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The Chairman of Heirs Holdings and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, has called on African leaders and development institutions to help address the deepening job and employment crisis bedevilling the continent by lending support and paying more attention towards the agricultural sector, creating access to electricity and developing entrepreneurship.

Elumelu who said this while speaking on the theme ‘How do we create 10 million jobs by 2020?’ at the Youth Connekt Africa Summit in Rwanda yesterday, opined that access to electricity and increased focus in the agricultural sector would enhance entrepreneurship and tackle the challenge of unemployment through the creation of more jobs in the continent.

Elumelu, a passionate advocate of entrepreneurship and Africapitalism, also upheld the notion that the private sector has the responsibility to play the lead role in contributing to job creation in Africa, and cited the example of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and its various investments in these key areas, adding that this is visible from the $100million commitment towards supporting African entrepreneurs over the years.

He said, “Today we have businesses in 20 African countries and employ 30,000 people directly and 50,000 people indirectly. Agriculture, access to electricity and entrepreneurship have the potential to create more jobs in Africa”.

The TEF boss stated that Africa can be self-reliant and self-dependent if the right infrastructure and government support are put in place to boost these sectors. In this regard, he commended the effort of President Paul Kagame for his brilliant initiatives in the areas of entrepreneurship and attracting key investments to the African continent.

The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, who supported Elumelu’s stance, acknowledged that agriculture can create jobs for the teeming African population if youths approached the sector, not just as a way of life, but as a business.

He seized the opportunity to commend Elumelu for his work in entrepreneurship and pledged to support the work of the TEF in the creation of jobs. “I applaud Tony Elumelu’s work in entrepreneurship, because entrepreneurship is key. We will help to scale up what Tony Elumelu is doing. If others are doing same, we will succeed in Africa”.

The Rwandan Development Board also hosted Elumelu at a roundtable breakfast meeting with the Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma to discuss investment opportunities in Afrcia.

The Youth Connekt Summit hosted by the President of Rwanda, H.E. Paul Kagame, gathered 2,500 invited guests from the private and public sectors.

The opening plenary session was moderated by Adeyemi Babington Ashaye, Head, Global Shapers Community, World Economic Forum; other panelists include; Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank; Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa; and Diane Karusisi, CEO, Bank of Kigali.

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Lagos Churches Reopen After 20 Weeks Closure, Comply With COVID-19 Guidelines, Low Turnout Recorded [PHOTOS]

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Churches in Lagos State, on Sunday, held services after over four months’ ban on religious gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had last week ordered the reopening of worship centers in the state from Friday, August 7, 2020.

Mosques in the state held Jumat services on Friday, while churches had their services on Sunday.

At some of the churches visited by our correspondents, it was observed that children and the elderly were absent in accordance with the directive of the state government.

It was also observed that worshippers maintained physical distancing, wore face masks, and washed their hands before entering the churches.

At the national headquarters of the RCCG, Abutte-metta, there was a big inscription informing members and visitors to wear facemasks.

Ushers checked the temperature of worshippers, who were instructed to wash their hands and writes their names on a register.

Children below 12 were sent back.

Social distancing rule was maintained in the church and monitored by the Pastor in charge of the parish, Adebayo Adeyemo.

Multiple services were introduced. At 8 am, the first service began with 360 worshippers in a hall meant for thousands. The second service had 44 worshippers in attendance.

The General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, welcomed the reopening of the churches, noting that in the presence of God, there is fullness of joy and healing.

At the Emmanuel Baptist Church, Abule Egba, there was provision for hand-washing at the entrance of the church. Worshipers were also seen with their face masks.

At the Christ Faith Tabernacle International Church, Ogba, the service was held for one hour and a half hours. The church also obeyed the COVID-19 guidelines.

At the CAC Palace of Light and Salvation, Egbeda, a member said the church reduced its services to two.

“Before COVID-19, we used to have three services, but we now hold two services,” she said.

In the Yaba area of the state, members of the Lagos Presbyterian Church were seen with face masks and washing their hands as they entered the church to worship.

Celestial Church of Christ, Archdiocese, National Headquarters, Makoko, Lagos…on Sunday
The church minister, Rev. Chinedu Okoroafor, said, “The management has put every measure in place to comply with the guidelines to curb the spread of the virus in churches.”

At the St. Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church, Ejigbo, worshippers’ temperature was checked at the gate, while the use of face masks was enforced.

The ‘no mask, no entrance’ rule was also enforced at the Assemblies of God Church, Jakande Estate, Isolo, while two services were held to maintain the social distancing order.

A member of the church told one of our correspondents that a WhatsApp message was sent to members to ensure that the children and the elderly stayed at home.

Members of the Living Faith Church, aka Winners Chapel, Ikorodu, were seen washing their hands and making use of hand sanitizer on the church premises, where three services were held.

An usher in the church, Dele Goriola, said, “We have a team of compliance men to ensure that members comply with the measures put in place.”

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Fuel Scarcity Looms As NUPENG Directs Tanker Drivers To Withdraw Services In Lagos

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The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has directed tanker drivers to withdraw their services in Lagos as from Monday.

In a statement on Friday, Williams Akporeha, national president of the union, said the directive is as a result of the “failure of the state government to address some of its grievances”.

The planned industrial action may result to scarcity of fuel in the commercial city.

“The entire rank and file members of the union are deeply pained, frustrated and agonised by the barrage of these challenges being consistently faced by petroleum tanker drivers in Lagos State and are left with no other option but to direct the withdrawal of their services in Lagos State until the Lagos State Government and other relevant stakeholders address these critical challenges,” the statement read.

“It is sad and disheartening to note here that we had made several appeals and reports to the Lagos State Government and the Presidential Task Force for the decongestion of Apapa on these challenges but all to no avail.

“We resolved to embark on an indefinite strike beginning from 12 am, Monday, August 10, 2020 if there are no decisive and convincing actions from the Lagos State Government to address these concerns and challenges.”

The union listed its challenges to include extortion by security agents, traffic gridlocks hindering the drivers’ movements as well as harassment by hoodlums across the state.

“It is really disturbing and as well inexplicable that security agents who are expected to ensure free-flow of traffic and protection of road users now use their uniforms and arms to intimidate, harass and extort money from Petroleum Tanker Drivers.” the statement read.

“This reprehensible conduct is taking serious tolls on the psychological, emotional, and financial state of Petroleum Tanker Drivers and their capacity to effectively and efficiently deliver services to the nation.

“This menace must stop and the leadership of these security operatives in Lagos State must go all out to call their men to order with immediate effect. Every one of them should be content with their salaries and allowances rather than turning hapless Petroleum Tanker Drivers to money-making machines.

“Persistent traffic gridlock and indiscriminate parking of containerized trucks on major Lagos roads and bridges leading to Apapa port, Kirikiri, Beach Land, Satellite Town, Ijegun, are another major setback bedeviling the smooth running of the operations of Petroleum Tanker Drivers in Lagos State.

“For safety reasons, Petroleum Tanker Drivers cannot continue to struggle with these containerized trucks in these corridors considering the inflammable nature of the products our members carry and we cannot afford to undermine safety standards, procedures, and protocols in the course of our services.

“This is a situation that appears to have defied solution, considering the government’s non-intervention, lack of sensitivity over the years and collusion by those called upon by the Presidency to proffer solutions to the problem.”

NUPENG also said Lagos has become a “safe haven for area boys and area god-fathers who now see Petroleum Tanker Drivers as soft targets.”

It said petrol tanker drivers battle with “both Area Boys and Area God-fathers” amid the bad roads in the state, adding that a distance of about 10 kilometres “now takes seven to eight hours of maneuvers and meandering by petrol tankers,” during which they are endangered.

“Without sounding immodest, further delay in their repairs portends greater danger to the citizenry,” the union said.

“Consequently, as a socially responsible organization, we have made wide consultations with various leadership organs of our Union and with other key stakeholders in the oil and gas industry and therefore resolved to embark on an indefinite strike beginning from 12 am, Monday, August 10, 2020, if there are no decisive and convincing actions from Lagos State Government to address these concerns and challenges.”

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Senator To Sue Akpabio For Mentioning His Name In NDDC Contract Scam

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The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions in the 8th Senate, Senator Sam Anyanwu, said on Tuesday that he had directed his lawyers to file lawsuits against the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

Anyanwu, who addressed journalists in Abuja, said he was dragging Akpabio to court for mentioning his name among lawmakers, who had links to the projects awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission in 2018.

The senator, who was also a member of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs in the 8th Senate, denied being a beneficiary of the NDDC projects.

Anyanwu said, “I tried calling him (Akpabio), a couple of times, he has not picked my calls.

“By tomorrow (Wednesday) or Thursday, my lawyers are going to write to Akpabio to retract it or give us the facts after which, if he doesn’t do anything about this, I will take the next step.

“I was shocked that the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs could mention my name that I was awarded contracts.

“I am from Imo State, which is one of the oil-producing states and a member of NDDC; if you remember, it was because of the suffering of the South-East that I moved and sponsored the bill for South-East Development Commission.

“As a member of the committee on NDDC, I attracted projects to my constituency, no contract was ever awarded to me.

“I’m using this medium to call on NDDC to go to my constituency and complete the projects they have started.”

Akpabio had in a letter to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on July 23, linked Senators Peter Nwaoboshi, Mathew Urhoghide, James Manager and Anyanwu, to the contracts awarded by the NDDC in 2018.

All the federal lawmakers he mentioned had, however, denied being beneficiaries of the said contracts.

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