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    FG Celebrates World Rivers Day 2023

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    he Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation has joined the global community in celebrating World Rivers Day 2023. This important occasion highlights the crucial role of rivers and waterways, emphasizes their significance, advocates for their protection, and promotes sustainable development.

    Speaking at the event in Abuja on Monday, 25th Sept 2023, the Honourable Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Engr. Prof. Joseph Terlumun Utsev, FNSE, FNICE, FNIWE, explained that in Nigeria, World Rivers Day, traditionally celebrated on 24th September worldwide, was moved to Monday, 25th September to align with the workweek in Nigeria.

    He noted that this year’s celebration which is the 18th edition of World Rivers Day, carries the theme ” *the incredible natural, cultural, and recreational values of rivers, lakes, and streams in our communities,” with a sub-theme “Rights of Rivers.”*

    According to him,these themes emphasize the need to protect healthy rivers and restore those damaged by pollution, urbanization, climate change, and other human activities.

    Prof. Utsev stressed that in Nigeria, the celebration reinforces the commitment to treating Rivers and lakes as “living entities entitled to fundamental rights, legal guardianship, and personhood,” aligning with the “Universal Declaration of River Rights”, adding that this commitment aims to ensure the protection, restoration, and sustainable management of all vital Water Resources.

    He elaborated on the pivotal role of rivers in Nigeria’s socio-economic life in providing water, nutrients, drainage, transportation routes, energy sources, fertile soil for agriculture, and supporting the water cycle and aquatic habitats respectively.

    The Minister also highlighted the Ministry’s dedication to promoting Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) principles and practices for sustainable Water Resources Management, to address the challenges relating to climate change, water pollution, and access to clean water.

    Prof Utsev pointed out that the Ministry has constructed approximately 260 dams across Nigeria, impounded nearly 70 billion cubic meters of water for various purposes, including water supply, sanitation, irrigation, and hydropower generation.

    He further informed that the recent re-designation of the Ministry as the “Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation” and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s declaration of a state of emergency on food security underscore the government’s commitment to address food security, environmental protection, improved access to safe water and sanitation, tackling rising food prices, and harnessing the potential of the agriculture value chain.

    He disclosed that the Ministry will continue to promote Integrated Agricultural Systems, such as the Songhai Integrated Farming Model, which is eco-friendly and supports cleaner energy options, including solar.

    The Honourable Minister also maintained that highlights of the 2023 World Rivers Day event across the country include; Advocacy visit by “Friends of the River” to selected River Sites for Community River-Side celebration across the country by the River Basin Development Authorities; Memorial Tree Planting to mark the celebration by the 12 RBDAs ;Symbolic River Cleaning exercise in different parts of the country; Symposium; Road Show and Media sensitization among others.

    In her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Didi Walson-Jack, OON,mni, stressed the need for River Advocates to synergize and collectively ramp up efforts towards protecting our rivers while also taking into cognizance that they are major sources of fresh water for life sustenance.

    She called for National efforts towards River remediation, protection and conservation for the present and future generations.

    Good will messages were presented by the Representative of the Director General NISHA, Mr Stephen Jabo, and the Representative of of Executive Director, NIWRMC, Engr Victor Ojiako.

    The Abuja celebration concluded with a symbolic tree planting ceremony and the cleaning of the Jabi Lake bank, led by the Honourable Minister, Prof. Joseph Terlumun Utsev, the Honourable Minister of State, Bello Muhammad Goronyo, Esq, and the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Didi Walson-Jack.

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    Traditional Ruler Extols Cultural Fiesta In London

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    Traditional Ruler Extols Cultural Fiesta In London

    The Chancellor, Federal Universi­ty, Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State and Chairman, Imo State Council of Elders, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, has urged all sons and daughters of Igboland living abroad to remain steadfast in supporting develop­ment at home.

    He also urged them to uphold the culture of the Igbo.

    Eze Ilomuanya, who is the Obi of Obinugwu in Imo State, made the call at the 9th Igbo Festival of Arts and Culture, which was held at Enfield, London on July 14.

    The 2024 edition of the festival attracted a large number of par­ticipants and guests, among them many non-Igbo and foreigners.

    The Igbo Festival of Arts and Culture is an independent cultur­al exposition that is held in Lon­don every year.

    Eze Ilomuanya, was elated at the tireless effort which the or­ganisers of the event led by Mazi Obi Okoli, put into “Elevate Igbo culture to international promi­nence”.

    He commended the festival which he said had been “helping in no small measure” to encour­age the younger generation to em­brace the values and tradition of the Igbo.

    The traditional ruler advocated for more “unity and understand­ing among our people”, assuring the Igbo abroad that the incidents of insecurity at home, which arose not too long ago is being combated, to ensure that Igbo people abroad are not hindered from periodically bringing back their families and children, es­pecially at festive periods, in an atmosphere of peace and security.

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    Lagos woos more for tourism, culture

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    Lagos woos more for tourism, culture

    Once again, Lagos is extending its excellence in commerce to tourism and culture with a nine-day festival expected to woo thousands of locals and visitors alike to the city later in the year.

    The state, through its Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture, is collaborating with the QDance Center to host Afropolis Lagos 2024.

    The maiden edition of the nine-day festival will take place from October 26 to November 3, 2024 at the J.K Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History, Onikan, and its environ.

    Speaking on the import of the festival at a recent Town Hall Meeting, Toke Benson-Awoyinka, Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts, and Culture, said that the event, which seeks to celebrate creativity and innovation, is aimed at transforming Lagos into a vibrant hub of artistic and technological excellence.

    “The essence of Afropolis lies in its ability to bring together a diverse array of creative minds. Imagine the vibrant fusion of traditional and modern expressions that will be on display, from indigenous crafts to cutting-edge digital art.

    “This melting pot of ideas and talents promises to be an unforgettable experience for both participants and attendees,” the commissioner said.

    Explaining the choice of J.K Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History as the venue for the festival, she highlighted the historical significance of Onikan, which has long been a cultural hub, and hosting Afropolis here would be a fitting tribute to its legacy.

    “The J.Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History, in particular, stands as a beacon of our rich heritage and offers the perfect backdrop for this celebration,” she said.

    The essence of Afropolis festival, according to the commissioner, lies in its ability to bring together a diverse array of creative minds.

    “Imagine the vibrant fusion of traditional and modern expressions that will be on display, from indigenous crafts to cutting-edge digital art. This melting pot of ideas and talents promises to be an unforgettable experience for both participants and attendees,” she assured.

    On his part, Qudus Onikeku, head of the QDance Center, explained that Afropolis would showcase the whole gamut of creativity as well as transform Onikan’s main street and JK Randle Road, into a lively arts and tech assemblage.

    Highlighting programmes of the nine-day event, Onikeku said Afropolis would feature among other things, pop up fashion stores, arts and craft market, live performances, street arts, street food, street vendors, music concerts, DJsets, master classes, meetings and networking.

    “The rest are talks and round tables, gaming, innovation, exhibition, children playground and urban culture display,” he said.

    According to him, Afropolis will also see a range of smaller break-outs as well as highly interactive sessions and master classes focused on topics across creative sectors.

    “It is projected that Afropolis will attract more than 1,000 creatives and exhibitors from Arica and the diaspora.

    “We also expect more than 20,000 visitors, buyers and delegates from Africa, the diaspora and the rest of the world.

    “It provides a platform for young talents to showcase their ideas, and stimulate economic growth for local vendors, artisans and global African creatives to showcase their product or services.

    “It will position Lagos as a hub for technology, creativity and innovation by leveraging the festival to showcase African advancements in art, tech, gaming, design, fashion and other creative fields,” Onikeku said.

    The nine-day festival will culminate in a curated marketplace over the weekend, where participants will showcase their local and international innovations and works.

    From a partner’s perspective, Blessing Azubike, senior programmes manager, CC Hub, one of the partners in the festival, expressed excitement being on the project, saying that her outfit is passionate about anything co-creation, which is what it is on board to do.

    “We will be serving on the technology component of the gathering,” she noted.

    Ajibade Adewale, group head, partnerships, Wema Bank, assured revellers of safety with their finances in the course of business transactions during Afropolis carnival.

    “We will ensure your transaction is taken care of digitally, we are also there to guarantee that your money is safe with CC Hub because we are partnering with them as well,” Adewale said.

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    China, Nigeria Commit to Promotion of Tourism, Cultural Exchange

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    China, Nigeria Commit to Promotion of Tourism, Cultural Exchange

    The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Abuja has reiterated its commitment to promote tourism and cultural exchange with Nigeria within the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in order to enhance the two countries’ bilateral relations.

    The Embassy made the pledge at the weekend during a Seminar on “Promoting Culture and Tourism Exchange in BRI Cooperation”, jointly hosted by the Chinese Embassy, China Alumni Association of Nigeria and University of Abuja.

    Cultural Counselor of the Chinese Embassy, Mr. Li Xuda said that the embassy has always regarded promoting people-to-people ties between China and Nigeria highly because cultural and tourism exchange plays a special and important role in societal progress and national development.

    Li also added that the joint construction of BRI takes “Five Cooperation Priorities” as the main content: Policy Coordination, Facilities Connectivity, Unimpeded Trade, Financial Integration and People-to-People Bond.

    He said: “The people-to-people bond, one of the five cooperation priorities of the BRI, goes beyond culture and tourism exchange and seeks to build common understanding out of respect for countries and regions in its big family.

    “Both China and Nigeria are cultural giants with fabulous ancient civilization and rich tourism resources.
    “Since six years ago, China and Nigeria became close partners in jointly building BRI, which made our bilateral exchange even more in-depth and practical.

    “I firmly believe that our culture and tourism will be further promoted in the new stage of high-quality joint construction of BRI and some of our cultural gaps and exchange barriers will be bridged.”

    On his part, the Executive Secretary/CEO , National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Otunba Biodun Ajiboye, expressed gratitude to the Chinese government for their continuous support in developing Nigeria’s culture and tourism sector.

    He noted that Nigeria has a large wealth of natural and cultural attractions ranging from stunning landscapes of its national parks to the historic landmarks and vibrant cities that tell the story of the nation.

    He said: “We must therefore leverage the BRI to enhance our tourism infrastructure, promote sustainable tourism practices, and create unique cultural experiences for visitors.

    “By doing so, we can attract more tourists, generate revenue, and create jobs while preserving and celebrating our cultural heritage.

    “We will work closely with our Chinese counterparts to develop joint projects, exchange programmes and collaborative initiatives that have mutual benefits for both countries.”

    The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a global infrastructure development strategy adopted by the Chinese government in 2013 to invest in more than 150 countries and international organisations.

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