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US Pledges N8.4bn For 2015 Polls …Firm To Invest $14bn In Nigeria, Others

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The United States Government, yesterday, said it would provide $51million (about N8.4billion) to support credible elections in Nigeria in 2015 and other electoral process in the country in the next five years.
This is contained in the ”Fact Sheet” issued by the White House in Washington DC, which highlighted US support for democratic institutions, good governance and human rights in Africa.
The Tide learnt that the publication was released just as the US-Africa Leaders Summit being attended by 50 leaders from the continent, including President Goodluck Jonathan, began in Washington DC.
The publication stated that the US was working with other donors to support Nigeria’s electoral management bodies and strengthen the ability of the country’s civil society to promote electoral reforms.
According to it, part of the funds will be used to expand voter education and monitor electoral processes in the run-up to the 2015 elections.
The US Government also announced that it had launched “Making All Voices Count,” a programme aimed at supporting innovation and research that would empower citizens in some countries to engage with government.
“The project is being executed in partnership with other governments and private foundations.
“The partnership with the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Omidyar Network, and the Open Society Foundations, is providing $55million globally in support and in capacity building from 2013 through 2017,” it stated.
It said that the first round of grants on the programme, totalling $2.5million had been announced and would benefit African countries, including Nigeria, South Africa, Liberia and Ghana.
Meanwhile, some United States companies are planning $14billion worth of investments in Africa, a White House official said yesterday as the US-Africa Leaders Summit turned its focus to boosting commercial ties.
President Barack Obama is to announce the investment projects later in the day as he addresses some 45 heads of state and government from the African continent invited to Washington for the historic gathering.
The first day of the summit, the largest such meeting ever held in the US capital, saw American officials chiding their guests over democratic reform and civil rights.
But now Obama and titans of US commerce and industry will try to convince their counterparts that America is as determined to take part in Africa’s growth story as China or Europe.
Hundreds of US and African business chiefs will join the political leaders in forums, including the top executives of General Electric, Coca-Cola and Walmart, and African tycoons such as Aliko Dangote, Mo Ibrahim and Ashish Thakkar, the young founder of the tech-focused Mara Group.
Secretary of State John Kerry was straightforward about Washington’s aims, saying “I say unabashedly: We want and we will work hard to get more American companies to invest in Africa.”
Kerry said Monday, that “We also want more African companies to invest here in the United States, and there’s no reason that they shouldn’t.”
Amid African criticism that American businesses are less knowledgeable and more afraid of risks on the continent than European and Asian rivals, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said the US government would boost efforts to build commercial ties.
“The time to do business in Africa is no longer five years away. The time to do business is now.”
Pritzker stressed that building trade and investments with Africa would be good for both sides, helping African countries develop and creating jobs in the United States.
“As Africa’s middle class continues to expand, we hope to see our export numbers grow,” she said.
The United States remains the largest source of investment on the continent, but most of that has been in the oil and gas sector.
However, China and Europe have built stronger positions in infrastructure, manufacturing and trade, with China’s trade with Africa more than double that of the United States.
A White House official said the new investments being announced will span a range of industries, including construction, clean energy, banking and information technology.
Stephen Hayes of the Corporate Council on Africa, a US business group, said Tuesday’s private sector meetings could get US companies more interested in the continent.
“From the standpoint of the US, we need CEOs to be more engaged,” he said.
“For America to be able to compete for the long term, with China and others, they are going to require partnerships.”

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Residents Nab Man Dumping Fresh Corpse In PH

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A middle-aged man has been caught dumping the fresh corpse of a male with suspected machete cuts on it.
The suspect identified as Israel Israel, who claimed to be a native of Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, was apprehended, last Friday, while carting away a truck used in dumping a fresh male body on the Cherubim Road Bridge, Mile 3, Diobu axis in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of the state.
A local security personnel in the area, Richman Jogwe, said the suspect was apprehended with the truck used in dumping the dead body.
Jogwe said: “This truck was used in dumping a dead body with machete cuts in the face, head, leg and hands. So, in early hours of today, this man came to take the truck, and we got him arrested.”
He further disclosed that the suspect had been handed over to the Nkpolu Divisional Police Headquarters, Mile 3, Diobu, for interrogation.
In his reaction, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Nnamdi Omoni, said he was aware of the incident, but insisted he had no detailed information.
Omoni was quoted as saying: “I am aware that the man who brought the truck has been arrested. When I get the full details, I will let you know.”

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Wike, Real Madrid Sign Cooperation Ratification Pact

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Real Madrid and the Rivers State Government have signed a cooperation ratification agreement for promotion of sports amongst children and youths at the Real Madrid Academy, Port Harcourt.
The signing of the ratification of the framework for cooperation agreement between the international football club and the Rivers State Government took place over the weekend at the Auditorium of Real Madrid Sport City, Fuerzas Armadas Avenue, 402, Madrid, Spain.
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, on behalf of the Rivers State Government; the Executive Vice President of the Real Madrid Foundation, Mr. Enrique Sanchez; and President of Interact Sports, Mr. Jihad Saade; jointly signed the agreement.
Speaking at the event, Wike commended the Real Madrid Foundation and the Interact Sports for the opportunity given to the Rivers State Government to partner with the Real Madrid Football Club in order to encourage Rivers’ youths to develop their talents and skill through sport.
He said the state government was pleased to ratify the agreement with the Real Madrid Foundation, and assured that everything has been done to fully kick-start the Real Madrid Academy in Port Harcourt.
Wike, who was accompanied by the Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, and the Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor (SAN), explained that the initial intention was to admit only boys as students into the Real Madrid Academy, but following the huge application received from prospective female students, the state government had to reconsider the policy.
“We had to stop to include the girls. We are very ready to kick-start the school, and we believe that this is a very good opportunity for our people. We are honoured to be identified with the Real Madrid; it is a good brand for us.”
Wike reaffirmed his belief that sport was an important factor in social integration and in the promotion of ethical values such as solidarity, participation, team spirit, respect for one’s opponent and non-discrimination.
The Real Madrid Foundation maintained its resolve to continue to promote sports amongst children and youths in the understanding that sports contributes to the comprehensive development of a young person’s personality, offering positive alternatives to situations of risk and fostering healthy habits and ways of life amongst children and youths.
On his part, the President of Interact Sports, Jihad Saade, said that Interact Sports has been an active contributor to the dynamic transformation of Nigeria, moving forward with modernity without forgetting Nigeria’s rich culture and heritage.
All the parties mutually acknowledged that they have the necessary legal capacity and authorisation to execute and subscribe to the protocol.
The Real Madrid Foundation is the instrument by which Real Madrid uses to promote, both in Spain as well as abroad, the values inherent in sports, and the latter’s role as an educational tool capable of contributing to the comprehensive development of the personality of those who practice it.

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…Omehia Hails Wike On Feat

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Former governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia, has said that The Sun Man of the Year 2020 Award conferred on Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, was very fitting and timely.
Omehia also expressed gratitude to The Sun Publishing Limited, publishers of Daily Sun, Saturday Sun, Sunday Sun and Sporting Sun for recognising the achievements of Wike for the third consecutive time.
In a statement, yesterday, Omehia said that Wike was deserving of the award considering the giant developmental strides he has recorded in Rivers State.
He described Wike as an astute administrator and a distinguished politician who listens to the needs of the people of Rivers State and implements them accordingly.
Omehia said that Wike has during his over six years’ stint as governor of Rivers, performed excellently in the different facets of the lives of the Rivers people.
He maintained that as someone who has had the opportunity of occupying the coveted office, he can bear testimony to the fact that the Nyesom Wike-led administration has done excellently well.
According to Omehia, “his records in infrastructural development, security, urban and rural development, human resources development, including his political prowess, are unrivalled.
“Governor Wike has deployed the resources of the state to the benefit of the people, justifying the mandate massively and duly given to him by the people of Rivers State.”
Omehia also called on the opposition political parties in the state to emulate the leadership qualities of Wike, and join hands with the performing governor to move the state forward.
While noting that in unity, the state stands to gain in all ramifications, Omehia stated that division would do no one any good, irrespective of his status or political affiliation.
He further said he was not regretting his performance during his short stay in Government House, Port Harcourt as governor of the state, saying that he left significant landmarks for residents of the state.

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