634,132 Trees Planted In Katsina By EU

About 634,132 trees have been planted by the European Union (EU) in Maiadua Local Government Area of Katsina State to prevent desertification and promote the concept of greenhouse in the last five years.

This was disclosed by EU Project Manager, Dr Chris Udokang, in Maiadua on Tuesday. Udokang said 538,994 of the trees, representing 87.3 percent survived.

He noted that the project was executed under the EU Fuel Wood Balance Programme (FUWOBA) and implemented by the Oxfam and the International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development, in collaboration with the National Planning Commission.

Udokang added that no fewer than 1,000 farmers were provided with agricultural implements which included fertilisers, insecticides and modernised cooking stove free of charge, to promote farming in the area.

He urged the people to continue to maintain the trees as well as make judicious use of the farming implements for a better environment and a secured future free from desertification and lack of food.

The EU FUWOBA projects commenced in October 2014 across some seven selected local government areas in Katsina State to promote agriculture and prevent desertification.


Solar-Powered Mini Grids Built By FG, EU In Five States

The Federal Government, in partnership with the European Union and Germany, has announced under the Nigerian Energy Support Programme the construction of solar-powered mini grids in five states of the federation.


Six solar mini-grids are currently being supported by the programme to provide electricity to residents of Ogun, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto and Cross River states according to the NESP




It was disclosed to our correspondent in Abuja on Thursday, announcing the latest rural electrification programme undertaken by the EU and Germany in Sokoto State.


The agency stated that as part of the rural electrification programme, an 80kWp solar mini-grid project had successfully been completed in Kurdula, Gudu Local Government Area of Sokoto State and would be inaugurated today (Friday).


It noted that through the project funded by the European Union and the German government via the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, more than 4,000 people would benefit from clean electricity in Sokoto State.


It said, “The Kurdula solar mini grid is one of six such projects currently supported by the Nigerian Energy Support Programme. Altogether, the projects will provide electricity to more than 10,000 people across five states of Ogun, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto and Cross River.


“It has been implemented by GIZ together with the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, the Sokoto State Government and a private company, GoSolar.”


It stated that through the NESP, the European Union and the German government were supporting the FMPWH and other relevant stakeholders in Nigeria’s power sector to ensure that energy solutions such as the mini-grid approach could be replicated and scaled up.


The agency said, “An additional 100,000 rural inhabitants in several states across Nigeria will receive support from the programme until 2020. The NESP is a €24.5m technical assistance programme launched to promote investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and rural electrification.


“The NESP is co-funded by the European Union and the German government via the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and is jointly implemented by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.”

EU Investors Urges Other State To Emulate Obaseki

Obaseki seeks EU’s partnership to end illegal migration

The timely payment of counterpart funds for European Union (EU) projects and the timely implementation of the projects in Edo State by the Governor Godwin Obaseki administration, received commendation on Monday in Benin City.

The leader of a delegation of the European Union on Niger-Delta Support Programme (NDSP), Mr. Kurt Cornelis, said his team was impressed with the high level of commitment of the Edo State Government to the execution of projects under the NDSP and urged other governors to emulate Obaseki.

“Your government is really implementing the proposed reforms in water management, and that is a positive aspect and it is very commendable as well as encouraging,” Cornelis added.

In his response, Obaseki said there was the need to ensure synergy between his administration and the EU on the Niger-Delta Support Programme (NDSP) to avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts and guarantee sustainability in water and sanitation as well as in checking illegal migration.

“We must get our donor agencies to work together with us to avoid duplication and waste and ensure that those programmes are tied to our internal programmes and to enable us to provide more services for the people,” Obaseki said.

He stressed that he was aware that funding to check the challenge of illegal migration was available and added that his administration was reforming its processes to access the fund and create more opportunities in the state to discourage people from going down the tortuous path of illegal migration.

Improve Reportage On Water Sanitation, UNICEF Urges Media

United Nations Children’s Fund has admonished media to improve reportage on water sanitation to enhance healthy living.
The UNICEF Communication Specialist, Mr. Geoffrey Njoku speaking in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state on Tuesday at a two-days media dialogue on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.

Njoku said, the spirit of investigative journalism must be reawakened to advocate for water, sanitation and hygiene in the country.
He explained that the media dialogue on WASH was organised by UNICEF with supports from European Union to boost the understanding of the journalists on issues that concerned water, sanitation and hygiene as they affect child survival.
He said “this media dialogue is aimed at promoting advocacy for water and sanitation, understanding of the link between water and
child survival and the roles of UNICEF and EU as well as their efforts in water, sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria.”
“We urge journalists to generate and publish human interest stories so as to create visibility for Water situation and interventions in Nigeria, particularly in the Niger Delta in order to encourage more
investments in water supply in the region. Such stories should be shared on social media with #WASHDialogue ”.
He reiterated that “Increased reportage of water, sanitation and hygiene in terms of in-depth, incisive and analytical features would assist in achieving the SDGs and benefit the citizenry, particularly the downtrodden.”
“Specifically, there is need to tell the public about the interventions of the EU in water and sanitation project in the Niger Delta which include Delta, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Bayelsa and Rivers states,” Geoffrey said.
The Akwa Ibom state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel who was represented at the media dialogue by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Political, Legislative Affairs and Water Resources, Mr Nse Edem disclosed that the state government is providing new strategic policies that would ensure provision of potable water across the state.
UNICEF WASH Specialist, Mr Moustapha Niang in his presentation highlighted facts and figures depicting the current situation on provision of water and environmental sanitation in Nigeria.
The acting General Manager of Akwa-Ibom State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, Mr Idongesit Ido said with the release of the
counterpart funds the Akwa Ibom state governor, 30 solar power mini water schemes and 24 sanitation facilities have been awarded to contractors and some of the have already been delivered.

EU, Egypt Hold First Council Meeting In 7 years

The European Union and Egypt are meeting for the first time since 2010 on Tuesday within the framework of the so-called association council.

The last of such meeting took place in April 2010, before the Egyptian uprising.

The meeting will be co-chaired by the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Hassan Shoukry.

Both sides are expected to endorse shared priorities and cooperation in areas such as economic reforms, good governance, the rule of law and human rights, as well as migration, security and regional cooperation.

In the run up to the meeting, several rights organisations called on Mogherini to refrain from holding the meeting, due to a deterioration of human rights in Egypt.

“The EU needs to put itself squarely on the side of Egyptians who courageously stand for basic rights when meeting with a government known for mass killings rather than respect for those rights,” Lotte Leicht, the Brussels Director at Human Rights Watch, said.

NCAA To Meet EU On Medview Airline Ban

THE Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is set to hold high level talks with the European Union Air Safety Committee (ASC) of the European Commission (EC) this week to resolve all discrepancies that will lead to lifting of the ban on Medview Airlines.

This is just as  the regulatory body has announced plan to conduct a full scale audit of Medview Airlines’ operations after which the result would therefore determine further actions and engagements by the Regulatory Authority.

According to the NCAA, this move formed part of a series of engagements with the European Commission (EC) in the aftermath of a failed application by Medview Airlines for a Third Country Operator Authorisation to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The application failed during the verification of documents submitted by airline which were found to be non-compliant with Regulation (EC) No 2111/2005 and therefore could not qualify for approval.

“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) thereafter received the notification of non-compliance through the office of the Nigerian Mission to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

“Upon receipt of notification the Director General, NCAA, Captain Muhtar Usman met with senior officials of European Commission in Gaborone, Botswana, during the Regional Safety Oversight Organization Conference in February of this year. During this meeting extensive discussions were held with a view to resolving the matter.

UK at Loggerheads With EU Over Brexit “Divorce Bill”

The UK will not pay a €100bn (£85bn) “divorce bill” to leave the EU, Brexit Secretary David Davis has insisted.

He told ITV’s GMB programme the UK would pay what it was legally obliged to do “not just what the EU wants”.

It comes amid claims by the Financial Times that the financial settlement sought by the EU has risen from €60bn.

Mr Davis said the UK treated its EU “rights and obligations” seriously but it had “not seen any number”, adding the EU was playing “rough and tough”.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michael Barnier is due to publish his guidelines for the talks later.

An EU source has told the BBC that officials in Brussels will not enter into a discussion about potential figures for a final bill.

Talks over the size of the so-called “divorce bill” are likely to be one of the hardest-fought and most sensitive areas of the Brexit process.

Mr Davis said the negotiations had not started in earnest but indicated the UK would set down a marker when it came to talks over the divorce settlement.

“We are not supplicants,” he said. “They lay down what they want and we lay down what we want.”

The EU has insisted that the UK will have to accept liabilities stemming from its membership, including contributions to the EU Budget.
The EU has already listed some sort of agreement on a payment from the UK as a precondition for opening talks on a trade deal.

Previous calculations had placed the financial settlement likely to be demanded by the EU at between 50 and 60bn euros.

The Financial Times, using the same economic model with new data from around Europe, suggests that has now gone up to 100bn euros.

There are reports in Brussels that the difference might include demands from countries like France and Poland for UK contributions to farm subsidies.

The EU may also be planning to refuse to allow the UK a share of the EU’s assets including buildings and bank deposits.

The suggestion that the payment would be made in installments would not do much to soften the blow from the British perspective, he added.

The revelation comes amid growing tensions between the UK and EU following reports of a dinner in Downing Street last week, in which European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is said to have told Theresa May that Brexit could not be a success.

On Tuesday, Mrs May said Mr Juncker would discover that she could be a “bloody difficult woman”.

Many Conservative MPs argue the UK does not owe the EU anything given the size of the contributions it has made in the past.

A recent report by a House of Lords committee argued the UK was not legally obliged to pay a penny.


Nigeria, EU Plan Agreement on Repatriation

Nigeria and European Union (EU) are working to have an agreement that will facilitate the repatriation of Nigerians living illegally in EU countries.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja that the EU also sought to engage with the government in providing vocational training for those who had been repatriated.

The EU for now, he explained was trying to have a collective agreement with Nigeria covering all the EU countries so that there can just be a one-stop-shop and everybody can repatriate Nigerians.

“We are looking to see whether it will not be fairer to just have separate bilateral agreements rather than one omnibus agreement with the EU.

“In fact, the EU wants to engage with us in helping to provide vocational training programmes for Nigerians who have been repatriated so that they do not come back, have nothing to do, have no skills and have no choice but try and go back again.

“So they are also keen to cooperate with us to provide skills development for them.”

The minister noted that the issue of migration had become a priority for most EU countries.

He said it was pertinent to engage with the EU to ensure that the “legal rights of Nigerians, be they irregular or regular migrants, are fully respected”.

Onyeama dismissed claims that some Nigerians were deported from some countries without the knowledge of the Nigerian Government.

He explained that opportunities were given for migrants to exhaust all legal rights open to them before repatriation.

He said this was in line with bilateral agreements on repatriation which Nigeria had signed with some countries.

“The ones from Libya wanted to come home because the conditions in which they were staying were deplorable so it was a question of facilitating their return home.

“Of course, you know that Libya is almost a failed state at the moment so it is not advisable for any Nigerian to be in that country at the moment.’’

With regard to the UK, he said Nigeria had an agreement which stipulates that that country could not deport without Nigeria’s cooperation.

“So, you have to first identify and be sure, we insist, that the person is Nigerian and we insist also that the person has exhausted all their rights.

“At the moment, these things stand; it is not possible for the UK to unilaterally repatriate without our cooperation,” he said.

The minister further said the government was not oblivious of the economic situation in the country and stressed the need for an enabling environment for all citizens.

“The prime responsibility rests with us; we, as a government, have to provide for our citizens and that is what Mr President is trying to do in the restructuring of the economy.”

No fewer than 250 Nigerians have been deported from different European countries since January, including the 50 that were repatriated on Thursday from eight countries for immigration-related offences.


EU Pledges $50 Million To Fight Boko Haram

President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to redouble efforts and ensure that Boko Haram is completely defeated, and rendered incapable of targeting even soft targets.

 This pledge by the Nigerian President comes as the European Union has promised the sum of 50 million dollars to assist Nigeria in the fight against the terror group.

German President, Mr Joachim Gauck, made the pledge on behalf of the EU after holding bilateral talks with President Buhari in the Presidential Villa.

The German President commiserated with Nigerians on the recent attacks and called for good government and development if Nigeria must conquer terrorism in the long term.

During a visit to Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, Mr Gauck had also pledged that Germany would assist Nigeria with the technical know-how to successfully fight terrorism.

President Buhari met with President Gauck a day after he returned from his 6-day vacation in London.

The Nigerian President returned to the country on Wednesday night and was received at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja by top government officials.