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U.S. gives Nigerian editors N93 million grant

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The Nigerian Guild of Editors has received a N93 million grant from the U.S.

The grant is to facilitate the capacity building of its members and other senior journalists.

The NGE, in a statement jointly signed by its president, Mustapha Isah, and general secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiarem, on Sunday said the U.S. gave the support through its embassy in Lagos.

The editors said the capacity building would include training programmes for editors and other senior journalists on press freedom and democracy as well as town hall meetings on media regulation framework.

“The project also entails printing and distribution of the journalism code of ethics and strengthening of the NGE’s website-news alerts on media violations. The capacity building conferences, which will hold in the six geo-political zones across the country, are to provide a platform for editors to be reminded of the sacred duties they are tasked to perform by the constitution on behalf of the citizens,” added the statement. ”Drawing copious examples from the advanced democracies around the world, like U.S. after which the Nigerian constitution is formed, the conferences are expected to instil in the editors the need to perform their duties with the highest form of standard and sense of responsibilities.”

The NGE further explained that, with the project, it hoped that professional media would have the spin-off effect of advancing democratic growth.

It noted that the project would also enable NGE to strengthen its website to meet the demands for news alerts on media violations, public feedback, and complaints on allegations of malicious media reportage.

‘’This would provide an opportunity for the guild to strengthen its online presence to promptly disseminate current information with members and the general public, including international partners and audiences,” it stated. ‘’A third component is the printing and distribution of Nigeria Journalism Code of Ethics to all journalists, including editors, to popularise among editors and senior journalists the professional code of ethics that guides their profession and have these instilled in their subconsciousness and serve as a guiding principle.”

On the town hall meeting component, the guild said it would allow stakeholders to assess media performance in consolidating democracy and outline an agenda for the future.

The guild said it had planned strategic meetings with Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Union of Journalists, and other media-focused NGOs on a framework for self-regulation for Nigerian media.

“This will provide a platform for media stakeholders to undertake self-introspection and develop a framework for media regulation, which will not only have their buy-in but also improve the standard for media practice in Nigeria, thereby reducing, if not eliminate incidence of substandard and unprofessional reportage in the Nigerian media,” added the NGE. “Such conversations and hopefully eventual adoption of self-regulatory framework could also have a regional spin-off whereby countries within the region, and indeed Africa, could be encouraged to borrow a leaf from the Nigerian example, as was the case with the adoption of a Freedom of Information Act in Nigeria, subsequently having a spin-off in Ghana.”

The guild further mentioned that from the project’s timelines, the South-West conference and the town hall meeting would hold in Lagos between December 2 and 4.

(NAN)

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APC Crisis: Ex-Gov. Yerima calls for unity in Zamfara

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Ahmed Sani Yerima

Former Governor Ahmad Yerima of Zamfara has called for unity in the All Progressives Congress (APC) family in the state, urging those challenging the party’s leadership in the state to stop in the interest of peace.

Mr Yerima said this when he received newly inaugurated state executives of the party at his residence in Gusau.

Yusuf Idris, APC’s publicity secretary in Zamfara, disclosed this in a statement in Gusau on Monday.

The statement said the executives’ visit was to show appreciation to APC stakeholders in Zamfara over their emergence under the chairmanship of Tukur-Umar Danfulani.

“During the visit, Danfulani promised to show leadership by example, promising that all loyal members will be fully engaged in party activities,” said the statement.

It added that the executives also visited former Governor Mahmud Shinkafi, serving and former lawmakers at the National and State House of Assembly, among others.

(NAN)

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COVID-19: Botswana confirms 19 Omicron cases

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Botswana Health Minister, Edwin Dikoloti, has confirmed 19 cases of the newly-discovered Omicron variant of COVID-19.

“Such detection should not be confused with Botswana being the country of origin of the strain,” the Botswana health minister said.

Mr Dikoloti disclosed this at a briefing that additional assessments and analyses of other positive COVID-19 samples had revealed 15 more cases of the Omicron variant on Sunday after four foreigners were declared infected.

“We will continue to expand our conduct tracing to ensure that no potential cases go undetected,” Mr Dikoloti stressed.

He further stated that the initial cases of the Omicron variant in Botswana were detected after four foreign nationals, who had briefly visited Botswana, tested positive for COVID-19 on November 11. 

The variant was confirmed as the Omicron variant on November 24.

(NAN)

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Omicron: Philippines launches ambitious vaccination drive

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1637324641 Coronavirus

The Philippines on Monday launched an ambitious three-day vaccination drive to give COVID-19 shots to up to nine million Filipinos amid the threat of the highly mutated Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Thousands of security forces and volunteers were deployed nationwide to implement the campaign, which was being held as the country again imposed international travel restrictions.

“The national vaccination day is very timely and truly a milestone in our COVID-19 pandemic response and mitigation efforts,” Carlito Galvez, the country’s vaccination chief, said. “Inoculating nine million individuals in three days is our most ambitious target so far.”

According to the Department of Health, three million people would be vaccinated a day or nearly four times the average of 813,734 daily doses in the past week.

The department said before Monday, more than 35.78 million Filipinos had been fully vaccinated, or over 32 per cent of the country’s total population of 110 million.

The government aims to vaccinate 54 million people by the end of 2021 and 77 million by next March.

Mr Galvez said with the country’s increasing supply of vaccines, the key was now to “accelerate and expand the capacity” of local government units, especially those outside the capital region of Metro Manila.

The Philippines banned flights from 14 countries, including seven European nations, due to rising COVID-19 cases and the detection of the Omicron variant.

The government also indefinitely delayed a previous decision to start accepting some foreign tourists again from December 1. 

(dpa/NAN)

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