta’s reappointment was based on the recommendation of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, in line with the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003.

While wishing Professor Danbatta the best, the Honourable Minister directs him to significantly improve on the overall performance of the Commission as well as ensure that adequate mechanisms are put in place to facilitate the implementation of all policies of Federal Government through the Ministry.

Furthermore, the Honourable Minister enjoined him to ensure that the interest of telecommunication consumers, Nigerians and investors are adequately protected.

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LASG calls for preservation, restoration of Biodiversity

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The Lagos State Government on Friday called for stimulation of action to Conserve Biological Diversity towards preserving and protecting the earth.

The Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello, made the call at a Zoom Conference to mark the 2020 World Environment Day with Theme “Biodiversity: Time for Nature” held in Lagos.

Bello said that biodiversity represented a critical part of the natural environment.

He explained that biodiversity was an essential asset that must be sustainably managed, wisely utilized and conserved for present and future generations.

He said the World Environment Day was a global event, celebrated annually on the 5th of June, to appreciate and demonstrate support for environmental protection.

The commissioner said that the event had remained a flagship campaign for raising awareness on emerging environmental issues such as climate change, pollution, wildlife crime and now caring for nature amongst others.

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He described this year’s theme as apt and a typical measure of variation at genetic, species and ecosystem level.

“Biodiversity is the variety of plants and animals that live in an ecosystem while the importance of biodiversity includes the provision of food security, environmental stability, national biological heritage and recreational values, amongst others.

” The biodiversity of Lagos state and indeed the world was being threatened by rapid urbanization and connected factors.

“Lagos State as a coastal state is blessed with a rich ecosystem and great biodiversity in both plants and animals.

“The environment must not be destroyed for development and survival, and biodiversity should be preserved because of its wildlife and natural attributes which would attract people to the location.

“These ecosystems are home to a rich variety of aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals. Sadly all these are under serious threat of extinction from a range of causes, which include rapid urbanization,” Bello said.

The commissioner noted that the State Government’s commitment to the sustainable management of its biodiversity was unwavering.

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He said this was demonstrated through various laudable plans and programmes such as the deliberate exposure of students to wetlands, zoological gardens and conservation areas in the state through the introduction of ecotourism programme for students in the state.

He identified others as the annual Tree Planting Day through which he said over 7 Million Trees of various species have been planted across the state to enrich its biodiversity.

Bello said that Lagos State was set to explore the linkage between tourism and biological diversity by preserving the state two major wetlands which are Yaafin Wetland, Badagry and Itoikin Wetland, Epe.

According to him, the preserved wetlands were expected to serve as tourist centres in the nearest future.

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He called on Lagos residents to find fun and exciting ways of experiencing, cherishing and sustaining this vital relationship with nature.

Prof. Baraka Animashaun, Department of Paediatrics, Lagos State University (LASU), in a topic “Biodiversity and Covid-19”, said there was need to care and sustain the UN 17th Sustainable Development Goal.

He said that Covid-19 had impacted negatively on the sustainable development goal.

Animashaun urged Nigerians to do everything possible to preserve nature and stop the release of carbon monoxide while improving on restoring animals in the community.

The Technical Director, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Dr Joseph Onoja, urged Nigerians to stop killings and eating of pangolin.

He enjoined the State Government to encourage residents to plant trees adding that breadfruit and Iroko tree was discovered in Yaba area and Mango trees were discovered in Badagry.

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Runsewe advocates use of culture as therapy against COVID-19

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Chief Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), has advocated the use of culture as a therapy against COVID-19 pandemic.

Runsewe, in a statement on Friday, emphasised the potency of culture to address all human challenges.

He said that culture was the totality of the ways of life of people and, therefore, could be employed to solve all human problems.

The NCAC director-general said, in combating the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, the combination of medical solutions and cultural therapy was greatly required.

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According to him, theatre, music, dance drama and songs, which are elements of culture, could provide the necessary balm to speed up the healing of COVID-19 patients.

“The same way medical doctors use theatre as a place to heal the sick, and artists use the theatre to educate and entertain, culture is a theatre of the mind and soul.

“When a body, mind or spirit suffers challenges, culture could be a tool for resolving such challenges,” he said.

Runsewe said that in addition to all the Council was doing to assist in the fight against COVID-19, it would soon stage a programme titled: “Cultural Therapy in the Midst of COVID-19”.

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He explained that in compliance with social distancing regulation, it would be a “drive-in theatre” where the audience would sit inside their vehicles and watch the eight-man cast perform live on stage.

The director-general said apart from the programme serving to entertain the audience, it would also target the four areas of the treatment of therapy including behavioural, cognitive, humanistic and holistic.

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According to him, the world now needs a cultural re-armament to reboot the global pulse brought about by COVID-19.

“COVID-19 should not be seen as a problem requiring a solution, but a challenge calling on the world to think creatively on how to respond to emerging issues in the world.

“We must all begin to think outside the box to deploy our knowledge and special skills to fight the challenges of our time,” he said.

Runsewe recalled that when King Saul in the Bible suffered a serious medical condition, he solicited the services of David whose musical instrument, the harp, brought him to normalcy each time he was tormented by an evil spirit.

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He said that in like manner, the Lagos State Government recently staged a musical concert at the isolation centres for people with COVID-19.

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