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Insurgency: VSF to spend N350m on women empowerment project



The Victims Support Fund (VSF) is to spend about N350 million in its 2019 Women Economic Empowerment Cash Distribution Project in continuation with interventions in affected communities by Boko Haram insurgency.

The Executive Director, VSF, Prof. Sunday Ochoche, disclosed this in a statement issued by Ms Munachi Okoro, Communication Officer, VSF on Tuesday in Abuja.

Ochoche was quoted as saying that 7, 000 women have been identified and selected to benefit from the cash distribution project across Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.

He said that out of the total number, 2,000 were from Adamawa, 2,000 from Yobe and 3,000 from Borno, adding that the beneficiaries will be assisted with N50,000 cash intervention in two tranches.

According to her, the Women Economic Empowerment Cash distribution Project was aimed at supporting women, who are economically active and have skills that can be translated to income generation thereby restoring their livelihood

“They will receive N30,000 each in the first tranche then N20,000 in the second tranche after monitoring the impact of the first tranche.”

“Victims Support Fund has been working since 2015 to administer support services to victims of insurgency in Northeast Nigeria.

“These have been achieved through the facilitation and restoration of livelihood, Agro based intervention, introduction of foster care programmes for orphaned

and vulnerable children.

“Grants to hospitals to respond to medical needs of victims, education and psycho-social support to affected children, reconstruction of public buildings and peace building were also carried out within the period,” he said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that in continuation of the interventions of VSF in affected communities, it will inaugurate the 2019 Women Economic Empowerment cash distribution project in Adamawa state on Wednesday, Oct., 16.”(NAN)


Edited by Saidu Adamu/Felix Ajide


Mile 2: Motorists express worry over indiscriminate parking by truckers



Some motorists along Mile 2 — Orile-Iganmu axis in Lagos on Wednesday expressed worry over indiscriminate parking of trucks, saying the development was exposing other road users to danger.

The motorists, who spoke with the Nigeria News Agency in separate interviews, linked the persistent traffic jam and accidents along the route to the indiscriminate parking by the truck drivers.

“It’s becoming unbearable having these heavy-duty vehicles here. I tried as much as possible to leave my house at Ejigbo around 7 a.m. to beat traffic, but I still got stuck between Mile 2 and Orile-Iganmu area due to the way and manner the truckers reduced the road to one lane.

“Before I get to my shop, I would have seen more than 300 trucks parked along the road. We want the Lagos State Government to do something urgently about this,’’ Mr Joe Lekan, a businessman said.

Mrs Adaeze Chimezie, a civil servant, said, “it’s very risky having non-moving heavy-duty vehicles along the road, especially those parking permanently on bridge, due to the heaviness of the trucks.

“Government needs to stop the parking of the trucks on bridges in order to prevent unforeseen eventualities and build a permanent parking site elsewhere for them so that we can save lives, reduce traffic jam and accidents.’’

Another motorist, Mr Segun Fatai, also called on government to put a stop to parking of heavy-duty vehicles along the road and on the bridges.

A truck driver, Mr Samuel Waheed, told NAN that most of the trucks seen along the road were on the queue on their way to the ports.

He said that most of them were facing different terminals to off-load their empty containers.

“Why most of us park our trucks on the road is either because we want to off-load or we want to rest. We do off-loading at Port and Cargo or T.I.T.C Apapa Tincan Island Terminal.

“If the government can provide an alternative parking place that is affordable, somewhere better than that of Orile-Iganmu Tanker Terminal, we can gladly move in there,” he said.

The federal government, working with the state government, had, in the past, set up a task force to clear the bridges in Lagos of  parked trucks.

Months after, the trucks are, however, back on several bridges in the city.


(Edited by Abdullahi Mohammed/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN))

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FCTA vows to end sexual and gender-based violence





Abuja, Nov. 20, 2019 The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), on Wednesday restated its commitment to ending sexual and gender-based violence, and craved the support of the Rule of Law and Anti Corruption (ROLAC) programme of the British Council to achieve that.

The Minister of State for FCT, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, gave the assurance when ROLAC’s team paid her a courtesy visit in Abuja.

Aliyu said that sexual and gender-based violence had become a troubling trend in the nation’s capital and other parts of the country, and declared that the trend required “urgent policy and social action”.

She thanked other partner agencies for their collaboration toward tackling the trend, and emphasised the need to create a safe space for citizens, families and children.

Earlier, ROLAC Manager, Priscilla Ankut, had disclosed that plans had been concluded to officially launch sex offenders register and the establishment of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC), in Bwari and Wuse District Hospitals on Nov. 25.

She emphasised the need for improved access to justice for women, children and persons with disabilities at the Federal and State level, and the promotion of other laws and practices that facilitate access to justice for women who are sexually abused.

Ankut explained that the development of the offenders register was to name and shame sexual offenders and to deter potential offenders.

“Besides the offenders register, there is a database of service providers, professionals and care-givers when citizens report sexual violence,” she said.

Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Ephraims Sheyin

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PPDC urges FG to ensure full implementation of open contracting



The Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), an NGO, has called on the Federal Government to ensure full implementation of Open Contracting Data Standards so that procurement records and information would be proactively disclosed by public institutions.

Mrs. Gift Maxwell, Chief Operating Officer, PPDC, at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday, said that the implementation should be in line with the Open Contracting Data Standards and the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011.

Maxwell said that the organisation, with its partner, Media Rights Agenda (MRA), had been working tirelessly to realise the goal of institutionalising open contracting in Nigeria.

According to her, although the organisation had constantly engaged the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and other stakeholders to discuss the status of Nigeria Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO), many public institutions still fail to upload their procurement data on the platform.

“As you may be aware, Nigeria joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP) as the 70th member in 2016 upon adoption of its first National Action Plan (NAP), which spanned through January 2017 to June 2019.

“It made commitment to the full implementation of open contracting as its second commitment under fiscal transparency thematic area.

“This commitment has led to the development of NOCOPO by the BPP.

“The portal is expected to feed procurement data from the pilot Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs), showing records of contracts from planning to implementation stages.

“This is a wake-up call on the Federal Government to ensure that public institutions feed their information proactively into the platform with circulars followed by appropriate sanctions to give them the deserved effect whenever disobeyed,” she said.

Maxwell observed that many MDAs had failed to upload their procurement data thereby disregarding the July 2018 circular issued by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) mandating all public institutions to use the NOCOPO.

She added that there was need to improve the country’s open contracting agenda, identify progress made, identify areas that required improvement and where gaps exist in the advancement of the implementation.

She commended the ongoing efforts by the BPP to sensitise relevant stakeholders in the public institutions while urging it to steadfastly implement its commitment to train all public institutions to be able to use the NOCOPO effectively.

Maxwell urged journalists to support efforts toward full implementation of open contracting in order to improve access to procurement records and information.

“That is the only way to ensure good value for taxpayers’ money,” he said.

Edited by Ephraims Sheyin

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Boundary commission seeks German support for Africa border programme



Mr Adamu Adaji, Acting Director-General, National Boundary Commission (NBC), has called on the German government to support the Africa Union Boarder programme (AUBP).

Adaji made the call on Tuesday in Abuja, in an address at a workshop on the Regional Review and Planning of the AUBP in West Africa.

According to him, the AUBP was developed to use borders as vectors to promote peace, security, stability and to improve and accelerate integration through effective governance of borders.

Adaji added that it was to facilitate easy movements of people, goods, services and capital among AU States.

“I want to commend the German Government, through ‘Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit’ (GIZ), for the tremendous support in the formulation and implementation of the AUBP.

“Most African States have been grappling with the determination, demarcation and development of their international boundaries.

“It is against this background that the assistance of the German Government to some of the states have gone a long way towards engendering peace and harmonious coexistence among some of the affected border population.

“We call on the German Government to continue to render support to the programme of African Union Border,” Adaji said.

The NBC boss said that support from the German government had ensured the construction of 20 standard primary pillars and 88 intermediate boundary pillars in the Nigeria-Niger borders.

“Similarly, eight solar-powered boreholes have been constructed for some border communities.

“The GIZ also graciously contributed the sum of three million Euros to the Trust Fund Account for the demarcation of Nigeria-Cameroon International Boundary domiciled with the UN in New York.

“It would be appreciated if GIZ-AUBP gives further support to the NBC in such areas as the acquisition of Geo Spatial data, Vehicular and camping logistics, capacity development and archival services.

“The support in the organisation of appropriate campaigns to educate border communities on patriotism will help fight smuggling, trans-border crimes, peddling of small and light weapons, hard drugs and narcotics, banditry and kidnapping,” Adaji said.

Mr Ludwig Kirchner, GIZ’s ECOWAS Cluster Coordinator, in a remark, said that the Federal Republic of Germany had a long standing cooperation with AU and its member states in several areas.

He said that the German Minister of Foreign Affairs was supporting AU member states to have effective and sustainable border management.

“This is to prevent conflicts among member states and to promote interaction through peaceful, open and prosperous borders.

“Since the establishment of AUBP in 2007, Germany has supported its implementation in over 20 countries.

“ECOWAS region has been the most focused area of the German cooperation as 10 of its members states have benefited from GIZ direct support.

“Numerous border management activities have been conducted with tangible results and impacts in the areas of regional and national policy development, delimitation, reaffirmation, and cross border cooperation initiatives,” Kirchner said.

He said that the activities were aimed at preventing border related conflicts, strengthening the stabilisation of the region and fostering regional cooperation and integration.

Mr Tei Konzi, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movements, said that enhancing free movements of people within the region was a major challenge.

He said that free movements within the region could not be enhanced if the borders were not properly managed.

“ECOWAS priority is to change the border area and you can only do that by creating jobs and empowering young people. This will discourage them from taking the risk of crossing the seas and desert to other countries.

“The role of women in nation building must also be enhanced to ensure that we have stability in the zone,” Konzi said.

The Nigeria News Agency , reports that the workshop, which was last held in 2017 with Cote d’Ivoire as host, attracted officials from ECOWAS and many other stakeholders from other African countries.


Edited /Ephraims Sheyin

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Quintuplets’ father solicits assistance from FCTA, Imo govt



Mr Emmanuel Egenti, a middle-age man, whose wife recently delivered quintuplets in an Abuja hospital, has cried out to the FCT Administration(FCTA) to come to his assistance in the search for accommodation for the family.

The Nigeria News Agency , reports that the quintuplets consisted of three males and two females.

Egenti, from Imo, made the appeal while addressing newsmen at the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, where the babies are receiving health care after safe delivery.

Egenti also appealed to Gov. Emeka Ihedioha of Imo and other philanthropists in the society to support his family to take care of the children.

According to Egenti, his family has been living in a one-room apartment in Utako village, Abuja since he got married in 2003.

“I have been married since 2003; we were childless for 17 years before God gave us quintuplets on Nov. 6. My problem is that we have no place to go if the hospital management discharges us. That is why the hospital is still keeping us here.

“Medical experts have warned us not to return to our single room; that advice has been corroborated by Dr Felix Bolorunduro, the Head of Clinical Services of the hospital, who has told me that it is not good for the health of the babies,” he said.

Bolorunduro, an Obstetrician Gynaecologist, told NAN that the mother and the babies were in stable condition while lamenting the social economic status of the parents of the babies.

He said that the babies were receiving treatment at the intensive care unit of the hospital, adding that they were born prematurely.

According to him, the babies came via an Invitro Fertilisation (IVF) process.

Mrs. Rita Akpotaire, Head, Post-Natal Ward, told NAN that the mother of the babies would need “three to four nannies” to support her in raising them.

Edited by Emmanuel Nwoye and Ephraims Sheyin

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FG postpones 2019 Abuja Carnival



The Federal Government has announced the postponement of the 2019 Abuja Carnival tagged “Culture for Peace”

The announcement was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja by the Ministry of Information and Culture .

“The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture has announced the postponement of the 2019 Abuja Carnival.

“The Ministry apologized to all invited guests for any inconvenience the postponement might have caused.

“A new date will be announced for the Carnival in due course,” the statement signed by Mr Joseph Mutah, a Chief Press Secretary in the ministry read.

The Abuja carnival is an annual event, with the objective of preserving the rich cultural heritage of the country and enhancing national unity.

It is a yearly programme that holds in Abuja featuring road shows, musics, cultural dances, masquerades, durbar and lots more with participation from all the states in Nigeria.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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