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SON enlightens staff against corruption, acceptance of gifts



Oil & Gas: SON inaugurates Regulations Steering Committee, appoints Prof. Olobayo as head

Director-General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Farouk Salim.

The Director-General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Malam Farouk Salim, has urged staff of the Agency to shun all forms of corruption and acceptance of gifts from all its stakeholders.

This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Paul Iorkyaa, SON Public Relations Officer, South-East/South-South Region, and made available to the newsmen in Enugu on Saturday.

Salim, represented by Vice-Chairman of Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU), Mrs Patience Kussiy-Wanza, gave the warning while flagging off a sensitization programme, themed: “Conflict of Interest, Acceptance of Gift and Other Offences in the Civil Service”, held in Port Harcourt on Oct. 22.

The director-general explained that the essence of the sensitization programme was “to refresh our memory on existing provisions of laws bordering on conflict of interest, acceptance of gifts and other offences in the service”.

“SON believes that this sensitization and similar exercises will equip staff in their interaction with external and internal stakeholders and help them avoid instances likely to bring the organisation to disrepute,” he said.

He explained that the functions of ACTU include the conduct of investigation on corruption within the organisation which is subject to the approval of the Director-General.

“Also, ACTU monitors and oversees compliance with certain categories of civil service rules, promote ethics; ensure integrity and compliance with ethic codes, undertake system study and review.

“The ACTU will also organise sensitisation and enlightenment programmes and training on ethics, integrity and compliance with ethical codes for staff of the organization,” he added.

In his presentation on the theme of sensitisation, an Assistant Commissioner at the Independent Corrupt and Other Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr Maknahth Osi, emphasised the promotion of transparency, fairness and accountability in the system.

Osi described corruption as the abuse of trust for private gain, adding that corruption included bribery, fraud and other related acts justifiable as corruption.

“Corruption, in a nutshell, is money or favour given in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust or something that stands to induce or influence.

“Corruption can come in form of money, favour, giving or acceptance of gifts, through actions and failure to act, donations, serving as a medium, just to mention but a few,” he explained.

He made reference to sections of the ICPC Act in relation to the civil service rules on the macro and micro levels of corruption and the full penalty of those offences.

“Ignorance is not an excuse before the law; therefore, it is wise to stay away from corrupt practices,” he said.

Osi assured that the ICPC is ready to strengthen collaboration with SON to help fight and eliminate corruption completely within the Agency.

Earlier, Regional Coordinator of SON South-South, Mr. Nwabara Charles, represented by Rivers/Bayelsa Coordinator of SON, Mr Ayuba Sam, thanked the director-general of the Agency for such sensitisation and training; while urging participants to pay keen attention.


Health and Safety

650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued



650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued

 About 650 migrants reached the Italian coast in a fishing boat, the latest in increasing attempts to reach the country.

The boat which was about 30 metres long and overloaded, arrived in the southern town of Roccella Ionica, the Italian news agency ANSA reported on Monday.

The report said the boat departed from Libya and its passengers had been travelling for five days.

The passengers were all men who came from Syria, Pakistan, Egypt and Bangladesh, ANSA said.

They reached the Calabrian town unaided, without the involvement of the coast guard or civilian sea rescuers.

Thousands of people arrived in Italy over the weekend. Dozens of others died in the attempt or went missing because their boats capsized.

Meanwhile, the aid organisation Doctors Without Borders brought 190 Mediterranean migrants ashore to the southern Italian city of Bari.

The group’s Geo Barents vessel reached the port on the Adriatic coast previously assigned by Italian authorities late on Sunday afternoon, it said.

The ship picked up people on Friday from an unseaworthy wooden boat, including several unaccompanied minors.

However, many people repeatedly try to reach Lampedusa, Malta, Sicily or the Italian mainland by boats from Tunisia and Libya, crossing the central Mediterranean Sea in a potentially deadly journey.

According to official figures, Italy has already registered more than 21,000 boat migrants since the beginning of January, or more than three times the number of migrants seen in each of the two previous years, when about 6,000 per year arrived.

– dpa

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Health and Safety

African migrants stuck in Tunisia say racism persists, following weeks of crackdown



African migrants stuck in Tunisia say racism persists, following weeks of crackdown

African Migrants in Tunisia have urged their government to evacuate them, saying the country is no longer safe as racism still persists.

Outside the United Nations refugee agency in Tunis, dozens of African migrants stood protesting this week in the temporary camp where they have lived, including with children, since authorities urged landlords to force them from their homes.

Weeks after a violent crackdown on migrants in Tunisia that triggered a perilous rush to leave by smuggler boats for Italy, many African nationals are still homeless and jobless and some say they still face racist attacks.

“We need evacuation. Tunisia is not safe. No one has a future here when you have this colour. It is a crime to have this colour,” said Josephus Thomas, pointing to the skin on his forearm.

In announcing the crackdown on Feb. 21, President Kais Saied said illegal immigration was a criminal conspiracy to change Tunisia’s demography, language the African Union described as “racialised hate speech”.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Leaf told Reuters on Thursday that Saied’s comments had unleashed “attacks and a tidal wave of racist rhetoric”, with rights groups saying hundreds of migrants reported being attacked or insulted.

Saied and Tunisia’s foreign minister have rejected accusations that he or the government is racist and they announced steps to ease visa regulations for Africans and reminded police of anti-racism laws.

While the official crackdown appeared to end weeks ago, migrants say they still face abuse.

“People told me ‘since you are in our country after the president’s speech, don’t you have any dignity?’ I kept silent and they told me I am dirt,” said Awadhya Hasan Amine, a Sudanese refugee outside the UNHCR headquarters in Tunis.

Amine has lived in Tunis for five years after fleeing Sudan and then Libya with her husband. Now 30, she has been living on the street outside the UNHCR headquarters since local people pelted her house in the capital’s Road district with rocks.

“We want to live in a place of safety, stability and peace. We don’t want problems in Tunisia,” she said.

Although some West African countries evacuated hundreds of their citizens earlier this month, many remain stuck in Tunisia, unable to support themselves let alone afford passage home or pay smugglers hundreds of dollars to ferry them to Europe.

“Tunisia is an African country. Why do they do racist things to us?” said Moumin Sou, from Mali, who was sacked from his job working behind a bar after the president’s speech and was beaten up the next day by a man in the street who stole his money.

Sou wants to return home, he said, but many others are determined to travel on to Europe.

In the wake of the crackdown, in which police detained hundreds of undocumented migrants and authorities urged employers to lay them off and landlords to evict them, smuggler crossings to Italy have surged.

Tunisian National Guard official Houssem Jbeli said on Wednesday that the coast guard had stopped 30 boats carrying more than 2,000 people. On the same day and the following day four boats sank, with five people drowned. 

– Reuters

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Health and Safety

NAFDAC urges journalists to join in fight against circulation, use of bleaching creams 



NAFDAC urges journalists to join in fight against circulation, use of bleaching creams 

 The National Agency For Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has urged journalists to collaborate with the agency in the fight against the circulation and use of bleaching creams in the country.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General (D-G), NAFDAC, made the call while sensitising journalists in the North Central States on the dangers of bleaching creams.

She made the call at a North Central Zonal Media Sensitisation Workshop on the dangers of bleaching creams and regulatory controls which was organised for the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists on Friday in Jos.

Adeyeye said the workshop was aimed at educating and challenging health journalists in Nigeria to play frontline role in the agency’s effort to eradicate the menace of bleaching creams.

The D-G was represented by Dr. Leonard Omokpariola, Director, Chemical Evaluation and Research of the Agency.

 “Bleaching creams damage vital organs in the body, cause skin irritation, allergy, skin burn, rashes, wrinkles and prolong the healing of wounds.

“Black is beautiful, we don’t need to change our color.

“NAFDAC will constantly engage the mass media as we strive to bring down to the grass root levels positive impact of our regulatory activities,” she said.

On his part, Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, Director,  Public Affairs of the Agency, said: “The workshop was meant to educate the mass media with the right information and campaign against the use of bleaching creams in Nigeria.

“Public ignorance is not an excuse before the law. The role of the mass media in the promotion of public health is very important not only for cosmetics and all other NAFDAC regulatory products”. 

In a remark, Mr. Hassan Zaggi, President, Association of Nigeria Health Journalists, said: “Skin bleaching cream is a serious concern among the citizens in the country.

“Why would somebody use his hard-earned money to buy a cream that will endanger his skin?.

“As journalists, we have a responsibility to educate people on the dangers and as well shape the opinion of the people,” Zaggi said.

He appealed to the journalists to pay attention to the workshop for onward circulation of learning outcomes to members of the public. 

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