The Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, Mr Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, says the total trade volume between Nigeria, the economic powerhouse in Africa, and Japan is one billion dollars per year.
Kazuyoshi stated this via a recorded video, on Monday, at the inauguration ceremony of a two- week anti-piracy first course organised by the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPKC) in Jaji, Kaduna.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that, the anti-piracy course was also a collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Japanese Government.
The envoy expressed his determination to promote activities that would boost the trade volume between his country and Nigeria.
He stressed the need for concerted efforts that would promote bilateral trade between the two countries and also enhance economic growth of Nigeria to address unemployment and poverty.
He said that lack of employment opportunities had led to the widespread practice of taking crime as a means of livelihood, which he said could only be curbed through eradication of poverty.
He expressed the determination of his country to promote fishing activities in Nigeria which he believed would help in boosting the economy.
“The Government of Japan feels the necessity to promote the fishing industry in the southern states of Nigeria.
”Japan and Nigeria are far apart, but we are connected by sea.
”’Therefore, as a true friend of Nigeria, it can be said that Nigeria’s matter is Japan’s matter,” he said.
According to him, ensuring maritime safety in the Gulf of Guinea, a key trade hub in West Africa, is needed to promote bilateral trade.
He noted that the Japanese Government was committed to contributing to the security of West Africa and protecting people’s lives through a variety of measures including capacity building for personnel in charge of maritime safety.
Kazuyoshi said, ”Japanese government is committed to contributing to the security of West Africa and protect people’s lives through a variety of measures including capacity building for personnel in charge of maritime safety.
“This project is one of Japan’s contributions towards capacity building. We hope that the training will improve the safety of the Gulf of Guinea through the knowledge the 30 participants will acquire.
“The project also falls under the category of “Support for stabilization of regions facing conflicts” which is one of the 3 main areas of Japan’s “New Approach to Peace and Stability in Africa (NAPSA), initiatives announced in 2019.
“Therefore, from the perspective of economic security, ensuring the security of the Gulf of Guinea is also important.”
He reassured that the Government of Japan, in cooperation with other countries, continues to contribute to the peace and stability of the Gulf of Guinea for the livelihood of the Nigerian people and for regional economic stability.
Kazuyoshi appreciated government of Nigeria, the Nigerian military, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and other relevant organisations for their continuous and tremendous efforts in fighting piracy through various initiatives.
He also appreciated Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre and UNDP for the event.
Speaking, the UNDP Team Lead on Governance, Peace and Security, Mr Matthew Alao, said the Japanese government had earmarked 260,000 dollars in its bid towards combating piracy and kidnapping in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), especially Nigerian waterway.
The anti-piracy course was also a collaboration with UNDP and Japanese Government
Alao said that out of the funds set aside for the project, 98,350 dollars was set aside for the anti-piracy course which main objective was to abate the menace of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
The 16 coastal countries that are situated along the Gulf of Guinea include Nigeria, Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gabon, Ghana, São Tomé and Principe, Togo and Sierra Leone.
“The imperative of this project cannot be overemphasized as about 90 per cent of the yearly kidnapping incidents worldwide occur in GoG and the pirate operations in the region are becoming more sophisticated.
“These pirate activities pose serious threats to trades and businesses along the corridor and retard the economies of the GoG countries particularly Nigeria.
“This glooming outlook calls for concerted actions by the multi-lateral and development partners and the GoG countries to reduce the influence and activities of piracy for improved security, peace and sustainable development in the area.
“The published report on the root causes of piracy in GoG will contribute to evidence-based programmatic and policy interventions by the GoG countries and the development partners aimed at curtailing maritime crimes in the region,” he said.
UN Secretary-General visits Buhari At State House
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday paid visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja.
He was received by top government officials.
Buhari’s conversation with Guterres centred on the need to ensure peaceful and democratic elections as well as the robust participation of women and young people in all areas.
President Buhari also thanked the UN boss for the visit, stressing that it came at a time when the world is focussing on the Russia/Ukraine crisis. Buhari also believes that the visit underscores the assurance that the world is with Nigeria.
On his part, the UN scribe called for developed nations to ramp up vaccine support to countries in the global north, halt the asymmetrical distribution and reform the global financial system.
Earlier in the day, he visited the UN House in Abuja alongside some top officials and diplomats of the agency.
Guterres is on a two-day official visit to Nigeria – the first of such.
The UN chief had arrived in Nigeria on Tuesday and also visited Borno State where he proposed the reintegration of repentant terrorists. This, he said, is key to the restoration of peace in the North East region.
“The best thing we can do for peace is to reintegrate those, that in a moment of despair, became terrorists but want to become now citizens and to contribute to the well-being of their brothers and sisters,” he told a gathering at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp.
The UN scribe is also expected to perform the wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the August 26, 2011, suicide bomb attack victims.
Ukraine : UN Agencies Condemn Attacks On Health Care Facilities
UN agencies on Sunday called for an immediate ceasefire and an end to attacks on healthcare professionals and facilities in Ukraine, describing such incidents as acts of “unconscionable cruelty”.
Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, 31 attacks on health care have been documented via the WHO’s Surveillance System for Attacks on Health Care (SSA), the heads of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund and the World Health Organization said in a joint statement.
“To attack the most vulnerable -– babies, children, pregnant women and those already suffering from illness and disease, and health workers risking their own lives to save lives –- is an act of unconscionable cruelty,” they said, calling for an immediate ceasefire.
In 24 of the reported attacks, health care facilities were damaged or destroyed, while in five cases ambulances were hit. A total of 12 people were killed and 34 injured, according to the UN agencies’ statement.
“Humanitarian partners and health care workers must be able to safely maintain and strengthen essential health service delivery, including immunisation against Covid-19 and polio, and the supply of life-saving medicines for civilians across Ukraine as well as to refugees crossing into neighbouring countries,” said the statement, signed by UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell, UNFPA counterpart Natalia Kanem and WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
At least three people were killed, including a young girl, in an attack Wednesday on a children’s hospital in Mariupol in southern Ukraine.
According to the United Nations’ reproductive health agency two other Ukrainian maternity hospitals had already been attacked and destroyed before that strike.
“Attacks on health care and health workers directly impact people’s ability to access essential health services -– especially women, children and other vulnerable groups,” the UN agency chiefs said in their statement on Sunday.
“We have already seen that the health care needs of pregnant women, new mothers, younger children and older people inside Ukraine are rising, while access to services is being severely limited by the violence,” the statement added.
Oxygen and medical supplies, including for the management of pregnancy complications, are running dangerously low, they warned.
“The health care system in Ukraine is clearly under significant strain, and its collapse would be a catastrophe. Every effort must be made to prevent this from happening,” the UN agencies warned.
“We call for an immediate ceasefire, which includes unhindered access so that people in need can access humanitarian assistance. A peaceful resolution to end the war in Ukraine is possible.”
Yoon Suk-yeol wins South Korea’s presidential election
Yoon Suk Yeol, a conservative former top prosecutor, has been elected South Korea’s new president, defeating his chief liberal rival in one of the country’s most closely fought presidential elections.
With more than 98 percent of the ballots counted, Yoon had 48.6 percent of the votes against his rival Lee Jae-myung’s 47.8 percent.
Yoon said on Thursday that he would honour the constitution and the parliament and work with opposition parties when he takes office as the country’s next leader, calling the election result a “victory of the great people”.
“Our competition is over for now,” he said in an acceptance speech, thanking and consoling Lee and other rivals.
“We have to join hands and unite into one for the people and the country.”
At a separate ceremony with supporters, Yoon said he would put top priority on “national unity,” adding all people should be treated equally regardless of their regional, political and socioeconomic differences.
“I would pay attention to people’s livelihoods, provide warm welfare services to the needy, and make utmost efforts so that our country serves as a proud, responsible member of the international community and the free world,” he said.
Yoon is to take office in May and serve a single five-year term as leader of the world’s 10th-largest economy.
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