We need UN assistance to demine Sambisa forest – General Buratai

Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, says Nigeria needs the assistance of United Nations (UN) to demine Sambisa forest in Borno state.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Buratai said the army is doing a “limited demining” of the forest to enable the troops move around for operations.

He said that this is in order to create safe routes for the troops to move from one place to another.

“The army is currently doing a limited demining of routes in the forest to enable troops to move around for operations,” Buratai said.

“Strictly speaking, we have not started demining the Sambisa forest. The areas we are concentrating on are where we are working, where our troops will have to move from one point to the other.

“These are the efforts we are making to create safe lanes for troops to pass from one point to the other. But, for our deliberate demining efforts, it will require much, much resources, much more effort, and we may even request for the civilian demining support in that regard.

“Demining is not restricted to the military only, there are several organisations that have been doing this, the UN is one and there are other NGOs that are involved which actually work under the umbrella of the UN.

“So, as comprehensive efforts, these bodies need to be invited to support what the military is doing right now in a limited capacity in that regard.”

The chief of army staff said there was need for the police to take over strategic areas so it would enable the army concentrate on the mop up of the remnants of Boko Haram insurgents.

“We need more policemen deployed even in Maiduguri, Damaturu, Bama, Damasak, Gubio, Monguno and Baga and other towns where people have returned, they – police need to really take over,” Buratai said.

“Apart from the regular police, the Mobile Police also are key, we need them to be there. There are concerns all over that at this stage we really need the civil authority to come and take up their responsibilities fully.”

He added that the army was guided by laws, including the 1999 constitution which specified its own rules of engagement and international law on armed conflict in its operations.

“We know what we are doing, definitely we will not infringe on individual rights. We have our own constitutional role; we have our own rules of engagement which are in tandem with our constitution, in tandem with even the international humanitarian law and the laws of armed conflict,” he said.

“If, in course of our duty, someone feels that something has gone wrong contrary to what they believe in and they go beyond to call for arms embargo and denial of certain weapons or equipment to the Nigerian military, I think the government will address that appropriately.”


Source: The Cable

“Stop forcing Nigerian refugees to return home”, UN tells Cameroon.

The UN has expressed concern over the forced return of Nigerian refugees from Cameroon in spite of recent tripartite agreement aimed at ensuring voluntary returns of nationals.

The refugees are part of the millions displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria. Majority of the displaced are internal within Nigeria with neighbouring countries like Cameroon and Niger hosting the others.

About 100,000 people have been killed since the insurgency started in 2009.

According to a statement from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday, Cameroon has forcefully returned more than 2,600 refugees back to Nigerian border villages “against their will”.

UNHCR spokesperson, Babar Balogh, said in the statement that the organisation was particularly concerned “as these forced returns have continued unabated”.

Mr. Balogh recalled that the governments of Nigeria and Cameroon signed a tripartite agreement with UNHCR in Yaoundé on March 2, 2017.

He said that the forced return of asylum-seekers and refugees was a “serious violation” of the 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1969 OAU Convention, which he said, Cameroon had ratified.

He, however, commended Cameroon for its generosity in hosting more than 85,000 Nigerian refugees but urged it to honour its obligations under international and regional refugee protection instruments.

The spokesman said that refugees had fled violent attacks from Boko Haram and urged that “their access to asylum and protection must be ensured”.

“Insecurity persists in parts of north-eastern Nigeria and access to basic services remains limited.

“Most returning refugees find themselves in situations of internal displacement upon return and are unable to return to their places of origin,” he stated.

He also said that UNHCR recognised the legitimate national security concerns of the Cameroon Government.


Source: NAN

Amosun, Shettima in UN headquarters as Amina Mohammed takes oath of office

Ibikunle Amosun, governor of Ogun state, and Kashim Shetimma, his Borno state counterpart, were among the Nigerian politicians who witnessed the swearing in of Amina Mohammed as deputy secretary-general of the United Nations (UN).

Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the UN, administered the oath on Mohammed, former minister of environment, at the UN headquarters in New York.

Guterres appointed her in December.

She had served Ban Ki-moon, the immediate past UN secretary-general, as under-secretary-general and special adviser on post-2015 development planning.

Mohammed was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, including the sustainable development goals.

Before joining the UN, she worked for three successive administrations in Nigeria, serving as special adviser on millennium development goals.

She provided advice on issues including poverty, public sector reform and sustainable development, and coordinating poverty reduction interventions.

An adjunct professor in Development Practice at Columbia University, Mohammed has served on numerous international advisory boards and panels.

Speaking in Abuja during a valedictory service organised in her honour last week, Mohammed said the development of Nigeria and Africa, will be her priority at UN.

One of the notable projects that the ministry of environment embarked upon under her watch was the flagging off of the cleanup of Ogoni land.

Ex-Minister Amina Mohammed to assume duty as UN Deputy Sec.-Gen. Tuesday

Amina Mohammed, the immediate past Minister of Environment, will be sworn-in on Tuesday as the UN Deputy Secretary-General at the UN Headquarters in New York, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Ms. Mohammed, who was appointed by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres on December 15, 2016 as his deputy, was supposed to assume office on January 1.

She, however, delayed the assumption of her new role at the request of President Muhammadu Buhari to complete some ongoing responsibilities she was handling at that time.

The office of the UN Deputy Secretary-General was formally established by the General Assembly in 1997 to handle many of the administrative responsibilities of the Secretary-General.

As the fifth Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Mohammed will help to manage the UN Secretariat operations, and “ensuring inter-sectoral and inter-institutional coherence of activities and programmes”.

She will also support the Secretary-General in elevating “the profile and leadership of the UN in the economic and social spheres, including further efforts to strengthen the UN as a leading centre for development policy and development assistance”.

In accepting the appointment, the then environment minister said she would continue to lay strong foundations for the various ongoing initiatives critical to the Federal Government’s success in the environment sector.

Ms. Mohammed also thanked her colleagues and the various stakeholders in the environment sector.

“The next phase of my continued service to the people of Nigeria at the global level, will certainly build on the rich insights and lessons drawn from engaging with leaders, colleagues and stakeholders across our beloved nation,” she said.

Ms. Mohammed served as UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning.

She was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the SDGs.

Before joining the UN, Ms. Mohammed worked for three successive administrations in Nigeria, serving as Special Adviser on MDGs.

She provided advice on issues including poverty, public sector reform and sustainable development, and coordinating poverty reduction interventions.


Source: NAN

Tears as FEC bids Environment minister farewell

Emotion ran high on Wednesday as the Federal Executive Council held a valedictory session in honour of the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, who is leaving the cabinet to take up an appointment at the United Nations.

She has been appointed as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Mohammed, who is billed to resume at the UN headquarters in New York, in March, attended her last council meeting on Wednesday.

The session, which was presided over by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, saw the minister as well as the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril, shedding tears.

Ministers took turns to eulogise Mohammed before Osinbajo rounded the emotion-laden session off with his remarks.

The ministers described her as a role model, a goal-getter and a source of pride to Nigeria.

Osinbajo lauded the contributions of Mohammed to the present administration’s achievements.

He said the minister seemed to be knowledgeable in practically all fields, including law.

Mohammed later thanked her colleagues for the honour.

She promised to keep Nigeria’s flag flying at the world stage when she resumes at the UN headquarters soon.

At the end of the session, the cabinet members took pictures with the outgoing minister.

She later told State House correspondents that Nigeria stood to gain a lot from her appointment.

She said, “Being there, you are closer to some of the decision-making. We do have some major challenges that are of concern to the global village.

“In the next two weeks or so, the UN Security Council should be visiting Nigeria and when it does, we will be showing them exactly what the President has been highlighting and that nexus between poverty, conflict and climate change.”

“They will visit the North-East and they will see some of the root causes of our young people being dragged to terrorism.”

3.6 million people in north-east Nigeria are food insecure, says UN agency.

The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations says about 3.6 million people in the north-east region of Nigeria are food insecure.

The north-east, particularly Borno state, has been ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Speaking with journalists on Tuesday, Dominic Burgeon, FOA director of emergency, said the issue of food security in the north-east is of major concern.

He said it was important that skills and tools were provided for people of the region to get back to their normal lives.

Burgeon noted that the FOA had empowered about 2,000 women and youth among Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri.

The FOA director said the agency’s objective was to target about 1.9 million farmers across the state who lost their means of livelihood to the insurgency.

“The food security issue in the North-East and particularly Borno is of particular concern to us. No fewer than 3.6 million people are currently food insecure. Therefore, the mission of the FOA is to help the IDPs to kick-start their lives,” Burgeon said.

“We know that Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for them and some of them have not been able to farm for about three to four years, while some have lost all their agricultural assets to the strangulating insurgency.

“That is why it is key to provide them with the skills and tools to enable them to get back to their normal life. We are also looking at livestock and aperculture production knowing fully that it would be of nutritional value for them.”

On his part, Salisu Ngulde, the Borno state monitoring and evaluation officer for International fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said the IDPs would be supported with 10 assorted seeds and 25 kilogramme of fertiliser.

“We are currently supporting them with 10 assorted seeds and 25 kilogramme of fertiliser in addition,” he said.

“They were divided into five sub-groups and each of them was given hand wash boreholes and water pumps.”

Amina Mohammed vows to make #Nigeria her priority in UN.

Amina Mohammed, outgoing minister of environment, says the development of Nigeria and Africa, will be her priority when she assumes office as deputy secretary-general of the United Nations (UN).

António Guterres, UN secretary-general, appointed Mohammed in December.

Speaking at a dinner which the ministry of foreign affairs organised in her honour, Mohammed pledged not to let her nation down.

She said her appointment was a great honour and a huge task, adding that her experience in the national assembly – referring to her screening – has prepared her for the global task.

The minister, who said she had spent four years in the UN, expressed satisfaction with the opportunity given to shape lives around the globe.

She added that Guterres appointed her because of her moral imperative to encourage others.

Thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for giving her the opportunity to serve, Mohammed said being “a made in Nigeria product”, bred in Nigeria, and panel beaten in Nigeria” had prepared her for the UN job.

Geoffrey Onyeama, foreign affairs minister, described Mohammed as a source of pride and respect for the nation.

He said her appointment had brought blessing to Nigeria.

“We are confident that her appointment was a win-win to Nigeria and the UN,” he said.

“To have her in the UN will make the implementation of the Sustainable l Development Goals (SGDs) achievable for Nigeria and the world.”

Nasir el-Rufai, Kaduna state governor, who spoke on behalf of the 36 governors, described Mohammed’s elevation to the “covetous” position in the UN, was a master stroke by the world body.

“Mohammed’s appointment is something that we are very proud of and thank Mr President for giving her the opportunity to serve,” he said.

“The minister has always distinguished herself; this is just the beginning; perhaps she may be the next African UN gecretary-general.”

UN peacekeepers kill four civilians in Central African Republic.

UN peacekeepers killed four civilians in western Central African Republic, CAR, on Friday.

The Bangladeshi soldiers of the UN peacekeeping Mission in CAR (MINUSCA) fired into a crowd of residents in the town of Bouar.

The residents were seeking refuge at the MINUSCA base in Bouar following rumours of an impending attack by an armed group, Benjamin Kaggama, a lawmaker from Bouar, told dpa.

The UN said it was launching an investigation into the deaths.

MINUSCA spokesman, Vladimir Moteiro, said: “peacekeepers prevented an incursion by a crowd of civilians heading towards their base.

“Under the impression that this was an incursion, and since the civilians wanted to get access to the ammunition depot of the base, those who have the responsibility to protect this depot fired in the air.”

Peace in the diamond-rich but poverty-stricken nation has been volatile since inter-religious violence broke out between Muslim and Christian rebel groups in 2013.


Source: NAN

Fighting Escalates in South Sudan – UN

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has voiced concerns about an escalation in the fighting between government and opposition forces in the west bank of the River Nile in the country’s north.

The Head of UNMISS, David Shearer, said the situation had reached “worrying proportions” according to a statement issued by the Office of Spokesperson for the UN peacekeeping operation.

“What began with an exchange of fire between SPLA (the Sudan People’s Liberation Army) and Aguelek opposition forces, has expanded geographically,” Shearer said in the statement.

The UN envoy noted that military resupplies have since been observed arriving in the area.

He said military operations on the west bank of the Nile River were taking place in an area where people, predominantly from the Shilluk ethnic group live, forcing people out of their homes.

“The town of Wau Shilluk is now reported to be deserted while humanitarian workers have been evacuated and aid is not being provided,” he added.

Shearer said he returned to the South Sudanese capital, Juba, on Thursday from a two-day field visit to Bentiu and Leer, two towns which have been among the most affected by the country’s conflict.

In Bentiu, he said’, he met state government officials, as well as internally displaced people who are living in the largest protection of civilians site in the country.

In Leer, he visited the mission’s temporary operating base to assess UNMISS’ success in mounting robust patrols which push the mission’s presence deep into the field.

He also said he held discussions with local officials and also took the opportunity to travel to an opposition-controlled area to meet with pro-Machar representatives so he could hear all shades of opinion on how to facilitate humanitarian assistance and advance the peace process.

“Both the local authorities and the opposition praised the UN for its efforts to facilitate communications between them.

“Mr Shearer heard that they both recognise that an inclusive national dialogue will assist the peace process,” the statement added.

South Sudan has faced ongoing challenges since a political face-off between President Salva Kiir and his then former Vice-President Riek Machar erupted into full blown conflict between forces loyal to each in December 2013.

The crisis has produced one of the world’s worst displacement situations with immense suffering for civilians.

Despite the August 2015 peace agreement that formally ended the war, conflict and instability have also spread to previously unaffected areas.

“Don’t leave ICC”, UN envoy tells African countries.

The UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, has warned African countries that withdrawing from the International Criminal Court, ICC, could have grave implications for victims seeking redress for serious human rights violations.

Mr. Dieng, who stated this in a commentary, said the setting up of the tribunal was a “reckoning” for those who had long disregarded the lives and dignity of their people.

The UN envoy explained that the ideals and values that inspired the creation of ICC still hold true.

“The establishment of the Court signified a global commitment to protect victims, when national judicial mechanisms lacked the capacity, willingness or jurisdiction to prosecute those responsible for the most serious crimes,” he said.

Highlighting the significance of the Court, Mr. Dieng said that the fact that most of the cases in the continent were submitted by African States themselves, reaffirmed their belief that it would strengthen the rule of law and respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the African people.

He, however, added that in spite of the ICC’s achievements, it is increasingly coming under threat, with recent announcements by Burundi, South Africa and The Gambia to withdraw from the Rome Statute.

“Other States have threatened to do so, if certain conditions are not met,” he said, noting that key among the concerns raised by these countries included the “lack of fairness in the prosecution decisions of the Court, perceived by some to disproportionately”.

Drawing attention to the ongoing atrocities in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, South Sudan and in other parts of the world, he underlined that the time is not right to abandon the Court.

“Rather, States and non-State members should reaffirm their commitment to strengthen the Rome Statute and ensure accountability for these horrendous crimes,” Mr. Dieng said.

He appealed to African countries to work collectively to ensure that the Court could effectively administer international criminal justice without fear or favour, contribute to the fight against impunity, and promote respect for the rule of law and human rights.

“As someone who witnessed first-hand the horrors in Rwanda, the Former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone and elsewhere, and who has been closely involved in the delivery of international justice at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, I know too well the consequences when the international community undermines the efforts of international justice.

“We owe it to the victims of these horrendous crimes to strengthen rather than undermine the International Criminal Court, and to reaffirm our commitment to the Rome Statute to ‘put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus contribute to their prevention,” he said.

According to him, a candid dialogue by the African countries and ICC will enhance mutual trust and cooperation.

Since the adoption of the Rome Statute in 1998, more than half of the world’s States have joined the Court, 34 among them are African nations, the biggest regional block to date .

In July 2017, the Court’s founding Statue will mark the 15th anniversary of its entry into force.


Source: NAN

Boko Haram is out of funds, UN envoy tells Security Council.

The Boko Haram group is currently plagued by financial difficulties, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, has said.

Mr. Feltman stated this while briefing the Security Council on the UN Secretary-General’s Fourth Report on the threat the group poses to international peace and security efforts to “check and roll it back” on Tuesday

The UN envoy also noted that Boko Haram was under intense military pressure, but warned against undermining its capacity to launch fatal attacks.

“ISIL-affiliate Boko Haram is attempting to spread its influence and commit terrorist acts beyond Nigeria.

“And Boko Haram remains a serious threat, with several thousand fighters at its disposal.

“It is, however, plagued by financial difficulties and an internal power struggle, and has split in two factions,” Mr. Feltman said.

While the previous reports on the subject had focused on South East Asia, Yemen and East Africa, Libya and Afghanistan, the fourth report focused on Europe, North Africa and West Africa.

It noted that ISIL had conducted a range of attacks in Europe since declaring in 2014 its intent to target the region.

Some of these attacks were directed and facilitated by ISIL personnel, while others were enabled by ISIL providing guidance or assistance or were inspired through its propaganda, it said.

The report stated that while the military offensive in Libya had dislodged ISIL from its stronghold Sirte, the group’s threat to Libya and neighbouring countries persists.

“Its fighters, estimated to range from several hundred to 3,000, have moved to other parts of the country.

“ISIL has increased its presence in West Africa and the Maghreb, though the group does not control significant amounts of territory in the region.

“The reported pledge of loyalty to ISIL by a splinter faction of Al-Mourabitoun led by Lehbib Ould Ali may elevate the level of the threat,” he said.

Following the increased military pressure, Mr. Feltman said ISIL is now on the defensive militarily in several regions, but was also adapting to military pressure by resorting to covert communications such as the “dark web”.

“Although its income and the territory under its control are shrinking, ISIL still appears to have sufficient funds to continue fighting,” he warned.

Mr. Feltman noted that ISIL relies mainly on income from extortion and hydrocarbon exploitation, even though resources from the latter are on the decline.

According to him, UN Member States are concerned that ISIL will try to expand other sources of income, such as kidnapping for ransom, and increase its reliance on donations.

“ISIL is adapting in several ways to military pressure, resorting to increasingly covert communication and recruitment methods, including by using the ‘dark web,’ encryption and messengers,” he warned.

The report also noted some of the measures taken by Member States and the UN, stressing the need to develop sustained and coordinated responses to the grave threat posed by ISIL and associated groups and entities.

Mr. Feltman said that there were 19 universal counter-terrorism conventions and protocols, as well as related regional instruments on international terrorism, and relevant UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions.

“But we need to do more, as Member States continue to face significant challenges to ensure effective international cooperation,” he said.

He warned that foreign terrorist fighters leaving the conflict could pose a grave risk to their homeland or to the countries they are travelling to or transiting through, such as Iraq and Syria’s neighbours, as well as countries in the Maghreb.

“Ultimately, it is the spread and consolidation of peace, security, development and human rights that will most effectively deprive terrorism of the oxygen it needs to survive,” he concluded.


Source: NAN

United ECOWAS, AU can salvage Africa – UN chief Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says ECOWAS intervention in The Gambia shows that a united ECOWAS and AU can take firm decisions against undemocratic forces and promote the freedom of the people on the continent.

Guterres, who made the remarks at a press briefing at the UN Headquarters on Wednesday in New York, commended the region for its contributions to promoting peace and security.

“What the Gambia episode has demonstrated is that when the neighbours of a country are together, when the sub-regional African organisation is united and the African Union is united, then it is possible for it also to decide.

“It is possible for action to be taken and for democracy, human rights and the freedom of the people to be defended.

“When there is division in the region, it is much more difficult for the UN to be able to act accordingly.

“I think we made an enormous progress in creating the conditions for a much more effective cooperation with the different African entities and the UN in addressing some of the most complex crises that we face.”

Guterres explained that his participation at the just concluded AU Summit was successful, saying that the objective of the UN and the AU was achieved.

According to him, his objective was to establish a higher platform of cooperation between the two organisations in relation to the sustainable of the African continent.

He added that establishing a higher platform in relation to the AU and UN cooperation in peace and security in so many areas of concern on the African continent was also his other objective at the summit.

The UN chief noted the unfortunate South Sudan crisis, saying that something urgent must be done to halt it and reverse the country to the road to peace.

He regretted that as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, his first mission was to go to Uganda to celebrate World Refuge Day with South Sudanese refugees in that country years back.

According to him, the 500,000 South Sudanese refugees in Uganda then went back home when the country was created with a lot of hope inspired in them.

“You can imagine now how tragic it is in South Sudan.

“And so one of my objectives was to try to establish a strong mechanism of cooperation between sub-regional organisations – African Union, IGAD and the UN.

“This is in order to be able to do everything possible to avert the worst in South Sudan and to bring the South Sudanese situation into a better track for peace.”

According to him, he had a Summit meeting with AU and Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on South Sudan.

“The summit agreed to work together to ensure the national dialogue that would be launched in South Sudan is truly inclusive, including all the key elements of the position.

“Ex-President Conare of Chad, the African Union mediator was fully empowered to launch a mediation process with total support of the UN, in close relationship with IGAD to monitor the peace process to ensure the dialogue is truly inclusive.

“In meeting with Salva Kiir, it was agreed that there will be better cooperation both for the UN peacekeeping force to operate freely in South Sudan and for the regional protection force to be put in place,” he said.

Guterres also said that an agreement was reached with Kenya for the country and other key neighbours to work together with the same objective and voice on South Sudan.

“This is to try to create a condition to avoid what could be a dramatic situation on ground and to put on track a peace process aiming at giving future hope to the South Sudan,” he said.


Source: NAN

It’s in your interest to help Nigeria, UN tells Europe.

Toby Lanzer, UN assistant secretary general and lead humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel, has advised European countries to help tackle the humanitarian crisis in countries in the Lake Chad region.

Lanzer said this ahead of a major donor conference in Oslo that will be co-hosted by Nigeria, Germany and Norway on February 24.

According to The Guardian, Lanzer said European countries have done too little to tackle the crisis despite the opportunity to address humanitarian and migration issues.

“It’s not only that we want Nigeria to be stable for the prosperity of that country and its people, it’s also in our broader interests at home,” the top UN official said.

“This is a double win, if you want. You don’t want the most populous country on the African continent becoming increasingly unstable; at the same time, you want people there prospering and not having to flee from violence or seek opportunity elsewhere.

“There is a convergence of interests here. I think the UK is probably doing all it can, both on the humanitarian and development fronts, but I think making calls to other capitals across Europe is going to be something that is really vital over the next two weeks to generate more interest.

“There are about 515,000 children who are at risk of starvation right now, so step up, Netherlands; step up, Denmark. You have got to show some solidarity now and it is in your interests to do so.”

A recent report published by the international organisation for migration (IOM) revealed that in 2016, Nigeria was the third largest source of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

The UN had in December 2016 urged global donors to pool $1.5bn (£1.2bn) for the crisis in the Lake Chad region, including $1.05bn for Nigeria.

Only 53% of the requested amount had been received as at January, the report says.

President Donald Trump to cut off funding to UN agencies that promote abortion.

The administration of President Donald Trump is planning to stop funding any United Nations (UN) agency that promotes “the performance of abortion or sterilisation as a method of family planning”.

It is one of a number of prohibitions in the executive order that sets up a process for reviewing all American contributions to the UN—and automatically eliminating many others.

Also on the chopping block is “any United Nations affiliate or other international organisation that grants full membership to the Palestinian Authority or the Palestinian Liberation Organisation”; any organisation “substantially influenced by any state that sponsors terrorism”; and any group circumventing sanctions against North Korea or Iran.

The draft order, if enacted, would be a significant expansion on the so-called Global Gag Rule, which was first implemented by Ronald Reagan in 1984.

It was overturned during every Democratic administration, but Trump reinstated and expanded by it this week.

The Global Gag Rule only restricts usage of federal funding to organisations that do not promote (or even mention) abortion.

Trump’s draft order goes further to include sterilisation, a crucial medical procedure for women in a world where an estimated 300,000 women die during childbirth annually.

The United Nations Population Fund is one of several UN organisations that would receive a “special review of funding” under the draft order.

UNFPA states as its aim “a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.”

The organisation fights against child marriage, female genital mutilation, and maternal death. In addition, the UNFPA has played a role in assuring that pregnant women fleeing conflict are able to safely give birth.

UN Condemns Israel’s West Bank Settlement Plans.

The United Nations has condemned Israel’s plans to build more settlements in the occupied west bank.


A UN spokesman said “unilateral actions” are an obstacle to peace based on a two-state solution.


According to the BBC, on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said his government would build 2,500 more homes in Jewish settlements “in response to housing needs”.


It is the second of such announcements by the Israeli authorities since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.


Palestinian officials however say the plans undermine peace hopes by building on land what they want for a future state.


President Trump on the other hand, has indicated that he will be more sympathetic to settlement construction than his predecessor, Barack Obama, and has appointed a staunch settlement supporter as his ambassador to Israel.


Source: Channels TV

Boko Haram Must Not Regroup – UN

UN Security Council has tasked the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to prevent Boko Haram insurgents from regrouping.

The Council said that destructive insurgents who were recently dislodged from their safe haven in Sambisa Forest should not be allowed to regroup.

The Task Force was set up by Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and the Republic of Benin to tackle Boko Haram insurgents.

The Security Council, in a Presidential Statement, reiterated that terrorism should be combated in all forms to prevent its spread.

“The Council urged the Multinational Joint Task Force participating countries to further enhance regional military cooperation and coordination.

“The Force should deny safe haven to Boko Haram, and facilitate the restoration of civilian security and the rule of law in areas liberated from the militant group.” “The Council called on Governments in the region to facilitate access for humanitarian organizations, and to work with the UN and international partners to develop viable options for delivering aid.”

It strongly condemned all terrorist attacks in West Africa, particularly those carried out by Boko Haram militants in the Lake Chad Basin.

The Security Council stressed the need to combat terrorism in all its forms and to address the conditions conducive to its spread. The 15-member body reiterated its deep concern over the dire humanitarian situation caused by the activities of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin region.

“In this regard, the Security Council calls upon the international community to immediately support the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance for the people most affected by the crisis.

“These people are in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, including by fulfilling the UN appeal for the Lake Chad Basin region.”

It further welcomed sub-regional, regional and international efforts to mitigate the security, humanitarian and development impact of Boko Haram’s activities.

The Security Council underlined that the UN Member States must ensure that any counter-terrorism measures are in compliance with all obligations under international law, particularly international human rights, humanitarian and refugee laws.

The statement also expressed deep regret over bombing of the camp for displaced persons in Rann on Jan. 17, which resulted in the deaths of numerous civilians, including internally displaced persons and humanitarian workers. The Council also urged the Federal Government to investigate the incident swiftly.

The Council welcomed recent positive political developments in several West African countries, in particular the holding of free and peaceful elections in Cape Verde and Ghana.

It also commended the outcome of the political dialogue in Guinea, as well as welcomed steps taken to develop and institute political, institutional and constitutional reforms in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

The Council said it was encouraged by the ECOWAS authority’s decision concerning the political situation in The Gambia, and commended its action which ensured peaceful transition.

It also commended the decisions by the AU Peace and Security Council that ceased to recognise out-gone President Yahya Jammeh as the legitimate President of The Gambia.




ECOWAS, AU, UN to ensure Jammeh’s liberty to return to Gambia when he chooses

The ECOWAS, African Union and UN have said they would work with the new Gambian government to ensure that former President Yahya Jammeh was at liberty to return to the country when he wanted.

The former president left Banjul on Saturday to go into exile after he was pressurised by the ECOWAS to rescind his earlier decision not to accept the outcome of Dec. 1 presidential election, which saw him losing to the opposition candidate, Adama Barrow.

Mr. Jammeh’s return would be in accordance with international human rights law and his rights as a citizen and a former head of state, they stated in a joint declaration in Banjul.

They commended the “goodwill and statesmanship” of the former president for facilitating “an immediate peaceful and orderly transition process and transfer of power to President Adama Barrow in accordance with the Gambian constitution”.

They also commended him for his interest in the Gambian people and preserving the peace, stability and security in the country.

The declaration stated that Mr. Jammeh’s departure from The Gambia on Saturday was temporary adding that it was in order to assist a peaceful and orderly transition and transfer of power and the establishment of a new government.

The blocs noted that his leaving was without any prejudice to his rights as a citizen, a former president and a political party leader.

They further assured that host countries that would offer “African hospitality” to the former president and his family do not become undue targets of harassment, intimidation and all other pressures and sanctions.

They also committed to work with the current government to prevent the seizure of assets and property lawfully belonging to Mr. Jammeh or his family and those of his cabinet members, government officials and party supporters.

“Further, ECOWAS, the AU and the UN commit to work with the Government of The Gambia to ensure that it fully guarantees, assures and ensures the dignity, security, safety and rights of former President Jammeh’s immediate family, cabinet members, government officials, Security Officials and party supporters and loyalists.

“ECOWAS, the AU and the UN urge the Government of The Gambia to take all necessary measures to assure and ensure that there is no intimidation, harassment and/or witch-hunting of former regime members and supporters, in conformity with the Constitution and other laws of The Gambia,” they stated.

The regional organisations said they would work with the government on national reconciliation to “avoid any recriminations”.

They also assured that they would take all measures to support the maintenance of the integrity of the security forces and guard against all measures that would create division and a breakdown of order.

“Pursuant to this declaration, ECOWAS will halt any military operations in The Gambia and will continue to pursue peaceful and political resolution of the crisis.”

Meanwhile, President Adama Barrow has said he would return to The Gambia on Monday.

Mr. Barrow confirmed this on his twitter handle, @adama_barrow, on Sunday.

He said: “I will be returning to my homeland, the Republic of The Gambia tomorrow. #Gambia.”

Mr. Barrow, who took the oath of office in the Gambian Embassy in Senegal on Thursday, has assured citizens who fled that “they now have the liberty to return home”.

He succeeded Yahya Jammeh, who lost in the Dec. 1 presidential election and refused to vacate office when his 22-year rule expired midnight on Thursday.


Source: NAN

UN says no justice in South Sudan after July rapes, killings.

The UN has criticised South Sudan for failing to pursue justice after grave human rights abuses, including killings and gang rapes, were committed during an explosion of violence in Juba in July, 2016.

Forces loyal to South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar engaged in five days of street battles with anti-aircraft guns, attack helicopters and tanks.

The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the UN Human Rights Office said it documented 217 cases of rape, including gang rape, committed by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, SPLA.

Others are the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) and other armed groups from July 8 to 25, 2016.

The South Sudan government spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

“The fighting that erupted in July 2016 was a serious setback for peace in South Sudan and showed just how volatile the situation in the country is.

“This caused the civilians to be living under the risk of mass atrocities,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said.

He said absence of any semblance of justice and accountability for the violations perpetrated including possible war crimes, such unbridled outbursts of violence could quickly escalate for civilians to continue suffering immensely.

“Concrete steps to halt this downward spiral must be urgently taken, beginning with justice and accountability.”

Political rivalry between Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his former deputy Machar, a Nuer, led to civil war in 2013 that has often followed ethnic lines.

The pair signed a shaky peace deal in 2015, but fighting has continued.


Source: NAN

Boko Haram: UN fires back at Borno governor over allegations on misuse of funds

Edward Kallon, the UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator to Nigeria, has refuted Borno Gov. Kashim Shettima’s allegations of under-performance and misuse of funds against UN agencies in the North-East.

Mr. Kallon said during a courtesy visit to the Executive Director of Victims Support Fund (VSF), Sunday Ochoche, on Wednesday in Abuja, that UN agencies had scaled up their presence and assistance in the area.

According to him, UN agencies have currently reached over 2 million people with humanitarian assistance as against barely 100,000 people as at October 2016.

“The challenges are enormous but there has been a lot of progress on humanitarian response since October 2016 when I assumed duty as the UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP resident Representative to Nigeria.

“Before I came, the international community was barely reaching 100,000; however, in December, humanitarian assistance was reaching over 1 million families,” he said.

“Presently, humanitarian assistance is reaching about two million people in the North-East; there has been a huge progress so far.

“The UN system is an accountable system and if we receive a request from the Governor of Borno on what we are bringing in and what is being spent we would give that information.

“Such information is not hidden.’’

Mr. Shettima had on Tuesday attacked UN organisations and over 100 nongovernmental in the north-east, accusing them of misusing funds meant for people displaced by Boko Haram crisis.

He singled out UNICEF for rebuke, but also praised eight organisations for their efforts.

On allegations of misuse of funds, the UNDP representative described it as unfair as the operations in the North-East were being executed at a cost which must be met.

He explained that respective UN agencies had the moral obligation of ensuring the security and safety of its staff in the country.

The UNDP Chief therefore advised the Federal Government and relevant authorities at all levels no to politicise the role and response of the UN and international communities in the North-East.

Mr. Kallon advised government agencies to ensure the accountability of government funds being contributed to the efforts in the North-East.

According to him, his principal goal is to ensure coordination among stakeholders in the field through effective synergy.

He applauded VSF for its role in the reconstruction efforts in the North-East towards rebuilding public and personal structures as well as rebuilding lives and livelihoods.

Mr. Kallon said the UN had launched a humanitarian response plan, where it is requesting a million dollars to provide humanitarian assistance to over 5.6 million people affected by the conflict in North-East.

Responding, Mr. Ochoche thanked the UNDP chief for his efforts so far since he assumed duty.

He said the challenges in the North-East were beyond one agency or government to manage, adding that partnership and collaboration were inevitable moving forward.

Mr. Ochoche said the fund was focusing on addressing the crises around health, social services, education and economic empowerment of women.

According to him, VSF has been supporting the safe return of IDPs and rehabilitating those trapped in Boko Haram enclaves back to their communities.

Mr. Ochehe urged Kallon to collaborate with the state government as Shettima’s allegations could be due to a mild miscommunication.

Women, girls are two-thirds of trafficked victims – UN

No less than two-thirds of trafficked victims are women and girls while one-third of the victims of human trafficking are children, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, said on Wednesday.

UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, disclosed this on Wednesday at the launch of the 2016 UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.

According to a new report from the UNODC, the vast majority of all human trafficking victims – some 71 per cent – are women, girls and children.

“Trafficking for sexual exploitation and for forced labour remain the most prominently detected forms.

“But victims are also being trafficked to be used as beggars, for forced or sham marriages, benefit fraud, or production of pornography,” Mr. Fedotov said.

According to him, the 2016 UNODC Global Report disaggregates data on the basis of gender and found that women and girls are usually trafficked for marriage and sexual slavery.

“Men and boys, however, are trafficked into exploitative labour, including work in the mining sector, as porters, soldiers, and slaves.

“Worldwide, 28 per cent of trafficking victims are children, but children account for 62 per cent in Sub-Saharan Africa and 64 per cent in Central America and the Caribbean.

“Sixty nine countries detected trafficking victims from Sub-Saharan Africa between 2012 and 2014.”

Fedotov emphasised the link between armed groups and human trafficking.

He noted how armed groups often engaged in trafficking in their territories of operation, coercing women and girls into marriages or sexual slavery.

According to him, armed groups also pressed men and boys to act as forced labour or combatants.

He Must Vacate Office Jan. 19, Says UN

The United Nations (UN) Security Council said yesterday that President Jammeh must respect the results of the Dec. 1 presidential election.

The UN said he must carry out a peaceful and orderly transition process and transfer power to President-elect Adama Barrow by Jan. 19 in accordance with Gambia’s Constitution.

In a Presidential Statement S/PRST/2016/19 after a seven-minute meeting, read by Council President for December, Román Marchesi (Spain), the 15-country-member organ restated its stance on Gambia.

The Security Council recalled the press statement of the Council members on Dec. 10, 2016, and took note of the communiqué of the Chairman of the AU on Dec. 10, 2016.

It also recalled the joint communiqué of the ECOWAS Commission, the AU Commission and the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel on Dec. 10, 2016 regarding the situation in the Islamic Republic of the Gambia.

“The Security Council welcomes and is encouraged by the decisions on the political situation in the Gambia of the 50th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority held in Abuja on Dec. 17, 2016.’’

The council applauded the decisions of the AU Peace and Security Council, at its 644th meeting held on Dec. 12, 2016, and the AU to recognise Mr Adama Barrow as President-elect of the Gambia.

“The Security Council reiterates its request to outgoing President Jammeh and the relevant Gambian Authorities to fully respect the results of the presidential election of Dec. 1, 2016.

“Jammeh should also respect the will of the Gambian people and to carry out a peaceful and orderly transition process, and to transfer power to President-elect Adama Barrow by Jan. 19, 2017 in accordance with the Gambian Constitution.

“The Security Council further welcomes the decision of ECOWAS Heads of State to attend the Jan. 19, 2017 inauguration of President-elect Barrow in Banjul,” the presidential statement read.

The council reiterated its support to the ECOWAS position on the Gambia and welcomed the appointment of President Muhammadu Buhari to lead further negotiations with both Jammeh and Barrow.

“The Security Council expresses its intention to continue to follow the situation in the Gambia closely.”

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He must vacate office Jan. 19, says UN

UN Pledges More Humanitarian Support In Northeast Nigeria.

The United Nations has pledged to beef up humanitarian support to the government of Nigeria to restore normalcy and security to the North East.

The Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mr. Janthomas Hiemstra, revealed his mission to journalists shortly after a courtesy call on the General Officer Commanding 7 Division of the Army in Maiduguri, Brigadier General Victor Ezugwu.

Hiemstra said: “The UNDP is going to put more presence in this area because we believe that the situation for Nigerian people have evolved to outside of the humanitarian situation.

“The military have done their work. The humanitarian are still looking at where are the people that are really suffering and have no food but the development programmes to come in also and say it’s not about food it’s about jobs, business.

“It is about agriculture, it is about people rebuilding houses, rebuilding secretariat buildings, clinics and schools, so this is the next phase that would have to happen together with humanitarian work.

“The UNDP is a specialised agencies that would work with other agencies towards recovery and development in the Northeast.

“We have reassured the General Officer Commanding that we will be beefing up our office and our activities and he appears to be pleased with that,” Hiesmstra stated.

SERAP accuses senate of violating Magu’s rights, petitions UN

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has petitioned Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders over the “intimidation, harassment and unfair treatment” of Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The upper legislative chamber had refused to confirm Magu’s appointment, citing a security report by the Department of State Services (DSS) as its reason.

But in the petition dated December 16, and signed by Adetokunbo Mumuni, its executive director, SERAP accused lawmakers of vilifying the anti-graft czar.

“The senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria apparently working with other agencies of government to use a purported security report the senate knew or ought to know is baseless and politically motivated to reject Mr Magu’s confirmation as substantive chairman of the EFCC,” the petition read.

“By relying on a report they knew or ought to know is baseless and politically motivated to reject Mr Magu’s appointment as chairman of the EFCC, the senate of Nigeria has flagrantly violated his right to fair hearing, and is implicitly working to weaken, intimidate, harass and ultimately undermine the independence and freedom of action of the EFCC in its efforts to combat high-profile official corruption.

“SERAP believes that the action by the Senate of Nigeria and other agencies of government apparently working with them undermines and violates Nigeria’s international obligation to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the human rights of the citizens, which inevitably creates a duty for the government to establish efficient and independent anti-corruption mechanisms.”

SERAP urged Forst to “urgently intervene in this matter to stop further intimidation and harassment of a prominent anti-corruption campaigner and human rights defender”.

“Apart from the fact that the allegations against Mr. Magu are baseless and politically motivated, the Senate of Nigeria flagrantly denied him constitutionally and internationally guaranteed right to a fair hearing by not providing him an opportunity to respond to the allegations against him,” the  petition read.

“The senate confirmation hearing therefore amounts to a nullification, or destruction of the very essence of the fundamental principles of fair hearing.

“The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria relying on a baseless and politically motivated report declined to confirm the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as substantive chairman of the country’s leading anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The Senate claimed that its action was based on a purported security report forwarded to it by the State Security Service.”

Buhari Lauds Amina Mohammed’s Appointment as UN Deputy Secretary-General

The new UN Secretary-General António Guterres yesterday announced the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed as his Deputy Secretary-General.

Guterres made the announcement through the spokesman of the Secretary-General, Mr. Stephane Dujarric.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Guterres also announced the duo of Ms. Maria Viotti of Brazil and Ms. Kyung-wha Kang of the Republic of Korea into high-profile positions at the UN.

“I am pleased to announce that I will be appointing Mrs. Amina J. Mohammed of Nigeria as my Deputy Secretary-General, and Ms. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil as my Chef De Cabinet.

“I also intend to create the position of Special Advisor on Policy, and to appoint Ms. Kyung-wha Kang of the Republic of Korea to this new role.

“I am happy to count on the efforts of these three highly competent women, whom I have chosen for their strong backgrounds in global affairs, development, diplomacy, human rights and humanitarian action.

“These appointments are the foundations of my team, which I will continue to build, respecting my pledges on gender parity and geographical diversity,” Guterres said.

Prior to her appointment as Minister of Environment a year ago, Mrs. Mohammed had served as the UN Under Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the outgoing Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning.

She was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

Before joining the UN, Mrs. Mohammed worked for three successive administrations in Nigeria, serving as Special Adviser on the Millennium Development Goals.
She provided advice on issues including poverty alleviation, public sector reforms and sustainable development, and coordinating poverty reduction interventions.

She was also an Adjunct Professor in Development Practice at Columbia University, and served on numerous international advisory boards and panels, including the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Others included the Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, and the Global Development Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

She was also on the UN Secretary-General’s Global Sustainability Panel, the African Women’s Millennium Initiative, Girl Effect and the ActionAid International Right to Education Project.

Born in 1961, and educated in Nigeria and the UK, Mrs. Mohammed is married and has six children.

Read More: thisdaylive

Biafra: Conduct referendum to know if Igbos still want Nigeria – Uwazuruike begs UN

Leader of Biafra Independence Movement, BIM, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, has appealed to the United Nations, UN, to quickly carry out a referendum which would determine if the Igbos still want to remain in Nigeria or in the alternative, recognize Biafra as an independent nation.

Uwazuruike made the appeal on Thursday in a press statement, signed on his behalf by the Director of Information of the group, Chris Mocha and made available to newsmen.

He cried out that more than two million Igbos have been killed between 1967 and 2016.

According to him, “There is no doubt that if this staggering number of deaths had occurred in Europe or the United States of America, the UN would have deemed in extremely necessary and expedient to conduct a referendum to save lives and determine the way forward.

“The referendum has become absolutely necessary.”

He recalled that the UN had done similar things in so many other countries.

Uwazuruike added, “A referendum was similarly conducted between Britain and Scotland. Only recently too, a plebiscite was conducted June 23, 2016, in Britain to determine whether the country should remain in European Union or not.

“Nigeria has committed more atrocities against a particular people than those countries where these referendums were conducted.

“Ndigbo have suffered for too long, since the forceful amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates by the British Government in 1914.”

The BIM Leader assured the UN that his people will record 100 percent vote in favour of an independent Biafra, adding that, “no true son of the area will prefer the vexatious status quo to remain.”

“Biafra has all the structures, including offices in the senatorial districts, qualified personnel, flag, currency, coat of arm, security, international passport, ministerial departments, income tax and a host of other facilities, to support a status of an independent nation.”

FG yet to be officially notified of Amina Mohammed’s appointment by UN

The Nigerian government said on Sunday that it was yet to be formally notified of the appointment of a serving minister as deputy UN Secretary General.

The presidency said Amina Mohammed is comfortable in her current position as the minister of environment.

A tweet posted by Garba Shehu, a media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, described reports that Ms. Mohammed had been named as a deputy to Antonio Guterres, the recently-appointed Secretary General, as containing elements of “exuberance.”

PREMIUM TIMES broke news of the appointment on Sunday afternoon, prompting the statement from the Buhari administration.

Multiple sources including Nigerian government officials and persons close to Ms. Mohammed confirmed the appointment to PREMIUM TIMES. However, the appointment is yet to be formally announced by the UN or communicated to the Nigerian government.

“There is a lot of exuberance on the net concerning a UN job for Mrs Amina Mohammed. She remains our Minister of Environment,” Mr. Shehu said.

Nonetheless, “If there is anything on this that is released officially, we will let Nigerians know,” he added.

Ms. Mohammed, from Gombe State, was named as the Minister of Environment late last year. She is widely acknowledged for her competence and agility.

In May, she coordinated the launch of a major cleanup effort in Ogoniland, where residents have grappled with deadly environmental hazards for decades as a result of oil exploration there.

A profile of Ms. Mohammed on the UN Sustainable Development website said she served three Nigerian presidents as the Senior Special Assistant on the Millennium Development Goals over a period of six years.

In 2005 she was charged with the coordination of the debt relief funds ($1 billion per annum) towards the achievement of Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria.

Her mandate included designing a Virtual Poverty Fund with innovative approaches to poverty reduction, budget coordination and monitoring, as well as providing advice on pertinent issues regarding poverty, public sector reform and sustainable development.

From 2002-2005, Ms. Mohammed served as coordinator of the Task Force on Gender and Education for the United Nations Millennium Project. Prior to this, she served as Founder and Executive Director of Afri-Projects Consortium, a multidisciplinary firm of Engineers and Quantity Surveyors (1991-2001) and worked with the architectural engineering firm of Archcon Nigeria in association with Norman and Dawbarn UK (1981-1991).

Ms. Mohammed is expected to assume her new position in the UN after the Antonio Guterres assumes office as the Secretary General of the world body by January 1, 2017.

Her departure will leave another seat vacant in Mr. Buhari’s cabinet, since the president has not replaced James Ocholi, a former Minister of State for Labour and Productivity who died on March 6, 2016.

Super Falcons: SERAP Drags FG, NFF to UN

A human rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has petitioned the UN Working Group on the issues of discrimination against women in law and in practice.

He, therefore, requested the body to use its mandate and position to urgently order the Nigerian government and the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, to clear the allowances of Super Falcons.

In the petition dated December 7 2016, and signed by SERAP’s executive director, Adetokumbo Mumuni, the group pointed out that it was unlawful to discriminate in payment arrangements in relation to sex and gender.

The Super Falcons did the country proud in Cameroon last week by clinching their 8th African Women Cup of Nations, AWCON title, beating the host 1-0 in the final.

The team is still in their hotel in Abuja protesting nonpayment of their allowances and match bonuses.

And SERAP is asking the Working Group to “request the authorities to immediately pay each player of the Super Falcons of Nigeria the sum of $30,000 USD for winning the African Women Cup of Nations. This is the equivalent of what the government paid their male counterparts for winning the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.”

The organization also asked the UN body to mandate the Nigerian authorities to “End pay inequalities across the national teams and demonstrate commitment to fairness and equality in the treatment of both male and female players.”

According to the petition, “SERAP is seriously concerned about the large and stubborn gender pay gap between the Super Eagles’ players and the Super Falcons’ players. The discriminatory treatment of the Super Falcons’ players by the authorities is indicative of the systemic discrimination against women and girls in Nigeria, and the undervaluation of work commonly done by women.

“While a State’s compliance with the obligations under these treaties is assessed in the light of financial and other resources, a lack of resources cannot justify inaction or indefinite postponement of implementation. This is particularly so when discrimination exists, as we believe it is the case with respect to the unfavourable treatment of the Super Falcons’ players.

“SERAP also argues that the Nigerian government cannot use recession and the current economic situation in the country to objectively justify a difference in treatment of the players of the Super Eagles and the Super Falcons on grounds of sex. To hold otherwise is to undermine the integrity of the international human rights treaties and ILO conventions which Nigeria has ratified.

“In fact, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2009) has said that the failure to remove differential treatment on the basis of a lack of available funds is not an objective and reasonable justification unless every effort has been made to use all resources that are at a State party’s disposal to eliminate the discrimination, as a matter of priority.

“SERAP argues that the failure by the Nigerian authorities to pay the players of the Super Falcons as promised violates the players’ right to equal pay, which is a fundamental tenet of gender equality.

“SERAP believes that the male and female national teams deserve equal pay systems that are transparent and value the efforts put in by these players. Fair and non-discriminatory systems represent best practices, consistent with Nigeria’s international human rights obligations and commitments.”

China sends another 120 army peacekeepers to South Sudan

China has sent 120 troops to South Sudan as part of a 700-member U.N. peacekeeping force, deepening its commitment to the troubled East African nation where two Chinese peacekeepers were killed in fighting over the summer.


Once the entire battalion is deployed, they will replace Chinese peacekeepers currently in place, the second battalion to be deployed to South Sudan to protect civilians, U.N. staff and humanitarian workers, conduct patrols and provide security escorts.


South Sudan has seen continuous fighting since its civil war broke out in December 2013. The more than 12,000 U.N. peacekeepers already in the country have been criticized for failing to protect civilians. China was an early investor in the new state’s energy sector, but fighting and corruption have largely prevented it from reaping any benefits.


In July, two Chinese peacekeepers died and five others were wounded after their vehicle was struck with a rocket propelled grenade as fighting swept the capital, Juba.


As part of its push to raise its international profile, China has become the biggest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, with 2,639 currently deployed.


President Xi Jinping said last year that China would also set up a permanent peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops to be deployed whenever necessary.

Hunger Will Not Kill Nigerians, Presidency Faults UN Report

The Presidency says the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is responsible and will not allow starvation to kill millions of Nigerians.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Mallam Garba Shehu said this on Sunday in a reaction to the recent alarm by some aid agencies that starvation would kill one million internally displaced persons in the northeast next year.

He said the nation appreciated the increasing humanitarian assistance complementing the federal and state governments’ efforts in the region currently facing humanitarian crisis.

Shehu explained that the crisis was a problem Buhari’s administration continued to handle with great sensitivity.

He stated: “This notwithstanding, we’re concerned about the blatant attempts to whip up a nonexistent fear of mass starvation by some aid agencies; a type of hype that does not provide solution to the situation on the ground, but more to do with calculations for operations financing locally and abroad. In a recent instance, one arm of the United Nations screamed that 100,000 people will die of starvation next year. A different group says a million will die.

“The displacement pattern as revealed by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) with the International Organisation for Migration indicates that there are currently about two million people who are displaced. Only about 20 percent of this is however in IDP camps. This much reduced numbers are in Borno in 13 formal and 16 satellite camps; four of such camps currently operating in Adamawa and about the same number in Yobe. The larger number of the IDP population is living either in self-settled camps or with host communities. The affected states with active collaboration with NEMA and the recently inaugurated Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative are deeply involved in efforts to cushion the humanitarian challenges especially on food security and nutrition.

“Through an ongoing arrangement, NEMA provides raw food items to IDPs at formal camps, self-settled centres, host communities and satellite centres. The states for their part provide condiments, firewood and maintain environmental quality of the IDP camps. Beyond the IDP camps, government agencies are  distributing food in host communities. The T.Y Danjuma-led PCNI is currently doing this in Borno State. In addition to the supply of food, the Federal Government, through NEMA and the PCNI, has made the provision of drugs to some major hospitals in the zone as a priority. These agencies have also been deploying on continuous basis, medical teams and equipment to the North-East to support the provision of medicare to the IDPs.

“This country has a responsible government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari which is doing a lot to bring relief to the displaced people. The Nigerian government which has been making the most efforts in the entire endeavour will continue to work closely with the local and international response groups to overcome this humanitarian crisis. At this time when the focus is gradually shifting to towards rehabilitation, reconstruction, resettlement, recovery and the dignified return of IDPs back home, we can do with all the support out there in the donor community.

“We do not, however, see the reason for the  theories and hyperbolic claims being made ostensibly to draw donor support by some of the aid agencies. The situation on the ground, as it exists, provides sufficient motivation to all well-meaning donors to come and do a decent part. The hype, especially that which suggests that the government is doing nothing is therefore uncharitable and unnecessary.”

Credit: dailytrust

UN Needs $1bn to Deliver Life-Saving Assistance in the North East

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has said the agency would need $1 billion in its bid to provide urgent and quality humanitarian assistance to victims of Boko Haram Insurgency in the three northern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe in 2017.
The amount which is more than double of what the agency appealed for in 2016 is occasioned by the worsening humanitarian conditions in the area, which is said to be the worst in the region.
United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Peter Lundberg, disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja, at the unveiling of the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017.
He said, “Together with 75 partners, we are seeking US$1 billion to deliver life-saving assistance and prevent further hardship for the children, women and men in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States, and we are particularly reaching out to Nigerian private sector.
“We are grateful to the international community for their support so far, but we ask for commitments throughout 2017 to prevent this disaster from escalating into widespread catastrophe.”
Lundberg, while calling for urgent support from all and sundry stated that if nothing urgently is done to help mitigate the situation, millions of people in the area may lose their lives within the next few months.
He disclosed that the 2017 plan will focus on 8.5 million people in need of urgent assistance and also aimed at reaching 6.9 million people with life-saving humanitarian support. Also targeted are the over 75,000 children who may like die from severe famine and malnutrition if something urgent is not done.
Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who appreciated the agency and the entire international community for rallying round Nigeria in this crisis situation, disclosed that the government is not just focused on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) but the interest of all communities affected and also those communities that have been providing support to the IDPs.
Stressing the urgent need to address the issue of hunger, Ahmed appealed to the agency and her partners to scale up efforts and reach at least 3 million people with food supplies. She also tasked the agency on improving health conditions in the region by particularly ensuring that the renewed outbreak of polio in the area is curtailed.
“Education is also important as a lot of these children have been out of school for a very long time. 50% of the 8.1 million people in need of urgent assistance are children and we must help them”, she said.
The agency apart from intervening in the area of food and health is also assisting in the area of water and sanitation, shelter, education, empowerment amongst others.
Credit: thisdaylive

Boko Haram: 5.1 million Nigerians Risk Starvation In 2017- UN

The United Nations said on Friday that $1billion was needed in 2017 for the provision of aid to victims of Boko Haram terrorism in north-east Nigeria.

The Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator, Peter Lundberg, in a statement said the Boko Haram menace was the largest in Africa, and that hope can be brought to the victims through support from the international community.

“The narrative on this humanitarian crisis can no longer be ignored and we are appealing to the international community to help us prevent the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians over the coming 12 months.

“This is the largest crisis on the African continent and I am confident that with the support of the international community and the private sector, we can begin to bring hope to the people of the northeast,” he said.

The UN official added that “a projected 5.1 million people will face serious food shortages as the conflict and risk of unexploded improvised devices prevented farmers planting for a third year in a row, causing a major food crisis.”

Millions of people have been displaced from their homes in north-east Nigeria since the insurgency began in 2009. Over 20,000 people have also been killed.

While tens of thousands of the displaced live in camps, millions of others live in host communities where they are barely able to fend for themselves.

The Boko Haram, despite losing most of their seized territory to Nigerian troops, still carry out attacks on civilians and security officials.



Ban Ki-moon Apologizes For UN Role In Haiti Cholera Epidemic

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has apologised for the first time to the people of Haiti for the international organisation’s role in a deadly cholera outbreak that has killed more than 9,300 people and infected over 800,000.

“On behalf of the United Nations, I want to say very clearly we apologise to the Haitian people,” he said three times, in Haitian Creole, French and English, to the UN General Assembly on Thursday.

“We simply did not do enough with regards to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti … We are profoundly sorry for our role,” Ban said.

According to numerous independent experts, cholera was introduced to Haiti by infected Nepalese UN peacekeepers sent to the Caribbean country after the massive 2010 earthquake.

Cholera, a disease that is transmitted through contaminated drinking water and causes acute diarrhea, is a major challenge in a country with poor sanitary conditions.

The UN reiterated its rejection of claims that it is also legally responsible for the damages from the health emergency.

“We do not change our basic legal position,” UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told reporters on Thursday.

The UN chief also formally presented the 193-nation General Assembly with a “new approach,” a two-pronged programme to help the families of the cholera victims and support the battle against the disease.

The UN hopes the new proposal will raise $400m over two years, but funding for prior UN assistance to Haiti has been slow to arrive.

Read More: aljazeera

Nigerians living in communities liberated from Boko Haram are suffering terribly, UN warns

The United Nations on Tuesday confirmed that at least 16 local governments initially occupied by the Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria have been liberated by Nigerian forces.

The immediate past UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mohamed Safieldin, said he made on-the-spot assessment of some of the liberated local governments including Bama, Damboa, Monguno, Konduga, Dikwa, Gwoza, Pulka, and Banki .

Speaking to the New York correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria, the official lamented the level of destruction on the communities by Boko Haram, saying there is real humanitarian crisis in the liberated areas.

“You can’t imagine the level of physical destruction of all the basic facilities such as hospitals, water supply system, the schools and the homes of the individual poor people.

“So it is a real humanitarian crisis in terms of the number. It is a real humanitarian crisis in terms of availability of humanitarian aid at the moment,” he said.

Mr. Safieldin’s comment confirms various statements by Nigerian officials that most of the territory initially occupied by the terror group have been reclaimed.

Despite the successes of the soldiers, however, attacks on soldiers and civilians still continue leading to hundreds of deaths.

On Tuesday, Mr. Safieldin also said that no fewer than 30,000 metric tonnes of food is required monthly to feed the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, caused by the Boko Haram insurgency.

He lamented that the monthly requirement was currently not being met.

“The available humanitarian aid at the moment is inadequate. Whether it is the aid coming from the government or aid coming from the international community; it is inadequate.

“Many people either don’t have any food or they have less than what is sufficient for one meal a day; we are talking of at least 1.8 million displaced people.

“To feed these people, you need an estimated 30,000 metric tonnes of food every month and this amount of food is not available from the government and it is not available from the international community.”

According to him, the liberation of more communities previously under the control of Boko Haram by the Nigerian military has meant more mouths to feed.

According to him, at least 800,000 people currently need urgent humanitarian assistance.

“Since March, the Federal Government and Nigerian Army have gained full control of at least 16 LGAs in the north-east; many cities and villages have become accessible.

“Many civilians have been relocated by the army from remote villages in which they (were) living under Boko Haram to the capital of the LGAs and 16 satellite camps have been established.

“There is a minimum of 300,000 civilians living in these satellite camps in addition to an estimated 500,000 people who are living in these liberated areas outside the satellite camps.

“So all together, we are talking of about 800,000 people at least, who are accessible, who need humanitarian assistance urgently because I have visited many of these places.”

He said IDPs living in formal camps in Maiduguri represented only 10 per cent of the population adding, 90 per cent of them live in host communities.

“The 90 per cent of the IDPs live in the host communities in Maiduguri and other urban and rural areas and they have been suffering, they don’t have enough food, medical care and shelter.

“The major problem at the moment, the 800,000 people who are in the very remote LGAs recovered by the army from Boko Haram, are the people that are suffering continuously for a long time.

“The humanitarian aid that is reaching them is insufficient and yet their voices are not heard and I would love to see the media from Nigeria reaching out to these people to see their suffering.

“So the good news of the victory of the army to recover these areas has meant an additional challenge on the humanitarian community to be able to provide more aid.

“However, at the moment, the humanitarian aid that is available is insufficient,” he said.

Lawyers petition US, UN, UK, Germany over IMN’s threat to peace in Nigeria.

A group of legal practitioners in the country under the aegis of Lawyers Initiative For Civil Rights Advancement in Nigeria have petitioned the United States Embassy in Nigeria alerting it of the imminent security threat posed by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.

The letter, which was addressed to the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, said the threat posed by the “radical Shiite movement” has several security implications not just for Nigeria, but other West African countries.

The petition was equally copied to the British High Commissioner, German Ambassador and the UN mission in Nigeria.

The letter, which was signed by the LICRAN Director of Research and Advocacy, Unande Tersagh, and made available to journalists, described the IMN as an Iranian-backed rebel group.

Tersagh, who described LICRAN as an umbrella body of pro-democracy lawyers dedicated to the advancement of civil rights, justice, equality and rule of law in Nigeria, said it is within public domain that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been harassing Nigeria using members of the IMN.

He said buoyed by Iran’s backing, IMN members in October and early November unleashed violence across several Nigerian cities in the North under the cover of the Ashura procession.

According to him, this led to several deaths in Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna and Katsina States.

Tersagh said Nigerians were surprised that IMN propaganda machine used the widespread mayhem as an excuse to allege clampdown on Shiism in Nigeria contrary to the fact on ground.

He said it is on record that members of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps have in previous years been named in illegal shipment of weapons that were deliberately mislabeled as other goods into Nigeria.

He stated further: “There have also been reports that the IMN members visit Iran under the cover of academic scholarships to be trained as terrorists by the same Revolutionary Guards Corps. This will be consistent with recent revelations by Salar Abnoush, Deputy Commander of Iran’s Khatam-al-Anbia Garrison, a branch of the Revolutionary Guards Corps that his country is sending out sleeper cell assets to infiltrate other nations.”

Tersagh urged the ambassador to prevail on the US Government to declare the Islamic Movement in Nigeria as a terror organization bearing in mind that their modus operandi is strikingly similar to that of Boko Haram, Al-Shabab and ISIS.

The group added: “In the light of foregoing, we passionately appeal for peace and justice by calling on your good offices in collaboration with those of other members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council to swiftly lend support to the Nigeria government in her bid to shut the door against all emerging and potential terrorist groups so as to strengthen the fragile peace that we are enjoying at the moment.”

UN To Deliver Food, Nutrition Supports To Borno, Yobe

The United Nations said its agencies, the World Food Programme and UNICEF are increasing food and nutrition services to urgently reach 1.8 million people in Borno and Yobe States.

Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, Farhan Haq, said at a press briefing at the UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday that food insecurity had reached an extreme level in northeast.

“in Nigeria, our colleagues from the World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF are rolling out a rapid response mechanism to deliver food, health and nutrition services in difficult-to-reach areas in Borno and Yobe States,” the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted the UN official as saying at the briefing.

“The two states are worst affected by hunger and malnutrition in northeastern Nigeria.

“This is part of WFP’s larger response plan – to gradually scale up to reach 1.8 million people with urgent food and nutrition support throughout 2017.”

According to him, food insecurity has reached an extreme level in parts of northeastern Nigeria, where 4.6 million people are going hungry.

“Without urgent support, hunger will only deepen.

“Since August, the number of people needing urgent food assistance has increased from about 1 million to 1.8 million in Borno and Yobe States,” he said.

Haq also said the Security Council was meeting on the cooperation between the UN and regional organisations, including the African Union.

“The Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the African Union, Haile Menkerios, told the Council that the conflicts we face in Africa today have grown in scale and complexity,” he added.


UN to deliver food, nutrition supports to Borno, Yobe

Declare Islamic Movement of Nigeria a terrorist organization now – Rights Group tells UN

A human rights group, Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) has called on the United Nation mission in Nigeria to prevail on the United Nations General Assembly to designate the IMN as a terrorist organization.


CESJET described the penchant of the IMN, which has vowed not to respect the Nigerian government, to attack security agents and destruction of lives and properties as similar to a terrorist organizations.


Addressing journalists in Abuja on Friday, Executive Secretary Comrade Ikpa Isaac, urged the UN to quickly intervene on the incessant attacks on police and other security agencies by members of the IMN also known as Shiites.


According to him, the numerous atrocities being committed by the IMN against the Nigerian state can no longer be ignored by the world.


He said, “It is now obvious that the recent clash in Kano where the sect had the boldness to open fire on innocent Nigerians is a clear indication that they are anarchists who may soon declare their own version of Islamic State.”


“Even as we wait for international community to act, we call on the Federal Government to arrest the leaders of the sect found to have been behind the Zaria protest and should subsequently be prosecuted as warning that the life of every single policeman in Nigeria counts.”


Isaac said the silence of Nigerians and the international community over the conspiracy of IMN and the Iranian authorities against constituted authority in Nigeria is no longer golden.


“In the latest incident, not only did IMN members embarked on what amounted to induced suicide they also saw to it that they killed policemen drafted to keep the peace.”


CESJET expressed the group’s condolences to the families of the deceased policemen, saying, “we pray that God consoles those they left behind particularly dependents who now have to go through life without the support of their breadwinners.”

US urges UN arms embargo against South Sudan, Russia says no.

The United States on Thursday launched a bid at the Security Council to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan following UN warnings that the war-torn country could descend into genocide.

US Ambassador Samantha Power said a draft resolution will be presented to the council in the coming days to ban weapons sales to the African country and impose sanctions, setting the stage for a clash with Russia, which opposes an arms embargo.

“South Sudan is a nation at the precipice,” Power told the council.

“In the coming days, the United States will put forward a proposal to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan and targeted sanctions on the individuals who have been the biggest spoilers to achieve lasting peace,” she said.

Of the council’s permanent, veto-wielding members, Britain and France backed the proposed arms embargo, but Russia reaffirmed its opposition and China expressed reservations.

The move followed a recent report by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who warned that South Sudan faces a “very real risk of mass atrocities” and that 14,000 peacekeepers deployed in the country would not be able to stop such a bloodbath.

The US-drafted text seen by AFP calls for a one-year ban on all sales of arms, weapons, ammunition, military vehicles and equipment.

Power said months of talks with South Sudan’s leaders had failed to persuade them to opt for peace as she made the case for a travel ban and an assets freeze on those behind the violence.

“There is no good reason why we would not deprive those who have shown a willingness to commit mass atrocities of the means of doing it more efficiently,” she said.

Russian Deputy Ambassador Petr Iliichev dismissed an arms embargo as “premature,” saying it would “hardly be helpful in settling the conflict” and warning that sanctions against South Sudan’s leaders would be “the height of irresponsibility.”

In a barb directed at the United States, he suggested that President Salva Kiir was being targeted to share the same fate as Moamer Kadhafi, the Libyan leader toppled in 2011.

China’s Deputy Ambassador Wu Haito said the council should refrain from sanctions “to avoid complicating the situation” and “send more positive signals” instead.

Returning from a visit to South Sudan, the UN’s adviser on genocide prevention, Adama Dieng, said he “saw all the signs that ethnic hatred and targeting of civilians could evolve into genocide if something is not done now to stop it.”

He cited perceptions that Kiir’s army was “increasingly ethnically homogenous,” composed mostly of ethnic Dinka, who are preparing to launch attacks against Nuer and other groups.

Dieng urged the council to end the “devastating” flow of weapons fuelling the war.

South Sudan’s Ambassador Joseph Moum Malok rejected the proposed embargo as a “totally unacceptable” violation of his country’s sovereignty.

The authorities in Juba, confronting an “armed rebellion intent on overthrowing the government,” he argued, should not be deprived of the means to defend themselves.

The world’s youngest nation, South Sudan descended into war in December 2013, leaving tens of thousands dead and more than 2.5 million people displaced.

The country won independence from Sudan in 2011 with strong support from the United States.

A peace deal between Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar in August last year had raised hopes of peace, until clashes erupted in Juba four months ago.

Insurgency: UN commends Buhari for adopting regional approach

Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for adopting regional approach to the ongoing counter insurgency operation in the country.

Chambas gave the commendation on Thursday in Abuja at the Realnews Fourth Anniversary Lecture with the theme: “Security and National Development in a Plural Democratic Society.”

Chambas said: “We at the UN are very pleased with the regional cooperation approach adopted by President Muhammadu Buhari, by collaborating with leaders of Niger, Chad Republic and Cameroun.

“We are convinced that based on this approach, Boko Haram will be eliminated within the next possible short time.”

Chambas then advised the Federal Government to invest in the education of children of Internally Displaced Persons with a view to increasing the level of enrollment in primary schools in the North East.

The diplomat also appealed to government to ensure respect for the rule of law, adding that there would not be any meaningful development without peace and respect for rule of law.

Chambas also urged Nigeria and Ghana to increase women participation in electoral process like it was the in most West African countries.

He noted that increasing women participation in electoral process was critical in promoting and strengthening democracy in a plural society.

He also urged Federal Government to increase youth access to education with a view to countering

the spread of terrorism and other vices in the country.

The UN special representative advised the media to promote peace and national development by upholding the interest of the nation and the people through reportage.

Earlier, the Publisher and Editor of Realnews, Maureen Chigbo, said the anniversary lecture was part of efforts to contribute to national peace and development, as well as promote good democratic values in the country.

Chigbo said security was critical for growth, investment and economic prosperity, and should be the most important issue to address in 2016.

Realnews Magazine is an online publication which thrives on investigative journalism.

“2016 is ‘very likely’ to be the hottest year”, UN weather agency says

This year is “very likely” to be the hottest year on record, breaking the record set last year, the United Nations weather agency said Monday.

“Long-term climate change indicators are also record breaking. Concentrations of major greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to increase to new records. Arctic sea ice remained at very low levels, especially during early 2016 and the October re-freezing period, and there was significant and very early melting of the Greenland ice sheet,” the World Meteorological Organization said in a statement.
If 2016 does indeed set a new record, 16 of the 17 hottest years on record will have been in this century, the WMO said.
Developing story – more to come

UN Under Fire For Picking Wonder Woman To Lead Campaign

The United Nations on Monday defended the choice of comic book character Wonder Woman to lead a campaign for the empowerment of girls following criticism that the choice was demeaning to women.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is due to attend a ceremony on Friday to officially designate Wonder Woman as the UN honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls.

The announcement came a few days after Antonio Guterres, the former prime minister of Portugal, was chosen to be the next secretary general, disappointing women’s groups who had campaigned for the first woman to be appointed the world’s diplomat-in-chief.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Shazia Rafi, one of the leaders of the She4SG campaign and a former secretary general of Parliamentarians for Global Action.

“The campaign for women’s empowerment is represented by a cartoon when there are so many real-life women who could have been chosen,” she said.

Rafi, who has written to Ban urging him to skip the ceremony, is pushing for a boycott of the event on Friday, demanding that Wonder Woman be dropped from the campaign.

“It should be scrapped,” she told AFP.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric hit back at the criticism, saying the choice of Wonder Woman was simply an attempt to reach younger audiences.

Read More:


World Food Prices Rise To Highest In 18 Months In September- UN

World food prices rose in September to their highest since March 2015, led mainly by sugar, the United Nations food agency said on Thursday.

Except for a small dip in July, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) food price index has been increasing steadily since January, when it hit a seven-year low.

The index, which measures monthly changes for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 170.9 points in September, 2.9 percent above the month before and 10 percent higher than the same month last year.

Sugar prices surged 6.7 percent in September from the previous month, largely because of bad weather in Brazil, the world’s biggest sugar producer and exporter, FAO said.

While cereal prices declined slightly, meat edged up and dairy and vegetable oil prices increased.

“A lot of the September increase has to do with sugar, so if sugar were to stop increasing, the index would be more or less flat,” said FAO senior economist Abdolreza Abbassian. “But the scope for big declines is not there.”

FAO raised slightly its forecast for world cereal production in the 2016-17 season rose to 2.569 billion tonnes, which would be a new record high and a 1.5 percent increase on the previous season. World wheat output is seen at 742.4 million tonnes, up slightly from the previous forecast of 740.7 million tonnes.

Credit: reuters

Lungu Lied at UN Summit – Ex-Zambian Leader Scott

Former Zambian president Guy Scott has criticised President Edgar Lungu over the remarks he made during the recently ended United Nations summit in New York.

Lungu told the UN 71st summit last week that Africa did not need any strong leaders but strong institutions, adding that his country endeavoured to build a peaceful, just and inclusive society “through the consolidation” of power.

Lungu described Zambia as a democracy with an inclusive society where its people enjoyed many freedoms.

“The importance of democracy in our society cannot be over-emphasised. It is an extremely important aspect of our political systems, which empowers people to freely participate in governance.

“As you are aware, Zambia held elections on 11th August 2016. Indeed this was yet another opportunity for Zambia to demonstrate her commitment to upholding and promoting tenents of democracy.

‘Embarrassment and hypocrisy’

“I therefore want to assure this August Assembly that my government will use its mandate to continue protecting our peaceful democratic legacy and meeting the aspirations of our people,” Lungu was quoted as saying.

But according to The Post, Scott rubbished Lungu’s utterances, saying it was sad that he could “blatantly tell untruths to the UN Summit” when he was well aware that the Zambian people were denied their rights “leading up to the presidential elections”.

Scott said it was baffling that Lungu chose to blatantly lie to the international community when he was well aware of the happenings in his country where Zambians were being denied their rights.

The former president highlighted the closure of the Post publication as an example of how the government cracked down on opposition institutions that were critical of the ruling party.

It would be remembered that Zambian authorities ordered the closure of The Post Newspapers Limited on June 21, demanding $6.1m in tax arreas.

Its closure came as election campaigning was gaining momentum, with the critically independent newspaper being outspoken in its reporting of illegal activities and corruption by the government.

The Post newspaper itself described Lungu’s speech as an “embarrassment and hypocrisy”.

The paper argued that Lungu was in no position to talk about building strong democratic institution after he destroyed the country’s judiciary, as well as the “independence and integrity of law enforcement agencies”.

#UNGA: Zamfara will benefit from my UN General Assembly trip – Yari Abubakar

The governor of Zamfara state, Yari Abubakar, who embarked on an official trip to New York for the 71st session of the UN General Assembly has promised to put to great use, some of the deductions he made at the session which lasted for several days.


Also in attendance, was the President himself who spoke so much about poverty, terrorism, unemployment, security & climate change among others.


Mr Yari Abubakar reiterated in a statement made available to the media, the importance of his trip to his state, Zamfara.


He also said; “the need for the international community to work together to liberate humanity from poverty, save our planet from the devastation of climate change and rid the world of terrorism for a more peaceful and prosperous future cannot be over-emphasized considering how deep Nigeria is in poverty and the negative consequences of climate change“.


The plight of the displaced people especially in the North-Eastern Nigeria is of particular concern to the governor, who reiterated the efforts of his government in reaching out to IDPs in Northern Nigeria.


Governor Yari described his attendance of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly as an eye-opener. He also stated that there is much work to be done and of course the help of the international community is highly needed.


At this point when diversification of the economy is non-negotiable and inevitable, Zamfara state will do nothing less than to embark on creating a stable and healthy economy, being one of the budding Northern States“, he stated.


Climate change has had it’s toll on Zamfara State and the government is reinforcing it’s commitment to ensure it does all it can to fight back and also create alternative solutions tot he crisis.


Zamfara state is a fast developing state in Northern Nigeria with huge potentials to take the lead among it’s contemporaries. She will be celebrating her 20 years anniversary since creation on the 1st of October, 1996.


The trip is one of the very few which is hugely beneficial to the development of Zamfara State in terms of eradicating poverty, fighting crime, creating employment, diversifying the economy and of course stimulating investment and development“, the governor said in a closing remark.

Somalia Food Crisis: 300,000 Children Need Help- UN

Nearly five million people in Somalia are suffering from a shortage of food due to poor rainfall, floods and displacement, the United Nations says.

More than 300,000 children under the age of five are severely malnourished and require urgent assistance.

Most of those in need of help have been internally displaced following decades of conflict.

Malnutrition levels in Somalia have increased over the last six months with nearly half the population affected.

The number of people without enough food has increased by 300,000 since February.

Read More: BBC

Syria: UN Suspends Aid Delivery After Convoy, Warehouse Attack

The United Nations is suspending its aid operations in Syria after a deadly attack on a convoy and warehouse carrying life-saving supplies in rural Aleppo on Monday night, a UN spokesperson said, leaving tens of thousands of people without desperately needed food and medicine.

“At the moment [the] aid operation remains suspended while we assess and reevaluate the situation on the ground,” the spokesperson said, adding aid convoys planned had come to a halt.
The convoy of 31 trucks was carrying life-saving aid to around 78,000 people when it was attacked near the embattled city of Aleppo, the United Nations and aid organizations said.
Officials from the UN and US said they were “disgusted” and “outraged” by the incident, which according to the UN saw 18 of the trucks in the convoy hit.
Twelve people involved in the aid delivery were killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based organization that monitors the conflict in Syria.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks and it is unclear whether the convoy was hit by an airstrike or shelled.
Credit: CNN

BBOG To Tackle Buhari At UN Meeting In New York Over Chibok Girls

The Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group has said it would protest against the failure of the Federal Government secure the release of the abducted Chibok girls at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York City.

The group said it would demand the release of the Chibok girls through a letter it plans to submit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the meeting.

In a notice sent to supporters and journalists, the group said, “On Tuesday, September 13, 2016, the United Nations General Assembly commences in New York. World leaders, including Nigeria’s President Buhari, will be there to discuss various issues plaguing our world, including the global refugee crisis.

“If you are in New York, please join global citizens, as we stand in solidarity with 218#ChibokGirls and thousands more still in Boko Haram captivity on Wednesday, September 14, at 3 p.m., to deliver a letter to President Buhari, to remind him of his campaign promise to#BringBackOurGirls, who have now been in captivity for 882 days.

“Join us as we remind the United Nations and the world that the #ChibokGirls are never to be forgotten. #HopeEndures. Gathering Time: 3 p.m., Location: 828 Second Avenue (2nd and 44th), New York, New York 10017, PLEASE, WEAR RED!”



Politics Blamed For Delay In UN Aid Delivery To Syria

No humanitarian aid has entered Syria yet, the UN says, despite the de-escalation of violence across the country following the coming into effect of a nationwide ceasefire.

Al Jazeera has learned from diplomatic sources that no route for the delivery of aid has been agreed upon yet.

The Syrian foreign ministry on Tuesday said it would not allow any humanitarian aid to enter the rebel-held side of Aleppo without coordination with the Syrian government and the UN.

It said Turkish convoys in particular would not be allowed into Syria.

A diplomatic source, speaking to Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity on Wednesday, confirmed that the Turkish government’s involvement remains a major sticking point for the aid delivery.

“Politics is coming in the way of the delivery,” the source said.

Read More: aljazeera

South Sudan Faces ‘Unprecedented’ Level Of Hunger- UN

The United Nations says hunger in South Sudan has reached “unprecedented” levels, with nearly 5 million people suffering from severe food insecurity.

The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization said Friday that without a return to stability that will allow agricultural production to continue, “the situation could rapidly become catastrophic.”

The World Food Program has said both South Sudan’s government and the opposition have held up food shipments in parts of this East African country, which is trying to recover from civil war.

Roughly $30 million in supplies were looted from warehouses of the two U.N. agencies during clashes between government and rebel forces in July.

South Sudan is experiencing severe hyperinflation, and the World Food Program said the price of food spiked by 778 percent after the July fighting.

Credit: foxnews

Nigeria In Serious Crisis – UN report

A report released by the United Nations says Nigeria is in a fix. It said the country had been deeply divided along ethnic, religious and regional lines.


It painted a gloomy picture of the country’s economy, noting that most of the development and social indices in the country were below acceptable standards.


The report, which was read during a consultative meeting on the formulation of the UN Development Assistance Framework IV for the South-East zone, in Awka, Anambra State, observed that for decades, different segments of Nigeria’s population had, at different times, expressed feelings of marginalisation.

The report read, “Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa and the seventh most populous in the world. Her population will be approximately 200 million by 2019 and over 400 million by 2050, becoming one of the top five populous countries in the world.


Nigeria is one of the poorest and most unequal countries in the world, with over 80 million or 64 per cent of her population living below poverty line.”

NYSC Seeks UN’s Intervention In Camp Development, Others

The Director-General, National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, Brigadier-General Sulaiman Kazaure, has requested for the United Nation’s intervention to address the problem of deficit in Orientation camp infrastructure, as well as capacity building for members of staff of the scheme.

nyscmembersnyscmembersAlso, the DG sought the world body’s assistance in the establishment of the skills centre for corps members undergoing entrepreneurship programme in the country.

Kazaure made the requests, Thursday, when he received the Country Director of UNAIDS, Mr. Bilali Camara, in his office, in Abuja, said this would enhance the achievement of the scheme’s mandate.

He informed him of the Scheme’s plan to establish a skills acquisition centre in each of the six geo-political zones in the short term, and eventually in all the states of the federation as a measure towards enhancing the functionality of its Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development programme.

Earlier, Camara explained that the purpose of a three-day visit by the UN Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, to Nigeria, which ended yesterday, was to discuss with stakeholders on areas of the United Nations’ assistance to the country.

According to him, Alhendawi had met the Vice-President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, as well as top officials of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Youth and Sports amongst others, adding that the discussions centred on the design of a coordinated framework for the UN’s development assistance to Nigeria.

The Country Director further disclosed that the assistance framework would have special focus on youth and would address issues of empowerment as well as peace and security amongst other areas of intervention.

N’East Crisis: UN Warns 5.5m People May Urgently Need Food Aid In Sept

Nigeria’s economic slowdown, compounded by Boko Haram attacks, could mean 5.5 million people needing food aid in the volatile North-east by next month, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has warned.

The warning came as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) disclosed that about 161,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the North Eastern part of Nigeria were still at various camps in three neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

It also emerged that, as part of efforts to end insurgency, the Nigerian Army had embarked on operations in forests in Bauchi State in order to flush out fleeing Boko Haram members and criminal elements in the state.

UNHCR, while issuing the warning, noted that, as government troops advance against the militants, the somewhat better access for aid workers under military escort to Borno and Yobe states has exposed “catastrophic levels” of suffering and a “vast regional crisis.”
Inflation and soaring food prices come at a time when people have little left from the last harvest, according the U.N.’s World Food Programme (WFP) .

“Because of Nigeria’s economic downturn, the number of hungry people could double in the North-eastern states that are already so heavily afflicted by the conflict,” WFP spokeswoman, Bettina Luescher, told a news briefing.

“Our experts are warning it could go as high as 5.5 million people by next month,” she said. “The drop in oil prices and sharp rise in the cost of imported staples has compounded the years of violence that these poor people had to suffer.”
WFP has delivered food to 170,000 people in North-eastern Nigeria, but hopes to reach 700,000 by year-end, Luescher said.

Read More: Thisdaylive

UN Expresses Dissatisfaction With Volume Of Assistance To Bama IDPs

The United Nations is not satisfied with the volume of humanitarian assistance given to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Bama camp, Borno State, its Assistant Secretary General and regional humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel, Mr. Toby Lanzer said on Friday.

Lanza who was in Bama, 78km southeast of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, where he led a team of UN delegation and officials of the Borno State government to celebrate the 2016 world humanitarian day, said much more needed to be done for displaced persons.

Bama is one of the towns in Borno State that have suffered the worst of Boko Haram destructions. It gained global attention when over 100 persons were reported killed by starvation and malnutrition about three months ago.
The UN under-Secretary flew into Bama in a helicopter, a town that was virtually razed down by the terrorists after their occupation.

He said: “I am happy with what the United Nations and her partners have done to help the people of Bama. But I think we still have quite a road to travel.
“I am still not satisfied entirely and I will be calling for more assistance whether in demand for education, whether to make sure that all of your sisters and wives can give birth in a clean and safe environment; to make sure that people have roof over their heads or food in their stomachs or have access to their affairs so that they can help themselves.
“This is the aspiration of the United Nations and her partners. May they be able to share in this endeavour and to support you.”

It was no surprise that there was no infrastructure to house the displaced persons who had trooped into the town from recently liberated communities around Bama except a military controlled IDP camps, which is the town’s General Hospital.
The Borno State government had wanted to move the IDPs from the premises of the hospital into the rebuilt market complex, but the army commander in the town, had contrary view.
Commander of the 241 Battalion, Colonel Adamu Laka, said the IDPs had been provided with water and hygiene facilities as well as UN built schools for children.
He said he was worried that moving the IDPs may not be backed with resources for installation of water and hygiene facilities.

Read More: thisdaylive

80% Of 3,600 Nigerian Women Enter Italy For Prostitution- UN

The United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said that about 3,600 Nigerian women arrived Italy by boat in the first half of 2016, almost double the figure in the same period last year.
More than 80% of these women, it said, were trafficked into prostitution in Italy and across Europe.  Traffickers use migrant reception centres as holding pens for women who are then collected and forced into prostitution, the UK Guardian quoted the UN agency as saying.

“What we have seen this year is a crisis, it is absolutely unprecedented and is the most significant increase in the number of Nigerian women arriving in Italy for 10 years,” said Simona Moscarelli, an anti-trafficking expert at the IOM.
She said majority of the women were being deliberately brought in for sexual exploitation purposes.  She added that the criminal gangs and trafficking networks engaging in the sexual exploitation of younger Nigerian girls had expanded.
Although a thriving a sex trafficking industry has been operating between Nigeria and Italy for over three decades, there has been a marked increase in the numbers of unaccompanied Nigerian women arriving in Italy on migrant boats from Libya, the report said.
Read More: DailyTrust

Millions Of Illegal Weapons Smuggled Into Nigeria – UN

The UN says it estimates there are more than 350 million illegal light weapons in Nigeria.

The UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa said this accounted for 70% of illicit small arms in West Africa.

Some of the weapons are said to have originated in Mali and Libya, where there are ongoing conflicts.  The UN said the presence of so many illegal arms in the country threatened its existence.

At the moment the country is affected by three separate conflicts – an Islamist insurgency in the north-east, militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta, and clashes between nomads and farmers.

Nigeria Accounts For Over 70% Of 500 Million Illicit Weapons In West Africa- UN

The United Nations has raised alarm over the illicit proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in Nigeria with over 350 million or 70 per cent of an estimated 500 million of such weapons said to be circulating in West Africa be in the country.

The director of United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), Olatokunbo Ige, gave this statistics at the ongoing National Consultation on Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM) in Abuja, organised by the Agency and Presidential Committee on Smalls Arms and Light Weapons (PRESCOM).

Ms. Ige said the country is awash with illicit weapons, which have found its way into unauthorised hands on non-state actors that are threatening the existence of the country, as well lives and properties of the people.

“The illicit proliferation of SALW has had a dramatic impact on peace and security in Africa, threatening not only the existence of the state, but also the livelihoods of millions of people across the continent,” she said.

“Nigeria is one of the countries that is experiencing some of the most devastating effects of the proliferation of SALW as a result of spillover effect of the recent crises in Libya, and Mali as well as unresolved internal conflicts in different parts of the country especially in the North East, Niger Delta and Southern regions.”

“While reliable data on the numbers of these weapons circulating freely in the country is unavailable, analysts have in recent times estimated that of the about 500 million weapons that may be circulating in West Africa in 2010, some 70 per cent of these could be found in Nigeria,” she added.

She warned that “as alarming as these figures seem, it is very clear that if left unchecked, this scourge will not only jeopardise the developmental gains achieved over the last 50 years, but will also impede the nation’s capacity to achieve its developmental targets and therefore, negatively impact on the future generations”.

According to Ms. Ige, this has highlighted, more than ever before the critical need not only to control the flow of arms in the non-state sector, but also the state owned actors through the effective management of the armoury and weapon stockpiles.

Credit: PremiumTimes

UN Releases $13m For Life-saving Assistance To 250,000 People In North-east

The United Nations on Monday released 13 million dollars from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to provide life-saving assistance to 250,000 people in the North-east area of Nigeria. Mr Stephen O’Brien, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, issued the release.

According to the UN, the destruction of crops and looting of livestock have left many people unable to support their families. “No fewer than 50,000 people need seeds and tools for the upcoming planting season and CERF funding will help them to rebuild their livelihoods.”

O’Brien said that a significant number of women and girls, and also men and boys, have suffered or witnessed terrible abuses. The CERF funds, he said, would enable humanitarian partners to provide critical psychosocial support and protection services.

“People have experienced unspeakable suffering due to the violence perpetrated by Boko Haram. We now have better access finally, and a chance to help them. The international community must take advantage of this opening to reach people with essential services and build on the CERF allocation to scale up the response,” he said.

The fund, he added, would support the provision of food, cash for food purchase, special child nutritional supplements, protection and health services to the most vulnerable people in the newly accessible areas through disbursements to the Food and Agriculture Organisation. Others are through the UN Department for Safety and Security, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF and World Food Programme.

The UN says the humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria was revised upwards by 51 million dollars in June. The UN is also calling for additional 279 million dollars for the humanitarian plan in Nigeria. To date, the UN said that the plan is only 22 per cent funded.

Credit: Vanguard

North East Not Conducive For Return Of IDPs – UN Rep

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), says the North East is not yet conducive for the return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Ms Liz Ahua, the Regional Representative for West Africa and Coordinator for Nigeria, said this on Monday in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the Lake Chad Regional Protection Dialogue. Ahua said that the persistent threat from Boko Haram, presence of mines and absence of basic services posed acute humanitarian and protection risks for the affected population.
She said that the situation was not only peculiar to Nigerians but all border countries in the Lake Chad Basin.
She explained that the regional meeting was meant to adopt a working blueprint on regional protection of the Lake Chad basin and safe return of refugees and IDPs.
“This meeting is meant to exploit how we can better ensure IDPs physical safety, access to asylum and protection, including protection from forced expulsions.
“Many refugees and IDPs have experience high levels of violence, many suffer from trauma, and are in need of support in what practically and systemic ways can we help them. ‘’
She said that over 2.7million people in the region had been displaced, while 20million people had been negatively impacted by the insurgency in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
“The lake Chad today faces fundamental protection crises here in Nigeria and across the neighbouring boarding countries.
“The Boko haram insurgency and spillover into Cameroon, Niger and Chad has led to the loss of thousands of lives, has caused a massive displacement of over 2.7million people.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the three days Regional Protection Dialogue on the Lake Chad Basin has senior government officials from Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad in attendance.
Also present are representatives of national, regional and international organisations (including UN agencies), donor countries, academia and civil society.
The meeting is expected to identify the most urgent protection risks in the Lake Chad Basin resulting from the conflict-induced crisis and to agree upon comprehensive actions at local, national, and regional levels.



Divide Nigeria Into 6 Republics; MASSOB, BIM Appeal To UN

Movememt for Actuali­sation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Biafra Independence Movement (BIM) have­called on the United Na­tions and other world leaders to divide Nige­ria into six geo-political zones to solve problems facing the nation.

The group said granting the six geo-political zones in Nigeria self rule would be the only solution to the many problems in the country.

In a release signed by the Director of Informa­tion of the pro-Biafra group, Mr. Chris Mocha, the two groups appealed to the UN and other super powers to consider the lives of people that are killed on a daily basis in Nigeria arising from the insurgency in the North East and Fulani herds­men said to be allegedly affiliated to ISIS and Boko Haram.

Mocha said the pro­posed nations inlcude South East, (Biafra), South South (Niger Del­ta), North East, North West, South West, (Oduduwa) and North- Central.

He stressed that no amount of preaching on nationalism can change Nigeria as it is today.

Mocha said when the proposed zones are grant­ed independence, assets of the citizens of the dif­ferent countries will be protected by internation­al laws, just as bilateral agreements will guide the future relationship of the new republics.

The group, however, in­sisted that several mem­bers of BIM/MASSOB were killed last week dur­ing the Biafra anniversary at Nkpor and Onitsha.

“While all the mem­bers of BIM/ MASSOB in Anambra central senato­rial district including Nk­por town in Idemili North Local Government Area celebrated at Ifite Dunu, our counterparts in Anambra North including Onitsha converged at the zonal secretariat, project site at Nteje in Oyi coun­cil area of Anambra State.

Credit: Sun

UN Delighted At The Rescue Of Chibok Girl

Mr Stephen O’Brien, the UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, on Wednesday expressed delight over the rescue of one of the abducted Chibok girls.

O’Brien stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Maiduguri.

“I am absolutely delighted to hear the news today and I hope this becomes signal to the success of rescuing not just the remaining Chibok girls but the other hundreds and thousands of girls and boys and others who have been abducted and made to either take up arms as young boys or sold into slavery as sex workers,” he said.

O’Brien said that her rescue would help in building parents’ confidence on the possible return of the rest of the abducted girls.

“I think it is very important to recognise how much this will go in building the peoples confidence,” he said.

O’Brien said government must take immediate steps towards rehabilitating her.

“We must make sure that in her own interest that she is given a space, appropriate care, attention and treatment that she will need as well as the long term support that she will need.

“This is a very very important to show people that there is a hope for the future that you can work for a long period of time seeking protection of Humanitarian needs of the people even though they are affected by most brutal conflict and by terrible action of people who have caused fear among communities,” he said.

O’Brien, who visited Dalori Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Maiduguri as well as some host communities in Konduga Local Government Area (LGA), said he was shocked at the level of destruction by the Boko Haram terrorist in the state.

“Absolutely it is necessary that we do everything we can for the people to be able to return to their homes safely,” he said.

O’Brien commended Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno for his commitment towards solving the humanitarian crisis in the state.

“The best way to relieve the sufferings is for all of us to work in partnership and I was very impressed that Borno State and the Federal Government have a clear plan to re-secure these areas and make sure that their needs are taken care of especially in terms of medical treatents for the wounded etc,” he said.



UN: Amnesty International Commends ICC Verdict On DRC Rebel

Amnesty International (AI) has commended the International Criminal Court (ICC) guilty verdict on DR Congo (DRC) rebel leader, Jean-Pierre Bemba, describing it as “a historic step forward for victims of sexual violence’’.


AI Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Samira Daoud, said this in a statement in New York on Monday.


“Today’s unanimous guilty verdict by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Jean-Pierre Bemba is an historic moment in the battle for justice.
“Also accountability for victims of sexual violence in the Central African Republic and around the world.

“Not only is it the first time that the ICC has convicted someone for rape as a war crime but it is also the first ICC conviction based on command responsibility,’’ the statement said.
According to the statement, the judgment sends a clear message that impunity for sexual violence as a tool of war will not be tolerated.


It noted that the military commanders and political superiors must take all necessary steps to prevent their subordinates from committing such heinous acts and would be held accountable if they fail to do so.


Reports say the ICC Trial Chamber III has unanimously declared Bemba “guilty beyond any reasonable doubt” of two counts of crimes against humanity (murder and rape) and three counts of war crimes (murder, rape, and pillaging).


Bemba was charged with two counts of crimes against humanity (murder and rape) and three counts of war crimes (murder, rape, and pillaging), allegedly committed during the conflict in Central African Republic (CAR) in 2002 to 2003.



UN Suspends Sharapova As Goodwill Ambassador

The United Nations has suspended Maria Sharapova as a goodwill ambassador after she failed a drug test at the Australian Open, the latest fall from grace for the Russian tennis star.
Sharapova had been a goodwill ambassador for the UN Development Programme for the past nine years, and had been active in helping recovery efforts after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

“The United Nations Development Programme remains grateful to Maria Sharapova for her support of our work, especially around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster recovery,” said a spokesperson.

“However, in light of Ms. Sharapova’s recent announcement, we last week suspended her role as a Goodwill Ambassador and any planned activities while the investigation continues.”

“We wish Ms. Sharapova the best,” she added.

Former world number one Sharapova announced last week that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open in January.

Sharapova tested positive for meldonium, which was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list on January 1.

US sportswear giant Nike, German luxury car maker Porsche and Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer have all halted their relationship with the former world number one.

Sharapova has made visits to Belarus as goodwill ambassador and donated $100,000 to support youth projects in rural areas that suffer from the after-affects of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.

Sharapova’s family fled the city of Gomel in Belarus in 1987 after the Chernobyl disaster, moving to Siberia where the tennis star was born.

The family lived in Nyagan, Siberia for two years and then moved to Sochi on the Black Sea where Sharapova took her first tennis lessons.

Credit: Guardian

Nigeria To Sign UN Gas Flaring 2030 Deadline Agreement

With the support of the National Assembly, Nigeria intends to sign the United Nations Agreement on Zero Routing Gas Flaring by 2030, according to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

He was speaking on Monday at the opening of the 6th African Petroleum Congress and Exhibition where he represented President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Vice President, who declared the conference opened, said that ending gas flaring was an imperative for African oil producers considering the amount of waste involved, adding that the Nigerian government had set an earlier national target of 2020 to end gas flaring in the country.

While calling on African countries to take advantage of the gas-to-power potentials, he observed that “there is also the gas-to-power challenge in many member-states and the paradox of much gas but precious little gas to fire power plants.”

“It’s time to take a much further stand on gas flaring, both from environmental and a waste-of-needed-resources perspectives,” the Vice President stated to the gathering composed of oil and energy ministers from several African countries and chieftains in the oil and gas sector.

The Vice President explained that the incremental use of gas in Africa’s energy mix has become an imperative, stressing that “if Africa must meet her future energy needs, the issue of the development of a robust gas infrastructure must be jointly addressed.”

According to him, of the over 150 billion cubic metres of associated gas flared annually in the world, “Africa flares an estimated 40 billion cubic metres, while about half of that is flared by Nigeria.” He further observed that Nigeria has the 7th largest deposit of gas in the world with reserves estimated at over 185 trillion cubic feet (TCF), and also the highest quality.

Credit: ChannelsTv

NEMA Assures UN Of Addressing IDPs Plight

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has assured the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) that the agency would not relent in its efforts in addressing the plights of displaced persons.

Mr Sahad Bala, NEMA office Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs at Malkohi IDPs camp, made this known while receiving the UNHCR delegation at the camp in Yola, Adamawa.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the delegation was led by Mr Volker Türk, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner on Protection.

Bala said that since the beginning of the insurgency in Nigeria, NEMA had always ensured protection and assistance to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Northeast and those across the country.

He said that as at now, more than 2.2million Nigerians have been displaced from their homes in villages and towns seeking refuge and protection in various camps and communities.

According to him, not less than 200,000 fled across the border into neighbouring Cameroon, Niger and Chad where they live in camps and host communities as refugees under the UN agency protection.

Credit: Guardian

A Million Children Severely Malnourished In Eastern, Southern Africa- UN

Nearly one million children across eastern and southern Africa are suffering from “severe acute malnutrition” after two years of drought and the strongest El Nino in 50 years, UNICEF said Wednesday.

Children in the region face worsening food and water shortages, with rising prices exacerbating the situation as families are forced to skip meals and sell belongings.

“Severe acute malnutrition” is defined as extreme hunger, causing a very low weight-for-height ratio, visible wasting or fluid retention.

“The El Nino weather phenomenon will wane, but the cost to children — many who were already living hand-to-mouth — will be felt for years to come,” said UNICEF regional director Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala.

“Governments are responding with available resources, but this is an unprecedented situation. Children’s survival is dependent on action taken today.”

The agency is running humanitarian appeals calling for $87 million for Ethiopia, $26 million for Angola and $15 million for Somalia.

Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and most of South Africa have declared drought emergencies, while in Ethiopia, the number of people in need of food assistance is expected to increase from 10 million to 18 million this year.

Malawi is facing its worst food crisis in nine years, with 2.8 million people (more than 15 percent of the population) at risk of hunger and “severe acute malnutrition” doubling in only two months.

“The statistics are staggering,” said Megan Gilgan, UNICEF regional emergency advisor. “The situation is expected to worsen throughout this year and into 2017.”

Credit: Guardian

Child Abuse : UN Uncovers Fresh Claims In CAR

The UN rights chief Friday expressed alarm at new allegations of child abuse by foreign peacekeepers in the troubled Central African Republic, including cases involving European Union troops.

“Four of the girls said their abusers were attached to contingents operating as part of the European Union operation,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said, adding that he was “extremely alarmed at continuing allegations.”

Last year, allegations of sex abuse were levelled at soldiers serving with French and UN missions in the country.

United Nations Appoints Lionel Messi, Shakira For SDG’s Campaign

The United Nations has appointed Barcelona and Argentina captain Lionel Messi and pop sensation Shakira who is also the wife of Gerard Pique, a defender for the Catalan club.

Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L) poses with Colombian singer Shakira (R) on January 9, 2012 during the FIFA Ballon d’Or football award  ceremony. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE

 The two stars and other prominent persons were appointed to assist in the campaign to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
UN secretary-general said: “The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are our shared vision of
humanity and a social contract between the world’s leaders and the people.
“They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success.”

The group includes heads of state and government, business and political leaders and prominent academia, as well as artists who have shown outstanding leadership in their field.
John Mahama, Ghanaian president and Norwegian prime minister, Erna Solberg will co-chair the group of SDG Advocates, thecable.ng reports.
Other appointees include:

Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium
Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
Richard Curtis Screenwriter, Producer and Film Director
Dho Young-Shim, Chairperson, United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Sustainable Tourism for Eliminating Poverty Foundation
Leymah Gbowee, Director, Gbowee Peace Foundation
Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group
Graça Machel, President, Foundation for Community Development
Leo Messi, World Renowned Footballer, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser
Alaa Murabit, Founder, The Voice of Libyan Women
Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever
Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Earth Institute at Colombia University
Shakira Mebarak, Artist, Advocate and Founder, Pies Descalzos Foundation, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
Forest Whitaker, Founder and CEO, Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation
Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank

Congolese Troops To Withdraw From Central African Force – UN

Vladimir Monteiro, spokesman for the UN Mission in Central African Republic, said on Sunday that DR Congo troops are withdrawing after they failed an internal assessment in Bangui.


“It is confirmed that the Congolese unit will withdraw from MINUSCA, the contingent will leave and not be replaced.’’


The historically turbulent former French colony suffered an intensification of violence in 2013 when mostly Muslim rebels known as Seleka seized power in a coup.


Since then, militias drawn from the Christian majority have launched reprisal attacks and thousands of people have been killed and around a million displaced despite efforts by UN and French peacekeepers to restore order.


He said a further announcement would be made next week, but declined to give an immediate comment whether the withdrawal could jeopardise security.


In August, three Congolese peacekeepers in Central African Republic were accused of raping three female civilians, including one minor.


Congolese Justice Minister, Alexis Thambwe, said at the time the allegations would be investigated.


It was not immediately clear whether such allegations were the main factor behind the decision to withdraw Congolese troops.
A UN spokesperson in New York earlier said that the UN review of Congolese troops assessed the equipment, the vetting procedures and overall preparedness of the contingent.


This month, the UN said it was investigating new allegations of sexual abuse of minors by peacekeepers.


UN noted that there are 809 Congolese troops and 123 police deployed as part of the 11,000-strong UN peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic, known as MINUSCA.


Paris also planned to draw down its troops in the country, which originally numbered around 2,000, once a transition back to democracy is complete.





Now Is The Time To Flush Out Boko Haram – UN

A UN top aid official in Cameroon, Najat Rochdi, on Tuesday said Boko Haram Islamist militant group was expanding and the time to stop them was now. Rochdi, who is Resident Coordinator of UN aids activities in the country, said in Yaoundé that the terrorists’ strategy was to demonstrate its power with daily suicide bombings, using young girls.
“Its offensive is bankrupting Cameroon’s economy and destroying a fragile society, especially influencing the young. “Boko Haram is giving them a sense, because they are convincing them that it is a sacrifice for the better. “So we have to show them that they don’t have to die to have a better life,” she said.
She said that there was a chance to stop and uproot their activities in Cameroon, because the group’s recruits were driven by poverty and marginalisation. “If it was Jihadism, we all know it’s very difficult to compete with God. “But, because it’s just about having a voice and empowerment and economic opportunities and believing in a future, that’s something we know how to do,” Rochdi said.
She recalled that Boko Haram declared allegiance to the Islamic State in March and stepped up its bombing, tripling Cameroon’s number of displaced people to 158,000. Rochdi said the group now straddled the borders of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon with number estimated at 40,000 and ambitions to set up an oil-rich Islamic state around Lake Chad.
“We used to have pockets of Boko Haram, it’s definitely expanding.
“It looks like they are trying to break through inside the country and also towards the borders in the east, the borders with Central African Republic,’’ she said. She said the impact of the sect’s activity on farming and markets had more than doubled the number of food-insecure people to 2.2 million and that more than 15 per cent of children were acutely malnourished.
Rochdi said that UN was trying to counter Boko Haram by re-establishing markets and the jobs that went with them as well as getting children back to school. She said that the danger was that Boko Haram could grow and link up with other Islamist groups, potentially triggering a worse refugee crisis in Europe than the one seen this year.

Buhari Departs To Malta Tomorrow For Commonwealth Summit & UN Climate Change Conference

President Muhammadu Buhari will leave Abuja on Thursday for Malta to participate in the 2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which begins on Friday.

The Commonwealth is made up of Britain, Nigeria and 51 other countries that work together to pursue common goals and promote development, democracy, peace, security and good governance.

President Buhari and other Heads of State and Government, who will be in the Island nation for this year’s summit, are expected to deliberate on fresh Commonwealth initiatives on development and climate change with a view to adding greater value to ongoing global efforts in these areas.

At the summit, a new Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, who will take over from the incumbent, Kamalesh Sharma, will be announced.

Credit: ChannelsTV

UN Cautions Nigerians Against Open Defecation

The Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria, Mr Ronald Kayanja, has cautioned Nigerians against indulging in open defecation because of its adverse effects on human health and the environment.


Kayanja told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that investigation had shown that “20 per cent of Nigerians do not have toilets’’, and engaged in open defecation.


The UN official, therefore, enjoined Nigerian governments, private businesses and organisations to provide more modern toilets in schools, homes, public places, highways and strategic locations.

“About 20 per cent of Nigerians have been reported to still be engaging in open defecation even when the UN targets 2025 for the global end to open defecation.

“Nigerians need to know that the practice of open defecation is very dangerous to their health and the environment. Open defecation will expose them to different deadly infectious diseases.

“It is, therefore, important that the different levels of governments, every house and private organisations ensure that more toilets are provided for people to easily access,’’ he said.

The director, who commended Nigeria’s effort and victory over Ebola Virus Diseases (EVD) and Polio, called on the governments and the public to also take the issue of toilet provision seriously.

Kayanja expressed optimism that adequate provision of toilets would reduce people’s contact with infectious diseases.

He also urged Nigerians to always ensure that they drink clean water from clean sources to reduce their exposure to water borne diseases.



UN Condemns Yola Attack

United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, on Thursday condemned Tuesday’s bomb attack in Yola, Adamawa, North-East of Nigeria, which claimed many lives and left others injured.

Ban, in a statement issued by UN Information Centre in Lagos, said no political or ideological objective whatsoever, should justify the killing of people.

“The Secretary-General condemns the bomb attack on 17 November in the city of Yola, in the North-Eastern state of Adamawa, Nigeria, which resulted in death of dozens and scores injured.

“He extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the government and people of Nigeria, and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.

“The Secretary-General reiterates that no political or ideological objective whatsoever justifies the loss of life and terror to which civilians are being subjected,” the statement said.

The statement also restated UN’s support to the Nigerian government in its fight against terrorism.

It also said that for the government’s effort at fighting terrorism to be effective, such effort must be grounded in international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law.

Bemdoo Hulugh: Biafra, The Rest Of Us And A Nation Without Aspirations

More than 40 years ago, the Igbos returned in droves to their ancestral home, the southeast that other Nigerians were killing them but this time around it is the Igbos that are attacking other Nigerians in what they assume to be the Biafra territory because they want to secede and also to threaten the government to release a fraudster they refer to as their leader. The radio Biafra guy who was recently arrested in Nigeria is the major inspiration behind the latest agitation for Biafra republic.

I first listened to radio biafra when I boarded a car from Enugu to Aba. It was a small car, I was in the front sit beside the driver with four other passengers behind. The car was quiet till the driver tuned to radio biafra and I noticed how everybody in the car became lively. I was confused at first as the only non Igbo guy in this small car but I quickly got up to speed and wanted to hear what this much talked about radio biafra has to say. The pirate radio station was dishing one lie after another to the amusement of the passengers. One of the passengers had the courage to tell the driver to tune to some thing else that the guy is deceiving them(Igbos) but the driver replied that “are you not a biafran?” and the other passengers descended on the chap verbally. One passenger said why he loves the radio biafra guy is that he exposes the secrets of northerners a lot and so many other rubbish. It was strange that they saw nothing wrong in his call for genocide.

Another instance I saw that the message of the radio biafra guy is getting to many igbos is one evening I sat in Enugu around Maryland at a roadside garden to drink out the evening. As I was chilling with my bottle of beer, there were some young men behind me discussing politics. This guy that was on top of his voice lecturing his friends was telling them how Buhari has betrayed Ameachi and sent him to Australia as an Ambassador because the northerners are not comfortable with someone(Ameachi) who betrayed his own people( south south). He also said Buhari is the major sponsor of boko haram but he is now finding it difficult to control them as he has finally become president. The guy was so sure and he urged his friends to start listening to radio biafra if they want to know all these things. Here too there was just one person among the eight of them at that table who objected to all the guy was saying but nobody was really interested in listening to what he wanted to say.

I have heard well educated people who I assume are suppose to be well informed support this biafra nonsense. They make it look like the problem of the Igbos is other Nigerians. They make it look like if they secede all their problems will be solved. They must think again. Because when Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, it was Orji Uzor Kalu who led the Igbo delegates that voted against Alex Ekwueme. Was Kalu a Hausa man? No! Between 1999 and 2007, the Igbos produced more than four senate presidents. Was it the fault of other Nigerians that they could not influence development projects to the southeast? No! Is it the fault of other Nigerians that their governors who are their kinsmen loot all the money allocated to the southeastern states by the federal government? No! Is it the fault of other Nigerians that Igbo representatives go to Abuja and represent only their personal interest? No!No!!No!!! Ignorance is obviously a disease that only knowledge can heal.

Some again say if we don’t discuss and address the biafra civil war, the ghost of biafra will never be buried. Yes, I agree we need to talk about biafra and address issues that may have been over looked but do the Igbos feel they are the only ethnic group in Nigeria that have issues that need to be addressed?

My own people, the Tiv people in north-central Nigeria for long have been a target of ethnic cleansing in Nassarawa and Taraba state by people who believe all Tiv people must come from Benue. In 2001, in the heat of the Tiv and Jukum crises the military came in and took side. They went on a killing spree in a particular axis of Tiv land in what was regarded by the media as the “zaki biam massacre”.

Recently, many parts of Tiv land came under severe attacks from herdsmen that these communities no longer have schools or hospitals again, everything has been burnt down to ashes. There is this touching story I was told about this woman who was discovered hiding in the kitchen with her son after the herdsmen attacked their village. These men butchered her son before her very eyes and forced her to eat his flesh. She was eating, crying and vomiting but they continued to force her and after that they raped the hell out of her. When I visited the IDP camps, I saw hunger, sickness, pregnant women, injured people, dead people covered with cardboard papers and malnourished toddlers who were coughing in the palm of my hands like they will die the next second. I also heard so many horrible stories I will not quickly forget. This didn’t happen in 1967, it happened last year.

The Igbos may know only their story because they are Igbos and I too can say a little about my own ethnic group. But what about the people of south south, the people in the northeast, the people in plateau state, the people in southern Kaduna, the people in the Nassarawa north and south senatorial zones and the people of Agatu among others. Don’t  they have issues that need to be addressed? Should they all threaten to secede? I am not convinced we are better of separated.

The Igbo question is also the Nigerian question. The problem of the Igbos is not other Nigerians but their elites and the problem of Nigeria is not the Igbos or any other ethnic group but the same elites. In their bargain for political power which is the only thing that matter to them, they set one ethnic group against the other. For more than 50 years we have been and are still running an unjust system that is only concerned about bargaining power for the elites, that neglects the masses to whatever fate awaits them. From our founding till this day we have put a wicked system in place that is concerned about sharing the national wealth only among the elites and sentencing the masses to abject poverty. The cry about marginalisation by various ethnic groups can be linked to this evil system. All the social unrest and ethnic or religious tension are fallout of long term injustice. We must first of all address this injustice before anything else. We will one day need to sit to agree on the kind of nation we want to be and redress some wrongs that happened in the past but before that we need a sincere and honest leadership we can trust to speak on our behalf and honour whatever is agreed upon.

A nation is not just a geographic demarcation but also an idea. The problem of Nigeria and to an extend Africa is that we lack men with big dreams. Men that can paint a picture in their mind of the future they want and work day and night to make it a reality. It is said that a poor man is not a man without food but a man with no dreams. We remain poor amidst plenty because we have no aspirations. Till we jettison narrow ethnic agenda and have single dreams and aspirations as a nation that we can fulfill our manifest destiny. What is wrong in building a more just society that anybody no matter his/her ethnic group or where he chooses to live can have a decent shot at life? Is it too much for us to aspire to build an almost perfect society that will be the pride of the black race, that nobody is left behind, that will prove to the world Africa is not all about mediocre, war and diseases. If we can imbibe this in the Nigerian spirit, it will be evident in the way we construct our roads, hospitals, schools and all other aspects of our society and a great nation will emerge. May God give us the courage and wisdom to build this nation.

Bemdoo Hulugh is an active citizen and he writes from Makurdi

You can also interact with him on twitter @bumy04

Views expressed are solely that of author and does not represent views of www.omojuwa.com nor its associates

UN Hails Nigeria Over Fight Against Boko Haram

The United Nations (UN) has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari administration for its fight against Boko Haram.

Mr. Weixiong Chen of the UN Counter Terrorism Centre said this when he led a delegation to Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS’) Controller-General, Dr. Peter Ekpendu.

Chen praised the government and the NPS management for being able to contain insurgency, particularly the de-radicalisation of those in prison custody.

NPS spokesman Francis Enobore  quoted the leader of the delegation as noting with delight the “appreciable success that has been recorded in the counter-terrorism, reformation and rehabilitation drive of the prisons service through the support of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), European Union and other development partners”.

He stated that violent extremism, which he described as a relatively new phenomenon in Africa, remained a global challenge and a common enemy to mankind.

Read More: thenationonlineng

Why Buhari Missed UN’s Boko Haram Meeting- Presidency

The Presidency at the weekend maintained that President Muhammadu Buhari is fully committed to improve national security and succour for Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.

This was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Adviser (SSA) to the President on Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu, in reaction to a report on Friday that Buhari and his delegation to the United Nations missed the meeting to discuss and proffer solution to the problems of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The statement reads: ‘’Contrary to the erroneous impression that may have been created by reports that the Nigerian delegation to the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly missed a meeting on help for displaced persons, President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration remain fully committed to the rehabilitation and well-being of all persons who have been displaced or adversely affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

‘’Indeed, the war against terrorism, improved security across Nigeria and additional measures to give succour to internally displaced persons have been central to discussions President Buhari has had with other world leaders since his arrival in New York on Thursday night.

‘’The issues were dominant in the President’s conversations on Friday with Chancellor Angela Merkel, the King of Spain, His Majesty Don Felipe VI and former Prime-minister Gordon Brown who came with former President Olusegun Obasanjo to discuss the actualization of the safe schools initiative, which is of special interest in parts of Nigeria most vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

‘’President Buhari is handling his duty as leader of the Nigerian delegation to this year’s General Assembly with the greatest possible diligence and will certainly not tolerate any tardiness on the part of the delegation in seizing every possible opportunity to advance Nigeria’s interests…”

Read More: dailytimes

UN Laments Slow Internet Growth

The United Nations Broadband Commission, an arm of the United Nations has said that growth in the number of people with access to the Internet is slowing, and that more than half the world’s population is still offline.

According to UN, Internet access in rich economies is reaching saturation levels but 90 per cent of people in the 48 poorest countries have none.

The body said the access growth rate is expected to slow to 8.1 per cent this year, down from 8.6 per cent in 2014. Until 2012, growth rates had been in double digits for years.“We have reached a transition point in the growth of the Internet,” the UN report said.

The commission, set up in 2010 by the International Telecommunication Union and UNESCO, the U.N. scientific and cultural agency, said the milestone of four billion Internet users was unlikely to be passed before 2020.

Read More: ngrguardiannews

Buhari To Address UN This Week

With high expectations, the world looks forward as President Muhammadu Buhari addresses the 70th United Nations General Assembly at the global body’s headquarters in New York this week.

Meanwhile, President Buhari is set to host an Extraordinary Summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Governments today in Abuja.

The UN General Assembly, which comprises all 193 members of the global organization, provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter.

At a summit this week also, UN member states will adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.

Read More: ngrguardiannews

UN Tasks Nigeria On Peace In North-East

As the world commemorates 2015 International Peace Day on Sept. 21, the UN has charged Nigerians to work for the restoration of peace in the North-East and Middle Belt parts of the country.

UN Peace and Development Adviser, Dr Zebulon Takwa, made the call in an interview on Thursday in Abuja. He said that every Nigerian had a role to play in bringing peace in the conflict zones.

Takwa explained that the protracted crisis in the North-East and other parts of the North had hampered full realisation of the potentials in the country.

“We have to affirm and re-affirm that peace is the foundation of everything that we need to do. The absence of peace has pulled back Nigeria, the greatest economy in Africa, the giant of Africa as we have always said, with all the potential to take everybody along.

“We have now focused on insecurity; we have been bedevilled by the insecurity in the North and that has retarded so many things,” he said.


Angelina Jolie Reveals Heartbreaking Tale Of Young Girls Raped & Sold For $40

The Hollywood star and UN special envoy who is a long-standing campaigner gave a heartbreaking account of young girls she has met in conflict zones who have been repeatedly raped and sold off for as little as $40 each. The actress appeared alongside former Foreign Secretary William Hague before the House of Lords Committee to speak about their campaign against sexual violence in conflict.

“For over 10 years I had been visiting the field and meeting with families and survivors of sexual violence who felt for so long that their voices simply didn’t matter – they weren’t heard and they carried a great shame. I remember distinctly meeting this little girl, who was very young – probably about 7 or 8 – and she was rocking backwards and forwards and staring at the wall and tears streaming down her face because she had been
brutally raped multiple times.” She said.

According to The Independent, Jolie described how she had felt “absolutely helpless” after meeting one young girl who refused to speak to anyone after being “brutally raped multiple times”. She said what was even worse than the physical violence was the feeling of worthlessness they felt when men bartered over their monetary value when selling them off as sex slaves.

“More recently I met a 13-year-old girl in Iraq who had been kept in a room with many other girls. They were taken out in twos, brought to this very dirty room with this dirty couch and raped repeatedly. They told me what was even worse than this physical violence was they had to stand in rooms and watch their friends be sold. To hear men arguing over what they were worth. Were they worth $40, $50? What was the price, their value? And how humiliating that was.”

Updating the committee on progress since then, Angelina said:

“The most important thing is to understand what it’s not: it’s not sexual, it’s a violent, brutal, terrorizing weapon, and it is used unfortunately everywhere. The most aggressive terrorist group in the world today knows what we know; knows that it is a very effective weapon and [is] using it as a center point of their terror and their way of destroying communities and families and attacking, destroying and dehumanizing.” She added: “I know what would happen to my family if I were raped or my daughters were raped. All of you sitting in this room. What would that do to their lives, to your family structure? You would want to know it was wrong and that the world thought it was wrong and the person who did this to you didn’t just walk away.”

Partner With Us To Defeat Boko Haram, Saraki Urges UN

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, yesterday urged the international community to partner with Nigeria to defeat Boko Haram insurgency in the North-eastern part of the country.

Saraki made the call while delivering his key note address at the ongoing 4th World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments, organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York.

He noted in a statement issued by his media office that the menace of insurgency and all forms of brutality being visited on innocent citizens by terrorists across the world require international collaboration to curtail as they pose great threat to global peace and democracy.

Read More: leadership

China Endorses Nigeria’s Bid For UN Security Council Permanent Seat

China has endorsed Nigeria’s bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

According to the Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to House of Representatives  Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Mr. Turaki Hassan, the Chinese gave their nod for Nigeria`s quest to occupy a permanent seat on the UN Security Council during a meeting between the Speaker and the Chinese officials at the United Nations, New York.

China’s endorsement of Nigeria’s bid was disclosed by the Speaker of the People’s Parliament of China, Mr. Zhang Dejiang after a meeting with Speaker of the House of Representatives Dogara in New York, United States on Sunday.

Dogara had pleaded with China to use its position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council to support Nigeria`s quest for the democratisation of the council.

“We appreciate China for its effort to democratise the institution of the United Nations and appeal that you support our bid to occupy a permanent seat on the security council,” Dogara pleaded.

Read More: sunnewsonline

Saraki Leads Delegation To 4th UN Conference Of Parliamentary Heads

Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki,  will today lead Nigerian delegation to  participate in the 4th United Nations Conference of Parliamentary Heads holding at the  organisation’s headquarters in New York, United States.
This year’s conference which will be declared open by the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban  Ki-moon, will feature presentation of reports and general debate on “placing democracy at the  service of peace and sustainable development.”

Other issues billed for debate include; “Challenges facing Parliaments today”, “Parliamentary  Oversight: challenges and opportunities”, while a bi-lateral meeting with Dr. Saraki is expected  to be hosted by the Speaker of the Israeli Parliament (Knesset), Mr. Yuli-Yoel Edelstein.

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) and  selected Heads of Parliaments (GLOBE International Representation) are also expected to meet on the  sidelines of the conference.
The Senate President is billed to address the session of the world forum on Wednesday, September 2  and later hold  a press conference immediately after the speech.

Saraki is accompanied on the trip by Senators Andy Uba, Shehu Sani and Dino Melaye. Others on the entourage include Special Adviser to the Senate President on Economic Matters, Dr.  Uchendu Okoye and special assistant on Public Partnerships.

Read Moreleadership

President Buhari Accepts Ban Ki Moon’s Invitation To World Leaders’ Meeting

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday accepted an invitation from the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, to a meeting of world leaders in New York.

The meeting is expected to formulate a fresh plan of action against extremism.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists. 

Shehu said President Barack Obama and President Francois Hollande of France are also expected to participate in the September 28 meeting which will, among other things deliberate on a new UN draft resolution on combating extremism worldwide.

He said the UN scribe also invited Buhari to a meeting of a select group of 25 World leaders in New York on September 27 to deliberate on a global climate change agreement.

The presidential spokesman said in offering the invitations, the UN scribe said they were in recognition of the political will demonstrated by Buhari in combating terror in Nigeria and dealing with environmental issues.

He said Ban applauded moves by the present administration to clean up  Ogoniland and promised the full support of the United Nations for the exercise.

“We will find ways to complement your leadership on environmental reform.  We are happy with your plans for the  restoration of Ogoniland and we will see how we can help,” he quoted the UN scribe as saying. 

Shehu added that Ban said the UN would welcome the President’s “input and experience” in finalising plans to introduce a new resolution against extremism at the General Assembly.

Ban Ki-Moon Demands Unconditional Release Of Chibok Girls

The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, on Monday called for the unconditional release of the over 200 girls abducted in their school in Chibok, Borno State last year and other abductees of the Boko Haram sect.

Ban Ki-Moon made the appeal while addressing State House correspondents shortly after having a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, as part of the activities lined up for his two-day visit to the country.

His call came the week the girls will be spending their 500th day in captivity.

He commended Buhari who he said had embarked on an agenda for change in which he was prioritising security and anti-corruption war.

He promised UN support for the President’s agenda, saying “When you change Nigeria, you have also changed Africa.”

Buhari on his part said they discussed the difficult time Nigeria had found itself during the meeting.

He said the step was taken so that the UN could assist the country.

He thanked Ban Ki-Moon for extending invitation to him to attend the UN General Assembly holding in New York on September 27 and 28.

The UN scribe will return to the Presidential Villa by 7pm for a dinner organised in his honour.

Nigeria Has Highest Number Of IDPs- UN

Nigeria has the highest number of displaced persons in the world, the United Nations has said.

According to the UN, the continued rise in the number of displaced persons in Nigeria was largely due to the destructive activities perpetuated by the terrorists, Boko Haram, in the north-eastern part of the country. It described the insurgency as persistent.

The UN Resident Coordinator for Nigeria, Mr. Daouda Toure, revealed that over 1.5 million people were displaced in Nigeria, adding that there was an urgent need to realise the great extent of the responsibility that was associated with this development.

Read Morepunchng

UN Sec Gen, Ki-Moon, Arrives Nigeria Sunday

The United Nations Secretary- General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon is due in Nigerian on Sunday. He is scheduled to meet President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday.

The visit appears to be in recognition of the peaceful manner in which the presidential poll of March 28 was conducted.

The visit also comes just as the United Nations is also looking forward to Buhari’s participation at the 70th anniversary of the world body, in New York, in September.

An official said more than 100 heads of state – alongside Buhari, are expected at the yearly global summit in New York, where the Nigerian delegation might be one of the major attractions.


UN Sponsors 500 Boko Haram Victims To Acquire Vocational Skills

The UN said on Monday in Abuja that it has sponsored 500 victims of Boko Haram violence from three North East states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe to acquire vocational skills.

Mr Matthew Alao, UN Conflict Prevention and Peace Building Analyst, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the programme was under the UNDP Livelihood Support Scheme for the zone.

Alao explained that an orientation programme for the 500 selected beneficiaries would commence today, Aug. 17 at the Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre in Jos, Plateau.

According to him, the skills acquisition programme is the first phase of intervention by the UN to emeliorate the sufferings of the displaced persons.

Alao said that the skills training would cover hair dressing, tailoring, knitting, catering and decorations as well as GSM repair, shoe-making, leather works and computer studies.

According to him, the participants will also undertake specialised training on conflict resolution and peace building.

“A total of 500 beneficiaries who are victims of Boko Haram from three North East states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe will be placed in a two-week compulsory orientation programme.

“They are going to undergo physical exercise, training, capacity building on mediation, conflict prevention, conflict transformation, social integration, peaceful coexistence for two weeks.

“We received over 2,000 applications and engaged in rigorous screening exercise out of which we selected the 500 that genuinely need this assistance.

“We took the successful 500 candidates for 2-weeks intensive course on mental and physical training.

“We are also going to train them on mediation and conflict transformation as well as business management; after that, we will put then on six-month to one-year training,’’ he said.

Read Morengrguardiannews

Rwandan Soldier Shoots Dead 4 Colleagues Before Turning The Gun On Himself

The Rwandan military revealed that a Rwandan soldier serving with the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Central African Republic shot dead four Rwandan troops and injured eight others before committing suicide. The incident happened at 5.45am on Saturday August 8th at the Rwandan battalion headquarters in Bangui, the CAR capital.

A statement released by the Rwandan Ministry of Defence Spokesman Brig. Gen. Joseph Nzabamwita below…

“Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) with deep sorrow announces an unfortunate incident where one of its soldiers serving in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) shot dead four RDF soldiers and injured eight others. The soldier killed himself after shooting his comrades. The incident occurred on 08 August2015 at around 05:45. hours in Bangui, at Rwanda Battalion Headquarters (RWABATT 2) located at 5th Arrondissement SOCATEL M’POKO. The Casualties were immediately evacuated to Level two Hospital in Bangui. Investigations have immediately commenced to establish the motive behind this deplorable shooting of his RDF colleagues. We suspect terrorism without ruling out mental illness to be the cause. RDF sends heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased and the entire RDF fraternity. More details will be communicated later.” ~Republic of Rwanda – Ministry of Defence.

Nigeria Assumes Presidency Of UN Security Council

Nigeria has taken over the leadership of the United Nations Security council, a monthly rotational presidency that member countries share.

A statement by the head of Media 1, Tope Adeleye Elias-Fatile, permanent mission of Nigeria to the United Nations said the position starts running from the 3rd of August 2015.

It will be an opportunity to highlight what the country is doing at the highest level of international engagements.


UN Screens Boko Haram Victims For Skills Acquisition

The United Nations (UN) has commenced the screening of 2,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) for the first phase of providing means of livelihood and early recovery support scheme to the victims of Boko Haram insurgency.

Speaking in Gombe, yesterday, the UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative, Dr. Daouda Toure, told the IDPs that the screening was to ascertain if they were actually victims of insurgency.

“UNDP, in partnership with the governments of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, is undertaking to ameliorate the suffering of the displaced people in the three states as a result of Boko Haram insurgency,” Toure said.

“UNDP is embarking on the Livelihoods Support Scheme. Under the first phase, 500 victims will be selected in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

“These victims will be placed in a two-week compulsory orientation programme, where you are going to undergo physical exercise, training, capacity-building on mediation, conflict prevention, conflict transformation, social integration and peaceful co-existence for two weeks.

“And because it is an intensive programme, we are very mindful of those we select and we are doing this screening because we want people that genuinely need this assistance to be selected.

“Some of you started having hope, but unfortunately, their lives or their means of sustaining livelihood have been cut short, because of the Boko Haram insurgency.

“But let me assure you that for every one that is impacted in one way or the other, you will be accommodated in the various phases of the Early Recovery Programme. This is one of it.”

Toure, who was represented by Mr. Matthew Alao, UNDP’s Conflict Prevention and Peace Building Analyst, said the beneficiaries would be placed on a paid six-month or one-year skills acquisition programme.

He explained that the successful candidates would be supported with take-off grants and also equipped with the tools of the skills they acquire.

Toure cautioned the IDPs already shortlisted against lobbying, saying the scheme was not a government largesse, but a specific programme targeted at specific people who really needed help.

UN Urges FG To Relax Abortion Laws For Boko Haram Victims

UN Human Rights Chief, Zeid Al-Hussein, has appealed to Nigerian authorities to ease abortion restrictions for women and girls who had been sexually enslaved, raped and forced into so-called “marriages” by Boko Haram fighters.

He said this on Thursday in New York while discussing with the Human Rights Council on Boko Haram’s rights violations and abuses, the findings of a 12-member team to Cameroon, southern Niger and the north-eastern regions of Nigeria on Boko Haram.

Al-Hussein said interviews had confirmed that during their captivity lasting for months or even years, women and girls were sexually enslaved, raped and forced into marriages.

The Rights group chief said as a result of this, many survivors of the horrific experiences are now pregnant for their rapists.

Al-Hussein also drew attention to the situation of many formerly captive women and young girls, who are pregnant and their reported wish to terminate these unwanted pregnancies.

“I note that abortion is legal in Nigeria only when the life of the woman is at risk. Human rights mechanisms have consistently called for ensuring access to safe abortion services beyond the protection of the woman’s life, including in cases of rape, and to preserve the health of the woman,” he said.

Read More: punchng

South Sudan Army Rape, Burn Girls Alive – UN

UN rights reports have said on Tuesday that South Sudan’s army raped then torched girls alive inside their homes during a recent campaign notable for its “new brutality and intensity”.

A UN mission in South Sudan said some of the most disturbing allegations focused on the abduction and sexual abuse of women and girls, some of whom were reportedly burnt alive in their dwellings. The UN mission said they have interviewed 115 victims and eyewitnesses in Unity state where South Sudanese forces were involved in fighting against opposition fighters in April. They have also promised to bring those involved to book.

UN Not Equipped For Internet Governance- U.S.

The United Nations is not equipped to regulate the internet and lead with international decision making on policies that will shape the future of the internet, the United States Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, Catherine Novelli, has said.

Ms. Novelli made the assertion last week, in an exclusive discussion with a reporter and seven other foreign journalists in Washington DC. Her assertion summed America’s position on an ongoing debate over the level of participation governments should have on the internet.

“UN is a wonderful organization but it is just not equipped to control the internet,” she argued, defending U.S. preference for a private sector driven multistakeholder approach to Internet Governance.

The U.S. stance on less government control on the internet dates way back. In August 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution urging the White House to stop the U.N. from asserting greater control over the Internet.

It is the “consistent and unequivocal policy of the United States to promote a global Internet free from government control and preserve and advance the successful multi stakeholder model that governs the Internet today”, the lawmakers said.

Read More: premiumtimesng

UN Peacekeepers Face New Sex Abuse Claims In CAR

THE United Nations (UN) peacekeeping contingent serving in the Central African Republic (CAR) are accused of sexually abusing street children in Bangui, a UN spokesman has said.?? UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon’s, spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said the latest incident was the third case of alleged child sexual abuse involving peacekeepers in the CAR to have surfaced in recent months.

“If the allegations are substantiated, this would constitute a grave violation of UN principles and of the code of conduct of peacekeepers,” Dujarric said.

The UN mission in Bangui has notified the troop-contributing country of the new allegations and has opened an investigation, Dujarric said. The country of origin was not identified, but a UN official said it was an African contingent. ??The “member-state will be requested to take swift and appropriate punitive action,” he added.

In the wake of previous cases, the UN MINUSCA force asked Morocco to open a formal investigation after allegations that one of its soldiers raped a girl under the age of 16.?? A UN report by rights investigators last year detailed testimony from children in the Central African Republic who said they were sexually abused by French troops and soldiers from Chad and Equatorial Guinea.

The sexual abuse allegedly took place from December 2013 to June 2014, a few months before the United Nations took over from the African Union mission with its MINUSCA force. Last week, a UN report said that South African soldiers face the most accusations of sexual abuse while on UN peace-keeping missions.

The UN said it had received 480 allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse relating to its peace-keeping and special political missions between 2008 and 2013, with South African troops facing the most allegations of abuse.

The report showed that South African troops faced nine allegations, followed by Uruguay with eight allegations and Nigeria with seven allegations. The details of the allegations were not given.

France announced last month that 14 soldiers were facing possible charges in the case that only came to light when it was reported it in April.?? In the most recent case, MINUSCA received allegations on June 19 that two girls under age 16 had been sexually abused in Bangui, a UN official said.

The girls, who have been offered medical assistance, told a local rights group that they received food and goods in exchange for sex and that the abuse started in 2014.? ??The troop-contributing country was notified on Monday of the allegations and given 10 days to advise the United Nations on the measures that it intends to take in response to the serious claims.

Under UN rules, military personnel serving in peace operations face possible prosecution at home.?? Ban on Monday appointed a three-member panel to review how the United Nations handled the child sexual abuse allegations in the Central African Republic.

Former Supreme Court justice of Canada, Marie Deschamps, will lead the review that is expected to begin work next month, with a final report to be submitted within 10 weeks.

An internal UN report revealed this month that UN blue helmets routinely buy sex with jewelry, cell-phones and televisions in countries where they are deployed. The United Nations has 125,000 peacekeepers deployed in 16 missions worldwide. The MINUSCA force was deployed in September, taking over from the AU force that had been sent to help restore order after the country exploded into violence following a coup.

Court Critical Of South Africa For Letting Al-Bashir Leave

A South African court said Wednesday that the country acted unlawfully by allowing Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, leave the country on June 15.

Al-Bashir left the country after attending two-day African Union Summit in Johannesburg in spite of an arrest warrant issued for him by the International Criminal Court.

He left shortly before the court in Pretoria ordered his arrest on a long-standing international warrant on war crimes and genocide charges.

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria said it would invite the National Prosecution Authority to decide if criminal charges should be preferred against the government.

Presiding judge, Dunstan Mlambo rejected the argument of the government that agreements relating to the AU summit proffered immunity to the attending heads of state.

While the court in Pretoria was still considering whether to order al-Bashir’s arrest, the government misinformed it that the Sudanese leader was still in the country, Mlambo said.

The judge questioned how the plane carrying al-Bashir could have left South Africa without the knowledge of the government.

The government was expected to file an answer in the next few days.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for al-Bashir in 2009 based on subjects relating to the conflict in the Sudanese region of Darfur.

Al-Bashir took power in a bloodless coup in 1989 and has won three elections since.
In the last poll, conducted in April and boycotted by the main opposition parties, official results showed him winning 94 per cent of the vote.

The United Nations says 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed during the past decade in Darfur, where fighting broke out in 2003 between government forces and armed rebel groups.

Borno Appeals To UN To Halt Boko Haram Crisis

The Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has appealed to the United Nations to intercede in the emerging humanitarian crisis the Boko Haram insurgency has brought in West and Central Africa.

The Chairman of the organisation, Alhaji Grema Terab, said the Boko Haram crisis was assuming “different dangerous dimension” by the day as shown by the recent extradition of about 15 000 locals from Niger. “Today it is Niger that is sending Nigerians parking, tomorrow it may be Chad or Cameroon or any other country in the sub region,” Terab said

He added that the situation call for urgent attention first from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), then the African Union and perhaps the United Nations.

Terab said Borno State alone have borne the brunt of building a new camp for 4 248 indigenes of the state evacuated to Maiduguri.

He lamented that with the creation of the new camp for those evacuated from Niger, the state has 21 camps with over 120 000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), insisting that this had created a heavy financial burden on the state government with several millions of Naira going into the running of the camps.

“As it stands today Borno state government has expended several billions of Naira on the problems thrown at it by the Boko Haram crisis and this has put at a standstill so many other things. We need the assistance of not only the federal government but the United Nations to come out of this quagmire which has put everything in the state at a near standstill.”

Terab added, “It was a pity that the state who have had to bear the burden of 1,5 million internally displaced persons overdrawing the facilities in Maiduguri, has to do it almost alone without appreciable assistance coming from the Nigerian government and international agencies.”

The Boko Haram terror has claimed the lives of more than 13 000 people and displaced about 2 million over the years.

Credit: CAJ News

Biafra Recieves UN’s Recognition & Invitation To June Meeting

Supreme Council of the Elders of In­digenous People of Biafra has re­cieved an invitation from the United Nations (UN) to attend one of its meetings in New York in June, the first invitation to such a meeting since the Biafran pressure group came into existence.

Deputy Chairman of the or­ganisation, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, disclosed this to Daily Sun in Nnewi at the weekend. He said a delegation of the pro- Biafrans would be leaving Nigeria for the June meeting as soon as the group raised lo­gistics for the trip.

Asked what request the group would make at the UN, he said: “We have no other request than the recognition of Biafra, recognition that we exist, recognition that we have the right to be given the oppor­tunity for self-determination, that the Indigenous People of Biafra have the right for self-determination, which Nigeria should allow to take place.”

He said in December 2014, the organisation sent a del­egation to Nairobi, Kenya at the invitation of the African Union (AU) to attend its Eco­nomic, Social and Cultural Council meeting.

Ikedife insisted that the group would continue to pur­sue its right for self-determi­nation without breaching any municipal or international law. “The only setback, which can discourage us, is lack of money to finance the project. You know dissemination of information is not cheap. We have a radio station called Voice of Biafra. We also have difficulty in financing it be­cause we think the people we are fighting for will appreciate the effort, but they have not bought into the idea of sup­porting the movement,” he said.

He assured that the suit for self-determination filed by one of the arms of of the organisation, Billie Human Rights Initiative, against the Federal Government at the Federal High Court, Owerri, would soon continue now that judiciary workers had called off their strike.


Syrian, Iraqi Girls Shipped Naked After Being Sold At ISIS Slave Bazaars- UN

The United Nations says  ISIS terrorist group has been offering Syrian and Iraqi girls for sale by putting them on show “stripped naked” in “slave bazaars.”

Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Bangura made the harrowing revelation on Thursday while briefing journalists on her “scoping mission” to Syria, Iraq and some other countries in the region in April.

“Girls are literally being stripped naked and examined in slave bazaars” of ISIS, Bangura said, adding that the girls were “categorized and shipped naked off to Dohuk (Province) or Mosul or other locations to be distributed among ISIS leadership” and militants.

Bangura visited Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan from April 16 to 29 and interviewed girls and women who had escaped ISIS captivity and survived sexual violence.

“Women and girls are at risk and under assault at every point of their lives,” Bangura said, stressing that they are in danger at “every step of the way… in the midst of active conflict, in areas under control of armed actors, at check-points and border crossings, and in detention facilities.”

Read More: presstv

Fayose Drags APC To AU, UN Amid Threats To Make Ekiti Ungovernable

The governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose, has noted that he has reported the All Progressives Congress, APC, to the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) on the imminent reign of impunity by APC as from May 29, stressing that there is an alleged threat by the party to make Ekiti state ungovernable. “In alerting the international community on what to expect from May 29 as regards the threat by the APC to make Ekiti ungovernable, I have decided to put on notice the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) on the imminent reign of impunity by APC as from May 29.

“Since Ekiti people are certain to resist the planned plundering of their land, Nigerians and the world at large should know who to hold responsible in the event of anarchy in Ekiti State in particular and the entire Yorubaland,” he noted in a press statement.

Read full statement below:
It has become imperative once again to address the media on the constitutional and political crises being foisted on our dear State, Ekiti by irritants of unbridled ambitions, who are not only devoid of spirit of sportsmanship but implacable even when all odds are against them and roundly rejected by the good people of the state.

Read More: vanguardngr

ISIS Trafficking Human Organs, Iraq Tells UN

A top Iraqi diplomat told world leaders that ISIS is harvesting the organs of its victims to fund it murderous operations, the latest charge of barbarity in a list that already includes mass beheadings, burning people alive, crucifying children and throwing people off of buildings.

The shocking new claim was presented by the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations, who said bodies have turned up in mass graves bearing surgical incisions and missing organs such as kidneys. Ambassador Mohamed Alhakim leveled the charge as he asked the Security Council to investigate whether harvesting and selling the organs of those it executes. The claim followed an unconfirmed report late Tuesday that as many as 45 people captured by the Islamic State in the Anbar Province town of al-Baghdadi had been rounded up and burned alive.

“We have bodies,” Alhakim told his international counterparts. “Come and examine them. It is clear they are missing certain parts.”

Read More: foxnews.com

UN Urges More Regional Military Coordination Against Boko Haram

The United Nations Security Council urged West and Central African countries on Thursday to improve regional military coordination to more effectively combat Boko Haram militants in northern Nigeria.

Boko Haram has become the main security threat facing Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy and top oil producer, and increasingly threatens neighboring countries.

Read More: Reuters

Dlamini-Zuma says she’s deeply horrified by Boko Haram

Nigeria must accept it cannot defeat Boko Haram fighters alone and work with regional armies in a new multinational force, the United Nations envoy for the Sahel region said on Wednesday.

More than 13 000 people have been killed and more than one million made homeless by Boko Haram violence since 2009.

Earlier this month Nigerian security officials ruled out the need for a United Nations or African Union-backed force to fight Boko Haram, saying the country and its partners could handle the threat.

“Nigeria cannot handle the problem alone, Boko Haram is not only confined to Nigeria,” Hiroute Guebre Sellassie told AFP in the Ethiopian capital, where the African Union is preparing for leaders of the 54-member bloc to meet for a summit on Friday.

“We see a flood of refugees to Niger, Cameroon and even Chad,” she added, warning of a possible training camp in northern Mali.

Credit: AFP

2015: UN Warns Against Violence- Vanguard

The United Nations (UN) has cautioned Nigerians and political parties’ supported to desist from act that is capable of causing violence in the forthcoming general elections.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, who made the remark in an interview with journalists during his courtesy visit to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb Aminu Wali, in Abuja, said the world cannot afford to see Nigeria slip into a political crisis.

“The UN Secretary General has, in fact, expressed his concern that the elections here be violent-free, inclusive and credible. We believe Nigeria has the capacity to deliver elections that are not marred by violence, that are transparent and that would allow for free expression of the will of the Nigerian people. It must maintain its unity and cohesion, and be able to carry forward and undertake its leadership role

Read More: Vanguard

About 50 People Killed In Boko Haram Attack On Monday This Week – UN

Up to 50 people were killed in an attack carried out by suspected Boko Haram Islamists in a northeast Nigeria border town this week, the UN said Friday.

The attack on Damasak on Monday “killed up to 50 people and forced at least 3,000 to flee for their lives to Diffa region in neighbouring Niger,” Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the UN refugee agency, told reporters.

UN Urges More Help in Fight Against Boko Haram

The UN special representative for Central Africa has warned of the spread of the atrocities by Takfiri Boko Haram militants to beyond Nigeria, calling for increased international support for the fight against the group.

“Deadly attacks by Boko Haram have gone beyond Nigeria’s borders and now constitute a threat for neighboring countries,” Abdoulaye Bathily said in the Gabon capital Libreville on Thursday, adding, “Cameroon is one of the main victims.”

The UN official further noted that he was making “an appeal to the international community to mobilize more in support of states’ efforts in the battle against this terrorist group, whose atrocities have caused a worrying stream of refugees in neighboring countries.”

He also said that over 17,000 Nigerians fleeing Boko Haram violence took refuge at a camp in Minawao, in northern Cameroon, between June and October this year.

Bathily also warned of a looming humanitarian disaster if nothing is done urgently to stop Boko Haram.

Meanwhile, local officials in the Nigerian state of Adamawa said government forces with the assistance of local groups managed to take back the northeastern town of Mubi from the Takfiri Boko Haram militants.

Credit: Press TV

UN Chief Launches Campaign to End Female Genital Mutilation

UN chief Ban Ki-moon launched Thursday a global campaign to end the often deadly practice of female genital mutilation within a generation, as survivors said it had “shattered” their lives.

 “The mutilation of girls and women must stop in this generation, our generation,” Ban said on a visit to the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

“Men and boys must also be encouraged to support the fight against FGM — and they should be praised when they do.”

FGM ranges from the hacking off of the clitoris to the mutilation and removal of the entire female genitalia, and is carried out from the youngest babies to teenagers.

More than 125 million women have been mutilated in 29 countries in Africa and Middle East, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which condemns the practice as a “violation of the human rights” of women.

UN Launches Urgent Appeal for Ebola Donations

UN chief, Ban Ki- moon, has launched yet another emergency appeal for funds to fight Ebola because the UN ran short of its target. He said a $1bn trust fund he launched in September has received just $100,000 (£62,000) so far. He joins a growing chorus of world leaders criticising the global effort to tackle the Ebola outbreak.

Donors have given almost $400m (£250m) to other UN agencies and aid organisations directly but the UN trust fund, intended to act as a flexible spending reserve, has itself only received pledges of just $20m (£12m). Of those countries that have pledged money to the trust fund, only Colombia has paid, giving $100,000 (£62,000).

The UN special envoy on Ebola, David Nabarro, said the fund was intended to offer “flexibility in responding to a crisis which every day brings new challenges… It allows the areas of greatest need to be identified and funds to be directed accordingly,” he added.

Ban said, said it was time for the countries “who really have capacity” to provide financial and other logistical support. “

UN Troops Hit by Another Deadly Attack in Mali

 A Senegalese peacekeeper was killed on Tuesday as a UN camp in northern Mali came under rocket fire in an attack blamed on a jihadist leader driven from the country by French troops. The strike came just as the UN vowed to bolster defences for its troops in Mali after suffering its deadliest attack on Friday — an ambush by Al-Qaeda-linked militants that claimed nine peacekeepers’ lives.

“This is no longer in the context of maintaining peace,” said Herve Ladsous, the UN’s head of peacekeeping operations, as he announced deployments of drones and armoured vehicles.

“We are required to take a series of measures … to toughen up our bases, and boost our protection,” he said at a press conference after a attending the nine peacekeepers’ funeral in Mali’s capital Bamako.

As he spoke, the UN mission came under a fresh attack, this time blamed on Iyad Ag Ghaly, who led a Tuareg rebellion in the Sahara before setting up the armed group Ansar Dine.

The jihadist had disappeared in January 2013 soon after France intervened to drive Islamist insurgents back from Bamako but resurfaced last month to issue a video message signalling his return to combat.

He said his group was “ready to unite with our brothers on the ground to face up to the crusaders and infidels who have united to fight Islam in our land”.

“The Malian Islamist Iyad Ag Ghaly has carried out his threat by attacking the camp of the UN mission in Kidal,” a source from the UN’s MINUSMA force in Mali told AFP.

The source said at least five rockets were fired and added that the “provisional death toll” was one peacekeeper, giving his nationality as Senegalese.

A resident of Kidal contacted by AFP by telephone confirmed the information.

“The camp was attacked, we heard loud noises. It’s rockets. It’s dark here now and we don’t know what is happening,” he said.

In New York, the UN Security Council condemned the attack and called on Bamako to launch an investigation and “bring the perpetrators to justice”.


At Least Nine UN Peacekeepers killed in Mali Ambush

Suspected Islamists killed at least nine United Nations peacekeepers from Niger on Friday in northeastern Mali, in the deadliest ever attack on the mission, military sources said.

MINUSMA did not immediately hold any armed group responsible, but a Nigerien officer from the mission told AFP the attack had been carried out by the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), an Al-Qaeda-linked militia behind numerous attacks in recent years.

“This morning, a convoy of MINUSMA peacekeepers from the Nigerien contingent was the target of a direct attack while travelling to Indelimane, in the Menaka-Asongo corridor. A provisional toll indicated nine deaths,” a statement from the UN mission said.

“This is to date the deadliest attack against the UN mission in Mali,” the statement said, adding that aircraft had been deployed to secure the area.

Arnauld Akodjenou, the deputy head of the mission, said he was “horrified” by the “cowardly” attack.

“Once again, lives have now been lost in the name of peace in Mali. These crimes must not go unpunished,” he said in the statement.

“This violence must stop immediately and MINUSMA again challenges all those involved in finding solutions for sustainable peace to take responsibility for a rapid resolution of the crisis that has lasted too long.”

The Nigerien MINUSMA source said MUJAO had formed an alliance with militants from the Fulani ethnic group in the Gao region where the attack took place.

“The terrorists had threatened to carry out attacks, attacks in the run-up to the feast of Tabaski. They’ve just carried them out,” added a Malian military source, using the west African name for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha taking place on Sunday.

 Menaka, an isolated Sahara desert town in eastern Mali crisscrossed by seasonally dry riverbeds, is used mainly as a temporary home by nomadic Tuareg tribes.

US Strikes IS Oil Refineries in Syria

The United States bombed Islamic State-controlled oil refineries in Syria as President Barack Obama recruited more allies to fight the jihadist “network of death.”

US, Saudi and Emirati warplanes broadened their bombardment to target the oil installations in eastern Syria that have helped fund the jihadist group’s brutal rise from rebel faction to alleged global threat.

The strikes came as Obama urged leaders gathered at the UN General Assembly to join his coalition and convinced the Security Council to back a resolution to stem the flow of foreign fighters that has swelled the IS ranks.

Belgium and the Netherlands committed warplanes to Iraq and Britain said its parliament would vote Friday on following suit.

Obama told the UN about the Islamic State group, which has grabbed vast areas of Iraq and Syria that, “The United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death…,Today I ask the world to join in this effort.”

He added that “We will use our military might in a campaign of air strikes to roll back ISIL.”

Barack Obama addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly in New York

Obama to Face UN on Syrian Airstrike

Following the Tuesday airstrike in Syria, President Obama will face the United Nations General Assembly to defend his decision to bomb terror groups inside Syria without approval from the U.N. Security Council, Congress or an invitation from Syria.

Officials say that he will address the overall unease in the world given the new dangers posed by groups like ISIS and Khorasan, a senior administration.

Officials also add that more will be addressed by the president on the need to continue building the international coalition he and his administration have already begun to assemble.

U.S Forming “Core Coalition” to Fight I.S

Isis fighters parade through Raqqa

The United States said on Friday it was forming a “core coalition” to battle Islamic State militants, calling for broad support from allies and partners but ruling out committing ground forces.

President Barack Obama sought to use a NATO summit in Wales to enlist allied support in fighting the Islamist militants, but it is unclear how many nations might join the United States in air strikes in Iraq.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told foreign and defense ministers from 10 nations on the sidelines of the summit on ways they can help. Kerry said, “We need to attack them in ways that prevent them from taking over territory, to bolster the Iraqi security forces and others in the region who are prepared to take them on, without committing troops of our own. Obviously I think that’s a red line for everybody here: no boots on the ground.”

Hagel said, “This group here this morning is the core coalition,.. It is the core group that will form the larger and extended coalition that’s going to be required to deal with this challenge.”  And nations involved include, The United States, Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Turkey, Australia, Poland and Denmark, whose Ministers have met to discuss a strategy for addressing the Sunni militant group.

Kerry also said he hoped the allies could develop a comprehensive plan fighting IS in time for this month’s annual U.N. General Assembly session in New York.