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Stakeholders advocate effective communication strategies to popularise Child’s Rights Act, others

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Stakeholders on Thursday in Abuja engaged in conversation on the need to popularise Child’s Rights Act, Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act and Discrimination Against Persons with Disability Prohibition Act, via effective communication strategy.

The conversation took place at a one-day validation workshop on communication strategies for the three policy documents, organised by Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Programme.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that RoLAC programme is funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council.

Speaking at the forum, Prof. Muhammed Ali of Mass Communication Department, University of Kaduna State, said that popularising the laws was crucial in promoting access to justice for children, women and people with disabilities.

Ali who is also a consultant to RoLAC, expressed worry that the three laws had not optimally facilitated justice for the group due to low level of awareness in the country.

He said: “It is apposite to note that the spate of impunities against vulnerable persons such as women, children and people with disabilities have reached a disturbing proportion.

“This sometimes lead to multiple vulnerabilities for victims.

“In spite the institutional mechanisms for the prosecution of offenders as contained in the acts, the targets are yet to feel the impact because implementation process is faced with lack of political will, ignorance and lack of awareness.’’

He said that surveys conducted by RoLAC in Adamawa, Enugu, Lagos, Kano and Abuja showed that many organisations working on the protection of the group conduct activities aimed at implementing the laws with limited efforts at creating awareness.

Dr Bashiru Lasisi, also a consultant to RoLAC, said that there was need to conduct an information need assessment of the target groups with a view to effectively communicate with them.

Lasisi added that communication targeted at the group must be sensitive to their socio-cultural and religious environment to ensure it gets to the final end users.

He blamed the low level of awareness of the acts on inappropriate targeting of the populace, limited resources for communication activities and high level of illiteracy.

“Others are the patriarchal nature of the society as well as prevalent harmful cultural and traditional practices,’’ Lasisi added.

Mrs Irene Ogbogu, Executive Director, Disability Rights Advocacy Centre, pointed out the need to conduct information need assessment of different disabilities and come up with communication strategies that suit specific needs.

She also canvassed for regular engagement with the media to ensure that proper terminologies and technologies were deployed to guarantee effective communication.

Representative of the children group, Miss Ejiofor Ifeoma of Bankys Private School, Abuja said that children should be educated on specific punishment for each crime contained in the acts.

Her colleague, Miss Grace Bankole said that increased awareness would enable victims know when they were abused and the appropriate channel to seek justice.

Mr Ifeanyi Eze, Programme Officer, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA, Nigeria) said it was important to build on existing communication structure in each of the target locations instead of building new communication structures.

“However, while doing this, we must equally ensure that we depend on only what works rather than utilising less effective communication strategies that have failed in the past,’’ Eze said.

The Childs Right Act was signed into law in 2003 with its domestication happening at different times in different states between 2004 and the present.

The Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, is to ensure full integration of persons with disabilities into the society.

The Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, is aimed at eliminating all forms of violence in public and private life by prohibiting all forms of violence against persons and offer protection and palliative to victims of violence.

Participants were drawn from the civil society organisations, Nigeria Police, Ministry of Women Affairs, the media and National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP)

Edited by Obike Ukoh

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ActionAid Country Director says peaceful coexistence recipe to violent extremism

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Mrs Ene Obi, Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, says promotion of peaceful coexistence and encouragement of women to take leadership positions in various communities are plausible means of preventing violent extremism in the  country.

Obi disclosed this at the “2nd Women Summit on Preventing Violent Extremism in Kogi State”, on Tuesday in Lokoja.

She said there was a higher percentage that the country would attain greater endearing peace when women were entrusted with leadership positions to drive development process.

Represented at the Summit by Mr David Haba, Manager, Humanitarian and Resilience, ActionAid Nigeria, Obi noted that violent extremism was becoming a major challenge for many societies.

She said it was a threat to security and fundamental rights of citizens especially women all over the world.

“It it is true that while women rarely take part in conflicts they often bear the aftermath of an effects of violence ranging from psychological emotional and physical loss which continue to occur even after the conflict has ended.”

She held that women were prone to violent extremism saying that of the 970,000 migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean to Europe from violence prone-Middle East, 17 per cent were women and 25 per cent were children.

According to her, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2015

report says operations of Boko Haram have displaced 1.2 million people internally in Nigeria and forced more than 200,000 Nigerians to flee to Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

She noted that most of the victims were women and children.

She, however, commended the Kogi government for its commitment and maintenance of peace  but stressed the need for government to increase its investment on women issues.

Declaring the summit open, Dr Folasade Ayoade-Arike, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), called on women to keep close eye on their children and to advise them against being used by politicians as thugs in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.

The SSG reiterated the state government’s willingness to partner any agency that could assist the state in curbing violent extremism and other vices likely to ruin the future of women and their children.

Speaking earlier, Mrs Bolanle Bola-Olorunsaiye, the state Commissioner  for Women Affairs and Social Development, commended ActionAid for the summit.

She noted that the summit would provide the platform for a robust, deep and continuous advocacy about the scourge and trend of gender violence in the state.

The commissioner said “we are taking proactive measure and also collaborating with relevant agencies and partners to support policy strengthening, and institutional capacity building towards delivering interventions that address gender based violence, women, peace and security.”

Bola-Olorunsaiye commended organisers of the summit, ActionAid Nigeria and Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) for their constant willingness to partner the Ministry and the impactful programmes of the SERVE II project in the state.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the summit attracted no fewer than 1,500 women from the 21 Local Government Areas of the state.

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Kogi upgrades 132 traditional rulers

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Kogi Government has approved the upgrading of 132 traditional rulers across the 21 local government areas of the state.

The Special Adviser to the state governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Abubakar Ohere announced this in Lokoja on Tuesday.

According to him, 21 traditional have been upgraded to first class status, 30 to second class and 81 to third class.

He said that all the affected monarchs had received their letters of upgrading and will be presented with staff of office by Gov. Yahaya Bello on Aug, 27.

Ohere said that the governor had also approved the constitution of a 23-member organising committe for the event which will hold in Lokoja, the state capital.

He said that the Ejeh of Dekina, Dr Usman Obaje, is the Chairman of the committee, while the Ologi of Ogidi, Oba Rafiu Oladimeji-Sule and the Obobanyi of Ihima, Chief Samuel Ojo-Onimisi will serve as deputies.

He added that the Permanent Secretary, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Dan Victor will serve as Secretary of the committee.

He stressed the importance placed on the traditional institutions by the present administration, urging them to work as a team so as to have a successful event.

In his remarks, Obaje, the committee chairman, lauded the governor for his respect for the traditional institution, assuring him of the support and cooperation of all traditional rulers in the state.

A member of the committee who is also the Administrator of Kogi Local Government, Mr Muhammed Tanko, in his remarks commended Ohere for his all-inclusive style of administering the affairs of the ministry.

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Emir of Kano cautions journalists against sensational reporting

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The Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi, has cautioned journalists, especially those in the print media, against sensationalising reports “just to make sales”.

“Journalists must avoid sensationalism that buries the real message of the news maker and cast headlines that could cause conflicts.

“A lot of resourceful persons keep mute because they fear that what they say will be twisted into something different,” Sanusi said on Tuesday in Kano.

The emir gave the advice when members of the correspondents chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kano chapter, paid him a courtesy visit.

“The country is facing a lot of social and economic problems for which the government needs to be advised on ways to resolve them. That should dominate the news reports instead of the negative aspects of the news,” he said.

He reminded journalists that they were also Nigerians facing the same social and economic problems in the country, urging them to be concerned on how to resolve them.

He, however, praised their commitment to news reporting and called on them to continue along that path.

“Your job as newsmen is a very important one. But there are a lot of corrections to be made. This is because you are tasked with ensuring that correct news is reported, though you have to also sell your newspapers.

“Our problem with the newspapers is that one would speak for 15, 20, 30 minutes, but when you want to report, you pick on a single sentence or statement that will attract sales for the paper and publish.

“While publishing it, it is not considered whether such a statement is in consonance with the context in which it was made.

“There are times when the government will be given important advices on issues concerning the well-being of the citizens, but such advices are not carried by the papers.

“Instead, it is statements that have to do with criticisms and controversy that are reported in order to make sales.

“In the end, the useful advice will be buried and the public will not understand the actual things that were said and will be pushed into unnecessary controversies.

“More so, in the course of filing such reports, it is not considered whether it is fair to the person being quoted. Such reports set a section of the public unnecessarily against the person being reported.

“When this happens, one is forced to go into making explanations to clear the air. In the past, only unpopular newspapers were involved in this, but now it is everywhere,” he fumed.

He urged newsmen to correct that attitude “in the interest of the public and the development of the country”.

“Statements on peaceful coexistence, economy, poverty and social life of the people are made specifically to bring about corrections. But when newspapers sensationalise these views to make sales, the important message is lost.

“There are a lot of people that have a lot of good and useful things to contribute, but they are forced to remain silent by this style of reporting,” Sanusi said.

Edited by Saidu Adamu and Ephraims Sheyin

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CITAD appeals to FG to lift ban on mining activities 

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Centre for Information, Technology and Development (CITAD), has appealed to the Federal government to lift the ban on mining activities, especially in Kebbi.

The Director of the centre, Prof. Yunusa Ya’u, made the appeal at a press conference held at the centre in Kano on Tuesday.

He said that a research conducted by the centre in some local government areas of Kebbi, revealed that the ban had rendered about 156,000 people jobless.

“We studied three mining sites namely, Mararrabar Yawuri, Makeri in Ngaski local government and Tungan Zakara in Shanga local government area.’’

He said that mining had been a large employer of labour in Kebbi, but the industry came to a standstill with the increasing rate of violence in Zamfara, which led to a ban on mining activities in the region.

The implications of the ban according to the centre, has been visible in the communities with increased theft, which might escalate to confrontations.

The centre, therefore, appealed to the government to lift the ban and open the mining sites especially as the operators were operating legally.

The centre urged all relevant agencies to provide close monitoring of the mining sites.

It also appealed that the government establish a mechanism for ensuring that mining products were accurately captured to ensure transparency and accountability.

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Navy raises alarm over dangers of ship wrecks on Nigerian waters

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The Nigerian Navy on Tuesday in Lagos raised alarm over the impending dangers ship wrecks posed on the Nigerian waters.

The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Adm. Oladele Daji, raised the alarm at a news conference held at the Base in Apapa, Lagos.

The Nigeria News Agency Correspondent who was part of the on-the-spot assessment team, saw the dangers posed by the ship wrecks on the Lagos-Badagry Waters.

According to Daji, the area that is mostly affected is the Tin Can Island, Kirikiri, Navy Town and bad portion of the Badagry Creek.

“The hazard associated with these wrecks is that most often, especially during high water, they are submerged and hardly visible to mariners and , therefore, pose greatest threats during this period of time.

“Apart from endangering shipping, most of the wrecks also constitute environmental pollution and hazards.

“I do not think it portrays us as a country with laws and regulations in good light, especially to the global shipping community,” he said.

The FOC said about 35 of such maritime wrecks had been identified which were submerged along the very busy Lagos channel that provide a vital access into the Tin Can Island port.

“In addition, there are several navigational aid like the oils, markings, and light houses that are not functional or missing or have shifted from their intended original positions.

“The absence of these navigational aids also constitute risks to shipping, especially at night or during restricted visibilities.

“You will recall that just a few months ago, one of our vessels, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Calabar, while moving harbours for patrols, was involved in mishap and struck a submerged wreck, just in the middle of the channel.

“You will all agree with me that this can be avoided if those wrecks are promptly removed when they were identified,” Daji said.

He added that removal of the wrecks would have saved a lot of down time for the availability of the vessel.

“It would as well save us the money and resources that will be put into making that vessel operational which would have been deployed into better and more productive endeavours.

“Other vessels, apart from NNS Calabar, have also suffered similar fate in the past.

“In particular, when it comes to distress calls from vessels at sea, it becomes difficult for agencies to respond to such emergencies because of the threats posed by the wrecks on our waterways.

“During the day, we might be able to figure out where they are, but at night and in poor or restricted visibility, it is very difficult to see the exact location of these wrecks,” he said.

The FOC said that the Hydrography office of the Nigerian Navy, in line with its statutory responsibilities as identified, had resurveyed these wrecks and the surveys had been shared to relevant agencies of government.

“The surveys had been shared to the agencies and departments responsible for removal of the wrecks on our waterways.

“It will, therefore, be necessary for such authorities to take urgent action and remove these wrecks on our waterways so that shipping, especially the safety of ships and sea fearers will further be guaranteed.

“Additionally, the replacement and servicing bad navigational aids will equally assist the safety of navigation.

“It will enhance the ability of responding agencies to quickly move and respond to emergencies in case of distress at sea,” he said.

The FOC added that distress calls would be greatly enhanced, thereby creating the needed enabling environment for businesses, especially maritime-related businesses to thrive.

“It will also build the confidence of seafarers on our waters,” he said.

The FOC assured everyone that Nigerian Navy, in carrying out its statutory responsibilities, would continue to collaborate to ensure and promote safety and security on our waterways.

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