BREAKING: Buhari Extends 10-Vacation Indefinitely
By Dipo Olowookere
Report reaching us confirms that President Muhammadu Buhari has extended his 10-day vacation to the United Kingdom.
Mr Buhari, in a statement signed on Sunday evening by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, explained that he was extending his return to a later date to enable him” complete and receive the results of a series of tests recommended by his doctors.”
However, the statement did not state how many more days he will stay away.
But Mr Adesina said in the statement that in view of this, the President has written “to the National Assembly today, (Sunday) February 5, 2017, informing of his desire to extend his leave.”
Mr Buhari was expected to return to Nigeria today and resume work tomorrow, Monday, February 6, 2017 until his recent letter.
Mr Adesina noted that the President “was advised to complete the test cycle before returning.”
He further said that, “The notice has since been dispatched to the Senate President, and Speaker of the House of Representatives.”
Concluding, the President’s media aide said Mr Buhari has expressed “his sincere gratitude to Nigerians for their concern, prayers and kind wishes.”
Governor Akeredolu Not Dead–Ondo Commissioner
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Ondo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, has refuted reports that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has died.
In a statement on Saturday, the Commissioner described the news as fake, though confirming that Mr Akeredolu was truly indisposed.
She said despite the Governor’s state of health, he has been discharging his constitutional duties and has also been delegating some of his functions to others who are competent to discharge them.
She advised members of the public, particularly citizens of the southwest state to disregard the rumours of the Governor’s death.
“We have been inundated with calls and messages concerning the state of health of the Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu. We had chosen to ignore this wicked fabrication until it appeared that certain persons seek to draw political mileage from the disinformation.
“Though the Governor has been indisposed, he has been attending to state matters and delegating functions to functionaries of the government, when necessary.
“We enjoin the members of the public to ignore the rumour. Aketi is very much alive,” Mrs Ademola-Olateju said in the statement.
Meanwhile, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Governor, Mr Richard Olatunde, has released a short video showing Mr Akeredolu watching the FA Cup final played at the Wembley Stadium in England between Manchester United and Manchester City on Saturday.
The Governor watched the football game won by the blue side of the city on a large television screen.
FCFA Tasks Nigeria to Adopt Sweden’s Tobacco Harm Reduction Model
By Dipo Olowookere
Nigeria has been advised to adopt the model used by Sweden to achieve Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR), which helped the European nation to reduce smoking rates, thereby promoting a healthier future.
Sweden is moving closer to becoming a smoke-free society, as over the past 15 years, smoking rates have plummeted from 15 per cent to 5.6 per cent, making it the lowest rate in Europe.
This has also put the country 17 years ahead of the European Union’s target, affirming the effectiveness of the Swedish way of making reduced risks alternative products to smoking widely accessible, acceptable and affordable.
Nigeria can also achieve this feat if necessary steps are taken to work toward this, the Foundation for Consumer Freedom Advancement (FCFA) submitted.
While joining others to celebrate World Vape Day 2023 on May 30, the group said it was fully behind the fight to combat smoking charging African leaders to adopt the Swedish model to save millions of lives across the continent to transform public health outcomes and reduce the staggering toll of tobacco-related diseases.
Nigeria continues to face the devastating consequences of smoking-related diseases. The World Health Organisation, in 2022, reported that nearly 30,000 lives were lost in Nigeria due to this.
According to the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction, 4.1 per cent of the adult population in Nigeria are current smokers, representing approximately 4.5 million individuals.
The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction reports that while 7.9 per cent of men in Nigeria are current smokers, only 0.3 per cent of women smoke.
These figures underscore the urgent need for the Nigerian government to prioritize THR and learn from the Swedish model, FCFA said, attributing the success of adopting a smokeless oral tobacco product called Snus and promoting diverse alternatives to traditional cigarettes.
The organisation Sweden offered a range of reduced-risk alternatives such as e-cigarettes or vaping products and nicotine pouches, noting that these alternatives are made readily available in convenience stores, supermarkets, and tobacco stores, simplifying the transition process for smokers.
FCFA has called on the Nigerian government to prioritise Tobacco Harm Reduction, stating that through education, regulation and provision of safer alternatives, Nigeria can empower its citizens to make informed choices and transition from traditional combustible tobacco products.
The group promised to partner with “stakeholders in Nigeria to promote Tobacco Harm Reduction initiatives and work towards a smoke-free future.”
InTouch, GTP to Unlock Financial Inclusion for African Consumers
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A partnership targeted at unlocking financial inclusion for African consumers has been entered between GTP, a specialised provider of prepaid and virtual card processing solutions, and InTouch, a leading pan-African fintech.
This collaboration will commence in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire and expand into the rest of the continent. The goal will be achieved by democratising access to card credentials for millions of African consumers, as it would bridge the gap between digital payment platforms and card-based transactions, giving InTouch customers access to cross-border transactions through Visa credentials.
“With this partnership, we are democratizing access to card payments and enabling international and online payments as well as cash in and cash-outs in our TouchPoint network in Senegal and Ivory Coast and very soon in 16 other African countries.
“Our goal is to offer the simplest and most accessible solutions for digital payments to millions of customers across the African continent,” the founder of InTouch, Omar Cissé, said.
Also, the chief executive of GTP, Christian Bwakira, said, “InTouch is an innovative pan-African payments aggregator that has demonstrated consistent innovation in markets in which it operates.
“By working together, we will unlock the power of card credentials for millions of Africans across the continent and make borders matter less for them in the global digital economy.”
Access to card credentials plays a pivotal role in Africa’s financial ecosystem, opening doors to a wide range of economic opportunities and driving financial inclusion.
Studies currently estimate that 90 per cent of transactions conducted in Africa are still reliant on cash, highlighting the significant gap in digital financial inclusion across the continent.
But McKinsey argues that card-linked digital wallets are already a significant driver of growth in the issuance and usage of cards.
Prepaid cards are decoupled from the traditional banking infrastructure, allowing banks and fintech companies to give more people access to a globally accepted payments method without a need for a traditional bank account.
By partnering with GTP, an MFS Africa company, InTouch aims to democratise access to card credentials for its African customers across its 13 markets. This collaboration will enable users of InTouch’s innovative digital platform, which aggregates over 400 services through its API` to seamlessly link their digital wallets to card credentials, enhancing their access to the global digital economy.
Through the integration of GTP’s robust prepaid and virtual card processing solutions, InTouch users will be able to tap into the advantages of card-based transactions, including wider acceptance, enhanced security, and seamless integration with global payment networks.
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