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Local Collaboration Key to Global Success, Says Doctors Without Borders

Nnaji, the chairman of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) committee that decides the work to receive the country’s most prestigious annual award for science, compared the MSF humanitarian work to the new NLNG’s decision to reward research with a significant and immediate impact on society.

Professor Nnaji (second left) with the MSF team

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▪️ Ferdanand Agu

Enugu, Nigeria – One of the world’s foremost humanitarian organizations, Medicines Sans Frontieres (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, can work effectively only when it enjoys the support of leaders where it operates, according to its team currently on a tour of Nigeria’s Southeast geopolitical zone.

The team told the Geometric Power chairman, Professor Bart Nnaji, in his residence in Enugu today that local support has become more crucial because of the nature of the operations of the organization, which won the 1999 Nobel Prize for Peace for its extraordinary efforts in crisis places throughout the world.

“While some other international organizations work in conflict places just to save lives,” the MSF special adviser to the Nigerian office, Professor Simeon Alozieuwa, told Nnaji, “we not only save lives and ameliorate sufferings worldwide, we also speak out against acts that offend human dignity.”

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The policy of “see something and say something,” explained Alozieuwa, “frequently draws the ire of governments and influential groups.”

The Israeli government has been critical of international humanitarian agencies like MSF since it launched a war against Hamas in Gaza last year in response to Hamas attacks of October 7, 2023, in Israel, accusing the organizations of providing shelter to anti-Israeli forces.

Alozieuwa recalled that when MSF reported in 2016 that there was a high level of malnutrition in the Northeastern part of Nigeria caused by Boko Haram insurgents that could result in a cataclysmic situation, the Nigerian authorities were not pleased for fear that the report could dent the country’s image.

“However, when a UNICEF detailed report showed the extent of malnutrition,” said Alozieuwa, “the government acknowledged the value of the MSF report, which was consistent with its policy of speaking out.”

Working directly with local leaders, added the MSF adviser, “has enabled the organization to obtain reliable information and knowledge on issues of great importance to the people’s survival.

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“Even though you are no longer the Minister of Science and Technology or the Minister of Power,” he continued, “you are a highly influential person in the Southeast and the rest of the country and even well-known globally for your breakthroughs in research in science and engineering, hence our visit to you for support.”

Nnaji thanked MSF for its star role in alleviating human suffering throughout the globe, noting that “it is eminently deserving of the Nobel Prize it won towards the end of the last century.”

The Geometric Power chairman expressed pleasure that the foremost humanitarian organization was conceived in Nigeria during the Civil War when its founder, Bernard Koutchner, who was then working on the International Red Cross staff, was disillusioned that he and his colleagues could only attend to individual victims of the war but could not report the humanitarian crisis.

MSF was formed in France in 1971, a year after the Nigerian Civil War ended, by doctors and journalists to bring succor to those in desperate need in conflict areas.

“Interestingly, this critical organization traces its roots to our dear country,” he said, pledging maximum support to it.

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Nnaji, the chairman of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) committee that decides the work to receive the country’s most prestigious annual award for science, compared the MSF humanitarian work to the new NLNG’s decision to reward research with a significant and immediate impact on society.

He stated: “I am delighted that the NLNG Science Prize of $100,000 for 2023 went to Professor Hyppolite Amadi, a Nigerian researcher at Imperial College London, for an invention that helps newborn babies with a serious health issue survive.

“The invention costs N700,000 whereas the imported equivalent costs about N6m.”

The former minister disclosed that his wife, Mrs. Agatha Nnaji, is leading a non-governmental organization (NGO) known as Dewdrops to train people to care for the elderly.

The trainees received the London City and Guilds certifications that enable them to work in different countries.

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“Taking care of elders with their geriatric challenges requires special skills and emotions that remind us constantly of our solidarity with the human family,” declared Nnaji.

Professor Alozieuwa was accompanied during the visit by Karsten Noko, head of the MSF Mission in Nigeria, who is originally from Zimbabwe; Dr. Aissami Abdou from the MSF Operational Centre in Brussels in Belgium, who is originally from the Niger Republic; and Dr. Ximena Campos Morena, the Deputy MSF Operational Coordinator in Brussels, who is originally from Mexico.

Each team member expressed delight to be in Nigeria, especially the Eastern part where their organization was conceived.

On hand to welcome the MSF guests with Professor Nnaji was the immediate past Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment in Anambra State, C. Don Adinuba, who is now the communication consultant to the Geometric Power Group. Gmtnewsng

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FG and Labour Unions Agree on ₦70,000 Minimum Wage—Minister Announces

In his Democracy Day speech on June 12, 2024, the President had assured that an executive bill proposing the new national minimum wage for workers would soon be forwarded to the National Assembly for passage.

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Bola Tinubu

In a significant development for Nigerian workers, the Federal Government has reached an agreement with Organised Labour on a new minimum wage of ₦70,000. The announcement was made by the Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, following a crucial meeting held in Abuja on Thursday.

The meeting, which included President Bola Tinubu and leaders from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), resulted in the breakthrough decision. “We are happy to announce today (Thursday) that both the Organised Labour and the Federal Government have agreed on an increase on the ₦62,000 minimum wage. The new national minimum that Mr President is expected to submit to the National Assembly is ₦70,000,” said a visibly elated Idris to the State House correspondents.

The announcement was further endorsed by the presence of notable figures such as NLC President Joe Ajaero, TUC boss Festus Osifo, and Labour Minister Nkiruka Onyejeocha. These officials flanked the minister as he broke the news.

Joe Ajaero confirmed this agreement, stating, “₦70,000 was where we were on the issue of the minimum wage.” He emphasized that the minimum wage is set to be reviewed every three years, moving away from the erstwhile five-year period. “What they have announced in terms of the amount of ₦70,000 happens to be where we are now. But we will not wait for another five years to come and agree,” Ajaero reiterated.

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In turn, Onyejeocha revealed that President Tinubu has instructed the Ministers of Finance and Budget, Wale Edun and Atiku Bagudu, to devise strategies to address ongoing disputes, particularly concerning the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU).

This landmark agreement follows a prolonged series of discussions between labour leaders and the President over recent weeks, succeeding months of unproductive negotiations with a tripartite committee on the minimum wage, constituted by President Tinubu in January.

The tripartite committee, encompassing representatives from state and federal governments and the Organised Private Sector, had proposed ₦62,000. However, labour unions had staunchly demanded ₦250,000, recognizing the current ₦30,000 wage as unsustainable given the country’s economic conditions, including inflation and the high cost of living spurred by the removal of the petrol subsidy.

During last Thursday’s meeting, Tinubu called for realistic expectations regarding the minimum wage, saying, “You have to cut your coat according to available cloth. Before we can finalize the minimum wage process, we have to look at the structure.”

In his Democracy Day speech on June 12, 2024, the President had assured that an executive bill proposing the new national minimum wage for workers would soon be forwarded to the National Assembly for passage.

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Confirming this on Thursday, the information minister stated that the ₦70,000 “agreed” amount would be communicated to the National Assembly in the coming days, signaling a prompt follow-up to the decision reached.

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EEDC Commends TCN for Its Support Towards Efficient Service Delivery

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▪️Ferdinand Agu

Enugu, Nigeria – The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC (EEDC) has lauded the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) for its invaluable assistance in ensuring network stability and enhancing service quality across the South East. This commendation underscores the significance of cooperation between these key players in the Nigerian electricity sector.

During the second-quarter interface meeting held at the TCN Enugu region office over the past weekend, the Deputy Managing Director of EEDC, Dr. Ernest Mupwaya, expressed his appreciation. He emphasized the critical role TCN has played in helping EEDC address operational challenges and improve power supply to its customers.

Dr. Mupwaya, who led the EEDC delegation alongside Chief Technical Officer Engr. Vincent Ekwekwu and other senior management staff, highlighted the importance of these interface meetings. He noted, “The meetings have been incredibly useful in resolving operational challenges, thus enhancing the quality of supply to our customers.”

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Further praising the relationship between the two organizations, Dr. Mupwaya described it as both cordial and fruitful. He reassured all stakeholders of EEDC’s commitment to ongoing collaboration with TCN to sustain and improve service delivery.

Representing TCN’s General Manager, Dr. Thomas Inugonum, the Assistant General Manager of TCN Enugu Region, Engr. Charles Iwuamadi, also spoke highly of the collaboration. Accompanied by the Regional Operations Manager, Engr. Anthony Akinuli, and other management staff, Engr. Iwuamadi reiterated the significant impact of these interface meetings.

Engr. Akinuli echoed these sentiments, pointing out the mutual benefits of the partnership. “If EEDC grows, part of the credit will come to TCN,” he stated, underscoring TCN’s commitment to supporting EEDC. He called for enhanced communication between the entities to ensure seamless operations and efficient service delivery.

The quarterly interface meeting, marking its second session for the year 2024, was instituted to foster collaboration between EEDC and TCN. This initiative focuses on reviewing operational activities and discussing challenges affecting network performance and customer service.

Through these regular interactions, both EEDC and TCN aim to synergize their efforts, ensuring that the electricity sector’s overall performance continues to improve. The ongoing dialogue and cooperation exemplify a shared passion for excellence and a commitment to meeting consumer needs.

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By maintaining this collaborative relationship and addressing challenges head-on, EEDC and TCN are setting a precedent for how partnerships can drive growth and service improvement in the power sector.

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BHSO Old Boys Association Inaugurates Health Insurance Committee, Pledges N1 Million Support

“Your first task is to identify, assess, and select a capable insurance company to partner with for this project. This initiative underscores our dedication to providing quality healthcare services for all,” Chief Nnamede stated.

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Chief Ambrose Nnamede

Ferdinand Agu (Enugu)

In a move towards enhancing the well-being of their members, the President General of Boys High School Ozalla (BHSO) Old Boys Association, Nkanu West LGA of Enugu State, Chief Ambrose Nnamede, this afternoon inaugurated the Health Insurance Committee of the body through a Zoom meeting. During this virtual event, Chief Nnamede read his address and offered words of encouragement to the committee, underscoring the association’s commitment to providing quality healthcare services for its members and their families.

“This moment marks a significant milestone in our efforts to enhance the well-being and security of our members and their families,” Chief Nnamede stated. “Your first task is to identify, assess, and select a capable insurance company to partner with for this project. This initiative underscores our dedication to providing quality healthcare services for all.”

The committee is tasked with creating a comprehensive and affordable health insurance plan, educating members on the plan’s benefits and health practices, efficiently managing insurance claims, and ensuring the plan’s financial sustainability. Regular assessments and stakeholder engagement will guide the committee’s progress towards fostering a healthier community.

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Responding on behalf of the committee, Honourable Chijioke Ogbodo, the Deputy President General (DPG) of the association and Chairman of the committee, expressed his gratitude to the President General and the entire association for the confidence reposed in them. “We are honoured by this trust and will diligently work to meet and exceed the expectations set before us,” Honourable Ogbodo said. “Our commitment is to ensure that every member and their family can access quality healthcare services.”

In a gesture of significant support, Chief Nnamede pledged 1 million naira to the project, which will greatly bolster the committee’s efforts as they embark on this crucial initiative. This generous contribution exemplifies the association’s dedication to the well-being of its members.

The Health Insurance Committee comprises notable members, including the association’s Secretary General, Olisemeka Obi, who serves as the committee secretary; BoT Chairman, Chief Chris Arum; Pharmacist Vincent Nwani; Chief Magistrate Osondu Chukwuani; and Prince Chijioke Chukwuani. Each member brings valuable expertise and commitment to the table, promising a robust and effective approach to the project.

Honourable Ogbodo further emphasized the importance of the committee’s mission, stating, “Our work will not only provide immediate health benefits but will also build a foundation for long-term health security within our community. We are committed to making a tangible difference.” His dedication and leadership are expected to drive the committee towards achieving their goals efficiently and effectively.

The BHSO Old Boys Association’s initiative is a call to action for other associations and the wider society to prioritize health and well-being. “We encourage other associations to take similar steps towards ensuring the health and security of their members,” Chief Nnamede urged. “Healthcare is a fundamental need, and collective efforts can lead to substantial improvements.”

The inauguration of the Health Insurance Committee is a testament to Chief Ambrose Nnamede led Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the BHSO Old Boys Association’s proactive approach to member welfare. The committee’s efforts are poised to set a benchmark for other organizations aiming to enhance their members’ quality of life.

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As the committee begins its work, the association looks forward to the positive impact this initiative will have on its members. The collective effort of the committee, supported by the generous pledge from the President General, promises a brighter, healthier future for all.

This inauguration marks the beginning of a transformative journey for the BHSO Old Boys Association. The focus on health insurance reflects a broader commitment to comprehensive member welfare, setting a powerful example for other organizations to follow.

Chief Nnamede reiterated the association’s commitment, “Together, we will make a difference in our members’ lives. This is just the beginning, and we are confident that with the dedication of our committee, we will achieve our goals and more.” GMTNewsng

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