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Saraki, Chaudhury To Chair Commonwealth Summit

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President of the Senate of
Nigeria, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the Parliament of Bangladesh and Chair of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Dr. Shirin Chaudhury, have been appointed to co-chair the Commonwealth Africa Summit Parliamentary Roundtable.
A statement issued by the CPA office in London, yesterday, explained that Chaudhury, the first woman speaker of Bangladesh Parliament, has experience of working with Commonwealth countries and governments.
The statement added that she was involved in implementing the Commonwealth Gender Plan of Action, and held the Commonwealth Gender Chair for two years, and helped Bangladesh host the successful 10th Commonwealth Women Affairs Ministers’ Meeting in 2013.
According to the CPA, the State Minister for Women and Children, promoted gender equality, and contributed in formulating National Women Development Policy, Children Policy and Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act.
A Commonwealth scholar, she completed Doctor of Philosophy in Law from University of Essex, UK (2000) and was conferred an Honorary PhD in 2014.
Shirin was awarded Asia Society’s Humanitarian Services Award in 2010 for her role in preventing violence against women and has been a practicing Advocate of Bangladesh Supreme Court since 2009.
Chaudhury was elected as the chairperson of the CPA Executive Committee in October 2014 during the annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference and General Assembly of the CPA, the statement said, and hoped that she would unleash her expertise in driving the body’s agenda for future growth.
On the other hand, Saraki was the special assistant to the President of Nigeria on Budget in 2000 where he was responsible for preparing the 2000/2001 National Budget, and equally initiated the Fiscal Responsibility Bill as well as served on the Economic Policy Co-ordination Committee, where he was responsible for the formulation and implementation of key economic policies for Nigeria.
With a vision to translate his experiences into progress and development for the people of Kwara State, Saraki was called upon by his people to contest for the position of executive governor of the state.
He was elected and sworn into office in 2003, and based on his performances and achievements, Saraki was re-elected in the 2007 general election for second term in office.
As governor, he garnered national and international acclaim for his innovative approaches to agriculture, health, education, fiscal policy and environmental reforms.
His spirit of team work endeared him to his colleagues where he was appointed as Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum. In that capacity, he championed a peer review mechanism among the governors of Nigerian states.
Saraki also used the platform to create a harmonious working relationship between the executive and the legislative arm of government at the national level, and was the first Nigerian governor to be awarded the National Honor of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), among other achievements
The statement noted that the Parliamentary Roundtable will also feature parliamentarians from Commonwealth Countries in Africa, especially Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana.
In its 3rd year, the Commonwealth Africa Summit holding alongside the Commonwealth Day Observance Service, is a major event in our calendar, the statement indicated, adding that the 2016 Summit will convene Heads of Government, senior ministers, public sector leaders, the private sector, investors and senior executives in one place to discuss trade and investment, business opportunities, security and development – with special emphasis on Africa and will build on the inaugural programme held in March 2014 in London.
The CAS Summit was designed to provide a space for high level dialogue between Business and Government leaders from Commonwealth countries from Africa and their counterparts from other parts of the globe.
The summit will also provide a platform for Commonwealth nations from Africa to showcase investment opportunities to a wider business community while learning best practices on securing their homeland and borderlines.

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Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road

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No fewer than 400 youths under the aegis of Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, giving the Federal Government 14 days ultimatum to mobilize to site and fix the road or have economic activities in the area grounded.
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.

By: Taneh Beemene

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Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank

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The World Bank has said that rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.

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Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms

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Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 17.93 per cent in May, 2021, from 18.12 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.

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