U.S Consulate launches academy for women entrepreneurs

-By sdnonline-

United States Consulate General in Lagos has launched the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a State Department-led initiative that supports women entrepreneurs around the world.

During a week-long program, a diverse group of 100 women selected from a pool of over 6,000 applicants, will receive lessons on business management, network with like-minded entrepreneurs and mentors, and learn the practical skills required to create successful and sustainable businesses.

Declaring the workshop open, U.S. Consul General Claire Pierangelo, explained that the goal of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs is to teach women around the world to become successful entrepreneurs. She noted that women’s empowerment will be key to Nigeria’s long-term economic development.

“One of the U.S. government’s goals is to promote entrepreneurship worldwide.  Through the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, we are doing just that by giving these ambitious businesswomen the skills they need to take their ventures to the next level,” she said.

Pierangelo described the role of women as crucial for the progress of national economies. “Women are the backbone of society no matter what country you are in.  When women are working, the country is working,” she noted.

Leading local business leaders will help facilitate the workshop. They include: Ms. Inya Lawal, alumna of the Fortune-U.S. Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership program; Dr. Henrietta Onwuegbuzie, Academic Director, Owner-Manager Program at the Lagos Business School; Ms. Hansatu Adegbite, Executive Director at Women in Management and Business (WIMBIZ); and Ms. Teju Abisoye, Executive Secretary, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.

In addition, participants will receive access to DreamBuilder, a blended business-training course developed through a partnership between Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and global copper mining company Freeport-McMoRan.

The AWE is a component of the White House Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, designed to empower women worldwide to fulfill their economic potential, thereby creating conditions for increased stability, security, and prosperity for all.

Nigeria is among 26 pilot countries worldwide that were selected to participate in the AWE program. The other African countries participating in the inaugural AWE cohort are Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Women, youths have prime place in my administration – Agbedi, Bayelsa Guber aspirant

-By Funmi Falobi-

Honourable Frederick Agbedi, a governorship aspirant and member of the House of Representatives, representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency of Bayelsa State, has declared that women and youths have prime place in his government when he eventually becomes the governor of the state.

He also said that there is agenda for the grassroots people where his administration would ensure social inclusion at the grassroots level and cater for the welfare of the people through robust economy.

The present political dispensation in Nigeria has relegated women to the background both at the federal and states levels without achieving the 35 percent affirmative action on political position to women. However, Agbedi, a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa State stated that his administration would identify competence among women and youths to run the oil rich state effectively.

“If you have been following my campaigns, there is no time women are not at the forefront making comments, raising supports, speaking on political issues and defending the campaigns. It is a matter of identifying competence. If you identify competence and you know the competent women you bring them to play. It is not just women but it is a matter of identifying competence.

“The question you are asking is like the question of saying the youths are the leaders of tomorrow. They are not leaders of tomorrow, they are leaders of today. It is the ability and capacity of the leaders to identify the youths who have the capacity to deliver. That is why I tell people, look, at River State when Diete-Spiff was made the Military Governor, all those who worked with him as commissioners were all youths and nobody has broken that record.

“It is the ability of the leader to identify competent hands that he would bring into governance that will deliver with their knowledge, agility and with their educational background. For me women are in the prime place as well as the youths in our administration,” he said.

Agbedi, who has four decades of experience in politics stressed that the grassroots people as well as the Bayelsans in general, are yearning for infrastructural development and socio-economy that would raise their standard of living and that he is ready to listen to them.

“The grassroots people are not outside the state, they are within the state. The grassroots people want employment, they want something to do that will put food on the table and give them income. They also want things that will bring infrastructure in terms of roads, electricity, improving the education system. That is what they are looking for because once you have a robust economy everybody will tap into it and then the issues of environment will be improved,” he said.

The politician explained that he would run the state differently as an experienced hand in a way that would improve industrialisation and build refinery to enhance the business environment of the state.

US increases visa fee for Nigerians

By sdnonline

United States of America has increased visa fee for Nigerians and this takes effect from Thursday, 29 August, 2019.

With this, Nigerian citizens are now required to pay a visa issuance fee, or reciprocity fee, for all approved applications for nonimmigrant visas in B, F, H1B, I, L, and R visa classifications.  The reciprocity fee will be charged in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee, also known as the MRV fee, which all applicants pay at the time of application.  Nigerians whose applications for a nonimmigrant visa are denied will not be charged the new reciprocity fee.  Both reciprocity and MRV fees are non-refundable, and their amounts vary based on visa classification.

U.S. law requires U.S. visa fees and validity periods to be based on the treatment afforded to U.S. citizens by foreign governments, insofar as possible.  Visa issuance fees are implemented under the principle of reciprocity: when a foreign government imposes additional visa fees on U.S. citizens, the United States will impose reciprocal fees on citizens of that country for similar types of visas.  Nationals of a number of countries worldwide are currently required to pay this type of fee after their nonimmigrant visa application is approved.

In a statement by the U.S. Embassies in Abuja and Lagos, said that the total cost for a U.S. citizen to obtain a visa to Nigeria is currently higher than the total cost for a Nigerian to obtain a comparable visa to the United States.  The new reciprocity fee for Nigerian citizens is meant to eliminate that cost difference.

The statement read, “Since early 2018, the U.S. government has engaged the Nigerian government to request that the Nigerian government change the fees charged to U.S. citizens for certain visa categories.  After 18 months of review and consultations, the government of Nigeria has not changed its fee structure for U.S. citizen visa applicants, requiring the U.S. Department of State to enact new reciprocity fees in accordance with our visa laws.

“The reciprocity fee will be required for all Nigerian citizens worldwide, regardless of where they are applying for a nonimmigrant visa to the United States.  The reciprocity fee is required for each visa that is issued, which means both adults and minors whose visa applications are approved will be charged the reciprocity fee.  The fee can only be paid at the U.S. Embassy or the U.S. Consulate General.  The reciprocity fee cannot be paid at banks or any other location.”

The complete reciprocity fee schedule, organised by visa classification, can be found below.

Class                                     Reciprocity Fee

B1                                           $110

B2                                           $110

B1/B2                                     $110

F1                                           $110

F2                                           $110

H1B                                        $180

H4                                           $180

I                                               $210

L1                                            $303

L2                                            $303

R1                                            $80

R2                                            $80

U.S. Universities offer $7.5m in scholarships to Nigerian students

By sdnonline

More than 303 Nigerian students from the 17 states of southern Nigeria have received no less than $7.5 million in full or partial scholarships from 225 American universities and colleges to study in the United States for the 2019-2020 academic session.

Acting United States Consul General Osman Tat disclosed this in Lagos on Tuesday during the 2019 EducationUSA pre-departure orientation for students who have received offers of admission and scholarships to attend U.S. colleges and universities this fall.

Noting that the U.S. remains a top destination for international students, Tat explained that the list of acceptances for Nigerian students for the upcoming academic year has been quite impressive, cutting across many of the 50 U.S. states.

“I congratulate each one of you on your tremendous success. This is a very important step in your life. I encourage you to make the most out of your time in the United States to acquire the requisite skills and knowledge needed to support Nigeria’s development,” he told the group of U.S.-bound students.

The students have been accepted for undergraduate and graduate degree programs at top notch U.S. institutions ranging from Ivy League universities, liberal arts colleges, women’s colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), to community colleges.

They include Stanford University, The George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, Purdue University, Tufts University, Boston University, Emory University, and Howard University, among many others.

The pre-departure orientation is intended to assist students to prepare for their move from Nigeria to attend a college or university in the United States.  The event included interactive sessions on topics such as travel planning, adjusting to life in America, safety on campus, and F-1 visa rules for international students.

Participants also had the opportunity to meet with students currently studying in the United States who offered tips on how to prepare for the U.S. academic, social, and cultural environment.

Among the departing students are 13 EducationUSA Opportunity Fund grantees —10 undergraduate and 3 graduate students, with full scholarships — who received financial aid to cover the up-front cost of obtaining admission.

Annually, through the Opportunity Fund Program, the U.S. Consulate’s EducationUSA Advising Centre assists talented low-income students who are good candidates for admission to U.S. colleges and universities, by funding their application process.

According to the latest Open Doors Report, published annually by the Institute of International Education, Nigeria is the 13th highest sending country of international students to the U.S., with about 12, 693 Nigerians currently studying in the United States.

A mother’s cry: Help save my Child!

… Laments inability to raise N200,000  for child’s ‘adenotonsillectomy’ surgery


Every mother’s joy is to see her child growing healthy, but for Mrs. Raheem Mistura Abolade, the past three years after giving birth to her last child has been tumultuous and much availed with stress and burden, due to recurring ill-health of the child. The last one year, especially, has been more frustrating due to her inability to raise the sum of N200,000 to undertake a remedial surgery for the child. Her hopes now lies in the hands of well-meaning Nigerians, who she hopes will assist with  funds for the surgery.

What should have been a bundle of joy to Mrs. Mistura Abolade as a mother, has become a burden of pain, which is draining her of all her income and exerting emotional and financial stress on her life due to the ill-health of Habeeb Idris, her third child who has been in and out of hospital admission for the treatment of a respiratory obstructive disease that is affecting the breathing and sleeping pattern of the boy.  Her inability to raise the sum of two hundred thousand naira (about 650 USD), which the management of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital in October 2018 had estimated would be required to perform an adenotonsillectomy surgery on the child is also a very big burden.

According to the mother, little Habeeb, who would be three years old in August, was first diagnosed with pneumonia when he was about two months old and he was treated, but the ailment keeps recurring, resulting in him being admitted four times in the hospital.

“He was diagnosed with a kind of pneumonia at two months old. At the fourth time of his admission at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), we did series of tests and adenotonsillar was discovered,” Mrs. Mistura Abolade had earlier told Newdawn online, following an advice for her to use the media to bring the issue of her financial limitations to public light in soliciting well-meaning Nigerians to come to her aid and assist her in her rather helpless situation in order to save her child from the pathetic situation he was going through.

With Hebeeb strapped to her back, she explained that it was difficult for her child to breath properly as the channel the air passes from the lungs to the nose is badly affected and there is an obstruction that makes air passage difficult.

“The common physical symptoms include inability to breathe normally through his nose. He breathes through his mouth and it is terrible during rainy season when it is colder. He would cry at night when it becomes more difficult to breathe. The doctors said he has to be operated upon to correct the obstruction.

Mistura Abolade and Habeeb

“Last year, they advised that he should be operated upon and when I asked for the estimation, they said it would cost about N200,000. They explained everything to us, and we rallied round for money but couldn’t meet up all through last year when he was booked for operation,” she narrated, sobbing.

“Before then, they have admitted him four times. He had pneumonia that had subsided but it always recur especially when the cold is much. It gives him fast breathing when his chest is congested. This occurs more during the rainy season.” She said.

She noted that the medical team at LASUTH have been of much assistant to her and little Habeeb and that based on tests carried out, which revealed adenotonsillar, they had recommended surgery as the only remedy.

“The estimates they gave us last year was N200,000 which we were not able to raise. Maybe the cost of the surgery might have even increased now, and we may need additional money for new tests, x-ray and other things”, she lamented in despair.

habeed. lasuth letterIn a medical report/to whom it may concern letter dated 3rd May, 2019, signed by Dr. Adeyinka A.P, a consultant E.N.T surgeon in LASUTH, it was stated that Habeeb, whose case was first presented to the ENT clinic in June 2018 was diagnosed with obstructive adenotonsillar hypertrophy with sleep apena and was scheduled for adenotonsillectomy on 23rd October 2018 but the surgery was not done due to financial constraint. The report stated that Habeeb has “history of excessive snoring and intermittent apneic episode while sleeping of about 1 year duration. There was history of recurrent bilateral nasal discharge and mouth breathing”. The report also stated that there was “history of recurrent lower respiratory tract infection requiring hospital admissions. He has used several oral and parenteral antibiotics without much improvement.”

According to Habeeb’s mother, raising the needed money for the operation, which should have been carried out in October 2018 has proved to be practically impossible, despite all efforts.

“I work with an agency under the Lagos Waste Management Agency (LAWMA) and we have sought for help from the local government and from individuals too but nothing much has come in. We have gone to the Government House in Alausa with letters as well but nothing has come forth. We have been running here and there since last year for the money, but we have not gotten much,” she said, calling on well-meaning Nigerians for help to save her son as a chunk of the family earnings go for medical bills and medication.

“We lived on 54 Mojisola Street, off College Road in Ifako Ijaiye Local Government Area of Lagos State but due to accommodation issues and related financial challenges, we have to move somewhere closer to the school of his elder ones.

“We trust God for donations for the surgery,” she said, with a hope that media publication by SDNonline and others would stir well-meaning Nigerians to come to her aid and save little Habeeb from the pains and agony being experienced.

This hope, is what she holds on to, earnestly, especially at this season of constant rains and very cold weather with the aggravated discomfort of heightened breathing difficulty for little Habeeb.

Support for the surgery for Habeeb can be paid to:


For additional details, please contact the editor, SDNonline.

2019 elections: IPC releases documented Buhari campaign promises

By sdnonline


The International Press Centre (IPC) has released a compilation of the campaign promises made by President Muhammadu Buhari in the course of electioneering activities for the 2019 general elections.

30 of such promises covering pledges on specific and general issues of road/rail infrastructure, education, agriculture, poverty eradication and inclusion of youths/women in government as well as the fight against corruption and insecurity were documented.

The documentation was done by IPC’s Media Monitoring Team, while the promises were derived from quoted statements of the president in The Nation, The Punch, Daily Sun, Daily Trust, Vanguard, This Day, Leadership and Nigerian Tribune newspapers over a four-month period from November 2018 to February 2019.

The specific sources were page 6, The Nation newspaper of Monday November 19, 2018; page 2,  The Punch Newspaper of Monday November 19, 2018; page 6, Daily Sun newspaper of Monday, November 19, 2018; front page, Daily Trust newspaper of Monday, November 19,2018; page 5 and 41, Vanguard newspaper of November 19, 2018; page 1 and 10,  This Day of November 19, 2018; page 2, Nigerian Tribune of November 19, 2018; page 25, Leadership newspaper of December 5, 2018; front page, Thisday, January 17, 2019; page 12, Daily Sun Newspaper, Thursday, January 31, 2019; page 9, Nigerian Tribune of January 17, 2019; and front page, Vanguard Newspaper, February 09, 2019.

The promises include the engagement of one million N-power graduates and skill up 10 million Nigerians in partnership with the private sector, to expand the school feeding programme from 9.3m to 15 million children, creating 300,000 extra jobs for food vendors and farmers and to create more room for inclusion in government by achieving 35 percent in female appointments.

Others are to give more access to youths as aides of cabinet members and through opportunities for appointments in board and agencies and to introduce special mentoring programme in governance with young graduates working with ministers and other appointees.

IPC Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, said the exercise was in line with the tradition of the organisation, which in 2011 documented 91 campaign promises of President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

According to him, it was also embarked upon pursuant to the implementation of Component 4b: Support to Media of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) Project by IPC over a 52-month period.

Explaining the methodology further, Arogundader said the campaign promises of all the presidential candidates that contested the 2019 elections were documented but only that of President Muhammadu Buhari was being released being the declared winner of the elections.

He however said both President Buhari’s campaign promises and those of the other candidates would later be uploaded on the IPC websites.

Explaining the rationale for the documentation of the campaign promises, Arogundade said the activity was in consonance and conformity with IPC’s mandate to advance democratic accountability.

“The essence is to ensure that it serves as a tool for journalists to monitor, track and ask questions about the diverse aspects of the implementation including using the Freedom of Information Act to such relevant questions,” he said. Adding, “Having trained journalists across Nigeria on issue-focused reporting of elections, we believe they need information like this to follow-up after the elections.”

According to him, the documented campaign promises will also be useful for civil society groups working on development and democratic governance issues as well as various electoral stakeholders.

 “The documentation of the president’s electoral promises from the media reports, which is by no means exhaustive, is to serve as a major instrument to proactively engage the Buhari administration on its performance over the next four years and provide bench marks in seeking democratic accountability, service delivery and the fulfillment of key campaign promises made by the president,” he said.

The full list of the promises:


  1. To engage one million N-power graduates and skill up 10 million Nigerians in partnership with the private sector.
  2. To expand the school feeding programme from 9.3m to 15 million children, creating 300,000 extra jobs for food vendors and farmers.
  3. To complete the Ibadan/Kano phase of the Lagos/Kano rail link.
  4. To complete the Port Harcourt/Maiduguri line.
  5. To complete the Itakpa/Warri link to Abuja, through Lokoja.
  6. To complete the Second Niger Bridge and the East West Road connecting Warri, Delta State, to Oron, Akwa Ibom State, through Kaiama and Port Harcourt in Bayelsa and Rivers State.
  7. To establish a peoples Moni bank.
  8. To institutionalize the giving of soft loans of up to 1million naira to small traders, artisans and commercial drivers.
  9. To increase the beneficiaries of trader Moni, market Moni and farmer Moni from 2.3 million to 10million.
  10. To create more room for inclusion in government by achieving 35% in female appointments.
  11. To give more access to youths as aides of cabinet members and through opportunities for appointments in board and agencies.
  12. To introduce special mentoring programme in governance with young graduates working with ministers and other appointees.
  13. To reinterpret the education curriculum through coding, robotics, animations and design thinking.
  14. Retraining of all teachers in public primary and secondary schools to deliver digital literacy.
  15. Remodeling and equipping of 10,000 schools per year.
  16. To complete the 365 road projects under construction in all parts of the federation.
  17. Provision of infrastructure and rebuilding the economy.
  18. To sustaining the anti-insurgency war and curb insecurity.
  19. To fight corruption and revamp the economy.
  20. To develop 6 industrial Parks in each of the geopolitical zones.
  21. To establish 109 Special Production and Processing Centres (SPPCs) across each senatorial district of Nigeria.
  22. To develop the Special Economic zone to quickly concretize our made in Nigeria for export (MINE) plan.
  23. To expand the social investment program so as to eradicate poverty.
  24. To ensure completion of Manbilla Dam and Bridge.
  25. To ensure the construction of the Makurdi Taraba Borno rail project.
  26. To complete the bridges across the stretch of River Benue in Ibi local government area.
  27. To continue to pursue agricultural policy by ensuring that fertilisers are made available at all the local government areas across the country, for easy access by farmers.
  28. To resuscitate the Ajaokuta Steel Company.
  29. To ensure the completion of the on-going Zungeru Hydro Power project.
  30. To include persons of integrity in the cabinet.