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Flooding: NiMet puts some states on high alert



Joel Oladele, Abuja

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has issued a high risk flood alert in some parts of Nigeria in the next couple of weeks and urged residents in such areas to put precautionary measures in place ahead of time.

NiMet which is the Federal Government agency responsible for continuous observation and monitoring of rainfall events, forecasting and provision of early warnings made this known on Tuesday in Abuja through the Director General/CEO of the agency, Prof. Mansur Matazu, while issuing its forecast for August-September-October, ASO Season 2022 to newsmen.

The areas warned of possible high risk flooding are Central Borno, Northern parts of Sokoto, Kebbi, Kaduna, Bayelsa and Delta states. Central Kebbi, Zamfara, Niger, Western Kaduna, Yobe and parts of Plateau state were listed for medium risk flood area while the rest of the country may face less risk flooding.

For rainfall prediction, northern states such as Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Yobe, Borno, Bauchi, Kebbi, Gombe, Kaduna and Adamawa, are expected to experience “Above Normal” rainfall, while “Near to Above Normal” rainfall conditions are expected over parts of Southwestern states like Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, and Edo states.

The DG added that “Near Normal” rainfall conditions are expected across parts of Kaduna, Adamawa, Edo, Ekiti, Oyo, Bauchi, Gombe and Ondo states, while “Normal to Below Normal” conditions are expected over the South-south and inland states including Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Abia, Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu states.

He therefore urged “States and National Emergency Agencies” to “intensify adaptation, mitigation and response mechanisms”.

“States that are expected to experience varying degrees of flood episodes are advised to begin their awareness campaigns through field extension workers for possible response activities especially at the high risk areas.

“Measures to prevent mud slide disasters by relevant authorities especially in the South East are advised to be put in place,” he added.

Addressing the question on the synergy between traditional and scientific methods of weather forecast, the NiMET boss said the two work together and efforts are ongoing to document how traditional method can be used to complement the scientific method.

“We run an analysis across the world. There is what we call traditional weather forecasting, where people use natural phenomena like the position of the stars, behaviour of the animals and also plants to be able to predict weather. And since it’s just part of ingenuity of human beings, it has been on record that in Egypt for the last 5000 years, they were using the position of stars to determine the flood prospect of river Nile which also is the live fire for their survival and this has high absolute precision.

“Largely in Nigeria, we have evidence of this local interpretation and modification of weather but it has not been documented, so we are working with the department in Nasarawa State University of History and Theology to document this.

“However, even the traditional method when you digest it, because they don’t reveal the secret to their children, the nitty gritty of what they do but it has scientific elements in it because it involves burning cigarette smoke and this smoke will inject certain particles into the atmosphere and this is the same thing we do in science for weather modification that we call cloud shielding. It has been tested in Russia and the Southern part of Europe since 1960.

“So, this has been recorded over the years but because of the uncertainties and generally as human beings we should know there is power behind the climate and as such, what we can do is to study the factors responsible and be able to predict it. So, this exist and we are documenting it but we don’t have evidence of witchcraft in science.”

Professor Matazu also said; “The details of rainmaking have some scientific elements. An average farmer in Africa can predict weather. When a farmer goes to the farm in the morning and looks at the direction of the wind and the intensity of the sun, he will tell you any time between 2 and 3pm, there will be shower and it will happen.

“In the south we have seen when there is approaching thunderstorm, you will see goats, they become restless because they have magnetic feet and these magnetic feet feel the discharge of high voltage electrical discharge of the thunderstorm in the atmosphere and when you see the goats becoming restless, it shows the thunderstorm is approaching.

“For us in the North, we have some shrubs that fold during the transition period of dry season to raining season, we have some ants and animals that flourish and multiply during a certain weather, so all these is just to get it documented and we are very happy to combine the traditional method with the scientific method.

“Even with high advancement of technology, we use satellites, we use radar but we still use the conventional traditional method to be able to sustain the manual operation and also provide the backup for the automated. it’s something that exists and if properly documented we can align it with science.”

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NEITI develops corrective action plan to enhance Nigeria’s EITI implementation – Orji



The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), says it has developed a Corrective Action Plan to address issues identified in its validation report by the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

It said the corrective action plan had been shared with the EITI International Secretariat, outlining concrete steps to enhance Nigeria’s implementation of the EITI Standard.

Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, the Executive Secretary, NEITI said this on Wednesday in Abuja while briefing the newsmen on the status of the EITI implementation in Nigeria.

A delegation from EITI International Secretariat had visited Nigeria in January to officially communicate the validation outcome to the government.

Global EITI was established with the objective of transparency and disclosing payments and revenues from extractive resources.

The global institution has made significant progress in facilitating openness though the entire processes in the resource extraction value chain.

Orji, however, said the briefing was necessary to address important developments since after the EITI Mission in Nigeria.

“Meanwhile, as part of the follow up actions to the EITI delegation visit, NEITI has developed a corrective action plan to address the issues identified in the validation report.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Nigeria’s corrective actions will focus on improving our ranking on Stakeholders’ Engagement, which include: Government, Company and Civil Society Engagements as well as Multi Stakeholders’ Governance.

“Other requirements are Contracts and licence allocations and Licence Register Contracts.

“Already, our strategy on improving stakeholders’ engagement has yielded very positive results. We now have the NSWG in place with the SGF chairing the NEITI Board,’’ he said.

He said one major message the EITI International Mission communicated clearly to our government was the urgency to reconstitute the NEITI NSWG (Board) which was dissolved on June 19, 2023.

President Bola Tinubu had on April 22, approved reconstitution of a 15- member National Stakeholders’ Working Group (NSWG) for NEITI.

The executive secretary said to reaffirm Nigeria’s highest commitment, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume was announced as the Chairman of the NSWG.

“Other members of the new NEITI Board (6th NSWG) include; the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Zacch Adedeji representing government and the Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.), Malam Mele Kyari representing Companies, among others.

“I wish to clarify that it is a 15-member Board, no more, no less as provided by law. As Secretary to the Board and NEITI Executive Secretary/CEO, I remain on a five-year single term, no more, no less as provided by law.

“NEITI is following with interest but from a distance, the ongoing independent process by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to elect their representative on the Board.

“While we commend the painstaking efforts from the CSOs constituency, we hope this will be completed very soon to enable them take up their rightful position waiting for them on the reconstituted Board.

“For this to happen, I appeal and call on the civil society to close ranks and bury their differences. NEITI is and always will be their institution ready and open to work with all CSOs as important partners in the EITI,’’ he said.

Orji, while commending the larger CSOs on the support it had received from them in areas of partnership and collaboration, he said that its relationship with the media had been impressive, especially on information dissemination and public enlightenment efforts.

He reassured stakeholders, international partners and the global EITI that no stone was being left unturned in ensuring that at the next validation, Nigeria would score the maximum points of 100 in its assessment.

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Police arrest 2 over alleged church robbery in Benin



Police in Edo have arrested two suspects, aged 26 years and 30 years in connection with a Benin church robbery.

Police Commissioner in the state, Mr Funsho Adegboye, paraded the suspects before newsmen in Benin on Wednesday.

He said the duo stormed the church on April 14 and robbed the pastor, Ms Juliet Imubhin, and other members of their belongings.

“Imubhin told the police that three armed men walked into the church with guns and robbed them of their valuables.

“The armed robbers abducted the pastor and took her away in her Toyota Highlander jeep.

“She was driven to a spot where they forced her to disclose her bank debit card pin which they used to withdraw money from her account,’’ he said.

He explained that police operatives, however, intercepted the vehicle on Auchi Road on April 16 and arrested the suspects.

One of the suspects, however, denied his involvement in the crime while speaking with newsmen.

“My friend only asked me to serve as an escort to deliver a vehicle to its owner. We were on the road when the police arrested us.

“I only got to know that it was a stolen vehicle after we were arrested,’’ he said.

The other suspect also denied his involvement in the crime, saying his friend, still at large, asked him to deliver the vehicle to a buyer.

“On the said day of the robbery, I went to attend Oodua Peoples Congress meeting and after the meeting I went to meet my father. I know nothing about the robbery.

“I met my friend at a drinking joint. We were drinking when he received a phone call that they would be taking a vehicle to the owner.

“He then asked if I wanted to escort them and I agreed because he said they would pay money after the delivery of the vehicle,’’ he narrated.

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Tinubu approves take-off of N100bn consumer credit for Nigerians



President Bola Tinubu has approved the commencement of the N100 billion Consumer Credit Scheme for Nigerians amid escalating economic hardship in the country.

Ajuri Ngelale, the President’s spokesperson, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.

He stated that interested Nigerians are expected to visit the portal of Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation before May 15, 2024.

“Consumer credit serves as the lifeblood of modern economies, enabling citizens to enhance their quality of life by accessing goods and services upfront, paying responsibly over time. It facilitates crucial purchases, such as homes, vehicles, education, and healthcare, which are essential for ongoing stability and the pursuit of their aspirations.

“Individuals build credit histories through responsible repayment, unlocking more opportunities for a better life. The increased demand for goods and services also stimulates local industry and job creation.

“The President believes every hardworking Nigerian should have access to social mobility, with consumer credit playing a pivotal role in achieving this vision.

“The Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation (CREDICORP) achieves its mandate through the following: Strengthening Nigeria’s credit reporting systems and ensuring every economically active citizen has a dependable credit score. This score becomes personal equity they build, facilitating access to consumer credit, Offering credit guarantees and wholesale lending to financial institutions dedicated to broadening consumer credit access today and Promoting responsible consumer credit as a pathway to an improved quality of life, fostering a cultural shift towards growth and financial responsibility.

“In line with the President’s directive to expand consumer credit access to Nigerians, the Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation (CREDICORP) has launched a portal for Nigerians to express interest in receiving consumer credit.

“This initiative, in collaboration with financial institutions and cooperatives nationwide, aims to broaden consumer credit availability.

“Working Nigerians interested in receiving consumer credit can visit to express interest. The deadline is May 15, 2024.

“The scheme will be rolled out in phases, starting with members of the civil service and cascading to members of the public,” the statement said.

Recall that two months ago, a presidential spokesman, Bayo Onanuga, announced that the Federal Executive Council had given the nod for the establishment of the Consumer Credit Scheme.

He said the President’s Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, will lead a committee that includes the Budget Minister, Attorney-General, and Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance to make the scheme a reality.

In March, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service Chairman, Zacch Adedeji, said the Nigerian government would unveil its proposed N100 billion consumer credit loan in a few days.

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