(NG NEWS) Inside the toxic graveyard of Lagos






That Lagos, the commercial capital of the most populous black nation in the world, Nigeria, is the fifth largest economy in Africa is undisputed; what may not be known to many is that Lagos is also the world’s leading destination for toxic and electronic waste.

Only recently, the Koko community of Warri North Local Council of Delta State, hugged the limelight over a toxic waste dump, which is a repeat of the sad episode of the 1987/88 incident when two Italians – Giafranco Raffaeli and Renato Pent of the waste broker firms, Ecomor and Jelly Wax conspired with a Nigerian, Sunday Nana of Iruekpen Construction company to import from Italy, 18,000 drums of hazardous waste under the pretext of substances relating to the building trade, and as residual and allied chemicals.

The latest development is, allegedly, being perpetrated by a local company, Ebenco Global Links Ltd., an integrated waste management facility based in Koko. Already, the Executive Director of ERA/ FoEN, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo, has called on both the Delta State government and the National Environmental Standard Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA) to immediately set up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the recent dumping of toxic waste in Koko town.

But beyond Koko is the disaster waiting to explode in the beautiful city of Lagos. With a population well over 20 million, Lagos has a rich history of economic growth and transformation. Although it covers only 0.4th of Nigeria’s territorial landmass, making it the smallest state in the country, it accounts for over 60 per cent of industrial and commercial activities in the country.
Lagos has emerged as a major hub for the hundreds of national and multinational companies and the complex business and professional services that support them.


Anukam

Inside this boisterous state, which is the seventh fastest growing city in the world, and the second largest city in Africa, is a thriving informal sector, fueled by a burgeoning secondhand culture. This has given rise to a web of intricate industries and mega-markets that are mostly import-dependent.

The disposal of computers and other electronic and electrical goods, known as e-waste, is a growing global problem, though junk electronics represent a quality raw material for waste processing industries, especially in the developing world.

It is, however, no news that many of these junk electronics find their way to some Lagos markets like Ladipo auto spare-parts market in Mushin, Computer Village in Ikeja and the International electronics Market in Alaba.

These products come largely in 40-feet containers.

“On average, a 40-feet container weighing 9.9 tonnes of used electronics can contain 195 pieces of TV, 94 pieces of computer (monitor), 230 pieces of DVD players, 322 pieces of video player, 249 pieces of pressing iron, 810 pieces of blenders, 113 pieces of microwave ovens, 106 pieces of HiFi, 616 pieces of radio, and 558 pieces of electric kettles,” a 2012 Nigerian country assessment report, which contains data for 2010, noted.

In 2016, the world threw away 91.5 million tonnes of electrical equipment. A tonne is the equivalent of a thousand kilogramme, which is about the weight of a small car. It is left to be imagined how many of these found their way to the Apapa and Tin Can seaports.

In 2005, it was estimated that 75 per cent of electrical and electronic goods imported into Lagos were junk, with e-waste accounting for 12.5 per cent of shipments in 2009. By 2011, 70 per cent of electronics imported into Lagos were second-hand and only 15 per cent of that was non-repairable.

This is a huge concern because dumped electronic consumer goods are, essentially, toxic waste. Old-style televisions and monitors contain lead and phosphorous pentachloride, printed circuit boards contain arsenic mercury and bromides, same as fridges.

Buried in landfill, broken up improperly or burnt, these toxins can be exposed to the air or leach out into the soil and water table, leading to a severe healthcare crisis.

In the European Union (EU), the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) regulations govern how e-waste should be treated and processed, and also restrict where it can be exported. For instance, equipment cannot be shipped to developing countries for recycling and recovery, only for reuse. They must be tested to show that they are fully functional and packed so that they are not damaged in transport, otherwise they are classed as waste.

In the second-hand markets of Lagos, little consideration is given to whether the item is tested or untested due to an abundance of local repairers. Equipment shipped untested is classified as e-waste, and so it is in the country illegally. They are usually shipped in containers hidden behind working goods, concealed inside a car, or falsely described as personal items.

With a very lax regulation at the port of entry, there is often poor treatment of toxic waste materials, leading to the release of hazardous chemicals that can harm both people and the environment.

Most consumers abroad making the journey to the local dump with their “e-waste” might expect their equipment to be disposed of properly and safely, even if they are unaware of the WEEE directive that requires the disposal or reuse of this waste without damage to the environment.

How has Alaba electronics market infamously become the final destination for thousands of tonnes of televisions, computers, DVD players and other electronic items that previously sat in homes and offices of European countries before being taken for disposal to a municipal waste site?

In 2010, following a tip-off from a local authority insider that unusable e-waste was being bought and sent for export, there was a joint investigation by The Independent, Sky News and Greenpeace all based in the United Kingdom.

A large television set, with the base cut away to render it beyond repair, was left at a Hampshire County Council civic amenity site by investigators.
Under the WEEE regulations, it should have been disposed of by a specialist recycler, but the set was bought along with other electronic items by BJ Electronics (UK) Ltd, one of about 200 companies and individuals who tour municipal waste sites in Britain buying equipment.

A satellite tracking device inside the television showed it was taken to BJ Electronics’ warehouse before being sold to another company, who loaded it onto a cargo container bound for export.

The economics of the illegal export trade are straightforward. A whole consignment can be bought for a pittance from a civic amenity site, most of which will be working and a proportion of which will not. The system is supposed to filter out the hazardous e-waste and allow a legitimate second hand export trade. But what is happening is that it is all being lumped together and sent abroad, where the working items are sold and the broken stuff just thrown away to cause pollution.

Within days, the container was loaded onto the MV Grande America cargo ship bound for Lagos, from where it was unloaded and delivered to one of the hundreds of secondhand dealers in Alaba market.


It was just one of up to 15 containers of used electronics arriving in Alaba from Europe and Asia everyday.

Igwe Chinedu, leader of the Alaba Technicians Association, said of the 600 to 700 televisions in each container, about 250 do not work. “We find that for each container, about 35 to 40 per cent of its contents are useless. Of those, only 35 per cent can be fixed. The rest goes to the scavenger children at the dumpsite.”

Prof. Oladele Osibanjo, retired professor of analytical and environmental chemistry at the University of Ibadan (UI), former director at the Basel Convention Regional Co-ordinating Centre for Africa in UI and a board member of Sustainable Electronic Recycling International (SERI), United States, said: “We have about half a million used electronics coming into Lagos every month, and only 25 per cent are working. The volume is so large that the people who trade it burn it like ordinary refuse.

“The lead, the mercury and all the other toxins bio-accumulate. The people that break open these CRT monitors tell me that they suffer from nausea, headaches and chest and respiratory problems. As a result of breaking these things and burning the wires, the children inhale a lot of fumes.
“We have done a lot of studies and we were able to show that all the cells where e-waste dismantling takes place are heavily polluted. You are not only dumping the hardware, but also hazardous substances.”

Osibanjo explained that the poisonous chemicals withstand high temperature and are eventually released into the soil and ground water. “Where you burn them, they are being released into the earth. When it is really raining, they will wash into rivers and so on. A Ph.D student of mine in Abuja went to dump sites where they also raise cattle. She was able to get milk from a cow and then we looked at chicken eggs and all eggs. We found them all contaminated.”

However, the respected analytical chemist, said electronic recycling, when properly done, could be a goldmine for Nigeria. In this regard, he advised the Federal Government to consider recycling old phones, computers and other electronics, saying it was a good source of wealth and employment.

According to him, there were about 250 kilogrammes of gold in one million phones, adding that with e-recycling the country would witness economic prosperity and massive job creation. He stated that the United Nations had acknowledged the wealth potential of recycling, noting that Nigeria would no longer have to bank on oil, as she would be getting gold and silver from e-recycling.

Osibanjo further stated that although plans were underway to attract investors into the country for the establishment of e-recycling centres, poor regulations suffocating business environment were impeding the efforts.

Underscoring the dangers of e-waste on the environment, a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 6, 2017, has revealed that one in four young children die each year as a result of unhealthy environments.

“A polluted environment is a deadly one—particularly for young children,” said WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, in a press statement. “Their developing organs and immune systems and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water.”

Beginning in the uterus, children are exposed to harmful environmental risks. According to the study, roughly 1.7 million children under the age of five die each year from factors that could have been prevented through addressing environmental risks, which WHO called “a shocking missed opportunity.


Osibanjo

“Another category of threat to children’s health is emerging environmental hazards, including chemicals, electronic waste and climate change,” the report said. Electronic waste was “another growing concern”. When it is not disposed of properly, it can expose children to “a myriad of chemicals and toxicants, many of which are associated with reduced intelligence, attention deficits, lung damage and cancer”.

The import of e-waste from Europe into Nigeria is illegal by both European and Nigerian standards. Still, hundreds of thousand tonnes of illegal e-waste are imported annually into Nigeria. Despite local laws banning the import, inefficient enforcement still makes Nigeria one of the largest e-waste importing countries in the world.

The e-waste trade is illegal because Nigeria does not possess any organized e-waste recycling or dismantling facility. The mass deposits of e-waste are therefore left to be crudely recycled under hazardous conditions. This crude recycling of e-waste is toxic to humans and to the environment.

Intriguingly, it is not only the electronic secondhand markets that populate Lagos with toxic waste. Cosmetic manufacturing industries produce ignitable waste, flammable solvents, strong acids and bases. Printing industry dealing in heavy metal solutions, waste ink, solvents and spent electroplating wastes contribute its fair share to the toxic waste deposit.

Same with furniture and wood manufacturing and refinishing plants, which produce ignitable wastes and spent solvents; metal manufacturing firms producing waste containing heavy metals, strong acids and bases; as well as leather products manufacturing and processing firms producing benzene and toluene wastes.

Another notorious spot where heavy metal wastes, ignitable wastes and spent solvents are generated in quantum quantity is the Ladipo auto spare-parts market tucked between Oshodi industrial estate and Mushin city centre at Toyota bus-stop along Apapa-Oshodi expressway.

Like a cancer, the market, which has become a Grease Land, has grown in leaps and bounds, spiraling into every available space. As the motor spare parts merchants expand their empire, even the service lane of the Oshodi-Apapa expressway from Five Star to Charity bus-stop is not spared.

There are more than 30,000 parts in a car. There is none hard to find in Ladipo. In fact, there are several assembly points where vehicles are butchered into parts, and scraps brought into the country are remodeled into useable vehicles.

At the Grease Land, every section of the market is a beehive of metal merchants’ activities. Daily, vast stretches of the roads are converted to mechanic workshops, where cars take turns to be serviced. These artisans that have appropriated large parts of the road as adhoc mechanic workshops, carry out major assignments including replacing car engines and even spraying of vehicles right on the road.

Apart from thousands of importers of used electrical equipment making money off e-waste, the industry has also created a lot of jobs in the informal sector. Nearly 100,000 people are estimated to work as scavengers, people who pick the electronic waste from homes, dumpsites and other places.

Another 50,000 are estimated to work as refurbishers, repairing the ‘non-tested’, non-functional electronics. They make a living sweating to see that the imported waste can be repaired and have their life cycle extended.

Despite being illegal and hazardous, there is a craving for both e-waste and used electrical equipment among many Nigerians. The major reason for this, several retailers and traders said is economic. Most Nigerians cannot afford new products.

According to the United Nations Human Development Index, over half of Nigeria’s N170 million live in poverty. To enjoy the luxury of basic electrical and electronic equipment like fridges, TVs, and microwave ovens, most of them turn to the secondhand market. Besides cost, some Nigerians quite curiously feel the used products from Europe and America are of better quality than new ones imported from China.

“I’m even afraid of the quality of the new equipment coming into Nigeria, because you find out that most of these new equipment transforms faster into e-waste because of low quality,” said Segun Odeyingbo, an official of StEP Initiative, an organisation dedicated to combating shipment of e-waste to Nigeria.

“A DVD player can easily be designed to last you for six months, and then it has already turned into e-waste.”

In his reaction to the growing incidence of toxic waste being imported into the country, Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Dr. Lawrence Anukam, blamed the rise in global electronic or e-waste scourge on technological advancement.

Anukam, who spoke during a recent sensitisation workshop on the implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for the electrical/electronics sector at the British High Commission residency in Ikoyi, Lagos, said the high technology consumption rate implies that sustainable production and consumption of electrical/electronics equipment would help control e-waste.

He explained that as a regulatory agency, NESREA is working with International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), Lyon in France on issues of environmental crime such as e-waste, illegal wildlife business and trans-boundary pollution.

The programme provides alert system on any ship bringing in e-waste into the country and enable coordinate action with the customs and the Navy to arrest such ships. He said NESREA had developed 24 regulations which are sector specific, one of which is protect species of endangered wildlife from extinction through the prohibition of trade, importation, etc.

Other measures the country’s e-waste regulator has adopted to regulate importation of used electronics is by registering the importers. This is to ensure only functional used electronics are imported.
However, a lot of the importers are still not registered, the Lagos State coordinator of NESREA, Nosa Aigbedion Dickson, said.

“Some of them are trying to evade the process. We have a situation where someone just goes to, maybe, the UK, takes equipment from the road free, assembles them together, puts it in the container, and ships it down to sell the junks as untested. But we are trying to see how we can ensure that it is only registered dealers that are bringing used electronics

Buhari orders release of more Paris London Clubs debt refund to states

President Muhammadu Buhari

• FIRS targets N306b in new tax reform
• NEITI says govt revenue shrinks by 40%

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria to release the second tranche of the London-Paris Clubs refunds to states.

Yesterday’s approval is the second tranche of the London-Paris Club refunds to the states, which government said is being provided in order to ease their financial hardships.

The President, who addressed the meeting of the National Economic Council of state governors, with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo as chairman at the Presidential Villa, however, urged the governors to use the refund for the settlement of unpaid salaries and pension liabilities of their workers.

Buhari, who went round the council chambers to greet the governors, praised the unity of the governors. He expressed his appreciation over their display of “love and respect” to him.

He said: “I will not rest until I address those issues that affect our people. One of these basic things is the issue of salaries. It is most important that workers are able to feed their families, pay rent and school fees, then other things can follow.”
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), after the NEC meeting too, disclosed that it would from May, commence a new tax reform that would boost Nigeria’s national revenue by N306. 7 billion.

Known as the Nigerian Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), the scheme, the government said will generate at least $1billion as government revenue within the next three years.

FIRS’ Chairman, Babatunde Fowler, who disclosed this to State House Correspondents, explained that a situation where the authorities were operating a tax payment scheme that gives room for tax haven and other sundry evasion strategies has not augured well for Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) said yesterday that revenues available to the Federal Government, states and local government council have dwindled by 40% in the last three years.

Banks want Etisalat’s debts paid in dollar

•Meeting of CBN, NCC shifted
Banks have opposed a proposal by Etisalat Nigeria to convert part of a $1.2 billion loan from dollar to naira.

Etisalat had proposed that the Abu Dhabi telecommunications group and its other shareholders should recapitalise it instead.

A banker, who confided in Reuters, revealed that the seven-year syndicated loan, on which Etisalat missed a payment, has a dollar portion of $235 million, which the firm wants to convert to naira to overcome the hard currency shortages in the Nigeria’s interbank market.

Meanwhile, a meeting that was brokered by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which was to hold yesterday, was shifted.
A source at the NCC told The Guardian yesterday that the meeting was shifted due to some unforeseen circumstances.

“It would now be held at an agreed date next week, and will include the CBN, NCC and Etisalat’s shareholders. The major thing for now is that discussions are on-going,” the source said.

It was further learnt that Etisalat is asking the banks to convert the dollar component to naira “but the banks don’t want that option and have told them to talk to their parent body to settle the loan.”

The UAE’s Etisalat owns 45 per cent of Etisalat Nigeria, while Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala owns 40 per cent of the company, which is due to meet its lenders for debt talks mediated by Nigeria’s central bank and the telecoms regulator.

This meeting was proposed after the authorities agreed with the local banks to prevent Etisalat Nigeria, which was not available for comment, going into receivership.

In 2013, Etisalat Nigeria was said to have secured a total of $1.7 billion medium term syndicated loan facility with a consortium of Nigerian banks. The facility included both naira and dollar tranches from a consortium of Nigerian banks.

The loan, which involved a foreign-backed guaranty bond, was for Etisalat to finance a major network rehabilitation and expansion of its operational base in Nigeria.

Sources from the Nigerian affiliate of the Abu Dhabi-listed telecoms firm had given notice to its Nigerian lenders that it would miss a payment on a $1.2 billion loan in February.

How I survived after my car went up in flames – Former Nigeria beauty queen

Ex-beauty queen and owner of Rikaoto By Me fashion line, Mariam Elisha, said she is yet to recover from trauma after her car went up in flames on Eko Bridge, Lagos on Sunday afternoon.
he Kebbi-State born fashion entrepreneur narrowly escaped death after her Mercedes Benz G-Wagon caught fire while she was in transit.
According to Miss Elisha, onlookers drew her attention to the fire because she was in transit and totally oblivious of it.
She told PREMIUM TIMES that she attempted to stop the car immediately but the brakes would not work.
“When the car began to slow down, I attempted to park it and open the door but it wouldn’t open until people came to help me out before the fire spread to every part of the car,” she recalled.
Speaking further, she added, “I am still in shock and afraid to sit behind the wheels, let alone drive my car because the memories of the accident keeps flashing right before my eyes.
 Maryland Elisha
“I saw death staring back at me. I didn’t believe that I would die in that fire because I was ready to kill the death before it gets to me.
“When I was trying to open the door and it would not bulge, I started calling Jesus to save me. At first people were scared to come close to the car because the fire was too much.

“It was when someone noticed I was inside and was struggling to get out that the person raised alarm that someone was inside. They broke the window and helped me open the door. I thank God for my life.”
She said the Mercedes Benz G-Wagon that was razed was worth N43 million.
A renowned model, she founded the Rikaoto by ME fashion brand in 2009, two years after being crowned Miss Valentine. She was also named one of the 20 most influential pageant personalities in Nigeria.

Outrage over Helen Zille's colonialism tweets >>>>Former DA leader apologises for social media posts suggesting that the legacy of colonialism was not all negative.

Helen Zille's comments drew widespread criticism [File: EPA]
The former leader of South Africa's main opposition party has sparked public outcry over a series of social media posts that suggested colonialism brought benefits to the country.

"For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative, think of our independent judiciary, transport infrastructure, piped water," Helen Zille, the ex-head of the Democratic Alliance (DA) party and the current premier of the Western Cape province, wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

She also tweeted that the transition into "specialised health care and medication" may have not been possible without "colonial influence".

Zille's comments drew strong criticism from political opponents and those within her own party, as well as on social media.


Zille, 66, has since apologised, but she will face a disciplinary process by the DA, according to the party’s website .


Mmusi Maimane, who took the reins from Zille in 2015 to become the DA's first black leader, criticised his predecessor, tweeting "colonialism, like apartheid, was a system of oppression and subjugation. It can never be justified".

Maimane also told local media that Zille's tweets were "completely unacceptable and indefensible".

In a statement , the party reiterated Maimane’s remarks, saying colonialism "oppressed millions of people and violated human rights in a cruel and inhumane way".


The DA, which won 22 percent of the vote in 2014's general election, has been gaining popularity and trying to shed its image as a "white" party before 2019's presidential election.

It promotes itself as a liberal equal opportunity party, but efforts to broaden its appeal among black voters have been hurt by social media scandals, and the party has struggled to present itself as a credible alternative to the ruling African National Congress (ANC)

Opponents demand Zille's removal

The ANC urged the DA to immediately remove Zille as Western Cape premier, calling her tweets "reckless and ignorant claims".

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), another opposition party, also demanded  Zille "step down".

The EFF also called Zille's remarks "cold-hearted racism".


South Africa was colonised by the Dutch and British for about 300 years. The country then experienced white-minority rule under apartheid, which ended in 1994.

Racial tensions, however, have continued to endure in the years after apartheid.

Is Israel imposing 'apartheid' on Palestinians? A new UN agency report says the Israeli government is imposing an 'apartheid regime' on the Palestinian people.

A new UN report has accused Israel of establishing an "apartheid regime that oppresses" the Palestinian people.

The report, published by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), condemned the Israeli government, saying it has violated international law and operated a system of divide and rule.

The office of the UN secretary-general, however, has distanced itself from the report. And the Israeli government said it is an attempt to smear the only "true democracy" in the Middle East.

So, will this UN report help or hinder the Palestinian cause?

Presenter: Dareen Abughaida

Guests:

Mustafa Barghouti - Leader of the Palestine National Initiative

Robbie Sabel - Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a former legal adviser for the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs

Virginia Tilley - Co-author of the UN ESCWA report and a political science professor at Southern Illinois University

BBC team among injured in Etna volcano drama

(FILES) This file photo taken on December 04, 2015 shows smoke rising over the city of Taormina during an eruption of the Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, near Catania. Some tourists and journalists were slightly injured on March16, 2017 by a shower of lava and steam caused by an explosion on the Mount Etna, erupting again in Sicily (southern Italy), according to Italian medias and the BBC, present on site. PHOTO: Giovanni Isolino / AFP

Ten people were injured by flying rock and lava after Mount Etna, Europe's biggest active volcano, burst into life on Thursday, according to a BBC journalist and others caught up in a terrifying drama on the upper slopes.

The 10 suffered minor burns, cuts and bruises and six were hospitalised.

German volcanologist Boris Behncke described on his Facebook page how the explosion was triggered by a build-up of steam after molten lava overran a layer of snow. "I received a bruise on the head but I am fine," said the Etna specialist.

The explosion occurred at 12.43pm (1143 GMT) when the steam trapped between the lava and the surface of the mountain escaped in a powerful burst, Stefano Branca, of the Italian institute of geology and volcanology (INGV), told AFP.
There were around 35 people in the area close to the explosion, including a BBC team, 15 tourists, scientists and guides, said Nino Borzi, mayor of Nicolosi, the closest residential area. "There were 10 injuries but none serious," he said.

BBC science correspondent Rebecca Morelle tweeted that it could easily have been much worse.

"Everyone taken off the mountain - rescue team and guides here were brilliant," she wrote on Twitter, adding: "BBC team all ok - some cuts/ bruises and burns. Very shaken though - it was extremely scary."

Morelle said a volcanologist with them on the peak described the incident as the most dangerous in his 30-year career.

"Explosions like this have killed," she added.

"Running down a mountain pelted by rocks, dodging burning boulders and boiling steam - not an experience I ever ever want to repeat."

The incident happened as Etna burst into life again, two and a half weeks after its first eruption in over a year.

The eruption, from a crater on the southeastern side of the 3,000-metre (9,800-foot) peak, sent rocks and molten lava some 200 metres into the sky above Sicily.

NNPC to intensify anti-corruption drive, says Baru


The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Maikanti Baru.


The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has pledged to strengthen the anti-graft war across its value chain to ensure efficiency and optimisation of resources.

The NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, said this on Thursday in Abuja in a statement signed by Mr Ndu Ughamadu, the corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Department.

Baru was speaking when he received a delegation of Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria ( ACAN ) in his office.

According to Baru, the NNPC, as an entity that supports anti-corruption, has appropriate sanctions against staff found to have flouted established process and procedures.
He said the Corporation would work with the management of ACAN, the research and training department of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Tribunal, ICPC, to sustain its age-long tradition.

”We have retired some members of staff and meted out penalties on others who flouted our process.

”NNPC was the first agency of government to form an in-house anti-corruption committee soon after the proclamation of the ICPC Act.

”This action shows our commitment to transparency and openness in all we do; it also shows our zeal to ensure that our staff imbibe the culture of fighting corruption,” the NNPC boss said.‎

He said that the Corporation’s anti-corruption posture had been accentuated with the monthly publication of NNPC financial and operational report in national newspapers, on the NNPC website and other online news portals.

Baru said that the Corporation was prompt in its remittance of oil and gas revenues into the Federation Account.

He also said that the corporation had embraced the practice of conducting open public bid exercises in sourcing service providers and suppliers for operational requirements.

”These open bid exercises are usually covered live by major television networks in the full glare of representatives of the bidding companies.

“Officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Civil Society Organisations and independent assessors are always present at such bids.

”The NNPC is undergoing reforms anchored on full activation of the 12 Business Focus Areas, BUFA, with the cardinal philosophy of engendering an efficient first class oil and gas entity with clear-eyed gaze at transparency and accountability,” he said.

In his remark, Prof. Sola Akinrinade, Provost of the Academy, said ACAN was ready to help the Corporation to boost its anti-corruption quotient with apt capacity building sessions for staff and management.

Parcel explosion at IMF's Paris office wounds employee


Police probe under way after 'homemade device sent from Greece' goes off at world lender's office in French capital.
A major police operation was under way after the incident [Christian Hartmann/Reuters]A major police operation was under way after the incident [Christian Hartmann/Reuters]
An employee of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was injured on Thursday when a booby-trapped parcel exploded at the organisation's Paris office, according to police.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but later on Thursday Greek officials said they had been informed by French authorities that there was a Greek return address on the envelope.

The explosion was caused by a device that was fairly home-made, "like a big fire cracker ... and certainly not in any way a bomb", Paris police chief Michel Cadot told reporters near the scene of the incident in the centre of the French capital.

Al Jazeera's Natacha Butler, reporting from Paris, said the letter was sent by regular post to the head of IMF's European bureau. Jeffrey Franks, a 24-year veteran of the fund, has been director of the IMF's Europe office since March 2015, according to its website.

"According to police statements, the letter was opened by the bureau chief's assistant when it exploded, wounding her face and her eyes," Butler said.

"Police say she is not in a critical condition but obviously extremely shaken by what happened."

Butler said IMF staff were evacuated from the building near the Arc de Triomphe monument and a police operation was under way. Paris anti-terrorism prosecutors opened an investigation.


Police investigators leave IMF offices in central Paris [Christian Hartmann/Reuters]
Later on Thursday, Nikos Toskas, Greece's public order minister, said the package had been sent from Athens.

"French authorities just informed us that it was mailed from Greece," Toskas told Ant1 Television.

The letter listed Vassilis Kikilias, spokesman of the conservative opposition Nea Dimokratia party, as the sender, Toskas said.

On Wednesday, authorities in Germany intercepted a parcel bomb addressed to German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

A Greek group called the Conspiracy of Fire Cells claimed responsibility for that earlier on Thursday.

The IMF has been involved in talks between Greece and its international creditors on disbursing new loans to Athens under a bailout programme.

Many in Greece blame the IMF and Germany and the IMF for imposing years of austerity in exchange for bailout packages.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde said the organisation was "working closely" with French authorities to investigate the incident in Paris.

"I condemn this cowardly act of violence and reaffirm the IMF's resolve to continue our work in line with our mandate," Lagarde said.

French President Francois Hollande said authorities would go "all the way" to find those responsible.

Ahmad replaces Issa Hayatou as African football chief>>>>>>> Ahmad Ahmad becomes president of Confederation of African Football (CAF), beating Issa Hayatou who served for 29 years.

Ahmad won the election in the Ethiopian capital by 34 votes to Hayatou's 20, official results showed [AFP]
Madagascar's football chief Ahmad Ahmad has been elected president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on Thursday, ousting veteran leader Issa Hayatou after 29 years in office.

Ahmad won the election in the Ethiopian capital by 34 votes to Hayatou's 20, official results showed.

"When you try to do something, you mean that you can do it," Ahmad told reporters after the vote. "If I can't do it, I never stand."

Ahmad, a 57-year-old father of two, had a discreet playing and coaching career before he took the reins of the Madagascar football federation in 2003.

His rare and determined bid for "change" at the head of the CAF this year took many by surprise, and the incumbent was seen as the favourite.

Hayatou headed CAF since 1988 and is a senior vice president of FIFA. He has been credited with increasing the number of African teams at the World Cup and bringing in extra finance for the continent's competitions.

Indonesian designer brings eco-print, batik to AIFW>>>>>> Eco-print is a method of taking colour and pattern of leaves on different kind of textiles like silk, rayon and organic cotton.

Indonesian fashion designer Novita Yunus, who was here to promote Jakarta Fashion Week, presented a collection of ensembles in techniques like batik and eco-print.
Titled ‘Bumi Langit’ (Earth and Sky), Yunus’s collection showcased here on Wednesday was inspired by the idea of balancing the colour palettes of the autumn leaves and the cold winter sky.

Various materials and techniques were used in the collection.
Eco-print process, Batik Remekan, Garut handwoven and embroideries were brought to the forefront by the designer.

Eco-print is a method of taking colour and pattern of leaves on different kind of textiles like silk, rayon and organic cotton.
The collection consisted of harem pants, skirts, plead skirts, kaftans and traditional embroidered kebayas with models wearing Dutch heels, carrying leather bags with tied hair and Indonesian straw hats walking the ramp.
The colours used were ochre, dark chocolate, light brown, olive green and hues of black and blue.
The four-day long fashion event organised by Fashion Design Council of India, is being held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and will end on March 18.

Off the catwalk, bloggers and editors vie for fashion fans' attention

Dressed in a red top, fuchsia pleated skirt and fluffy boa worn on the shoulder, fashion blogger Beatrice Balaj poses for pictures in her front row seat at a New York catwalk show.

She is among a number of bloggers who use the internet and social media to cover the biannual womenswear events in New York, London, Milan and Paris, as well as everyday fashion, and whose power to set trends has grown to rival that of traditional glossy magazines.

"We basically show people our lives on-camera and off-camera, and people are interested in that and want to know more," said Balaj, whose Instagram feed carries images from a number of once-exclusive fashion week shows.

"We're very influential because people fall in love with our personalities rather than what we do."

Reaching consumers via the web or social media platforms, Balaj and other bloggers post snaps of their outfits and images from the shows and may collaborate with brands that sometimes dress them.

"(Bloggers) belong to a fashion system that ... has been literally reshaped," said Tommaso Aquilano, creative director at Italian fashion brand Fay. "Influencers and bloggers at the end of the day are the mirror of what people are in everyday lives."

But relations with the established fashion media can be frosty. Last year, fashion bible Vogue criticized bloggers in an online post about Milan Fashion Week, with one writer accusing them of "heralding the death of style" by changing into "head-to-toe, paid-to-wear outfits every hour".

The bloggers said that was hypocritical, as magazines borrow designer clothes for shoots and dedicate large spaces to brand advertising.


Italian fashion blogger Carlo Sestini says the two sides help each other, and that "fighting will just not lead to anything".

Grazia Italy magazine editor Silvia Grilli also said press, bloggers and influences "can work together very well", serving different audiences in different ways. Magazines, for example, offer trends while bloggers share and speak more personally.

"I think everybody serves a very different purpose ... You talk about somebody who reaches somebody in an instantaneous way. Editors have a different level of veteran experience," said Joe Zee, former Elle magazine creative director and now editor-in-chief at Yahoo Style.

"I think we have so much fashion right now ... and there are so many angles to come at it that there is room for everybody."

Fashion fans say both sides have their strengths.

"I feel like magazines are awesome for visual inspiration but bloggers have a certain truth to them," London student Ella Light said.

"They get paid sometimes, but I feel bloggers are a bit more real and you can relate to them a bit more."

Happy Family

  Aisha Buhari the wife of Nigerian president with her younger brother and her son are looking bright and beautiful.