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Niger Delta: Akpabio calls for UN intervention in region’s development

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From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has called for the intervention of the United Nations in the development of the Niger Delta region.

Akpabio made the call when he received in audience, the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.

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Muhammad-Bande was accompanied to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs by the immediate past Deputy Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, and current Director, International Organisations Department (IOD), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Samson Itegboje.

Areas listed by Akpabio for the intervention of the United Nations were skills acquisition, flood remediation, education, health, amongst others.

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Akpabio told Muhammad-Bande that the most important thing is that the skills acquisition centres in the region have to be utilised, saying that with the requisite skills, the people of the Niger Delta region will be able to utilise the centres.

Akpabio also said the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is involved in housing construction, disclosing that flooding, particularly whenever Cameroon open their dams once in a year, it affects the entire Niger Delta and most of the communities suffer a lot of flood.

“So, whatever you can do in terms of flood remediation and assistance, it will help us also,” Akpabio said.

Akpabio further called for the United Nations’ assistance in the area of education and told Muhammad-Bande that whenever there are educational opportunities, the Ministry will send some wards to attend the United Nations’ programmes.

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This, Akpabio stated, will expose the people of the region to good behaviours, adding that when they get exposed to the right attitude and the right behaviours, they will return and practice same in the country.

The former Governor of Akwa Ibom State also said healthcare delivery system is a problem in the region and called for intervention in the area of production of malaria vaccines just like the world has done in terms of COVID-19.

Akpabio recalled his meeting with the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, where he asked the British envoy that the world woke up to realise that COVID-19 was killing so fast, but in Africa, particularly West Africa, malaria kills more than COVID-19 and cancer.

“So, for over 500 years, we have a lot of pharmaceutical companies abroad producing malaria drugs of different types and packing them to us. Why have we not thought of malaria vaccine in 500 years? But when COVID-19 came, we were able to rise to the occasion and under one year, we were able to get vaccines for COVID-19.

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“I am not saying it is not good. It is good for the world to survive, but let Africans also survive; let West Africans who are suffering from malaria survive.

“So, this is one of the things you will assist us with. There should be vaccination. The world should assist us to produce vaccination for malaria and of course, most of those malaria drugs could be produced in-country and it would create a lot of job opportunities,” Akpabio also said.

In terms of environmental issues, Akpabio said it was not only in Ogoni land that required reclamation, adding that there were so many other areas that needed such attention.

He also listed food production such as fish production which will also be needing the United Nations’ intervention in order to make them useful for export.

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Akpabio further said the region will continue to pursue peace because without peace, there cannot be any meaningful development, adding that the peace of the region is also the peace of Nigeria since it contributes over 90 percent to the nation’s foreign exchange earnings.

Earlier, Muhammad-Bande said he was at the Ministry not just representing the United Nations System, but on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that there can do a follow-up.

Muhammad-Bande added that for the United Nations, all the issues relating to the Ministry of Niger Delta are very important such as inclusion, environmental rectification, issues pertaining to dealing with youths and social justice.

“These are extremely key and the straddle. Literally, every committee that is important in the United Nations System, from security to health, to development, to justice, everything! And Nigeria is a great country, an important country. What we do in the Niger Delta is reflective of what we are as a country,” Muhammad-Bande said.

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Nigeria Newspapers

Akeredolu appoints chairmen, members for Ondo parastatals

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The Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, has approved the appointment of some members of the state All Progressives Congress to the state boards and parastatals.

The Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Richard Olatunde, made this known in a statement on Thursday.

According to the statement, a former speaker of the state House of Assembly, Victor Olabimtan, was appointed the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board.

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The governor equally approved the appointment of Sam Erejuwa as the Chairman of the Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission .

Similarly, Olajide Akinroluyo has been appointed as the chairman of the Pool Betting and Lotteries Board.

“The appointments take immediate effect,” the statement read.

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The statement also noted that the governor has approved the appointment of Rafiu Akinkuolie as member of the Judicial Service Commission. His name has been forwarded to the Ondo State House of Assembly for screening.

Akeredolu congratulated the new appointees and charged them to justify the confidence reposed in them by performing excellently in their new offices.

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Nigeria Newspapers

Google appeals $2.8bn shopping fine at EU court

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Google on Thursday appealed an EU court decision to uphold the bloc’s 2.4-billion-euro ($2.8-billion) fine for abusing its search engine dominance.

The tech giant said it would go to the European Court of Justice, the EU’s highest court, after the General Court confirmed in November a decision by the European Commission in 2017.

At the time, the fine was the European Union’s biggest ever. But it was later exceeded by a 4.3-billion-euro fine against Google over its Android smartphone operating system.

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“After careful consideration, we have decided to appeal the General Court’s decision because we feel there are areas that require legal clarification from the European Court of Justice,” a short statement by the company said.

The case centres on Google’s shopping service and is one of three against the search engine giant currently moving through the EU’s drawn-out appeals system.

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The new appeal could take up to two years to reach an outcome, stretching the case out to well more than a decade after the commission launched its investigation in 2010.

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The court confirmation on Google Shopping was a win for the EU’s anti-trust supremo Margrethe Vestager, who burst onto the scene in Brussels by scrapping her predecessor’s more conciliatory approach to the US internet giant.

Vestager had lost in the same court in a different major case, against Apple and Ireland, in which her teams had ordered the iPhone maker to repay 13 billion euros plus interest to the Irish taxpayer. The EU has appealed that ruling.

The fine for Google came after seven years of investigation launched by complaints from other price-comparison services that saw traffic plummet against Google Shopping.

AFP

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