In the face of growing insecurity and human rights abuses across Africa, some non-governmental organisations have taken the initiative of providing research materials and other field-data collections, to raise awareness on the inherent danger of ignoring the twin pillars of security and human rights.One of such NGOs, is The Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment (LITEAfrica) which, true to its objectives, held a two-day sensitization workshop on Voluntary Principles (VP) and United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP) on Security and Human Rights, in Abuja. LITE-Africa, with support from the Canadian Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI), is implementing what is termed, the Strengthening Voluntary Principles in-country Implementation in Nigeria (S-VoPIN).
The workshop had participants and stakeholders from the government, companies and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs); the three pillars of the VP. It was propelled by the need to strengthen and increase in-country implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights through cross pillar cooperation and coltolaboration, using the In- Country Implementation Group in Nigeria. Welcoming participants to the event, a Representative of the Canadian High Commission in Nigeria, Mr. John Crysller, expressed gratitude to LITE-Africa for the initiative. Crysller noted with appreciation representations of the pillars of the VP. According to the diplomat, the CFLI would continue to support LITE-Africa’s strategies geared towards the enhancement of Corporate Social responsibilities (CSR) by companies and Businesses.
On his part, the Co- Chairman of the Incountry Implementation working group, Mr. Joel Bisina, on behalf of LITE- Africa and the Swiss Embassy, appreciated all participants for attending the workshop, even as he noted that the VP was a multi-stakeholder Initiative involving government, companies and NGOs, and also a set of soft laws that guide firms and businesses in providing security for their operations.
The VP is said to be saddled with the responsibility of providing “guidelines to security forces’ operations in the extractive and mining sector to respect human rights while protecting company’s personnel and assets”.The Voluntary Principle on Security and Human Rights, according to Bisina, who is LITE-AFRICA’s executive director, “is a global set of principles that are developed by collaboration and cooperation, between governments of various countries, who are signatories to the initiative, businesses; that is mostly IOCs, and some corporations…”
Bisina further disclosed that the Nigerian government participated at the VP plenary in Bogota, Columbia, and that the government might have set up an interministerial committee to evaluate Nigeria’s membership to the VP since it was listed as one of the VP priority countries alongside Burma and Ghana by the steering committee. He, however, stated that, currently, Nigeria was yet to sign to the VPs.
Checking livestock diseases in Abuja
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has responded to a timely warning issued by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO. CALEB ONWE reports
The Food and Agriculture Organization( FAO) an organ of the United Nations ( UN) recently raised an alarm about the re-emergence of Rinderpest, a livestock disease in Nigeria.
However, the impending disaster, both to the livestock industry and human population may have been averted in the Federal Capital Territory with the flagging off of the mass treatment and vaccination of animals.
Minister of the FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, who flagged off the mass vaccination, said that the action could not have come at a better time in the nation’s capital, considering that FAO’s report revealed that this deadly virus killed millions of livestock globally in 2011 before it was brought under control.
The minister, who was represented by the Secretary, Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS) , Stanley Nzekwe, said the exercise was designed to forestall the outbreak of any disease that could threaten livestock, and as well as human lives.
His words: “The FCT Administration through the Agriculture Secretariat has been carrying our various animal health programmes such as the campaign against Avian influenza, the vaccination of sheep and goat against goat catarrh and this exercise is a preventive measure to protect our livestock from contacting the various diseases. It will be carried out all through the nooks and crannies of the FCT where we have cattle sheep and goats.”
Inside Abuja gathered that Rinderpest, a Trans-boundary Animals Diseases is so deadly that early vaccinations could help to salvage a devastating condition that will not only deplete the livestock industry, but human lives.
It was also learnt that to demonstrate the importance of keeping the disease away from the country, FAO initiated a campaign using major local Nigerian languages to ensure that the messages were properly communicated, while saving the livestock industry from imminent depletion.
To underscore the urgency required in preventing the animals disease, the United Nations through the FAO also commended the awareness Campaigns on the platforms of FRCN regional stations in Enugu, Ibadan and Kaduna in four (4) different languages (Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa and Fulfulde, to disseminate comprehensive information regarding the highly contagious epidemic animal diseases, Rinderpest and TADs to all stakeholders.
Justifying the timely intervention of the FCT minister, was another FAO report which had revealed that ” Rinderpest, also a Trans-boundary Animal Disease (TAD), was stamped out but virus samples were kept by some institutions for research purposes. At an African regional conference in 2015, five (5) countries, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan, agreed that the Virus Containing Materials (VCM) kept in laboratories should either be destroyed or sent to the Pan African Veterinary Centre of the African Union (AU-PANVAC) in Ethiopia for safekeeping”
Warding off Avian Influenza
Inside Abuja also learnt that the fight against livestock diseases in the Federal Capital was launched holistically, as proactive steps were taken too to sensitize residents and poultry farmers on Avian Influenza, with the aim of preventing any possible outbreak.
The campaign was said to have been necessitated by the fact that FCT was among the 26 other states in Nigeria where the impact of the diseases was recorded more, with huge losses which farmers were yet to recover from.
Nzekwe, who commenced the campaign in Garki, within Abuja Municipal Area Council, warned all poultry stakeholders and residents in the territory to observe all standard rules guiding the handling of poultry business, noting that Bird flu has no cure, just like the HIV which attacks human being.
According to Nzekwe, FCT was among the worst hit by the diseases the last time it ravaged the country, and there was need to be on guard to prevent it. He also noted that though poultry farmers in FCT were among those that Federal Government compensated for their loss, but since the compensation cannot equate the losses, it would be more effective to prevent recurrence.
Experts contributions to the fight
FCT Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Regina Adulugba, told farmers to deploy all the reasonable measures within their reach to avoid a repeat of the disastrous bird flu wind that blew through the Federal Capital Territory in 2015 and unleashed on farm owners unquantifiable losses.
Adulugba told Inside Abuja that advocacy campaign alone was not sufficient to preventing the recurrence, but a proactive measures both by farmers and all stakeholders was necessary to ensure that the diseases was kept away from FCT.
According to her, all participants should help spread the information to let other poultry farmers, poultry processors, poultry transporters and help everybody in the value chain to keep Avian Influenza away from the FCT.
Another expert, Dr. Columba Teru Vakuru, Deputy Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, also warned that poultry farmers should be careful not to allow infection as a single mistake can wipe out a farm within three days of notice.
He advised farm owners to always ensure that their farms were disinfected. He further warned that only staff should have free access in farms while staff who have visited other farms should take a holiday and be disinfected before returning to the facility.
#Redcard revolt debuts in Abuja
Last week, the Redcard Movement, a pressure group seeking good governance and regime change in Nigeria launched its first public rally in Abuja. CALEB ONWE reports
The Red Card Movement has been trending on the social media for some time but last week, it’s promoters decided to bring to reality by organising a rally on the streets of Abuja.
This public perception of the group was boosted by the fact that it is led by a former Minister of Education, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, a dogged fighter and prime mover of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) fame.
In this latest outing, Ezekwesili and her group are angry about the poor level of governance in Nigeria today and have vowed to mobilise well meaning Nigerians to dislodge what she described as an incompetent leadership.
Social media enthusiasts are familiar with the barrage of criticism that followed her declaration of a lofty dream to achieving a paradigm shift in the process of choosing leaders in Nigeria and also mindset conversion in part of those who chose leaders.
One thing counting in favour of Ezekwesili is her ability to remain resolute in pursuing this her new project, particularly when one considers her track records in moblising and sustaining her vision in the BBOG campaigns against all odds.
The launch of the movement in the Federal Capital Territory took place at the popular Berger Roundabout in Abuja. It was designed to feel the pulse of the public about this new pressure group.
The first hurdle the movement struggled to dismantle was the embargo the FCT Police command placed on the Unity Fountain, a place where citizens gather to exercise their constitutional rights of free speech.
Amidst heavy police presence, Ezekwesili took the Red Card campaign to Nigerians from all walks of life. She, supported by other members of the team, emphasized that political power belongs to the citizens, who must wake up and stand up against a “failed government”.
According to Ezekwesili, the country would remain in the claws of politicians who were not prepared to reward those who voted them with good governance, if nothing drastic was done to chase them out of office in 2019.
“We are here today to activate the office of the citizen which is the office that every Nigerian citizen occupies. A citizen doesn’t have to be in government in order to have a voice as to how they are governed.
“We want to mobilize citizens so that they will know that they have the power to determine the kind of government that will lead this country, a government that is competent, capable and has character
“When citizens don’t put their voice in how they are governed, then we are going to stay as a failed country forever. We decided to use our red card as a way of saying to people who have failed in governance to go and get out of the field of governance,” she declared.
Armed with the determination to see her dreams fulfilled in 2019, Ezekwesili also disclosed plans to have the movement launched across the 36 states of the federation.
Similarly, another member of the movement, Aisha Yesufu, who is also a member of the BBOG, said the vision of the movement was to lay the foundation for a new Nigeria.
Yesufu, while refuting the claims that the movement was being sponsored by a political party to discredit the current government, said the movement was purely a platform for citizens to express their will and take possession of what belonged to them.
“This movement is not sponsored by anyone. It started organically online by Nigerians who are tired of the bad governance that the APC and PDP have offered over the years. As citizens, we want to entrench leaders who believe in the people.
“Leaders, who are competent and capable of moving Nigeria forward. There is no sponsorship anywhere as this is just a movement by the Nigerian people,” she noted.
Another leader of the movement, Maureen Kabirk, noted that one of the most disturbing things about the current crop of leadership in the country was their penchant for sacrificing the interest of the masses to achieve their selfish aims.
“How many of the incompetent leaders will ever bring out their children to lead a political protest? When employment opportunities are available in places like the CBN, NNPC, these selfish leaders would secretly fix their own children there.
“But when it is time for recruiting the youths into the Police, the military, it would be made open, because they want people they will push to where they would be killed” she said.
A citizen, Chizoba Nnamani, who probably had been looking for opportunity outside the social media sphere to express his desire for a change in government, got one at the Redcard Movement rally when he was given the microphone to talk.
Nnamani said: “I am a trader, I came to Abuja and have not benefited from the social welfare of the government. I have never voted in any election before but have decided to get my voters card in order to vote out these politicians”.
The last word
Despite the efforts the proponents of the movement had made to sell their agenda to Nigerians, cynicism is on the increase.
However, with the benefit of hindsight, Ezekwesili and her supporters appear to be overlooking the threats on their ways with unflinching commitment to the project.
One thing that remains outstanding about this idea, is the need for citizens to be actively involved in all the processes that produce their leaders, by voting and making their votes count. This is the cardinal point the Redcard Movement wants promoted. Whether the movement will withstand the opposition that is coming from all frontiers against it and leave its footprints on the sand of history is a matter of time.
When Army served Boko Haram ‘final’ warning
After nine years of bloodletting campaign, the Nigerian Army has served Boko Haram a red card, as it vowed total defeat of the sect within four months.
The implication is that the Army will advance from “technical defeat” of the insurgents, who adopt gun, suicide and ambush attacks on targets, to “total” decimation.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, gave the indication last week at a press briefing held at the Army Headquarters (AHQ), Abuja. Buratai was represented at the session by the Chief of Training and Operations, Major General David Ahmadu. He said the final onslaught will be executed through an operation codenamed “Operation Last Hold”.
“The complex and adaptive nature of the Boko Haram insurgency has resulted in the dissident group still sometimes being engaged in abductions, attack on soft targets, Improvised Explosive Device attacks and suicide bombings. “It has become expedient for the Nigerian Army to change operating tactics, techniques and procedure in the North East region.
Accordingly, the Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) 2018 will be commemorated with the conduct of an operation tagged Operation Last Hold in Northern Borno within the North East Theatre.
“The design is to deploy personnel and equipment to showcase the combat efficiency of the NA and thereafter conduct operations to totally destroy Boko Haram locations in the Lake Chad Basin.
“Operation Last Hold is expected to last for 4 months and it will entail deployment of 6 additional manoeuvre brigades and other critical assets in Borno State.
“The operation is intended to facilitate the clearance of the Lake Chad waterways of sea weeds and other obstacles obstructing the movement of boats and people across the water channels”, Buratai had declared. He further assured that: “It (Operation Last Hold) will also ensure the destruction of Boko Haram Terrorist camps and strong points in the Lake Chad Basin.
The operation will also facilitate the rescue of hostages.
“The operational endstate of Operation Last Hold is the total defeat of the Boko Haram Terrorist Sect.
Strategically, the conduct of Operation Last Hold will facilitate the restoration of fishing, farming and other economic activities in the Lake Chad Basin.
Additionally, it will facilitate the relocation of Internally Displaced Persons from IDP camps to their communities.
“Operation Last Hold is conceptualised to involve the conduct of population influence activities targeted to improve Civil- Military relations in the North East region.
It is pertinent to note that Operation Last Hold is set to record remarkable achievements that would make the nation proud of the Nigerian Army’s determination at sustaining its constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of the nation as well as its commitment to aid the civil authority to bring about peace and security.
“In this regard, law abiding members of the public in Northern Borno State are enjoined not to panic as their safety and well-being have been deliberately factored in the operation.
“The general public is requested to remain vigilant and be security conscious, as suspected insurgents may be fleeing from military operations in the North East and finding safe haven amidst our communities.
The public is also reminded to report any suspicious activity or movement to the nearest military formation or other security agencies for prompt action.”
Also speaking during pre-exercise briefing, Chief of Civil/Military Affairs, Maj-Gen. Nuhu Anyanzo, announced that the 2018 Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL), will hold in Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre, in the North East.
He added that the NADCEL will witness such activities as combined Church Service/ Juma’at Prayer in all Formations, sanitation exercises, as well as seminars/ Workshops. Hear Angbazo: “NADCEL 2018 will take place in OP Lafiya Dole Theatre.
It is designed to allay fears and to showcase the capability of the NA and subsequently conduct operations to totally destroy BHT locations in the Lake Chad Basin.”
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