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World Water Day: NBC reinforces commitment to water stewardship goals 

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In observance of World Water Day 2024, the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) Ltd., has reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to promoting and accelerating sustainable clean water preservation and stewardship across its plants.

The company hosted a water sustainability forum with its partners and stakeholders recently, in response to the United Nations’ call for increased action to tackle the global water crisis.

During the forum, discussions were centred around raising awareness of the importance of water conservation in fostering global stability and its pivotal role in fostering peace, prosperity, and conflict prevention.

These efforts are also in accordance with this year’s theme – “Water for Peace,” and aligns with NBC’s Mission 2025 commitment aimed at achieving sustainable development in host communities.

National Environment Manager, Nigerian Bottling Company, Temitope Ogunrinde said, “At NBC, we are committed to the cause of water sustainability and stewardship. We recognise the indispensable role water plays in our lives and this is why we prioritise using water in environmentally sustainable ways, benefiting both the environment and the communities where we operate.”

Emphasising the company’s commitment towards initiatives that foster responsible water usage and highlight the importance of collaboration with stakeholders for preserving water as a shared resource, he said, “Over the years and across all our plants, we have instituted effluent treatment plants and water efficiency initiatives such as rigorous monitoring of our water usage and promptly repairing leaks.

“By 2025, we aim to reduce water use in plants located in water risk areas by 20 percent. However, we acknowledge that achieving water stewardship requires collaboration among diverse stakeholders. Through collective action with our stakeholders, we are working towards the implementation of sustainable practices that ensure the preservation of this vital resource for both present and future generations.”

Production Manager, NBC, Confidence Ebo noted, “Given the environmental challenges impacting water quality, the pursuit of ‘Our World Without Waste’ agenda has become even more imperative, as we actively adopt lightweight packaging, exploring alternative materials, and implement recycling initiatives.

“Through these concerted efforts, we are working to not only mitigate the impact of plastics on water resources but to also foster a more sustainable future for generations to come,” she added.

The Deputy Director of Sanitation and Hygiene, at the Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Mrs. Caroline Aladekomo expressed her appreciation for the proactive steps taken by the Nigerian Bottling Company in addressing water sustainability challenges.

She highlighted the significance of such collaborations between private entities and government agencies in achieving meaningful progress towards water sustainability and stewardship goals.

The event had high-level executives, dignitaries, and industry leaders from the private sector, government agencies, and departments in attendance. Among the notable attendees were Assistant Director of the Sanitation and Hygiene department, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Folasade Adeyoju Olatunde; Head of Corporate Engagement, Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Aramide Olaniyan; Director of Laboratory Services, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Olabisi Shonibare, amongst others.

Over the last decade, NBC has made water stewardship one of the drivers of its sustainable manufacturing priorities. The company has made noteworthy progress in its efforts to minimise its water consumption, achieving an 18 percent reduction in its water use ratio.

In 2019, the organisation refurbished the Kano State Water Board Laboratory in Panshekara, equipping it with cutting-edge water testing technology, along with installing two tube wells to provide clean water to more than 300,000 individuals residing in the Madobi area and Challawa community. In addition, NBC has donated 22.5 million litres of water back to its host communities, underscoring its commitment to sustainable water management practices.

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U.S. army sets deadline for troop withdrawal from Niger

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The United States has initiated the withdrawal of its military forces from Niger Republic, following directives from the West African nation’s military leadership.

The withdrawal process, slated to be completed by September 15, 2024, marks the end of an era of American military presence in the country.

According to a press release jointly issued by the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland and the US Department of Defense on Sunday, discussions between the two parties, held from May 15 to 19, 2024, in Niamey, Niger, aimed to ensure the orderly and safe withdrawal of US forces from the region.

Led by high-ranking officials such as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Christopher Maier, and the Chief of Staff of the Nigerien Army, Colonel-Major Mamane Kiaou, the discussions emphasised transparency and mutual respect.

The withdrawal encompasses troops stationed at key bases, notably the strategically significant $110 million drone base in Agadez.

“Representatives of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of National Defense of the Republic of Niger met from May 15 to 19, 2024, in Niamey, Republic of Niger, as part of a Joint Disengagement Commission, to coordinate the orderly and safe withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger.

“These discussions between the militaries were conducted in complete transparency and with perfect mutual respect between the two parties.

“The U.S. Department of Defense delegation was led by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Mr. Christopher Maier; and the Director of Joint Force Development in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lieutenant General Dagvin Anderson. The delegation of the Ministry of National Defense of Niger was led by the Chief of Staff of the Army, Colonel-Major Mamane Sani Kiaou,” the statement read in part.

Despite the military disengagement, both nations affirmed their commitment to ongoing diplomatic dialogue and cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including counterterrorism efforts.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Ministry of National Defense of Niger have reached a disengagement agreement to effect the withdrawal of U.S. forces, which has already begun. It is therefore agreed that this disengagement will end no later than September 15, 2024.

“Both delegations confirmed the guarantees of protection and security to the American forces during their withdrawal. The delegations also established procedures to facilitate the entry and exit of U.S. personnel, including overflight and landing clearances for military flights.

“The U.S. Department of Defense and the Nigerien Ministry of National Defense recall the joint sacrifices of Nigerien and U.S. forces in the fight against terrorism and commend each other’s efforts to build up the Nigerien Armed Forces. The Parties undertake to continue cooperation in areas of common interest.

“The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Niger does not affect the continuation of U.S.-Niger development relations. The United States and Niger are committed to ongoing diplomatic dialogue to define the future of their bilateral relations,” it added.

The US initially established a military base in Niger to combat armed groups aligned with al-Qaeda and ISIL operating in the Sahel region, which includes Burkina Faso and Mali. The primary airbase in Agadez, located about 920km from the capital Niamey, has been a crucial site for both manned and unmanned surveillance flights and other military operations.

On April 19, 2024, the US announced plans to withdraw its troops from Niger due to the West African nation’s growing alignment with Russia and its distancing from Western powers. Consequently, the US Department of State agreed to pull out approximately 1,000 troops from the country, which has been under military rule since July 2023.

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Reps seek more financial investment for federal teaching hospitals

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The House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Health Institutions, Amos Magaji, has called for a sustained financial investment in the federal teaching hospitals across the country.

He said this will be in line with the Renewed Hope agenda of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration for the betterment of the citizenry.

Magaji disclosed this during an oversight visit of members of his committee to the Federal University of Health Sciences Teaching Hospital, Otukpo.

He stressed the need to allocate more funds in health sector, considering the primary responsibility of health institutions in the country.

Magaji appreciated the Chief Medical Director, CMD, and his management staff for showing interest in the growth of the teaching hospital, considering the tremendous achievements recorded within a period of one year.

He assured that he would work with his members to ensure that more funds are made available to develop the needed infrastructure including the medical equipment to meet up with the expectations of the people.

“We are glad to be in Otukpo today to see things for ourselves. We don’t want to depend on second hand information on the true condition of the Federal University Teaching Hospital Otukpo,” he said.

He assured the management of full support of the Federal House of Representatives as appropriate incentives would be given through interface with other critical stakeholders in Abuja.

The committee chairman enjoined the staff, whom he described as foundation staff to work as team despite the working condition, “we have seen how the environment is looking and we will continue to monitor the progress.

“So, as foundation staff, you all have the opportunity to write your name in gold.”

While welcoming the committee, the CMD, Prof Silas Ochejele, appreciated the federal government for the establishment of the teaching hospital in Otukpo which has drastically changed the medical services narratives in the state.

Ochejele thanked the House of Representatives Committee on Health Institutions for the pains to come down to Otukpo and believed that the visit has made them to see things themselves, which would go a long way in repositioning the hospital for the betterment of the people.

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JUST IN: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President crashes

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A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X. BREAKING: Helicopter carrying Iran’s President involved in an accident

A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on X on Sunday according to CNN.

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” it added.

It is unclear what the exact status is of Raisi’s helicopter, CNN reports.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

“Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president,” Tasnim said on X.

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