Douala: Fire guys shops in Akwa

Another fire has struck the Douche municipal market in Akwa-Douala, a bustling commercial district, just nine months after a devastating blaze on September 17, 2023, which destroyed Quifferou and neighboring shops, causing significant losses for victims. The fire on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, caught traders off guard, prompting panic as they scrambled to salvage their goods stored in warehouses. The blaze originated from a shop selling shoes, clothing, bags, and kitchen utensils. 'I and my colleague locked the shop to look for a product in the warehouse to serve a client. We heard people shouting 'fire, fire,' and decided to rush back only to discover thick smoke balls emanating from our shop,' explained a shopkeeper. Firefighters intervened swiftly, preventing the flames from spreading to other shops. Market managers attribute the recurring incidents to traders' negligence. 'We have done everything within our capacity to contain such incidents in this market and have repeatedly urged traders to have fire extinguishers in their shops, but the majority of them have ignored our warnings,' said a youth leader of the market. The latest fire at the Douche municipal market serves as a wake-up call for traders to adhere to security measures set by market officials to avoid further devastation, similar to the events of September 2023. Source: Cameroon News Agency

First Lady, others pay tribute to late Lau

Wife of the President, Mrs Oluremi Tinubu, has advised women to emulate the legacies of late Hajiya Lami Lau, the National President, National Council of Women Societies (NCWS). Tinubu, who is also the Grand Patron of NCWS said this in her letter of tribute at the seven-day Fidau prayer of the late NCWS president on Tuesday in Abuja. Represented by the wife of the Vice-President, Hajiya Nana Shettima, Tinubu said the death of the NCWS president was not only a great loss to her family and friends, but to the entire community of women. She said the late NCWS president had contributed her quota towards impacting, promoting, protecting and projecting the image of women across the nation. 'Late Lau had done her part, as a Muslim, I know that there is time for everything, and every living soul must taste death. 'I would like to extend our sincere condolences to all the Nigerian women and to the immediate families,' she said. Earlier, the first National Vice-President of NCWS, Mrs Geraldine Etuk, described lat e Lau as hope to women and a guardian for the voiceless. Etuk said Lau would always be in her heart and consciousness, adding that her memories would remain forever. According to her, Lau was a leader whose presence was more than just commanding; it was transformative. 'She was a beacon of hope to women, a guardian for the voiceless and a champion for all in need of her touch. 'Her unwavering dedication to the cause of women's rights and social justice is likened to a steady flame in a darkened world,' she said. See also Lack of data affecting Nigeria's growth - Tinubu Etuk said Lau would always confront injustice fearlessly and stand as a shield for those who couldn't fend for themselves. 'Lau led the Nigerian women with empathy and understanding. She listened to the unheard, lifted the downtrodden and inspired countless souls to believe in a brighter tomorrow. 'To me, she wasn't just the president of NCWS, she was a friend - a confidante in times of uncertainty and a mentor in moments of doubt. 'To gether, we weathered storms and celebrated victories. The memories we shared, the laughter we echoed and the tears we shed will forever be etched in my heart,' she added. Etuk, while giving her farewell to her dear friend, mentor and leader said Lau's absence leaves a void that could never be filled. She said Lau's legacy would endure, inspiring generations to come. 'Rest in peace, our rare gem, knowing that your light would forever illuminate our path,' she said. Also speaking, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, said the late Lau was an excellent leader. She urged women to emulate the legacy of Lau to better the lives of Nigeria women. 'With a heavy heart, I am saying farewell to our mother and sister, I plead with everyone, let us emulate the good character of late Lau and drop those you don't like,' she said. Earlier, the former Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said the death of Lau was a painful moment for all Nigerian women. Tallen said this was a painful and t rying moment for NCWS since it was the first time NCWS was losing a national president since its inception in 1958. See also China wants U.S. to bring relations 'back on the right track' 'Standing here to pay tribute to this great woman, Lau was a very committed president, full of zeal and committed to the betterment of the Nigeria women, we will surely miss her,' she said. Others at the event who paid tribute to the late Lau were the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, former NCWS National Presidents, NCWS national officers, NCWS State Presidents and a lot of affiliates. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

World Vision Ghana and partners plant over 200, 000 seedlings in last five years

World Vision Ghana together with Catholic Relief services, with technical support from the World Agroforestry Centre has planted over 200, 000 seedlings in the last five years. The initiative, which took place in the Bawku West, Mion and Garu-Tempane districts is under the Landscapes and Environmental Agility across the Nation (LEAN) Project. The LEAN is a 4-year European Union funded project in three biodiversity landscapes, which are the savannah landscape, covering West Gonja and Kasena Nankana districts; the transition landscape covering Nkoranza, Techiman and Offinso enclave and high forest zones covering Bibiani-Anhwia-Bekwai, Sefwi Wiawso, Bodi and Akontombra. It is part of a larger EU Re-greening Africa project, flagship programme aimed at restoring degraded landscapes, enhancing biodiversity, and improving livelihoods across Africa. World Vision Ghana's engagement had helped 17,550 farmers benefit from compost making and other conservation Agricultural practices training in the project operations . Also, 11,920 lead farmers and fire stewards trained in Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) and bushfire management in Bawku West, Mion and Garu-Tempane. Ms Abena Dufie Woode, Senior Project Manager, EU LEAN Project, said, one of the key components on the LEAN is restoration and since the inception of the project in 2020, they raised and distributed one million tree seedlings of native and exotic species. She said over 75 seedlings nursery in the landscape communities had been established and most of the seedlings they had raised had been supporting the Green Ghana Day over the time. 'In this particular year within the high forest zones alone, we have raised and distributed 90, 000 seedlings to the various forest service divisions we are working in,' Ms Woode said. She said they had set up diversification enterprises for farmers to support the farmers livelihoods, adding that the project had benefited about 20, 000 people directly and 40, 000 indirectly. Source: Ghana News Agency

FG, agric donor group partner on food security

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security says it is collaborating with the Agriculture Donor Working Group (ADWG), a consortium of development partners, to promote food security in the country. The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Temitope Fashedemi, made this announcement at a one-day stakeholders' meeting on Tuesday in Abuja. The theme of the forum was 'Strengthening Ministerial Capacity on the Use of Innovation to Catalyse Commodity Value Chain Development.' Fashedemi was represented by Mr Ibrahim Taminu, Director of Planning and Policy Coordination at the ministry. 'The goal is to engage you to facilitate the necessary technical and financial support that can assist the Department of Reform Coordination, Service Improvement, and Innovation in achieving improved agricultural productivity. 'It is also to accelerate the attainment of ministerial agriculture targets from 2024-2027 to address the food security challenges in the country,' he said. Dr Mustapha Popoola, Special Assistant to the Minister, outlined the key focus areas driving innovative solutions in Nigeria's agri-food sector during his presentation. 'The focus areas include the development and delivery of innovative solutions to address post-harvest losses, aiming to reduce these losses in the priority commodity value chains. 'Capacity strengthening of departments and agencies is essential to enhance support for a culture of innovative thinking across the technical work stream of the FMAFS, especially in the commodity value chain.' Popoola also highlighted other initiatives such as innovation competitions, entrepreneurship development in agro-allied activities aimed at training and certifying retiring civil servants to thrive in the agri-food space. See also U.S., Nigeria, others unveil food security strategic country plan 'We are developing and deploying value chain innovation platforms at research institutes and colleges under the ministry's supervision,'' he said. He listed some of the priority commodity value chains as rice, onions, pepper, mangoes, beans, ginger, plantain, oranges, vegetables and aquaculture. Popoola said that the summit was specifically aimed at women, youths, and retiring civil servants to educate and train them in the agricultural sector. In his remark, Koffy Kouacou, the representative of Food and Agriculture Organisation, pledged continued support for Nigeria in the agricultural sector. Jazmian Allen, Co-chair Donor Working Group, also pledged continuous partnership towards achieving food security in Nigeria. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Democracy: NGO tasks citizens on being change makers

A Non-Governmental Organisation, the Benjamin Olowojebutu Foundation (BOF), on Wednesday urged Nigerians to be the change they desired in their sphere of influence to birth a better and prosperous country. Dr Benjamin Olowojebutu, the Founder of BOF and also the first Vice-President, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), made the appeal in a message in commemoration of Nigeria's Democracy Day Celebration. Olowojebutu said that growing needs and urgent demands made it imperative for citizens to become the change they sought. 'Can we genuinely itemise the changes we seek in the various constituencies of human endeavours we currently represent - academia, medicine, technology, military, sport, religion, business, politics. 'We have a long list of changes compiled in our minds, with strong expectations that someday the government and other revered people will make those changes and correct the aged errors. 'Pathetically, we have lived in the cocoon of such expectations for decades; hoping, trusting, assuming, a nd waiting, sadly wasting our precious time in anticipation of a nonexistent saviour to calm our frayed nerves and turn the tide of things,' he said. According to him, mere prayers and faith for a better society without a corresponding work will produce futile and inept results. The NGO founder said: 'I had a foretaste of this in the most profound and life-changing manner. 'For years, I have dutifully dispensed my medical expertise to people of all ages and classes. I have diligently observed certain lacuna and inefficiencies that I expected the government to address in our healthcare system. 'But a single event changed my paradigm. One fateful day in 2016, a drunk driver recklessly hit my car. This head-on collision resulted in a fatal accident. See also American Business Council, CIPE unveil forum to strengthen democracy 'I broke my right femur and was assisted to the hospital by some good Samaritans. I was not attended to for hours at the hospital - my vital signs were not taken, nor was I assigned a bed. 'Gradually, life was seeping out of me. Strangely, the doctors were ready to refer me to another medical facility until my wife and colleagues intervened by wielding their influence and connections. 'This swung the CMD into action, and graciously, I was attended to. 'However, this encounter spurred an unanswered question, 'What would have happened if I was just a peasant farmer?' Olowojebutu noted that the experience made him reevaluate his expectations and contributions to humanity, leading to the birth of the Benjamin Olowojebutu Foundation (BOF). 'As a non-profit organisation, BOF has conducted over 10,000 surgeries for indigent people free of charge. Giving hope to helpless people across the six geo-political zones of our nation. 'Previously, I never thought that was possible. Until I dared to start it alone. As an individual, we are more powerful and capable than we thought. 'However, to harness this inherent power, we must see things differently - seeing ourselves as the change we seek is a game changer while seeing ourselves as victims or mere commentators is a ship-sinker,' he said. Olowojebutu emphasised that to become nation-builders, citizens must improve their thought patterns, level of participation and commitment to achieve a better and prosperous Nigeria and Africa. BOF is a NGO which gives the less- privileged in Africa access to healthcare. It intervenes in fibroid treatment and removal; breast lump screening and removal; lipoma treatment and removal, hernia screening and removal, among others. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Democracy Day: Forum demands bold policies for revolutionary youth development

The Nigerian Young Professional Forum (NYPF) has put forward a series of detailed recommendations for the National Youth Policy to pave the way for a more prosperous and inclusive future for Nigerian youth. The forum in a communique issued after its meeting and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, noted the crucial role a comprehensive policy reform can play in shaping a brighter future reform were call to action for lasting positive change. The proposed changes were carefully reviewed by some NYPF executive members, Chairperson Zaliha Lawal, Barrister Mayor Ndukaku, Dr Ekemini Udo and Media Consultant, Ere-ebi Agedah Imisi. The forum stated that the policy recommendations have been forwarded to the Ministry of Youth as the recommendations include 'Education and Talent Development, STEM Education Enhancement and Early STEM Education'. Others recommendations were for Health and Well-being as well as Ensuring Participation and Inclusiveness. Highlighting the critical role of educat ion and skills, the NYPF suggested a multipronged approach involving vocational training and education, aimed at elevating the status of vocational education to eliminate existing stigmas. The forum said that the approach would increase the number of highly skilled workers, transforming Nigeria from a consumer-driven nation to a manufacturing hub and innovation-led economy. 'It will tackle youth unemployment by fostering entrepreneurship and providing incentives for businesses that hire young people. 'It will emulate successful aspects of the Chinese economic model to build a robust manufacturing sector.' For the STEM Education Enhancement, it said it would position Nigeria as a global leader in innovation and technology through scholarships and Incentives. See also Democracy Day: CSO salutes Tinubu, Wike 'Early STEM education will encourage activities at secondary school levels and foster early interest and proficiency in STEM subjects to develop essential skills and passion from a young age. 'It will also help implement successful strategies from China and Singapore to build a strong STEM foundation, while the health and Well-being emphasises the importance of health and well-being among young Nigerians, proposing. 'It will enhance Physical and Mental Health and address the rising rates of drug and substance abuse among the youth. 'It will enhance access to comprehensive healthcare services to ensure a supportive environment for overall well-being. 'To ensure participation and inclusiveness, governments must promote participation, inclusiveness, and equitable opportunities for all youth. 'Furthermore, the National Youth Policy should guide leaders to consciously address barriers to meaningful youth engagement in civil and political affairs,' This, the forum said would also enhance opportunities for the constructive involvement of all youth in community and social development, political processes and governance. The NYPF is a leading organisation dedicated to empowering young professionals across Nig eria through advocacy, policy recommendations, and capacity-building initiatives. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Year-on-Year inflation falls to 23.1 per cent in May, lowest in 26 months

The year-on-year inflation rate fell for the second consecutive month to 23.1 per cent in May from 25.0 recorded in April 2024, the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) said on Wednesday, June 12. The rate is the lowest the country has recorded in the last 26 months, with food inflation contributing to the overall decline. Food inflation was lower at 22.6 per cent from a previous 26.8 per cent in April 2024. 'We've seen for the second consecutive time, a drop in the year-on-year inflation by 1.9 percentage point to the current year-on-year inflation for May 2024, standing at 23.1 per cent,' Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, Government Statistician, said. Speaking at the release of the Consumer Price Index for May 2024 in Accra, he explained that the prices of goods and services between the month of May 2023, a year into the May 2024 went up by 23.1 per cent. The CPI measures the changes in the price of fixed basket of goods and services purchased by households, with the inherent assumption that once any of the p rices changes on a month-by-month basis, the total price of the basket would also change. 'This indicates a slowdown of 1.9 percentage point relative to the year-on-year inflation that was recorded in the month of April 2024,' the Government Statistician explained. 'On a year-on-year basis, the 23.1 per cent that's been recorded for the month of May 2024 is the lowest rate of inflation that's been recorded for the last 26 months,' he said. He noted that between March and May 2024, there has been a decline from 25.8 per cent in March to 25.0 per cent in April before a further decline to 23.1 per cent in May 2023. Providing a disaggregation, Prof Annim stated that there was a one percentage point difference between food and non-food inflation, with food inflation recording a rate of 22.6 per cent, while non-food inflation was 23.6 per cent. 'This is the second consecutive time that we've seen food inflation drop in food inflation as March food stood at 29.6 per cent, declining to 26.8 per cent, and for the second time in a roll, further declined by 4.2 percentage point to 22.6 per cent in the month of May 2024,' he said. He noted that the 22.6 per cent that's been recorded for the month of May 2024, is the lowest food inflation in the last 13 months, with the reverse observed for non-food inflation, which saw a third consecutive increase. While the inflation rate for locally produced items was 24.7 per cent, that of imported items stood at 19.6 per cent for the month of May 2024. The rate of inflation is derived from the CPI, and uses three key variables are used both in the computation of CPI and the rate of inflation - prices, quantities, and weights of expenditure in the basket. The data on prices are collected on a monthly basis from all the 16 administrative regions of the country in 57 markets from about 8,337 outlets for approximately 47,800. Source: Ghana News Agency

June 12: Abiola’s wife wants NASS to outlaw military intervention

Mrs Tinu Abiola, wife of late Chief MKO Abiola, has urged the National Assembly to enact a law that will prohibit military intervention in Nigerian politics. Abiola made the call while fielding questions from newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja in commemoration of 25 years of unbroken democracy in Nigeria. She, however, commended the military hierarchy for subjecting itself to democratic rule over the years. Recall that in 2018 former President, Muhammadu Buhari, moved Democracy Day from May 29 to June 12 , to posthumously honour MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election. Abiola's wife called on Nigerians to support President Bola Tinubu who contributed immensely to the survival of democracy in Nigeria. 'We have to thank God that democracy has come to stay; without the June 12 event, probably, military rule will still have remained in Nigeria. 'So, one of the major achievements of MKO Abiola, winning that election, even though he was not allowed to rule, was that he opened the door; he opened the eyes of every Nigerian to democratic rule, and democracy has come to stay. 'Now, as we move on, what I will advise Nigerians to do is to please cooperate with the present government of Tinubu, who himself, fought for June 12. 'He was a staunch member of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) and he did his best for the actualisation of June 12, unfortunately, all their best was not enough at that time; because some things are predestined by God. See also Institute seeks synergy among law enforcement agencies, public service providers 'So, my happiness today is to see one of those fighters of that time becoming the president of Nigeria; it is so great.' She implored Nigerians to be patriotic and imbibe the culture of making Nigeria great. According to her, there is a need for Nigerians to love Nigeria at heart and do the right things at all times that will promote the image of Nigeria anywhere in the world. She said that the National Assembly had a crucial role to play in preserving Nigeria's democracy. 'Part of what I want the National Assembly to do is to enact the necessary law; especially a law that will prohibit coup d'├ętat in Nigeria; it is very important. 'We have had an unbroken democracy for 25 years but I think the National Assembly has not done enough; it should enact a law that will prohibit military intervention in Nigerian politics. 'Look at what happened in Burkina Faso, it happened in Niger; it happened in Guinea-Bissau; so, both houses should come together and enact a law that will prohibit military intervention in Nigeria. 'We are happy to have 25 years of unbroken democracy but it is not enough; until a law is enacted prohibiting military intervention. 'I also want to commend the military hierarchy. Between 1999 and today, they have been wonderful; they have done well. 'They have submitted themselves to democratic rule but we cannot rely on the fact that it will continue to be rosy; there must be a law and that will put everybody's mind at peace,'' she said. See also NIDS Group, UATH take free medical service to Abuja IDP camps She advised the Federal Government to take some parts of MKO's manifesto into its programmes. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Commission urges Nigerians to trust national identification systems

The Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) has called on Nigerians to trust the data collection and digital identification systems by the government. The commission said that the call became necessary as the national identification systems served as foundational identification means to protect their information. Its National Commissioner, Dr Vincent Olatunji, said this on Tuesday at a news conference to mark the one year implementation of the Nigeria Data Protection Act (NDPA) in Abuja. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NDPA bill was signed as an Act of parliament by President Bola Tinubu on June 12, 2023. Olatunji said this was a major achievement and requirement for the country to participate in the comity of nations in the area of digital identification. He said that issue of privacy was still vague to a lot of citizens which was not peculiar to Nigeria, adding that people needed to repose confidence in the process of digital identification. 'On June 12, 2023, President Bola Tinubu sig ned the bill as an act of Parliament and that was a testament that this ecosystem is beyond anybody. It is a global phenomenon that no forward looking country can afford to neglect. 'We are grateful that President Tinubu understands the power of technology which is at the bedrock of anything you do, digital technology is the foundational identity. 'An average transitional Nigerian needs the National Identification Number which is the foundational identity. 'It is that foundational identity that institutions that collect data reference when the need arises and which is why we need to support the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for it to work. See also Website hosting coy advocates data protection, cybersecurity 'If people don't believe in digital identity, there is no way they will understand your message on data privacy,' he said. He said the government was working on having a proper data interface for easy interoperability. Olatunji said that the rights of Nigerians was important to the government, hence signing of the Act which had brought positive impacts. 'Signing the law gave us more credibility in the new administration and that is why we have attracted lots of attention within Nigeria and across the globe. 'The remarkable thing about the law is that we applied for the Global Privacy Assembly (GPA) in 2022 as a bureau and our application was rejected because we did not have a National legislation on data protection. 'Having been accredited less than one year now, Nigeria is on the front page of the GPA's news letter for this quarter which is a big deal for us. 'The law legitimised the NDPC and we have gained global recognition, and in terms of economic value, we have an ecosystem that is worth over N10 billion now. The law has positioned Nigeria for digital presence,' he said. Speaking on the benefits of the law to Nigeria, he said the commission gained the opportunity to host Data Protection Officers (DPOs) across Africa on a conference in May 2025. Olatunji said the conference w ould impact the economic value of the country in the areas of tourism and culture, perception of the country at the global level and foreign direct investment. 'In terms of job creation and training, we have done a lot to ensure we deepen data protection in Nigeria. See also GetBundi, Womenovate partner to empower youths, women with digital skills 'Part of what we are doing in the ministry is to train 10,000 public servants on responsible data management which the portal is already open. 'We have also licensed a national certification body that has been designed in a way that there is something for everyone no matter your career. 'We are going to launch the free training of 1000 DPOs that will be certified trainers which the process is ongoing and the portal will soon be open and that is part of the job creation initiative of the President,' Olatunji said. According to him, there are so many things coming to this ecosystem and this is one good thing coming out of Nigeria and we all should support the pr ocess. Mr Solomon Odole, Project Coordinator for Nigerian Digital Identification for Development (ID4D), said the news conference was an opportunity to create more awareness on data privacy. 'There are a lot of people that hear about this but they don't understand the content of the law and its provisions. 'This is an opportunity to pass the message that we are interested in their personal information as citizens of Nigeria,' he said. Odole said that the ID4D project was ready to support the commission to discharge its mandate and ensure that citizens' personal information were safeguarded. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

National Road Safety Authority engages tyre dealers’ association in Ashanti

The Ashanti Regional Office of the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), has engaged the executives of the Ashanti Regional Home Used Tyre Dealers Association on registration processes for importers of road safety equipment. The discussions focused on the registration of importers and service providers per regulations LI 2468, 2022, proper tyre maintenance, tyre quality standards, as well as enforcing tyre protocols in Ghana per regulations 62 of LI 2180, 2012. Among resolutions made during the meeting were: intensified education and awareness, joint campaigns on tyre safety, workshops for dealers and consumers, monitoring tyre quality, and ensuring adherence to safety standards. Mr. Kwasi Agyenim Boateng, Regional Head, NRSA, who took the participants through the registration processes, said it was unlawful to provide road transport services or transport-related services without being registered by the Authority. He said the law relates to all entities providing road transport services, whether in priva te or public sector organisations, and the goal was to improve road safety and quality transport services. He explained that the regulated entities targeted by the law included commercial transport operators, transport units and departments of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), transport related service providers, road safety related NGOs, and importers of road safety equipment. 'The Authority's overriding interest is to ensure that organisations that put themselves out to serve the public in the road transport sector have the competency for the regulated service,' Mr Boateng noted. The Authority, he said, had the duty to protect the public from harm and that it starts from identifying who was providing what service from which location and with what knowledge. Mr Boateng, therefore, encouraged the executives to further engage their members on the outcome of the meeting, reminding them that they would need business registration documents, business operating permit and confirmation of franchise w here applicable, for their registration with the NRSA. Source: Ghana News Agency