By: Manny Ita
Palpable Expectations of President Buhari’s Return From China
Bilateral relationships between Nigeria and China dates back to February 10, 1971when the two countries signed bilateral relationship which have over four decades spanned tremendously. In April 2005, China and Nigeria, the most populous developing countries in the world and Africa, declared the establishment of a strategic partnership, which lifted the bilateral ties to new highs and sounded the clarion call to form an all-directional, multi-layered and wide-ranging cooperation. Presently, Chinese investments in Nigeria alone are pegged at over a $100bn dollars and this is expected to grow in the coming years. The areas of cooperation between both countries cover infrastructure, energy, trade and finance, all of which have scored impressive achievements, with bilateral trade volume between both nations standing at $14.94 billion, representing 8.3 per cent of total trade volume between China and Africa, and 42 per cent of total trade volume between China and ECOWAS countries.
As at today, China is the top lender to Nigeria, where political instability and violence have shrunken Western interests. It may be worthy to note that Nigeria is the first African country to accept Chinese RMB in its foreign reserve.
Needless to belabor the fact that President Buhari, since taking over the leadership of the nation in may 2015, has embarked on numerous foreign trips each with clear mission of not only seeking international collaboration on fighting corruption but also working assiduously on ensuring that stolen funds by corrupt public officials are repatriated to Nigeria. However, there still is need to even explore more areas where this relationship can further benefit both countries which informed the president’s visit at the prompt of the Chinese government.
The first to be embarked upon by an African leader after the 2015 China/Africa summit, the president’s visit to the Asian nation could not have come at a better time as the Buhari’s administration urgently needs to foster economic growth and development.
The call to diversify the economy from an oil-dependent one has always been clarion and the hardship which dwindling oil revenues have inflicted on the nation’s staggering economy is simply an indication that the nation can no longer rely solely on oil as its major source of revenue generation with economic experts persistently calling on the President to revamp the agricultural sector and make it more attractive as it were in the past before the discovery of oil.
Over the years, Nigeria’s infrastructure development has remained poor. From epileptic power supply, to bad road transport network, impeding easy movement of agricultural produce and services from rural to urban centers, absence of efficient and modern railway networks, degrading aviation sector and an unproductive housing sector, so many questions and expectations trailed the president’s visit with millions of jobless Nigerians adding to the strain.
Thankfully, on arrival from China, President Buhari expressed satisfaction with the outcome of his working visit which he said yielded additional investments in Nigeria exceeding $6 billion and confident that the several agreements concluded with the Chinese during the visit will have a huge and positive impact on key sectors of the Nigerian economy including power, solid minerals, agriculture, housing and rail transportation.
According to the President, in the power sector, North South Power Company Limited and Sinohydro Corporation Limited signed an agreement valued at $478,657,941.28 for the construction of 300 Mega Watts solar power in Shiriro, Niger State.
For the solid minerals sector, Granite and Marble Nigeria Limited and Shanghai Shibang signed an agreement valued at $55 million for the construction and equipping of granite mining plant in Nigeria.
A total of $1 billion is to be invested in the development of a greenfield expressway for Abuja-Ibadan-Lagos under an agreement reached by the Infrastructure Bank and Sinohydro Corporation Limited while in the housing sector, both companies also sealed a $250 million deal to develop an ultra modern 27-storey high rise complex and a $2.5 billion agreement for the development of the Lagos Metro Rail Transit Red Line project.
Other agreements announced and signed during the visit as revealed by Mr. President included a $1 billion for the establishment of a Hi-tech industrial park in Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone in Igbesa, Ogun State, apart from a signed agreement of the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone and CNG (Nigeria) Investment Limited valued at $200 million for the construction of two 500MT/day float gas facilities.
While an agreement valued at $363 million for the establishment of a comprehensive farm and downstream industrial park in Kogi state was also announced at the Nigeria-China business forum, other agreements undergoing negotiations include a $500 million project for the provision of television broadcast equipment and a $25 million facility for production of pre-paid smart meters between Mojec International Limited and Microstar Company Limited.
We applaud the President for the consistent strides he has made in revamping the economy but point out at this juncture, the need to ensure that after all these efforts, spanners are not thrown into the works as one bane of Nigeria’s economic fortunes has been poor implementation of policies, projects and the prevalence of corruption in national wafting across all dealings.
We want to believe the president is conversant with this ugly trend which he also is fighting assiduously to stamp out from the system and therefore enjoin relevant stakeholders to give the President full support in making Nigeria a country we all have for long dreamed and wished for.
AFRIMA Advocates Concerted Measures to Combat Drug Abuse in Africa’s Creative Industry
The burgeoning creative industry on the continent, encompassing music, film, fashion, and other artistic realms, has witnessed remarkable growth and international recognition. But beneath the surface of this success, there exists a darker narrative, which is the prevalence of drug abuse within the creative circles, one that the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) has now sought collaboration to address head-on.
The President and the Executive Producer of AFRIMA, Mike Dada, made the call during the High-Level Session on Addressing Substance Use and Related Mental Health Disorders organized by the African Union in Lusaka, Zambia, held between November 8 and 10.
The event, themed “Securing a Better Future for Youth, Women, and Children: Building Momentum Towards Africa We Want,” gathered Presidents from various African countries, ministers, diplomats, and technocrats.
While speaking at the prestigious event, Dada expressed deep concern over how drug abuse has negatively impacted many stars, resulting in lives lost and debilitating illnesses. Citing a report, he revealed that drug abuse and related disorders claimed the lives of 379 celebrities across Africa from 1995 to 2013, with around 5,304 incidents of life-threatening illnesses recorded within the same period.
Dada also underscored the importance of a stronger legal framework to ensure artists use their platforms responsibly. AFRIMA supports measures enforcing penalties for artists producing content glorifying drug use, promoting personal responsibility within the creative community.
“Artists are role models but unfortunately audiences of some of them are aware of their involvement with drugs and that is why we believe that holding individuals accountable for drug-related offences within the creative industry is essential to creating a deterrent effect and fostering a culture of responsibility.
“We also believe that we can have an industry that can self-regulate on the issue of drug and drug abuse; the sector can adopt some measures including compelling artists to sign contracts with clauses that explicitly prohibit drug use. This can act as a deterrent. Artists and industry professionals should be made aware of the consequences of drug abuse, including contract termination, legal actions, and damage to reputation,” he added.
Dada stressed that drug abuse within the creative community poses a threat to the health and well-being of artists and the sustainability of the industry. He called for a comprehensive, collaborative solution involving artists, industry stakeholders, governments, and the public.
“The menace of drug abuse and disorder in the creative sector reflects how deeply the malaise has eaten into African society, and we at AFRIMA recognize that a comprehensive solution requires a collaborative effort from artists, industry stakeholders, governments, and the public,” he said.
Highlighting the need to target the supply channels, Dada insisted on strengthening measures against drug trafficking and distribution. He advocated for robust actions to identify and eliminate sources of illegal substances, preventing their infiltration into the creative industry.
Dada said authorities must strengthen measures against drug trafficking and distribution, insisting that by targeting the supply channels, the flow of drugs into the hands of artists and consumers would be disrupted.
“The influx of illicit drugs poses a significant threat to public health, security, and the overall well-being of the African society. It is evident we don’t have sufficient rehabilitation centres and policies to help addicts hence the need for implementing robust measures to identify and eliminate sources of illegal substances, preventing their infiltration into the creative industry; through the adoption of measures including effective border control, increased maritime security, utilization of advanced technology, increased penalties for traffickers, integration of intelligence gathering and integration of intelligence gathering among others. This is crucial for safeguarding communities and ensuring a healthier creative industry,” he added.
ANLCA Chieftain, Henry Njoku Debunks Purported Dissolution of Necom by Taiwo Mustapha
The Patron of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ANLCA, chief Henry Njoku says the purported dissolution of the National Executive Committee NECOM of the Association as credited to one Dapo Olawumi who alleged that Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha a self acclaimed ANLCA board of Trustees Chairman has dissolved the NECOM was a ruse, malicious, misleading and inconsistent with ANLCA supreme constitution.
Addressing journalists in his office in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital recently, Njoku said, ” My attention has been drawn to a publication credited to Dapo Olawumi that the National Executive Committee NECOM of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ANLCA has been dissolved by Taiwo Mustapha who was alleged to be the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of ANLCA and acted in that capacity to purport to have dissolved the NECOM”
The visibly angry ANLCA Patron and chief executive officer of Harritex group of companies, Chief Henry Njoku, said he would not have wasted his time replying to such hoax and garbage being dished out by those who did not mean well for the association but to put the record straight added , “I wish to state that such publication is misleading and such dissolution is inconsistent with ANLCA’s supreme constitution and only reflects the wish of those who do not mean well for ANLCA”, insisting that “all well-meaning members of ANLCA should disregard the said unconstitutional act and remain calm.”
Speaking further, Njoku said that Taiwo Mustapha who has been specifically restrained by a Federal high Court sitting in Lagos in 2018 in suit no FHC/L/CS/1274 /2018 from parading himself as Chairman of Board of Trustees of ANLCA is neither a member of Board of Trustees of ANLCA nor the Chairman of Board of Trustees of ANLCA registered and recognized by Corporate Affairs Commission Abuja, and wondered where such power to dissolve ANLCA NECOM was gotten even as he maintained that “Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha and his cohorts have no power under ANLCA’s supreme constitution to announce such dissolution and appointment as Taiwo Mustapha has been specifically restrained by the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos in suit no FHC/L/CS/1274 /2018 from parading himself as Chairman of Board of Trustees of ANLCA. ”
In a related development, the Eastern Zonal executive committee of ANLCA has rejected in its entirety the purported dissolution of ANLCA National Executive Committee ably led by the Acting National president, Dr Farinto Collins.
This position was disclosed to Newsmen in Port Harcourt by the Zonal Secretary Sir Joshua Ahuama on behalf of the Zonal Chairman Chief Uche Martins.
Rising from an emergency meeting weekend , Ahuama said, the zone having perused all the relevant provisions, sections and sub-sections of the ANLCA constitution has decided to solidly stand on the decisions of the National Executive council (NEC) held on Wednesday July 12, 2023 at RockView Hotel Abuja, extending the tenure of the current NECOM by three months in line with ANLCA supreme constitution and also upheld the NEC decision to grant one month extension request by the Association Electoral Commission (ASECO) to conduct free, fair and credible elections.
The zone insisted that NEC is the only organ of the Association saddled with such responsibilities and power for extension as contained in the ANLCA constitution and wondered why anybody or group of persons should announce the dissolution of the National Executive Committee and appoint an administrator without recourse to the ANLCA constitution.
He described such act as unconstitutional which violated the provisions of the Association’s constitution, even as the zone dissociated herself from the alleged dissolution of NECOM while pledging her unwavering loyalty to the Acting National president Dr Farinto Collins led administration.
Recall that ANLCA which is the oldest Maritime association in Nigeria has been engulfed in a lingering crisis for many years which has defied every effort to resolve it.
Industry watchers believed that the recent moves made by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) would have solved the problem, but with the situation on ground one may wont to believe that the end to this lingering crisis might not be in sight after all.
Credit: Bon Peters
Police Arrest 2 Pastors for Killing Female Church Member for Rituals
Two pastors have been arrested for beheading a woman for ritual purposes and burying her body in the church premises.
The suspects: Olusola Akindele, 42, and Ayodele Bamiduro, 42, of the Lion of Judah Church of Christ, 13, Robiyan Avenue, Robiyan, near Ijoko, sango ota were arrested by men of the Ogun State Police Command following an investigation after the woman’s remains were found.￼￼￼
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