The European Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) inked seven agreements totaling €212.4 million to promote trade and regional integration, energy interconnection, and renewable energy.
The pact also included provisions for inexpensive and clean energy, a sustainable food system, food security, and migration.
The EU team was led by Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, who met with the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Alieu Touray, in Abuja for the signing of the agreements. She was accompanied by Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy.
According to Urpilainen, the EU has always supported regional integration that generates wealth through added value. It should be noted that ECOWAS is now operating in a politically tough environment.
Urpilainen stated that the agreements have a central role in stabilising the region through the promotion of democracy, the rule of law, and economic cooperation.
ECOWAS President, Touray, in his response, appreciated the EU for its continued strategic partnership with ECOWAS, which has always provided support towards addressing regional challenges.
The breakdown of agreements includes support for free movement of persons and migration, €34 million. This is for maximizing the development potential of the free movement of persons and migration within a more secure and rights-based Economic Community of West African Countries in the context of the regional integration process. This would be achieved by supporting the effective implementation of the ECOWAS free movement Protocol and ECOWAS Common Approach to Migration at the regional, national, and local levels.
Africa Trade Competitiveness and Market Access was supported with €50 million. This is to increase sustainable intra-African trade and strengthen Africa-EU trade by enhancing market access and export competitiveness for SMEs in selected value chains.
The third agreement, which was in the area of trade in services in Sub-Saharan Africa, has €l1.5 million. It was to aid in increasing the liberalization of services and exports for selected service sectors with the aim to increase intra-regional, continental, and bilateral trade in services, enabling higher integration into regional and global value chains.
There was also a support programme for specialised ECOWAS organisations active in the energy sector to develop the regional electricity market operationalise its interconnected grid and increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix.
The sum of €25 million was earmarked for this agreement, which was for increasing the share of renewable energy in the energy mix through the establishment and development of the regional electricity market for sustainable, affordable, and accessible energy for women and men in all their diversity.
“Regional Clean Cooking Action in West Africa – ReCCAWA, E12 million, for increasing access to clean, efficient, sustainable and affordable cooking energy solutions in West Africa by strengthening the clean cooking enabling framework at regional and national scales, by proposing innovative financing and promoting business models that will scale-up the supply, dissemination, and adoption of clean cooking solutions, and by creating and disseminating evidence-based data and knowledge that will contribute to the governance of the West African cooking sector.
“Project to support the Regional Food Security Storage Strategy in West Africa PASRSSA has €20million. It is to support the integrated and coordinated implementation of ECOWAS regional storage strategy and the regional governance of food and nutrition security of actors in the Sahel Club and West Africa.
“Regional support programme for the development of the pastoral economy in West Africa and the Sahel – PRADEP-AOS, Euros 60 million, to enhance the contribution of the livestock sector to the transformation of sustainable food systems and to inclusive and resilient green growth of the economies of the countries of the region”, the EU Commissioner said.
Group Calls For Protection Of Journalists In Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi States
The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has urged for necessary measures to protect journalists and other media workers during this weekend’s off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States.
The group sent the request to the federal and state governments, as well as law enforcement and security agencies, stressing that the role of journalists in disseminating information about the electoral process is critical to ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections.
In a statement issued ahead of the elections in Lagos and signed by the Communications Officer, Media Rights Agenda, Idowu Adewale, MRA also urged journalists to be cautious and to use its existing hotline (08138755660) to report any threat or attack they may encounter during the process, as well as any obstacle.
Adewale said in the statement: “Given the pattern of heightened attacks on journalists and the media during previous elections, including the recent 2023 general elections, as well as the tense political climate in the three states in the lead-up to the elections, measures must be taken to ensure general security during the elections and provide adequate protection for journalists covering the elections.”
“Access to information allows citizens and other members of the public to have the information they need about political and electoral processes, facilitating effective public participation in elections,” he says.
“Journalists and the media play an important role in ensuring residents and other members of the public have access to information and may participate in the process.
“As part of efforts to preserve the integrity of the polls, it is also critical that the safety and well-being of these interlocutors be assured and safeguarded.”
Lamenting the increased number of attacks on journalists in the run-up to the off-cycle elections, as well as earlier this year in the run-up to the general elections, he emphasised that “a free and vibrant media is fundamental to a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to carry out their duties without fear, coercion, or violence.” During this vital phase, MRA stands ready to assist them and assure their safety.”
Police Nab Husband, As Mother Of ‘Mummy Be Calming Down’ Boy Takes Own Life
Men from the Edo State Police Command are said to have detained Mrs. Toluige Olokoobi’s husband after he allegedly murdered her.
Olokoobi was the mother of Oreofeoluwa Lawal-Babalola, the tiny boy whose video went viral in 2020 after he pleaded with his mother, “Mummy be calming down.”
Oreofeoluwa rose to prominence on social media after a video of him crying in an attempt to confidently appeal to his mother, who chastised him, went viral.
The film inspired Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who used it to deliver an Eid-el-Kabir appeal to Muslims and Lagos people in general to remain calm during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Following that, the youngster and his family met with the governor, who praised his bravery and poise.
While little has been heard about the family in three years, heartbreaking news broke on social media on Tuesday that the boy’s mother had committed suicide.
According to an X user, Olokoobi committed suicide in Benin, the capital of Edo State, for unknown reasons.
The X user, who stated that he was present at the site on Monday afternoon, went on to say that she had refused to disclose her difficulties with anyone before committing herself.
“The woman in the viral Mummy Calm Down video has just committed suicide here in Benin,” he stated in an email.
“She refused to discuss her problems with anyone.” She abandoned three children for her husband, including the well-known Mummy Calm Down boy.”
Meanwhile, confirming Olokoobi’s death in a chat with BBC Pidgin, the spokesperson of the Edo State police command, Chidi Nwabuzor, said her husband has been arrested and detained for questioning.
Nwabuzor said the husband reported the matter to the police.
The police spokesperson quoted the husband to have said that “he came home from the market when he saw his wife hanging with rope on her neck”.
Nwabuzor said she was rushed to the hospital and then to the mortuary after she was confirmed dead. (Adapted from a Vanguard report).
Anambra: CP Aderemi Adeoye Decorates Promoted Officers With New Ranks
The Anambra State Police Command Headquarters Conference Hall was a hive of activity Thursday as CP Aderemi Adeoye took turns decorating around 18 promoted officers of the command with their new titles.
The delight of some of the officers whose wives assisted the CP in decorating their husbands with their new ranks knew no bounds, as their husbands duly saluted their wives and the CP for their new positions and responsibilities.
Obi Innocent, one of the officers elevated to the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), whose wife joined CP Aderemi Adeoye in adorning him with his new rank, said it was wonderful that the Inspector General of Police thought him worthy.
CSP Obi Innocent, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13, Police Zonal Headquarters Ukpo, stated that his new rank was a call to service and that he would do his best to uphold the charge given to them by CP Aderemi Adeoye to respect and protect the citizenry’s fundamental rights in the discharge of their new assignments.
Charity Akharame, who was honoured with the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and was the only female officer among the 18 promoted officers decorated with new ranks, said it was not an easy feat but she was grateful to be among those who were decorated with their new ranks.
DSP Charity Akharame, the officer in charge of stores in the Anambra State Police Command, recalled how she began as a Police Constable and worked her way up to her current position as Deputy Superintendent of Police.
She stated that as a very disciplined police officer, she would follow the Police Commissioner’s directions regarding respect for all and sundry in the fulfillment of her constitutional obligations.
Jane-Frances Obi, one of the spouses of the officers elevated to the level of CSP, stated that being the wife of a police officer was not an easy assignment. As a result, she recommended any lady who is married to a police officer to be patient and understanding because the job is quite demanding.
Jane-Frances Obi, whose husband is Innocent Obi, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13 Ukpo, believes the promotion is a reward for years of being patient, understanding, and standing in for them when they are not present.
Meanwhile, Emenike Chinenyenwa, who was decorated with the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and presented a vote of appreciation, expressed deep gratitude to the IGP and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission for considering them worthy of being adorned in their new ranks.
ACP Emenike, the officer in charge of Medicals, stated that the elevation comes with increased responsibility and that they will work harder in their new tasks.
CP Aderemi Adeoye praised the current promotion winners in his remarks, noting that two aspects make the police career very interesting and eventful. He stated that one is for promotion and the other is for positions.
CP Adeoye, on the other hand, urged the newly honored officers to develop more empathy, compassion, care, and dedication in the performance of their jobs.
The police chief insisted that newly promoted officers must first recognise that they share the same humanity as others, and as a result, they must treat all people with dignity and protect their fundamental human rights at all times.
CP Aderemi Adeoye stressed that without the enormous roles of spouses, they wouldn’t have been successful in their careers. He therefore congratulated all the promoted and prayed that God gives them good health to enjoy the new ranks and the energy to discharge the responsibilities of their new offices.
- Source: Independent