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NDDC To Reward Winners Of Talent Hunt With Car, Dubai Trips, Others …As FG Orders NDDC To Resume …Suspended Scholarship Scheme

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The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has said that it has lined up a brand new car, performance trip to Dubai, internship deals and other prizes for prospective winners of its newly inaugurated talent hunt.
The logo and procedures to participate in the Niger Delta Talent Hunt (NIDETH), aimed at discovering creative Niger Delta youths, were unveiled in Port Harcourt, last Monday, by the Interim Administrator, NDDC, Dr. Efiong Akwa; and Lead Consultant, Harry Song.
Speaking at the event, Song, a popular songwriter, instrumentalist and producer, said the hunt was designed to discover talented Niger Delta youths in the areas of music, comedy and dance.
Song said: “The live auditions will take place in Benin, Edo State on August 6; Yenegoa, Bayelsa State on August 13, and in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on August 20, while the grand finale will take place in Port Harcourt on September 1.
“Interested participants should visit NIDETH website and register with their one-minute video to participate in the live auditioning.
“The winner of the Niger Delta Talent Hunt stands a chance to win a brand new car, a performance trip to Dubai with Harry Song, an internship deal and other consolation prizes. Other participants will also stand the chance to win a wide variety of consolation prizes”.
In his remarks, the Special Adviser on Youths to NDDC Interim Administrator, Udengs Eradiri, said the commission was excited about the programme.
Describing it as a rare opportunity, Eradiri urged youths across the nine states of the region to take advantage of it to pitch their tents in the creative industry.
He said the NDDC under Akwa had been repositioned to roll out empowerment programmes, and create opportunities for youths in the region.
“We are not in short supply of talents in the Niger Delta. The youths are just looking for opportunities to showcase to showcase their talents and the NDDC under Dr. Effiong Akwa, is determine to create these opportunities. There is no doubt that this Niger Delta Talent Hunt will produce superstars in the creative industry”.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has ordered the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to resume the commission’s scholarship scheme suspended some years ago.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Umana Umana, gave the directive during a two-day retreat for senior staff of the NDDC and the Niger Delta Ministry, which ended in Abuja, at the weekend.
An official of the ministry, who spoke in confidence, said Umana vehemently kicked against suggestions to scrap the scheme, and insisted that it would be sustained, expanded and revised to eliminate all forms of corruption in the system.
The source said Umana wanted a scholarship scheme that would be home-driven with a special focus on Nigerian universities.
“The idea is to retain the scheme and make it home-based instead of the usual practice of sending beneficiaries abroad to study courses offered in Nigerian universities.
“Foreign scholarship schemes will not be totally removed. But it will be de-emphasised. Niger Delta students will no longer be sent abroad to study courses offered in Nigerian universities.
“The commission can only sponsor interested scholars overseas to study only special courses that are not found in our universities. Therefore, Umana has ordered the commission to review and re-launch the scholarship scheme.”
The source said other far-reaching decisions were taken at the retreat to reposition the NDDC in harmony with the recommendations of the forensic audit report.
He said it was resolved that NDDC would henceforth streamline its projects against the current practice of awarding many jobs in one fiscal year.
“Henceforth, the NDDC will work closely with the National Assembly to ensure that projects are streamlined. Projects that had been completed would be inaugurated and the commission will also stop issuing emergency contracts”, he said.
He said there was also hope for the contractors, who had finished their jobs but had yet to receive their money as a decision was reached that the commission should focus on clearing its debts.
The source said: “It was also agreed that the NDDC should cancel all projects that had been awarded but the contractors refused to mobilise to their sites. The money for such projects will now be used to complete other abandoned projects.
“The forensic audit report is being implemented in phases. The area that concerned the National Assembly had been sent to the lawmakers. The areas that concern the anti-graft agency have also been directed to them.
“A staff audit has also been ordered to ensure proper placement of workers and retirement of those directors due for retirement. The Niger Delta stakeholders should expect a new NDDC that responds to their yearnings under the current minister”, he said.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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RSNC GM Tasks Medical Practitioners On Emerging Pandemics

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The General Manager of the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation, Publishers of The Tide Newspaper, Chief Ernest Chinwo, has called on medical practitioners in the country to assist the government find workable solution to the array of emerging pandemics, including COVID-19, Lassa fever and monkeypox currently ravaging the country.
Chinwo said this in his office during a courtesy call by organisers of the Rivers State Joint Health Summit 2022.
Represented by the Acting Chairman of Editorial Board and Supervising Editor, Mr Nelson Chukwudi, the general manager also stressed the need for the health professionals to come up with private sector-driven health insurance scheme for the country.
He said that it also behoves on them to pool resources together with a view to building mega hospitals in the country to stem the tide of medical tourism abroad while at the same time curbing brain drain.
The general manager also tasked them to check the incidence of quackery in the medical profession.
Chinwo commended them for the proposed summit, assuring of the cooperation and support of the corporation, especially in providing adequate coverage to their activities.
He said the corporation, since inception has been on the forefront in publicising health issues, stressing that it was against this background that a page was dedicated in The Tide newspaper for health, and called for medical experts to contribute to the robustness of content on the page.
He further noted that beside newspaper publishing, the corporation also does all kinds of commercial printing jobs, and solicited patronage from the health professionals.
Earlier, Secretary General of the Rivers State Joint Health Summit, Dr. Joseph Olawuyi, said the summit with the theme “Repositioning HealthCare services in Rivers state” earlier proposed for the 22 to 26 of August 2022 was moved to October 2022 to ensure mass participation by both government and non-governmental organisations.
Olawuyi said the summit which is being put together by private medical practitioners in partnership with government aims at refocusing the health sector for quality service in the state.
He said a lot of people both within and outside the country have started registering for the summit.
According to him the event will also be used to train health practitioner’s on biomedical engineering as well as encourage the utilization of abundant medical equipment by practitioners.
He urged for a health bank in the country to create access to soft loans by health practitioners.
Olawuyi said the event which will be declared open by Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike will be attended by people from all walks of life including members of the armed forces amongst others.

By: John Bibor & Oreoluwa Adigun

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FG Spends N18.69bn Daily On Subsidy, Minister Confirms

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The Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has disclosed that Nigeria spends N18.69billion daily on petroleum subsidies.
She stated this, yesterday, when she appeared before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating oil subsidies.
The minister claimed Nigeria consumes 64million litres per day, and that the figure could have been influenced by smuggling.
Ahmed said the executive is also concerned about the increment in daily consumption.
She noted that some of the products are being smuggled outside the country, adding that during COVID-19 locked down, daily consumption dropped significantly.
She stated that the president alone cannot take the decision on removing subsidy, insisting that there must be a multi-stakeholder approach, including all political parties, who must sit to make the decision.
The minister disclosed that the landing cost of petroleum is N448 per litre and that the NNPC takes care of the rest through under recovery.
She further said the Federal Executive Council has also expressed worry about the figure presented by the NNPC, adding that as the Minister of Finance, she has no access to the bank statement of the NNPC.
The Chairman of the Committee, Ibrahim Aliyu, questioned the figure provided by the minister.
Aliyu said even during the COVID19 locked down, Nigeria was still consuming high volume, which according to him was not logical.
He claimed the daily petroleum consumption was about 32million litres.
But the minister responded that she is not sure whether daily consumption has doubled and not also sure if the total number of vehicles in the country has doubled in the past 10 years.

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Over 20 Countries Arrive Abuja For 2022 INAC

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The 2022 International Arts and Crafts Expo (INAC), themed “Networking Nigerian Crafts to the World”, was, yesterday, declared open in Abuja, by the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe.
The 15th edition of the Expo holding at the Abuja Sheraton Hotels & Towers has in attendance no fewer than 25 countries and eight states in Nigeria.
Some of the countries already on ground include Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Venezuela, Syria, India, Philippines, China, Iran, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Malaysia, Benin Republic, Sudan, Lebanon, South Korea and Tanzania.
States in Nigeria that have arrived Abuja for the annual international event are Lagos, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, FTC, Kaduna and Katsina.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Runsewe said the aim of the expo is to better project Nigerian crafts to various countries of the world given that our stories are better told by us. It is also to promote cultural exchange programmes and improve inter-country collaborations in music, arts, drama, etc.
The expo, as usual, is expected to amongst other items, feature skill acquisition trainings for young people, free medical examination and care, display of countries art documentaries, exhibitions of countries’ arts, crafts and culture.
Runsewe said: “This is another opportunity we have to showcase Nigerian crafts to the world and to let the world know that Nigeria is a safe place to be. We want Nigerians to know that the creative industry is capable of tackling Nigerian insecurity problems by engaging the youths in our crafts for revenue generation.”
The 2022 expo holds from August 18 to 20, 2022.

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