President Buhari To Attend EU-AU Summit

President Muhammadu Buhari will attend the fifth European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, on November 28 and 29.

A statement issued on Monday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said the President would participate in working sessions during the summit with the theme: “Investing in the Youth for a Sustainable Development.”

According to the statement, he is also expected to meet with a number of African Heads of State and their European Union counterparts on the margins of the summit.

President Buhari would use the occasion of the summit to reiterate Nigeria’s readiness to work with African and European countries to address the challenges affecting both continents, such as peace and security.

He would also attend the official luncheon to be hosted by the government of Cote d’Ivoire in honour of visiting Heads of State and Government and other delegations.

According to the organisers, 83 Heads of State representing 55 African countries and 28 European countries are slated to attend the high-level meeting.

Delegations from partner countries, the African Union Commission, the European Union Commission, regional and international organizations, will also participate at the summit.

The governors of Akwa Ibom and Bauchi States and some ministers are among the top government officials that will accompany President Buhari.

Aregbesola Lauds Impact Of EU-WB Assisted SLOGOR Project On Public Finance

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola has lauded the State Government’s ability to meet the constitutional requirement of submitting the audited report of the State 2016 Financial Statement to the State House of Assembly within six months from the end of the financial year, due to the intervention of European Union/World Bank Assisted State and Local Governance Reform (SLOGOR) Project.

Aregbesola who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola made this known in his opening remarks at the Policy Dialogue during the SLOGOR Project Mid-Term Review with the World Bank Delegation and key Government officials.

Oyetola said that: “SLOGOR has in no small measure contributed to reforming Public Financial Management in the State.

According to him, meeting the deadline for the preparation of the 2016 Financial Statement of the State Government on IPSAS Accrual (First Time Adoption) was among the laudable achievements credited to SLOGOR intervention”.

He listed other achievements recorded with SLOGOR Intervention on Public Financial Management reform to include: Conduct of Annual Audit Forum, Passage of the Public Procurement Law, and Establishment of the Public Procurement Agency etc.

Oyetola further stated that the State of Osun is one the States in Nigeria that prioritized reforms that focused on poverty reduction.

According to him, the results of all reforms implemented in the State, contributed immensely to the rating of the State as one of the States in Nigeria with the lowest poverty index according to the recent ranking by the National Bureau of Statistics.

In the same vein, the Task Team Leader (TTL) of SLOGOR, Ikechukwu Nweje, disclosed that the objective of the Mid-Term Review was basically to take stock of what is working well with the Project and identify areas that require improvement.

Mr. Nweje requested the State to ensure early submission of Workplan and Procurement Plan for prompt clearance by the World Bank.

The SLOGOR National Project Coordinator, Mr. Samuel Elohor also in his remarks expressed his happiness for the commitment of the State Government of Osun towards achieving the PFM objectives.

Mr. Elohor encouraged the State to provide necessary support for all donor supported projects in the State. He particularly, praised the Governor for paying the counterpart contribution for EU/UNICEF Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme.

In his welcome address, the State Project Coordinator, Mr. Yemi Ijidele commended the State Government of Osun under the leadership of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for providing the right environment and political will for attracting donors to the State.

He also appreciated the assistance of the European Union and World Bank for their commitment towards banishing poverty and strengthening public financial management in the State of Osun and Nigeria at large.

Osun Govt, European Union Signs N789 Million Water Contract

By Kehinde Ayantunji

The State Government of Osun in partnership with the European Union Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme (EU-WSSSRP-II) Assisted Project has signed N789,122,355.00 water project in various locations across the state.

The new projects includes rehabilitation of Ede Water Works and the Mini-Water Schemes / Dams in seven 7 Vocal Communities such as Gbongan, Ode-Omu, Orile-Owu and Araromi-Owu, in Ayedade Local Government.

Others beneficiary communities are Okuku, Igbaye and Inisha in Odo-Otin local government.

Two successful contractors that emerged from the bidding process, Pandada Nigeria Limited and Hydrogold Limited will handle the project in the various locations.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Water Resources, Rural Development and Community Affairs, Babatunde Ibirogba while addressing journalists shortly after the signing of the contract agreement said the new project will directly touch the lives of the people through the provision of water to communities.

He said the state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is committed to the provision of water to the people of the state and will not spare any effort to make life more abundant for them.

He explained that the rehabilitation of the water Dams and Motorised Boreholes shall be completed and handed over between 18 – 24 months and appealed to the contractors to do a good and quality job which would make the community to enjoy the benefit of the support of the state government and the EU-WSSSRP-II Assisted Project.

He assured EU-WSSSRP-II that the opportunity shall be judiciously utilised, enjoining the benefiting communities to see the project as theirs own projects.

European Union Court Ban The Use of Religious Symbols

The ruling is the first decision on the issue of women wearing Islamic headscarves at work.

On the eve of a Dutch election in which Muslim immigration has been a key issue and a bellwether for attitudes to migration and refugee policies across Europe, the Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a joined judgment in the cases of two women, in France and Belgium, who were dismissed for refusing to remove headscarves.

The court said in a statement: “an internal rule of an undertaking which prohibits the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign does not constitute direct discrimination.

“However, in the absence of such a rule, the willingness of an employer to take account of the wishes of a customer no longer to have the employer’s services provided by a worker wearing an Islamic headscarf cannot be considered an occupational requirement that could rule out discrimination.”



Nigeria’s Brand Of Democracy The Best In Africa – EU

The European Union, EU, yesterday described Nigeria’s brand of democracy as the best in Africa, stressing that the country is running the most vibrant democracy in the continent with absolute press freedom.

Ambassador and head of the EU delegation to Nigeria, Mr. Michel Arrion disclosed this at the 2016 World Press Freedom Day celebration in Abuja with the theme: “Access to information and fundamental freedom: This is your right”.

According to him, “Nigeria, in our assessment, is a country where freedom of expression is in general respected, the traditional media is relatively pluralistic, bloggers and cyber activists share their views.

“Nigeria boasts of a large, vibrant social media community, whose engagement with the socio-political processes has enriched public discourse and widened the frontier of participation on issues that concerns the citizenry.”

Arrion added that these significant steps underlined the priority the EU accorded to freedom of opinion and expression as an essential foundation for democracy.

He said the EU recognised that free, diverse, independent media were essential for the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression.

“By facilitating the free flow of information and ideas on matters of public interest, and by ensuring transparency and accountability, independent media constitute one of the cornerstones of democracy,” he stated.