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#EndSARS: Lagos Revives 10,000 Businesses With N939m, As Sanwo-Olu Initiates Project To Fund Talent Development

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Lagos State government, yesterday, said that 10,000 business owners affected by the wanton destruction of properties during the #EndSARS protest were given N939.98 million support fund to recover their losses.

This came on a day Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu inaugurated a 9-member committee on film production empowerment, an intervention project to revitalize the entertainment and tourism sectors in the state.

Speaking during the ministerial press briefing to commemorate the second anniversary of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration in office, the Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Mrs. Yetunde Arobieke, said: “The MSME Recovery Fund was set up to support businesses in Lagos State whose properties and assets were vandalized post #EndSARS protests that rocked the nation in October 2020. With funding from the Lagos State Government, corporate organizations, and private individuals, businesses were supported with grant sums ranging from N50,000 to N5,000,000, to beneficiaries to rebuild their businesses.

“About N939.98 million (approximately. US$2.47million) were disbursed to 1835 beneficiaries, and 10,005 direct jobs and 40,020 indirect jobs saved.”

Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu also initiated an intervention project that will jump-start the transformation of the Entertainment and Tourism sector.

The Governor, on Wednesday, inaugurated the Committee on Film Production Empowerment at the State House, Marina to fund youth creativity and entertainment activities in the State, following the disruption caused by the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) that impacted negatively on entertainment and tourism in the State.

Richard Mofe-Damijo – a veteran filmmaker and Nollywood actor – is the chairman of the nine-member committee, comprising five industry practitioners and four Government officials. They are selected to drive the Governor’s vision to actively support youth creativity and entrepreneurship in the sector.

The committee’s inauguration came months after the Governor set aside N1 billion seed capital to unlock the potential in hospitality and tourism businesses.

The scheme is to support the creative ideas of movie and entertainment producers who are constrained by funds to bring their concepts into reality. Applicants are to be supported with funding based on the financial plans of their projects. The grant may be as much as N40 million for each beneficiary.

Entertainment and Tourism form a key pillar of the Government’s T.H.E.M.E.S. Agenda being implemented to drive inclusive growth and socio-economic development across sectors of the State’s economy.

Sanwo-Olu described entertainment and tourism as enablers of growth with huge potential for employment opportunities. The sector, he said, is critical to achieving his administration’s youth development objectives, given its high rate of absorption of creative young people in its supply chains.

He said: “This is a signpost of all pockets of intervention we have created for the development of creativity and tourism sector. Aside from the N1 billion set aside for the hospitality industry, this scheme is specifically targeted at our movie industry which is known all over the world. This is with the belief that we can further raise the status of our creative output and commercialize the returns to a level it can compete with Hollywood and Bollywood.

“We realized most of our film production experts and directors face a lot of funding impediments. We are intervening to close this gap and bring credible veterans who have the knowledge and have demonstrated capacity in the industry to drive this project. That is why we carefully selected five key practitioners in the industry to lead. The Committee will be supported by four Government officials to limit bureaucracy for the Committee to achieve its objectives.”

The Governor made it known that the scheme sought to leverage idea and talent development to transform Nollywood into a brand that would compete favourably with advanced film industries, such as America’s Hollywood and India’s Bollywood.

Sanwo-Olu said the committee had been given the authority to disburse the support grants to movie producers who have fresh ideas and those whose stories are yet to be completed.

He charged the committee to work out its engagement modalities and administrative responsibility of selecting the beneficiaries of the scheme.

He said: “As we roll out this scheme, we want to be able to help the industry around job creation and bring youths out of unemployment, using the creative industry. We also want to create entrepreneurs that will use their creativity to enhance the market shares of the sector.

“We want to support industry practitioners to raise capacity, support development of local content, and discourage the action of taking proceeds from the industry out of the country, thereby denying local practitioners the benefits of their talents. We will not restrict your (committee’s) ability; we will give you leeway to do your job.”

Sanwo-Olu said the intervention would galvanize the private sector into committing more funding to the industry for accelerated growth. He expressed optimism that the scheme would unlock the potential of the Lagos coastline and turn it into a destination of choice in African tourism.

Commissioner for Tourism, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, said the committee members would set the conditions for accessing this fund, determine the eligibility of applicants and decide on the amount that could be given to an individual applicant or group at a particular time.

She said: “This intervention will make Lagos State continue to retain its position as the hub of film making in Nigeria and as a city for the creative minds.”

Mofe-Damijo described the committee’s appointment as “a big honour”, describing members as passionate practitioners in the Entertainment industry.

“We don’t have any excuse not to perform in this assignment. We will do everything in our capacity to ensure that result which the Governor has envisioned comes to reality,” he said.

Other industry veterans in the committee include ace cinematographer, Tunde Kelani, a Film and Television Producer, Ms. Mo Abudu, movie director, Mr. Kunle Afolayan, and Mrs. Peace Anyim-Osigwe

The Government officials in the committee are Adebukola Agbaminoja, Ferdinand Tinubu, Taju Olajumoke, and Mrs Funke Avoseh (Secretary).

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‘Two COVID Tests In 72 Hours’, New Protocol For Nigeria As UAE Lifts Flight Ban

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The Dubai Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management has released a new protocol directing travellers from Nigeria to undergo COVID-19 tests upon arrival at the airport in the United Arab Emirates.

Flights between both countries have been suspended since March over issues relating to the COVID-19 protocol.

In a press release on Saturday, the middle east country said the new measure is part of its efforts to ease inbound travel restrictions.

Passengers are also expected to have taken a COVID test 48 hours before departure, and have negative results to show for it.

According to the Dubai media office, the protocol will become effective from June 23, 2021.

“Passengers must have received a negative test result for a PCR test taken within 48 hours before departure; UAE citizens exempted,” the new guideline reads.

“Passengers should present a negative PCR test certificate with a 0R Code from labs approved by the Nigerian Government.

“All passengers must undergo a PCR test on arrival at Dubai Airport.

“Transit passengers should comply with entry protocols of final destinations.”

Headed by @sheikhmansoor, the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in #Dubai announces updates to Dubai’s travel protocols for inbound passengers from South Africa, Nigeria and India, effective from Wednesday 23 June 2021.https://t.co/Zfma4YWugQ pic.twitter.com/NkhIzaQwzI

— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) June 19, 2021

The federal government had been in talks with the authorities of the UAE over the travel protocol put in place against Nigeria in the wake of the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In February, Emirates Airline had directed that travellers taking off from Nigeria must conduct rapid COVID-19 tests before departure, but the federal government had banned outbound Emirates flights for violating the directive of the presidential task force (PTF) on rapid antigen tests.

The ban was lifted after the airline agreed to stop the rapid antigen tests. It was later reintroduced on March 15, with the federal government explaining that the airline had continued to conduct rapid antigen tests for passengers before departure from Nigeria.

Thereafter, in March, the UAE embassy in Abuja announced a new COVID-19 travel protocol for Nigeria as part of measures to curtail the spread of the virus in the country.

Passengers who had been in or transited through South Africa or Nigeria in the last 14 days before travelling to Dubai were barred from entering the middle east country.

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Arewa vs IPOB: Northern Youths Reports Irokotv App On Play Store After Google Removed Adamu Garba’s Crowwe App

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After several Northern youths targeted Jason Njoku’s Irokotv app on Playstore in retribution for the removal of Adamu Garba’s Crowwe app, a Nigerian man contacted the company’s owner, Jason Njoku.

This happened just days after Google banned Adamu Garba’s Crowwe App due to a copyright infringement by the social media company.

Remember that Adamu Garba, the CEO of Crowwe App, backed the suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria following the federation’s ban on the social media platform.

He also made fun of Twitter, advising Nigerians to use his own social media app instead. However, numerous Nigerians complained and gave his app negative reviews, prompting its removal.

In revenge for Crowwe’s expulsion, Northern youths have mobilized to begin reporting Igbo-owned mobile apps. Jason Njoku’s iRokoTV and Softtalk messaging are among the apps listed.

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Obasanjo Contributed To Nigeria’s Crisis, He Should Mind His Utterances —– Femi Adesina

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Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says former President Olusegun Obasanjo contributed to the current chaos in the country, adding that the ex-military general should mind his utterances.

He stated this on Friday in a piece titled, ‘Nigeria’s Unity And All The Iberiberism’.

Adesina wrote, “The saber-rattling about Nigeria’s unity and the possibility of disintegration has got to the point of Iberiberism (an Igbo word which could mean stupidity). Some people have no other business than doomsday predictions of a crumbled, collapsed Nigeria, as if they actually fast and pray for that eventuality.

“When Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was President between 1999 and 2007, they predicted that he was going to be the last President of a united Nigeria. It didn’t happen. When Umaru Yar’Adua came, they said he was too sick to hold Nigeria together. The country stood.

“Under Goodluck Jonathan, they said the man was too weak, and different components of the country would soon say, ‘to your tents oh Israel.’ Nigeria survived. And for six years under Muhammadu Buhari, they have not changed their songs. The Somaliasation of Nigeria was on the way. The Fulanisation of the country would be the final death knell. But Nigeria lives. It trudges on from day to day, month to month, and will surely survive.”

Adesina said though some people dwell on negativity, “some fathers of the land will not fold their hands and see Nigeria go down”.

“Fortunately, we have one of them as President now. The young Muhammadu Buhari spent 30 months in the frontlines as a young army officer, fighting the war of unity. And he has said it: we will not be around and watch Nigeria go down. Never. We will rather speak to insurrectionists in the language they understand.

“And what of Olusegun Obasanjo, a civil war hero. Despite all that he has contributed to the current upheavals by his actions and inactions, words, and bile, he says it is idiotic to wish Nigeria disintegration now. Good. But let us put our money where our mouth is. Let Baba mind his thoughts, and his language,” the presidential spokesman added.

“Nigeria will survive. The polity will endure. And the component parts will live together in amity and brotherhood. Any other option is Iberiberism,” he concluded.

Obasanjo, a military head of state from February 1976 to September 1979, was Nigeria’s democratically elected president between May 1999 and May 2007.

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