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China Studies Centre slams US over Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act

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From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

The Centre for China Studies has berated the United States over its recent signing of the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act.

The Director, Centre for China Studies, Mr Charles Onunaiju, while briefing journalists in Abuja, said the so-called Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act, which the U.S hegemonic circles have signed into law on December 23, 2021, is a piece of fabrication and outright provocation designed to stoke international tension.

“For the Chinese and their government, under the leadership of the Communist Party, the signed U.S extraterritorial law is ‘a rock they are lifting which will end up dropping on their feet.’

“As a research centre, the facts we have gathered showed that the insinuations and innuendoes, contained in the so-called ‘Forced Labour Prevention Act’ was pure political slander,” Onunaiju said.

Onunaiju further said the facts were that since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, from 2014 to 2020, the number of employed persons in the region has risen from 11.35 million to 13.56 million, an increase of 19.4 per cent.

“We found out that as a routine, the authorities of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region dutifully apply the country’s policy requirement on establishing a dynamic salary growth mechanism for employees in enterprises and improve accordingly the salary guidance system for enterprises and for the labour market. The Xinjiang Autonomous Region has fully implemented the China national plan to ensure access to Social Security.

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“Workers in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and other key groups, including migrant workers, the self-employed and people engaged in a new form of business are encouraged to access the Social insurance scheme. By the end of 2019, more than 22 million people were participating in basic pension, unemployment and work-related injury insurance.

“The point we have made clear is that U.S ‘Ugyher Forced Labour Prevention Act’ which target enterprises will only disrupt the global supply chain, which has already been made fragile by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nigeria and Africa have a moral duty to speak up against political slander of a major country and partner in the Global South and whose development trajectory, has impacted positively in both Africa and Nigeria, but which stirs paranoid in the hegemonic circles in the West,” Onunaiju added.

Onunaiju also said China is entitled to her comprehensive and inclusive development, calling on the United States to immediately abrogate the obnoxious law.

“We call on the U.S ruling circles for the sake of preserving international order, underpinned by international law, to immediately abrogate the obnoxious law, which in reality has no practical effect and will do nothing to affect China’s development and its region of Xinjiang, but will foul the international political ecosystem and make it more fraught with uncertainty and recriminations,” Onunaiju concluded.

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Insecurity in schools: NSCDC sensitizes education stakeholders

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From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

To forestall the increasing spate of insecurity in schools across the country, the Benue State Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), has stressed the need for all security guards in all schools in the state to be duly registered and trained by licensed private guards. 

State Commandant of NSCDC, Dr. Philip Okoh stated this during a stakeholders’ meeting with key actors in the educational sector held at the state command of the Corps recently.

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Okoh, while addressing the stakeholders, said the training became necessary following reports of kidnapping and other vices linked to security guards in schools around the country and the need to prevent such occurrence in Benue.

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CBN slashes electronic transfer, ATM fees, others

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has slashed its electronic transfer, ATM and card maintenance fees.

The new charges were contained in the latest Guide to Charges by Banks and Other Financial Institutions just released by the CBN

The CBN said bank customers will now pay N10 for electronic transfers below N5,000, N25 for electronic transfer between N5,000 and N50,000, and N50 for electronic transfer above N50,000.

Previously, bank customers pay N50 charge for electronic transfers below N500,000.

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The CBN also slashed charges for cash withdrawal via Other bank’s ATM to “maximum of N35 after the third withdrawal within the same month” from “N65 after the third withdrawal within the same month”.

Also, the CBN removed Card Maintenance Fee (CAMF) on all cards linked to current accounts, among others.

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COVID-19 impact: Enugu govt partners AUDA-NEPAD on farmers’t

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The administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has taken measures in furtherance of its efforts to cushion the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the people and the economy of the state.

Enugu State office of the African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for African Development (AUDA-NEPAD), yesterday, held an interactive meeting with stakeholders in the state on the agency’s agricultural project aimed at empowering small holder farmers and boosting food production to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Addressing the stakeholders, Enugu State Commissioner for Special Duties and State Coordinator/Focal Person in charge of AUDA/NEPAD, Enugu Office, Mrs. Mabel Agbo, disclosed that AUDA-NEPAD Continental Office in collaboration with some international agencies took bold measures to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on the citizens by initiating the project, entitled “Innovative Strengthening of Small holder Farmers Capabilities Towards Productive Land Restoration Amid COVID-19 in Nigeria”.

Mrs. Agbo said “this project as the title connotes is aimed at empowering small holder farmers in our different communities in all agriculture value chains and segments (crops and livestock) to boost their capacity for food production, especially in the aftermath of the devastating impact of COVID-19 on our economy.

“To reduce the negative impact of this pandemic, we must step up efforts to enhance the capacity of our farmers to provide food for the wellbeing of our citizens.”

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She said both the African Union (AU) and Governor Ugwuanyi had ensured that the funding for the project was available.

She urged traditional rulers of autonomous communities in Enugu State and the presidents-general of town unions to ensure that lands were made available for use by the potential farmers.

Also speaking, the representative of the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Afam Ngene, described the project as laudable, commending the AUDA-NEPAD for the initiative.

The commissioner equally lauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for ensuring that the programme reaches all the nooks and crannies of Enugu State, for full actualization of the objectives in the interest of the farmers in particular and the state in general.

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