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NGO seeks removal of impediments from public procurement processes

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A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), has advocated the removal of impediments from public procurement processing to enable women participate in contract bidding.

Miss Ifeoma Onyebuchi, Programme Director, PPDC, said this at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday.

Onyebuchi said that if the social cultural economic constraints that impeded women were removed, particularly in procurement processing, it would have a spillover effect not only on women’s financial capabilities but also in their political participation.

She said that a study was carried out through a project implemented in Kenya, Nigeria and Malawi which brought women together with the aim of fostering open government through women participation in public procurement.

“To this end, an in-depth review of existing laws, policies and government initiatives was undertaken to determine the gaps and make suggestions on best approaches to promote gender equity.

“Findings from the research indicated that women are often sidelined in the public procurement process.

“This is as a result of various factors ranging from lack of access to information, technology, cultural bias and lack of understanding of the contracting process,” Onyebuchi said.

She commended the Ekiti State government for its equal opportunity law of 2013 which gave 30 per cent appointive positions to women.

Onyebuchi advised the federal and other state governments to  take a cue from Ekiti State.

She further advocated the reduction and waiver of tax rates on small businesses to help them thrive and bid for contracts.

Mrs. Ndidi Okafor from the FCT Independent National Electoral Commission (FCT-INEC), lamented that the number of women participating in politics was decreasing.

Okafor said that in the 2019 elections, only a woman was elected as councillor in the six area councils of the FCT.

She said that women should arm themselves with wisdom, education, finance and technology so that they would be able to match the men so as to favourably competing with them in the polity.

Okafor also called for capacity building initiatives and programmes to empower informal sector women to form cooperatives.

She called on NGOs and Civil Society Organisations to educate women at the grassroots and dialogue with government to amend laws to apportion certain percentage to women in the contracting process. (NAN)

FAK/ORO/ETS

Edited by Razak Owolabi and Ephraims Sheyin

Metro

FCTA vows to end sexual and gender-based violence

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Violence

-Idris

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

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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

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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.

//ETS

Edited /Ephraims Sheyin

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Quintuplets’ father solicits assistance from FCTA, Imo govt

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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

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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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Buhari condoles Atiku over Aide’s death

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President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed condolence to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar over the death of a close aide, Alhaji Umar Pariya.

The President’s condolence message is contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Tuesday.

Adesina quoted President Buhari as saying: “I received the news of the death of your close aide, Alhaji Pariya, with a heavy heart. It is very touching to lose such a personal aide of many years.

“May Allah grant you the strength to bear the irreparable loss.

‘‘May Allah grant his family the strength to absorb the impact of this death, forgive his shortcomings and reward his good deeds in the hereafter.”

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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