FG, NESG sign MoU to drive reforms in creative sector

The Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), towards repositioning the art, culture, and creative economy sectors. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the MoU was signed by officials of both organisations at the ministry's headquarters on Friday in Abuja. The MoU was designed to strengthen collaboration between the two parties towards developing a united policy, governance, institutional, legislative and implementation framework for operations of art, culture, and the creative sectors. The goal, according to the Minister of Art, Culture and the Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, is to enhance the sectors' contribution to the national economy. Musawa, who signed on behalf of the Federal Government, said that the partnership would unlock the vast potential of Nigeria's creative economy. She described NESG as a leading private sector-led think tank, dedicated to transforming Nigeria int o an open, sustainable, and globally competitive economy. According to her, the MoU is a bold step forwards fulfilling the mandate of the Ministry through partnership with critical stakeholders. 'Our collaboration with NESG is grounded in a clear set of objectives - to develop a robust governance structure for the art, culture, and creative industries. 'Together, we have co-created the policy thrust for the development of a comprehensive national policy on the creative economy aimed at guiding the development and regulation of Nigeria's creative economy. 'This policy framework will provide strategic direction, outline key objectives, and establish regulatory mechanisms to foster growth, innovation, and sustainability within the creative sector. 'Once approved, the policy will be pushed to the National Assembly for their nod to establish the Act that will create a Central Authority for Art, Culture and the creative economy and establish a fund. 'Through strategic collaborations, forward-thinking policie s, and dedication, we seek to unleash the complete potential of Nigeria's creative sectors, championing enduring economic growth and cultural prosperity for future generations.' On his part, the Director of NESG, Mr Udeme Ufot, who signed on behalf of the group, said that the MoU represents a significant innovation towards transforming the potential of the sector. Ufot is also the Private Sector Co-Chair, Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment, Creatives, Culture and Sports Industries Policy Commission (THECCS) of NES. He expressed confidence that the partnership would serve as a springboard for the growth of the sector. 'The effective implementation of the MoU would serve as a paradigm shift in the art, culture, and creative sectors of Nigeria's economy. 'It is commencing with the public sector side, which shall witness the establishment and optimisation of the sectors' governance frameworks. 'This will be achieved through reforms of policies, legislation, institutions, incentives, and human capacity deve lopment across relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies. 'On the private sector side, the implementation of the MoU will result in game-changing industry reset for sector practitioners across the cultural and creative sectors value chain and ecosystem,' he said. Earlier, Dr Tayo Aduloju, Director-General and Chief Executive Officer, NESG, said signing of the MoU followed a series of meetings, consultations, research, and stakeholder engagements. Aduloju explained that the specific task under the collaborative MoU would among other initiatives, make the Nigeria Creativity Week an annual event. According to him, NESG has established a wide range of institutional collaborations and signed memorandum of understandings to drive economic growth and development across different sectors. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Center Region: Hyena chops off toddler’s hand in zoo

By Charity Nginyu At the Mvog-Betsi Botanical Zoo Garden in the Center Region, a 6-year-old child had a terrifying encounter with a spotted hyena, resulting in the partial amputation of his forearm. The Minister of Forestry and Wildlife on Friday issued a statement addressing the alarming incident, emphasizing the need for increased vigilance and safety measures within the zoo. According to the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, the child was recklessly disregarding safety precautions by crossing the designated barrier and attempting to touch the hyena. Despite the enclosure's double mesh of grids, the child managed to insert his arm, leading to the unfortunate encounter. Immediately following the incident, the child was transported to the Yaoundé Emergency Center (CURY), where he underwent surgery. According to the Ministry, he currently remains under observation at the center as medical professionals monitor his recovery. Despite the alarming nature of the incident, the Minister of Forestry and Wildli fe assured the public that the Mvog-Betsi Botanical Zoo Garden remains a secure environment for recreation. However, they stressed the importance of heightened vigilance among zoo personnel to prevent any potential safety breaches. In light of this unfortunate event, visitors are urged to adhere to all safety guidelines and barriers established within the zoo premises. Source: Cameroon News Agency

Global Transport to train traffic officers in Lagos – Official

The Global Transport Policy Champions (GTPC) says training of Lagos Police Traffic Officers will enhance effective traffic management and service delivery. The GTPC Chairman and Chief Consultant, Dr Segun Musa,told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday that plans were on top gear to train Lagos Police Traffic Officers in June. According to him, the training will expose participants to the new world order and global best practices in the traffic management sector. The transport consultant noted that the session was the organisation's intervention of its corporate social responsibility to improve transportation in the society and to make officers compliant to the needed change attitude. Musa, who described transportation as critical to commerce and national growth, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that GTPC would expose officers to global best practices. The theme of the training is 'Improving Traffic Policing: Leveraging Emotional Intelligence Skills'. According to him, global transpor t policy is an innovative brand championing critical input on multimodal systems, structures, strategies and policies through trainings. 'It is our resolve to adopt strategic collaborations and consultancy services with authoritatives to infuse compelling cross-cutting analysis to advance the system. 'The session with the officers will improve their emotional intelligence capabilities to manage the motoring public,' he said. He pointed that a better traffic management, where road incidents that mostly claim lives could be reduced was achievable. Earlier the organisation had paid a courtesy visit to the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Mr Adegoke Fayoade, to seal the arrangement for the training. The Police commissioner expressed gratitude for the gesture, commending GTPC's move to amplify the conversation on transport infrastructure and policy interventions. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Former Information Minister laid to rest at his hometown

The late John Tia Akologo, a former Minister of Information, was on Saturday laid to rest at his hometown, Duusi in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region. The late Akologo, died on Sunday, March 24, 2024, at the Upper East Regional Hospital in Bolgatanga after a short illness at age 69. He left behind four children and a wife. Hundreds of mourners from all walks of life including traditional authorities, political party executives, members and former members of parliament, members of the United Cadres Front, and Cuban Doctors, among others were at Duusi to pay their last respect to the former Member of Parliament (MPs) for the Talensi constituency. A delegation of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) led by its flagbearer, former President John Dramani Mahama, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, Chairman of the Party and other MPs and party faithful joined the family for the private burial rites. In a tribute, the former President eulogised the late Akologo for his immense contribution to the growth of the party and Ghana as whole through his service in various fields and institutions. He said the former Minister was a true cadre and party man who was committed to the 31st December Revolution, and played critical roles under the fourth republic. 'If all of us were able to carve a successful career in parliament, it was because senior brothers like John Tia were there to hold our hands and teach us the tenets of being a good parliamentarian,' he stated. The former President added that there was time for everything, 'so we pray God will accept our supplications and grant our comrade entry into paradise'. Mr Tia was born on September 23, 1954 at Gambaga in the North East Region. He attended the Zobzia Primary School and then the Local Authority Middle School both at Gambaga before gaining admission into Tamale Secondary School to pursue his secondary school education from 1969 to 1974 where he obtained the GCE Ordinary Level. He later obtained a Diploma in Journalism at the Ghana Institute of J ournalism in 1980 and later obtained a Certificate in Management, Diploma in Public Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) in 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively. Mr Akologo had been involved in grassroot politics since the 1980s when he was active in the activities of the Trade Unions between 1985 and 1992, becoming a branch secretary and National Executive Council Member of the Public Services Workers' Union. In 1982, he became the Press Secretary of the Upper East Regional Secretariat of the Peoples Defence Committees and Workers Defence Committees set up by the Provisional National Defence Council. Mr Akologo was elected MP for the Talensi constituency in the 1992 general election on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and retained the seat in subsequent elections until 2012 when he lost to Mr Robert N. Doameng Mosore, of the New Patriotic Party. The late Akologo was appointed Minister of Infor mation in 2009 and served in that position until 2014, when he was later appointed Ghana's Ambassador to Cuba by former President John Dramani Mahama where he served until 2016 when NDC lost power. The former Minister who was also a journalist worked with the GNA office in Bolgatanga between 1982 and 1990. He had worked in various fields and until his demise, was a member of the National Council of Elders, representing the Upper East Region. Source: Ghana News Agency

Former Information Minister laid to rest at his hometown

The late John Tia Akologo, a former Minister of Information, was on Saturday laid to rest at his hometown, Duusi in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region. The late Akologo, died on Sunday, March 24, 2024, at the Upper East Regional Hospital in Bolgatanga after a short illness at age 69. He left behind four children and a wife. Hundreds of mourners from all walks of life including traditional authorities, political party executives, members and former members of parliament, members of the United Cadres Front, and Cuban Doctors, among others were at Duusi to pay their last respect to the former Member of Parliament (MPs) for the Talensi constituency. A delegation of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) led by its flagbearer, former President John Dramani Mahama, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, Chairman of the Party and other MPs and party faithful joined the family for the private burial rites. In a tribute, the former President eulogised the late Akologo for his immense contribution to the growth of the party and Ghana as whole through his service in various fields and institutions. He said the former Minister was a true cadre and party man who was committed to the 31st December Revolution, and played critical roles under the fourth republic. 'If all of us were able to carve a successful career in parliament, it was because senior brothers like John Tia were there to hold our hands and teach us the tenets of being a good parliamentarian,' he stated. The former President added that there was time for everything, 'so we pray God will accept our supplications and grant our comrade entry into paradise'. Mr Tia was born on September 23, 1954 at Gambaga in the North East Region. He attended the Zobzia Primary School and then the Local Authority Middle School both at Gambaga before gaining admission into Tamale Secondary School to pursue his secondary school education from 1969 to 1974 where he obtained the GCE Ordinary Level. He later obtained a Diploma in Journalism at the Ghana Institute of J ournalism in 1980 and later obtained a Certificate in Management, Diploma in Public Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) in 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively. Mr Akologo had been involved in grassroot politics since the 1980s when he was active in the activities of the Trade Unions between 1985 and 1992, becoming a branch secretary and National Executive Council Member of the Public Services Workers' Union. In 1982, he became the Press Secretary of the Upper East Regional Secretariat of the Peoples Defence Committees and Workers Defence Committees set up by the Provisional National Defence Council. Mr Akologo was elected MP for the Talensi constituency in the 1992 general election on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and retained the seat in subsequent elections until 2012 when he lost to Mr Robert N. Doameng Mosore, of the New Patriotic Party. The late Akologo was appointed Minister of Infor mation in 2009 and served in that position until 2014, when he was later appointed Ghana's Ambassador to Cuba by former President John Dramani Mahama where he served until 2016 when NDC lost power. The former Minister who was also a journalist worked with the GNA office in Bolgatanga between 1982 and 1990. He had worked in various fields and until his demise, was a member of the National Council of Elders, representing the Upper East Region. Source: Ghana News Agency

WAPA distributes 6,000 sanitary pads to girls, women in Lagos communities

In a bid to ensure good menstrual hygiene among girls and women in Lagos state, the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) distributed 6,000 sanitary pads to various communities. Mrs Bolaji Dada, the Lagos State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, disclosed this at a programme organised to commemorate the 2024 World Hygiene Day on Thursday. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the World Menstrual Hygiene Day is commemorated yearly on May 29 to create awareness on the importance of good hygiene during menstruation. Dada noted the importance of empowering women and girls by providing them with tools and knowledge they need to manage their period safely and confidently. She explained that girls and women are faced with challenges due to lack of access to sanitary products, clean water and proper facilities, with consequences on their health, education and general wellbeing. 'As we come together to commemorate this day, it is imperative that we shine a light on this crucial issue that affects millions of women and girls around the world. 'This year's theme, `Together for a Period Friendly World', resonates deeply with our commitment to ensure that every girl child has access to resources and support they need to manage their menstruation with dignity and ease. 'Menstrual hygiene is not just a health issue; it is a matter of human rights, dignity and equality. Unfortunately, women around the world still face challenges in accessing menstrual products. 'We must work together to break taboos, beliefs and silence surrounding menstruation, provide reliable and affordable menstrual products to those in need and have access to information to manage their menstruation in a safe way. 'The 6,000 sanitary packs comprise a pack of pads, soaps and menstrual cycle calendar to aid girls and women to calculate their cycle,' she said. She commended Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his unflinching support and commitment in empowering women in the state. The Commissioner affirmed WA PA's commitment to collaborate with other agencies and private organisations to enhance the status of women within the state. Speaking also, Mrs Amaka Aniekwe, the representative of Amiga Sanitary Pad, urged government to reduce import duties and VAT on sanitary products to ensure affordability. Aniekwe also advised girls and women to adopt good menstrual hygiene to avoid infections and other health related issue, describing menstruation as a natural biology process every woman should be proud of. 'It is still sad that some girls and women still suffer period poverty in this present time. There is need for government to reduce or remove excess taxation and VAT on sanitary products'. Speaking also, Mrs Yemisi Kalesanwo, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, reaffirmed WAPA's commitment to empowering more women in various acquisition skills. NAN reports that some of the communities that benefited from the gesture included Isheri-Olowora in Berger, Agbalata market in Badagry, Ipedo market Ikeja and Ilaje community in Kosofe. Others are Agbayi riverine community 1 and 2, Oko Agbon community in Kosofe, Isheri Grammer School in Berger among others. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Let’s promote Ada tourist sites to the world – Nene Obitchere

Nene Agudey Obitchere III, the Manklalo (Elder) of the Ada State, has called on indigenes to be ambassadors of promoting the various tourist sites and recreational potentials of the town. Nene Obitchere made the call in a welcome address at the launch of the 87th Ada Asafotufiami Festival. He said the people of Ada could tell others of the estuary where the Volta River joined the sea and the beautiful islands created by the huge volumes of water washing their way right from Burkina Faso and entering Ghana from the north, all the way to the lowest point in southern Ghana. 'There is also an abundant spread of tourism and hospitality facilities in the area, with some offering horseback riding, jet skiing, kayaking, canoeing, cycling, and whale watching,' he said. The Manklalo commended the Aqua Safari Resort, Treasure Island, and Heartland Hotel for their immense contributions towards projecting the town and supporting the celebration of the festival. He acknowledged that the current operations in the Songo r salt mine by Electrochem Ghana Limited could also be projected to attract people into the area, explaining that it was modernising salt production. 'The salt industry we have been blessed with has the potential to be the highest producer of salt in Africa in a few years,' Nene Obitchere said. The 87th Asafotufiami would begin on August 1 and run for 8 days, with activities including homecoming, visits to the sacred forest, grand durbar, royal walk, and sporting activities. These would showcase the culture, customs, and traditions of the people of Ada. The festival is celebrated to remember the wars fought by the ancestors to claim and protect the land for the indigenes. Source: Ghana News Agency

13 years Anniversary: FOI Act work in progress, says Solicitor General

Mrs Beatrice Jeddy-Agba, the Solicitor General of the Federation says the Freedom of information Act (FOI) in Nigeria is still a work in progress. Jeddy-Agba, said this in Abuja at a ceremony marking the 13-year anniversary of the advocacy and implementation of the FOI Act in the country on Friday, She was represented by Mr Godwin Garba, Head, FOI Unit, Federal Ministry of Justice. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of this year's anniversary is `Evaluating the Role of Freedom of Information Act and its Implementation Towards Building Strong Institutions For Good Governance. She noted that the implementation of the FOI Act, 2011 in the past 13 years has been both challenging and work in progre. The solicitor general noted that the Act is as a guide through which the public can access vital information or record from government. 'The essence of the Act is to guarantee the right of access to information held by government institutions as well as to deepen governance and government ref orms by addressing corruption and improving the credibility of the Country. 'It is to promote citizens' participation in governance, enhance and develop the country's democracy by ensuring openness, transparency and accountability in the conduct of government business. 'Nonetheless, the implementation of the FOI Act in the last thirteen years has come with a series of benefits and challenges''. Jeddy-Agba said although the FOI unit has improved on the level of awareness of FOI, there are still many challenges facing the implementation of the Act. 'There is still lack of functioning record management system in public institutions, lack of political will on the part of leaders to ensure the prompt release of information or records and culture of secrecy in government as big challenges''. She commended the courts on their prompt rulings on FOI matters which have deepened its implementation. Also speaking, Mr Shofola Osho, the Company Secretary and Legal Adviser of the Development Bank of Nigeria in his go odwill message commended the FoI unit for pushing through despite all odds. Osho urged for more commitments from all stakeholders and also called for review of the Act for more participation in open governance and accountability. Mr Jubril Shittu, CEO Public and Private Development Centre, said with that with good working relationships, the ministry's FOI unit has made significant progress. In her own remarks, the Program Officer, Right to Know (R2K), Ms Vicky Etim noted that the annual FOI report has grown over the years but that experiences still needed to be shared on how challenges were overcame. She advised that the Public Service handbook should be updated or reviewed to meet new laws and regulations that make it difficult to achieve more. There were goodwill messages from the FOI standing Committee of National Assembly, Public Institutions, the media and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) as well as robust interactions by all the participants at the event. NAN reports that the FOI Act was enacted on May 28, 2011. The purpose and objectives of the FOI Act are to make public records and information more freely available and to provide for public access to public records and information. Others are to protect public records and information to the extent consistent with the public interest and the protection of personal privacy and to protect serving public officers from adverse consequences for disclosing certain kinds of officials information without authorisation, among others. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Plan International Ghana holds exhibition for youth-led organisations

The Southern Programme Impact and Influencing Area (SPIIA) of Plan International Ghana has organised its 2024 youth exhibition fair in Ho, the Volta Regional capital, for 32 youth-led organisations to improve their initiatives. The organisations, from the Volta and Oti regions, showcased their initiatives in areas such as climate change, child rights, local governance, health, sanitation, women's rights, education, and agriculture. It was on the theme: 'Youth Empowerment, A Necessary Tool for Development.' Life Mac Africa, Write for World, Developers Net, Plan International Ghana Alumni Network, World Action Network, Ghana Students Project Dot Com, Eclectic Love, Youth for Human Rights International, Royal Africa Generational Thinkers, Community Vulnerable Children Organisation, and Aspire for Gold Foundation were among the exhibitors. Mr Constant Tchona, the Country Director, Plan International Ghana, said each project on display marked development towards a more equal, sustainable, and inclusive society , as well as a more empowered youth, particularly young women. He said Plan International Ghana was implementing numerous youth-related activities for the safe development and well-being of young people with an overall cumulative investment about four million Ghana cedis in youth initiatives, with further investments ongoing. The Canada office of Plan International provided GHS901,000 in flexible funding to 10 youth-led groups and the Alumni Network of Plan International Ghana. Eight of these youth-led partners are currently in SPIIA. Mr Tchona said the female graduate volunteer initiative, which began in October 2022, and being implemented in SPIIA with GHS70,000 investment, had directly benefitted six graduate ladies, equipping them with expertise for their professional pathways. Thirty-six young people also received GHS230,000 through the 'Smart and Stay Protected' project, which was financed by Plan International German Office, through the provision of start-up packs for their various businesses. 'Un der our Learn programme in SPIIA, five young females have been trained in male dominated skills or trades, including tiling, electricals, and arts with an investment of GHS 47,000,' he said. 'Three of these young females have successfully graduated, while the other two are still undergoing more learning.' Mr Tchona urged the exhibitors to remain steadfast in their commitment to making a difference, knowing that every small action and innovative idea had the potential to create rippling effects that could transform communities and beyond. Mr Yao Semorde, the Volta Regional Director, National Youth Authority, commended Plan International Ghana for the initiative and said the Authority was willing to work with any group to further develop the initiative. The Authority was making every effort to establish an environment that would allow the youth to reach their full potential and have a positive impact on national growth. Mr Sulemana Gbana, Manager of Plan's SPIIA, said the organisation was committed to buil ding a just world of equality, where every child had the chance to realise his or her potential. He entreated stakeholders to provide the necessary support to the youth so that they could navigate life with ease, citing their energy and desire to contribute to societal development. The Manager stated that the youngsters were innovative and enterprising, which was why the Plan International Ghana wanted to establish a forum for them to get together to discuss ideas and network for business progress. A few exhibitors who spoke with the Ghana News Agency, conveyed their delight at being a part of the event, and lauded Plan International Ghana for the initiative to grow their businesses. Source: Ghana News Agency

AfDB @60: Bank reaffirms commitment to Africa’s transformation

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has reaffirmed the bank's commitment to continue to deliver at scale to countries in the continent. Adesina said this at the sideline of an event to celebrate the bank's 60th anniversary. The event was held on the sidelines of the ongoing 2024 AfDB Annual Meetings in Nairobi. 'On the walk of the bank, with the journey we have travelled in supporting Africa and the one yet to be embarked on, one thing is sure that we are on the right path.' 'A journey to accelerating the development of Africa. Amazingly, in the 60 years that we have been travelling this journey, we are not yet tired. 'Just like Kenyans always run and win in long-distance races, so are we. We are running to win for Africa. 'In 60 years, we have not diminished; we have grown and are delivering at scale for Africa,' he said. The AfDB president said the bank began its journey with nine countries and advanced to 23 countries after its inauguration, but now, it counts a bout 81 countries. According to him, the bank's founding fathers dreamed of promoting and accelerating the economic and social development of African countries. While commending the founders' vision, Adesina said, 'Their dreams have been realised, one strategy at a time, one president at a time. 'But it takes all of our shareholders, you, to support us in making things happen. You, as shareholders, celebrate with us today,' he said. Adesina said that the AfDB was a trusted voice for Africa and responsible for its needs. He thanked various heads of state and governments for their continued support for the bank, and urged them to do more to transform the continent. 'I would like to close this time by congratulating His Excellency, President William Ruto for the wonderful announcement you made this morning by contributing to the African Development Fund (ADF). 'That will make you the largest contributor to that fund as a regional member. Thank you also for your bold call for a 17th fund replenishment at 2 5 billion dollars. 'It is so important in the AfDB that the Organisation of African Units gives it a clear mandate to mobilise development financing for Africa. And we are doing so with your collective support. 'In 2019, you, the bank's shareholders, raised the bank's capital 93 billion dollars to 208 billion dollars, the highest in the bank's history since it was established in 1964. Thank you very much,' he said. According to the AfDB president, the bank's staff has been its strength, moving from 10 pioneer members in 1996 to 2,092 staff members. 'Today, from 17 to 6 countries, we all come with one goal in mind, to activate African development. 'Our Board of Governors and Board of Directors from 81 member countries have been the guiding light of the bank,' he said. He said that from an initial capital base of 2.3 billion dollars, the bank now maintained a triple-A rating and was the only triple-A-rated financial institution in Africa. Adesina said the bank took pride in its humble beginnings and its current status as a globally respected institution, innovating and leading among global financial institutions. 'The African Development Bank is on the hybrid path from the global capital market, first-ever by a multilateral development bank, creating a new global asset class for institutional investment. 'It is the first and the only multilateral development bank to do synthetic decentralisation, transferring risks from our sovereign and non-sovereign portfolios to the private sector for institutional investment. 'In 2021, AfDB was ranked the best multilateral financial institution in the world by Global Finance. 'In 2022, the ADF, our concessional lending institution, was ranked the world's second-best concessional financial institution by the Centre for Global Development, ahead of all eight concessional financial institutions,' he said. The AfDB president said the bank in 2022, was ranked the most transparent financial institution in the world by Corbett. He said: 'together, building on the foundati ons laid by our founders, we have built a global financial institution focusing on the assets, bringing the wealth to Africa and taking Africa to the world. 'Let us celebrate Africa's development. Let's accelerate it relentlessly. Africa deserves the best, and only the best is good enough for Africa. Happy 60th anniversary,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria