Government committed to addressing workers’ plight: Amutenya

Swapo Party Youth leader Willem Amutenya has said the government is committed to ensuring dignified work and the rights of workers through progressive laws and policies to benefit the workers and continue driving the country’s development.

These laws protect workers’ rights to decent wages and benefits and safe and healthy working conditions.

Amutenya made the remarks during the belated commemoration of Workers’ Day held at Etambo Lyamushi in the Epembe Constituency on Wednesday.

He said the celebration of the crucial role of the working class in their country’s past and present comes with mixed emotions considering the alarmingly high unemployment rate among the Namibian youth.

While the working class are advocating for decent salaries, they also aim to advocate for improved working conditions and workers’ rights as they have qualified and able young people whose right to employment is suppressed.

‘Young people cannot find employment. The economy is also unfavourable that unemployed youth cannot survive
in towns while searching for job opportunities,’ he added.

He then called on the government to invest in rural areas mostly in providing services that encourage local investors and entrepreneurs to invest in rural areas and establish jobs for the youth.

Government, he said, should unlock the economic potential of Communal areas and allow communal land residents to participate in the economy of the 21st century.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency

Reps query oil coys over environmental degradation in Niger Delta

The House of Representatives Joint Committee on Environment, Petroleum Resources Upstream, Petroleum Resources Downstream and Climate Change has queried oil producing companies operating in the Niger Delta over environmental degradation in the region.

Rep. Pondi Gbabojor, the Chairman of the joint Committee, said this in Abuja on Wednesday at the public hearing on Environmental Damage within the oil-producing communities.

He said that the oil-producing communities had experienced environmental degradation and socio-economic marginalisation following decades of oil exploration and exploitation.

‘The abundant natural resources should have been a source of prosperity and development; rather, the host communities have suffered pollution and land degradation.

‘They also suffer from loss of biodiversity, and deterioration of traditional livelihoods that are inestimable and irreparable,’ he said.

He said that in spite of laws and regulations enacted to safeguard the environment and the established regulatory ag
encies, the environmental damages in oil-producing communities had persisted.

He said the committees would identify erring organisations and hold those responsible accountable.

‘Our environment is not just the backdrop of human action but the very essence of life and our sustenance,’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 40 companies were invited to the hearing, but only 35 honored the invitation, including the Ministry of Environment, Dubi Oil Company, Nigerian Agip Oil Limited

Others were Starling Oil Exploration, Mobil Producing Nigeria Ltd. Resources Exploration and Production Ltd, First Exploration and Petroleum Development Company among others.

The oil companies however requested that the committees visited all the affected states that had experienced environmental degradation, especially the Ogoni Land.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Less than 7% of women hold elective, appointive positions in Nigeria – NILDS

The National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), says less than seven per cent of women have been represented in elective and appointive positions in Nigeria since 1999.

The institute said that the development was worrisome in spite of the 35 per cent affirmative action.

The NILDS Director-General, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman, said this in Abuja on Wednesday at a Train the Trainer Workshop for NILDS Staff on Gender Mainstreaming.

The workshop was facilitated by the UN Women in partnership with NILDS.

He said the workshop was designed to equip staff of the Institute with necessary tools and competencies to mainstream gender into policies, programs, and budgeting.

According to him, the workshop is expected to train NILDS Staff to improve the institutional capacity in gender policy analysis, equip them with knowledge on gender mainstreaming principles and methodologies.

This, he said, would help integrate gender perspectives into NILDS policies, programs, and activities and result in more
inclusive and gender-responsive initiatives.

‘It is indeed worrisome that despite the extant legal framework that recommends 35 per cent affirmative action of women participation, available data reveals that on the average, women participation and representation in governance since the advent of democratic rule in 1999 is less than seven per cent.’

The DG said the challenge facing all advocates of gender inclusivity in politics today was the wide gap between shared values reflected in the national and international policies and practices.

‘Despite concerted efforts made by government, NGOs, donor agencies and international partners towards ensuring increased participation and representation of women in politics and governance, there remains a continuous decline in women’s representation and participation in politics and governance.

‘I am optimistic that NILDS is strategically positioned in ensuring that women secure wider participation in governance by guiding policy makers to be able to make informed and
evidence-based policies to enhance gender participation in governance in Nigeria.’

Suleiman, however, said that there was the need to upscale the staff skills and competencies to effectively achieve the objective.

He commended NILDS partner, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), for also considering it a priority and a point of collaboration to put the workshop together despite limited resources.

‘Let me also seize this opportunity to once again reaffirm our commitment to our partnership and our collective drive to strengthen the legislature and other democratic institutions in Nigeria.

‘Women and men have different needs and living conditions and circumstances, including unequal access to and control over power, resources, human rights and institutions, including the justice system.

‘The situations of women and men also differ according to country, region, age, ethnic or social origin, or other factors.

‘The aim of gender mainstreaming is to take into ac
count these differences when designing, implementing and evaluating policies, programmes and projects, so that they benefit both women and men and do not increase inequality but enhance gender equality.

‘Gender mainstreaming aims to solve sometimes hidden- gender inequalities; it is therefore a tool for achieving gender equality.’

Suleiman, a former minister of National Planning, said the Institute had been a frontline vanguard in advocating for gender mainstreaming on all fronts of political, social and economic policies and legislations.

According to him, the fight for gender equality is not only an individual matter, but requires determination and commitment of decision-makers, state institutions in creating policies for reconciliation of different roles men and women play in the society.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Senate urges completion of Wudil-Gaya-Dutse Dual Carriageway

The Senate has mandated its Committee on Works to interact with the Minister of Works, toward the completion of the Wudil-Gaya-Dutse Dual Carriageway on Kano Maiduguri Expressway.

This followed the adoption of a motion on Urgent Need to Expedite Completion of Wudil-Gaya-Duste Dual Carriageway on Kano Maiduguri Road by Sen. Kawu Suleiman (NNPP – Kano) at Tuesday’s plenary.

Presenting the motion, Suleiman said the expressway was a critical artery for transporting people and agricultural goods in the northern corridor.

He said contract for the construction of the road was awarded by the Federal Government 17 years ago, by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

He said that successive administrations had failed to complete the road.

‘Also notes that in 2018, the former president Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s commitment to improving road transportation led to the award of so many road contracts to restore many dilapidated roads in the country.

‘Among these projects was the renewed
contract for the dualisation of the Kano – Maiduguri road.

‘Aware that a major transportation upgrade is on the horizon, a brand new two-lane highway will be built, along with improvements to the existing road.

‘To tackle this ambitious project, it has been divided into five manageable sections.

‘The first section focuses on the Kano – Wudil – Shuwarin road, while subsequent sections cover progressively connect Shuarin to Azare, Azare to Potiskum, Potiskum to Maiduguri, and finally, Maiduguri to Benishek,’ Sumaila said.

He said one of the sections was the most extensive, spanning roughly 202.73 kilometres.

He said as an international route linking Nigeria to Chad, Niger, and Cameroon, the Kano – Maiduguri Road facilitated cross-border trade.

‘The Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company Nigeria Lld., was awarded the contract for section one of the road, but despite initial work, the project appears to be behind schedule.

‘Worried that the unfinished section between Wudil and Gaya in Kano State is particu
larly dangerous.

‘One lane of the planned dual carriageway is complete, forcing drivers to navigate a single lane in both directions, this significantly increases the risk of accidents,’ he said.

He expressed worry that the unfinished section from Wudil to Gaya in Kano State posed grave danger to commuters.

He said the only one lane completed on a planned two-lane road, forced vehicles traveling in both directions to navigate a single lane.

‘This is a recipe for disaster, and immediate action is required to finish construction and ensure driver safety,’ he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NILDS to partner Abuja Varsity to expand its programmes

The National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) says it plans to partner with the University of Abuja to expand its academic programmes.

Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, the Director-General, NILDS, said this at the orientation programme for the 2024 NILDS/University of Benin (UNIBEN) post graduate students in Abuja on Monday.

‘This will showcase NILDS as indeed the citadel of learning, character moulding and intellectualism,’ he said.

Represented by a consultant of the institute, Dr Kabir Ahmed, Sulaiman said that the orientation was to acquaint the students with the rules and regulations guiding the operation of the institute.

He said that the institute placed great premium on high moral and ethical standards saying that there was no short-cut to success and students must always play by the rules.

Sulaiman said that the institute would soon commence a Masters Degree Programme in Governace in collaboration with some renowned educational institutions.

‘I am pleased to inform you all that a
s part of our efforts in ensuring that we strengthen our post graduate programmes, a master’s degree programme in Governance will soon commence in the Institute.

‘This is a collaborative tripartite agreement between the NILDS, University of Benin (UNIBEN) and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN).

‘Also, the Open Distance Learning (ODL) Programme in professional certificate courses in diverse areas will soon commence.

‘I am equally pleased to inform you all that there is also a collaboration between NILDS and the Federal University Lokoja for doctoral programmes in Election and Party Politics, Parliamentary Administration, Legislative Studies, Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, Leadership and Strategic Studies, and Social Works,’ he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

President Mbumba to host King Philippe of Belgium this week

WINDHOEK: President Nangolo Mbumba will host King Philippe of Belgium on a five-day visit, starting on Monday, the Presidency has announced.

A media statement issued Sunday said King Philippe’s visit from 29 April to 03 May 2024 will present Namibia and Belgium with an excellent opportunity to deepen the strong bonds of friendship and growing bilateral relations that the two countries currently enjoy.

The statement indicated that Belgium is ranked as Namibia’s fifth top 10 exporter partner in copper, diamonds, precious metals, fruits and nuts – valued at more than N.dollars 5 billion between 2022 and 2023.

It noted that imports to Namibia from Belgium include pharmaceutical products, mineral fuels and oil products of more than N.dollars 3 billion.

‘The visit by His Majesty King Philippe, the King of the Belgians provides an excellent opportunity for Namibia and Belgium to strengthen cooperation for the benefit of our peoples in a diverse range of sectors; from green hydrogen, environmental protection, tou
rism, forestry, arts and culture, trade and investment, including the development of port infrastructure,’ Mbumba is quoted as saying ahead of the visit.

The Presidency noted that people-to-people exchanges between the two countries have also seen a sharp increase of activities in the areas of education. It added that Namibia additionally emerged as one of the top destinations for Belgian tourists in Africa, while Belgian investments have increased in the tourism sector.

King Philippe will hold bilateral talks with President Mbumba at State House on Tuesday. He will also lay a wreath at Heroes’ Acre and visit Hope Initiative Southern Africa – Namibia (HISA) in Okuryangava, where he will participate in a financial literacy and economic empowerment session.

On Thursday, the Head of State and King Philippe will witness the Cleanergy Green Hydrogen inauguration in Walvis Bay, Erongo. They will view the filling of two dual fuel trucks at the hydrogen refuelling station and tour the green hydrogen production are
a, dual truck workshop and solar park.

King Philippe will be accompanied by a large Belgian business delegation.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency