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NITDA DG laments inability of Nigeria to explore $11tr digital economy



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NITDA DG laments inability of Nigeria to explore $11tr digital economy

***Senate urges agency to fast track digitalization process in the country

The Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency ( NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa has expressed concern that Nigeria has failed to explore $11trillion digital economy despite its huge population and potentials.

He spoke on Thursday when the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru, paid courtesy visit on NITDA  DG .

The NITDA boss during the visit , declared that Data and not oil, is driving the economy of leading countries of the world today .

According to him, digital economy and not mono product one being run in the country, is what Nigeria must key into and which the agency with the support of its supervising ministry, is facilitating for the country through required innovations and technology .

He disclosed that a Centre for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence has been created by the agency in that direction just as 20,000 young Nigerians across the states , are being targeted for capacity building in the area of technology.

“Economy in the world is going or has gone digital, which is presently valued at $11trillion .

“But out of 616 digital cum data driven firms running the digital economy, while 256 are based in the United States of America , 204 in China, 26 in United Kingdom, 21 in India, 12 in Germany etc , only two each, are in South Africa and Nigeria.
“This to NITDA, is not good,  going by population and potentials the country is blessed with”, he said .

As a way forward, the NITDA boss  said the agency is ever ready to promote usage of IT or digital devices by Nigerians in all their economic activities, particularly in the Agricultural sector.

He however said the 2007 Act upon which the agency operates after its establishment in 2001, needs to be amended in given it the required powers in the area of regulations of ICT operations in the country particularly as regards ability to deal with issues as they arise in digital sector .

“Our target objective upon availability of enabling laws , is making Nigeria the hub of innovations in the African continent .

“Even some Universities in the country are already keying into the digital world by substituting courses at PhD level on Oil and Gas for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence” he added.

In his remarks, Senator Basiru, assured the NITDA  DG of expeditious consideration of whatever amendments the agency wants on the 2007 Act .

According to him, the 9th Senate and by extension, 9th National Assembly , being one that works for Nigeria , will provide the required legislations that will fast track the Digitalization process of the Nation’s economy.

“The Senate in particular , is basically impressed with the progress this agency is making in getting Nigeria fully on board as far as digital economy is concerned .

“This to the Senate is a welcome development at this time of diversification process from mono product economy to multi sectoral one.
” We shall be happy if the required technology is made available in enhancing productivity in the Agricultural sector because no society can really be secured without food sufficiency for its populace ” , he said .

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There must be peace for oil companies to move headquarters to Niger Delta, says Sylva




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There must be peace for oil companies to move headquarters to Niger Delta, says Sylva

The minister of State for Petroleum, chief Timipre Sylva has admonished the Niger Delta youths to work for peace in the region to make it possible for investors to come in, as well as for multinational oil companies to relocate their head offices to the region.
Sylva Spoke at the conferment of patronhood award on him by the Niger Delta non-violence Agitators Forum in Abuja recently.
“What I must say here is that the essence in the core of your organization is non violence and that is actually the essence of what we want in Nigeria. We must bring peace to the Niger Delta. It’s our duty to bring peace to the Niger Delta. “Sometimes we are worried that investment opportunities are not coming to the Niger Delta. But we must realize that it’s our activities that will determine whether these opportunities will come or not. 
“Right now, we are saying that oil companies must move their headquarters to the Niger Delta. But it’s our duty to ensure that the place is peaceful enough for the oil companies to move back there.”
He said, if the place is insecure, no oil company will agree to go there. “That is why this organization is really really very important in the Niger Delta.

“In the height of the militancy in the Niger Delta, I consulted my people and came up with a solution to restore peace in the region.”

Since then, he said he had been working and didn’t realize that his activities were being noticed and people even remember some of the occurrences at that time of the amnesty program.
He said the award will spur him on to do better, “You know sometimes as you work, you actually believe that what you are doing is a thankless job. But it’s good to know that actually it’s not that thankless but there are people who actually noticed. 
“Even If it is not everybody that thanks you, and  one person comes to thank you, it is enough.”And I really appreciate this award and I want to assure you, as a Niger Deltan, I will be going to work for you, going to work for the interest of Nigeria and in the interest of Niger Delta. 
“That’s why We must begin to also encourage those of you who are committed to making peace and only trying to assuage those who are making trouble. 
So I am really happy to be associated with this organization. 
“I will like to recommend that other organizations also emulate what you are doing and actually propagate the message of peace; because what we need in the Niger Delta more than anything else right now is peace and I believe that if there is peace in the Niger Delta there will be prosperity.

“No investor would want to operate from far if there is peace because it actually cost him more, operating from a distance. So for us, I believe that if we can bring peace to the Niger Delta, these investors will not talk much, the numbers will speak for themselves. 
“When they put the numbers together, they will realize that it is better for them to go and operate there. 
“But if you have not made  the place peaceful, they will put the numbers  together, and you know, the cost of insecurity is very high.
“So when they put the numbers together, they will prefer to stay far away and take your resources than to come to the area where they know they can not guarantee their security.
“So, it’s very important that we take this message of peace to our people, just as you have brought that message to me, and I want to assure you that from today, I will also be an advocate of the Niger Delta Non-violence Agitators Forum.”
Earlier, the President of the Niger Delta Non violence Agitators Forum (NDNAF) Comrade Wisdom Oniekpar Ikuli said the minister has done so much in terms of restoration of peace and stability in the hitherto volatile Niger Delta region and to the growth and development of the Nigerian State.

“Over a decade ago, some aggrieved Niger Deltans picked up arms against the Nigerian State. 
“While armed militancy actually started at the inception of our contemporary democracy in 1999, it climaxed during the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua administration.
“At a point, the militancy activities almost crippled the Nigerian economy. During the period under review, Nigeria’s OPEC crude oil production quota reduced from 2.4 million barrels per day to 1.2 million barrels and it was on a steady decline.
“While it was a great source of concern to all critical stakeholders coupled with the then worsening security situation, many could not proffer solutions to the then prevalent situation because of the dreaded and deadly dispositions of most of the militants.
“It was in the midst of this terrible situation that Your Excellency as the then Executive Governor of Bayelsa State took the greatest risk and boldest step to confront the hydra-headed monster that was threatening to consume everybody including the key actors.
“Your Excellency was ready to pay the supreme price when you left the comfort of the Creek Haven Government House to meet with angry and very dreaded militants in their camps. “Your Excellency moved from one camp to the other, begging and pleading with the Agitators to lay down their arms and embrace peace in the interest of national security and to save the dwindling Nigerian economy.
“You were aware of internal and external aggressors who were working round the clock to sabotage your genuine efforts, yet you decided to put your life on the line in your avowed quest to restore peace and stability to the Niger Delta. 
So, while you were hoping for the best, you were also prepared for the worst.

“It is on good record that through your unquantifiable sacrifices, over Thirty Thousand ex-combatants were disarmed and inducted into the Disarmament, Demobilization, Deradicalization and Reintegration (DDR) of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
“Through the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), thousands of youths who never had hope of access to education which is the bedrock of every human society, can now boast of university education. 
“Hundreds of youths have gotten Master degrees, a reasonable number have even gotten Doctorate degrees. Through this program which is your brain child, many youths have been trained as Commercial Pilots, Seafarers, Welders and other skills and trades that have made them self-reliant in the absence of white-collar jobs. 
“The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) has changed the fortune of many Niger Deltans and this to a large extent has led to drastic reduction of crime and criminality in the region.”

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We will give Dangote Refinery all the necessary legal backing to succeed – Nasarawa Speaker




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We will give Dangote Refinery all the necessary legal backing to succeed – Nasarawa Speaker

By Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia

Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Mr. Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, has indicated that the House would give Dangote Sugar Refinery in the state all the necessary legislative backing and support to succeed.

This, the speaker said, is to enhance the economic and security status of the state considering the benefit of the Refinery in the overall development of the state and the country at large.

He gave the indication when he led other Principal Officers of the House on an on-the- spot assessment to Dangote Sugar Refinery, Tunga, Awe Local Government Area of the State on Saturday.

He explained that the visit was to see things for themselves and appreciate Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the President of Dangote Group for establishing the refinery in the state.

His words: “We appreciate Alhaji Aliko Dangote for this project in our state as it is a pride to Tunga, Nasarawa State, Nigeria and indeed Africa as a whole.

“The project will tackle unemployment thereby taking our unemployed youths and other persona off the streets.”

“It will also improve on the standard of living of the people of the state and Nigeria at large.

“Apart from the economic benefits, the project will also boost the security of the state because the thick forest serving as a hiding place for criminals would no longer be available, there would be no hidding place for them here Again, ” he added.

He commended Governor Abdullahi Sule for ensuring that the project is established in the state when he was the Managing Director of the Sugar refinery of Dangote Group.

“I also want to commend the host community, Tunga, Awe Local government for supporting the establishment of the refinery in their community and I call for their continued support to enable the project succeed.

The speaker assured of the kawmakers’ continued support for the activities of the  Dangote Group to succeed.

“We will protect the project and ensure  that all pending lands and boundary demarcation issues are addressed peacefully,

“I also appreciate the corporate social responsibility projects of the company to the host community which cut across school and health projects,water and scholarship among others,” he stated.

Earlier, Alhaji Bello Abdullahi Dan-Musa, the General Manager, Government and Strategic Relations, Dangote Industries Ltd who took his time to brief the Speaker on the company’s journey so far in the state appreciated the speaker and his entourage for the visit.

He said that the visit would further boost the relationship between the House and Dangote refinery.

The general manager expressed the determination of Dangote to continue to invest in Nigeria in order to tackle unemployment and uplift the standard of living of Nigerians.

The speaker and his entourage inspected equipments, centre pivot machine, pump station among other facilities in the site.

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Zigma Oil & Gas, Petroleum ministry advocate use of LPG, sensitize women on benefits, business opportunities




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Zigma oil& Gas, Petroleum ministry advocate use of LPG, sensitize women on benefits, business opportunities

From Aminci Audu

The Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, National Center for women Development and the Zigma Gas limited have sensitized the Nigerian women on the importance of liquifued Petroleum Gas, benefits and business opportunities therein.

This was coming just as the United Nations raised concerns that though the oil, gas and energy remains the key contributor to the growth of the Nigerian economy the sector is yet to create opportunity for shared growth, create decent jobs and reduce poverty on a large scale especially for women.

The event which was the official launch of the Nigerian Women for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) project in Abuja over the weekend was aimed at among other things to discourage Nigerian women from using firewood in the near future. 

It also aims to bring economic prosperity to the womenfolk who are the greatest users of the product by involving them in the business chain of distribution of LPG.In a presentation, by Adesina Olaitan on the LPG framework by the ministry of petroleum the first objective he said is for environmental preservation.

He painted a gloomy picture indicating how out of about five cities in Africa, that are heavily polluted, Nigeria has four. 

“That is to tell you why this is very important and you can see Onitsha, Umahia, Abeokuta, Kaduna. This is why it is important to us, there is desertification which is about 3.5% on an annual bases.’Green House emission which is about 200million turns per annum.

This is part of the program to see how we can curb it, since 87% of the population rely on Kerosene.

The ministry projected that it would encourage over 40million households in Nigeria to have access to cooking gas in the next 24 months. 

It indicated that the launch is very important to the health of everybody as it will help to eliminate over 95000 deaths annually which is attributed to firewood. 

“This gas LPG will be all over Nigeria it would be a wonderful revolution. Our women can now be part of oil and gas business.On it’s part the managing director of Zigma Gas, Funmi Ogbue said rural women in Nigeria often cook with infants strapped on their back, exposing both to toxic fumes.

“The risk of developing emphysema is even higher than for people who smoke. Half of those who die are children younger than five.

“She said, Kerosene Stoves are the cause of the loss of many urban homes and deaths as the purchase of contaminated kerosene lead to explosion of the stove and in many instances the release of poisonous fumes.

According to her, the use of LPG will bring benefit to the economy Making LPG accessible to Nigerians, Creation of more jobs for Nigerians and addition of value to the Nations GDP.

Other benefits according to her is in Technical Capacity Building for Artisans and Industry Stakeholders, Contributing to the saving of over $1bn per annum in kerosene Subsidy and Saving of the country’s forest resources.

She described LPG as being versatile, clean and low on greenhouse gas emissions.”LPG is an ideal fuel for cooking and heating.

It is odorless and burns cleanly, producing no smoke or fumes beyond ordinary combustion gases (water, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide).

“LPG is your green choice With LPG, you have the comfort of knowing it has low greenhouse gas emissions and is an environmentally positive fuel choice.

“By using LPG, we can help ensure Nigeria meets its commitments to the Kyoto climate change agreement.”

The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Edward Kallon said available statistics suggest that there are fewer women working in the oil and gas value chain than almost any other major industry and accounting for less than one quarter of employees in the sector world wide.

“This figure grows smaller the higher you go up the business ladder. “I am pleased to join you at this event today and to speak on behalf of the United Nations family in Nigeria. 

“At the center of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 is Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. “Goal 5 is that fine thread that weave together the 17 SDGs and includes measures relevant to the oil and gas sector to Contribute in ending all discrimination against women and girls; Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of infrastructure;  Ensure women’s effective participation and equal Opportunities, and enhance the use of enabling technologies. 
He observed that in Nigeria, many women are still heavily dependent on wood fuel to perform their traditional roles, including cooking and income generating activities, which are highly fuel intensive. 

“Modem fuel sources; such as LPG can therefore save time and improve productivity in many of these fuel and labor intensive enterprises and protect women from the health hazards associated with the use of wood fuel. 

“The distribution of LPG represents an important employment sector with growth potential to support the development and expansion of women entrepreneurship in the the sector. 

“The establishment of a dedicated and inclusive programmes such as the one we are launching here today is crucial in enhancing women’s participation in the LPG space. “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the National Centre for Women Development, and Zigma Gas Limited for this initiative. 

“I am also calling on the Government and other relevant actors to drive non~ discriminatory employment practices, increase access to capacity building and financing initiatives, and engage women in community consultations and decision~making positions and equip them to actively participate in and benefit from the economic potential within the various LPG value chains.”

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