Participants at the sensitisation of braille versions of the law for the visually impaired
By Segun Giwa
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) and Ondo State Agency Against Gender Based Violence (OSAA-GBV) on Thursday sensitised Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) on the VAAP Law.
VAAP Law is Violence Against Person Prohibition (VAPP) Law.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 70 of the braille versions of the law were launched and distributed to the visually impaired.
The Wife of Ondo State Governor, Mrs Betty-Anyanwu Akeredolu at the programme in Akure, said the launching of the braille version was imperative because the law is mainly for vulnerable people in the society.
Akeredolu, who was represented by one of her aides, Mrs Ngozi Okoro, said it was important to carry PWDs along because the law would only be a paper if people that needed it were not fully involved and carried along.
This is a law that helps protect and prevent violence against people, irrespective of gender. It is for people in vulnerable groups, she said.
Akeredolu, however, commended OSAA-GBV for making the braille version of the law available.
The Executive Secretary of the OSAA-GBV, Mrs Bolanle Afolabi said everybody must be carried along on the importance of the law.
Afolabi said the leaders and different groups of PWDs made request for the people with disabilities to be up to date about the law.
No one should be left behind. Punishments for Gender Based Violence are in the law so that people will know their rights and understand the law.
It is a very important law that everyone must be involved in the documentation and implementation, she said.
The Country Representative of WFD, Mr Adewale Olorunmola, said the foundation was in the state to support the implementation of the VAPP Law.
Olorunmola said a law would only be useful when everyone in the society understands its content and know their rights.
Everyone, regardless of your status in the society is not violated. And when we talk about those people, they are minors, children, and people with disabilities among others.
What we are doing in Nigeria is to promote inclusiveness of citizens on things that affect their lives. That is why we need to have the VAPP Law in the braille version.
If we must grow as a country, we need to carry everyone along, he said.
Also, the Chairman, Ondo State Agency for Welfare of Persons With Disabilities, Princess Folashade Arise, said people with disabilities were more vulnerable to violence.
She appreciated WFD for its special interest in PWDs and for not leaving them behind by sponsoring the programme to bring them up to speed on the VAPP Law. (NAN)(www.nnannews.ng)
Edited by Tayo Ikujuni
Source: NAN News
Illustration for CSOs
By Ella Anokam
Coalition of Civil Society Organisations working in natural resource governance has urged the Federal Government to approve the nomination of Prof. Margret Ogbanga as representative to NEITI National Stakeholders Working Group (NSWG).
Speaking on behalf of the coalition at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday, Chief Ezenwa Nwagwu, Executive Director, Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA), said that Ogbanga emerged through a transparent electoral process.
According to Nwagwu, 68 authentic CSOs working in the various thematic and allied areas in the extractive sector participated in the process which duly elected Ogbanga to represent them in Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) working group.
In an election concluded on Sunday March 5, 2023, scores recorded by the candidates were as follows: Prof. Ogbanga Margret 13 votes representing 52 per cent, Ms. Victoria Ohaeri, six votes, representing 24 per cent and Ms Emem okon scoring five votes representing 20 per cent.
Celestine Odo one vote representing four per cent and Ibeh Gloria zero votes, he said.
While urging the Federal Government to approve her nomination, Nwagwu decried efforts by non-members of the group to undermine the process that ensured Ogbangas emergence.
He said that those castigating the process were not in NEITI CSO data base which has information and data on CSOs working with NEITI in the extractive industries.
He said the coalitions attention was drawn to the fact that people approached the election with self-entitlement mentality either for themselves or for their surrogates.
He said rather the painstaking process that was followed failed for them to realise this ambition and they now resorted to castigating the process.
We reject their approach and we think it is shameful, distasteful and uncivil, we want to call on the international Secretariat and the civil society globally to ignore their insinuations because it is self-serving, misleading and their claims frivolous.
The election was conducted and Prof. Ogbanga emerged, whatever may have been the issues encountered during the process may constitutes lessons we may have learnt.
Prof Ogbanga is a reputable woman of substance and mix directly into our 3 Cs which stands for Capacity, Competence and Credibility.
Above all, her election has also helped the civil society to have quality representation and address the issue of gender gap in the current NSWG Board which is made up of 15 Members with only one woman who is a government appointee.
We call on NEITI, the international EITI and the Civil Society Organisations in the EITI Process to ignore any insinuations against this process because it is lacking in merit.
We want to use this opportunity to call on government to please approve our choice to represent the civil society in the NSWG, Nwagwu said.
He, however, advised Ogbanga to initiate a reconciliation process to reunite the civil society constituency and harmonise the divergent groups. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Isaac Aregbesola
Source: NAN News
Yiaga Africa during a press conference in Abuja
By Angela Atabo
Yiaga Africa, a Civil Society Organisation, on Thursday urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure proper coordination and communication with transport companies and unions providing logistics support, to ensure early deployment of materials and personnel on election day.
Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, Board Member, Yiaga Africa, said this during the groups preliminary statement on the conduct of the Governorship and House of Assembly Elections, with support from European Union through its Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN).
Nwagwu said that Yiaga Africa believes that taking such measures would break the trend of late commencement of polls.
According to him, it was observed during the Presidential election that logistics challenges and disregard for the electoral guidelines undermined public confidence in the electoral process and outcome.
INEC must ensure the shortcomings observed in the Feb .25 elections are properly addressed ahead of the governorship elections.
This also includes the need to ensure that only trained ad-hoc officials are deployed on election day; contingency plans in situations where respective transport unions /companies withdraw from the contract or fail to deploy.
INEC should ensure proper and timely communication with stakeholders on the election day process, challenges experienced and immediate plans to address those challenges to inspire citizens confidence in the process, he said.
Nwagwu called on the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Elections Security (ICCES) to ensure that security personnel deployed comply with the code of conduct on election security.
He said this included professionalism in their conduct, arrest of electoral offenders and respect for the rights of citizens, media, and observers, including the right to freedom of movement on election day for duly accredited observers and media practitioners.
He also called on political parties, candidates and their supporters to commit to peaceful campaigns ahead of the election and on election day as well as refrain from vote-buying and compromising the secrecy of the ballot.
He urged voters to resist efforts to purchase their votes, to turn out in their numbers and vote according to their preferences on March 18 and remain peaceful during the election.
Nwagwu said that Yiaga Africa would deploy a total of 1,547 duly trained and accredited stationary and roving observers to observe the conduct of the governorship election in 28 states.
He added that Yiaga Africa would be deploying the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology to observe the governorship elections in Benue, Delta and Kano states.
He said this would involve deploying 900 stationary observers to a representative, randomly selected sample of 300 polling units for each of the states.
He said that Yiaga Africa would also be deploying 97 roving observers in the three states, 517 stationary observers and 33 roving observers in the other 25 states where the governorship elections would be held, to observe and report on the entire election day process.
Nwagwu said that so far, the team had reviewed reports of voter inducement in form of gift items, distribution of money and food items by political parties.
He listed other incidences that might affect the election as Naira scarcity, religious and ethnic tension, as well as low voter turnout, among others, and called on relevant stakeholders to do the needful. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Folasade Adeniran
Source: NAN News
Centre: Minister of State for Industry, Trade, and Investment, Mariam Katagum and other stakeholders at the IWD celebration organised by the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) on Thursday in Abuja
By Lucy Ogalue
The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to prioritise, promote and develop Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), particularly women-owned ones in the country.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade, and Investment, Mariam Katagum, said this at the 2023 International Womens Day celebration organised by the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event has as its theme, DigitAll: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.
Gender equity is a smart venture; however, involving women in innovation and technology is even much smarter.
Collaboration must be done across all government, civil society, private sector and the technical community to ensure that the benefits of digital technology are equally distributed.
Let me reiterate the commitment of the Federal Government of Nigeria to prioritise, promote and develop MSMEs, particularly women-owned businesses.
I am optimistic that the crop of discussions and participants at this event would come up with a set of recommendations that will facilitate the deepening of innovative services.
To the benefit of women-owned enterprises and to the benefit of the nation at large, Katagum said.
According to the minister, the theme of the event is appropriate considering the current global realities where communication, transportation, healthcare and connectivity have been made better through technology.
This event serves as an important reminder of the immense potential that the digital transformation holds for accelerating gender equality and womens empowerment.
But also of the risk it bears for repeating and amplifying existing patterns of gender inequality.
As the world is becoming digital, we must ensure that we keep up with the pace and unleash the potential of women and girls to become active agents of change in this transformation, she said.
While reiterating the importance of internet, Katagum underscored the need for more investments geared toward increasing women and girls digital literacy and familiarity with technology.
She said this would enable them to participate effectively in the digital economy and gain access to digital services such as education, healthcare, and online banking.
The minister recognised that women-owned enterprises had progressively increased over the years, and urged women to embrace technology and innovation in their businesses.
According to her, these technologies continue to be influential and have the potential to enhance growth and expand the opportunities for realising womens rights in Africa.
On policy, Katagum said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration enacted and implemented the Nigeria Startup Act, which provided an enabling environment for the establishment, development and operation of startups in Nigeria.
It will also facilitate development and growth of technology-related talent and position Nigerias startup ecosystem as a leading digital technology hub in Africa.
It is therefore, expected that the startup act will present a partway toward creating an equal playing field for women by closing the gender gap in entrepreneurship.
And I expect that women folk will seize this opportunity to the fullest, the minister said.
Dr Abdulrashid Yerima, the President/Chairman of Governing Council, NASME, restated the associations commitment to leverage technology to advance the cause of women in business.
Our goal is to help women entrepreneurs overcome the barriers they face and achieve their full potential.
We also recognise that our efforts are crucial in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030, particularly SDG 5 on gender equality.
I want to thank everyone for being part of this event and for your commitment to promoting gender equality. Let us continue to work together to create a world where women have equal opportunities to succeed and thrive in business, Yerima said.
The Chairman Board of Trustees, NASME, Ubadigbo Okonkwo, said there was growing evidence that gender inequality was a major drawback to Nigerias socioeconomic development.
Emphasising the need to interrogate the silent dimensions of gender inequality in Nigeria and proffer solutions, Okonkwo said sufficient womens representation in national and state assemblies was critical.
Multiple studies and surveys have highlighted a significant gender gap in financial inclusion and national political representation in Nigeria.
According to a recent study, financial exclusion is estimated at 36 per cent for women and 24 per cent for men, with a gender gap of 33 per cent.
What this means is that access to money, operating a bank account, women are excluded more than men and that shouldnt happen in these days of cashless society.
The study found out that part of this gap can be explained by womens loyal levels of income, education and trust in financial institutions.
The deployment of technology and innovation particularly the digital financial services and payment platforms can contribute to the reduction of gender gap in financial inclusion, Okonkwo said.
He said the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections on Feb. 25, demonstrated poor national political representation for women.
Out of 360 members of the House of Representatives, the number of females remains about the same, a small increase from 13 in the 9th Assembly to 14 in the 10th. Assembly.
It is worse in the Senate; out of 109 members, the number of females dropped from eight to three; these numbers do not do justice to the gap and inequality.
In the House of Representatives, the 14 new female members represent less than four per cent of the 360 members.
The three senators represent less than three per cent of the 109 senators.
There is a serious problem in national representation, and it is difficult to mainstream and implement gender equality without sufficient representation of women in the national and state assemblies, Okonkwo said.
Stakeholders, public and private sector representatives, and partners in the MSMEs sub-sector, among others attended the event. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Ese E. Eniola Williams
Source: NAN News
Nigerian troops at the UNISFA Peacekeeping Operations
By Sumaila Ogbaje
After years of absence, the Nigerian Base Defence Company, deployed into the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) has joined the rest of the Multinational Peacekeeping Force.
The Acting Head of Mission and Force Commander of UNISFA, Maj.-Gen. Benjamin Sawyerr, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.
Sawyerr saidthat the induction of the Nigerian peacekeepers completed UNISFAs 8-contingent member troops contributing countries.
During the parade held to commemorate the one year anniversary, Sawyerr said the force had achieve its mandate by providing protection to civilians, and engaged the two host governments and communities in spite of initial challenges.
He said the force had encouraged dialogue, supported humanitarian agencies to assist the people and provided support to the the two-country teams of Juba and Khartoum to implement the Programmatic Funding Activities.
The commander appreciated the cooperation and collaboration of the local administration and the traditional institutions in forging peaceful dialogue that would lead to the determination of the final status of Abyei.
He commended the support of the UN Headquarters for high level visits, budgetary allocations and logistics support.
Sawyerr also commended the AFPs, humanitarian agencies and NGOs for their support in delivering humanitarian assistance to communities.
He also commended the military, police and civilian components of the mission for working in synergy with the vision.
According to him, the mission will continue to operate under UN core values of integrity, impartiality, professionalism and respect for gender and diversity.
He acknowledged the roles played by the female engagement teams, adding that all contingents would continue to increase women participation in UN peacekeeping.
He added that there were still existing challenges that must be tackled, urging peacekeepers not to rest on their oars but be spurred to give their best.
According to him, peacekeeping is a thankless job carried out for the purpose of global peace. (NAN) ()
Edited by Deborah Coker/Maharazu Ahmed
Source: NAN News
Paricipants in the pre-validation workshop for the draft National Cash and Voucher Assistance Policy in Keffi, Nasarawa State
By Jacinta Nwachukwu
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD) and partners have underscored the need for the review of the National Cash and Voucher Assistance Policy (NCVAP) to aid efficiency.
In her presentation at the ongoing two days pre-validation workshop for the draft National Cash and Voucher Assistance Policy in Keffi, Nasarawa State, Mrs Olamide Dauda, a Consultant said the aim of the initiative was to improve the operational environment for CVA.
According to Dauda, the initiative will promote an inclusive approach and address the operational bottlenecks, help to lay the foundations for financial inclusion, and support increased access to social protection as feasible and appropriate.
Transportation of cash in insecure areas has the risk to increase potential attacks.
The use of cash transfers is broadly accepted and recognized as the most efficient and effective way of responding to humanitarian crisis.
In context where cash transfers are not feasible, vouchers are seen as acceptable alternative, she said.
Dauda said that the use of cash transfers gives recipients choice, dignity, and control to prioritize and fit the assistance to their specific needs.
It enables them to address their individual needs based on their own preferences and decisions, she added.
On her part, the Minister, FMHADMSD, Hajia Sadiya Umar-Farouq said the policy was expected to complement the Humanitarian Response Plan.
Represented by Dr Abubakar Suleiman, Deputy Director, Disaster Management, Umar-Farouq said that the policy would provide clarity on the use of CVA to meet needs among the poor and vulnerable.
It will also improve the operational environment for CVA uptake by overcoming bureaucratic bottlenecks.
The policy is also expected to support commitments, already enshrined in other national policies i.e. the recently approved National IDP policy, facilitate financial inclusion and access to social protection among target groups, she said.
Similarly, Mr Trond Jensen, Head of Office, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that the policy would help to strengthen cash programming and coordination for the ultimate benefit of the affected people.
Represented by Ms Uche Njoku of the office, Jensen said that CVA programming has been on a steady rise between 2017 and 2023 in Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Cash and voucher policy allowed for purchase/redemption using vendors within the beneficiary communities. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Razak Owolabi
Source: NAN News
Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazak of Kwara
By Olubukola Aiyedogbon
Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazak of Kwara, has declared March 17 as work-free day for civil servants in the state.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Kwara Head of Service, Mrs Susan Oluwole, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Ilorin on Thursday.
According to Oluwole, the work-free day is to enable workers in the state to travel to their respective local governments and places of voting for the gubernatorial and state Houses of Assembly elections, slated for March 18.
The Kwara Governor has graciously approved Friday, 17 March, as a work-free day for the state workforce.
Workers are therefore advised to freely exercise their voting franchise and be law abiding, before, during and after the elections, the statement reads in part. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Vincent Obi
Source: NAN News
Humanitarian stakeholders at the pre-validation workshop for the draft National Cash and Voucher Assistance Policy organised by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development in Keffi, Nasarawa State
By Jacinta Nwachukwu
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD), on Thursday engaged relevant stakeholders to review the zero draft National Cash and Voucher Assistance Policy (NCVAP) to enhance humanitarian interventions.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 69 stakeholders participated in the workshop organised by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development in collaboration with other partners.
Mrs Olamide Dauda, Policy Development Consultant, speaking at the two-day pre-validation workshop for the Draft National Cash and Voucher Assistance Policy in Keffi, Nasarawa State, said the policy would enhance local economy.
Dauda said the aim of the initiative was to adopt more use of cash and voucher assistance, so that there would be no disruption to the local economy.
Essentially, were here to get all the stakeholders involved together to align on the policy direction and to guide ahead of the validation meeting.
We have been in the middle of a protracted crisis for over a decade, and in light of disaster related incidents.
So government is leveraging on existing structures within the social investment programme to provide cash assistance to not just to the poor but the vulnerable.
We have a different segments of urban poor, whom any change to their livelihood means a shift from normalcy to poverty.
Also in terms of the victims, its more dignifying because it gives them choice. I may give you a particular food but it might not be your critical need.
Were conducting a needs assessment; we need to understand your needs. So that the policy were designing meets the operational bottlenecks and the challenges that have been identified by the stakeholders.
Dauda said that the policy would provide a pathway beyond responding to disaster to resilience.
She, however, urged the government to provide leadership to coordinate and regulate the actors.
Ms. Rose Iwueze, a Consultant on Environmental Management and Occupational Health, while commending the ministry for the initiative described the policy as apt.
Before now, it has been an ad hoc arrangement but this will be like a formalised way of addressing the humanitarian issues in the area of cash transfer and voucher especially at the grassroots.
And even with the cashless policy introduced by the CBN, I think it will be a collaborative idea to achieve this, although the people in the rural community need a lot of education.
Iwueze said that the beneficiaries should be enlightened on the policy for effective operation.
Another participant with the National Cash Transfer Office, Mr Emmanuel Eban also said the policy was excellent because it would serve as a legal framework that supported humanitarian interventions and operations.
If humanitarian actors want to give assistance in kind or cash to people who are vulnerable by virtue of insurgency or disasters, the policy will be a legal framework that supports our operations.
The policy is welcomed because it tells the actors what they can do or not and within the boundaries operate in a sovereign nation like Nigeria, Eban said.
He said the policy would ensure that people who were disadvantaged by virtue of their location or the events around their lives were taken care of.(NAN)()
Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Grace Yussuf
Source: NAN News
By Lucy Osuizigbo-Okechukwu
The Anambra State Local Government Service Commission says plans are underway to digitalise its operations to comply with international best practices.
Mr Ifeanyi Ezeaka, Chairman of the commission, made the disclosure on Thursday in Awka, at a digital literacy training for Local Government Employees, organised by Integral Development Konsult (IDK).
Ezeaka said, This training is one of the efforts to actualise the initiative of Gov. Chukwuma Soludos administration, which is to digitalise the state and make it a prosperous and liveable homeland.
This is to ensure that every local government staff is computer literate. After this training, there shall be no appointment of personnel who are not computer literate.
We are digitalising the entire system of the commission, including an ICT centre fully furnished with computers and will be connecting all the 21 local governments online.
He urged participants to take the training seriously to reciprocate the state governments huge investment on capacity building.
Declaring the training open, Gov. Soludo said that the local government operations was critical to his administration.
Soludo, who was represented byhis Chief of Staff, Mr Ernest Ezeajughi, said that the training would further improve the skills, and competence of the local government employees in the state.
He said that his administration was committed to ensuring regular training and re-training of employees.
We are investing tax payers money in this project, we appeal to participants to justify the investment in the training, by becoming the best in their line of duties, he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Folasade Adeniran
Source: NAN News
By Bridget Ikyado
Dr Vincent Olatunji, the National Commissioner, Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) says it will synergise with the Bureau of Public Service Reforms(BPSR), on data protection to enhance effective public service delivery.
The national commissioner spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after an official visit to the Director-General, BPSR, Mr Dasuki Arabi, on awareness creation on data protection and provision in Nigeria.
Olatunji said: Knowing the important role of data in public service reforms, we are here to strengthen synergy for better outcomes.
When you are talking about reforms you are talking about digitalization; including the pattern and there is no way you can talk about reforms without identity.
More importantly in the area of digitalization including all the patterns and there is no way you can talk about reforms without identity in the area of digitalization.
He also stressed the need for identities in the cyberspace to be protected by the law and ensure that data was safely processed as projected.
Olatunji said his office would partner the bureau and work together in areas such as creating awareness, capacity building and provision of the laws by the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation(NDPR).
There was a circular issued by the SGF for all MDAs in November 2022, to comply by the directive of having privacy policies, having their data protection officers
It also directed them to ensure that they put in place adequate technical and organizational measures, he said.
The national commissioner said that such measures would protect the data of citizens and all vendors working with NDPR in the public services.
In his remarks, Arabi, commended the team for the visit and the partnership for national development.
He outlined the achievement of the bureau in reforms in the federal public service.
We have installed a new pay regime in the public service; we have cleaned up of the personal payroll in the public service; deployed first electronic FOI portal in Nigeria.
The bureau had restructured ministries to reduce their number, we have also reformed tax, budget, public financial management and due process in public procurement Arabi said.
The director-general said that the bureau had collaborated with Ministries ,Department and Agencies on ideas exchange.
He also said the bureau would collaborate with the data protection bureau on the ongoing review of the national strategy for public service reforms.
We will collaborate to facilitate research on topical reforms issues, impact assessment; monitoring and evaluation, Arabi said.
The director-general also said his office would collaborate with the bureau of capacity building on ICT, e-Government Master Plan and digital literacy of public servants.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Bashir Rabe Mani
Source: NAN News