President Buhari Seeks Japanese Support To Combat Piracy In Gulf Of Guinea, As Nigeria And EU Sign Development MOU

President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Yokohama, Japan, sought the support of the Asian government in combating piracy in the Gulf of Guinea as well as illegal fishing in that region.

The President made the request during a bilateral meeting between the Nigerian delegation and Japanese officials led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on the margins of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7).

The Nigerian leader, who commended Mr Abe for the invitation extended to him to attend the triennial Forum, also thanked the Japanese government for attending the pioneer celebration of June 12 as Democracy Day in Nigeria.

In his remarks, Prime Minister Abe welcomed President Buhari’s participation at TICAD7 and the country’s signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Commending the Buhari administration for taking Nigeria to the Next Level, Mr Abe pledged a $300,000 support for Nigeria’s Defence College as well as 12 million Yen for the country’s public health sector.

He also pledged his country’s support for Nigeria’s Presidency of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, while seeking Nigeria’s support for Japan’s bid to occupy some global positions.

Also on Thursday in Yokohama, Nigeria and the European Union signed a €50 million Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support humanitarian and development efforts in the country’s North East region.

The cooperation agreement which was signed by Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama and EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Mr Neven Mimica, would bring the total EU support to the country to €562million for 2014-2020.

President Buhari, who thanked the EU member states for their support especially for the North East, described as “pathetic the situation in internally displaced camps.”

He also called for further assistance to improve youth education in the region to take them out of poverty.

Commissioner Mimica said Nigeria’s request for enhanced assistance would be given priority consideration since it had come at the time that the EU was in the process of preparing its seven-year budget.

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EU Commends Nigeria On Deradicalization Of Ex-Boko Haram Terrorists

The European Union has commended the Gombe state government, Nigerian Army and officials of “operation safe corridor” on its deradicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration Programme of boko haram terrorists.

According to its Ambassador in Nigeria, Ketil Karslen the Programme would go a long way in tackling the insurgency in the north east and guarantee education for its youth.

The E.U. envoy want in the north east to look at the deradicalization Programme of the Nigerian Army and to understand the peculiarities on the war against insurgent groups in the north east.

Officials of “operation safe corridor” say they have concluded plans to reintegrate one hundred and fifty-four ex-combatants into the communities with the conclusion of the deradicalization Programme.

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Yobe, World Bank, EU Donate Buses To MDAs

The State and Local Government Reform (SLOGOR) in Yobe State, World Bank and European Union (EU) on Tuesday, donated 13, 16-seater buses to government establishments.

The Commissioner, Budget and Economic Planning, Idi Barde who presented the keys of the vehicles to the benefiting organisations in Damaturu, called on the beneficiaries to make best use of the vehicles for the purpose.

The SLOGOR Project State Coordinator, Muhammad Abba, expressed optimism that the buses, distributed to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), would support the reform activities of the MDAs.

According to him, the aim of the organisation was also to improve transparency, accountability and quality in public finance management, with a view to strengthening the management of public resources.

The benefiting MDAs are; Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Office of the Accountant General.

Others include, Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Office of the State Auditor-General, Office of the Auditor General Local Government, Public Accounts Committee of Yobe State House of Assembly.

Board of Internal Revenue, Local Government Service Commission, Bureau on Public Procurement and College of Administration and Business Studies Potiskum also benefitted from the donation.

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EU, Nigerian Army To Collaborate On Security

The European Union (EU) has promised to collaborate with the Nigerian Army to tackle the insecurity bedeviling the country.

The EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Ketil Karlsen, made the pledge in Abuja on Saturday when he led members of his team on a visit to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai at the Army Headquarters Abuja.

According to the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, the EU Ambassador praised the Nigerian Army under the leadership of Lieutenant General Buratai for an excellent job in ensuring security in the country.

He indicated interest of his organization to partner with the Nigerian Army in the provision of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to combat Boko Haram terrorists and other criminal gangs.

The ambassador also sought clarifications on farmers/herders clashes, the Nigerian Army’s role in elections and security in the Niger Delta.

Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff expressed the readiness of the Nigerian Army to partner and collaborate with the EU in order to totally defeat the Boko Haram insurgency.

He highlighted challenges faced by the Nigerian Army in combating Isolated Improvised Explosive Devices ‘attacks on troops and civilians by the insurgents.  He thereafter, urged the EU to assist the Nigerian Army with demining platforms.

The Nigerian Army Chief said that the Nigerian Government is addressing the farmers/herders clashes as well as other forms of security challenges in the country in order to create a peaceful atmosphere for socio-economic activities including elections.

He added that the role of the Nigerian Army is to provide security during elections, but not to interfere in the process.

He stated that some suspected Boko Haram terrorists have gone through de-radicalization programmes and are now being engaged on vocational training in Gombe State.

Buratai pointed out that the Federal Government is totally committed to the de-radicalization process to keep repentant insurgents busy.

Present during the visit were some principal staff officers of the Army Headquarters.

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Dapchi: EU Calls For Release Of Girls In Captivity

The European Union has called for the release of the remaining girls of Government Girls’ Science Secondary School, Dapchi, Yobe State, still in the custody of Boko Haram.

The EU, in a statement by Catherine Ray, Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, further renewed its solidarity with all the girls still held captive and call for their liberation.

“It is with great relief that we learnt about the release of the majority of the abducted Dapchi girls in Nigeria. They can now return to their families and have the opportunity to rebuild their lives.

“Yet not we cannot forget that not all were so fortunate. We express our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the girls that lost their lives.

“We renew our solidarity with all the girls still held captive and call for their liberation,” the EU said in a statement made available to press men  in Abuja by the Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African states.

While commending the Federal Government for the release of the Dapchi students, the EU also expressed its support for urgent measures to avoid repeated abductions and violence.

“We commend the Nigerian Government for its resolve in obtaining the release of the girls, and support that urgent measures are taken to avoid repeated abductions and violence.

“All young people have a right to safe education and the EU will work with Nigeria in supporting efforts to secure this objective,” the EU said.

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Tambuwal, German, EU Envoys Unveil Sokoto Community’s 80kw Solar Mini-Grid

Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has inaugurated the 80kw solar mini grid electricity project that will provide uninterrupted power supply to Kurdula community of Gudu LGA of Sokoto State.

The event was attended by the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Sulaiman Hassan Zarma, European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ketil Karlsen, German Ambassador to Nigeria, Dietmar Kreusel and Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar.

Speaking at the occasion, Tambuwal said more than 500 households, made up of 4000 inhabitants, are to enjoy enhanced access to electricity supply.

“Today’s event marks the beginning of a great collaborative effort towards ensuring sustainable growth through renewable energy sector development. It has now become absolutely necessary to take advantage of the ongoing renewable energy effort to ensure self-sufficiency in energy for economic development.

“Mini grid powered by renewable sources is the best option for us to expand electricity access in the rural areas where the national grid is not available,” Tambuwal added.

While saying that his administration will continue to work closely with all stakeholders to expand areas of cooperation for the benefit of the citizenry, Tambuwal tasked community leaders and residents to ensure adequate security for equipment and personnel handling the project.

The Governor said the project, a key component of his administration’s rural development initiative, is co-funded by the European Union and jointly implemented by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and the German international development agency, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). It also has the supported by the Nigerian Energy Support Program (NESP).

Also speaking at the occasion, both the EU and German Ambassadors to Nigeria expressed optimism that the introduction of solar mini grid would expand access to electricity not just in Kurdula, but in other areas of the country.

Karlsen especially noted that over 1.5 billion people globally lacked access to electricity, and that many Nigerians do not have access to cheap, affordable and steady electricity.

In his remarks, the Minister of State for Power, Works & Housing, expressed the readiness of the federal government to work with partners on energy solutions.

He said the Kurdula mini grid electricity project is one of the six currently supported by NESP in six states of the federation.

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EU Commends National Assembly On Electoral Reform

The European Union (EU) has commended the National Assembly for the progress made so far in passing a comprehensive amendment to the Constitution and the electoral Act.

In a briefing by the former Chief Observer of the 2015 EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) and member of the European Parliament, Santiago Fisas, the EU commended the National Assembly for the progress made so far in constitutional and electoral amendment.

Fisas who is in Nigeria, disclosed that the current mission is to assess the current electoral reform process and the extent to which previous EU Election Observation Mission recommendations have been addressed.

He advised political parties to ensure internal democracy by ensuring that their primaries are done in a democratic way, adding that, “It is important to know the background of the candidates and be sure they are the right people to run for election.”

He, however, called for expedited action of the amendment process, noting that, “for election reform to be effective, amendments need to be adopted as soon as possible.”

“There is need for the implementation to start well before 2019 general election. I believe that a strengthening of the democratic process is what we all would like to see,” Fisas said.

Recall that on Thursday, March 30th, 2017, the Senate passed amendments to the Electoral Act of 2010, approving the use of electronic voting in future elections; and also approving that election results should be electronically transmitted to collation centers.

Other highlights of the new bill include provisions for the use of Card Readers and enabling INEC to transmit the results of elections electronically in an encrypted and secured manner to prevent hacking.

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EU Declares Kenya Election Free And Fair

The head of the European Union’s election observer mission in Kenya, Marietje Schaake, says there are no signs of “centralised or localised manipulation” of the voting process.

Schaake said on Thursday that the EU mission’s final report would evaluate the conduct of the tallying process, which opposition leader Raila Odinga said had been compromised by hackers.

Kenya’s election commission (IEBC) had on Wednesday dismissed claims by Odinga that its systems and website had been hacked to produce a “fictitious” lead for his long-time rival President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Schaake, however, praised IEBC for conducting a thorough and transparent electoral process but said she could not comment on any hacking allegations.

She noted that it was not within the remit of the electoral monitors’ mission but Kenya needed to thoroughly investigate any allegations.

Provisional results released by the election commission showed Kenyatta had won 54.3% of the votes while Odinga polled 44.8% of the votes.


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EU Allocates 700m Euros To Develop Sustainable Energy In Nigeria

The European Union (EU) says it has so far committed over 700 million euros for the development of sustainable energy in Nigeria and other ECOWAS countries from 2014 to 2020.

The Head of Cooperation, EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Kurt Cornelis, said this in Abuja on Monday at a workshop on policy and regulation for clean energy mini-grids and renewable energy in ECOWAS region.

Cornelis said access to electricity and promotion of sustainable energy solutions were at the core of EU’s cooperation with the region, hence the provision of the grants to ECOWAS countries.

He said given the challenge in the electricity production, there was the urgent need to address the energy deficit, using the various energy mix in the region.


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