Unemployed Nigerians can heave a sigh of relief as an industrial blueprint that can create 5 million new jobs annually has been developed by the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi (FIIRO), Prof. Gloria Elemo, its Director-General, claims. The blueprint was made in such a way that it would stimulate economic activities in all the local government areas in the country through value addition to raw materials of relative advantage in the nation’s 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs).
“We have carried out a comprehensive survey on raw materials of relative abundance in all the 774 LGAs in Nigeria; we have identified FIIRO technologies that are suitable for processing the raw materials for establishment of micro, small, medium and large enterprises.” Elemo said while explaining how the Institute could create 5 million new jobs annually. She said this during the House of Representatives’ Committee on Science and Technology paid an official visit to the institute.
Through collaboration with other stakeholders like the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Fabricators Association of Nigeria (AMEFAN), National Association of Small and Medium Enterprise (NASME), National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Elemo said the institute would contribute meaningfully to the Change program of the Buhari administration.
Reacting to the DG’s claim, Ms Beni Lar, the Chairman, House of Reps Committee on Science and Technology, commended the institute for the technological advancements it has brought to the country. She also restated the Government’s determination for the institute to receive the needed support saying “We will make sure important institutions like FIIRO work; we are aware that FIIRO is boosting the conversion of largely available local raw materials in the country and creating job opportunities. That is why since 2015, budgetary allocation to it has improved by about 50 per cent and we are willing to do more, given the available resources”
Covid-19: Moscow commences mass vaccination of Sputnik V shot
Moscow has commenced the distribution of Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, through 70 clinics on Saturday, December 5, 2020,
Moscow has commenced the distribution of Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, through 70 clinics on Saturday, December 5, 2020, marking Russia’s first mass inoculation against the disease that has infected over 2.4 million people in the country.
According to a report from Reuters, while making the disclosure, Moscow city’s coronavirus task force said that the Russian-made vaccine would first be made available to doctors and other medical workers, teachers and social workers because they have the highest risk of exposure to the disease.
The Russian capital, Moscow, which is the epicentre of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, reported 7,993 new cases overnight, a sharp increase from 6,868 that was recorded a day earlier and well above the reported daily infection rate of around 700 that was recorded in early September.
Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, on his personal website, wrote, “Over the first five hours, 5,000 people signed up for the jab – teachers, doctors, social workers, those who are today risking their health and lives the most.”
The age limit for those expected to receive the vaccine is capped at 60 years. It, however, bars people with certain underlying health conditions, pregnant women and those who have had respiratory illnesses for the past two weeks from being vaccinated.
What you should know
It can be recalled that the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in a televised government meeting, announced the registration of its first Covid-19 vaccine in what was described as a step ahead of any other vaccine development.
The Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, which was developed by Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, in collaboration with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), was certified to be 92% effective in protecting people from the virus infection.
Russia has developed 2 Covid-19 vaccines namely, Sputnik V which is backed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund, and another by Siberia’s Vector Institute, with final trials for both yet to be completed.
Scientists have raised concerns about the safety and speed at which Russia had registered and approved its vaccine, giving the regulatory go-ahead for it and launching mass vaccinations before full trials to test its safety and efficacy had been completed.
The Sputnik V vaccine is administered in two injections, with the second dose expected to be given 21 days after the first.
US House passes reform bill to decriminalize marijuana
US Congress has passed a sweeping legislation that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.
The 116th US Congress passed a reform legislation to decriminalize marijuana and expunge non-violent marijuana-related convictions and prosecution.
The bill, however, moves to legislate H.R. 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019, under a closed rule.
According to a statement made by the House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jerry Nadler, the MORE Act is a commonsense bill that will make a tangible difference in the lives of millions of Americans, as it is tied around ideals of racial, economic, and moral justice.
However, the bill still has to pass through the US Senate, but it is likely that the Senate would pass it, given the uncertainties around it and owing to the non-inclusion of a cost estimate in the committee report, according to Clause 3(d) of rule XIII.
However, US representative for the eastern part of Bronx in New York, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, tweeted that 68% of Americans support marijuana legalization.
This year, South Dakota, Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey joined 11 other states in legalizing it. Yet, the federal government still classifies pot as a dangerous drug. The Senate must listen to the American people and vote on this bill.
Why this matters
The bill, if finally passed by the senate would decriminalize cannabis, and also provide for reinvestment in certain persons adversely impacted by the war on drugs, through the expungement of certain cannabis offenses and for other purposes.
Thus, leading to the delisting of marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and expunge some marijuana convictions for nonviolent criminals.
The bill would also ban the denial of federal public benefits to a person on the basis of certain cannabis-related conduct or convictions.
What they are saying
The House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jerry Nadler, representing parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn said:
“There is no reason for cannabis to be classified as a federally scheduled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. The MORE Act deschedules cannabis, allowing states to establish their own marijuana regulations and providing medical marijuana access to veterans in need.”
“The MORE Act is a common-sense bill that will make a tangible, real difference in the lives of millions of Americans. I’m proud of this bill centered around ideals of racial, economic, and moral justice.”
“I’m so proud that the MORE Act passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 228 to 164. I introduced this bill to provide restorative justice, modernize America’s cannabis laws, and deliver meaningful investments to America’s communities & small businesses.”
Co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Earl Blumenauer, representing Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District, while speaking at Capitol Hill during the House session on Friday said:
“We are here because we have failed three generations of Black and Brown young people, whose lives can be ruined or lost, by selective enforcement of these laws.
This Legislation will end that disaster. It’s time for the Congress to step up and do its part”
What you should know
- Recreational marijuana is currently legal in 15 states and Washington DC, while Medical marijuana is legal in 34 states of the 50 States of the USA.
- The MORE Act has seen a lot of criticisms by people who believe the bill is an unserious bill, as there is zero interest in moving this bill in the Senate and zero interest in supporting it in either the current administration or the incoming one.
- Earlier this week, Republican Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, criticized the House for passing the cannabis bill, instead of focusing on a COVID-19 stimulus bill that both parties reportedly have agreed upon.
US Government removes visa reciprocity fees for Nigerians from December 3
The US government has removed all visa reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens seeking visas to the US.
The United States government has announced the removal of all visa reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens seeking visas to the US with effect from December 3.
This disclosure was made through a statement titled, ‘Update on removal of visa fees for Nigerian citizens by the US Government,’ by the Federal Ministry of Finance on Saturday, December 4, 2020, and signed by the ministry’s Spokesperson, Ferdinand Nwonye.
The Federal Government revealed that this positive development follows the removal of excess visa application, processing and biometric fees for United States citizens applying for Nigerian visas by the Nigerian Government.
The statement from the Foreign Affairs Ministry reads, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that the United States Government has removed all visa reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens seeking visas to the United States.
“The positive development is in line with the removal of excess visa application, processing and biometric fees for the United States citizens applying for Nigerian visas by the Nigerian Government. The United States Government has therefore eliminated reciprocity fees for Nigerian citizens with effect from December 3, 2020.”
The foreign affairs ministry, in the statement, also advised prospective travellers to the United States to visit www.travel.state.gov for details.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that in 2019, the Donald Trump administration had imposed the reciprocity fee for all approved non-immigrant visa applications by Nigerians. This fee was charged in addition to visa application fees for only applicants who were issued visas.
- While imposing the additional reciprocity fees, which ranged from $80 to $303 depending on the class of visa, the US Embassy in Nigeria disclosed that the reciprocity fees were a fallout of unsuccessful talks with the Nigerian government over the reduction of visa fees it charged United States citizens.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja ______________________
PRESS RELEASE pic.twitter.com/YH8AhPsO2X
— Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria 🇳🇬 (@NigeriaMFA) December 4, 2020