President-General of Yoruba World Congress (YWC), Professor Banji Akintoye, on Tuesday announced that the Yoruba- speaking nation of Nigeria has been accepted as the 45th member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO).
He said that the latest development represented a very important step in the collective quest of well-meaning Yoruba people to achieve the goal of dignity and self-determination.
UNPO, formed on 11 February, 1991 in The Hague, Netherlands, is an international membership-based organisation established to empower the voices of unrepresented and marginalised peoples worldwide and to protect their fundamental human rights, with members comprising indigenous peoples, minorities, unrecognised peoples or peoples of occupied territories.
Akintoye disclosed further that the Yoruba-speaking nation membership of the international body was contained in a letter addressed to him through the YWC Coordinator for Europe by her Secretary-General, Ralph Bunche.
The YWC boss, while expressing joy at the development, said the membership offered the Yoruba nation a voice on the international stage via the machinery of the international body which maintains a permanent presence before the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) and the United States of America.
According to him, also with the latest development, the Yoruba nation, just like the Catalonian people of Spain, can put forth their organs of representation such as a people’s parliament and an indigenous people’s government “with a flag as our symbol.”
Akintoye, who is a Second Republic senator, further disclosed that the membership of UNPO affords the Yoruba nation an opportunity to participate in advocacy training, worldwide cultural festivals, election monitoring/observation, and sports activities, among the unrepresented nations.
Akintoye recalled that some formerly unrecognised nations who were members of UNPO but were now independent nations and members of the United Nations, include Armenia, East Timor, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia and Palau, stressing that the international body, like many others, had the capacity to help Yoruba nation achieve its goals within the Nigerian Federation.
“Some former members, such as Armenia, East Timor, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia and Palau have gained full independence and have joined the United Nations (UN) as full members.
“The peoples represented within the UNPO membership are all united by one shared condition: they are denied their equitable level of representation and voice in the institutions of the countries to which they currently belong and in international governance.
“As a consequence, their opportunity to participate on the national or international stage is limited and unfair, and they struggle against difficulties in their effort to realise their rights to civil and political participation and to control their own economic, social and cultural development.
“In many cases, they live under pressure of the worst forms of violence and repression, such as is being perpetrated by armed Fulani herdsmen and Fulani militias, as well as by terrorist Boko Haram, against many peoples of Nigeria, including our Yoruba nation; which violence and repression are being adroitly and surreptitiously supported by the government of Nigeria. In some cases, members of UNPO need serious help because they live in countries and under governments that actively resist their progress and destroy their achievements, as our Yoruba nation lives in Nigeria.
“The UNPO is able to address issues that often remain hidden because UNPO has the freedom to raise issues that others cannot raise due to political or funding constraints. Today, UNPO has more than 40 member-nations,” YWC President-General further recalled.
Nigeria Needs N1trn For Efficient Electricity Transmission – TCN
By Agency Report
The Transmission Company of Nigeria has said Nigeria requires nothing less than N1tn to effectively wheel electricity through the national grid.
The Executive Director, Transmission Service Provider, TCN, Victor Adewumi, said this at the 52nd Power Dialogue of the Nigeria Electricity Hub on which held online in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said TCN would require the sum to make the country’s power grid stable, adding that the $1.6bn which the transmission company was getting from international agencies would not be enough to stablilise the grid.
When asked to state how much would be needed to get the grid to transmit electricity effectively, Adewumi replied, “Simply put, TCN requires nothing less than N1tn to make the grid to be very stable.
“For the project that TCN is financing internally, relying on our IGR (Internally Generated Revenue) and the Federal Government budget system, TCN requires nothing less than N600bn. way that even the Federal Government can provide this kind of fund.”
He said investors were invited to come and fund some of the projects in TCN, as they would recoup their investments over time.
Adewumi said, “So the alternative way is to look at project financing, where those who have the money can come to TCN and finance probably the transmission lines and then look at the cost of energy to be wheeled on that line, spread it over a period of time and then get their money back.
He said, “But with the current kind of fund that is entering TCN, there is no way TCN can embark on that.
“This is because the Discos are not giving us the required money; we are getting less than 60 per cent of TCN tariff.
He added, “That is even after the Nigerian Electricity a Regulatory Commission forced them to do it.”
He, however, stated that the Discos would not receive all the blame as many power users were involved in electricity theft.
Nigeria Ranked 3rd Most Terrorised Country Worldwide
Nigeria has been ranked third most terrorised country in the world by the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report, which stated that death attributed to Boko Haram in Nigeria increased by 25 percent from 2018 to 2019.
According to the report, “Nigeria had the second largest fall in total deaths, owing largely to a 72 percent reduction in fatalities attributed to Fulani extremists.
“Despite this decrease, the number of deaths attributed to Boko Haram increased by 25 percent from 2018 to 2019.
“Renewed activity by Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighbouring countries, including Cameroon, Chad and Niger, remains a substantial threat to the region.”
The report added that: “In 2019, Boko Haram carried out 11 suicide bombings causing 68 fatalities. Suicide bombings accounted for 6% of all terror-related incidents by Boko Haram in 2019, marking an 89% decline from their peak in 2017.
“Boko Haram was responsible for Nigeria’s deadliest terrorist attack in 2019 when assailants attacked a funeral in Badu, Borno State.
“At least 70 people were killed and 10 others were wounded in the attack and ensuing clash.
“The two main factions of Boko Haram, the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) and the followers of Abubakar Shekau, are both engaged in an insurgency campaign against the Nigerian government.
“Violence by the two main factions of Boko Haram have taken a large toll on the civilian population, particularly in the North-East, where continued attacks have internally displaced more than two million people and caused a further 240,000 Nigerian refugees to flee to neighbouring countries.”
FG Receives Repatriated 600-year-old Ife Artefact
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed received the repatriated Ife Terracotta from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in the company of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Nigeria, Harry van Dijk on Thursday in Abuja.
The Minister said the return of the stolen Ife Terracotta marked a milestone in Nigeria’s efforts at pursuing the return of the country ’s antiquities.
Segun Adeyemi, Special Assistant to Lai Mohammed, quoted the Minister as saying the government’s resolve to seek the repatriation of the nation’s timeless and priceless artifact was strengthened by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s marching order for Nigeria to tap into tourism and other fields, where Nigeria has comparative advantages, in order to generate income for the nation and secure jobs for our youths.
Mohammed said, “ It gives me profound joy to receive this very important antiquity, an Ife Terracotta , which is dated to be at least 600 years old . I am even more delighted that our efforts at pursuing the return of Nigerian antiquities , which we launched last November , have started yielding
“ One way of generating income for the country is if our cultural properties are exhibited around the world to a fee -paying audience, on the basis of proper agreement that acknowledges us as owners and confers the right benefits on us. But this is not possible for as long as most of them adorn the museums and private collections of others , who describe them as their properties. ”
While describing the handing over of the artifact as a new beginning, the Minister said apart from the pecuniary benefits , the priceless objects wrought by the nation ’s forebears are unifying factors among the diverse cultures in the country .
He said the Ife Terracotta was smuggled from Nigeria through Ghana to The Netherlands in 2019 with a forged document.
The Minister of Information and Culture said following the interception of the artifact by the Dutch Customs at Schiphol Airport in The Netherlands , Nigeria was invited to prove her case against the suspected smuggler , which the country did successfully , hence the return of the artifact .
“ Let me state here that Nigeria believes in joint international efforts to put a stop to illicit export and import of cultural goods . The issue of cultural property should not be a ground of rancour and discord among nations . That is if nations choose to tow the path which the Kingdom of The Netherlands has chosen by insisting on justice , fairness , and amity . ”
Onyeama thanked The Netherlands for the efficient and expeditious manner in which it deployed resources to identify , retrieve , and repatriate the Ife Terracotta to Nigeria .
Harry van Dijk said the return of the artifact is a fitting gift to mark the 50 th anniversary of the UNESCO Convention on the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking of Culture Heritage, of which Nigeria and The Netherlands are signatories .
The Director- General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Prof . Abba Isa -Tijjani, has taken custody of the artifact for cleaning and treatment at the Conversation Laboratory before its eventual display to the public.