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NGO, OXFAM train 200 people in communities in Delta



Keketkache Women Development and Resource Centre, an NGO, on Friday said it trained 200 people in Delta communities between 2016 and 2018 with the support of OXFAM.

The Executive Director of the organisation, Ms. Emem Okon, made this known at a news conference with Keketkache Budget Advocacy Group in Asaba.

Okon said that the 200 men and women were trained on Community Need Assessment, taxation participatory budgeting and gender responsive budgeting.

She said the training was to promote citizens participation in budgeting processes and engage Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to address issues of people’s welfare, poverty, inequality and development.

”The project also encourages citizens, particularly women at local government level to speak up on issues of multiple taxation,” she said.

Okon said that the organisation was collaborating with Tax Justice Platform and in each of the project, states were expected to mobilise community members to campaign for fair taxation.

”The project also builds the capacity of community members to conduct Needs Assessment and present same to the local government or relevant state ministries to enable government’s budget to address specific needs of community members.

”This way, the government will be able to budget for health, education, poverty reduction projects and other specific needs of the various and diverse communities under its jurisdiction.

”This is to ensure that the concerns, interest and needs of men, women, youth, persons with disabilities, farmers and artisans are included in the budget,” she said.

Okon said that apart from training, the organisation’s main focus was on financing for development projects to increase citizens voices.

She said the first three years of the project was focused on conducting the Gender Context Analysis of Budgetary and Fiscal Policy, mapping of community groups in influencing policies and practices by speaking up and holding government accountable.

”We have now entered the phase of taking action and influencing.

”Budget advocacy groups were formed during the training, these groups are now monitoring the implementation of government budget, ” she said.

Okon said that through the support from OXFAM, some government MDAs were informed about the project and the training programmes.

”Some MDAs did not only participate, but also nominated participants for the training,” she said.

Some of the participants told the Nigeria News Agency that in the past, budgets had been one sided.

They said government used to execute projects in communities without carrying people along “but today all that are changing because of advocacies by NGOs”.

Mr Pere Botu, a participant said ”through the training, we were able to observed some lopholes in multiple taxation and were taught how to get government to correct such anomalies.”

Edited by Grace Yussuf


18 militiamen killed by army in combat in northeast DR Congo




At least 18 militiamen from the group CODECO were killed by the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), in an operation launched since Monday in several localities of Djugu, Ituri province in the northeast of the country, according to Lieutenant Jules Ngongo, spokesman for the army on the spot in this area.

According to Jules Ngongo, this operation enabled the armed forces to recover at least six entities occupied for several days by the militiamen in the territory of Djugu. A FARDC soldier was also killed and another injured, and several weapons were recovered by the FARDC.

The combat took place in particular along Lake Albert on the border with Uganda where the militiamen gathered in several zones. According to the army spokesperson, the objective of the operations is to prevent the attackers from reorganizing to attack civilians and the police.

The ongoing fighting in Ituri province between the attackers and the military has already prompted more than a million people to flee their homes for refugees in displacement camps. Thousands more have already crossed the border into the Republic of Uganda.

According to the United Nations, attacks on civilians have intensified since March, especially around artisanal mining sites.


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ADB opens Mongolian togrog-linked Bond Market




The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday said it has raised 21 billion Mongolian togrog (MNT), about 7.5 million U.S. dollars, in a groundbreaking issue of the first offshore MNT-linked nomad bonds.

The Manila-based multilateral lender said the issue sets a new benchmark in the international bond market for frontier currencies.

The ADB said the bond carries a 10.1 percent semi-annual coupon with an amortizing 5-year maturity. Denominated in MNT but settled in U.S. dollars, the bond issue was underwritten by ING Bank and sold to a European asset manager, it added.

The ADB said the proceeds are deployed to fund ADB’s Gender Inclusive Dairy Value Chain Project for Milko LLC in Mongolia.

“This is a milestone transaction for ADB‘s local currency operations,” ADB Treasurer Pierre Van Peteghem said in a statement.

“The emerging and frontier markets have come under pressure during the pandemic, therefore the ability to raise competitively priced term funding in Mongolian togrog at this time is a major achievement with tangible benefits in terms of currency risk mitigation for ADB‘s borrower,” he added.

According to the ADB, currency-linked bonds are important in development terms because they help plot a yield curve where government issuance is often sparse.

It said the Mongolian domestic government bonds have maturities of up to three years only, and the government has not completed any new issue of MNT debt securities since September 2017, therefore ADB‘s nomad bond serves as a relevant benchmark.

ADB is a regular borrower in the mainstream international bond markets but has also led issuances in developing Asian countries as part of its efforts to promote local currency bond markets as an alternative to bank lending.

ADB has previously issued currency-linked bonds in Armenian dram, Georgian lari, Indian rupee, Indonesian rupiah, and Philippine peso.

Established in 1966, ADB is owned by 68 members, 49 from the region.


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Monitor your children to curb drugs addiction, NGO pleads



An NGO, Adicare Rehabilitation Home, has advised parents and guardians to monitor their children and wards to prevent avoid being influenced to drug abuse and addiction by negative peers.

The NGO’s Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Veronica Ezeh, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Lagos that parents, guardians and alike must take up the responsibility of mentoring their children and youths in the right way.

Ezeh said to check the acts of suicide, arson, violent crimes and violence against women in form of rape, there should be concerted efforts to stop youths from using hard drugs or becoming drug addict.

She is a Psychiatric Nurse at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos.

Ezeh decried the high rate of drugs abuse among youths, urging parents and alike to join hands with the organisations in the campaign against illicit drug use.

She said the NGO on Feb. 26, concluded the first-phase of its sensitisation and education programme on the dangers of youth involvement in drug abuse.

Ezeh said the NGO was planning to kick-off the second-phase of the programme as soon as the pressure of COVID-19 calms down and the economy normalised.

She added that the sensitisation programme targeted youths, particularly the secondary school students within the age bracket of 13 to 19 years.

The psychiatrist said investigations revealed that most mental destitute on the streets were caused by abuse of drugs, which she said that youths were more vulnerable.

According to her, drug abuse is a habit done in secret, and the only way it can be identified in children is at the primary or secondary school levels.

Ezeh, therefore, advised parents and guardians to monitor the company, their children and wards.

She said that they should keep to know when they were getting involved in drugs, and thereby prevent them from going astray.

“I always say that parents should be able to monitor their children closely, because drug abuse is a secret habit which may be difficult to identify.

“But if a parent is close or friendly with his/her child, having established good relationship with the child, such parent will be able to know when the child is going astray or getting involved in illicit drugs.

“The moment a child starts school (either primary or secondary), try and keep a watch on him or her and monitor their daily activities.

“If they have phone, try to know their contacts and the kind of conversations they keep with their friends, and if possible, try to know their friends in person, including the families of their friends,” she cautioned.

According to her, majority of youths/students who get involved in drug abuse do not know the implications of what they are doing, rather, they take it because their friends or peers were taking.

Ezeh noted that parents were the firstline of people to educate the young ones on the dangers of drug abuse, mentor them and guide them right to grow and become responsible citizens, not drug addicts.

“It is on record that the use of hard drugs is the number one cause of mental illness, suicide, arson, violent crimes as well as violence against women worldwide.

Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Eased lockdown: NGO urges religious leaders to provide facilities, adhere guidelines



The Society for the Promotion of People’s Right, an NGO, on Wednesday called all the religious leaders to provide handwashing facilities as Federal Government eased the lockdown in various Churches and Mosques.

Mr Williams Osaze, the president of the organisation made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria , in Abuja.

Osaze said the religious leaders should ensure that handwashing facilities were provided in the entrances of the Churches, Mosques and adhere strictly to the guidelines for safety of the members.

He said that the ease lockdown on Churches and Mosques would give room for worshippers to continue in fervent prayer for God’s interventions on COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, the ease lockdown will create an opportunity for worshippers to pray for our leaders, the health workers and the country at large for God to eradicate the disease in our land.

“People will also hear testimonies from members during the service and sermons from anointed men of God.

“The testimonies  and the Word will encourage and strengthen those who are already discouraged because of the terrible situation they are facing during this lockdown.

“The experts cure, while our God heals, and it is only when we gather together in agreement and call on our God that things will start working well.

“I am not saying that people have not been praying all the while but, when we meet together, raise our voices to God, I believe their will be great intervention from healer of our land.

Provision of Water Sanitation Hygiene, (WASH), items such as, soaps, tap runing water, sanitisers, hand cloves, face masks, extensive or random temperature in worship centres to check members is important.

“The leaders should also ensure that all the worshippers wash their hands with soaps and check their temperature before they enter into the worship centre.

“Since the members should not be more than 20, for those that use to have more than such number should schedule specific times to be meeting and split the members.

“They should ensure that they maintain distancing to avoid crowded members and the worship time should as well be short and brief,” he said.

Osaze urged the worshipers and the leaders as well to maintain orderliness and ensure they adhere to the guidelines on COVID-19 to avoid more spread of the pandemic.

He advised elderly people, infants and those with underlying health conditions to avoid such gathering for now.


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Africa CDC closely monitoring new outbreak of Ebola in DR Congo




The African Union (AU) on Wednesday said its specialized health institution, the Africa CDC, is closely monitoring the situation while preparing to support responses to the new outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Following a notification by the Equateur provincial health authorities of community deaths on May 23 and 30, the DRC government on Sunday declared a new outbreak of EVD in Mbandaka in the northwest Equateur Province.

This is the 11th EVD outbreak in the DRC and it has already claimed four lives and infected four other people in the community, said a statement from the 55-member pan-African bloc.

The outbreak began at a time when experts were close to declaring an end to the 10th EVD outbreak in North Kivu Province, and when countries are fighting hard to control the COVID-19 pandemic, noted the statement.

As the DRC Ministry of Health is currently establishing a coordination and response mechanism to effectively contain the outbreak, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) is closely monitoring the situation while preparing to support response to the outbreak at the national and regional levels.

The Africa CDC has briefed the leadership of the AU Commission about the outbreak and the Commission has pledged its solidarity and support to the DRC in responding to the outbreak, according to the statement.

It also said that the Africa CDC would redeploy its resources and team of experts supporting response to the 10th EVD outbreak in North Kivu to support response to the new outbreak in Equateur Province.

Cognizant of the risk that multiple disease outbreaks have on the DRC, the Africa CDC is working with the DRC government, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners to strengthen response to both the 10th and 11th EVD outbreaks and the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Africa CDC is a specialized technical institution of AU, which supports member states in their efforts to strengthen health systems and improve surveillance, emergency response, prevention and control of diseases.


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Angola to join G20 initiative to suspend debt payments




Angola will join the Group of 20 (G20) Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), which allows the country to direct funds to combat the impact of COVID-19, the country’s finance ministry said Tuesday.

Following consultations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the ministry said in a statement that it has decided to use the G20’s DSSI to negotiate with its sovereign peers the suspension of the debt in bilateral loans.

The DSSI will be able to ease financial pressure and allow the liberalization of funds to combat the impact of COVID-19 in Angola in the coming months, according to the statement.

Without disclosing any figures, the ministry said the renegotiation of the debt focuses on the amounts owed to bilateral creditors included in the agreement proposed by the G20, which excludes private creditors.

“Following the already announced public administration reforms and budgetary adjustments, the ministry of finance is currently at an advanced stage of negotiations with some of its oil importing partners to reprogram the financing facilities to better reflect the current market environment and the production quotas of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries,” the ministry said.

Thanks to the above measures, and in cooperation with the IMF as well as its multilateral partners, the ministry believes that it is on the right track to guaranteeing the emergency aid needed for the country in 2020 and Angola’s long-term macro-financial stability.


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Angola’s central bank allocates funds to help business




The National Bank of Angola (BNA) on Tuesday said it has used almost 25 percent of all the 100 billion kwanzas (174 million U.S. dollars) available for national companies.

The BNA said it had 55 purchases of treasury bonds at Angola Securities Exchange from 35 companies by May 29.

A total of 23.8 billion kwanzas (41.1 million dollars) have been disbursed for Angolan companies to deal with the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and another 76 billion kwanzas has been used to provide liquidity to the economy, the country’s central bank said.

The BNA also reports that banks bought foreign currencies with an estimated worth of 122.3 million dollars from the oil sector last month.


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Poverty rate at 41 pct in Angola




Angola’s poverty rate stands at 41 percent, meaning that about 4 out of 10 Angolans have a consumption level below the poverty line of 12,181 kwanzas (21 U.S. dollars) per month, said the 2020 Poverty Report for Angola on Tuesday.

The poverty rate in rural areas is 57.2 percent, almost double that in urban areas, which is 29.8 percent, according to the report released by Angola’s National Statistics Institute.

Luanda has the lowest poverty rate of 20 percent, while Cunene Province and Moxico province have the highest rate of 62 percent, the report said.


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General news

NGO provides trauma healing for IDPs in Gombe



The Kishimi Shelter and Care Foundation, an NGO, has commenced a one-year trauma healing programme for 300 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Gombe State.

Mrs Grace Samuel, the Executive Director of the foundation, disclosed this at the opening of a two-day training workshop for stakeholders on the programme.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the targeted beneficiaries are being sheltered in Gombe and Akko Local Government Areas of the state.

She said the foundation would execute the programme through a collaboration with Psycare Initiative with support from African Transitional Justice Legacy Funds (ATJLF).

According to her, the project will provide palliative care for traumatised victims and survivors of conflict in the North East region.

She explained that the programme would provide care to victims who lost everything and have no source of livelihood with skills acquisition and income generating activity.

According to her, the NGO will settle the hospital bills of those in the second category and then link them to additional medical service through referrals and professional counselling.

Samuel said: “African Transitional Justice Legacy Funds is a  MacArthur Foundation sponsored programme which basically has to do with reforming the justice system in Africa.

“This time around, we are not only looking at the justice system, we are looking at the non-justice components.

“This is, those that have not only been denied rights but are suffering trauma and some other challenges. That’s the part we are working on,” she said.

The executive director said the organisation was targeting a minimum of 300 out of the 10,000 IDPs in the state.

Samuel therefore appealed to spirited persons and organisations for more interventions to help displaced persons who are still leaving their homes because of insurgency in the region.

She said that a technical working group would be established to reflect all the stakeholders or components identified for easy execution of the project.

The affected IDPs, traditional and religious leaders, heads of security agencies, CSOs, the media, health personnel and legal practitioners attended the event.

Edited By: Shuaib Sadiq/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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