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‘Covid-19, Most Serious Global Challenge Since World War Two’

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The Vice-Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Prof. Charles Igwe, says Covid-19 pandemic is indisputably the highest global challenge since World War 2.
Igwe spoke in Nsukka during UNN’s 1st Annual International Conference titled: “A Whole New World; Research, Development and Innovation in the Pandemic Era.”
He said that Covid-19 has killed many people, infected many others, affected economies and changed ways of life in every part of the world.
“covid-19 pandemic is the most serious global challenge the world has witnessed since the World War 2,”he said.
The VC commended Federal Government’s efforts in handling the pandemic and implementation of post Covid-19 economic sustainability plans.
“The aim of this conference is to disseminate some researches, innovations and developments taking place in UNN to national, regional and global audiences.
”The conference will be used to identify areas where there is gap in knowledge and the priorities for further research on ways and means of fighting the present and future pandemic in Nigeria.
”It will also bring together researchers, policy makers, development partners, NGOs and research funders both in Nigeria and outside,” he said.
Igwe who was represented by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), Prof. Johnson Urama, urged participants to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the conference to advance research, development and innovations for the wellbeing of the global community.
“Is my wish that this conference will generate quantum of ideas, methodologies and actionable recommendations for policy makers in different fields of human endeavours to advance the fight against Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
In a virtual remark, Prof. Oyewale
Tomori, the Chairman of Ministerial Advisory Committee on Covid-19 (MEACOC), urged Nigerians to take the Covid-19 vaccine
Tomori who was also the keynote speaker said that the vaccine is not harmful.
”Nigerians should disregard the social media and speculations in some quarters that the vaccine is harmful or has dangerous after effect.
“The vaccine was approved after series of research and examination by world health experts as well as World Health Organisation,” he said.
Oyewale, however, said that the advent of Covid-19 in Nigeria and Africa exposed the inadequate facilities in health, education and other sectors of the economy.
“It’s unfortunate that among the countries in the world that produced Covid-19 vaccine none is from Nigeria or Africa.
“Government should pay more attention in funding and equipping universities than establishing new ones as if universities are pure water industry.
“It gives me concern that none of the universities in the country is among the best ranked universities in the world,” Oyewale said.
The Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the conference, Prof. Chidi Nzeadibe, said that Covid-19 pandemic has reset the ways of work and life across the globe.
He said that the pandemic boosted innovations in research and development around the world.
“At UNN, many researchers have leveraged on the opportunities inherent in the adversity of the pandemic to come up with research outputs with huge potential to improve lives and livelihood.
“These researches will help us to overcome or adapt to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

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Senators Fault Buhari’s Planned Farm Settlements

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Some senators have expressed concerns over plans by the regime of President. Muhammadu Buhari, to establish farm settlements in each of the 108 senatorial districts in Nigeria.
They noted that any arrangement to acquire land by the Federal Government at the moment without giving details of what it would be used for, might face stiff resistance from various communities.
The President had last month, directed the National Agricultural Land Development Authority to set up the integrated farm estates in 108 senatorial districts nationwide.
Already, the policy has been greeted with criticisms from the leadership of the various ethnic groups in the middle belt, and southern part of the country, describing it as an attempt in disguise, to create grazing areas for cattle.
The Senator representing Edo South Senatorial District, Matthew Urhoghide, said the Federal Government should give details of the project before approaching state governments for land allocation.
He said, “We are in the Senate to represent our people. I know what my people want
“What we quarrel against is open grazing; we are not against ranching. We are not saying that a Fulani man that has a herd of cattle cannot come to the South to do the business of ranching but he cannot come to carry out open grazing.
“Grazing has two effects. It leads to wanton destruction of farmland. You cannot use animal husbandry to destroy crop farming. There are also criminal cases associated with it including murder.
“If the Federal Government is coming to get land in my state for ranching, it is okay because we need beef, which would be richer, when it is from the ranching system.
“However, the government should make its intention very clear on the policy to avoid major clashes and crisis.”
Similarly, Senator Abba Moro, representing Benue South in the red chamber said government could make arrangements for herders to do the business of ranching but not at the  expense of the farmers.
He advised the Federal Government to go to the drawing board and come up with a modern arrangement to make ranching the way to go.
He said, “When government policies are viewed with suspicion, when citizens lack trust in government policies, then something is wrong.
“Until we address the root causes of conflicts between herders and farmers, and genuinely come out with the right way to go through dialogue, any policy that is thrown at the citizens will be looked at with suspicion which would cause some level of tension.

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Senator Wants Improved Network For Results Transmission

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The Senate Chief Whip, Sen. Orji Kalu, says  Nigeria requires 95 per cent of national network coverage to enable electronic transmission of election results in the country.
Kalu said this in an interview with The Tide source yesterday in Abuja.
Recall that 52 senators on July 15 voted against electronic transmission of results in the forthcoming general election while 28 voted for and 28 absentees.
The senators insisted that the Independent National Electoral Commission should be compelled to seek clearance from Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) while the National Assembly would have to approve the verdict of NCC.
Kalu, insisted the current network coverage was inadequate.
“I have never been against transmission of results , I only said we don’t have adequate coverage where we live,this is the issue.
“We have coverage, but it is not adequate.
‘Like Abia North Senatorial District where I come from, there is no adequate coverage, may be 43 per cent coverage, so how are we going to do that.
“ I believe in electronic transmission,but I want to quickly urge the NCC to deploy their technology to ensure wider coverage; I believe in that process because it is transparent.
“ I don’t want to listen to officials who want to buy equipment and make commissions, I am telling myself the truth, if we even have a coverage of 95 per cent it will be okay, but we have below 50 per cent in the entire country.
“I am not talking about my constituency.
“ It wasn’t a party decision to vote against e transmission and not a clique decision, it was out of my conscience.
“ I can only do what I will do that will benefit all Nigerians,” Kalu said.

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Igbo Stakeholders Decry Absence Of S’East Govs At Forum

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The absence of four Governors of the South-East in the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting held last Thursday in Enugu has been strongly condemned by members of the Concerned Igbo Stake-holders Forum (CISF). 
The leader of the group, Mr Chukwuma Okenwa told newsmen in Enugu that there was no justifiable reason that would be enough for these governors to be absent in a meeting of such magnitude.
According to him, it was wrong particularly coming at a time when the region is battling socio-economic and security concerns stemming from the sit-at-home order issued by the proscribed separatist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
His words: “The absence of the Governors of Abia, Ebonyi, Imo and Anambra States leaves a lot to question the commitment of these governors to the growth and advancement of the South-East in missing a crucial meeting held within their geopolitical zone.
He further described as very disturbing the conspicuous absence of the Anambra Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, or a representative from the state at the meeting. 
Okenwa said that the body language of the South-East governors in recent times leaves no one to doubt that these governors have magnified their interest above that of the region and Ndi-Igbo in general.
“Their gaze at the forthcoming elections in 2023 is becoming an unbearable distraction for them in delivering their mandate to the people,” he also lamented.
The group, therefore beckoned on Ndi-Igbo, regardless of political party affiliation, to unite and formidably negotiate a favourable space in the political scheme of things.
According to him, when this is done, we will ensure an unhindered growth and development of all Igbos, he added.

By: Canice Amadi, Enugu

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