UN staff in Geneva are planning a half-day strike on Tuesday , as dozens of ministers and other dignitaries attend high-level events at the organisations European headquarters.
The strike is over pay cut.
We have tried other forms of protest before, to no avail They have left us no choice, Ian Richards, who heads the UN staff unions association in Geneva, said onSunday.
He said it remained unclear how many of some 9,500 UN staff members in Geneva would participate in Tuesdays work stoppage, or what impact it would have, pointing out that this is not like a bus company where the buses just stop.
But we certainly expect this to have an impact, Richards said.
The half-day work stoppage will come during what is arguably one of the busiest weeks of the year at the UN in Geneva, with around 100 heads of state, government ministers and country representatives from around the world set to attend the main annual sessions of the UNs top human rights and disarmament bodies.
Speaking on behalf of the UN in Geneva, spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci told AFP in an email that staff should be reminded that actions which disrupt or interfere with official activity of the Organisation may be considered contravening staff obligations.
She stressed though that UN Geneva recognises and respects the right of staff to freedom of association and acknowledges the dissatisfaction of staff linked to pay cuts.
She said contingency plans had been put in place to minimise the consequences of the possible work stoppage in a period of intense diplomatic activity at the UN in Geneva.
According to a letter sent to all UN agency chiefs late last week, Tuesday will mark only a first day of action, (and will) be followed by others.
The letter, sent by the unions and representatives of civil servants working for the UN, went out as staff received their first pay slips showing a 3.5-percent salary cut, and with the knowledge that the cut will swell to five percent by June, Richards said.
The signatories said staff had lost confidence in the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) a body appointed by the UN General Assembly to govern UN employees which has ordered deep cuts to pay and benefits for many staff around the globe.
The Federal Government has confirmed that 110 students of theGovernment Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State, are sofar unaccounted for, after insurgents believed to be from a faction ofBoko Haram invaded their school on 19 Feb.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed,announced the figure after a meeting in Damaturu between a Federal GovernmentDelegation and representatives of Yobe state government,the college, the parents, security agencies andBursari local government, where Dapchi is situated.
He said, based on the briefings from the Principal of the College,Hajia Adama Abdulkarim, and the state Commissioner for Education, Mohammed Lami, 110 out of 906 students, have not been accounted
for. All the students were in the school on the day of the attack
Alhaji Mohammed also announced that the Federal Government hasdirected the police and civil defence authorities in Yobe State toimmediately deploy their personnel to all the schools in the state inorder to ensure the security and safety of the students and theirstaffers.
The Minister disclosed that the Federal Government has stepped upefforts to rescue the girls and return them safely to their parents,saying the security agencies are working on many leads regarding the
whereabouts of the girls.
This is the second time in four days that a Federal Governmentdelegation would visit Yobe State since the unfortunate incident. Thisis a measure of the seriousness with which we are addressing theissue. The security forces are leaving no stone unturned in theirsearch for the girls.
We are back here in Yobe as part of efforts to provide some succourto the parents of the girls, to let them know that they are not aloneand also to reassure them that we will not rest until we have foundthe girls. We will carry the parents along on the efforts we aremaking, he said.
For his part, the Minister of Interior, Lt. General Abdulrahman Danbazau said the delegation embarked onthe trip in order to get the facts right so that the approach to thesolution can be correct.
We must get back the girls and also ensure that this does not happenagain, he said.
The Federal Government delegation, which comprised the Ministers ofInformation and Culture as well as that of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (retired), held an enlarged meeting that was attended by Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State; members of the state cabinet, the Principal and Vice Principal of the school, representatives of the parents of the missing girls and security agencies, among others.
The Nigerian Army has postponed its 77 Regular Recruitment exercise earlier scheduled to hold from Feb. 26 to March 9 till further notice.
A statement issued by Col. Aliyu Yusuf on behalf of the Director of Army Public Relations on Sunday, said that a new date for the exercise would be communicated in due course through the media and Nigerian Army Recruitment Portal (recruitment.army.mil.ng).
Yusuf said the authority highly regretted inconveniences caused by the postponement.
Manchester City won the Carabao Cup on Sunday, the first trophy of the Pep Guardiola, brushing Arsenal aside 3-0.
It was an impressive statement of intent from Guardiolas team at Wembley after a shock FA Cup defeat to lowly Wigan last week ended their bid for an unprecedented quadruple.
City opened the scoring in the 18th minute when a long punt upfield from goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was controlled by Aguero, who coolly lifted the ball over a helpless David Ospina in the Arsenal goal.
Captain Vincent Kompany doubled the lead in the second half with just over half an hour to go and David Silva put the game out of the reach of Arsene Wengers team.
The runaway Premier League leaders will be hoping to use the victory as a springboard to greater glory as the season approaches its final stretch but defeat for Wenger means he has never lifted the League Cup.
On a bitterly cold, clear day in London, City, in their light blue kit, took control early, playing measured football and enjoying the lions share of possession against a side who have made Wembley a second home in recent years.
But Arsenal went closest to taking the lead within the first 10 minutes, with new signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seeing his scuffed shot saved by a sprawling Bravo.
Seconds later Aguero found the side netting after an incisive break from City, who looked short of their fluent best.
But it was Aguero who broke the deadlock, controlling the ball as Arsenals defence failed to deal with the danger, silencing the boisterous Arsenal fans.
The Argentine striker has scored in each of his past five games in all competitions against Arsenal and this was his 199th goal in City colours.
It was an unusual goal for Guardiolas team, who have been lauded for their silky passing game this season, which has already seen them hailed as one of the finest sides in Premier League history.
City made a bright start to the second half and captain Kompany was in the right place to steer home Ilkay Gundogans shot from the edge of the box after a Kevin De Bruyne corner in the 58th minute.
It was no more than City deserved against a lacklustre Arsenal and the Belgian celebrated wildly in front of his own fans.
Just seven minutes later Arsenal were left with a mountain to climb when Silva smashed the ball past Ospina into the far corner of the net to make it 3-0.
Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola kept faith with reserve goalkeeper Bravo for the Wembley showpiece ahead of first-choice Ederson. Bravo has played in every round of the competition so far.
Wenger also played his number two between the sticks, fielding Ospina ahead of Petr Cech.
City look nailed on to win the Premier League and have virtually guaranteed a place in the Champions League quarter-finals after a 4-0 first win in the first leg of their last-16 tie against Basel.
The Police have confirmed that a man, Stephen Nnadiogo, committed suicide by drinking poison after stabbing his four children and sister-in-law to death at Awada area of Onitsha in Anambra.
The kids were aged two, six, eight and 10 years, neighbours said.
Confirming the incident on Sunday, the Divisional Police Officer of Awada, Mr Martin Chijioke, said the police command had begun investigation to unravel the circumstances that led to the multiple murder by the 48 year-old man.
Preliminary investigation reveals that the suspect, after committing the murder, took poison and died, Chijioke said.
Neighbours of the suspected killer said the incident occurred at about 8.00 p.m. on Saturday at the mans residence at 21B Ntueke street, Awada Obosi in Idemili North Local Government Area.
The source said the suspects wife was not at home when the killings occurred while the house maid reportedly ran away. Another report said the man sent the housemaid on an errand before he killed his victims.
It was the cry of the housemaid that alerted residents of the area. We have never seen this type of incident before, one neighbour said.
Another neighbour said the suspect had been taken to psychiatric hospital several times and had shown signs of recovery before the murder.
The police later took the bodies of the victims and the suspected murderer to a mortuary.
NIGER Delta activist and former Minister for environment, AnnKio Briggs has warned that any one joining former President Olusegun Obasanjo to “fight” President Muhammadu Buhari, does so at his or her own risk.
Briggs in a statement yesterday, also noted that contrary to claims in some quarters that former President Goodluck Jonathan did a lot for the Ijaw nation including ensuring the election of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Obasanjo only did so for his “selfish reasons.”
Taking a swipe on Governor Seriake Dickson for inviting Obasanjo to Bayelsa in commemoration of the governor’s 6th anniversary, she said: “His (Obasanjo) visit confirms that Ijaw politicians are in politics for themselves and not Ijaw nation.”
Briggs while mourning those who lost their lives during the 1999 Odi massacre, said: “Obasanjo should have been taken to Odi before he leaves Bayelsa to enable those who survived the Odi massacre confer on him a traditional title.”
Describing the visit of the former president as “dancing on the graves of the people killed by the army,” she said: “May the over 4000 innocent Odi women, men, old and young, youths and children who were shelled, bombed, drowned, and murdered by Olusegun Obasanjo through the Nigeria Army haunt him.
“He did not pick Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as Vice President for the love of Ijaw or Niger Delta people, he did not support him in 2011 for love of Ijaw or Niger Delta people, but did so for his own selfish reasons, and when Jonathan did not be please him as president, he turned against him.”
Reacting to Obasanjo’s advice to President Buhari not to run for second term, Briggs said: “He is getting set to fight Buhari and he is pretending to be a friend of Ijaw and Niger Delta people.
"Anyone who joins Obasanjo to fight Buhari is doing so at his or her own risk, Ijaw people will not vote for Buhari and we don’t need Obasanjo to tell us that.”
Cornelius Chiadi Ezeibekwe, 25, recently caused a stir in Ekwulobia in Aguata local government area of Anambra State when he wedded his younger sister, aged 17. In Igbo land, such a marriage is a taboo and it was on the basis of this that youths of the community burnt down the Sabbath Church where Chiadi and his sister were thought to have been joined as husband and wife. Chiadi, the sixth of 10 children (eight boys and two girls) by Mr. Louis Ezeibekwe, is a mathematics teacher at Community Secondary School, Isuofia, also in Aguata local government area. At the time Sunday Vanguard visited their home at Agba, Ekwulobia, Chiadi was busy marking examination scripts and there was nothing in the compound to indicate that any abnormal thing happened there.
His sister is a student of Federal Government Technical College, Awka, but she left school to enable her observe what Sabbath people call ‘Shimta’. During the observation, which Chiadi said lasts for one year, she must remain in the compound. It was during the observation that the marriage took place. Before then, she had left school because of the controversy generated by her marriage with her elder brother.
Louis Ezeibekwe, their father, 78, and who recently buried his mother who died at the age of over 100, appeared not to be in control of the behavior of his children as he exhibited signs that all was not well with his health. His eldest son, Emeka, who lives in Port Harcourt and who is not a member of the Sabbath Church, said he belongs to the Winners Church. He also confirmed that their father was not well. Though members of the family were originally Catholics, they later changed to Seventh Day Adventist Church and subsequently to their own brand of Sabbath worship, with Paul, one of the children of Louis Ezeibekwe, as pastor.
Justifying his reason for marrying his sister, Chiadi said: “I am a Sabbath and, in searching through the scriptures, I discovered that one could marry his sibling. So, we went ahead with the arrangement to marry my younger sister. “The marriage ceremony was observed inside our family compound, which also serves as a place of worship for us. My immediate elder brother, Paul Ezeibekwe, the pastor, was present during the ceremony.
“What happened is that when we decided to get married, we told our parents our intention and my father asked us if we knew what we were about to do. I told him that we searched through the scriptures and that God sanctioned it. It was after this that our parents consented.
“However, our other relations objected to the idea when they learnt of the plan and when we ignored them and went ahead with the marriage, they and other villagers burnt the Sabbath Church where we used to worship because they thought it was in that place that we worship, not knowing that we have since abandoned the place and worship in our compound. The burning of the church does not mean anything to us. “God told me to marry my sister and she also saw same vision.
There are places in the Bible that support such marriage. Those in doubt should read Songs of Solomon Chapters 4 and 5 and 1st Corinthians Chapter 7. “Since we took this decision, I have not felt anything unusual, or felt that I did anything wrong. In the school where I teach, many people ask me about it and I boldly refer them to the Bible”. Worried by the development in the community, some elders went to the traditional prime minister of Ekwulobia, Chief Gabriel Ezeukwu, to lodge a complaint because the traditional ruler of the area, Igwe Emmanuel Onyeneke, is out of the country. After consultations with other elders in the community, Ezeukwu ordered that the marriage be dissolved and a cleansing of the community of the bad omen arranged.
According to Sunday Vanguard gathered that the Parish Priest of St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Ekwulobia is handling the cleansing process, especially when it was realized that the family was originally Catholic. Asked if he would subject himself to the cleansing by the Catholic Church, Chiadi said in as much as he would not like to break the law of the land, he would leave everything to God to decide because it was God that gave him the vision to marry his sister. He said further: “Except my eldest brother, Emeka, other members of the family supported the marriage and our father only changed their minds following the uproar generated by our action. It is not the beauty of my sister that made me to marry her.
The attraction is that when God wants you to do something, you should do it. “One of the reasons for marrying my sister is to avoid divorce which is rampant these days because even if we divorce, we will remain in the same family. Besides, by marrying one’s sibling, there will not be the possibility of introducing ugly situations, like diseases or social vices into the family”.
The traditional prime minister of Ekwulobia, Ezeukwu, a mass communication lecturer at Madonna University, Okija, said the people of that village reported the matter to him. He said: “Before coming to me, they were considering various options, including whether to involve the police, resort to jungle justice or parade those involved round the town before subjecting them to other rituals. “But I advised that the first thing was to investigate the matter thoroughly.
I personally went to their compound and met their parents. I did not see the young man involved and when I was told that he was teaching at Community Secondary School, Isuofia, I went there, but still did not find him. “I saw a burnt structure that looked like a church beside their house and I urged those who gathered at the scene to disappear in their own interest. “Because what they committed was a cultural offence, I invited the family to my house. I knew that what they did was bad and I ensured that the matter did not escalate by further unwholesome action. “But when I invited the family, their mother and children ran to Abakaliki, Ebonyi State where their mother hailed from.
I sent a delegation to the area and their people confirmed that it is also not in their culture for someone to marry his biological sister. “After receiving the information, I summoned a meeting of the Igwe’s Cabinet and members of the family and we deliberated on the issue for several days until the children admitted that they committed atrocity. I made it known to them that they will purify the land and that is why we went to the Parish Priest of St Joseph’s Catholic Church, which is the family’s original church.
“However, I ensured that the girl in question was subjected to rigorous pregnancy test to ascertain that she had not been impregnated by her brother and, after several tests, it was confirmed that she was not pregnant, which is a relief to everybody.” Ezeukwu said they met with the Parish Priest four days ago on the purification process, expressing delight that the affected family was already showing remorse. According to him, March 17, 2018 has been fixed for the purification ceremony.
He said the surprising thing was that even the Sabbath Church, which the young man claimed supports such marriage, had since denied and disowned them, advising that the development in Ezeibejwe’s family should serve as a lesson to everybody. The good thing is that the eldest son of the family, Emeka, 33, has vowed that nothing would make his siblings get married, adding that he had never heard such a thing in Igbo land. “I cannot be alive and see them live as husband and wife in this compound,” he insisted.
President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to make Nigeria one of the easiest, safest and attractive places to do business in the world.
He also promised to make Nigeria among the most safest and attractive investment destinations in the world.
Buhari made the pledge on Saturday at the opening of the 39th Kaduna International Trade Fair.
The President, who was represented by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah, said the administration “is prioritising the industrial sector by focusing on rebuilding infrastructure.
“One of the important initiatives of our government is the Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council, which is a partnership of the government with the private sector meant to solve difficult problems militating against industrialisation”.
Buhari said that the government would sign the Continental Africa Free Trade Area Agreement in March, as part of efforts to prioritize trade as a significant instrument for reform in the country.
According to him, the purpose of the agreement will be to promote regional trade.
“Right now, the intra African trade is less than 15%; other regions of the world are well over 50%, so we want to move that of intra Africa to about 30% so as to grow”.
The President said that, “other policies being pursued will promote export by establishing special economic growth zones where Nigeria and International businesses would have the required infrastructure”.
He mentioned that the theme of the fair, ‘Promoting Commerce, Industry and Agriculture for International Competitiveness’ was in line with the economic recovery and growth plan of the country.
Mrs Iyalode Lawson, President, National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Mines and Industry, said the theme underscored the riding interest in the competitiveness of locally produced goods and services.
“KADCCIMA should also show its support to the efforts of both the State and Federal government towards reviving the economy, particularly investing in agriculture, manufacturing, technology and other commercial activities”.
Lawson hoped that the fair would increase exposure to global brands of businesses.
The National Assembly and the Executive arm are partnering to review treaties and conventions entered into by Nigeria, says Bamikole Omishore, a Special Assistant to the President of the Senate.
Omishore who is Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and International Relations disclosed this in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday.
He said that Nigeria entered into several conventions decades ago and it had become necessary that the treaties be reviewed to ensure that Nigeria was getting the best out of such partnerships.
With reference to illicit financial flows from Nigeria which is sometimes tied to vague clauses in some of the treaties, Omishore said that the aim of the review was to domesticate such treaties to serve Nigerias interest first.
He recalled that the Presidency in 2017 also alluded to its plans to take a second look at conventions and trade partnerships entered into by Nigeria.
Nigeria has different treaties and partnerships that weve signed with different countries.
We are now going through all those treaties to see how we can domesticate them in Nigeria to make sure that Nigeria is getting the best from every agreement that is signed by different countries.
The executive is taking a lead, ours in the 8 Senate is to make sure we provide the legislative framework and the appropriate oversight to make sure the interest of Nigeria is protected at all times.
I remember the executive made mention towards the end of last year that they would be reviewing different treaties because as you rightly said, times are improving and changing.
The executive is taking a look at it but at the national assemblys leadership is also looking to see if some of those things favour us or not.
You also mentioned the illicit financial flows thats going on, thats definitely being looked at as well.
The 8 National Assembly is looking to make sure that the illicit transactions are stopped but at the same time, create an environment for businesses to be done with ease.
Over the last few months, you might have noticed the bills on ease of doing business and also the bill on NFIU in Senate, those are part of a wide range of legislative interventions to make sure Nigeria conforms with international best practices, he said.
Speaking on his role as an assistant on foreign relations, Omishore said that his mandate is to assist the President of the Senate in building stronger relationships with the international community and foreign missions from a parliamentary standpoint.
He stressed that the focus will begin from Africa as it is currently more difficult to do business with fellow African countries that it is to trade with Europe and America.
Omishore stressed that the leadership of the 8th National Assembly has the anomaly on its front burner and will do all it can to address it.
National Assembly leadership is already looking at how to use Parliamentary oversight to strength relationship with African countries.
As it stands now, it is easier to travel and do business In EU and US than it is to do business with our brothers in Ghana.
The President of the Senate will be addressing the Ghanaian parliament next Monday and these are some of the things that will come up, he said.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has called for increased American and global investments to help unlock Africas agriculture potential.
The President of the Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, made the appeal at the USDAs 94th Agriculture Outlook Forum in Virginia with the theme, Roots of Prosperity.
Adesina said: For too long, agriculture has been associated with what I call the three Ps pain, penury, and poverty.
The fact though is that agriculture is a huge wealth-creating sector that is primed to unleash new economic opportunities that will lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.
Adesina appealed to the US private sector to fundamentally change the way it views African agriculture.
Think about it, the size of the food and agriculture market in Africa will rise to US $ 1 trillion by 2030.
This is the time for US agri-businesses to invest in Africa.
Think of a continent where McKinsey projects household consumption is expected to reach nearly $2.1 trillion and business-to-business expenditure will reach $3.5 trillion by 2025. Think of a continent brimming with 840 million youth, the youngest population in the world, by 2050.
He urged the U.S government to be at the forefront of efforts to encourage fertilizer and seed companies, manufacturers of tractors and equipment, irrigation and ICT farm analytics to ramp up their investments on the continent.
As the nation that first inspired me and then welcomed me with open arms, permit me to say that I am here to seek a partnership with America; a genuine partnership to help transform agriculture in Africa, and by so doing unlock the full potential of agriculture in Africa.
This, he said, would help to unleash the creation of wealth that would lift millions out of poverty in Africa, while creating wealth and jobs back home right here in America.
Adesina told more than 2,000 delegates that the African Development Bank was spearheading a number of transformative business and agricultural initiatives.
We are launching the Africa Investment Forum, as a 100 per cent transactional platform, to leverage global pension funds and other institutional investors to invest in Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa from November 7-9.
The World Bank, International Finance Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, are partnering with the African Investment Forum to de-risk private sector investments.
The African Development Bank is also pioneering the establishment of Staple Crop Processing Zones in 10 African countries which are expected to transform rural economies into zones of economic prosperity and save African economies billions of dollars in much need foreign reserves.
We must now turn the rural areas from zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity.
This requires a total transformation of the agriculture sector. At the core of this must be rapid agricultural industrialization. We must not just focus on primary production but on the development of agricultural value chains, Adesina added. That way, Africa will turn from being at the bottom to the top of global value chains.