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Group calls for National Disability Commission



Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) on Friday called on the Federal Government to establish the National Disability Commission (NDC) to help toward the realisation of the objectives of the National Disability Act.

It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Act on January 17, 2019 with a provision to set up NDC as a regulatory agency to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act.

Mr Gab Nnamani, the President, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, Enugu State, made the call at the end of a three-day capacity building workshop for PLWDs on the “Use of Freedom of Information Act and National Disability Act”.

Nnamani said that until the commission was established and empowered, the current challenges facing PLWDs would not be surmounted as envisaged by the Act.

“There is a need for a commission and agency that will take up the enforcement of the fundamental human rights of PLWDs, who are handicapped on how to fight for their rights and privileges in the first place,’’ he said.

Also, Mr Gideon Eze, a visually impaired, called on the Federal Ministry of Information to urgently commence the enlightenment of the public on the provisions of the Act.

Eze said that the ministry should let Nigerians know about the 60 months grace period for the implementation of the provisions of the Act.

He also urged all levels of government to prioritise issues and challenges facing PLWDs and ensure they were given attention.

“As enshrined in the Act, the ministry should move fast to educate Nigerians on its provisions and let them know that the days of discrimination against PLWDs were over in the country,’’ he said.

Mrs Victoria Nnedi, a former Paralympic Games World Champion, called on PLWDs to come out from their shell as the Act had provided mechanism to protect their rights and even grant them more privileges.

“As a paralympic coach, I will ensure that the information on the Act got down to athletes in the sports ministry in the state and other PLWDs around the locality where I live,’’ Nnedi said.

Earlier, Mr David Anyaele, Executive Director of Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), said that the poor, especially PLWDs, bore the greatest burden of corruption and corrupt tendencies since most times they were denied their basic socio-economic and political rights.

Anyaele said that CCD through the Up-Right for Nigeria Initiative was training PLWDs on how to demand transparency and accountability from leaders, public officials and those that carry out public works.

The CCD boss further said that the training had exposed participants on the need to follow due process of obtaining official information from any public office or public work.

“PLWDs are mostly living in the rural areas, where information and enlightenment on critical issues are denied them.

“With this training, they will be able to legally challenge people, who are heads of local authorities, so that what is due to them will definitely get to them,’’ he said.

NAN reports that the capacity building workshop, which featured over 40 participants, was organised by CCD.

Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Sam Oditah)


Vaccines group raises $8.8b for immunisation plans for poor countries



The GAVI vaccines alliance said on Thursday it had raised $8.8 billion from international donor governments, companies and philanthropic foundations to fund its immunisation programmes through to 2025.

At a funding summit in London, GAVI said the pledges had exceeded its target of $7.4 billion and would “help immunise 300 million more children in the world’s poorest countries against diseases like measles, polio and diphtheria’’.

GAVI is a public-private partnership backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the WHO, the World Bank, UNICEF and others.

The vaccines alliance also said it had raised $567 million towards an initial goal of $2 billion from international donors for an Advanced Market Commitment to buy future COVID-19 vaccines for poor countries.

The deal would help secure enough COVID-19 vaccine doses – when the shots have been developed – for poor countries to immunise healthcare workers and those at high risk, it said, as well as creating a “buffer of doses” for use when needed.

GAVI, the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF have warned that 80 million children under the age of one are at risk of disease due to disruptions to vital immunisation programmes because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Britain, which hosted the summit, was among the largest donor to GAVI’s core $8.8 billion funding, pledging the equivalent of 330 million pounds ($416 million) per year over the next five years, GAVI said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said GAVI could count on the UK’s full contribution to help “the triumph of humanity over disease, now and for the generations that follow’’.

Other top donors included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which gave $1.6 billion for the period up to 2025, and the governments of Norway, Germany and the United States

“To beat the COVID-19 pandemic, the world needs more than breakthrough science.

“It needs breakthrough generosity.

“And that’s what we’re seeing today as leaders across the public and private sectors are stepping up to support GAVI,’’ Bill Gates, co-chair of the philanthropic Gates Foundation, told the summit.

He added that when COVID-19 vaccines are ready, the AMC funding would ensure people all over the world can access them.

GAVI said eight of the government donors were countries making their first ever pledge to the vaccines alliance.

These were Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Finland, Greece, New Zealand, Portugal and Uganda.

GAVI arranges bulk buys to reduce vaccine costs for poor countries.


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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COVID-19: Group donates hygiene packs to NUJ



The management of Amaecom Global has donated some hygiene packs to the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) FCT Council to support the fight against COVID-19 in the country.

Chairman of Amaecom, Amachi Ofomata, presented the hygiene packs to the NUJ FCT Council Chairman, Mr Emmanuel Ogbeche, at the council secretariat on Thursday in Abuja.

Ofomata said the donation was in recognition of journalists’ role in the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria.

“As a group, we acknowledged the strategic contributions of journalists in the front line of the ongoing fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria.

”The donation of the hygiene packs and souvenirs is part of Amaecom social responsibility to ensure that journalists and Nigerians stay safe while doing their jobs,” he said.

According to him, this is to say thank you for what you are doing to the community and by way of showing solidarity with you.

”We decided to donate these packs to NUJ because we are donating to agencies that are in the front line for the fight against COVID-19 and the NUJ has maintained a strategic position.

”Today, we are doing what we can to ensure that people stay safe. Nigeria is our home and we have to ensure that people observe all safety precautions,” he said.

Ofomata commended Ogbeche for his pragmatic leadership and media development since assumption of office.

Responding, the NUJ FCT chairman thanked Amaecom Group for identifying with the union during the COVID-19 pandemic in Abuja.

”Your donation to us shows we are doing something good and that there are those that are burdened about the condition of journalists and media workers in the FCT.

”We want to use this opportunity to call on corporate organisations to emulate Amaecom Group and support journalism and media workers in recognition of their role in the fight against COVID-19.

”We appreciate your presence in the council, your demonstration of solidarity with journalists and media workers in the FCT shows that you recognised the integral part they play in national development.

COVID-19 has dealt massively with the media industry in Nigeria and when we find corporate organisations like yours identifying with us in our trying moments, we count it for value.

On behalf of the NUJ, I want to thank you sincerely for this donation and assure you that it will be put to good used,” he said.

Ogbeche said that in spite of harassment and intimidation of its members, the union would continue to be committed to the Nigeria people.

He promised a stronger and mutual relationship with the Amaecom Group going forward.

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola/Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)


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COVID-19: Group wants adequate preparations by NFF before resumption of domestic league



The Coordinator, Forum for Better Organised Nigerian League, Vincent Akinbami, has called on the Federal Ministry of Sports and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to make adequate preparations before the resumption of domestic football league.

Akinbami said on Thursday in Kaduna while addressing newsmen that with the funds from FIFA, CAF and the support that might come from the government through the ministry, the 2019/2020 league season should continue, so as to produce true champions.

He said the leagues that have started like the NPFL and NNL should be concluded, while the ones that have not started should be cancelled.

“The premier league and national league should be concluded, national league champions will be promoted but there should be no relegation.

While the Amatuer/Nationwide and the women’s league should be cancelled and wait until next season.”

He suggested how the dates should be managed from now until next season.

Continue the 2019/2020 season from July 2020 and end it in November 2020. Start the 2020/2021 season in January 2021 to end in June 2021.

“Now align our calendar with Europe and other African countries for 2021/2022 season starting it in August 2021 to end in May 2022.

“We are used to starting our league in January, so we can start 2020/2021 in January to make amends,” he said.

He, however, insisted that the 2020/2021 season must not start until demands of the group are met.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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COVID-19: Group donates 10 handwashing machines,  sanitisers, to Plateau Govt.



An NGO, Nigeria Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN), has donated 10 non-contact hand washing machines, 200 litres of liquid soap and 100 litres of hand sanitiser to the Plateau Government.

Presenting the items on Friday in Jos, Dr Vings Lomak, Coordinator of the NGO, said the gesture was aimed at supporting government in its fight against the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Lomak explained that the gesture, which amounted to N2 million, was under its Covid-19 Rapid Response Project being funded by WaterAid Nigeria.

“I stand before all of you on behalf of NEWSAN to present these 10 non-contact hand washing machines, sanitisers and liquid soaps to Plateau Government.

“This is part of our support to government in its efforts in combatting the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

“These facilities have cost NEWSAN over N2 million,” he said.

Receiving the items on behalf government, Prof.  Danladi Atu, Secretary to the State Government, thanked the organisation for the gesture.

Atu said the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in the state is a collective one, saying the donation was timely.

“For us to defeat COVID-19 we need collaboration and so this donation by NEWSAN is highly commendable,” he said.

The secretary to the state government assured that the government would continue to  work toward curbing the spread of the virus in the state.

He, however, advised residents of the state to strictly adhere to safety measures put in place by government.

Earlier, Alhaji Sa’ad Bello, the state Commissioner for Water Resources and Energy, said the machines would distributed to 10 public locations in the state.

The locations, according him, include:Government House, Plateau Specialist Hospital, Jos Central Mosque, Headquarters of the Church of Christ in Nation (COCIN), Ministry of Health and Jos New market.

Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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Group embarks on market sensitisation on COVID-19, distributes face masks, gloves



The Amuwo Odofin Local Government and Oriade Local Council Development  Area COVID-19 CSOs Emergency Intervention Group in Lagos State has embarked on market sensitisation to curb the pandemic.

The campaign is aimed at strengthening the measures put in place by government to prevent the spread of new coronavirus.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the group visited the Opeoluwa Market at Agboju in Festac Town on Thursday.

The group is a coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) including the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the National Council for Women Societies (NCWS).

Others are Warren Rose Foundation, Santa Monica Helping Hands, Women Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN), Rotary E Club of D6400 Global Canada and Goodliving Initiative.

The Coordinator, Ms Efe Anaoghe, said the sensitisation, targeted at both traders and shoppers, was to reinforce the guidelines on the prevention of COVID-19.

“Apart from teaching them the proper way to wash their hands and telling them to use gloves, we are teaching them to be more hygienic in the way they handle foodstuffs.

“We are encouraging them to use gloves when selling meat, fish and other perishable foods.

“We want them to wear face masks because some people can be carriers without showing symptoms.

“If they use face masks, they will protect not only themselves but their families also,” she said.

Anaoghe said that people could achieve anything they set their minds on, noting that having proper understanding of why they should wash hands regularly and wear face masks would make them to cooperate faster.

She praised the market leaders and other traders for the warm reception given to the group.

The coordinator said that the group would  visit other markets in Amuwo Odofin and environs to create more awareness on the prevention of COVID-19.

A trader, Mrs Francesca Edeh, thanked the group for reminding the traders of the basic guidelines for curtailing the spread of coronavirus.

“They warned us against touching our faces or mouths, which sometimes occur by  adjusting our face masks.

“They also told us to encourage our customers to wear face masks and not allow them too close to our goods or touch them,” she said.

Udeh said that telling her customers to use face masks or gloves would not be a difficult task.

She said that she will do it in a way the customers would  understand.

NAN reports that the group distributed face masks, gloves and demonstrated proper hand-washing technique to both traders and shoppers.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)


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S. Korea urges civic groups to stop distributing anti-DPRK leaflets in border area




South Korea‘s unification ministry urged local civic groups on Thursday to stop distributing leaflets criticizing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) near the inter-Korean border area as it threatens the lives and property of people living near the border.

Unification Ministry spokesman Yoh Sang-key told a press briefing that the government has taken measures to stop the scattering of anti-DPRK leaflets that had led to an escalated tension in border areas.

Yoh said most of the floated leaflets were found in the South Korean territory, noting that the fallen leaflets caused environmental pollution in border area and imposed a burden on people living near the area who had to collect the wastes.

He noted that such acts endangering the lives and property of people residing near the border should be stopped, saying the government has reviewed the revision of relevant law to fundamentally stop the acts that escalate tensions in border area.

The remarks came after the DPRK lambasted the scattering of anti-Pyongyang leaflets by a South Korean civic group composed mostly of defectors from the DPRK.

Under the Panmunjom Declaration, the leaders of South Korea and the DPRK agreed to stop all hostile acts in areas near the military demarcation line (MDL), including the distribution of anti-DPRK leaflets.

The declaration was signed by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un after their first summit in the border village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018.


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Planting season: Women group seeks timely support for farmers



Hajia Bosede Anifowose, the Kwara Coordinator of the Small Scale Women Farmers’ Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), has called for timely support from the state government for the planting season.

Anifowose made the call on Wednesday in Ilorin in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria .

She said that late release of farm inputs and agro-chemicals as support for farmers would be inimical to a prosperous farming season.

The coordinator appealed to the government to capture women farmers in whatever programmes it had for farmers in the state.

She said that women farmers constituted a chunk of farmers’ population in the state and the country at large.

“The way everything is silent is not too good for farmers. We are yet to hear from government on what they have for us.

“We had a meeting recently and the government officials there promised that government will provide supports.

“But whatever support government wants to do for farmers, particularly women farmers should be done now that new planting season has just commenced so that it won’t be too late.

“We have cases in the past where inputs and agro-chemicals are released late to farmers and this used to affect our harvests.

“We have been asked to submit a list of our members for supports and I have been in the ministry of finance many  times to enquire about what government has for us but nothing is forthcoming.”

Anifowose advised the state government not to pay lip service to crop farming, saying it was shocking that there was budget line only for livestock farming during the budget review session.

She said that the group would need support on government for irrigation to ensure round year farming among its members.

Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Grace Yussuf (NAN)

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Kabuga extradition ruling is satisfaction, survivors’ groups say



Representatives of Rwandan genocide survivors said they were satisfied with a Paris court’s ruling that suspect Felicien Kabuga should be extradited to an international court.

“I’m a survivor of the genocide. Part of my family was wiped out,’’ Etienne Nsanzimama, president of survivors’ group Ibuka France, told dpa after the hearing.“We all want him to be held accountable.’’

“We are satisfied, really, but we have to put it in perspective because we know that the hardest part will begin now.

“It will be necessary to convince the international court of the offences he is charged with,’’ Richard Gisagara, lawyer for the Communaute Rwandaise de France, told the press.

The 1994 genocide would not have taken place without the involvement of Radio Television Libre des Milles Collines, which Kabuga is accused of presiding over, Gisagara added.

Edited By: Halima Sheji (NAN)


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Group petitions Buhari over lopsidedness in siting of educational institutions in Ebonyi 



The Ebonyi North Elders Consultative Assembly has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari against the siting of the newly approved Federal College of Education in Isu community in Ebonyi South Senatorial District.

In the petition, the group stated that the decision by the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) to site the college in the area defeated the principle of fairness, equity and justice.

It argued that two of the three federal tertiary educational institutions in the state had already been sited in Ebonyi south, hence the district did not deserve to have more.

A copy of the petition dated May 29, was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abakaliki on Wednesday.

It was captioned, “An Open Letter To President Muhammadu Buhari, President, Federal Republic of Nigeria: Petition against the siting of the Federal College of Education (allocated to Ebonyi) at Isu, Onitcha LGA in Ebonyi South Senatorial District.”

The group appealed to Buhari to prevail on federal ministry of education to rescind its decision and revoke the approval for the siting of the college at Isu.

It demanded that the institution be sited in any area in Ebonyi North Senatorial Distric, comprising Izzi, Ohaukwu, Ebonyi and Abakaliki LGAs, in line with the nation’s Federal Character principle.

The assembly, which comprises leaders of thought from the district, commended the president and the National Assembly for approving the establishment of the college in the state.

It said: “We believe that the selection of Ebonyi, alongside four others, was meant to ensure that states that hitherto had no federal tertiary educational institutions were accommodated in line with federal character principle.

“We are, however, disconcerted to note that FME approved that the college be sited at Isu in Onitcha LGA in Ebonyi South.

“This is in contradiction to the principle of fairness, equity and justice, considering the indisputable fact that the district has two of the three federal tertiary institutions in the state, namely Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic and Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu.

“The Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike, is located in Ikwo LGA in Ebonyi Central, leaving Ebonyi North without any federal educational tertiary institution.

“Despite far-reaching representations made by various groups, the FME went ahead to approve the siting of the college at Isu community in Ebonyi South, thereby making the district to have three federal educational institutions.”

The group stated that the development could worsen the already skewed distribution of federal tertiary institutions in the state, if not reversed.

According to the group, Ebonyi North may be the only senatorial district in Nigeria without a federal tertiary educational institution.

The petition was signed by 15 members of the assembly, including Prof. Richard Idike, former Vice Chancellor of Ebonyi State University, Sen. Chris Nwankwo, Sen. Sylvester Ngele, Rt. Rev Monday Nkwoegu, the Bishop of Abakaliki Anglican Communion.

Others were Rev. Emmanuel Nshii, State Overseer, Assemblies of God Church; Chief Austin Edeze, Chairman, Governing Council, Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti; and Eze Fidelis Nwaonumara, Chairman, Izzi/Nnodo Traditional Rulers Council, among others. 

Edited By: Sam Oditah/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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