Nollywood: Fans Condolence messages for Late Sam Loco Efe

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Read Time:1 Minute, 1 Second

Sam Loco Efe was an active Nollywood Comedian that will never ceased to remain in every mind. Even though he is late still his legacy will forever remind people worldwide of him. It is not a surprise that up till now families, households, groups, individuals are still weeping for his departure to the supreme God who will crown his effort.

The remains of star actor Sam Loco Efe would be laid to rest on 21 October 2011 in Benin City his home town in accordance with the Benin tradition

Millions of people friends, families and fans have been calling sending their condolence to the family he left behind. While addressing the press, his first son, Mr. Bismarck Nosakhare Efe, informed that a committee has been set up for the purpose of the burial in Benin City to be called Sam Loco Efe Burial Committee/ Foundation.

On the number of children the deceased left behind, Mr. Bismarck told the press that they were six in number and that he was the first son.
He said three of the other siblings were abroad and that one has just finished from the law school.

Here below you can leave your condolence message for it will be compiled.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigeria and Benin strengthen security along common border

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Read Time:2 Minute, 8 Second
Benin President called for an intensification of measures to completely wipe out crime along the shared border

Worried by the increasing threats to security along the shared part of their borders, Nigeria and Benin Republic have putmeasures in place to re-strategise security operations, in a bidto make travelling safer for citizens of both countries.

President Boni Yayi of Benin Republic disclosed this,on Sunday in Abuja, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, after holding talks with President Goodluck Jonathan.

Describing Nigeria and Benin as strong and strategic allies, hesaidboth leaders met to share ideas on issues affecting the security of their citizens.

“You know that if I am here, it concern issues of partnership between Nigeria and Benin. It is a duty for me to come here to see my brother, President Jonathan, from time to time to discuss issues that concern the citizens within our sub-region,”Yayi said.

He commended Mr. Jonathan for the leadership role Nigeria has played in guaranteeing the safety of lives and property along the common border of Nigeria and Benin.

“Today,we discussed about ECOWAS matters and  about piracy along our coast. Today we have a joint co-operation between Nigeria and Benin and I have come to brief the President about the situation concerning this and to thank him for his efforts at ensuring safety along our common borders”.

Mr. Yayi, who said that anything that concerns Nigeria also concerns Benin Republic and vice versa, further disclosed that the joint border patrol earlier established by both countries have succeeded in bringing safety to the common border of both countries.

“Right now we have established joint border patrols, we call it fire for fire and that is really going on well. Other operations have led to the discovery and retrieval of some cars stolen from Nigeria into Benin Republic and vice versa.

“Currently there is ongoing operation to discourage pirates from our seas and this has so far  been very successful and they are working hard to ensure that the issues of piracy, cross-border crimes and smuggling of small arms are checked.

“As a result, the attacks on the seas have been reduced drasticallyexcept for some little cases here and there,”he said.

Yayi called for an intensification of measures to completely wipe out crime and ensure the safety of lives and goods along their common border.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigeria: More Trouble for Tattered Economy as Naira Slides Badly

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Read Time:6 Minute, 17 Second

Lagos/Abuja — Now that the naira has depreciated so much, it is the less privileged, importers and the manufacturing sector that will suffer

“The Indomie carton I used to buy for N1,800 suddenly rose to N2,000. Turkey Vegetable oil moved from N1,300 to N1,500. My babies food, the cerelac i used to buy for N1,100 went up to N1,300. This is too much. And with Christmas not far away, cost of essential commodities will rise the more. Many are talking about increase in wage forgetting that many of us have no jobs.” These were the words of a frustrated housewife in Abuja, Mrs Doobee Jackson.

Signs of imminent devaluation of the naira emerged last Monday when the currency traded at N164.30 to the dollar outside the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s bond of N150 plus or minus three percent.

Observers say the value of the nation’s currency would further depreciate against the dollar as days roll by due to current inflationary trend in the economy.

At a forum in March this year, Governor of CBN, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had said that the apex bank would not allow the naira to depreciate. But realities on ground contradict his position.

“The exchange rate to us seems to be far more important for price stability than interest rates. With local farm produce, fuel and imported food making up more than 70 percent of the inflation index, borrowing costs have a limited impact on prices,” Sanusi stated.

He added, “If I devalue the naira by 20 or 30 percent, it wouldn’t make textile products in Nigeria cheaper than imports from China because it doesn’t fix the power problem or infrastructure problems. The exchange rate cannot continue to be the whipping boy and carry the burden of wrong economic policies.”

Today, Sanusi’s position on the naira has been defeated while the currency has continually been dwindling to the detriment of the economy.

Observers say the economic implication of the dwindling fortune of the naira cannot be over-emphasised when measured against soaring inflationary rate in the country. According to them, the current fall of the naira against the dollar has far-reaching implications on the Nigerian economy.

Dr. Mike Ola Adebayo, an importer and General Manager of Haffar Industrial Company Limited told our correspondent that the dwindling fortune of the nation’s currency is a direct invitation to hunger and penury in Nigeria. “The fall of the naira will create more poverty in the country. The poor will suffer more,” he stressed.

According to him, the changing fortune of the currency should be blamed on the CBN’s monetary policy which gives room for allocating money to bureau the change operators. He said the development automatically creates leakages, encourages smuggling and strangulates the manufacturing sector of the economy. He said the concomitant effect of this is the growing unemployment in the land because some manufacturers would rightsize their workforce in order to break even.

Former president of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Dr. Samuel Nzekwe said the changing fortunes of the naira should be blamed on the unwholesome practices in the banking system called roundtripping. He said the practice starved the nation’s currency of its value. He also said the productive sector would suffer more due to the dwindling value of the naira.

According to the President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chief Femi Deru, the continued depreciation of the naira is worrisome adding that it can hinder government’s transformation agenda. He explained that moves by the federal government to remove fuel subsidy from next year had led to panic buying of dollars by some industrialists.

He said many industrialists wanted to import raw materials and machines to beat higher prices of raw materials that could follow the removal of fuel subsidy, stressing that the development negatively affects cost of production.

The president of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Dr. Herbert Ajayi believes that the devaluation of the naira would jerk up the cost of importing machines and raw materials into the country.

Ajayi, who predicted that the value of the naira might further depreciate to N200 to the dollar, stated that the development can castrate the state of the industrial sector which may result in exodus of companies out of Nigeria

A foremost industrialist and former chairman of National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) Duro Kuteyi said the naira fall will have a terrible effect on the economy.

According to him, small businesses in the country are not spared of the consequences of the naira slide as those who secured loans from banks to procure equipment will automatically request for additional facility.

Dr. Boniface Chizea, Principal Consultant of BIC Consulting said as a factor cost, the depreciation of the naira implies that it will cost more for economic agents to import goods and services adding that this has a direct knock effect on the price level.

He explained, “What this translates into is increased inflationary spiral with all the untoward effect of such a development for the economy. Heightened inflation increases the poverty index as the marginalised and the down trodden who are not in a position to pass on the effect of price increases are the worse off in such a situation. Those in paid employment also suffer. Even in economies where the salaries and wages are index linked there is always a lag before adjustments are made.”

On how to reverse the trend, Adebayo said CBN should stop the practice of allocating funds to bureau the change in the country. Nzekwe said CBN should reduce Monetary Policy Rates so as to reduce the burgeoning effect of inflation. According to him, there must be conscious efforts to invest heavily into productive sector.

Towards reducing cost

Meanwhile, Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has ordered the withdrawal of eight agencies operating in the nation’s ports, saying the number should be pruned from 14 to six with immediate effect.

She took this decision last week when she inspected APM Terminals Apapa Limited in Lagos.

The reduction of the eight government agencies from the ports may force down prices of goods and services in the country by up to 20-30 percent, the president of the Licensed Customs Agents of Nigeria Alhaji Shittu reacted quickly.

In the same vein, the federal government in collaboration with the top management of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), disbanded the Customs Task Force and abolished the cargo tracking note (CTN), saying that operations at the nation’s ports must be streamlined to enhance efficiency and reduce cost as obtained in developed economies.

Okonjo-Iweala listed Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA), NCS, ports health, immigration, police and state security services (SSS) as the agencies authorized by government to operate at the ports. “The (other) agencies must withdraw from the ports within two weeks.

She disclosed that this is geared towards implementing the “action of government on its medium and long term development. We must stop the extortion and corruption prevalent in the port. We are going to reduce the check points to reduce the cost of doing business in order to achieve faster turnaround time.”

Shittu said, “the business of clearing goods from the nation’s ports will now ease up and the costs that go with having to deal with all those agencies that only ultimately become transferred to the end user of these goods are now reduced.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigeria vs. Morocco: We Lost Due to Fatigue – Enyimba Coach Abdul

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Read Time:2 Minute, 59 Second

Enyimba’s Coach Abdul Mekaba feels sad that Enyimba’s quest for another Championship glory could end the way it did on their home soil. Abdul reveals that apart from other combined forces possible in football, his team lost mostly due to fatigue.

In an interview with CAFONLINE.COM, the sweat merchant refused to accept that the goallles draw against Wydad of Morocco in the second leg semi – final match played in Aba is further proof that Enyimba has lost the shine it was noted for.

What happened?

We are in a very pensive mood. We lost a match after giving it all our best. It could be a result of combined factors. What I could easily pinpoint was I noticed the players were tired. It was tough playing two league games in four days ahead a crucial match like this. We had to also beg the Federation to put off a match we would have played on Wednesday. In any case, that is what football means. Uncertainty!

Was it fatigue too responsible for a poor showing in the first half and struggling to take over the second half

The players obviously analyzed situations using the first half. That does not mean we were sitting for the first forty – five minutes. The pressure you saw in the second half was a bold attempt to salvage what was almost becoming a very bad case on our hands. You would have noticed that we opened opportunity for scoring chances but failed to convert them. At that point, you would not say it was anybody’s fault. Just that our best was not good enough.

The general consensus is that the Technical Crew failed to make appropriate changes to turn the game around. Do you agre

That is also football. When you lose, people come with all sorts of opinions. While I respect their opinions, I refuse to hinge our loss on any one factor. The changes we made and when we made them were in our estimation the best we could do in that material time. When you fail, you are made the scapegoat. We did our best. It is unfair to blame the bench.

Would you be surprised if this result, which means you may end the season without silverware bring prompting changes to the technical dpeartment?

I will not speak for owners of the team but I think we should be looking at it from a holistic perspective. Yes, I will be surprised if the crew is sacrificed. Do not forget, we had done well to end as Africa’s best four. For a team that is amongst the first four, we have not done badly and deserve understanding.

For the first time in as many years, you had a capacity crowd. Don’t you think you squandered their goodwill?

I understand their plight. I want to use this medium to appeal to them to be steadfast in their support. What happened is very unfortunate. We are facing a phase now. This phase as in other times would also pass. We will not remain in this state for too long. I plead for their understanding.

Even at this period when Nigeria will not play in the African Cup of Nations and Sunshine lost at home in the Confederation Cup?

All these phases are related. Again, they could be attributed to combined factors. This is why I said no one person should be singled out as a scapegoat. We only need to look inwards to solve the problem. In Enyimba, we must get back to the board to regain our slot in league of champions

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigeria: Army, police dismiss Siasia’s sack

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Read Time:2 Minute, 16 Second

The Nigerian Air Force and the Nigerian Police have joined other Nigerians making a passionate appeal to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to retain the services of Coach Samson Siasia as the chief coach of the Super Eagles, warning that using him as a sacrificial lamb for the team’s failure to pick the 2012 Africa Nations Cup ticket would spell further doom for the country’s football.

Chief of Administration of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Ibrahim A. Kure, who represented the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar, told Daily Sunsports in a chat in Abuja recently at the unveiling of the Nigerian Air Force Games that even though he was disappointed with the Eagles’ failure to pick the ticket, the federation should not sack Coach Siasia.

“I was really disappointed with the players’ performances during the match against Guinea. As a Nigerian, I felt sad and pained that we would not be in next year’s Africa Cup of Nations, but there is nothing we can do to change the situation now. The reality is that we are out of the tournament, but beyond that, it will give us the opportunity to reappraise the future of our football in order to chat a new course for the game in the country,” AVM Kure stated.

Asked if the federation should sacrifice Siasia over the incidence, the Air Force chief thundered: “My answer to your question is capital no! Siasia has done well in repackaging the senior national team since he became the manager. The NFF should not sack him, but allow him to continue with his reformation agenda in the team.”

In his own reaction, the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, who was represented by the Chief Security Officer of the national team, Police Commissioner Gideon Akinsola, warned that Siasia’s sack would be counter-productive. He, therefore, begged the federation to try and retain his services as coach of the Super Eagles.

“If we should be honest with ourselves, Siasia has really rebranded the Super Eagles since he came on board. Therefore, I want to appeal to the NFF to give him another chance. What happened should rather serve as a lesson for us to reappraise the future of football in Nigeria,” Akinsola said.

Meanwhile, there may be light at the end of the tunnel for the embattled Eagles’ handler, as a member of the executive board and Chairman of the Security Committee of NFF, Chief Effiong Johnson, said he wouldn’t support the plan to sack Siasia as coach of the national team.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Removal of fuel subsidy’ll set Nigeria on fire -SSANU

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Read Time:1 Minute, 27 Second

The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has described the plan by the Federal Government to remove fuel subsidy on fuel as not only scandalous, but an attempt to set the country on fire.

The University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State chapter’s chairman, Abdussobur Olayiwola Salaam addressing journalists, canvassed a mass action to protest President Goodluck Jonathan’s action, which he described as, “the height of economic rascality.” The planned removal, according to him was a further attempt by the government to emasculate the masses to the advantage of the few rich elite in the society.
His words: “It is anti-people because it will add more to the prevailing hardship rampaging the land. We reject it in totality and shall the millions in our ranks because it is only reflective of the greed of our leaders.”

“Our leaders deal with us with rapacious prebendalism turning our roads into death-traps, our educational institutions into havens of cultism and violence, our hospitals into mortuaries and with abysmal failure in almost every facet of our national lives.

The SSANU leader also lamented that government at all levels were busy chasing shadows instead of facing the serious challenges of building a strong, egalitarian economically viable and politically stabled country.

As part of activities marking the Association’s week, slated for Wednesday, Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi will be honoured with the award of Icon of Democracy, while Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin will receive the award of Amazon of Democracy with Promise Adewusi and Rockcity 101.9 FM being honoured with the awards of Icon and Media of Democracy respectively.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigeria: The sacrifice government and citizens must make

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Read Time:7 Minute, 12 Second

When last week I said fuel subsidy should be removed once and for all because Nigerians are tired of the yearly ritual of fuel hike, the reaction from the public was violent and vehement. There is a palpable anger in the land against the government for one single reason – Nigeria leaders cannot be trusted to fulfil their promises. ‘We have passed this road several times and all the promises made to us were never fulfilled,’ said majority of the responses. Many said this time around, Nigeria will experience the Egyptian kind of protest.

From the reactions, most of which are unprintable, Nigerians are not against subsidy removal but the sincerity of those in government to faithfully implement the policies and revenue derived therefrom to the benefit of all. The great fear is that whatever money is realised, instead of being used for the benefit of the people, will find its way into the pockets of those in government.

It borders on trust. Nigerians simply do not trust their political leaders. This being the case, the Federal Government must put in place machinery to begin to elicit and cultivate Nigerians. This government as a matter of urgency must redeem its image and credibility by embarking on programmes and projects that will convince Nigerians that its promises are its bond.

Bonding with the people will begin by government showing evidence that its proposed palliatives are for real. As things stand now, the government cannot embark on subsidy removal early next year. If it must be removed, it should be in the second quarter when strategies to cushion the effect of subsidy removal would have been put in place.

It is a well known fact that a hike in petrol price will trigger off hike in prices of almost every other commodity in the market place. It will affect the cost of transportation, housing etc. In fact, the cost of living will go up. By how much, no one can say precisely.

However, if the government can demonstrate to Nigerians that in its envisaged strategic interventions into the economy as a result of subsidy withdrawal, it will quickly address infrastructure bottlenecks, unemployment and enhanced growth potential of the economy through the diversification of the economic base of the country. This will mean clear evidence that most of the bad federal roads across the country will be fixed in no time for the easy movement of goods and services, government can be sure that Nigerians will support it in this bid.

It must also show Nigerians that it is capable of ensuring cheap and affordable food supply. In this case, its intention to intervene in the economy through the rehabilitation of the railway, power, textile, support to development financial institutions for on-lending to the real sector of the economy, with particular focus on Small and Medium Enterprises, low-income housing and for-export-oriented industries is for real. It must show how it intends to revive agriculture in practical terms.

Availability of regular power supply will encourage every Nigerian to be gainfully employed. If there is ample power supply, many who buy fuel to power their generating sets will no longer do so. Such saved funds can now be used for other investments in the economy that can create more jobs. Many Nigerians will be encouraged to be self employed. The Federal Government’s plan to resuscitate the textile sector has not taken off fully.

That is a sector that employs thousands of people. The Federal Government must move away from rhetoric to real action. Nigerians do not need promises this time around; they want to see evidence, away with sweet talks, now is the time for action if the government intends to succeed on the path it has chosen to tread.

The Federal Government should between now and December show Nigerians that its plan to support ongoing mass transit efforts by states and local governments, especially those in urban metropolitan areas in a bid to ameliorate the pains that the envisaged deregulation would visit on Nigerians, is real. It must provide the buses through reduced ownership cost of means of transportation in the country. This certainly will reduce the upward pressure on transportation fares when subsidy is eventually removed from fuel.

According to government strategic intervention plan, it is to invest in National Railway Networks and support/invest in Metro Rail projects. If this were on ground and there exists any evidence that the government is making moves to develop the rail system and provide the people means of cheap transportation, there would have been no resistance to the planned subsidy removal.

Investment in railways and metro rail will reduce the current pressure on roads and maintenance expenses. It is felt that migrating Nigerians from road transportation to rail will reduce the demand for petrol and that inter-city rail will further reduce the cost of transporting goods, especially food products. Railway project as a palliative may be relatively long-term, and tough to sell as part of an immediate impact palliative measure.

What is so difficult in Federal Government, in collaboration with local governments, providing vans and trucks to farmers’ cooperatives to haul products to major distribution centres and cities which will help mitigate the cost of hiring vans to haul agricultural produce and reduce the cost of transporting goods into cities.

If what Wikileak said that about $30 million is set aside annually as largesse for the President by NNPC, which accounts Nigerians have not seen in the last ten years, calculate how much will have gone into the private pockets of principal officers of government. Who then is losing, the people or those in power and have access to cheap money from oil in the name of subsidy?

If this is the case, then fuel subsidy must go in order to save the Nigerian state from the shame of this hydra-headed monster called corruption. If this government is serious as it pretends to be, it should show its will power by starting the implementation of the palliatives.

Like I said last week, what labour and civil society should be asking the government to do is the channeling of the fund to be saved from the exercise to productive use and intervention in the critical sectors of the economy. The Federal Government had in 2007 in its bid to remove this same subsidy envisaged some sectoral intervention in the economy as palliatives.

The envisaged sectoral interventions were meant to cushion the immediate, medium and long-term effect of subsidy removal. The challenge for labour and civil society is to discuss these interventions with government on behalf of the masses since the 2012 budget is still in the works.

Many known names that hobnob with those in power make huge money from the oil industry. The only qualification is access to political power. All they needed is access and the rest is money rolling in through either importation of products or oil block. This is made possible by the huge differentials they are paid for bridging products from Lagos to other parts of the country because petrol must be sold at government price. It is a huge racket going on in the downstream of the oil sector.

If Nigerians are tired of corruption and want it dealt with, they must be prepared to go through some hardship and support policies that deny rent seekers, commissionaires and other parasites access to cheap money.

For the nation to achieve this, subsidy on imported petroleum products, which runs into hundreds of billions of naira through the Petroleum Support Funds (PSF) must end. The colossal sum of taxpayers’ money spent on the bridging of petroleum products through the Petroleum Equalization Funds (PEF) the source of subsidy and economic rent should go.

Are Nigerians not aware of the profound integrity and transparency issues associated with the management of subsidies? What about the bridging funds and the refineries that never function? Nigeria spends about N72.8bn monthly on petrol subsidy; can’t that be used for a more productive venture?

According to the pricing template of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency as at August 15, 2011, the landing cost of a litre of petrol is N129.21; the margin for transporters and marketers is N15.49; the expected pump price is N144.70; while the official pump price is N65. This means that the Federal Government pays N79.70 as subsidy on each litre of petrol. Let’s think of saving the nation from these parasites.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigeria: Implementation, problem with Nigeria’s economy – Okonjo-Iweala

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Read Time:1 Minute, 33 Second

Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has expressed optimism that Nigeria’s economic pro-blems will be solved, noting that the problem with the economy was not potentials but implemen-tation. She also called on all stakeholders to support efforts geared towards reviewing the economy.

Iweala, who said this yesterday in Lagos at the 15th anniversary of Hallmarks of Labour, stressed the need to make the young generation believe in Nigeria.

She said: ‘’It’s been seven weeks since I came back, but its like seven years because the amount of work we need to do in terms of economy is tremendous. But I am optimistic that we can solve them. I keep saying it that Nigeria’s problems are not insolvable. We need to give our young people the opportunity to be optimistic.’’

Okonjo-Iweala also urged Nigerians to think more of how to assist the government and not what the government can do. She said: “I said last year that the problem we have is about implementation and not potentials.

“Nigerians are tired of hearing about economic potentials. They want implementations. We need the support of eve-ryone. Each person has a role to play. The problem has to be solved by us.

‘’I have never seen an occasion where Nige-rians, who worked so hard and not those who bought it with money, are honoured like this.’’

Also speaking at the event, Former federal Education Secretary, Prof Ben Nwabueze (SAN), stressed the need to allow ethnic nationalities create a new constitution for Nigeria. He also noted that the Senate does not have the power to review or make a constitution for the country.

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Finland to Host Meeting on Nuke-Free Mideast

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Read Time:3 Minute, 6 Second

The United Nations, U.S., Russia and Britain announced the first steps Friday to convening what is certain to be a controversial conference in 2012 on turning the Middle East into a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

A joint statement, issued by the United Nations, said Finland will host the conference and veteran diplomat Jaakko Laajava, the undersecretary of state in its Foreign Ministry, will serve as “facilitator.” That means he will have the difficult task of consulting states in the region, including Israel and Iran, and preparing for the conference.

In May 2010, the 189 member nations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty meeting at the U.N. called for convening a conference in 2012 on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and “all other weapons of mass destruction,” or WMDs.

The Arab proposal for a WMD-free zone in the Mideast, aimed at pressuring Israel to give up its undeclared arsenal of perhaps 80 nuclear warheads, was initially endorsed by the 1995 conference reviewing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, but never acted on.

Israel has long said a full Arab-Israeli peace must precede such weapons bans. But at last year’s NPT review conference, the United States, Israel’s most important ally, said it welcomed “practical measures” leading toward the goal of a nuke-free zone in the Middle East.

Israel is not a party to the NPT, and it remains unclear whether the U.S. or Laajava can persuade it to attend next year’s conference.

 

British Foreign Secretary called a Middle East free of all WMD “an achievable goal … which is vital to the long term peace and security of the region.”

“But it will not happen overnight nor without the commitment and support of all states in the region,” he said. “I hope that the conference will be an opportunity for the region to discuss and make progress on this.”

Besides Israel’s attendance, other important details of the conference remain to be worked out, such as whether the talks are meant as the start of formal negotiations on a treaty.

Besides concerns about Israel’s undeclared nulcear program, establishment of a verifiable Mideast nuclear weapons-free zone could help allay international concerns about whether Iran’s ambitious nuclear program is aimed at building bombs, something Tehran denies. The Iranians have long expressed support for a nuke-free Mideast.

Anne Penketh, program director for the British American Security Information Council, a think tank that promotes a nuclear weapons free world, said the low-key announcement on a Friday which is not a working day in the Middle East, is “a case of burying good news.”

“It reflects the political sensitivities in organizing this hugely important conference, which aims to bring Israel and Iran to the table for discussions on their mutual security for the first time,” Penketh said.

According to the joint statement, the U.N., U.S., Russia and Britain made the announcement of the host and facilitator as cosponsors of the 1995 NPT resolution on the Middle East and as depository states for the treaty, “in consultation with the states of the region.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met privately Thursday with ambassadors from the Arab League, Egypt which heads the Nonaligned Movement, Syria which heads the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Qatar and Algeria to discuss the 2012 conference.

Patricia Lewis, deputy director of the nonproliferation center at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California, said the fact that all the Arab states, Israel and Iran, Russia, Britain and the United States agreed on the facilitator and the host “shows a strong commitment to moving forward with efforts to promote peace and disarmament in the Middle East.”

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Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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European Parliament supports Bulgaria, Romania’s Schengen accession

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European Parliament (EP) members on Thursday (October 13th) approved a resolution urging all EU member states to allow Bulgaria and Romania to join the so-called Schengen border check-free area. The call came despite fierce opposition to the bids from the Netherlands and Finland.

“Romania and Bulgaria have fulfilled all the criteria for successful conclusion of the Schengen evaluation process,” stated the document, pointing out Bucharest’s and Sofia’s bids should be judged “solely on the basis of existing membership criteria”.

The EP rejected a proposal to introduce additional criteria for the two countries by strengthening the Schengen acquis on the basis of concerns related to organised crime and corruption.

Thursday’s resolution came on the heels of a similar document approved by a large majority at the EP in June. It signals a general agreement that the two candidates have done what was required in order to boost security at their borders.

At a meeting of the EU interior ministers in September, however, the Netherlands and Finland announced their decision to veto Bulgaria’s and Romania’s Schengen accession, citing ongoing problems with corruption and organised crime.

Romanian political scientist Gabriel Andreescu agrees these are serious issues. He adds another concern associated with his country.

“There are also the troubles related to the Romanian citizens who disturb life in Western Europe villages and cities,” he told SETimes.

Franz-Lothar Altmann, associate professor at Bucharest State University and head of the Western Balkans Section at the German Institute for International Politics and Security, believes domestic politics in Finland and the Netherlands is playing a role.

“Strong right-wing populist parties exist that have substantial influence on internal politics,” he told SETimes, indicating that “sceptical remarks” about their bids can also be heard from Austria.

Bulgarian analyst Tihomira Trifonova, from the Centre for Policy Modernisation, agrees. “In terms of technical preparations to control and guard the EU’s external borders, I see no reasons why Bulgaria should not join Schengen,” she told SETimes.

“The problem right now is of a purely political nature and has to do with public pressure that politicians in some EU member states are facing,” she said.

As for the next meeting of EU interior ministers later this month, experts are not that hopeful.

“Bulgaria and Romania will hardly join Schengen before next year,” says Trifonova.

Andreescu agrees. “The Western countries have today a lot of reason to delay the two countries’ accession to Schengen.”

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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