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International Passport Process Made Easy as NIS Improves Online Service

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NIS Improves International Passport Process With Efficient Online Service

Many Nigerians have taken to their social media accounts to commend the new initiative of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) at curbing bribery, reducing processing time and improving service delivery of international passport at its various offices across the nation.

NIS, in recent months, has said Nigerians no longer need to pay more than the stipulated amount to obtain a new passport or renew their expired international passports. However, several Nigerians and even a few bad eggs in the agency have refuted that declaration, saying many online applications are either not attended to or left for months and even years in some cases.

But few patriots like Claudia Nwankwo, who applied and paid the N25,000 stipulated online, have said it indeed works.

In a long detailed post, Nwankwo, a PR Media consultant, said “As “Nigerians” we (naturally) shy away from using government agency portals or online platforms. Many would say that the portals do not work and they make things more difficult. Others would not even bother to try because as far as they are concerned it’s all make believe.

She said after she was told to prepare between N40,000 to N50,000 to renew her 32 pages international passport, she noticed the amount stipulated on the NIS website was half the amount.

I checked on the NIS website and saw that renewal for adults cost only 25k. So, I proceeded to apply using the online portal. I filled the form, printed the necessary document and went straight to Alausa passport office.

“At the office, I was directed to the lady in-charge of online applications. She told me all I needed to do. It seemed as though there was going to be unnecessary delays. I quickly escalated my case and voila! I was ready for capturing.

“The good thing about using the online portal is that you have first-hand information about your application and it puts you half-way through the entire process. Such that when you get to the passport office you only need to get your forms/application approved and proceed for capturing (most likely) same day.”

Nwankwo explained that online application reduces the long stressful process of filling your forms today and returning another day for capturing.

According to her, after capturing applicants are issued a slip which they need to present when picking up their international passport within 72 working hours.

She, therefore, advised intending international passport applicants to follow the steps below in order to apply for a new international passport or renew their expired international passports.

First and foremost, visit the NIS website https://portal.immigration.gov.ng/ to get all necessary information as per requirement and process of application.

If you can do it on your own, its perfect! If not, go straight to the helpdesk of any NIS passport office near you. Immigration Officers would guide you on all you need to know and do. If in doubt or you encounter any misconduct, do well to escalate but insist on the right thing.

• Afterwards, you will need to print out the completed application form, sign it, print out your acknowledgment and payment slip.

• Take along your NIMC slip (compulsory)
• NIN number (compulsory)
• Copies of first and last page of your expired/old passport (if any)
• Hard copy of your expired/old (for sighting)
• Two passport photographs

She added that the international passport cost N25,000 while the payment gateway that facilitates payments for NIS charges N1,000. Bringing total cost to N26,000.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Rimba Raya Becomes First Forest Conservation Project in the World to Achieve 3rd Party-Verification of Contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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Rimba Raya is the world’s first forest conservation project to independently verify its contributions to environment, biodiversity and social SDGs under the newly created Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta).

Borneo, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, September 21 2020 – Everland llc, the agency exclusively representing InfiniteEARTH’s Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve in Borneo, is pleased to announce that Rimba Raya is the world’s first forest conservation project to independently verify its contributions to environment, biodiversity and social SDGs under the newly created Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta).

SD VISta was developed by Verra, a leading standards organization created to help countries, the private sector, and civil society to achieve ambitious sustainable development and climate action goals.

SD Vista enables projects to assess the sustainable development benefits they generate directly against the SDGs. Under SD VISta, projects must demonstrate to the satisfaction of a third-party assessor that they advance the SDGs. By successfully completing the SD Vista audit, Rimba Raya now brings a new level of quality assurance and transparency to the reporting of its project outcomes and impact claims.

Since 2009, the Rimba Raya project has successfully defended 64,500 hectares of carbon- and biodiversity-rich lowland peat forest from conversion to oil palm plantations, which surround the project area and the adjacent Tanjung Puting National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Rimba Raya protects over 120 threatened and endangered species in the project area and supports over 10,000 forest-dependent community members living in and along the boundaries of the project, who have traditionally held no formal land tenure. The project has been developed and managed since inception by InfiniteEARTH, a pioneering conservation project developer.

Oil palm concessions, which completely surround Rimba Raya and Tanjung Putting and which have destroyed 2.4 million hectares of Borneo’s forests since 2000, had been granted for the entire project area before the project successfully halted them. In recognition of the project’s success in halting deforestation, it achieved verification as a REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) project, under which it has generated over 33 million tonnes of verified CO2 emissions reductions since the start of the project. These verified emissions reductions are sold to corporations which voluntarily offset their unavoidable emissions as well as support meaningful social and biodiversity co-benefits.

Among these co-benefits, SD VISta auditors have verified Rimba Raya’s numerous contributions to the SDGs, including:

  • Mangrove restoration and peat swamp reforestation: Rimba Raya has carried out significant restoration activities, providing educational opportunities, strengthening community resilience and capacity to respond to climate change, contributing to gainful employment throughout the project zone, increasing habitat for endangered species, and improving the integrity of water-related ecosystems. SD Vista auditors verified that that these activities will directly contribute to net positive impacts for SDGs 4, 13, 14, 15 and, indirectly, 6, 8 and 11.
  • Orangutan Care Facility: A portion of the revenues from the sale of the project’s carbon credits are used to fund project partner Orangutan Foundation International’s ongoing activities, including new programs for reforestation of critical orangutan habitats and acquisition of viable habitat. In addition, the project will build three new orangutan release centers and six feeding platforms at strategic locations inside the Project Area. The auditors verified that this activity will generate net positive impacts for SDGs 11 and 15.
  • Scholarships: A portion of the revenue from the sale of the project’s carbon credits goes toward educational scholarships, to create opportunities for students from less fortunate families to continue their education to senior high school level or equivalent for a period of 3 years. Auditors verified that these activities generate net positive impacts for SDG 4 through the increase in availability of higher education opportunities for children throughout the project zone.
  • Floating Clinic: With a total absence of health care available in the project’s remote villages, the project constructed and operates a floating clinic, giving it the ability to deliver medical services up and down the Seruyan River, effectively servicing all the communities in the Project Zone. Auditors confirmed that this activity will directly contribute to net positive impacts for SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being.

“Buyers, now more than ever, seek projects that satisfy both environmental and social development goals. The SD VISta standard provides buyers of credits with a new standard to discern the specific impacts of a project.” said InfiniteEARTH Co-Founder Jim Procanik

“This is a crucial milestone. By completing the registration and successful verification of monitored results under SD VISta, Rimba Raya has demonstrated how projects can track progress against the SDGs in a rigorous and workable manner”, states David Antonioli, CEO of Verra. “Many corporations who rely on carbon credits to meet ambitious climate goals value knowing that the carbon credits they purchase and retire have additional benefits beyond reducing emissions – and Rimba Raya’s SD VISta certification demonstrates that this project has accomplished that.”

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Expert Panel Endorses Protocol for COVID-19 Herbal Medicine Clinical Trials in Africa

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Corn, Soybeans Decline As Favorable Weather May Boost U

The Regional Expert Committee on Traditional Medicine for COVID-19 formed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union Commission for Social Affairs has endorsed a protocol for phase III clinical trials of herbal medicine for COVID-19 as well as a charter and terms of reference for the establishment of a data and safety monitoring board for herbal medicine clinical trials.

“Just like other areas of medicine, sound science is the sole basis for safe and effective traditional medicine therapies,” said Dr Prosper Tumusiime, Director of Universal Health Coverage and Life Course Cluster at WHO Regional Office for Africa.

“The onset of COVID-19, like the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, has highlighted the need for strengthened health systems and accelerated research and development programmes, including on traditional medicines,” said Dr Tumusiime.

The endorsed technical documents are aimed at empowering and developing a critical mass of technical capacity of scientists in Africa to conduct proper clinical trials to ensure quality, safety and efficacy of traditional medicines in line with international standards. Phase III clinical trials are pivotal in fully assessing the safety and efficacy of a new medical product. The data safety and monitoring board will ensure that the accumulated studies data are reviewed periodically against participants’ safety. It will also make recommendations on the continuation, modification or termination of a trial based on evaluation of data at predetermined periods during the study.

If a traditional medicine product is found to be safe, efficacious and quality-assured, WHO will recommend for a fast-tracked, large-scale local manufacturing, Dr Tumusiime explained, noting that through the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum, there is now a benchmark upon which clinical trials of medicines and vaccines in the region can be assessed and approved in fewer than 60 days.

“The adoption of the technical documents will ensure that universally acceptable clinical evidence of the efficacy of herbal medicines for the treatment of COVID-19 are generated without compromising the safety of participants,” said Professor Motlalepula Gilbert Matsabisa, the Expert Committee Chairman. He voiced hope that that the generic clinical trial protocol will be immediately used by scientists in the region to ensure that people can benefit from the potential of traditional medicine in dealing with the ongoing pandemic.

The 25-members of the Regional Expert Advisory Committee on Traditional Medicine for COVID-19 are tasked with supporting countries to enhance research and development of traditional medicine-based therapies against the virus and provide guidance on the implementation of the approved protocols to generate scientific evidence on the quality, safety and efficacy of herbal medicines for COVID-19.

The Committee members are from research institutions, national regulatory authorities, traditional medicine programmes, public health departments, academia, medical and pharmacy professions and civil society organizations of Member States.

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Sanofi, GSK Commence Clinical Trial of COVID-19 Vaccine

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Sanofi and GSK have announced the commencement of Phase 1/2 clinical trial for their adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine candidate that was developed by both firms uses the same recombinant protein-based technology as one of Sanofi’s seasonal influenza vaccines with GSK’s established pandemic adjuvant technology.

The companies in a statement said that the Phase 1/2 clinical trial is a randomised, double blind and placebo-controlled trial.

It is designed to evaluate the safety, reactogenicity and immunogenicity of the vaccine candidate.

They added that a total of 440 healthy adults are being enrolled in the trial across 11 investigational sites in the United States.

The companies anticipate first results in early December 2020, to support the initiation of a Phase 3 trial in December 2020.

“If these data are sufficient for licensure application, we are planning to request regulatory approval in the first half of 2021,” the statement said.

Speaking on the development, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Sanofi Pasteur, Thomas Triomphe, said, “Sanofi and GSK bring proven science and technology to the fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic, with the shared objective of delivering a safe and effective vaccine.

“The initiation of our clinical study is an important step and brings us closer to a potential vaccine which could help defeat COVID-19. Our dedicated teams and partner continue to work around the clock as we aim to deliver the first results in early December. Positive data will enable a prompt start of the pivotal phase 3 trial by the end of this year.”

Also speaking, President of GSK Vaccines, Roger Connor, said, “Moving this vaccine candidate into clinical development is an important moment in the progress towards addressing the global pandemic we are all facing.

“This builds on the confidence shown by governments already in the potential of this protein- based adjuvanted vaccine candidate, which utilises established technology from both companies, and can be produced at scale by two of the leading vaccine manufacturers globally.

“We now look forward to the data from the study, and if positive, beginning a Phase 3 trial by the end of the year.”

Sanofi is leading the clinical development and registration of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pre-clinical data showed an acceptable reactogenicity profile and data based on two injections of the adjuvanted recombinant vaccine showed high levels of neutralising antibodies that are comparable to levels in humans who recovered from the COVID-19 infection.

Pre-clinical results will be published later this year. In parallel, Sanofi and GSK are scaling up manufacturing of the antigen and adjuvant with the target of producing up to one billion doses in 2021.

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