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Tony O. Elumelu Launches Empowerment Fund to Revitalize Distressed Communities across Nigeria

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Tony O. Elumelu Founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairman of Heirs Holdings has announced the launch of The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund. The Fund was launched by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathanof Nigeria,with the purpose of revitalizingthe economies of post conflict and disaster communities across Nigeria.

The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund was created out of the N2.5 billion donated by
The Tony Elumelu Foundation and Heirs Holdings companies. This donation was announced at the Presidential Fundraising Dinner for the Victims Support Fundin July 2014. Given to support distressed communities across Nigeria,N1 billion was immediately disbursed to the Victims Support Fund, while the remaining N1.5 billion now serves as the initial seeding for The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund.The Fund will focus on communities like those in the Niger Delta and Jos.

“Rehabilitating distressed communities will require interventions not just from the government, but also from the private sector.  Therefore, I am pleased to see that Tony Elumelu, one of our private sector leaders, stepped up in a big way – by making a major contribution to the Victim Support Fundand that his effort did not end there as he has now created The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund” said Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan

Seeded and managed by The Tony Elumelu Foundation, The Elumelu Nigeria EmpowermentFund, a non-profit organization, will transform communities that have been ravaged by natural disasters, hazards and conflicts, into thriving and economically sustainable communities. The Fund will create opportunities and empower people in affected communities across Nigeria enabling them to rebuild their lives and businesses whilst instilling a sense of economic empowerment for the long-term.

In furtherance of Mr Elumelu’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs across Africa, The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund will focus on encouraging the development of entrepreneurship in these affected regions through access to start-up funding, capacity building and mentorship.The fund will also support a range of initiatives in these communities, including projects that will tackle environmental issues, restore damaged infrastructure as well associal welfare projects. By helping to restore these communities the Fund will create the platform for a thriving entrepreneurial environment.

“By making social investments and grants available in select distressed communities across Nigeria, the Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund will economically empower individuals and communities by creating and fostering an enabling environment that will support a new generation of entrepreneurs”said Mr Tony Elumelu, Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairman Heirs Holding. ”Entrepreneurs create jobs, opportunity, and wealth at the local level and in doing so, they play a vital role in reducing poverty and addressing a range of social issues that cause conflict and instability” Elumelu continued.

As the Fund works to economically empower communities, so will it work to sustain itself.  The Fund is managed by Katja Nwator, a staff of the Tony Elumelu Foundation withconsiderable community development experience and Niger Delta roots. With the support of a distinguished board and other donors, both domestic and international, the Fund will be impactful and sustainable. This will occur within a framework of accountability and best practice, to serve as a model for delivering development programmes to the communities that have been devastated by conflict or disaster.

The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund’s distinguished board members include:

– Professor Charles Soludo, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria
– Hajiya (Dr) Mairo Mandara, Nigeria Country Director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
– Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto
– Onari Duke, the MD of the Empretec Foundation
– Rasheed Olaoluwa, the CEO of the Bank of Industry
– Dr. Stanley Lawson, Director, Central Bank of Nigeria and Director, Transcorp Plc
– Dr. Winnie Byanyima, the Executive Director of Oxfam International

Speaking at the launch of the Fund, Board member Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah stated, ”It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. The Tony Elumelu Foundation has ignited what will definitely be a massive flame of hope to dispel the darkness that hovers around us. I am honoured to stand beside men and women with passion for our common humanity.”

To find out more information and to keep up to date with The Elumelu NigeriaEmpowerment Fund visit www.tonyelumelufoundation.organd follow the foundation on twitter @TonyElumeluFDN.

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For all media enquiries contact Toyin Awesu
Email: toyin.awesu@tonyelumelufoundation.org Phone: 234-1-2774641-5

About the Tony Elumelu Foundation
The Tony Elumelu Foundation is an African-based, African-funded philanthropic organisation. Founded in 2010, our mission is to support entrepreneurship in Africa by enhancing the competitiveness of the African private sector.
We believe our work is driving lasting solutions that contribute positively to Africa’s social and economic transformation. Employing an integrated approach that utilizes impact investments, selective grant making, and policy development, we seek to influence the operating environment so that entrepreneurship in Africa can flourish.
Website: www.tonyelumelufoundation.org Twitter @TonyElumeluFDN

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Olabode Olawuyi:s Dedication, Passion Will Forever Serve As An Inspiration To Us All-NBCA

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The Nigeria Biodiversity Conservation Alliance (NBCA) has stated that the dedication and passion of Mr. Olabode Olawuyi, the late veterinary technologist killed by a lion at the Zoological Garden of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), would forever serve as an inspiration.

 

NBCA stated this in a statement released on Wednesday, February 21, adding that Olawuyi’s dedication to his chosen field shone for all to see.

 

In the statement signed by Mr. Dipo Bali, NBCA said that it was deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Olawuyi, who was the former Public Relations Officer for the National Zoological Agency (NAZAP).

 

“In memory of Mr. Olabode Olawuyi, we pledge to redouble our efforts towards promoting responsible wildlife management practices and fostering a robust safety culture within the zoological and animal care fields. His dedication and passion will forever serve as an inspiration to us all.”

 

The group which described the deceased as a pillar of the Nigerian zoological community, also noted that he was lauded for his unwavering commitment to wildlife conservation and exceptional service.

 

“He had dedicated years to the OAU Zoological Garden, providing exemplary care to its resident lion, whom he had nurtured since its birth. NBCA acknowledges the ongoing investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Olawuyi’s passing.

 

“We extend our deepest condolences to his grieving family, friends, and colleagues at OAU during this difficult time. Our unwavering support stands with them as they navigate this profound loss.

 

“As an organization dedicated to wildlife protection and preservation in Nigeria, we recognize the inherent risks associated with working with wild animals. We remain steadfast in advocating for the strictest adherence to safety protocols and established guidelines to ensure the well-being of both wildlife caretakers and the animals under their care.*

 

Also, NBCA said that it remains committed to closely monitoring the situation and collaborating with relevant authorities to prevent similar tragedies from unfolding in the future, while also extending its unwavering support to the OAU Zoological Garden and its staff during this period of immense loss.

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NASRE Advises FG On Food Crisis, Forex Shortage Amid Calls To Suspend Import Ban

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As Nigeria finds itself at a critical crossroads, grappling with simultaneous challenges of a food crisis and a foreign exchange (forex) shortage.

 

This is even as the nation seeks solutions to mitigate these pressing issues, the debate over whether to open its borders for importation has intensified.

 

The food crisis gripping Nigeria has raised concerns about food security and access to essential nutrition for millions of citizens.

 

Adverse weather conditions, supply chain disruptions, and other factors have contributed to dwindling food supplies and soaring prices, placing a significant strain on households and exacerbating the vulnerability of already marginalized communities.

 

Meanwhile, the forex shortage has hampered Nigeria’s ability to import essential goods and raw materials, further exacerbating supply chain disruptions and exacerbating inflationary pressures.

 

Industries reliant on imported inputs, including agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare, have been particularly hard hit, impeding economic growth and development.

 

In response to these challenges, some stakeholders advocate for opening Nigeria’s borders to facilitate the importation of food and other essential commodities.

 

Proponents argue that increased importation could help alleviate immediate food shortages, stabilize prices, and provide relief to vulnerable populations facing hunger and malnutrition.

 

However, others caution against the potential risks of opening borders amid a forex shortage. Critics raise concerns about the impact on domestic production and self-sufficiency, as well as the long-term consequences of relying heavily on imported goods. They emphasize the need to prioritize investments in domestic agriculture and infrastructure to build resilience against future crises.

 

As Nigeria navigates these complex issues, the government faces the daunting task of balancing short-term relief efforts with long-term strategies for sustainable development and economic resilience.

 

Proffering suggestion on how the government can address the unending inflationary pressures, Forex shortages, food prices hike and revitalise the nation’s economy, the Nigerian Association of Social and Resourceful Editors (NASRE), has advised the Nigerian government to adopt collaborative efforts involving policymakers, industry stakeholders, civil society organizations, and international partners to identify holistic solutions that address both immediate needs and underlying structural challenges.

 

On the debate over whether Nigeria should open its borders for importation amid the food crisis and forex shortage, the President of the advocacy group, Mr Femi Oyewale, underscores the urgency of coordinated action and innovative thinking.

 

According to him, now more than ever, solidarity, cooperation, and forward-thinking policies are needed to ensure the well-being and prosperity of all Nigerians.

 

“The question of whether Nigerian borders should be opened for food importation in the face of a food crisis is complex and multifaceted. However, there are factors to consider, which basically, Domestic Agricultural Capacity. Because opening borders for food importation could undermine domestic agricultural production by flooding the market with cheaper imported goods.

 

“However, if domestic production is insufficient to meet demand, importing food may be necessary to avoid shortages,” he said.

 

On the economic implications of borders opening, the President of NASRE, Oyewale, said: “Importing food can have economic ramifications, both positive and negative. On one hand, it can provide access to a wider variety of foods and potentially lower prices for consumers. On the other hand, it may negatively impact local farmers and exacerbate trade imbalances.”

 

The resourceful editors, while commenting on Food Security, pointed out that relying heavily on imported food leaves a country vulnerable to supply chain disruptions and price fluctuations in the global market. Therefore, it urged the federal government to develop a robust domestic agricultural sector, which is crucial for long-term food security.

 

According to Oyewale, the Nigerian government must consider its broader economic and agricultural policies when making decisions about food importation. This includes evaluating subsidies, tariffs, and investment in agricultural infrastructure.

 

“Importing food often involves long-distance transportation, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation. Promoting local production can help reduce the carbon footprint associated with food consumption.

 

“Food is not just a commodity; it is essential for human well-being. Government policies should prioritize ensuring access to nutritious and culturally appropriate food for all citizens, particularly those most vulnerable to food insecurity,” he added.

 

The Nigerian Association of Social and Resourceful Editors, NASRE, therefore, noted that the decision to open Nigerian borders for food importation during a food crisis should be approached cautiously, taking into account the country’s domestic agricultural capacity, economic implications, food security goals, environmental concerns, and social welfare considerations.

 

“A balanced approach that supports both domestic production and responsible trade practices may be necessary to address immediate food shortages while also promoting long-term food security and sustainability,” the Association stated.

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Lagos State Government to prosecute 11 suspects for extortion

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The Lagos State Government said 11 suspects arrested at the Ibeju-Lekki junction and Akodo area of the state will be prosecuted to serve as deterrents to others extorting residents and motorists in the state.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Olawale Musa, disclosed this while addressing journalists on Wednesday.

He added that the suspects parade themselves as enforcement officers to extort unsuspecting motorists and residents in the state.

Musa said, “Lagos State Government has declared zero tolerance for extortion of unsuspecting residents, especially motorists, by miscreants parading themselves as enforcement officers at the Ibeju-Lekki junction and Akodo area of the state.

“We have announced severally that nobody is allowed to collect money for the local government on the street of Lagos, and the government has set up a team to ensure that anybody that does that is picked up and from that Lekki axis.

“They will be charged to court to explain themselves, and I want to sound a note of warning to others that do the same thing that we will not relent; the government is all out for them.”

He noted that it is unlawful for any local government area within the state to place personnel to conduct such operations on the highways.

“If you have any issues, you call us, and we will come and address them, but when you have people coming on the road on the guise that you want to have revenue at this hard time, collecting money from motorists on the road is not fair, and it is illegal in Lagos State to resist it.

“It is illegal for any local government area in the state to deploy people on the roads as it negates the Lagos State Road Traffic Law, Section 18, 2018, which empowers only the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority to carry out such operations on the roads,” he added.

In March 2023, The PUNCH reported that the Lagos State Government arrested four suspected hoodlums in some parts of the state over extortion.

The suspects were arrested in the Amuwo-Odofin area of the state while attempting to extort motorists.

 

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