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Lack of means of survival forces many girls into early marriage, prostitution — Expert

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Lack of means of survival forces many girls into early marriage, prostitution — Expert

 

By: Femi Mustapha

A development worker, Hajiya Binta Kasimu has said said the girls who lost  their parents to banditry goes into early marriage and prostitution because they have no means of survival.

Speaking at an experience-sharing workshop on child marriage in the northwest organized by the Kaduna State Ministry of Human Services and Social Development in Kaduna, yesterday expressed  dismay over the high rate of banditry in the country saying it has forced many displaced orphaned girls into child marriage and prostitution.

According to her, “In Katsina state has the highest rate of banditry and the highest number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s), many of whom are from Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi states. A lot of the young girls are orphans and have no one to look out for them so they go into early marriage or prostitution because they do not know what to do and where to go. They then go into marriage believing the husband will take care of them.”

She noted that men are being killed due to banditry activities, leaving many widows and orphans with no means of survival, adding, “Implementation of the many recommendations that have been made to the government has put women and girls at a disadvantage.”

She, however, called on the government to join hands with other humanitarian organisations to provide aid to the women and young girls to address the rising cases of early marriage in the country especially in Northern Nigeria.

In her remarks, the Acting governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe said that child marriage is one of the key challenges in the north that has an enormous effect on education, health including sexual and reproductive health.

She said the state government recognises the root of the problem which is why it prioritises human capital development, noting that the government has made efforts to offer the first 12 years of education free and compulsory for all in the state to tackle the challenge.

The state’s Commissioner of Human Services and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba said that child marriage, whether directly or indirectly is a global issue and harmful practice to the societies and advised that children under the age of 18 should not be pushed into early marriage, but allowed to pursue their education.

“Child marriage is often the result of entrenched gender inequality, making girls disproportionately affected by the practice. Ending child marriage will boost efforts toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by improving access to education, encouraging economic growth, enhancing nutrition and food security as well as improving maternal and child health,” she said.

The Programme Coordinator, Global Innovative for Women and Children, Aminu Babangida the stakeholders, including Commissioners of Health, Education and Women Affairs from Kaduna, Kabbi, Zamfara, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina and Sokoto states as well as traditional and community leaders is aimed at getting to the root cause of the problem and finding a lasting solution to the problem.

Also, the representative of the United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA), Bahijjatu Garko said, “The Nigeria Demographic Health Survey 2013 reports that nationwide 19.5 percent of adolescent girls are married before the age of 18 years, child Marriage may seem to be driven by poverty, but the continued practice perpetuates the vicious cycle of poverty that is said to drive it.”

World AIDS Day: DEVCOM Seeks Support For People Living With HIV

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World AIDS Day: DEVCOM Seeks Support For People Living With HIV

By: Femi  Mustapha

As Nigeria joins the global community to commemorate the 2022 world AIDS day, the  Development Communications (DEVCOM) has urged Nigerians to support people living with HIV and stop stigmatizing them.

The Programme Officer of DEVCOM, Fagbenle Marvellous stated this on Thursday in a statement made available to newsmen.

Marvellous explained that analysis by the United Nations (UN) reveals that inequalities are obstructing the elimination of AIDS.

“Early this year, UNAIDS stated that the AIDS response is in danger with rising new infections and continuing deaths in any part of the world. A new report shows that the underlying factor is inequalities. Also, the analysis by the UN (2022) reveals that inequalities are obstructing the end of AIDS and need urgent actions to get the AIDS response on track.”

“The Director General of Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Gambo Aliyu disclosed that new HIV infections gradually decline, 103,404 in 2019 to 92,323 in 2021, which is an indication that Nigeria will meet the United Nations target of ending HIV/AIDS by 2030”.

Aliyu also confirmed that more persons have commenced treatment in the country.

“In line with the director’s speech, UNAIDS Country Director, Leo Zekeng and Byanyima UNAIDS Executive Director, also called for equal access to HIV treatment services as well as addressing other barriers to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic so that  the world will be able to defeat AIDS”.

Group says Poor funding bane of National Anti-corruption Strategy 

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Group says Poor funding bane of National Anti-corruption Strategy

 

By: Femi  Mustapha

The Anti-corruption cluster of the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project has observed Poor funding of the National Anti-corruption Strategy (NACS) as the greatest challenge facing the implementation of the Strategy.

The  Observations were made in a  Communique  after a one day stakeholder  dialogue held  on NACS II in Abuja.

The  Communique signed by David Ugolor, Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Benin City, Edo State.  On behalf of others participants  expressed that  the M&E Committee in its four years received no funding from the government except funding from Development Partners like MacArthur Foundation, Centre for Democracy & Development and RoLAC.

The SCALE project being implemented by  ANEEJ  as anchor and her 8 cluster organisations also observed lack of knowledge and misinformation on the part of most agencies as to their expectations in the implementation of the NACS policy.

The Participants  expressed  dismay  that  most agencies are uniformed or do not understand the purport of the policy and what is expected of them in its implementation.

They opined  that the NACS and its implementation have not been given adequate publicity by both the private and public  media outlets and agencies such as the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, the National Orientation.

The participants therefore called on the FG to make deliberate provisions in the annual budgets to fund implementation of NACS II.

“Development partners working in the sector should increase funding of both Government and Non-Government anti-corruption initiatives that aims at the implementation of the strategy.

“There is an observed lack of knowledge and misinformation on the part of most agencies as to their expectations in the implementation of the NACS policy.

“Most agencies are uniformed or do not understand the purport of the policy and what is expected of them in its implementation.

“FG should provide support to the Inter-Agency Task Team (IATT) to meet quarterly to interact, share intelligence and learn from each other thereby promoting collaboration amongst anti-corruption agencies.

FG should hold a roundtable with CCB, NOA, the National Commission for Films and Video Sensor Board and the media to publicize the implementation of NACS II.

“CSOs call on the Attorney General to issue the guidelines on the activation of the implementation of POCA in-line with pillar 5 of NACS to boost the fight against corruption. “the statement reads.

Channel proceeds of crime recovery to PWDs fund, group tells FG

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Channel proceeds of crime recovery to PWDs fund, group tells FG

By: Femi  Mustapha

An Anti-Corruption group under the auspices of Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) has urged the Federal  Government to channels Proceeds of Crime Recovery for the benefit of Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs).

A member of the Anti-Corruption Cluster of the (SCALE) project, Mr. Lukman Adefolahan,asserted this during a Dialogue on National  Anti -Corruption Strategy (NACS11) and  pending anti corruption bills support from USAID through Palladium, held in Abuja, From  29th – 30th  November, 2022

According to him, such proceeds can be put into the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities in line with the National Disability Act and should also  be channeled  towards  construction of infrastructures  that will make life easier for PWDs. He therefore called  on all CSOs and the media to join in this noble  campaign.

He opined that, signing of the proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act that establishes the Proceeds of Crime Management Directorate in relevant organizations is good, but it is the beginning of a new advocacy  for where the funds should be channeled to.

Adefolahan, who is the Executive Director, 21st Century Community Empowerment for youth and Women Initiative, Abuja noted that the Act establishes the Proceeds of Crime Management Directorate in relevant organizations and the Directorate shall have the exclusive power to take over and assume responsibility for the proper and effective management of properties forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria among.

“In view of this we in the CSOs and the media  must be up and doing to ensure transparency  for the Anti-Corruption fight to be meaningful.

Lukman stressed that the relevant organisation where the Directorate is domicile is empowered to apply to the Court for an order to sell a property subject to a preservation order at the prevailing market value where there are reasonable grounds to believe that property, may have its value diminished, disposed of, or destroyed.

“The proceeds from the sale of any property shall be invested in the Central Bank of Nigeria treasury bills, pending the determination of the proceedings,” he said.

Edo JONAPWD  Lauds Obaseki over passage of  Disability Bill 

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Edo JONAPWD  Lauds Obaseki over passage of  Disability Bill

By: Femi  Mustapha

 

The Joint National Association of Persons with Disability (JONAPWD), Edo Chapter have  expressed happiness and satisfaction  to  Governor Godwin Obaseki in the passage of  the State Disability Bill into law.

The Chairman  of the  Association Ann Ojugo asserted this while speaking to the media in Abuja  yesterday.

Ojugo who could not contain her joy while addressing the media said, after 12 years of relentless advocacy of the disability community in partnership with the media, Civil Society and other stakeholders, Governor  Obaseki had put smiles on their faces.

She believes the law will integrate people with disabilities into the larger society give them equal rights to achieve equalization of opportunities and an easy access to the society at large.

The Association thanked the Governor Obaseki for keeping to his Campaign promise, describing as a social contract between the present administration and the people with disabilities in  Edo

Ojugo also appreciated the efforts of the Speaker Edo State House of Assembly, the relevant  Commissioners,  CSOs, and the Media for their support.

She explained that the law, which was initiated as an Executive bill by the state Governor was to make sure that persons with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone in the larger society.

“It is also aimed at guaranteeing equal opportunity for individuals with disability in the public and private sectors to access equal services delivery and inclusion.

“We sincerely believe that this legacy achievement by the governor of Edo State will take our members off the street, erase the frequent experience of discrimination and barriers faced by the community to participate in all aspects of society,” She further said.

Ann Ojugo said the law would pave the way for persons with disabilities to access public buildings, healthcare, education, employment and transportation while also providing an enabling environment for the disability community to enjoy a better livelihood.

Coalition calls for arrest of former Zamfara PDP Guber  candidate for contempt  of court

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Coalition calls for arrest of former Zamfara PDP Guber  candidate for contempt  of court

By: Femi  Mustapha

A Coalitions  coalition of ethnic Nationalities has called for the immediate arrest of former 2023 PDP governorship candidate, in Zamfara State Dauda Lawal for contempt of court for organizing a rally after a court of competent jurisdiction disqualified him along with all candidates in the last primary elections.

The  was contained in a statement signed by President Arewa youths consultative Forum Yerima shettima, President
Ohanaeze Ndigbo youth council
Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, President Yoruba Youths council Comr Eric Oluwole, Barr, Abubakar Kurawa of  Arewa lawyers progressive forum and Israel Uwejeyan President Ñiger Delta Youth Congress

The statement made available to the media in Kaduna 30th November, 2022, stated that they cannot fathom why a former PDP governorship candidate that has been disqualified from the party primaries should ignore the decision of the honourable court and carry on as if nothing has happened.

According to them this is a smear on decorum, abuse of judicial verdict and a classical example of contempt of court. We are shocked by this development because we expect those advising the PDP candidate to have warned him about the risks of contempt of court.

The Coalition explained that  there are other incidents of court nullification of primaries and Zamfara is proving to be an exception, for the wrong reason.

” The whole world knows that  the court initially nullified the primaries that produced Emmanuel Bwacha and Aishatu Binani as  the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidates for Taraba and Adamawa states respectively.

“And the two candidates stopped their rallies immediately. And proceeded to the Court of Appeal and won back their cases. Unlike the former Zamfara PDP governorship candidate, Binani and Bwacha halted their rallies immediately after the court verdict and later proceeded to the Court of Appeal to challenge the judgement of the lower court. But the former Zamfara PDP governorship candidate would not respect the law.

“We hereby call on the Inspector-General of Police to expedite action on this matter, in the interest of Rule of Law, democracy and social justice.

We also call on INEC to consider disqualifying  PDP candidate Dauda Lawal even on the grounds of sponsoring thuggery for physical assault and injury to innocent Zamfara people  and the destruction of Billboards.

“We read reports about the arrest of the thugs, but we believe that doing so is not enough as their sole sponsor Dauda  Lawal – should have been arrested same time as his terror gang members, because he is the number one suspect.

“We advise the IG of Police to also replace the current CP of Zamfara because the aloofness of the police in the State, on this weighty issue that requires prompt arrest of Malam Dauda Lawal smacks of suspicious moves to cover up contempt case. We also want the Director-General of DSS in Abuja to replace the Zamfara DSS boss  we suspect he is compromised as well.

“There is no justification for violence unleashed by these thugs in a fragile State like Zamfara unless there is a deliberate plot to reverse the gains made by Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle in the fight against insecurity.

“Lastly, the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) needs to wake up to its responsibility of protecting and promoting the interest of the judiciary. Politicians are disobeying court order deliberately,  thereby ridiculing the authority of the institution of the judiciary. This must be stopped. ” The  statement reads

Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women condemns killing of female politicians

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Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women condemns killing of female politicians

By: Femi  Mustapha

Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women (LANW) has condemned it in its totality the fatal shooting to death by suspected assassins of the Kaura Local Government Labour Party Woman Leader, Mrs. Victoria Chintex at her residence on Monday night, leaving her husband with serious injuries.

This was contained in a statement signed by Hannatu Ahuwan on behalf of LANW and made available to the media in Kaduna on Tuesday.

The statement stated that the killing  should be condemned by all especially as the deceased was known for her active role in politics and the killing of only the deceased may infer it was politically motivated. We sincerely express our heartfelt condolences to the family, Kaura LGA and Kaduna State on this loss.

This incident, according to  LANW is coming at this period of the 16 days of activism on violence against women and girls when globally activists draw attention to the negative impact of Gender based violence of which violence against women in Politics constitutes one of the inhibiting factors for women’s active participation in politics in Nigeria.

“The case of the killing of Mrs. Salome Abuh during the 2019 Kogi Gubernatorial elections is still fresh in our minds.

“It is on this note that LANW calls on all female candidates and politicians not to be discouraged from participating in the electoral process and to report any threats or suspicious actions to lawful agencies if the wide gap of women’s representation in politics and governance must be reduced

“This is also a wakeup call for the government to fulfil its commitment at the national, regional and international level to take proactive steps to protect women against all forms of violence and discrimination practices.

“LANW calls on security agencies not to leave any stones unturned towards identifying the perpetrators of this dastardly act and bringing them to book to serve as deterrents to other like-minded criminals or their masterminds.

“LANW urges all political parties to conduct their campaigns without the use of force or intimidation. In the spirit of the 16 days’ campaign UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls.  STOP KILLING OF WOMEN IN POLITICS! ” The   statement reads.

AA distance self from protest against INEC  chairman

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AA distance self from protest against INEC  chairman

From: Femi Oyelola

The leadership of the Action Alliance Party  has distanced itself from a planned protest against the Person of National Chairman of INEC, Prof. Yakub Mahmood on Friday, 2nd December, 2022 using the name of the party.

The  Chairman of the Party  (Dr) Adekunle Rufai Omo-Aje, stated this in a statement made available to the media in Kaduna  yesterday.

Dr. omoaje said the set of people are trying to organize the protest in the name of the Party, saying they  discovered that the said group is already talking to International bodies like EU, AU, Foreign Embassies, National leaders, including a former President in Nigeria, the media, some other NGOs all in a bid to discredit INEC as a commission.

He added that people behind the  planned protest are claiming that Prof. Mahmood can can not conduct a free, fair and credible election. They also want to post  that the commission is not a law abiding among others.

“However, it became expedient for me, Hon. Adekunle Rufai Omo-Aje the National Chairman of Action Alliance to set the records straight by dissociating our great Party Action Alliance and myself from the purported revolt based on available facts at my disposal.

“As I have said at various fora, assuring our teeming members and numerous supporters have not been mislead by disgruntled elements and political charlatans, our party has no faction in our ranks.

“Those laying claim to the chairmanship and secretaryship of the party are not even members of the Party haven expelled in February 2020.

“If anyone has any grouse   against Professor Yakub Mahmood, it is not our business and we are not interested in fighting other people’s battle for them. Hence our resolution not allow anyone to put our Party in a bad light just for cheap popularity.

“At the face of these shenanigans, it is worth mentioning that the leadership of our Party had been settled for long by the Courts through affirmations of the suspension and expulsion of the duo of Barrister Kenneth Udeze and James A Vernimbe among others. This judgement and orders have been affirmed by the Federal Court of Appeal judgments.” The statement reads.

Stakeholders call for an inter-ministerial committee on National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

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Stakeholders call for an inter-ministerial committee on National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

By: Femi Mustapha

Stakeholders have called on the Federal Government to establish an inter-ministerial committee to avoid the mistakes and hurdles in the National Anti-Corruption Strategy NACS 1.

They made the call during a two-day stakeholder dialogue on National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS11) and pending anti-corruption bills supported by USAID and Palladium in Abuja from 29th to 30th November 2022.

Speaking earlier the Project Manager of Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project, Mr. Ovie Assurance said NACS was founded on five pillars of prevention, public engagement, ethical re-orientation, law enforcement, and sanctions, as well as recovery of proceeds of crimes.

According to him, NACS had witnessed a major setback due to the non-formation and inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) as provided for in the NACS document.

In his own remarks, the senior Program officer Of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, Mr. Innocent Edemhana stressed that the Inter-Agency rivalry and supremacy battles also undermined effective implementation, working against cooperation, information and intelligence sharing, the effectiveness of operating platforms, and coordination of the anti-graft war.

He pointed out that the lack of adequate knowledge and misinformation by most agencies on their expectations in the implementation of the NACS policy was a drawback.

Similarly, the Chairman of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) Edo State Chapter, Ann Ojugo, enjoined Stakeholders to do more publicity and enlightenment by organising workshops and campaigns for the intimate workforce in their organisations on the NACS.

Ojugo said people with disabilities suffered the effects of corruption like other Nigerians and therefore calls for a harmonised approach to the fight against corruption, especially the need for NACS to cascade down to more states of the federation.

She pointed out that NACS implementation at the federal level was only a fraction of the deep-rooted problem of corruption nationwide.

She commended ANEEJ’s efforts in the advocacy for the passage of the persons with disabilities bill in Edo State.

ANEEJ expresses  dismay over non delivery of mandates to  citizens, by Public institutions.

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ANEEJ expresses  dismay over non delivery of mandates to  citizens, by Public institutions.

By: Femi  Mustapha

The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ,  has expressed dismay that  a number of public institutions in Nigeria are not working effectively to deliver on their mandates to the citizens, and this has amplified the corruption situation in the country.

ANEEJ Executive Director, Rev David Ugolor, asserted this during a two-day  stakeholder Dialogue on National Anti -Corruption Strategy (NACS11) and pending anti-corruption bills supported by USAID and Palladium held in Abuja  on 29th  – 30th November 2022.

Rev. Ugolor, who was represented by the  ANEEJ Programme Officer, Mr. Innocent  Edemhana, said the overall effect of corruption in the Niger Delta and Nigeria at large is negative with serious implications for security, living standard of the people, economic growth, and development, saying this affects both men, women and the vulnerable groups including persons with disabilities, even disproportionately.

The ANEEJ Executive Director lamented that  corruption is a major challenge that is hindering the growth and development of Nigeria, hence it is consistently ranked one of the most corrupt countries or territories in the world as evidenced by several Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) reports.

He stressed that the 2021 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released by Transparency International (TI) ranked Nigeria 154 out of 180 countries.

“The latest ranking was five places below the 2020 CPI ranking in the country. Nigeria also scored 24 out of 100 points falling back one point compared to the 2020 CPI, indicating high levels of corruption as in the previous reports. Other reports, including the Corruption in Nigeria: Patterns and Trends Second Survey on Corruption as experienced by the population, 2019, published by NBS and UNODC supports this position.

Rev. Ugolor explained that the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) and other anti-corruption laws like the Proceeds of Crime Act 2022, provides the framework that outlines how issues of grand corruption in Nigeria can be tackled.

“There are also a few of the anti-corruption laws such as the Whistleblower Protection Bill and Witness Protection Bill amongst others that need the assent of President Buhari to encourage citizens report corruption cases if there is legal backing of the law that seeks to protect them.

“The NACS seeks to develop and implement mechanisms to improve the governance of public institutions at the Federal, State and Local Government levels and to remove corruption related factors inhibiting their accessibility and capacity to deliver quality services to Nigerians.

“At the level of the private sector and society, the strategy seeks to promote the establishment of ethical standards where they do not exist and enforcement of such standards where they exist.” He said

The two-day stakeholder dialogue is specifically designed to present the newly approved National Anti-corruption Strategy (2022–2026) for awareness and implementation process, share lessons learned from NACS I to improve the implementation of NACS II.

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