Twitter Followership: Buhari Tops Other African leaders – BCW study

President Buhari
President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has emerged the most followed Sub-Saharan African leader on Twitter during the Covid-19 pandemic, reveals leading global communications agency Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW) on Tuesday, July 21.

The newly released BCW Twiplomacy study 2020, which focuses on how world leaders have tweeted during the coronavirus pandemic and how Twitter has tried to keep the chatter clean from disinformation reveals that President Buhari recorded 3.1 million followers ahead of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda’s 1.9 million followers. PMB’s Twitter follower growth within the period when Coronavirus emerged in Mid-March until June was 51 per cent.

Commenting on the outcome of the research, Chief Innovation Officer, BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe), Chad Latz said “It is therefore vital for world leaders to use channels like Twitter to reach out to their followers to spread critical health warnings and keep their followers abreast of the latest COVID-19-related information. As the pandemic abates in some countries, world leaders will find themselves with an expanded audience for future engagement.”

Group Managing Director CMC Connect BCW (the affiliate company of BCW in Nigeria); Yomi Badejo-Okusanya commended the BCW global network for the professionalism that culminated in the timely release of the study. “This report will encourage leaders who have been lagging behind to tap into opportunities provided by social media to communicate rightly by increasing their activities on the platforms to educate and inform their people. COVID 19 has changed many around the globe, and in Africa the need to communicate what the government is doing and saying shows some level of transparency”, he added.

The 2020 Twiplomacy edition reveals that governments and leaders of 189 countries had an official presence on the social network, representing 98 percent of the 193 UN member states. The leaders use Twitter to share critical coronavirus information and encourage their citizens to “stay home” and “stay safe.” Many leaders have been leading by example and updating their Twitter profiles, wearing a face mask and participating in the #SafeHands challenge. World leaders and diplomats also had to adapt to working from home and have been thrust into video conferences, making diplomacy truly digital.

  1. Globally, US President Donald Trump is still the most followed world leader with more than 81 million followers and counting, while the governments of four countries namely Laos, North Korea, Sao Tome and Principe and Turkmenistan do not have a Twitter presence.
ARCN Staff Support Prof Sharubutu, Want Detractors To Back-Off

 

 

ARCN Staff Protest
ARCN Staff Protest.

The staff and management of Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, ARCN, have expressed their sentiments and support  at a solidarity rally held at the premises of ARCN  in Abuja recently.

,Addressing the crowd of workers who bore various placards with messages, Dr John Enesi-Edeki HOD Admin, noted that the new Executive Secretary has been busy righting several missteps of the establishment since assumption of office.

‘He has made great strides in restoring the image of the ARCN and this has positively impacted on all the institutes and colleges under the supervision of the council.

“The board is very comfortable with the council under the leadership of Prof Sharubutu, at this point, nothing can be done anymore to cover the grade’ A’ status of the parastatal which has been restored under the new executive secretary.

“We just want to agree with what the unions have said and being the director of administration, I know what they have said to be true and we appreciate you all. Enough is enough for negative happenings in this place,” Dr Enesi-Edeki said.

Uanimously passing a vote of confidence on the new Executive Secretary Prof Garba Sharubutu, the staff and management agreed that the ES has steered the establishment away from the culture of decadence and warned detractors to allow him peacefully deliver the mandate of the institution which is critical to national development.

On his part, Mr Aminu Abdullahi, Chairman of SSATHRURAI ARCN branch noted that selfish interests have bogged down the progress and expected impact from ARCN since inception, until the arrival of Prof Sharubutu.

“As a classified parastatal ‘A’, we are supposed to be at the same level with CBN and NNPC but rather everything has been going down based on selfish interests, staff don’t enjoy trainings and even the monitoring and evaluation which is our major mandate we were not performing it effectively as demanded.

“We have about 15 research institutes and 11 colleges of agriculture under ARCN which we are supposed to monitor and report on, but unfortunately there was always an excuse not to monitor and report on them despite monetary allocations for that purpose. We have been talking but only getting fake promises.

“Now we are fortunate enough to get Prof Sharubutu, who has the zeal to restore the image of ARCN, but his achievement has made detractors uncomfortable and they are busy writing baseless petitions because they want to return to their looting ways.

“Before now all these brand new project Hilux trucks were grounded due to vandalism and deliberate mismanagement, but the ES has come to say no to all those underhand dealings and has fixed all of them, that is why they are uneasy,” he said.

Mr Kayode Aiyedogbon, Chairman NASU in his remarks noted that all the petitions written by the detractors of the new ES, were very baseless because despite knowing the facts, they still wanted to bring down the person of Prof Sharubutu.

“Everything he has done here is in line with the extant rules and regulations; conforms to the constituted authority and he got a letter of approval upon his posting here before being recognised as an official of ARCN.

“The minister appointed him as a director here from the Federal University of Agriculture Markudi, it was while here as a director that he was given the acting appointment as ES until it transmuted into a substantive appointment. The moment they saw the giant strides, they felt threatened by his landmark achievements and that is why they started writing series of petitions against him. The saboteurs do not want the system to flourish, their personal interest is all they are after and that will eventually run the establishment aground if not checked.

“This place constitutes three major unions and we all came out en masse including our management staff to show to the detractors that we are in the majority and no one can come out to disprove all our claims on the achievement of Prof Sharubutu or counter our accusations against them.

“He is also a welfarist who has the interest of staff at heart and has proven it during this current lockdown caused by the pandemic by providing food items for all staff through the unions,” he said.

Aiyedogbon added that the track record of Prof Sharubutu’s genius in revenue generation and financial prudence was there for all to see at the Federal College of Animal Health in Vom Plateau state, where he bought tractors, vehicles and built structures for the institution through a company he created for them.

“He is the right person we want on board at this critical time in this establishment and staff members have even tagged him as ‘bulldozer’ and ‘messiah’ and we see him as that,” he said.

Also speaking on behalf of members of ASURI ARCN Branch, the Union Chairman Mr Ajah Francis stated that at inception ARCN was having enough money to spend on its mandate, but that changed all of a sudden due to mismanagement and staff became stagnated.

“The ES has brought in a lot of innovation. Before he came on board, we were being told that ARCN had no money, but what surprised me was that, immediately he came on board he started the extension building which will accommodate a lot of staff and better improve their productivity, so the question is, where is he getting this money from if others before him claimed that there was no money?” he queried.

Sustainable Trade in Donkey Skin Is Of Primary  Concern To NAQS – Isegbe

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Worried  by overexploitation of donkeys in the country, the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service, NAQS, is set to regularize trade in donkey skin  This move BusinessUpdate gathered is geared towards mitigatint the vulnerability of Nigerian donkeys and checking illicit trade in donkey skin across the nation’s borders.

The Director General of NAQS, Dr. Vincent Isegbe, said that ”the spate of mounting demands for donkey skins has fostered a ravenous underground market for the product, resulting in a relentless open season on the donkey population.”
Dr. Isegbe pointed out that it is ”sensible and critical to find the sweet spot between the extremes of doctrinaire preservation of donkeys which is ideal but impracticable and the unregulated, free-for-all exploitation of the donkeys which is profligate and irresponsible. This is a delicate balancing act that calls for the structuring and standardization of the value chain in other to maintain and restock the national herd population of donkeys by improved breeding, ranching and other innovative ways.”
Donkeys are globally recognized as an endangered species. Nigeria is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The country is, therefore, obligated to institute all reasonable safeguards to protect the surviving breeds of donkeys within her borders from the possible threat of biodiversity loss and extinction.
The global population of donkeys have suffered a collapse over the past decade. The impact of climate change is projected to aggravate their depletion. This has inspired conservationist efforts to promote their welfare.
In line with this trend, NAQS recently assessed the risk environment of the Nigerian donkeys and found it concerning. NAQS tabled its findings and recommendations on the developmental needs of donkey in 2017 before the National Council of Agriculture, the highest policy-making body on agriculture in the federation. It was on the basis of this report that the government designated donkey skin an export prohibition list item.
The Head, Animal Quarantine Department, NAQS, Dr. Abidodun Akinjo, said, ”Despite the prohibition, we noticed that there were considerable donkey skin transactions afoot. In the past three months, we have worked hard to disorient the network behind this illicit activity. We found out that foreign naturals were inducing and instigating this wanton depopulation of Nigerian donkeys. Donkey skins is a highly prized raw material in Asia. Knowing that Nigeria has good donkey numbers, they have spent time and resources to cultivate a loyal supply network which makes the overkill and delivers the donkey skin.”
Dr. Akinjo remarked that ”the sole interest of the donkey skin dealers is instant profiteering. Hence, they do not spare a thought beyond the exchange of money for donkey skin. Neither do they care about breeding donkeys to maintain the carrying capacity of the animals to ensure perpetuity of the goose that lays the golden eggs. The sourcing, transportation, slaughtering and flaying of the donkeys for export of its hide are dismal and unsafe. They are often conducted in ways that constitute environmental hazard and danger to public health. That is why the NAQS is embarking on joint special operations with the police across the country and at all interstate control posts to checkmate export-bound stockpiling of donkey skin”
The path forward must lead to the long-term viability of Nigerian donkeys. This requires formalizing the export trade in donkey skins, setting the code for management of the chain of custody and ensuring that traceability is obtainable at all points and from all angles of human interaction with donkeys. The Quarantine Service will engage all stakeholders as much as possible to achieve these fundamentals in order to make the export trade in donkey skin advantageous for everybody, including generations unborn.

Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) is the national agricultural quarantine authority of the federation and the single point of command for all agricultural quarantine activities in Nigeria. NAQS is mandated to regulate and promote sanitary and phytosanitary measures related to the import and export of agricultural products. The Agency facilitates international trade for Nigerian agricultural commodities. It also ensures that Nigerian agricultural products intended for export meet international standards, particularly the requirements of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the requirements of the destination countries.

F.G  Approves Interstate Travel, Reopening Of Schools

The federal government has lifted the ban on interstate travel as well as approved the reopening of schools for graduating classes.

Secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, disclosed this at the presidential task force briefing on Monday.

According to him, students in primary six, Junior Secondary School 3 and Senior Secondary School 3 will be allowed to return to school.

He stated that President Muhammadu Buhari gave the approval when his team met with him earlier in the day.

Mustapha, who is the chairman of the task force on COVID-19 said “I am pleased to inform you that Mr. President has carefully considered the 5th Interim Report of the PTF and has accordingly approved that, with the exception of some modifications to be expatiated upon later, the Phase Two of the eased lockdown be extended by another four weeks with effect from Tuesday, June 30, 2020 through Midnight of Monday, 27 July, 2020,” he said.

​”Specifically, however, the following measures shall either remain in place or come into effect:

“Maintaining the current phase of the national response, for another four weeks in line with modifications to be expatiated by the National Coordinator;

“Permission of movement across State borders only outside curfew hours with effect from 1st July, 2020;

“Enforcement of laws around non-pharmaceutical interventions by States, in particular, the use of face masks in public places;

“Safe re-opening of schools to allow students in graduating classes resume in-person in preparation for examinations.”

COVID-19: Delta State Government Receives  Donations From SPDC

iOkowqa Delta state gov.
iOkowqa Delta state gov.
The Delta State Government has taken delivery of continues to put in place measures to reduce the spread of COVID19, on Wednesday, donated a machine capable of conducting 1,000 tests daily from Shell Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC)

This donation by Shell we gathered is part of efforts at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts by the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’led administration to increase the testing capacity of the state in order to curb the community transmission of #COVID19.

Secretary to the State Government, Chiedu Ebie while receiving the donation said: “From the very beginning, we took #COVID19 very seriously. With this additional donation, we will be even more aggressive in our contact-tracing.”

SShell Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) also presented an ambulance, a suction machine and other critical items that are needed to establish an additional isolation centre in the state.

The other items donated by the company include: hospital beds and mattresses; defibrillators; suction machines; infra-red thermometers; respiratory nebulisers; hospital-grade oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentration.

Others are N95 face masks; nitrite procedure gloves; surgical face masks; gum boots; disposable high-tech overalls; DuPont Tychem 2000; goggles and face shields; and, hand sanitizers.

Alleged Fraud: Tracka Community Champion Threatened, Calls For  IG’s Action

IGP Mohammed Adamu
IGP Mohammed Adamu
BudgIT has called on the Insprctor General of Police, IGP. Mohammed Adamu to urgently investigate claims of threat to life received by BudgIT community champion in Abuja as a result of a fraud alert post shared from our Tracka page to his Facebook page, sometime last
week.
The post, which was initially published on our Tracka page on the 30th of May, called out Senator Aduda and The Ministry of Water Resources for allegedly mismanaging financial
resources to the tune of N225m and converting a public project into a personal project, by naming the constituency project after Jummai Aduda, Senator Aduda’s mother.
The post which reads “Fraud Alert, Sen. Aduda aided by Min of Water Resources has converted a public project of N225M “mine.” The Constituency Project – gulped N100m (2016) N75m (2017) & N50m (2019) – is now JUMMAI ADUDA YOUTH CENTRE with engraved mother’s
picture.” garnered several reactions from active citizens who joined BudgIT and Tracka in condemning the unacceptable and unconstitutional act.

Following this post, Sunday Dogo Zaka – a loyalist to Senator Phillip Aduda issued a threat through his Facebook page that the Abuja South PDP youth forum would “take care” of him,
after which we received a distress call from our Community champion, Garba Abdullahi.

A statement signed by Iyanu Fatoba,
Communications Associate, BudgIT, claimed that Garba Abdullahi has been receiving calls from strange and unfamiliar people who also threatened his life. Another anonymous caller advised him to visit the Senator’s former aide because they plan to “do him something bad”. As we speak, our community champion, Garba
Abdullahi, has gone into hiding as a result of these threats.
As an organization, BudgIT, together with Tracka reaffirms our position that the naming of constituency projects is not left to the prerogative of the parties involved as there are laid
down procedures to be followed when re-naming a project. This might have community inputs but the Honourable Senator is aware that there are laid down principles in re-naming a public
project, as against what was stated in the Appropriation Act.
We also maintain that we will not share false information with members of the public to incite misunderstanding between them and their representatives at any point.
By issuing this press release, BudgIT is urging the Inspector General of Police to investigate theissue and prevent any mishap from happening to any of its staff, community champions
– Garba Abdullahi or affiliated persons.

Fraud: BudgIT Wants  Speaker, Lagos State House Of Assembly Investigated

Mudashiru Obasa
Mudashiru Obasa
The nation’s antia anti-corruption agencies have been called upon to urgently investigate the series of reports directly implicating the speaker of the Lagos state House of Assembly over alleged misappropriation of public funds for personal use.
This call was made by BudgIT Foundation, a leading non-governmental organisation in the advocacy for openness, transparency and accountability in Nigeria.
A statement signed by BudgIT Communication Lead, Damilola Ogundipe and made available to BusinessUpdate noted that ;” the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, has been accused of financial impropriety and misappropriation of N257 million, N17 million and N53 million, with the latest of the same allegation being the receipt of N80 million estacode by himself, his deputy and 17 others for attending a five-day event in Dubai amidst the fight against COVID-19″.

According to BudgIT, “this allegation corroborates our claim that the legislative arm of government has been largely non-responsive to the calls for transparency and accountability both at the federal and state levels, and these present allegations deepen the culture of disregard for transparency in the management of public funds.

 ” Recall that we have severally called out even the National Assembly through the #OpenNASS campaign over the years regarding the lack of transparency with its statutory allocations. It is disheartening that lawmakers, both at the national and state levels, are not being held to the highest standards of scrutiny. It has become imperative to emphasize the need for both the national and state houses of assembly to be above board by entrenching a framework for fiscal transparency and accountability.”

 BudgIT through the Open Alliance Initiative, is at the forefront of advocacy for fiscal transparency in Lagos state, through the support of the Rule of Law and Anti-corruption (RoLAC) programme funded by the European Union being implemented by the British Council in five states; Adamawa, Anambra, Edo, Kano and Lagos.

” While the current administration has made some progress to #OpenLagos, it is important that fiscal transparency cuts across all arms of government and should be founded on a solid legislative framework”, BudgITsaid.

BudgIT urged ICPC and EFCC to be proactive in investigating these allegations, to show their seriousness in fighting corruption in the country, as well as to elevate public confidence in the government.

” We also encourage other Civil Society Organisations to be bold in their advocacy and commitment to an open and inclusive government that encourages accountability and foster development at the national and subnational levels.

” Every true system of democracy has as its core, accountability to the people. The national and state legislative houses have not lived up to this ideal and this has got to change”, BudgIT noted.

SEC Reopens Head Office, Harps On Full Disclosure by CMOs

The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC has reminded regulated entities in the capital market to continue to make adequate disclosures on the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses
This was contained in a circular by the Commission to provide update to stakeholders in the Capital Market, Monday.
The circular states, “While we continue to monitor the evolvement of the pandemic and its impact on the capital market, all regulated entities are reminded to make adequate disclosures and report on how the pandemic is impacting operations and discharge of services to investors and other stakeholders.
“We also wish to assure investors that while efforts are on-going to ensure that capital market services remain accessible, the Commission’s priority is the protection of investors. Kindly contact us through sec@sec.gov.ng for complaints and enquiries.
The SEC also stated that following the Federal Government’s partial easing of the lockdown measures introduced to minimize the spread of Covid-19 across Nigeria, the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC has reopened its head office in Abuja.
According to the circular, the Commission, in compliance with the various guidelines issued by relevant authorities, said its office is open to members of the public between 10 a.m. and 1p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
However, due to the need to protect its stakeholders and members of staff, the Commission has advised very strongly that Stakeholders use its various e-channels to communicate and interact with the Commission and that Physical visits should only be considered as a last resort.
Other guidelines issued by the SEC are that all meetings and events will be convened electronically until further notice; All filings shall continue to be received electronically; All visitors will be subjected to temperature checks and hand sanitization before gaining access to the Commission’s building; and also visitors are expected to wear facemasks and abide by social distancing rules while present in the Commission’s facility.
The Commission stated that personal visits are not allowed at this time adding that visitors would be expected to state their purpose and identify themselves at the entrance.
The SEC also strongly recommends that appointments are booked in advance of physical visits.
The SEC therefore advised all capital market stakeholders to continue to adhere to the safety guidelines issued by the NCDC and other relevant agencies on Covid-19. Together, we will overcome this pandemic.

Haruna Jalo-Waziri Appointed To ISSA Board

The Chief Executive Officer of the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS), Haruna Jalo-Waziri has been appointed as the representative of the global community of Central Securities Depositories (CSD) on the operating committee of the International Securities Services Association (ISSA).
The ISSA which made the announcement said the appointment is with immediate effect.
The operating committee of the ISSA chaired by Jyi-Chueh, Executive Director, Standard Chartered Bank, is the pivotal Of the ISSA saddled with the responsibility providing technical support and execution of Executive Board of ISSA in proposing, executing and managing work projects aimed at advancing securities services globally.
In conveying the message, the Chief Executive Officer of ISSA, Parry Colin noted ‘ we are delighted that Jalo has agreed to be a member of the ISSA operating committee going forward. We welcome him as the representative of the World Forum of Central Securities Depositories (WFC) to the committee’. Parry noted the value proposition of nominating and appointing Jalo to the operating committee of the ISSA, including his leadership role in the Nigerian CSD and his understanding of ISSA as core member. He expressed excitement at Jalo’s appointment as he looks forward to the invaluable contribution towards delivering on the audacious mission and strategic objectives of the ISSA,going forward.
In reaction to his appointment Mr Jalo-Waziri noted ‘ this is a clarion call to service in an industry that I am most passionate about. It is my pleasure to have been nominated and appointed to join the esteemed professionals on the operating committee of the ISSA and I look forward to working with colleagues, with diverse global experience in actively promoting forward-thinking solution that create efficiencies and mitigate risk within the global securities services industry’.
For more than 40years, ISSA has made significant contributions to the development of the world-wide securities services industry by facilitating interaction among market participants and providing leadership in the formulation and promotion of best practices in the post-trade securities services.

COVID-19: Giving.ng Announces Fund Raising To Support Frontline Health Workers

Frontline Health Worker
Frontline Health Worker
A reputable crowdfunding platform, Giving.ng has flagged off a fund raising campaign to support health workers who are in the frontline of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
A statement from the platform revealed that while several companies and individuals have offered support in various form as a means of showing their support towards the fight against coronavirus such as cash donation, materials and provision of infrastructure, non is speaking to the need of the health workers
The initiative tagged ‘Health Workers Fund’ which seeks to address this identified lapse is seeking to raise the sum of One billion maria ( N 1,000,000,000) from the public
The fund will be distributed to frontline medical workers as ‘Harzard Allowance’. The health workers have needs and currently earn only N5,000 a month as harzard allowance..
‘we are delighted to call for support for our amazing health workers who toil day and night to keep this pandemic out of Nigeria. We believe members of the public and corporate organizations should donate to this worthy cause because it is for the safety of all. This initiative aims to increase the paltry sum our health workers receive as Harzard Allowance’ said Peju Ibekwe, Sterling One Foundation head.
Speaking further, she said’ ‘we understand the importance of doing our part in supporting our local health workers, to give them the necessary motivation to combat this infectious disease which can endanger everyone’.
For the Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank Plc, Raheem Owodeyi, the bank believes that ‘ being a responsible company means not just serving and benefiting from an interconnected world but taking steps to care for the well-being of everyone especially in times like this. We encourage everyone across the country – our employees, agents, customers, SMEs, partners and corporate Nigeria- to step up and show their support’.
Meanwhile, Sterling Bank Plc has donated the sum of Twenty-five million hairs (N 25,000,000) to the fund.
You too can contribute your quota. Make your donation by visiting www.giving.mg/covid19