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Women, others to benefit from $200m World Bank Agric funded project



No fewer than 21,000 women are expected to be part of 60,000 direct beneficiaries of a 200 million dollars World Bank Agric funded project in Nigeria.

The Head, Corporate Communications of Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Anne Ihugba, made this known in a statement on Sunday.

She said the project, known as Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS), which would be executed in six states of the federation, would also target 360,000 farm household members as indirect beneficiaries.

Hauwa stressed that the project would be “deployed in Cross River, Enugu, Lagos, Kogi, Kaduna, and Kano States, targeting 60,000 beneficiaries and 360,000 farm household members as indirect beneficiaries.

“It is anticipated that 35 per cent of direct beneficiaries or 21,000 individuals will be women.

“Additionally, the project has a dedicated sub-component to benefit women and youths that will allow them develop agri-businesses that are expected to create jobs and improve their livelihoods.”

According to her, this is shown at NIRSAL’s signing of a Memorandum of Agreement and Action (MoA) with APPEALS.

She noted that the project was meant for development, financing, and support of de-risked and optimised agribusiness projects.

Ihugba further stated that “in line with the project development objective of APPEALS, NIRSAL would provide its Tools, Techniques, Methodologies and strategic Partnerships (TTMPs) according to its Mapping to Markets (M2M) strategy on the project.

She said that this was with the aim of enhancing agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers.

She equally noted that NIRSAL through the project would ensure “improvement of value addition along the cassava, cashew, rice, poultry, aquaculture, cocoa, wheat, tomato, maize, ginger and dairy value chains in a sustainable manner.”

Abdulhameed according to her stated that NIRSAL would deploy its technologies toward the formation of Agro-Geo-Cooperatives for selected commodity value chains through geospatial mapping, soil suitability tests, Bank Verification Number (BVN) enrolment for farmers among others.

“NIRSAL will also link producers to relevant consumer, industrial and export markets through value chain roundtables, business deal facilitation meetings, and legally binding trade documentation.

“It will work with the state teams to structure agribusiness projects patterned after agreed sustainable models for APPEALS’ financing while deploying NIRSAL’s partnerships and models for Technology demonstration and adoption.

“To protect primary producers under the project from losses due to pest, diseases, adverse weather conditions and general drops in expected yields, NIRSAL will deploy its Area Yield Index Insurance product.

“To ensure business sustainability, NIRSAL will extend its technical advice to the APPEALS Project.

“With a view to instilling business discipline, adoption of a mandatory savings culture and reinvestment of profits for sustainability and expansion in the beneficiaries, ” she quoted him as saying.

She further stated that the National Project Coordinator of APPEALS Project, Dr Amin Babandi, expressed delight at what he described as a “turning point” in the project’s life cycle.

She stressed that Babandi, who is also Director of Agriculture, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD),  said “through this agreement, she was confident that APPEALS will achieve its set targets of impacting at least 60,000 direct and 360,000 indirect beneficiaries.”

According to her, the World Bank Task Team Leader of the APPEALS Project, Dr Sheu Salau, thanked NIRSAL for supporting the project with its technological know-how, expertise, and depth of knowledge in agribusiness.

She said he further noted that, to achieve its objective of enhancing agricultural productivity and improving value addition, APPEALS would focus on women and youths empowerment; infrastructure support to agri-business clusters; technical assistance, knowledge management and communication among others.

Ihugba said APPEALS was being coordinated by FMARD and implemented by a National Coordination Office and six state coordination offices.

She noted that in carrying out activities geared towards fixing broken agricultural value chains according to its mandate, NIRSAL would continue to establish strategic partnerships, with the MoA signing with APPEALS as one of such collaborations.





Women protest cultists invasion in Rivers community



Some women in Port Harcourt on Tuesday took to the streets to protest invasion of their community by gunmen suspected to be cultists.

The women, who are indigenes of Owube community in Ahoada West Local Government Area in Rivers, decried incessant attacks by suspected cultists in their community.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the protesters later  converged at the Government House with placards reading: “Save Our Soul”, “Enough is Enough” and “We want to live”, among others.

Some of the women who spoke with NAN said that cultists were daily raping women on their farmlands.

They urged the Rivers Government and security agencies to intervene in the matter and protect them.

Mrs Florence Eric said that women in the community were now living in fear due to the frequent rape and kidnap by the hoodlums.

“The cult boys in our community do not allow us to go to our farmlands again. They attack, rape and kidnap us everyday.

“We can no longer go out to look for food to eat. We want government to help us in any way they can, because we need to survive this challenge,” she said.

Mrs Victoria Ekpeye said that the cultists were demanding ‘settlement’ from the community to end their siege on the area.

“The boys said they need money from us to leave the community, but they did not mention how much money they need,” she added.

On her part, Franco Confidence said the protesters decided to submit their petition to the state government after several concerted efforts made to end insecurity in the area failed.

She said after exhausting all options of ending the crises, that the community later engaged the services of a popular local vigilante.

The ONELGA Security, Peace and Advisory Committee (OSPAC) comes at night to secure the area, but the cultist now come in the afternoon to kidnap and rape women.

“We are really tired of living with this challenge for five years now. We want Gov. Wike to come to our aid, because we are tired of sleeping in the bush,” she said.

The protesters also called on the police to establish a police post in the community to end the rising insecurity in the area.  

Edited By: Debo Oshundun/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Anniversary: Zamfara Govt constructs 14 hospitals for women/children 



The Zamfara State Government on Tuesday said that it had built modern hospitals  for women and children at the headquarters of each of its 14 local government areas of the state within its one year in office.


The State Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Yahaya Kanoma, disclosed this to newsmen in Gusau.


Kanoma said that the facilities were part of the state government’s commitments under Gov. Bello Matawalle-led  administration.


He said Matawalle immediately after his inauguration came up with policies that would  improve the healthcare of the citizens of the state.


“Part of the policies is the establishment of modern hospitals for women and children at  the headquarters of each of the 14 local government areas of the state.


“We have completed all the hospitals, we have bought  medical equipment, and we were only delayed in the distribution of the equipment to the hospitals due to the  COVID-19 pandemic challenges.


According to him, part of the achievements recorded during the one year in office of the governor’s administration is the re-awarding of the contract for the renovation of Shinkafi Referral Hospital that had been abandoned several years ago  by the previous administrations.


“Other achievements recorded by the state government by  the Ministry of Health from May 29, 2019 to date include the revival of  the various MDAs and programmes to promote healthcare delivery.


“We secured  the release of N400 million from the state government for MDAs under the state Ministry of Health to run their affairs.


“The following amounts were received by each of the  beneficiaries:  N100 million for State Drugs Management Agency, N100 million for Health Contributory Agency, N100 million for Primary Health Care Development Agency and N100 million for Hospital Service Management Board,” he said.


He also said  that the state government bought ambulances and utility vehicles for hospitals and health offices and programmes.


After discovering 84 ghost medical doctors and 64 nurses from the state government’s payroll, Gov. Bello Matawalle gave approval for the recruitment of more medical doctors and nurses for secondary and tertiary health institutions in the state.


The commissioner, however, lauded the efforts of the state government in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the state.


He also appreciated the support and cooperation from traditional and religious leaders in the fight against COVID-19 in the state.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Peter Dada (NAN)


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Rapper M.I lends voice to Violence against women in society



Nigerian rapper, Jude Abaga popularly known as M.I has lent his voice in condemning violence against women in the society.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that social media platforms had been raging with condemnation of violence against women following the death of one Miss Vera Uwaila Omozuwa.

Omozuwa, a 22-year-old 100-level student of the University of Benin, Edo was raped and killed while reading in a church in Benin city.

M.I has through his Twitter account, Yung [email protected]_Abaga joined in condemning the act, adding that every member of the society must commit to change in the ways women were treated in the society.

“And while we as men listen to truth in this period. Let us remember it is not only about the change toward violence. It’s about ensuring that there is equity in your work places and schools.

“It is about dismantling patriarchy by supporting women into positions of leadership.

“It’s about speaking truth to our brothers, fathers, sons when they transgress. We cannot change the world by just repainting it.

“We must tear down the systems that support a society where men can wreak such evil.

“If there is one thing I hope all men do in this period, it’s sit with the women around you and listen.

“Let them share their stories (if they want to) and their experiences on being a woman in our society. Listen and then commit to change,” he wrote.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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Minister tasks lawmakers on ending violence against women, girls



The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, on Monday urged lawmakers to enact laws and evolve polices that would ensure a safe society and end violence against women and girls.

Tallen made the call in the ministry’s official twitter handle, @FMWA-ng in Abuja.

She was reacting to the recent killings of Miss Uwaila Omozuwa and Miss Tina Ezekwe by yet-to-be-identified hoodlums and police respectively.

Omozuwa, a 100-level Microbiology student of the University of Benin was killed after her attackers had raped her inside a church in Benin, while Ezekwe was allegedly shot dead by a policeman in Lagos.

The minister decried the increase in sexual violence in homes across the country, stressing the need to urgently address the issue and ensure dependable security in the country.

‪”I condemn these horrific acts and call on our lawmakers to take emergency actions on this dastardly oppression that is suddenly on the increase.

The Ministry of Women Affairs is aware of how vulnerable Nigerian women are, and record of cases being reported indeed stirs rage.

“We are working passionately to address these issues of violence and abuse against women in Nigeria, and are doing this from all angles – policies, legislature and regulations – to create a Nigerian society that is safe for every woman.

Our goal is to build systems that are efficient and reliable,’’ the minister said.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the UNWomen recently disclosed a rise in Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Lagos State with 300 per cent increase between March and April.

The group also disclosed that in the FCT the increase was 520 per cent during the period, amid COVID-19 lockdown and other social measures put in place.


Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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Is Female Genital Mutilation a panacea for promiscuity or violation of women’s right?



Is Female Genital Mutilation a panacea for promiscuity or violation of women’s right?

An analysis by Ikenna Osuoha, News Agency of Nigeria

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons, classified by experts into four major types, namely:

Type 1:  This is the partial or total removal of the clitoral glans (the external and visible part of the clitoris, which is a sensitive part of the female genitals), and/or the prepuce/ clitoral hood (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoral glans).

Type 2:  This is the partial or total removal of the clitoral glans and the labia minora (the inner folds of the vulva), with or without removal of the labia majora (the outer folds of skin of the vulva).

Type 3, also known as infibulation, is the narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal, where the seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the labia minora, or labia majora, sometimes through stitching, with or without removal of the clitoral prepuce/clitoral

hood and glans (Type I FGM).

Type 4 includes all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scrapping and cauterising

the genital

Societies and communities around the globe practice the different types of FGM, claiming it is a panacea for promiscuity and means of protecting women’s chastity.

It is prevalent in about 28 countries in Africa and few scattered communities globally. But its burden is seen in Nigeria, Egypt, Mali,  Eritrea, Sudan, Central African Republic and Northern part of Ghana, where it has been an old traditional and cultural practice.

In Nigeria, the 2018 Nigeria and Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) report shows that the practice is prevalent in the South-South with 77 per cent, followed by South East with 68 per cent, South West with 65 per cent, but practiced on a smaller scale in the North.

However, it is recognised internationally as a violation of the right of girls and women, as experts conclude that it is a harmful practice and has no health benefits.

It is, therefore, celebrated annually around the globe on May 23 as World Fistula Day to bring to the fore, the many disadvantages and ills of the practice and how it affects women and girls, as well as proffer solution to remedy the situation.

The theme of the celebration in 2020 is “End Gender Inequality! End Health Inequities! End Fistula now!”.

Dr Juliet Ofor, a medical practitioner with Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja says “the act is a reflection of deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes extreme form of discrimination against women.”

Ofor says it is carried out on minors, making it a violation of the rights of children.

Understandably, the practice can be described as total violation of a person’s right to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results to death.

The medical practitioner, who emphasised the need for national and international legislation against FGM, says it has no health benefits but harm, noting that deinfibulation, a surgical procedure carried out to re-open the vaginal introitus of women living with type III FGM, is often necessary for improved health and well-being, as well as to allow intercourse or to facilitate childbirth.

She adds that “FGM has no health benefits, it harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies.

“The risks of FGM increase with increasing severity, which corresponds to the amount of tissue damaged, although all forms of FGM are associated with increased health risk.”

“It is clear that prevalence rates progressively decline in the young age groups and about 37 per cent of circumcised women do not want it to continue.”

Ofor urges government at all levels to begin massive sensitisation and education on the ills of FGM, noting, however, that “states like Ebonyi, Osun and Imo, where the practice is high, have, however, recorded reduction.

“But there is need for continuous education of the masses on the harmful cultural practice. Many stakeholders have consistently called on health workers to organise programmes on the harmful effects of FGM in rural areas, where it is seen as a cultural right, using local languages and citing examples of the complications.”

Adaku Okadigbo, an Abuja resident who says she is a victim of FGM, descibes the practice as a silent killer.

She says that the destructive effects of FGM on her are so many to mention “and I will never practice it on my children or encourage any of my relatives or friends to do it on their girl children.”

She adds that the practice is just to dehumanise the victims and not a panacea against promiscuity “because a promiscuous woman will still do it no matter what you do to her.”

Also, Dr Yeti Kunle of University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, listed the numerouscomplications of FGM as severe pain, excessive bleeding (haemorrhage),

genital tissue swelling, fever, infection, urinary problems, wound healing problems, injury to surrounding genital tissue, shock and even death.

According to her, long-term complications can include urinary problems (painful urination, urinary tract infections, vaginal problems (discharge, itching, bacterial vaginosis and other infections); menstrual problems (painful menstruation, difficulty in passing menstrual blood, etc.

“Others include scar tissue and keloid; sexual problems (pain during intercourse, decreased satisfaction, etc.), increased risk of childbirth complications, the need for later surgeries to seal or narrow the vaginal opening.

“Sometimes genital tissue is stitched again several times, including after childbirth, hence the woman goes through repeated opening and closing procedures, further increasing both immediate and long-term risks.”

The medical expert also identified some of the psychological problems caused by FGM to include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and low self-esteem, saying such conditions can degrade or dehumanise the victims.

Mrs Hannah Shehu, an activist on women issues, says moving forward, women empowerment and financial independence are imperative in achieving eradication.

Shehu also calls for males’ support and promotion of the rights of the girl-child as necessary tools toward eradicating the harmful practice.

According to her, direct Involvement of community and religious leaders in target population is very important to disabuse the minds of the people.

Mrs Sylvia Oguamanam, a Lecturer at Angel Crown College of Education, Abuja, however, emphasise the need for change of traditional and cultural ideology in target communities.

Oguamanam, who says there is considerable support for the practice in areas where it is deeply rooted in local tradition and ignorance, notes that traditional rulers must be involved as major stakeholders to achieve the desired change.

Consequently, FGM as practised in societies and communities “to check promiscuity” among women and girls cannot be said to achieve the goal, as it causes more harm to victims, while promiscuous women will still do it no matter what, indicating that there is no connection between FGM and promiscuity.  (NANFeatures)**If used, please credit the writer as well as News Agency of Nigeria


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UN chief stresses women’s role in peacekeeping




UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday stressed the important role of women in peacekeeping on the occasion of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

“Now this year, we also mark the 20th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security and we are observing the International Day of UN Peacekeepers with the theme: Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace,” said Guterres at a ceremony in honor of the peacekeepers who lost their lives in 2019.

Resolution 1325 was a milestone in recognizing that women have a right to full, equal, and meaningful participation in peace processes, conflict resolution and peacebuilding. It also emphasized women peacekeepers’ essential role in the success of UN peace operations, he said.

“Day by day, women peacekeepers help improve all aspects of our operations and performance; they ensure better access to local communities; they prevent and reduce conflict and confrontation; and they serve as role models for their peers and others,” Guterres said.

In addition, UN peacekeeping operations are better able to build trust with those in need of protection when their staffing reflects the communities in which they serve. This is another reason why increasing the number of women in peacekeeping is so crucial, he said. “Peacekeeping is more effective for everyone when we have more women peacekeepers at all levels, including in decision-making. We will continue to do everything we can, including with our troop and police contributors, to reach this goal.”

Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo of the Brazilian Navy, who is deployed with the UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), and Suman Gawani of the Indian Army, a military observer formerly deployed with the UN Mission in South Sudan, jointly won this year’s Gender Advocate Award.

The inspiring work of the two women peacekeepers has made a remarkable difference in promoting gender equality and empowering local women and their own colleagues, said Guterres. “Your contributions are proof that women peacekeepers are vital to peace and security everywhere.”

In her role as MINUSCA‘s military gender and protection advisor, Monteiro de Castro Araujo has strengthened the mission’s ability to protect civilians, address conflict-related sexual violence and prevent sexual exploitation and abuse. She also strived to improve the living conditions of her fellow women peacekeepers, said Guterres.

Gawani, during her deployment in South Sudan, mentored more than 230 military observers on conflict-related sexual violence and ensured the presence of women military observers in each of the mission’s team sites. She also trained the South Sudanese government forces and helped them launch their action plan on conflict-related sexual violence, said the UN chief.


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Group seeks end to age-limit for women seeking assisted reproduction technology in Lagos



A rights group, the Centre for Health, Equity and Justice (CEHEJ), has asked the Lagos State Government to end the age limit set against women seeking to be Assisted Reproductive Technologists (ART) in the state.

CEHEJ, in a statement issued by its Public Relations Officer, Mr Olanrewaju Akerele on Thursday, said it had written a letter to the Lagos State Commissioner for health Prof. Akinola Abayomi and the Lagos State Attorney-General, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) to end the policy.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that ART is used to treat infertility.

It includes fertility treatments that handle both a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm; it works by removing eggs from a woman’s body.

The eggs are then mixed with sperm to make embryos and the embryos are then put back in the woman’s body.

NAN also reports that there is an age limit of 54-years for women in Lagos, who seek ART method for the child bearing.

The age limit is contained in the Lagos State Regulations and Guidelines for ART practice.

The rights group said that the letter to the government officials, dated May 27 and signed by CEHEJ’s Executive-Director, Mr Timothy Adewale described the age restriction as discriminatory.

“The argument that such age restriction is necessary, due to advanced maternal age, is thus untenable and unwarranted.

“It is against the fundamental rights of every citizens to the best attainable standards of health, right to equal opportunity without regard to sex, race, age, ethnicity and freedom from all forms of discrimination.

CEHEJ firmly believes that what is done officially must be done in accordance with the law and Nigeria’s international human rights obligations.

“It is an absolute interference with the liberty and privacy of citizens to restrict ART women recipient’s age to 54 years.

“It violates the law disallowing discrimination on account of age, gender and circumstances of birth,’’ CEHEJ stated.

The group said it believed that the ART treatment should not be prohibited to women who are above 54-years, but that it should be granted to whoever desires to bear a child.

“There is need for Lagos State to show compassion and rally round these women, who have all their lives tried in vain to bear at least a child.

No ART regulations should be allowed to deny these women the God-given free gift of the fruit of the womb.’’

The human rights group also said that it will not hesitate to file a fundamental rights action in court to seek redress if the state government fails to stop the policy.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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COVID-19: Zamfara governor’s wife donates preventive items to women



The wife of Zamfara Governor, Hajiya Aisha Bello-Matawalle, has donated 40,000 preventive items to vulnerable women groups in the state as part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

Aisha, while presenting the items to the women groups in Gusau on Thursday, said the gesture was aimed at complementing the state government’s efforts to prevent spread of Coronavirus.

According to her, the materials comprised 10,000 face masks, 10,000 hand gloves, 10,000 soaps and 10, 000 hand sanitiser.

“We also provided printed flyers for sensitising members of the public in Hausa and English languages.

“Apart from preventive materials, we are giving out 10,000 sets of clothing materials across the 14 LGAs of the state as Sallah gifts.

“This came at a crucial time when many vulnerable groups are in serious need of support,” she said.

The governor’s wife applauded the support of her husband, Governor Bello  Matawalle, to women in the state.

She called on the public to continue to stay safe and protect their families inline with the government’s measures and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines against the virus.

She urged residents of the state to continue with prayers for Allah’s  intervention to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic all over the world

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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UN provides essential medicines for Libyan women, children




The United Nations Children‘s Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday said it delivered essential medicines to western Libyan cities to benefit 20,000 people including women and children.

UNICEF tweeted that “20,000 persons including women and children will benefit from lifesaving and essential medicines that have been dispatched” to the municipalities of Surman, Sabratha, Alzawya and Zwara.

“The supplies that include vaccines carriers, obstetric kits and cold boxes are essential to ensure that quality primary health and lifesaving Maternal, new-born and child health care are strengthened to avoid preventable morbidity and mortality among vulnerable populations,” it said.

UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) recently said that more than 250,000 children in war-torn Libya face the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Western Libya saw more than a year of violent fightings between the eastern-based army and the UN-backed government, in which hundreds of civilians were killed and injured, and more than 150,000 others displaced.

Amid escalating violence and unrest, hospitals and medical centers in Libya have been struggling to provide proper medical care to the Libyan people.


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