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Sunday Dare: Unmasking Nigeria’s New Sports Minister

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By Augustine Akhilomen

The appointment of Mr. Sunday Dare as the new Minister of Sports for Youths and Development by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday may have come as a surprise to many sports-loving Nigerians.

He replaced former Sports Minister, Barrister, Solomon Dalung, who served only in Buhari’s first tenure as President.

Dare, who became the 35th Sports Minister in Nigerian sports history, wasted no time as he moved swiftly to work by joining the Nigerian contingents at the ongoing All Africa Games (AAG) in Rabat, Morocco on Thursday.

Although some sports pundits expected the President to appoint a minister with wide knowledge about sports in general, however, there seems to be some sense of hope that his administration would reshape the decadency nature of sports in Nigeria.

Interestingly, many people in 2018/2019 only knew Dare as Executive Commissioner (stakeholder management) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). But before any of that, Dare was an outstanding journalist in his core.

He was a reporter/columnist with The Nation magazine in New York and a production editor/writer with the European funded Fourth Estate magazine, before he served as general editor of The News and Tempo, two of Nigeria’s independent weekly news magazines based in Lagos.

Having graduated with a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) in International Studies from Ahmadu Bello University in 1991, Dare proceeded to obtain a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the University of Jos. He was a Freedom Forum Fellow and Visiting Scholar, School of Journalism – New York University (NYU) in 1998.

After achieving that degree, he went further to Harvard University under the prestigious Harvard Nieman Journalism Fellowship between 2000 and 2001 where he studied Media and Public Policy.

He has decades of multimedia journalism experience spanning about 25 years (1991 and 2016) when he was nominated as executive commissioner. He was the chief, Hausa Service, African Division, Voice of America (VOA) in Washington, DC from 2001 to 2009, where, apart from directing the production of radio and online broadcast news and programs daily, he designed and implemented the adoption of new IT and Telecoms tools for international radio news-gathering and information dissemination to boost audience size and expand reach.

In 2009, he became Senior Special Assistant (media)/Chief of Staff to the minister of information and communications during which he guided decisions on all media and communications related matters, government information dissemination and media policies under the purview of the ministry.

The soft-spoken minister is a recipient of many awards and has been recognized internationally, including being identified as one of the 50 Leading Nigerians in North America 2010 in commemoration of Nigeria’s 50th Anniversary. 13. He also won the Voice of America Meritorious Honor Award 2009 in recognition of his skillful leadership and outstanding performance, and he also bagged a Committee to Protect Journalists Citation in 2000 by the New York-based organization in acknowledgment of his courage as a journalist.

By and large, the new Sports Minister may know little about sports; however, there is always room for understanding and improvement in order to achieve the desired results.

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Lagos Transporters To Pay ₦800 Daily Levy, Excluding RTEAN, NURTW Dues

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…Effective From February 1

Lagos State government, on Tuesday, introduced a daily ₦800 consolidated informal transport levy for transporters in the state.

The levy is outside the union dues collected by the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN).

Lagos State finance commissioner, Dr Rabiu Olowo, who revealed this at the agreement-signing ceremony by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), local councils and transport unions, said that the consolidated levy collection will start February 1.

He stated that the harmonized levy became expedient to ensure that the transport sector in the state is organised and fits into a 21st-century economy.

Olowo added that the consolidated levy takes into consideration all the elements in a sane society.

According to him, the levy takes care of dues previously accrued to local councils across the state, as well as revenue for Lagos Waste Management Authority (LASWA) and Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Lagos State Inland Revenue Service (LIRS) among other MDAs.

He said that the state government expects that once a transporter pays the ₦800 at a point, he or she is expected not to pay at any other park or bus stop throughout the day.

He also said that the government expects that union members will not collect levies from transporters as they are not expected to pay at every bus stop or park.

Olowo said the consolidated levy would reduce the multiplicity of levies collection as many residents and transporters have complained about the huge levies unions often collected.

The commissioner also made an allusion to a report about the ₦150bn that transport unions collect in Lagos under the disguise of collecting dues, saying the new development will eliminate multiple taxes.

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People Using Zamfara As Killing Field To Prove Nigeria Ungovernable, Fani-Kayode Speaks

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Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation, has called on Nigerians to unite and stand against the foreign elements that are bent on destabilising the country and killing innocent citizens, especially in Zamfara State.


The Director of Press to Zamfara Governor, Jamilu Illiyasu, made this known in a statement he issued to newsmen in Gusau on Monday.

Fani-Kayode expressed the belief that some people were using the state and the entire North-West zone as a killing field to prove to the world that Nigeria was ungovernable, divided and that things were not right in the country.

He also commiserated with the Zamfara State Government over the killing of 58 citizens in Anka and Bukkuyum local government areas of the state.

Fani-Kayode described the killing as a tragedy of monumental proportion and commended the efforts of Gov. Bello Matawalle in the ongoing fight against banditry and other crimes in the state.

He, therefore, called on all Nigerians to unite to fight foreigners who claimed to be Nigerians but could only speak Arabic and French.

He also urged the Federal Government to fish out sponsors of banditry and other individuals inflating casualty figures.

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Buhari Unveils Abuja’s Rice Pyramids, Says Nigeria Becoming Self-Sufficient In Food Production

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…As CBN Gov, Fayemi Laud President’s Initiative

 President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said that the commissioning of rice pyramids in Abuja was an indication that Nigeria is making steady and assured progress towards self-sufficiency in food production.

The President expressed expectation that other agricultural commodity associations that were yet to participate under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-funded Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) will emulate the rice farmers association of Nigeria in supporting his administration’s drive for food self-sufficiency.


The President made the remarks at the unveiling of the FCT Mega Rice Pyramids in Abuja on Tuesday morning.

He unveiled 13 rice pyramids (one million bags of rice) at the event that was attended by some state governors and business operators.

“As a critical policy of the government, the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme is expected to catalyse the agricultural productive base of the nation, which is a major part of our economic plan to uplift the economy, create jobs, reduce reliance on imported food and industrial raw materials, and conserve foreign exchange”, Buhari said.

Speaking at the event, CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, said beyond increasing the national output from about 5.4 million metric tonnes in 2015 to over 9 million metric tonnes in 2021, the CBN in collaboration with the rice farmers have also significantly improved the productivity per hectare of the smallholder farmer from about 2.4 metric tonnes per hectares in 2015 to between about 5 metric tonnes per hectares in 2021.

Emefiele said the unveiling of the rice pyramids was one of the many achievements of the CBN funded Anchored Borrowers’ Programme, saying the feat was achieved due to the vision and determination of the Buhari-led administration to deliver on food security.

“I salute your vision of making agriculture a cornerstone”, Emefiele said to the President, even as he appreciated the resilience of the smallholder farmers and the stakeholders in the rice production line.

He reminded the President that the farmers have battled lots of insurgency, banditry and kidnapping to which some of them have lost their lives while others could not access their farms.

Emefiele said the bank has financed about 5 million small holder framers on rice farming, saying that is still a far cry from the desired goals. He said Covid-19 has shown that Nigeria cannot rely on import.

Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, said it was clear from the beginning in 2015, when Buhari was seeking the position of the President of the country, that agriculture was going to be the major thrust if the Buhari administration, a reason he said it wasn’t surprising to see the president live up to that promise.

Fayemi said the doubt about food insecurity must now be removed with the rice revolution in Nigeria. “This is about food security. National security now means food security and food security means national security.

“The job is not done. We shall not relent until the availability of rice as a stable food is achieved”, he said.

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