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New Season of African Voices Debuts with Artificial Limb Donors

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The story of Crystal Chigbu, Nigerian prosthetics donor, and Gbolahan Sasona a Limb restorer, hit the new CNN African Voices Change Makers programme which debuted yesterday.

For Crystal Chigbu, caring for a child whose congenitally malformed limb had to be amputated was a life-transforming passion.

The  mother of two rose from the trauma of the misfortune to become the Founder  and Chief Executive of  Irede Foundation, a body which has gained wide acclaim as  succour-giver to other children whose limbs had been severed due to one health issue or another.

This week on CNN’s magazine programme, African Voices Change Makers, Crystal recounts the tale of initial shock, the devastation and the challenges that greeted the reality of having to raise a daughter who was born with congenital limb deformity and the process and struggles she and her husband went through while trying to make a decision on whether to amputate or not.

According to the 2002 University of Lagos graduate of Biochemistry, “seeing other children and families go through the same process without a clear view on how to adapt to the challenges of living with limb loss gave vent to the creation of Irede Foundation which has, since inception, restored hope to children living with loss of limbs.”

“We understand that children can help educate their friends in school; that way we can educate a whole nation – and we can reduce societal stigmatization. In addition, when a child starts using prosthesis from childhood you are helping in shaping the beliefs of the child and his or her ability to believe they can do anything. More importantly, they can live their lives to the fullest not minding the limb loss they must have gone through,” she explained.

In appreciation of her  altruistic activities, she  received the  Life Transformation Award from Wise Women Awards; the Ebony Life TV sponsored Sisterhood Award for Philanthropist of the year (2014), as well as the  Naija Diamonds Award (2014) sponsored by Diamond Bank.

Similarly, on the programme is a Prosthetist and Orthotist, Gbolahan Sasona.  He is the President of America-based Delta Orthopaedic Laboratory who also established The Ability Prosthetic and Orthotic Centre in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital in the bid to help the transformation of the lives of amputees with prosthetics/orthotics, spinal braces and fracture bracing of different kinds.

The centre which is first of its kind in Nigeria boasts of a rich, computerised prosthetics and orthotics experience and professional medical rehabilitation advocacy of the 67-year-old Sasona whose passion became the catalyst for the passage of the regulatory licensing law for prosthetics practitioners in the United States of America. His clinical laboratories in Dover and New Jersey, USA, employ advanced technology with an advanced medical rehabilitation centre which provides prosthetic services including sport orthotic, limbs/elbow/finger replacement with bionics.

Said he: “patients don’t have to travel to South Africa, United Kingdom, India or United States to be able to get the kind of effective treatment and care they desire. Whatever we do in the Nigerian office is of the same standard with that of the United States”.

CNN African Voices Change Makers  broadcasted on DSTV on Friday at 9.30 a.m., with repeat broadcast today at 12.30 a.m., 4.30 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. Other repeat broadcasts come up on Sunday at 5.00 a.m., 9.30 a.m. and 8.30 p.m. with more repeats on Monday and Tuesday at 5.30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m. respectively.


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Rivers State, Shell Inaugurate Cluster Development Board for Assa North Gas Project

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The Rivers State government and the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), energy company, recently inaugurated the Egi/Igburu Cluster Development Board (CDB) for pipeline communities to SPDC’s Assa North Gas project, which has a capacity for 300 million standard cubic feet of gas per day and the potential to be one of the largest domestic gas projects in Nigeria when completed.

Rivers State, Shell Inaugurate Cluster Development Board for Assa North Gas Project

Barrister Elloka Tasie-Amadi, State Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, at the ceremony, urged the Comrade Orikoha Ekwueme-led newly elected officials of the CDB to use the opportunity of leadership to make positive impacts that will improve living standards in their communities.

He said, “The state government is always available to support you. Always speak with your people, including the Community Trust Committees (which were also newly inaugurated). Adequate communication will ensure the buy-in of all your stakeholders”.

He decried those who see leadership as opportunity for self-seeking gains. “Leadership is more of sacrifice; not an opportunity for personal benefit”, The Commissioner said.

Also, at the inauguration, Mr. Igo Weli, SPDC general manager External Relations,  said, “The Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU), that you signed today, sets the framework for long-term partnership between SPDC JV and the Egi/Igburu Cluster. The GMoU runs on the principle of community-led development. Today, SPDC JV commits to providing funding to help you realise your community development aspirations.”

Represented at the ceremony by Dr. Banji Adekoya, SPDC External Relations Manager for Projects and Opportunities, he asked the CDB to “be prudent and implement projects and programmes that will deliver maximum benefits to the Egi/Igburu communities. Note that government, SPDC JV and the communities that you represent will hold you accountable for the judicious utilisation of the development funds.”

“With the inauguration, SPDC reiterates the company’s commitment to the Assa North Gas Project and to making it an exemplary one, particularly in Nigeria’s quest for energy sufficiency, for power generation and industrialization”, he said.

On its part, the new CDB committed to use SPDC’s award-winning GMoU agreement, which is a community-led sustainable development and interface management model that puts the communities in the driving seat in setting development priorities and implementation of programmes and projects to meet their needs.

The GMOU is a proven winning approach introduced in 2006, adopted across SPDC’s operational areas and provides a secure five-year funding for communities to implement development projects of their choice.

With the inauguration of the Egi/Igburu CDB, SPDC now has 40 active GMoUs in Abia, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo and Rivers States. Since 2006, SPDC JV has disbursed a total of $252 million to communities through these GMoUs.

The Assa North/Ohaji South gas project is a joint venture project involving the SPDC, the NNPC, Total E&P Nigeria Limited, and Nigerian Agip Oil Company, and will result in a new SPDC gas processing plant.

The development will help the federal government deliver on its ambition to provide enough gas for domestic consumption, power generation and gas-based ammonia and urea fertilizers for farmers.


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African Entrepreneurs Vying for Anzisha Recognition

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The Anzisha Prize, a partnership between African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation, has revealed its top 20 finalists for 2020. Winners will be announced at this year’s Anzisha Prize Conference on 27 October 2020.

Organisers say this year’s application season saw a record 1 200 applicants vying for a chance to join the Anzisha Prize fellowship.

From these applications, 20 businesses emerged that were 45% percent female-owned and represented sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and education.

Young entrepreneurs from Morocco, South Africa and Tanzania displayed impressive ventures that are tackling critical issues within their communities while also turning a profit. Through their businesses and entrepreneurial leadership skills, these job starters are paving a way for other young Africans to pursue entrepreneurship.

Selected as a top 20 finalist is 21-year-old Alaa Moatamed who is the co-founder of Presto, a company she describes as one of the leading delivery management platforms in Egypt. The venture provides business owners with an affordable and convenient delivery service for their customers.

Joining Alaa is 20-year-old Benjamin Mushayija Gisa from Rwanda who manufactures and packages natural organic products for consumption and for cosmetic purposes in the form of lotions and coconut soap.

“2020 has seen a global shift in the future of work. This year’s applicants have personified the resilience and innovation that Africa needs as we navigate our way into a post-COVID-19 future,” says Melissa Mbazo-Ekepenyong, Deputy Director of the Anzisha Prize.

The Anzisha Prize, a partnership between African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation, has supported 122 entrepreneurs and 77 of those businesses have created over 2 000 jobs, with 56% of those being employment provided for young Africans under 25.

Peter Materu, Chief Program Officer, Mastercard Foundation says, “The success of the Anzisha Prize over the last decade stands as a resounding testament to the creativity and entrepreneurial potential of Africa’s very young people—a hugely under-tapped resource.

Through Anzisha, we’re reminded of what they can achieve when challenged and enabled to own and solve the problems they see around them. Now, as ever, the innovations that have emerged through the Anzisha Prize inspire and renew our faith in and commitment to their promise.”

This year, the top 20 will gather virtually from their various countries to share knowledge and learn from expert coaches and mentors as they prepare for their final pitches to a panel of external judges.

All the entrepreneurs will receive a cash prize of US$2 500. The grand prize winner will receive US$25 000, while the 1st runner and 2nd runner receive US$15 000 and US$12 500 respectively.


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FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

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Federal Government has included Emirates Airlines in the list of airlines not allowed to operate in Nigeria.

FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

This is part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Hadi Sirika, minister of Aviation, confirmed this via his Twitter handle on Friday.

According to Sirika, the decision was taken following a meeting between the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and European Unions (EU).

The ban would take effect from Monday, September 21, 2020.

“The PTF sub-committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban.

“The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed and they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st September 2020,” Sirika tweeted.


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