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Why Nigeria needs attack helicopters against terrorists – US official



The $1bn AH-1Z cobra attack helicopters, 12 of them, being procured from the United States by the Federal Government will reduce response time and significantly help the Nigerian Armed Forces to defeat terrorist forces in the country, an official of the US Department of State, Andrew Strike, has said.

Strike, who is of the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs under the Department of State, explained in his response to an email enquiry by our correspondent that the helicopters would complement the 12 A-29 Tucano aircraft Nigeria bought from the US earlier.

 He added that the helicopters would also provide essential night operations capability to counter terrorists who previously operated after dark with impunity.

Boko Haram insurgents and bandits already declared as terrorists by the Federal Government have been waging a war against the Nigerian state, especially in the northern region, killing innocent persons, carrying out mass abductions for ransoms, destroying properties, disrupting public peace, all of which have taken their toll on the economy.

The Defence Security Cooperation Agency in a statement titled, ‘Nigeria – AH-1Z Attack Helicopter Related FMS (Foreign Military Sales) Acquisitions’, on April 14 said the Department of State had cleared the sale of the helicopters to Nigeria and that as required by law, Congress had been notified of the possible transaction.

In his email response on Tuesday to an enquiry on the expected time of delivery and the possible conditions that would be attached to the usage of the helicopters like they did the Tucano aircraft, Strike said only the military could speak on the timelines but that the US would always insist on the respect for human rights.

Speaking on the operational capabilities of the helicopters, Strike stated, “This potential sale fulfils the Nigerian Armed Forces requirement for a close air support and quick mobility capability to defeat terrorist forces, protect humanitarian convoys, secure vital roads, decrease troop losses, defend vulnerable communities, and reduce the risk of civilian casualties.

“This potential sale complements Nigeria’s earlier purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, delivered in 2021.  They use the A-29s to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions, as well as to directly engage terrorists.

“The AH-1Z helicopters will reduce response time to support ground forces and bring a degree of durability and survivability that will allow the Nigerian Air Force to engage at low altitudes and slow airspeeds while maintaining a standoff distance outside of the enemy weapons engagement zone.  Additionally, US training and support will help ensure that Nigeria is able to effectively and responsibly use the capability and minimise risks of civilian harm.”

He noted further that the $997m, apart from covering the cost of the helicopters, would also include training, maintenance support and future life-cycle costs for Nigeria to operate and maintain the helicopters for some years to come.

He added, “Under this agreement, the Nigerian Armed Forces will spend $25m of case funds to continue their Air to Ground Integration programme, which is building the capability of the Nigerian Armed forces to more accurately carry out air strikes and minimise the risk of civilian casualties.

“This includes further developing and implementing professional targeting processes that are consistent with international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

“Our training places an emphasis on respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, and we regularly engage with the Nigerian government and security forces to promote transparent accountability for civilian casualty incidents and human rights violations.”

The DSCA statement in April indicated that the sale would include 28 T-700 GE 401C engines made by General Electric; 2,000 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System; Night Vision Cueing Display; Commercial Variant GPS with Standard Positioning Service, communication equipment; electronic warfare systems; AN/AVS-9 Aviator’s Night Vision Imaging System; M197 20mm machine gun; Target Sight System; support equipment; spare engine containers; spare and repair parts; tools and test equipment.


Governor’s wife advises Jerusalem pilgrims on conduct




The returnees who participated in the 2022 pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Jordan have held a thanksgiving service to appreciate God for the successful journey.

According to a statement issued by the state government, the service, held at Chapel of Christ The Light, Alausa, was graced by the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu.

Represented by the wife of a former Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mrs Mayowa Ikuforiji, Sanwo-Olu advised the returnees to be true ambassadors of Christ and allow their encounters during the pilgrimage to strengthen their relationship with God and the people around them.

The governor’s wife said, “You cannot afford to go back to your old ways and lifestyles. As you have been described as the light and salt of the world in the Holy Book, it means that you have a lot of tasks ahead of you.”

Sanwo-Olu then thanked God on behalf of the pilgrims for the successful completion of the exercise and the journey mercies experienced.

She said, “We bless the Lord that there was no report of any negative eventuality. It is fitting at this point to state that we are indeed peculiar people with a deep sense of appreciation and we show this trait in praises and thanksgiving to God who specifically called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.”

In her remarks, the Secretary, Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Mrs Yetunde Gbafe, said the thanksgiving service was in line with God’s injunction as recorded in Psalm 100 where believers were enjoined to come into His presence with praise and thanksgiving.

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Nigeria needs $12bn to clean up oil spills – Report




Nigeria needs $12bn to clean up decades-old oil spills in southern Bayelsa State over a 12-year period, a new report revealed on Tuesday, as it singled out two international oil companies, Shell and Eni, for being responsible for most of the pollution.

Oil majors in Nigeria have long faced legal challenges over Niger Delta spills, which they mostly blame on sabotage and vandalism of pipelines and illegal refining.

The Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission said in a report that it started an investigation in 2019 on the impact of spills and looked at evidence from forensic scientists, blood samples from people in affected areas and company data, according to Reuters.

The investigation discovered, among other findings, that toxic pollutants from spills and gas flaring were many times higher than the safe limits in samples of soil, water, air, and in the blood of local residents, the commission said.

“The report finds failures of strategy, prevention, response and remediation by oil companies,” it said.

Reuters stated that a spokesperson for Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited said the oil firm was not privy to the final report and could not comment.

An Eni spokesperson said the oil spills were due to theft to feed illegal refineries as well as illegal exports and sabotage but the company undertook to remedy all spills.

Most of the gas produced from Eni’s Nigerian unit was converted into LNG and fed local power plants, the spokesperson said, adding that “Eni conducts its activities according to the sector’s international environmental best practices, without any distinction on a country basis.”

Toxins that cause burns, lung problems and risk of cancer were widespread while oil company-led clean-ups were often poorly executed and could further contaminate soil and groundwater, the commission’s report said.

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Experts advise marketers to leverage technology




Experts have advised marketing professionals to take advantage of technology to revamp marketing tactics.

The marketers were admonished at the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria Ikeja Chapter 3rd Annual Public Lecture held recently in Lagos.

Speakers at the event said due to the highly competitive marketing arena, marketers must be willing to adjust their approaches in response to shifting market trends and economic circumstances, to remain competitive and achieve success.

The Ikeja Chapter Chairman of NIMN and Chief Executive Officer of Procon Group, Adebayo Oke, noted that the conference was basically to review the position of things in the institute in the face of the country’s dynamic economy.

He said, “We all know that in terms of political economy, we are going to be having a change very soon. Where we are coming from, there are issues that have affected consumerism in terms of the power of a consumer, choices and whether it will get tougher or better that is why we are here. To also share knowledge among the top practitioners to floor it down.”

According to him, a lot of quacks are in the market and most companies believe marketing is anybody’s function.

“And going forward, we are going to be regulating the practice of marketing across all industries and in partnership with the international brands in the areas of marketing, including the Chartered Institute of Marketing UK, amongst others,” he stated.

He disclosed that the institute would be partnering with most companies to ensure that only certified marketer would be allowed to practice marketing, to enable the institute get rid of all the quacks.

The President and Chairman of Council for NIMN, Idorenyen Enang, in his keynote address, highlighted the significance of marketers harnessing the potential of technology while ensuring that they adhere to ethical principles of the profession.

He said, “The benefits of technology in streamlining operations are widely appreciated. However, concerns about job displacement due to AI have arisen. Marketers must strive for a harmonious implementation of these technologies, striking a balance that mitigates such disadvantages.”

He added that while automation greatly enhances efficiency, there is a potential loss of intellectual capacity as the current generation prioritises speed, brevity, and simplicity.

Also, the Head Sub-Saharan Africa Digital Media & Insights of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Plc, Ifeoluwa Obafemi, said, “In the phase of technological advancement and changes in consumer behaviour, as marketing professionals, we should set our organisation in a future forward mode. For businesses to maintain a competitive edge in the present-day business environment, undergoing a marketing transformation is a necessary process.”

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Axiom Intel Limited, Kolawole Oyeyemi, said, “Marketers should attract and retain their customers. Nowadays, customers are now more informed and know your business more than you do because they now compare your services to global best practices.

“There is a revolution in technology which has assisted in creating tools and devices and building platforms to allow customers to interact with companies across the world.”

According to him, it is a volatile environment and things one does not think will connect one’s business may connect from a very long distance.

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