Development expert advises in-coming govt. to leverage on women

A development expert and researcher, Dr Nkemdilim Ene, has advised the in-coming administration to leverage on women to take development faster to grassroots communities in Nigeria.

Ene gave the advice in Abuja on Sunday while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the expectations of Nigerian women as the country gets set to inaugurate a new government on May 29.

On Feb. 25, Nigeria held a landmark presidential election, to keep democracy going in Africa’s most populous nation, which returned to elective governance in 1999 after years of military rule.

“Research has shown that the inclusion of women in leadership has contributed significantly to socio-economic growth.

“This shows that sustainable national development requires the contributions of women,’’ said Ene, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Preston Associates International Development Ltd., an Abuja-based think-thank.

She described womenfolk as the magic wand that could be used by the government to engender development and make Nigeria to rise above its current challenges.

“I appeal to government to be deliberate in encouraging women and girls to partake in digital opportunities available to them because this can change lives of women and that of their immediate communities.’’

The researcher said that government should also find ways to utilise the opportunities offered by technology as a tool in promoting gender equality in Nigeria.

“It can be as simple as increasing access to smart phones, cash transfers and digital financial literacy skills that can strengthen women’s decision-making abilities and enhance bargaining power in their homes,’’ Ene advised.

Commenting on the just-concluded International Women’s Day, Ene said that the lot of women in Nigeria was getting brighter, “although a lot still has to be done.

“The theme for this year’s celebration – `DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality’ underscores the need to equip our women with technological know-how,’’ she stated.

The youthful Ene, who holds a bachelor of medicine and surgery degree also has expansive experience in public health and gender issues.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Indian envoy urges Nigerians to embrace Yoga for well-being

The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Gangandharan Balasubramanian, has called on Nigerians to embrace Yoga practice as a way of improving their physical and mental well-being.

The High Commissioner told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja that Yoga should be seen as another form of exercise that helps condition the body and mind for optimum benefit.

“Yoga is a form of exercise that is very good for physical and mental well-being, it can also help enhance vitality, focus and productivity,” Balasubramanian said.

He said in view of the enormous benefits of Yoga, the High Commission in Abuja had opened free Yoga classes for members of the public, which would also help to deepen relations between both countries.

“I am happy to announce to the Nigerian public that we have opened our free yoga classes at the High Commission of India, Abuja, so our Nigerian friends should avail themselves of this opportunity.

“We have an excellent facilitator (Mr Dipitiranjan Mohanty), who has a PhD in Yoga and has been sent by the government of India to the mission.

“The classes are of course free from 4.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. on week days (after registration) and we believe this will help improve our health; also deepen relations between both countries, ” he said.

The High Commissioner assured that plans were underway to further strengthen the cordial bilateral relations between both countries.

NAN reports that Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originates from India.

The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from Sanskrit, meaning to join or to unite, symbolising the union of body and consciousness.

As part of the growing appeal for Yoga, the United Nations on Dec. 11, 2014, proclaimed June 21, as the International Day of Yoga by resolution 69/131.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NOA D-G cautions politicians against inciting statements

Dr Garba Abari, Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), has cautioned politicians against inciting comments capable of threatening the peace and unity of the country.

Abari spoke on Sunday in Abuja when he appeared on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

“Some politicians are fanning the embers of disunity through hate speech and derogative comments over the 2023 general elections.

“This trend is dangerous and highly inimical to the peace and unity of the country.

“The elections are over, but the language of politicians still remain toxic and intemperate. This is escalating the social tension.

“It is providing room for those who do not believe in the unity of the country to go about pulling from centrifugal perspectives in order to pull down the roof,’’ he said.

The NOA boss, however, commended those embracing constitutional means to seek redress instead of trying to push for social strife and violence.

Abari particularly urged politicians and their supporters to desist from using denigrating, offensive, hateful or inflammatory remarks.

“The elections have come and gone, the elections have been lost and they have been won; there are those who are happy and there are those who are aggrieved.

“Our country has provided constitutional processes to seek redress from such incidences; the laws of the land have given us opportunity to seek redress.

“Politicians must realise that there is life after elections and I want the media, in its reportage, to be very sensitive to the sensibility of Nigerians,’’ he said.

According to Abari, Nigeria must survive for anybody to actualise whatever political ambition he or she has.

He said, “When we have no country, we will have no government, we will have no National Assembly members, we will have no President nor Vice President and no governor.

“So, whatever it is that we are going to do, without prejudice to the right of everybody to feel the way he or she feels, please allow peace to reign.

“It is a right to feel angry and also a right to feel happy but talk in such a way that the country remains peaceful, stable and secure,’’ Abari said.

He further urged politicians not to create a situation that would lead to a breakdown of law and order through actions that are intemperate and wholesome.

“We are better together; if Nigeria breaks, which country in Africa can take 200 million refugees from Nigeria?

“God, in his infinite mercy, brought the Kanuri, Efik, Ijaw, Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, Tiv, Nupe, Igala, Benin and all other tribes we have in Nigeria together.

“We didn’t bargain to be here, God put us here, so we must be conscious of this.

“God has blessed Nigeria abundantly in terms of population, expansive land mass, resources, talents. So, we must be thankful to Him through actions that will bring out these bounties for the benefit of all.

“The path to greatness depends on how much we are able to respect and tolerate one another and contribute our quota to national development.

“It is easy to destroy but absolutely difficult to rebuild,’’ Abari warned.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Stakeholders lament absence of GBV court in Ebonyi

The Ebonyi Gender-based Violence (GBV) Taskforce has decried the non-availability of a special court for GBV cases saying it poses challenges to efforts in giving quick justice to victims.

Mrs Faithvin Nwanchor, Ebonyi Coordinator, GBV Task force, made this known on Sunday during a quarterly GBV stakeholders coordinators meeting in Abakaliki.

The meeting was organised and funded by the USAID-Integrated Health Programme (USAID-IHP), in collaboration with the state’s GBV Taskforce.

Nwanchor, also a Focal Person on Gender in the Ministry of Justice, Ebonyi, stated that there is a need to install the court as provided in the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) law .

According to her, since inception, effective awareness on the dangers of GBV as well as the encouragement for survivors to speak out, had improved.

She also identified the lack of mobility as challenges limiting prompt responses to the matters.

“Our greatest challenge is lack of speedy dispensation of justice. We hope that the GBV court, when set up, will deal with gender-based issues,” Nwanchor said.

Mr Augustine Onwe, the Gender Social Inclusion and Community Engagement Advisor IHP-USAID, said that the programme provides technical supports aimed at addressing all issues of GBV in the state.

Onwe added that the IHP programme is also geared towards eliminating maternal new born, child mortality and mobility in the state.

“We have been providing technical support to the ministry of health in the state and intervening in different areas such as maternal health, nutrition, immunisation and implementation of gender social inclusion.

“The idea of the meeting with the critical stakeholders was to find an avenue to continue to make our work better for the society” Onwe said.

Mrs Florence Egwu, Focal Personal at One-stop Centre, National Obstetrics Fistula Centre, said physical, economic, emotional and sexual violence were major challenges facing the people.

She urged the stakeholders to always enlighten people on the danger and consequences associated with the trend.

She encouraged the stakeholders to show more commitment in reducing GBV to the barest minimum in the state.

Mrs Bertha Offor, the Head, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Person (NAPTIP) in Ebonyi, recommended empowerment and building skills of survivors to improve their livelihoods.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

I’m not contesting governorship under LP- Sen. Araraume

Sen. Ifeanyi Araraume says he is not contesting the Imo governorship election under the Labour Party (LP) as he still remains a bona fide All Progressive Party (APC) member.

In a statement by Uche Anyanwu, his

SA Legal and Public Affairs, Araraume described the rumour about such moves as fake and unfounded.

“The attention of Senator Ifeanyi Araraume has been drawn to the mischievous and fake list of Labour Party governorship aspirants, making rounds in Sections of the Media wherein his name was published as having picked the expression of interest form to run for the office of governor in Imo state, under the Labour Party (LP).

“Senator Arararaume hereby reiterates unequivocally that he is still a bonafide member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Director of Trade and Economic Affairs (South) of the APC presidential campaign council (PCC).” he said.

Araraume reiterated that he is not a member of LP and has not picked or paid for any the party’s nomination form.

He said that he does not intend to pick the nomination form of the LP now or later in this dispensation.

“Senator Araraume is a responsible member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and does not even have the faintest idea who the Labour Party ward chairmam is in his immediate ward.”

Araraume said he is not a man to shy away from what he believes in and will not approach the Governoship contest in Imo state through the back door.

He added that his intentions about the would be without ambiguity whenever he decides to throw his hat into the ring for a contest which he has the requisite qualifications and capacity.

“The fake aspirants list under the Imo state Labour Party is a fabrication and the work of mischief makers, who are bent on using his name to score cheap political victory.”

The 2023 Imo State governorship election will take place on Nov. 11 due to the late inauguration of incumbent Gov. Hope Uzodinma of the APC.

Uzodinma is eligible to run for re-election, but has not yet stated whether he will do so.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Census: NOA begins nationwide sensitisation, advocacy

The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has started nationwide sensitisation and advocacy to educate Nigerians about the forthcoming National Population and Housing Census.

Director-General of the agency, Garba Abari, said this when he appeared on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja on Sunday.

He said that the sensitisation is to enlighten the public about the importance of census toward national planning and development.

Abari, who is a member of the National Publicity and Advocacy Committee for the census said ‘’the National Population Commission (NPC) has an elaborate publicity in the media advocacy workplan that will definitely saturate the airwaves in the next few weeks starting from today.

‘’The NPC is not unaware of the role of advocacy, enlightenment and sensitisation in creating necessary awareness around the census issue.

‘’Now that we have put the general elections behind us, the next important national event ahead of us is the national census,” he said.

He, therefore, appealed to the media, Civil Society Organisations, religious and traditional leaders, as well as other stakeholders to sensitise the public about the exercise and encourage them to participate fully.

‘’The media, community leadership, community ombudsmen, religious leaders, professional groups, everybody will be brought on board through conscious, extensive and expansive process and programmes to ensure necessary knowledge, awareness among Nigerians.

‘’It is not as if Nigerians are not aware of the census, perhaps what they need to see is continuous and consistency in awareness.

‘’There will be consistent messages every minute through the media, radio, social media, town criers, newspaper, television and discussions,’’ he said.

He reiterated the commitment of NOA in carrying out sensitisation programmes across every local government, especially rural areas, on the need to be captured in the exercise.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Pilgrims express hope of better Nigeria

Nigerians on pilgrimage in Israel on Sunday urged their compatriots to remain positive in their hope for a better nation.

A cross-section of the 9th batch of the 2022 pilgrims gave the advice in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), while touring the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem.

The Pool of Bethesda is the place where Jesus Christ miraculously healed a paralyzed, according to Christian tradition.

The Nigerians prayed at the pool — where Jesus healed the 38-year-old paralytic man, who never saw his miracle coming — asking God to intervene in Nigeria’s economic woes.

They also committed the challenges faced by their fatherland to God for a turnaround, believing that with God all things are possible.

Mrs Caroline Adepoju, Deputy Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, said she believed strongly that Nigeria’s glory would be restored.

“Faith, hope and love abide. I believe Nigeria will be better. Nigeria will overcome its challenges. Nigeria is a developing country and we will get there someday.

“Let’s be patient and stop the comparison with developed nations, they did not get there in one day.

“The paralytic was patiently waiting for his turn. It even came in a way he did not expect. So let us be patient in our prayers for our country.

According to Adepoju, through prayers and proper guide, children with various exposures will also contribute their quota in Nigeria’s sustainable development.

Also speaking, a cleric, Rev. Simeon Aderibigbe, admonished Nigerians to stop their constant fears of failure.

According to him, people should drop their failure where they failed and move on: “dare to forget about yesterday’s failure.

“Cultivate the habit of praying every morning and night, cultivate the habit of thanking God for everything.

Aderibigbe advised Nigerians to show mercy to people in distress, saying that Nigerians needed to appreciate God for everything.

“Do not be lazy. God will bless the work of your hand. Do not put the horse before the cart, find something doing. Take steps and move on.”

The clergyman also expressed his optimism that Nigeria would encounter breakthroughs and make impacts on the global arena.

The highpoint of the tour was prayers at the home of Mary, the Mother of Christ, who hailed from Bethesda, according to biblical records.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

2023 census will be digital- NOA

The 2023 National Population and Housing Census will be conducted digitally to ensure credibility and efficiency, Dr Garba Abari, the Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), says.

He made this known when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja on Sunday.

Abari, who is a member of the National Publicity and Advocacy Committee on Census, said the exercise would be facilitated by the use of digital technology, contrary to previous census conducted in the country.

He said ‘’this is one census that is going to be different from previous ones. To enhance the credibility of the exercise, this census is going to be digital.

‘’In the house listing and numbering, the National Population Commission (NPC) has perfected the space and got the point much beyond what google has done in the mapping.

‘’In terms of specificity and the correctness of the capture of every house and hamlet in Nigeria, NPC has gone far beyond what google had done.

‘’We may not say that we are absolutely 100 per cent correct, but 99 per cent of all houses, structures within the enclave of Nigeria’s territory had been captured digitally, far beyond what google can provide in terms of specificity.’’

The NOA boss explained that the digitalisation of the exercise would enhance credibility, ensure accurate data and respond to modern technology, in line with global practice.

He said ‘’digitalisation will enhance the credibility because there is a common template for

the exercise and that is all will be sent to the cloud.

‘’In our previous census exercises, we allowed perhaps owning to lack of sufficient knowledge about what the entire exercise is about.

‘’It was looked at from the prism of one region is larger than the other; one state is bigger than another, one local government is bigger than another, one senatorial district is bigger than another.

‘’And in the process, you miss out the most important element of the programme, which is getting sufficient data for planning.

“But the 2023 census is going to be a scientific census; a digital census that responds to the reality of today, responds to the information and technological revolution; it is a census that is aimed at bringing in credible, acceptable, open and transparent force,’’ he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Convocation: NOUN graduates 28,740 students

The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) on Saturday graduated 28,740 students, comprising 21,339 undergraduates and 7,401 post graduates, from all the institution’s study centres across the country.

The Vice-Chancellor of NOUN, Prof. Olufemi Peters, at the 12th convocation ceremony in Abuja, said 58 of the graduates are inmates of various Correctional Centres in the country.

Olufemi, while congratulating the students, also charged them to diligently apply themselves in whatever capacity with integrity as true ambassadors of NOUN.

According to him, every graduate should look forward with great expectation to the future, a future that holds the potential for the realisation of their dreams.

“I am delighted to inform you that it is now 20 years since the resuscitation of the National Open University of Nigeria and commencement of academic activities therein.

“This convocation therefore marks the commencement of activities to commemorate the resuscitation of the University.

“At the undergraduate level, we are presenting a total of 21,339 students, 6 students made First-Class degree; 2,306 students had Second Class Upper Division; 11,075 had Second Class Lower Division.

“Also, 5,558 had Third Class Degree, we also recorded 279 students’ Passes. We are graduating a total of 2,057 students in the Bachelor of Nursing Science Programme.

“85 of these are graduating with distinction; 1,231 are graduating with credit; while 75 are graduating with Pass degrees in the new classification system,” he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Oxfam, others advocate gender advancement through technology

Oxfam Nigeria and Women in Information Technology and Communication (ICT), have advocated for more women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-related fields to advance gender equity.

They made the call during an event, tagged “SHESHINES’’, to create more awareness on gender and creativity in Abuja.

The President, Women in ICT, Ms Kemisola Bolarinwa, stressed the need to encourage the society dismantle stereotypes and long-held beliefs on perceived appropriate careers meant for women and men.

According to her, women are often more productive in every areas, hence the need to increase their presence in technology, which will increase the turnout of inventions, innovative solutions and breakthrough in sciences.

Bolarinwa cited recent breakthrough in the early detection of cancer through the early cancer detection smart brassiere by her Women in ICT team as a perfect example of how creative women in the innovation space could be.

“Right now, the invention of the smart bra detects cancer.

“This cancer has been a disease that has been there for a very long time but even though we have a lot of men in the sciences, they couldn’t think through to solve women’s problem through technological invention.

“These are part of reasons why we need more women in STEM space generally,” she said.

She explained that the smartbra safely detects and monitors potential cancerous cells at an early form, which will reduce death rate by 80 per cent by 2030.

Prof. Olabisi Aina, Researcher and Lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, said the National Gender Policy aims to promote gender equality, women empowerment and human rights.

Aina, who led the 2006 Gender Policy for Nigeria, added that it would also provide platforms for more sectors of the economy such as the sciences, to key into the drive for gender mainstreaming.

“The National Gender Policy is an umbrella policy to which we expect that every sector, whether it is labour, environment, health and others, to key into and look at gender issues in their sectors and then draw policy guidelines in order to mainstream gender into what they do.

“Women are now competing with men in the workplace and do a variety of jobs from ICT to high profile corporate work.

“But in all of this, the environment of work is said for a long time to be very masculinised because men are in majority.

“Now that women are entering the labour sector, we recognise the need to make that workplace comfortable for men and women to work,’’ she said.

Also, Ms Esohe Ahior, a legal Practitioner and Head of Department, Poise Graduate Finishing Academy, highlighted the need to upscale youth in technology and innovation to advance their livelihood and enable them contribute to the economy.

Ahior revealed that through the support of OXFAM, they worked with Project Alliance Project to train girls in sectors like graphic design, reproductive health, among others to improve more participation of women in STEM fields as part of the International Women’s month.

According to her, over 190 marginalised girls who have been abused and who have become early mothers, and girls the economy has set aside as not being able to do things, have benefitted from the training.

“This training will help upscale girls in the technological field. Because in my organisation, women are doing more things in tech than men. Women are the lead trainers in tech, graphic designers, photographers.

“It is an eye opener and shows that women are just as hungry to be in tech space like the men, and some are even surpassing the men,’’ she said.

She added that women in STEM field have shown the strength, commitment and tenacity to even supercede societal expectations and the men in technology innovation.

NAN reports that other highlights were poetry recitations, music performances and presentations by various outstanding women and female groups.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria