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Violence against children cost Nigeria’s economy $6bn annually – FG




The Federal Government on Thursday said the economic impact of violence against children in Nigeria was estimated at 6.1 billion dollars (N967 billion ) annually.

This amount is equivalent to about 1.07 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mr Olajide Odewale disclosed this at the inauguration of the two reports on child Protection in Abuja.

The reports are Financial Benchmark on Child Protection Services and the Economic Burden of Violence Against Children.

Odewale said the estimated economic value that Nigeria loses to some selected health consequence of violence against children in 2014 amounted to N849 billion for females and N570 billion for males.

In spite of this huge loss, he said the financial investment on child protection was a paltry N27.89 kobo spent per child on child protection per day.

“The 67 per cent of the percentage (0.08 per cent) spent on Child Protection service is spent on public order and safety sectors.

“Out of that percentage, 76. 8 per cent is for response services and 21.8 per cent on prevention services,’’ he said.

Odewale, however, called on all stakeholders to consider and ensure that Child Protection was included in National Chart of Accounts.

“An increase at the Federal Government level of 0.1 per cent in the expenditure on Child Protection will translate to N146 for every child per day.

“This has capacity to reverse the negative outcome on Violence Against Women (VAC) and other child protection issues,’’ he said.

The permanent secretary further called on Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) working on Child Protection related issues to align their work with National Agenda to achieve maximum impact of interventions.

“The ministry in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development (FMWADS) is to ensure that End Violence Against Children National Action Plan is developed.

“The ministry should ensure that the Plan is developed for ease of implementation of the recommendation from these reports.

“The government needs the support of partners (UNICEF, World Bank, Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Save the Children ) if we must provide a toll free VAC helpline,’’ he said.

In her address, the Director, Social Development in the ministry, Mrs Falilat Abdulraheem said President Muhammadu Buhari, had in September 2015, inaugurated the year of action to End Violence Against Children.

Buhari had appealed to every Nigerian to ensure that no child was left behind to suffer any form of violence.

Abdulraheem said the surveys were conducted by the ministry in collaboration with FMWASD with support from UNICEF to determine the financial commitment of Government on Child Protection and also evaluate the economic loss of VAC.

She, however, urged stakeholders to work together to liberate the children from all kinds of violence to enable them have happy childhood experiences better than the older generation.

Also speaking, Acting Country Representative of the U.S. Centre for Disease Control, Deborah Kona, commended the Federal Government in her effort to end violence against children.

“It is the rights of Nigerian Children to be healthy and safe, so, let us take action to end violence against children,’’ she said.

The highlight of the event was the inauguration of a 73- page report on “A Financial Benchmark for Child Protection’’ and a 29-page report on “Ending Violence Against Children’’ in Nigeria by Odewale.





Tens of thousands rally in France against racism and police violence




Tens of thousands of people rallied on Saturday in Paris and several other French cities to pay tribute to Georges Floyd, an African American who died from police brutality in the United States and the victims of police violence in France.

Despite the ban on gatherings of more than 10 people in Paris due to coronavirus sanitary concerns, people turned out massively at Place de la concorde and the Champ de Mars near the Eiffel Tower to show their solidarity with widespread demonstrations in the United States.

Many protesters, knee on the ground, chanting “I cannot breathe,” in homage to Floyd, 46, who died ten days ago after a white United States police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes until he stopped breathing.

In Lyon, Rennes, Marseille, Bordeaux, Lille and Rouen, people also defied the sanitary ban to join the rally against racism and police violence.

Around 23,300 people joined the rally across the country, including 5,500 in Paris, estimated the Ministry of Interior.

In the rally, demonstrators also chanted “justice for Adama Traore,” a 24-year-old black Frenchman who died four years ago in police custody in Paris.

France‘s state investigators had dismissed the charge of police brutality in the arrest of Traore, saying that the man died of heart failure due to pre-existing medical conditions.

A new probe, commissioned by Adama Traore’s family, said the young man died of asphyxiation due to the arrest technique police officers had used during the operation.

Last Tuesday, some 20,000 people had demonstrated in Paris calling for justice for Traore. “Each fault, each excess” of the police will be “the subject of an investigation, a decision, a penalty,” Minister of Interior Christophe Castaner told the parliament on Wednesday.


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‘Selma’ snubbed at 2015 Oscars after cast protested police violence, actor Oyelowo says



The civil rights movie “Selma” was made free for rental on Friday, a day after actor David Oyelowo said Oscar voters had deliberately snubbed the film in 2015.

Oyelowo, who played Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie, said members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences objected when “Selma” cast members protested the death of a black American.

“I remember at the premiere of ‘Selma’ us wearing ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-shirts in protest,” said Oyelowo, referring to the death in New York of Eric Garner after being held in a police chokehold.

Garner died in July 2014; “Selma” premiered in December 2014.

Members of the Academy called in to the studio and our producers saying, ‘How dare they do that?

“Why are they stirring S-H-I-T?’ and ‘We are not going to vote for that film because we do not think it is their place to be doing that,’” he added.

Oyelowo and director Ava DuVernay were overlooked in Oscar nominations in 2015, helping to spur the #OscarsSoWhite campaign demanding greater diversity in Hollywood.

“Selma” got just two nods and a win for best original song.

The actor, who is British, was speaking in a virtual round table hosted by Screen Daily on Thursday about racism in the United States that was prompted by the death in May, of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, while pinned by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

“It’s part of why that film didn’t get everything that people think it should’ve got and it birthed #OscarsSoWhite,” added Oyelowo.

“They used their privilege to deny a film on the basis of what they valued in the world.”

DuVernay re-tweeted the Screen Daily account, adding the comment “True story.”

The Academy replied on Twitter, “Ava & David, we hear you. Unacceptable. We’re committed to progress.”

Movie studio Paramount Pictures declined to comment on Oyelowo’s remarks.

On Friday it announced that “Selma” would be free for rental for the remainder of June, saying that had been planned earlier this week.

“We hope this small gesture will encourage people throughout the country to examine our nation’s history and reflect on the ways that racial injustice has infected our society,” Paramount said in a statement.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara (NAN)


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Edo records more than 50 cases of gender-based violence during virus lockdown



Edo Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues says more than 50 cases of gender-based violence were recorded during the coronavirus lockdown in the state between April and May.

Mrs Maria Edeko, the Commissioner of the ministry, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Benin on Saturday.

The commissioner said that nearly 20 of the reported cases had to do with rape, defilement, and incest.

“We had an upsurge in gender-based violence in the state during the lockdown period from April to May.

“We had a case of a father, who committed incest with the daughter and a case of a tenant, who repeatedly defiled a co-tenant’s daughter and impregnated her.

“The girl is now in our custody while the violator is being investigated,” Edeko said.

She urged mothers to be extra vigilant, saying that violators were in most cases  well-known persons to the victims.

She also urged people to see gender-based violence as a problem that should  be tackled head on.

The commissioner also said that many family disputes were recorded during the lockdown period as many couples were not used to staying together for a long time.

“Most of the time, everyone goes to work, but during the lockdown, the bad sides of couples were seen and this resulted in increase in violence.

“Lack of enough money to take care of the home was also a cause of domestic violence especially among persons working in the private sector, who were not paid salaries,” she said.


The commissioner added that the ministry had been involved in discussions on gender-based violence and counselling of couples on how to live peacefully during the lockdown at the community level.

Edited By: Benson Iziama/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)


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Foundation seeks declaration of state of emergency on sexual, gender-based violence



The Global Hope for Women and Children Foundation (GLOHWOC) has called for the declaration of a state of emergency on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the country.
The foundation also called for effective enforcement of penal laws in the country to punish rapists.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the call came on the heels of the increasing number of rape cases across the country.
The foundation’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mrs Christy Abayomi-Oluwole, in a statement made available to NAN on Friday at Omu-Aran, decried the recent upsurge in rape cases, especially against minors.
She also urged the police to facilitate effective and prompt investigation of rape and rape-related cases.
Abayomi-Oluwole also advocated for an urgent domestication and enforcement of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act and the Child Rights Act.
Quoting Sections 282 and 283
of the Penal Code, she said that the penalty for rape was life imprisonment.
“The penalty, under the criminal code, is life imprisonment for rape and 14 years imprisonment for attempted rape (Sections 357, 358 and 359 of the Criminal Code).
, this felonious offence has become one of the major prevailing offences in Nigeria today.
“Recently reported cases include the rape and murder of a 22-year-old Uwaila Omozuwa of the University of Benin and 18-year-old Barakat Bello of the Federal College of Animal and Production Technology, Ibadan, who was stabbed to death for her refusal to be raped.
“There was also the disheartening case of a four-year-old girl in Cross River State,” she said.
According to her, the need for declaration of a state of emergency on SGBV in Nigeria cannot be overemphasised.
“We call on government to ensure an urgent domestication and enforcement of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act and the Child Rights Act.
should also ensure the establishment of functional sexual assault referral centers (SARC) at the state level.
The Nigerian Police Force should facilitate effective and prompt investigation of all reported rape/SGBV cases, while government should ensure criminalisation and prompt prosecution of those cases and domesticate sex offenders’ registers,’’ she said.

Edited By: Kabir Muhammad and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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CSOs call on FG to declare state of emergency on sexual, gender based violence



A coalition of 10 Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria, on Friday called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on sexual and gender based violence in the country.

The group made the call during a peaceful protest to the Police Headquarters in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the protest was led by ActionAid Nigeria, in collaboration with TechherNG, Connected Development; Enough is Enough Nigeria, Stand to End Rape and SilverChipFox.

Others are Yiaga Africa, Dorothy Njemanze Foundation, Girl Child Africa and Education as a Vaccine.

The protesters had placards reading ‘No means No’, ‘Rapist and Rape Apologist are Cancelled,’ ‘To be a woman is not a crime’, among others.

Mrs Ene Obi, Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, said that declaring a state of emergency on SGBV would ensure accelerated investigation, arrest and prosecution of offenders.

She added that without strong state response, incidences of sexual and gender based violence including rape and murder would continue to increase.

“Gender based violence is no longer a women issue but a national issue.

“The situation has degenerated to the point that security operatives who are meant to protect are also threatening to rape and kill women and girls in the face of conflict.

We urge the Presidency to declare a state of emergency on Gender based violence, as this is the time to take concrete actions before Nigeria comatose into a state of anarchy where women and girls are left to wallow in hopelessness,” she said.

Dr. Jumai Ajijola, Chair, ActionAid Nigeria, added that the protest was brought to the police headquarters to remind them to be diligent in their duties of protecting the lives of Nigerians.

She added that it was important for them to carry out prompt investigation, prosecution and conclusion of all rape, sexual and gender based cases in the country.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, while addressing the protesters appreciated them for their peaceful conduct.

Adamu, who was represented by Mr Frank Mba, Spokesperson of the Nigerian Police Force, added that it was important for victims’ families to also cooperate with the law enforcement agency to ensure that the perpetrators do not go unpunished.

“Every police officer you see in Nigeria today is a father, mother, uncle, aunty, and so on and by implication, we all have a woman in our lives and we will not want them to be sexually abused.

“Therefore, we are together with you in the quest for a rape free Nigeria and to enthrone a zero tolerance for all forms of sexual violence against women and girls,” he said.

NAN reports that one-minute silence was observed at the end of the protest, for those who lost their lives to sexual and gender based violence in the country.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Nelson Mandela Foundation calls for end to “structural violence” against black people in United States




Nelson Mandela Foundation on Thursday condemned police brutality against the black people in the United States, where the death of African American George Floyd has set off turbulent mass protests.

More than 1,000 Black people die at the hands of police in the U.S. every year,” the foundation said, adding “mass incarceration, predictive policing, targeted surveillance and a host of other tools render Black lives more vulnerable than all others.”

Floyd, 46, died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes. Two separate autopsies released Monday found Floyd‘s death to be a homicide.

The protests across the United States have forced dozens of cities to impose curfews.

The foundation, a non-profit organization established by Nelson Mandela in 1999 to promote freedom and equality, called for sober assessment of a resilient White supremacy in the United States.

“Black lives matter enough to warrant getting out in the streets and demanding an end to a system which creates the conditions for (and legitimizes) violence against Black bodies,” it said.


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UN needs 103 mln USD to support Mozambique in pandemic, violence response




The United Nations on Thursday made two appeals valued at more than 103 million U.S. dollars from the international community to support Mozambique to tackle with the COVID-19, natural disasters and the increasing violence in Cabo Delgado Province.

Launching the appeals with the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) in Maputo, UN’s Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Mozambique, Myrta Kaulard called on the international partners to scale up its support for Mozambican government to protect the most vulnerable people amid the multiple challenges that the country was currently dealing with.

The first 68-million-USD COVID-19 Flash Appeal focusses on the most immediate and critical needs of millions of people already facing severe humanitarian conditions in the next nine months, said the UN official.

“The appeal will complement government’s efforts to alleviate the suffering of those who are experiencing additional hardship due to COVID-19, especially those still recovering from Cyclones Idai and Kenneth”, said Luisa Meque, Director-General of INGC at the ceremony.

The other appeal, the Rapid Response Plan for Cabo Delgado, seeks 35.5 million U.S. dollars and will prioritize the urgent needs of those who have been affected by the increasing violence in that province.

“The wave of armed attacks in the region since October 2017 have escalated significantly since January 2020, leaving tens of thousands of people without adequate access to food, water, sanitation or any basic services,” Kaulard said.

The resources of host communities are depleting and those who are trapped in areas with insecurity have no means to sustain themselves.

“Populations are completely exhausted and in desperate need for humanity and solidarity”, she said.


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Five killed in renewed South Sudan violence




At least five people were killed in South Sudan’s capital Juba during renewed violence that erupted Wednesday morning, the presidential spokesperson said.

The presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny said four men and one woman died in the shooting incident, which broke out in the Sherikat neighborhood.

The latest violence was sparked by wrangles over a disputed piece of land.

“The killing of five people is a very serious criminal act and the perpetrators must be punished. Our sympathy to the families of the victims,” Ateny said in a statement issued in Juba

Ateny said the South Sudanese leader was saddened by the loss of lives, adding that perpetrators would be punished.

“The president condemns this in the strongest terms possible and has directed authorities to investigate the incident and press charges against the perpetrators,” Ateny said.

Relative calm has since returned to Juba after tribal and government authorities intervened to stop hundreds of rioting youth who earlier blocked roads with barricades and burning tires.

Ateny said one suspect, believed to be a distant relative of President Kiir, was arrested during the clashes.


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Tinubu calls for an end to gender-based violence, abuse



Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, has called for an end to gender-based violence and abuse in the country.

Tinubu through verified twitter handle on Wednesday, wrote “enough is enough’’.

The APC leader described the acts of violence against women and young girls as “inexcusable”, adding that there was nothing that could defend the wrongdoings.

“For far too long women and young girls in our nation have suffered the pain, hurt and stigma of gender-based violence and abuse.

“Too many have been hurt, intimated and bullied. Too many have died; violence is inexcusable,’’ he said.

According to him, we are all born of woman and nurtured by woman.

Vera Uwaila Omozuwa is the most recent name on a list, far too long, of women who have lost their lives at the hands of these vile criminals.

Today, I rise in solidarity with women in Nigeria to say #enoughisenough’’, Tinubu said.

The APC leader, in protest against the rape, murder of some recent victims declared that “enough is enough’’.

He tweeted the hashtags: “#JusticeforUwa, #JusticeforJennifer #JusticeforTina, #JUSTICE for all victims of gender based violence.”

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that on May 27, a 22-year-old student of the University of Benin, Uwa vera Omozuwa was raped and murdered at a church in the town.

Similarly, an 18-year-old girl, identified as Jennifer, was allegedly gang raped by five boys reported to be her friends in Kaduna state.

The incident happened in Narayi, a community in Kaduna South Local Government Area.

The boys were said to have carried out the action on the teenager after giving her a liquid content, said to be a mixture of alcohol and drugs.

Also, a trigger happy policeman on May 27 allegedly killed a 16-year-old teenager, Tina Ezekwe at Iyana-Oworo bus-stop in Lagos.

The policeman was said to have shot dead the girl while attempting to arrest a bus driver.

The driver was alleged to have violated the nationwide curfew imposed by the Federal Government to check the spread the COVID-19.

Edited By: Johnson Eyiangho/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)







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