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NGO urges FG to fast track social security act for older persons

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A Coalition of Rights of Older Persons, an NGO, has called on the Federal Government to speed up the implementation of Social Security Act to address the plight of older persons in the country.

Sen. Eze Ajoku, the President of the coalition, made the call in a document made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday ahead of the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2019.

He said when such bill is passed and assented by the president, that there would be safety net for the older persons to reduce their suffering.

He said there was need for a national policy in terms of health, economic and protection of their social and civil rights as priority.

Ajoku said if such bill is passed and the law is put in place that lack of respect for older persons will be minimised.

He further said that the organisation would use the upcoming event to create awareness on the plight of senior citizens and as well as provide avenue for discourse.

“The objective of the event is to help the older persons share experiences and to provide guidance with a view to devise a strategy that would strengthen the well being of older persons in Nigeria.

Ajoku alleged that the government had done very little to ameliorate the situation either through legislature, policies or education of the masses against elder abuse.

He disclosed that there was no national policy on ageing before the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs saw it as a priority in 2019, which he said was commendable.

He further said that it was imperative for all hands to be on deck to ensure that the policies were translated into action in order to address the issues faced by the elderly.

He listed the issues faced by the elderly as verbal abuse, financial exploitation and forced confinement, among others, must be addressed.

He also said that quality and accessible healthcare as well as social protection for the elderly must be at the forefront of stakeholders agenda.

He added that one in 10 older Nigerian were abused or neglected each year and only one in 14 of such cases came to the authorities’ attention.

He however admonished government to improve on the healthcare system at the rural level especially the healthcare clinics to cater for the elderly ones.

“I suggest that Gerontology should be thought in our tertiary institutions to prepare our youths for ageing as well as teach them on how to respect and treat ageing parents.

“There should be a regular campaign by NOA and Ministry of Information in order to educate and create continuous awareness of the older persons plight.

“Religious organisations such as churches and mosques are encouraged to teach and remind their followers to care for their ageing parents.

“Older Nigerians are vital contributing members of our society and their abuse or neglect diminishes us all,” Ajoku said.

He noted that elder abuse awareness day was a reminder that as a society, we have a critical role to play in ensuring that elder justice is sustained.

He however called on everyone to join in lifting up of voices in the fight against elder abuse.

According to him, the year’s theme is centered on unifying the shared values of elder justice and responding to violence against women to bring to the forefront experiences of older persons around the globe.

Ajoku maintained that if government at all levels pay pensions and stipends regularly to older persons their plight would be reduced.

He therefore urged government at all levels to create day care facilities as well as community based care system for older persons, stressing that it will help curb abuse and maltreatment faced by these category of citizens.

Foreign

Angola to join G20 initiative to suspend debt payments

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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.

(XINHUA)

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Angola’s central bank allocates funds to help business

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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.

(XINHUA)

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Poverty rate at 41 pct in Angola

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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.

(XINHUA)

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General news

NGO provides trauma healing for IDPs in Gombe

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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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COVID-19: NGO distributes face masks to cleaners, security guards in Kano

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A Kano based Non-Governmental Organisations, Community Health Research (CHR), has distributed over 1,000 face masks to messengers, cleaners, security guards and food vendors in Government offices in Kano State.

Distributing the face mask to the beneficiaries on Tuesday, Hajiya Rabi Mustapha, one of the AMMKaS officials, an NGO under the CHR, said the donation was a collective effort of various humanitarian organisations in Kano.

 

According to her, the distribution of the face masks was to ensure that the beneficiaries protect themselves from COVID-19,  so as to halt the transmission of the virus.

 

Mustapha added that the NGOs have also distributed face mask to water vendors, market women, vegetable, meat and fruit sellers across the state.

 

“We hope to reach more people wherever they are doing their businesses and enlighten them on the disease and preventive measures.”

 

According to her, the CHR has also distributed over 5,000 sanitiser  and soap to various health facilities across the state.

“The main objective is to raise awareness, prevent and control COVID-19 spread in the state.

 

“We are also discouraging issues related to stigma and discrimination towards discharged COVID-19 patients, and enlightening people to differentiate between fake and genuine information on COVID-19,” she said.

 

Some of the beneficiaries who spoke to newsmen commended the effort of the group, calling on individuals and other organisations to emulate the gesture.

 


Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Foreign

Leader of Mongolia’s ruling party calls for synergy to promote national development, interests

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Ukhnaa Khurelsukh, leader of Mongolia’s ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), on Tuesday called on voters to promote synergy and unity for the country’s development and interests.

Khurelsukh made the remarks during the launching ceremony of the party’s election campaign for the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

“There are no party interests that go beyond the interests of the country. I am calling on all people or voters to synergize their efforts to promote the interests of Mongolia, support the economic growth, strengthen justice in the country, and to improve people’s livelihood,” said Khurelsukh.

“I am confident that the next four years will be the years for Mongolians to consolidate their achievements, increase economic growth, reduce unemployment and poverty, create new jobs, and strengthen freedom and justice,” he said, calling for a resounding support from voters.

A total of 76 candidates from the MPP are running in the upcoming parliamentary elections under the slogan “Let’s synergize.”

According to the country’s General Election Commission, 485 candidates from 13 political parties and four coalitions as well as 121 independent candidates are running for the parliamentary elections scheduled for June 24.

Mongolia’s opposition Democratic Party is participating in this year’s elections under the slogan “Let’s allot the benefits of economic growth to every household and protect citizens by laws.”

The Asian country’s parliament, the State Great Khural, is unicameral, consisting of 76 lawmakers with a four-year term.

The previous parliamentary elections in Mongolia were held in 2016.

(XINHUA)

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Health

Cititrust donates N1m to NGO to combat COVID-19

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Cititrust Holdings on Tuesday donated N1 million to Health Emergency Initiative (HEI), an NGO, to procure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers.

Presenting the cheque, Mr Yemi Adefisan, Group Chief Executive of the Company, said that the donation was their own quota and support towards fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

Adefisan said that the company operates across 13 African countries and still expanding its frontiers in the globe.

He said that they had made donations in other Africans countries as well as in Lagos and Osun states as the company would continue to donate food, materials and PPE to state governments.

“Today is a cash donation to HEI for PPE for health workers, which is part of what we have planned to do.

“We hoped that the equipment will get down to the right people to help support the vulnerable and those affected by the pandemic,’’ he said.

Receiving the cash donation, Mr Paschal Achunine, Executive Director, HEI said that his NGO recognized that timely provision of PPE was critical to winning the war against COVID-19.

“If you check across the globe, in most places where the pandemic killed a lot of people, it happened because they don’t have enough PPE or it was not timely provided.

HEI embarked on setting up of an emergency trust fund, purchased and distributed to organisation in Nigeria.

“With the fund provided by Cititrust Holdings, who saw and verify what we have done is to get PPE across to the critical ones that need them.

“We have been working with hospitals in the last five years and we know their touch points, every kobo committed to us, gets maximum value,” he said.

Achunine said that HEI has been consistent in 27 hospitals in Lagos including LUTH, LASUTH and IDH, Yaba.

He said that his NGO had been providing support and resuscitation for indigent patients and accident victims when taken to the hospital.

“The resources are limited and challenges are there but l urge companies and individuals to key into the emergency trust fund and appeal to the masses to take precautions, stay alive as the landscape has changed,’’ he said.


Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

 

 

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Parliamentary election campaign begins in Mongolia

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Campaigning for Mongolia‘s parliamentary elections began Tuesday after the country’s election commission approved a list of qualified candidates.

A total of 485 candidates from 13 political parties and four coalitions as well as 121 independent candidates are running for the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for June 24, the GEC said in a statement.

The commission said 75 percent of the candidates are male and 25 percent are female.

Mongolia’s parliament, the State Great Khural, is unicameral, consisting of 76 lawmakers with a four-year term.

The previous parliamentary elections in Mongolia were held in 2016.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

1st LD: New Ebola outbreak reported in northwest DR Congo

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A fresh outbreak of the Ebola virus disease was declared on Monday by Congolese Minister of Health Eteni Longondo in the city of Mbandaka, in Equateur Province in northwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo).

“The samples taken in Mbandaka and sent to the National Institute of Biomedical Research in Kinshasa were positive,” said the health minister during a press conference in Kinshasa.

According to Eteni Longondo, the heads of the National Institute of Biomedical Research in Kinshasa confirmed on Monday the result of the test taken from the patients on the spot in the town of Mbandaka.

A few days ago, the authorities of the city of Mbandaka in Equator Province alerted at least four cases of suspicious deaths in the same health zone of Mbandaka.

For health authorities in Kinshasa, the Ebola response team is already in place at the provincial level and another team will be deployed from Kinshasa to strengthen the response.

The announcement comes as health authorities started a countdown to declare the end of the tenth Ebola epidemic that has plagued the east part of the country since 2018, which has left more than three thousand people contaminated and 2,280 people dead.

According to WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has confirmed six cases, including four already dead by his Twitter account, WHO already has its teams on scene to support the fight against the epidemic.

The tenth epidemic has been the deadliest in the history of the country since the discovery of the first Ebola epidemic around 1977 in the province of Bandundu.

The government was planning to announce the country Ebola free on June 25, but with new cases resurfacing, the country has to continue fighting it, media reports said.

(XINHUA)

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