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Nigeria, Cuban government collaborate to produce vaccines – NABDA


Acting Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Alex Akpa says there are plans underway to produce vaccines in Nigeria in partnership with the Cuban government.

Akpa disclosed this in an interview on the sidelines of the two-day GM Commodity Trade Consultative Forum in Abuja on Friday.

The Director-General, who said 100 per cent of the vaccines used in Nigeria were imported, added that the partnership would also cover the production of pharmaceuticals, including insulin and diagnostics.

“For quite some time we have been trying to partner with Cuba; in fact, before Cuba we had tried so many other countries, we had tried India and countries in Europe. It was not so easy.

“But sometime last year we paid a visit to Cuba, Havana and the delegation was led by the Honourable Minister and we had extensive meeting with our colleagues at the Cuba Institute of Biotechnology.

“At that meeting, I was able to convince them that it is in their interest to do business with Nigeria.

“One, because of our large population and Nigeria can serve as a base of which they can reach out to other West African countries with a total population of over 500 million and the can also get to other African countries.

“Of course in Nigeria, they will be able to test all those fine vaccines, and those pharmaceuticals, try them in a predominantly black population.

“Most of their trials so far have been done in a predominately white population that is another added reason.

“We know it works because we have used them even in Africa but we need to confirm scientifically and publish.

“So, all these made them see reason that it is in their interest to do business with us, carry out joint research with us and also jointly produce these products in Nigeria.

“Besides, Nigeria and Cuba have had many years of good friendly relationship.’’

He said there were plans to hold the first major stakeholders’ meeting in Nigeria before the end of the year after which the next might be held in Havana, Cuba.

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Obiano hails Buhari over Ewelukwa’s NBET appointment



The Governor of Anambra, Chief Willie Obiano, has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Dr Nnaemeka Ewelukwa as the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc.

A letter issued on behalf of the governor, signed by Mr C-Don Adinuba, the state’s Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment on Wednesday in Awka, described Ewelukwa’s appointment as a round peg in a round hole.

“You couldn’t have appointed a more qualified, competent and reform-minded technocrat for the job”, Obiano said in the letter.

Two weeks ago, the Minister of Power, Mr Saleh Mamman, announced that Buhari had approved Ewelukwa as the replacement for Dr Marylyn Amobi.

Amobi, who also hails from Anambra is to complete her five-year tenure on July 24.

“It is self-evident that the president recognises the critical role of NBET in the electricity value-chain in Nigeria and so went for the best to help move the power sector forward,” Obiano said.

Ewelukwa was until his elevation, the NBET General- Counsel.

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The incoming NBET boss has been involved in Nigeria’s power sector reforms for more than 10 years, having worked at the Presidential Task Force on Power, headed by Prof. Bart Nnaji before he was appointed the Minister of Power in July, 2011.

The letter further stated that as the pioneer NBET General Counsel and secretary, Ewelukwa led the team which negotiated with independent power producers on power purchase agreements.

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He also helped to facilitate huge investments from the private sector into Nigeria’s electricity generation business.

Obiano observed that the new NBET chief played a key role on the team which identified serious legal, regulatory and policy constraints to the development of Nigeria’s electricity.

“Due to the exceedingly impressive work done by such outstanding technocrats as Prof. Nnaji and Dr Ewelukwa, the British and American governments, among others, assisted Nigeria to develop the critical power infrastructure.”

Obiano recalled how such global firms as General Electric of the U.S., Siemens of Germany and Daewoo Heavy Industries of South Korea took an unprecedented interest in Nigeria’s power sector, due to the sterling contributions of the team.

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Obiano described Ewelukwa as “infectiously humble and principled, a team player and far-sighted leader with a good international exposure — key leadership requirements in today’s globalized world”.

The governor expressed his optimism that Ewelukwa would bring glory to Nigeria the way a number of Anambra indigenes given critical national assignments discharged their duties.

Ewelukwa has so far authored three books on electricity transactions and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.












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PDP sweeps Taraba LG polls



The Taraba State Independent Electoral Commission (TSIEC) has declared candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winners of the sixteen local government councils of the state on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, local council polls.

Declaring the results of the local government election which, was conducted on Tuesday, the chairman of the commission, Dr. Philip Duwe, said candidates of the PDP for chairmanship won all seats across the sixteen local government councils of the state.

Duwe said though the results for the 168 councilors in the state were earlier announced at the ward levels immediately after the elections on Tuesday, the commission was yet to compile the accurate results for the councilors, which he said would be announced shortly.

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He urged those who lost in the polls to accept defeat and agree that leadership comes from God.

Earlier on Tuesday in Takum, Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba state shortly after casting his vote for the council election describe the election process as peaceful, transparent, and impressive.

The governor, who cast his ballots at Kurupanti polling unit Gutu ward Takum alongside his wife, Ann Ishaku, expressed happiness over the peaceful exercise.

“Before coming to my polling unit, I have gone to observe other polling units and I can tell you that the process is peaceful and transparent, I have also heard from my deputy who is voting at Gassol LGA and he said everything is going on peaceful and other places have also reported peaceful conduct of the exercise so I can tell you it is all peaceful.”

Contrary to the insinuation that council executives were imposed on the people against their choice by the government, the governor stressed that the selection process of the party’s flagbearers was transparent and the consensus was reached even at the primaries to avoid the crisis.

“I am the Father of democracy I can never allow the imposition of candidates against the will of the people, that is why right at the primaries we decided to go by consensus so as to avoid crisis and the people decided who should represent them.”

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BREAKING: President Buhari names Adesina, Seriki, Awoniyi, 39 others as ambassador nominees



President Muhammadu Buhari named Debo Adesina, ex-Minister of State for defence, Ademola Seriki, Dare Sunday Awoniyi, among others in 41-man non-career and one career ambassadors submitted to the Senate for screening and confirmation on Wednesday.

Senate President Ahmed Lawan read the President’s letter of request on the floor at the plenary on Wednesday.

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Adesina was picked from Oyo State, Seriki from Lagos and Dare Sunday Awoniyi Kogi State.

The President had earlier approved the appointment of Professor Adesoji Adesugba as the new Managing Director of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment.

Prof Adesugba, an accomplished specialist in Investment Promotion and Economic Development, is a lawyer and a veteran of business promotion within and outside Nigeria.

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Adesugba is the National Legal Adviser of the National Association of Chambers of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and the Chairman of its Education Committee.

Adesugba lectures part-time as a Professor of Business Administration at the Roegate College in Dublin, Ireland, and also lectured Investment Promotion at the Baden International Business School, Baden, Switzerland. Until recently, he was a visiting Professor at the American University of West Africa, Banjul, Gambia.

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