Play on Gen. Gowon to be staged in Lagos Aug. 24-25

A play, 'GOWON', which depicts the life of retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon, former Nigeria's military head of state, is to be staged in Lagos, from Aug. 24 to Aug.25. A statement by the Duke of Shomolu Foundation, producers of the play, said on Sunday in Lagos that the play would focus on Gowon's service to Nigeria and also take a 'deep and cursory look at his tribe - Angas, in Plateau'. 'It will run with the theme of unity and lean heavily on the Gowon era policy of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Reorientation put in place at the end of the civil war to heal wounds,' the statement said. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the statement was signed by Mrs Mofoluwake Edgar, Managing Director, Duke of Shomolu Foundation. 'The play will seek to celebrate the 'No Victor, No Vanquished proponent,' the statement added. It said that the play was written by Prof. Ahmed Yerima, who would also direct the stage proceedings. Yerima had written equally strong historical plays on Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Emir Muhammad Sanusi II, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, and Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe. All the plays were produced by the Duke of Shomolu Foundation. The statement indicated that the play had been in the drawing board in the last two years 'waiting for the most auspicious time. 'For the first time ever on a Nigerian stage, a play will feature accomplished British actress - Tayo Elesin - who will play the role of Victoria, Gowon's wife. 'Tayo, who was HID Awolowo in the play 'Awo', staged in London, had featured in many western stage plays and many critically acclaimed movies on Netflix. 'She will bring to bear on the production her international clout and experience,' the statement said. The statement disclosed that the play is being sponsored by First Bank of Nigeria, Unified Payments, Orangeline and Sonora Capital. 'The showing will be at the Agip Recital Hall of The Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos,' it said. NAN reports that Gowon, who became the nation's head of state at 32, ruled Nigeria from 1966 t o 1975. His regime was terminated by a military coup with the late Gen. Murtala Mohammed taking his place. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Expert highlights risks of buying lands without survey plans

The Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS), Oyo State Chapter, has cautioned Nigerians from buying lands without proper survey plans. Its Chairman, Waheed Lamidi, issued the caution in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Sunday. According to Lamidi, a survey plan can prove that a seller has the right to sell and tells the buyer the government is aware of the existence of the land. He, however, advised Nigerians to always patronise only registered surveyors to avoid rising cases of land scams in the country. 'There are so many ways people are duping members of the public on land matters. I want to advise our people to always consult a registered surveyor before they pay for any land. 'This will help them to ascertain the genuineness of the land they want to buy; it reveals whether the land is free from government acquisition and if the land has not been sold to somebody else. 'It is always advisable to involve professionals before paying for lands to forestall losing large am ounts of money in the process of avoiding surveyors' professional fees. 'If the seller cannot provide the survey plan, it may be because the land has never been surveyed or another person owns the land,' he said. The chairman noted that registered surveyors could easily be identified by their unique registration numbers and addresses from NIS. He urged prospective land buyers to make payments only when they had physically examined such lands. According to him, this will allow the buyer to ascertain the topography of the land, the kind of neighbourhood, and the level of development on the land. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Bamenda Archbishop calls faithfuls to order, after alleged apparition of Mary

The head of the Bamenda Archdiocese has informed christians 'that no one can, or is allowed to pronounce with certitude at this time, that the Blessed Virgin Mary is appearing in the said house in Ngomgham.' His Grace Andrew Nkea in a pastoral letter to the local church on June 8, 2024 said the alleged apparition of Mary - believed to be the Mother of Jesus, in the house of a member of the All Angels Small Christian Community, in the Immaculate Conception Parish Ngomgham, Madam Dorothy Enow Manyor needs 'thorough discernment'. The alleged appearance on June 6, has attracted thousands of christians and non christians alike to the site, the prelate said. He informed the general public that only the competent Ecclesiastical Authorities as stipulated by the Norm of the Holy See of May 17, 2024 can be sure of the phenomena. Archbishop Nkea urged christians to only make use of their parish houses and church shrines for prayers until this investigations are done. He as well affirmed that the household alleged for the apparition have a right to their privacy. Source: Cameroon News Agency

Minister calls for stakeholder collaboration to reclaim degraded lands in Western Region

Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, the Western Regional Minister, has called on stakeholders in the land restoration space to collaborate with the Regional Coordinating Council to reclaim all degraded lands through tree planting in the Region. He said Illegal mining popularly known as 'galamsey' and other human activities had contributed to the destruction of many areas, including forest reserves in the Region. 'These large tracks of lands will require restoration and tree planting, so I, therefore, invite stakeholders in the land restoration space, including miners to assist the WRCC and its partners to restore all degraded lands in the Western Region,' he added. The Minister made the call when he led a tree planting exercise at Subri River Forest Reserve, in the Wassa East District of the Western Region, as part of the Green Ghana Day project. The 2024 edition of the Green Ghana Day is under the theme: 'Growing for a Greener Tomorrow.' Mr Darko-Mensah was joined by heads of security services in the Region , traditional and religious authorities, students and heads of departments, among others, to plant the tree seedlings. He said the Green Ghana Day held massive significance in promoting environmental conservation and sustainability in Ghana, and served as a reminder of the urgent need to protect Ghana's natural resources and combat the effects of deforestation and climate change. He said: 'By actively participating in Green Ghana Day, individuals and communities can contribute towards restoring and preserving the country's forests, reducing carbon emissions, and creating a more sustainable future.' Mr Darko-Mensah encouraged the citizenry to embrace the beauty and significance of trees and cultivate the habit of regular tree planting, while working together to build a greener and more resilient forest resources. He asked the Forestry Commission to put in place efficient measures to protect and sustain the trees planted to help achieve the intended results. Mr Emmanuel Boakye, the Wassa East District Chie f Executive (DCE), noted that trees played a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance and combating climate change, hence the need for all to show commitment towards conserving forest reserves. He pledged the Assembly's resolve to put in place strategic mechanisms to protect the trees to help promote environmental sustainability in the area. Nana Gyenin Kontanko II, Chief of Wassa Odumasi, commended the government for instituting the Green Ghana Day initiative, and said it was a step in the right direction of conserving the environment. He said the traditional rulers in the District would join forces and devise strategies to protect the forests from illegal mining and lumbering activities to contribute towards restoring and preserving the country's forest reserves. In all, about 250,000 tree seedlings would be planted in the Western Region to commemorate the Green Ghana Day. Source: Ghana News Agency

NGO donates to four needy institutions?

Passion for Needy, an NGO, has donated assorted food items to four needy institutions in Accra. The items are bags of rice cartons of spaghetti, cartons of canned fish, vegetable oil, puree and toilet rolls. The NGO also organised a buffet lunch for the beneficiaries to enable them enjoy themselves within the current economic challenges. The institutions are Street Academy, Accra Rehabilitation Centre (ARC), Nungua Orphanage and the Ghana Society for the Socially Disadvantaged. The donation is an annual event to acknowledge the contribution of the late Prophet T.B.Joshua, the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations on his birthday, June 12. Mrs Janet Torgbor El-Aschkar, Chairperson, Passion for Needy, said the gesture was part of the organization's corporate social responsibility to respond to the needs of less privileged in society. She said the NGO since its inception in 2009 had provided support to various government institutions, including the ARC, La Boys and Girls Correctional Centre, the G overnment Special Schools and the Osu Children's Home. 'We have also supported privately owned charitable institutions including the Teshie Children's Home, Christ Faith Forster Home, YOA Foundation, Islamic Research Institute for their efforts  in addressing challenges in society,' she said. She said as government continued to put in measures to ameliorate the plight of needy people, the organisation thought it prudent to also contribute their little substance to achieve the desired goal. Ms El-Aschkar was confident that the organisation's 'widows might' could help make the difference in their lives, calling on other institutions to come on board to support needy institutions. The representatives of the beneficiary institutions commended the organisation for the kind gesture and prayed for the success of the NGO in continuing to serve humanity. Source: Ghana News Agency

AngloGold Ashanti, CNC hold symposium on cultural and natural heritage?

AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Mine, in collaboration with the Centre for National Culture (CNC), Tarkwa, has organised a symposium to discuss ways of preserving and protecting their cultural and natural heritage for future generations.  The programme, sponsored by the Mine, was on the theme: 'Preserving and Protecting the Cultural and Natural Heritage Assets of the People, the Role of Mining Companies'. Addressing youth groups and students at the event, Mr Samuel Boakye Pobee, the Managing Director of AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Mine, in a speech read on his behalf, commended CNC and National Youth Authority for the initiative, stressing that the theme underscored the essence of their collective responsibility towards safeguarding those invaluable treasures.  He said their cultural and natural heritage represented the very fabric of their identity and served as a testament to their rich history, traditions, and values.  'For Iduapriem Mine, we are committed to making a positive contribution towards an ensu ring world, and therefore, we recognize the immense value of the cultural and natural heritage with our host communities,' he said.  He said: 'We are cognizant that these assets are not only a source of pride and identity for the people, but also play a crucial role in fostering social cohesion, economic development, and environmental sustainability. We, therefore, bear a profound responsibility to ensure their preservation and protection for the benefit of current and future generations.  'The responsibility extends beyond mere compliance with regulatory requirements; it is a moral imperative that lies at the heart of our commitment to sustainable development and responsible mining practices.' Mr Pobee said the Mine had developed management standards and procedure to guide its operations, including reclamation of disturbed lands, proper waste disposal and tailings management to prevent runoffs to streams and water bodies.  In addition, they have a management standard on cultural heritage and sacred sites , which provide key requirements to ensure that best practice was employed in the protection of cultural heritage and sacred sites in the course of their business.  'As a Mine, we affirm our unwavering commitment to working hand in hand with stakeholders to ensure that our activities contribute to the preservation and promotion of our cultural and natural heritage, leaving a legacy of sustainability and prosperity for generations unborn.  'By empowering our youth to become advocates and ambassadors for conservation and sustainability, we can ensure that our heritage remains vibrant, resilient and cherished for future generations,' he added. Professor Cecilia Addei, Dean, Faculty of Integrated Management Science from the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa, noted that protecting and preserving cultural and natural heritage assets was crucial for maintaining a community's history, identity, and traditions.  She said Environmental Impact Assessment, compliance with regulations and standards, he ritage surveys and inventories, adaptive management plans, collaboration with conservation organizations, community development and benefit sharing, legacy planning and rehabilitation among others were some of the measures mining companies could adopt to protect and preserve cultural and natural heritage assets of the people.  According to Prof Addei, if mining companies adhered to all the points raised above and more, they would be able to mine responsibly and still maintain the cultural heritage.  Mr Samuel Kwasi Asare, the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal Director for CNC, on his part, explained that the programme was held to educate the youth on the importance of their cultural heritage.  'If you come to Wassa Fiase Traditional Area, we have a site where Sir Charles MacCarthy was killed, at Aboso Housing we have the first mining pit and also we have the Neung forest reserve, which have peculiar things associated with it, but we have not made good use of them. This is why CNC is calling on individuals, mining co mpanies and other institutions that we all have a collective responsibility to ensure our cultural heritage is protected,' Mr Asare said. A panel discussion was held where representatives from AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Mine, Gold Fields Ghana Limited, Tarkwa Mine and Ghana Manganese Company Limited, gave details on how they have actualized commitments in the mining industry to their operations.  Source: Ghana News Agency

GRIDCO’s former CEO proposes renewable energy as solution to Ghana’s energy sector debts

Jonathan Baah, a former Chief Executive Officer for the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCO), says diversifying Ghana's energy sources is one of the panaceas to the country's energy sector debts.  He said diversifying Ghana's energy mix to include more renewable energy sources than thermal sources could reduce the cost of power generation, which is one of the major drivers of energy sector debt.  'Diversifying our energy mix to include more renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydro can reduce reliance on expensive thermal power and enhance energy security. Investments in renewable energy should be accompanied by incentives and policies that can encourage private sector participation in generating electricity for the country,' he said.  Thermal generation accounts for the largest share of Ghana's power generation, representing 66 percent of Ghana's thermal power generation, which is fuelled largely by natural gas but occasionally with light crude oil and diesel and 33 percent of hydro. The former CEO of GRIDCO said this during a training session organised by Energy News Africa to train journalists on the operations of the key players in the energy sector value chain. Facilitators from the various departments and agencies in the energy sector took turns to educate the journalists on their duties and challenges.  Ing. Baah said delayed payments from government institutions and the high cost of producing power by the power generator also worsened the debt situation in the energy sector. These challenges, he said, could be addressed through the implementation of cost-reflective tariffs that reflected the cost of the power generation and an effective payment schedule with the power generators, although such measures might face political challenges.  According to Edward Bawa, a member of the Energy Committee in parliament, the power sector is currently facing a $1.5 billion debt that the government is unable to pay.  Mr. Baah noted that technical losses through distribution losses by the Electricity Compan y of Ghana also occasioned the debt situation in the energy sector.  He said most of the infrastructure used in the distribution of electricity was old and inefficient, as it was installed as late as the 1960s.  He, however, advised the government to pursue strategic reforms and investments through enhancing and upgrading infrastructure and improving billing and metering systems to address technical and distribution losses.  Mr. Baah also said effective management of the energy sector required strong government structures.  He emphasised that the strong government structure included a transparent regulatory framework and accountability mechanisms.  Source: Ghana News Agency

Former EC Chair Charlotte Osei enstooled ‘Safohen’ in Cape Coast

Mrs Charlotte Osei, a former Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, has been installed the Safohen of Cape Coast Nkum Asafo Number Four Asafo Company. Mrs Osei, now known as Safohen Nana Ama Kesson, has undergone the various rituals to become the leader of that Company. The Oguaa Traditional Area has seven Asafo Groups (local military) whose mandate is to protect the town from both internal and external attacks. They are Bentsir No.1, Anaafo No.2, Ntsin No.3, Nkum No.4, Brofomba No.5, Akrampa Bo.6 and Amanful No.7. The Groups display their prowess and energise the celebration of Oguaa Fetu Afahye, held in September, every year. The festival is a significant annual event in Cape Coast, celebrated in the first week of September, attracting a large crowd of people from across the globe. Prior to the Fetu Afahye, the paramount chief of Oguaa undergoes seclusion to seek guidance from deities. During this period, drumming, dancing, noise-making, and revelry are prohibited in the township and fishing in the Fosu Lagoon is banned for a month. A key ritual of the festival involves the paramount chief and traditional priests offering libations to the deity Nana Fosu and symbolically lifting the ban on lagoon fishing by casting his net into the waters three times. The climax of the Fetu Afahye occurs on the first Saturday of September, featuring a lively procession through the community with dancing and festivities, concluding an ecumenical service. Source: Ghana News Agency

2024 election offers another opportunity to redefine country’s democracy – Dr Tetteh

Reverend Dr Lawrence Tetteh, President of the Worldwide Miracle Outreach, has said the 2024 general elections presented an opportunity for the country to redefine its narrative and strongly emerge again as a beacon of democracy in Africa. He said major actors, including Electoral Commission (EC), citizens, political parties, religious and traditional leadership and institutions mandated to support, had the collective responsibility to make this a reality. 'Ghana stands at the crossroad of another democratic journey, which should transcend the shadows of the past and usher in a new era of peaceful election and progress,' he added. Dr Tetteh, a renowned Evangelist, Economist and philanthropist, was speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview after a three-day retreat in Ho. He said transparent electoral processes were vital to instill trust in the citizens and stressed that strengthening electoral institutions, ensuring independence of the EC and implementing secure and transparent voting processes we re paramount. He called on Christians and other faith-based organisations to become Ambassadors of peace in the upcoming general elections in December and religiously commit their pulpits and others towards peace, tranquility and co-existence. He prayed for the peace in the Volta region and the rest of Ghana, believing the elections would be free and fair to all parties and leave the country as a whole in the aftermath. Dr Tetteh admonished politicians to desist from enticing voters with money and allow the electorates to decide who should lead them without monetary influence. He urged the Electoral Commission to amplify its education on the electoral process to the citizenry and added 'the EC should always go ahead of politicians.' He urged the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to design tailored programmes to engage the youth in constructive activities, steering them away from violence and influence peddling to mitigate electoral violence. Source: Ghana News Agency

USAID/RESTORE Project to plant 40,000 trees in five communities in Western North

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Resilient Ecosystem and Sustainable Transformation of Rural Economies (RESTORE) project has started planting about 40,000 trees in five communities within the Bibiani Anwhiaso Bekwai Municipality of the Western North Region. The beneficiary communities are Pataboso, Debiso, Bremang, Ankra-Muano and Kumkumso. The USAID funded RESTORE programme, being implemented by the Rainforest Alliance and Olam Food Ingredient (OFI), in partnership with multinational chocolate companies, farmer cooperatives and local partners, is aimed at Increasing tree cover and contribute to national and corporate emission reduction targets. Mr Kelvin Nartey, Senior Associate at Rainforest Alliance, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) to kick start the tree planting exercise, said the project was timely since it would address some of the barriers hindering sustainable cocoa production, deforestation and low income among cocoa farmers within the coc oa supply chain. He stated that the strategic intervention also sought to address the primary threats of illegal and unsustainable cocoa farming, illegal mining and logging activities leading to a destruction of forest reserves. 'The project seeks to address the limited livelihood opportunities and under representation of women and youth in West Africa's cocoa economy,' Mr Nartey added. Mr Emmanuel Braima, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning at the Rainforest Alliance, asked Ghanaians to protect and preserve the country's forest reserves and that Rainforest Alliance was committed and ready to support farmers willing to plant trees on their farms. Mr Justice Koduah, Branch Coordinator, OFI, advised cocoa farmers to take farming as their businesses and always protect the environment to improve yield. He asked farmers and opinion leaders in the beneficiary communities to actively accept the RESTORE project and the Green Ghana initiative by nurturing the trees planted, saying 'Protecting forest reserves and environment should be a shared responsibility.' Source: Ghana News Agency