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SMEDAN to Hold Special Fair for People With Disabilities




By Adedapo Adesanya

The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has announced that it would hold a special opportunity fair for People With Disabilities (PWDs) as part of its efforts to encourage socio-economic inclusion for PWDs entrepreneurs in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

The Director General of SMEDAN, Mr Olawale Fasanya, during a capacity-building programme titled Grant and Growth Support for Business Membership Organisations and Trade Associations that was targeted at PWDs said the programme will pilot in Lagos.

Mr Fasanya said: “We are going to organise Special Opportunity Fairs for the PWDs and we are going to start it in Lagos. This will bring government personalities and agencies like National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) to the fair that will be special for the PWDs.

“We will brainstorm to see how we can provide market linkages for you so that your products can be off taken. We will also try at the federal level to play an advocacy role for people that are physically challenged because, as far as we are concerned, you are people with special abilities and not disabilities. We will not just train you and leave you but will provide some support to you.”

He noted that “today, people with special abilities are making in-roads and redefining entrepreneurship as a route to socio-economic development,” adding that “they have accepted the challenge and are making a tremendous impact towards employment generation and wealth creation. They have demonstrated that there is ability in disability and process the tremendous potential for entrepreneurship.”

In her remark during the workshop, the Chairlady, Lagos State Chapter of Nigeria Association of the Blind, Mrs Christiana Akinrimade, requested that government should assist the PWDs in business to secure access to markets for their products through the provision of shops in notable markets in the country.

She said: “We want SMEDAN to assist us and empower us to be on our feet so that we can be able to convince others to join us.”

On her part, the Chief Executive Officer of The Eastern Star Care Foundation, Mrs Upright M. Wonders, who is also a physically challenged entrepreneur, called on governments in the country to patronise their products, saying, “I want to see our products in Aso Rock.”

Mrs Wonders told the SMEDAN DG that the PWDs are faced with the challenge of where to display their products. “Please encourage the federal government to be buying our products.

“Personally I have one of the best liquid soap products in this nation. But the state and federal governments are not patronising us enough. I want to see the products of PWDs in Sheraton and NICON Hotel,” she said.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.


Nigeria Becomes 48th Party to Join UN Water Convention



UN Water Convention

By Adedapo Adesanya 

Nigeria has resolved to join a key United Nations accord known as the Water Convention, in which the country will play its part in using its water resources for conflict prevention, climate change adaptation, and development.

Nigeria, on March 22, officially became the 48th Party to the Water Convention and the 7th African nation to join since 2018, following the footsteps of Chad, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, Togo and Cameroon.

With over 213 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous state in Africa, and shares with its neighbours most of its water resources, which include Lake Chad and the River Niger.

Governments are seizing the UN Water Convention to support practical cooperation measures – urgently needed as 153 states worldwide share water resources – as a precondition to tackle the global water crisis.

Other countries that have joined include Iraq, which declared its forthcoming accession. This makes it the first country in the Middle East to join the Convention, opening the door to expanded membership in a region facing acute water challenges.

Panama stated it would soon become a Party, which would make it the first in Latin America, paving the way for reinforced cooperation in a region with a very limited number of agreements on the management of shared waters (and a value of the associated Sustainable Development Goals indicator at less than 10 per cent.

Namibia also reaffirmed its commitment to join the Water Convention following the approval of its national assembly last week. Namibia shares all its perennial rivers with neighbouring countries and is both a mid- and downstream country. Its accession would make it the first country in the Southern African Development Community to join the Convention, opening the door to further expansion and reinforcement of cooperation in a region where the majority of freshwater crosses state borders.

Gambia, whose parliament approved its accession to the Water Convention last week, membership will make a significant contribution to the more dependable management of its water resources, jointly with its neighbouring states.

The Gambia is a downstream country along the Senegal River, which shares all its land borders with Convention Party Senegal. It also shares the Senegalo-Mauritanian Aquifer, for which the Convention is already supporting cooperation.

Niger confirmed its intention to join, bringing all major Lake Chad bordering nations under the Convention’s legal framework. This is a decisive step in the increasingly drought-prone Sahel region since it gives Lake Chad – whose volume has shrunk by more than 90 per cent since 1963 – full legal protection under the Convention.

Uganda affirmed its intention to accelerate accession to the Water Convention. Expansion of the Convention’s membership to East Africa would open significant new possibilities for stronger cooperation in the region.

Benin, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan also declared their commitment to accede to the Convention.

In East Africa, Tanzania has also confirmed its desire to join.

Through this momentum, the international community has further consolidated the UN Water Convention as the intergovernmental legal framework and platform for transboundary water cooperation, building on its 30-year track record of results to advance peace and sustainable development in shared basins.

Further scaling up membership of the Water Convention – which already covers the pan-European region and a growing number of African states – would bring long-term benefits for over 3 billion people worldwide living in shared basins. Further commitments to join from governments are expected to follow over the duration of the UN Water Conference.

This month, El Salvador confirmed its intention to join the Convention, as did the Dominican Republic in 2022.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged all Member States to join the Convention and ensure its full implementation and has stressed that “the 1992 Water Convention is a powerful tool to advance cooperation, prevent conflicts and build resilience”.

The 1992 Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), known as the UN Water Convention, whose secretariat is serviced by UNECE, is a unique global legal and intergovernmental framework.

It requires the parties to prevent, control and reduce negative impacts on water quality and quantity across borders, to use shared waters in a reasonable and equitable way, and to ensure their sustainable management through cooperation. Parties bordering the same transboundary waters are obliged to cooperate by concluding specific agreements and establishing joint bodies.

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AfDB Supports Water Development in Northern Nigeria



Water Development northern Nigeria

By Adedapo Adesanya

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has signed a €362,000 grant agreement with Hadejia Jama’are Komadugu Yobe Basin-Trust Fund to prepare additional studies under the second phase of developing a strategic plan for managing water resources in the Komadugu-Yobe Basin in northern Nigeria.

Specifically, the grant will support the preparation of a Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the Challawa Gorge Dam Watershed Management Project; a stakeholder engagement plan; a grievance redress mechanism, and stakeholder consultations involving riparian communities and the Lake Chad Basin Commission comprising Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, and Niger Republic. The project will be implemented over eight months.

The Hadejia-Jama’are-Komadugu-Yobe Basin Trust Fund will execute the project. The Trust Fund is jointly funded by the six states of Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Plateau, and Yobe, in collaboration with the federal government.

Speaking on this, Mr Lamin Barrow, Director General of the bank’s Nigeria Country Department, underscored the programme’s importance, saying it would ensure long-term water security for the local people.

“The Komadugu Yobe Multi-Purpose Water Resources Development Program will support socio-economic development, enhanced livelihoods, and environmental sustainability,” Mr Barrow stressed.

On his part, the Executive Secretary of the Hadejia Jama’are Komadugu Yobe Trust Fund, Mr Hassan Bdliya, thanked the lender for its continued support towards sustainable water resources management in the Komadugu-Yobe Basin.

“We are very grateful to African Development Bank for its support. The Bank has been supporting us since 2016. The impact of the Bank’s support has been tremendous. The implementation of this project will have a positive impact on people within the Komadugu-Yobe Basin. The Hadejia Jama’are Komadugu Yobe Trust Fund will work diligently with all stakeholders to ensure the timely completion of the studies”.

The Komadugu Yobe Multi-Purpose Water Resources Development investment programme is a top priority of the Federal Government due to its immense long-term benefits to the inhabitants of six riparian States in Northern Nigeria. It also aligns with the country’s development agenda, including the Medium-Term National Development Plan (2021- 2025) and Vision 2050.

Created in 2006, the Hadejia-Jama’are-Komadugu-Yobe Basin Trust Fund is an innovative platform for joint intervention by the riparian states, with the support of the Federal Government for augmenting line agencies in addressing the Komadugu Yobe Basin land and water resources issues.

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NCDMB Trains Indigenous Companies on Quality Management Systems



Quality Management Systems

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has embarked on the training of indigenous companies on Quality Management Systems (QMS).

This is part of efforts by the board to build, improve and increase the capacity of Nigerians in the oil and gas sector.

The QMS training, which is ongoing in Port Harcourt, the capital of oil-rich Rivers State, is the first series of the second phase of the training.

QMS is a structured system that documents the processes, methods, and responsibilities for accomplishing quality policies and objectives.

In this context, it will assist the local organisations in coordinating and directing their activities to better fulfil the needs of their customers and regulatory authorities, as well as to continuously enhance their level of effectiveness and efficiency.

The most often used strategy for quality management systems is in accordance with ISO 9001:2015, which is an international standard that outlines requirements for quality management systems. The term “QMS” truly refers to the entirety of the system, despite the fact that some people use it to refer to the ISO 9001 standard or the collection of documents that detail the QMS. The document’s sole purpose is to provide a description of the system.

Speaking, NCDMB General Manager, Capacity Building Division, Dr Ama Ikuru, said the training is imperative to increase the participation of Nigerians in the oil and gas industry as well as accelerate the attainment of 70 per cent Nigerian content by 2027.

Dr Ikuru, represented by the Supervisor, Capacity Building Division, NCDMB, Mr Ikenna Umunnakwe, expressed delight with the trainees and conveyed Board’s expectations to them while urging them to take the training seriously.

“The training is also part of the Board’s effort to improve the capacity of personnel of Nigerian Oil and Gas companies in Quality Management Systems.

“The NCDMB values training because it aids in the achievement of one of our key mandates: Capacity Building in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry. Training is critical for increasing local capacity.

“This training is also intended to simplify our work at the Board because the awareness and knowledge gained by the staff of operators on the concept of QMS will allow the Board to work faster and better in achieving 70 per cent Nigerian Content by 2027.”

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