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Christian Aid seeks protection of women’s human rights defenders

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Christian Aid (UK) Nigeria, has called on the government at all levels to protect and uphold the rights of women human rights defenders, as well as activists towards preventing and ending Gender-Based Violence.

Mr Temitope Fashola, Country Director, Christian Aid, made the call in a statement in Abuja to commemorate the commencement of the 2022 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls.

Fashola said that every year, the 16 Days of Activism period holds as a reminder of the persistence of the most widespread and pervasive breach of human rights ever, which is violence against women and girls.

He said the past decade has seen the productive efforts of grassroots activists, women’s human rights defenders, and movements move strategies for ending violence against women higher on the political agenda like never before in Nigeria.

The country director said this was evident in the review and passage of laws that protected women in most of the states of the country.

Fashola said: “However, the social, political, and economic impact of some life-changing events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and Nigeria’s October 2020 End-SARS crisis threatens the few gains that have been recorded.

“This is in this struggle as the country witnessed the exposure of deep structural inequalities and heightened occurrences of various forms of violence against women and girls.

“It is especially worrisome when such violence extends to those whom the survivors of violence look up to for support and justice.

“We now see a common trend of women defenders routinely targeted with harassment, hate speech, discrimination, and dissemination of personal or intimate information.”

He listed other ills as defamation, other forms of online violence to silence and punish their public participation in social media.

Fashola said, besides the direct psycho-social effect of this on the rights defenders, it also sends a negative message to survivors of violence, as well as upcoming women human rights defenders.

According to him, a shrinking civic space, especially for women and girls, will only take Nigeria back to the era of intense culture of silence; an adversary that held many survivors hostage for too long.

He said that as an organisation committed to promoting Gender and Social Inclusion, Christian Aid would continue to publicly take a position against all forms of violence targeting women and girls.

Fashola added:  “We stand in solidarity with all women rights defenders and do our part in resisting the rollback on women’s rights.

“Christian Aid (UK) Nigeria joins the global community to call for an end to all forms of gender based violence.

”It also urges the Nigerian government and all duty bearers to prioritise the protection of women human rights activists who are in the forefront of fighting Gender-Based Violence. ‘’

“We will unite with others to raise awareness on violence against women and girls in local communities and encourage all Nigerians to take a firm stand against violence.’’

According to Fashola , Christian Aid (UK) Nigeria is a faith-based international non-governmental, non-partisan, civil society organisation working in Nigeria.

He said it focuses on Health and Human Development, Humanitarian and Sustainable Livelihood, and Democracy and Good Governance.

Fashola said Christian Aid is also a humanitarian and development organisation working to combat inequalities that promote poverty.

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Tinubu calls for good governance at 64th ECOWAS Session

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President Bola Tinubu has called on ECOWAS leaders to prioritise good governance for the citizens in the quest for socio-economic transformation and development of the region.

At the 64th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Tinubu emphasised that good governance would guarantee improved quality of life and stable environment.

‘’Let me also underscore the need for us, as leaders, to prioritise good governance for our people, as it serves as a catalyst for socio-economic transformation and development.

‘’The delivery of good governance is not just a fundamental commitment; it is also an avenue to address the concerns of our citizen, such as improved quality of life and a stable environment conducive to the achievement of sustainable development.

‘’By providing good governance that tackles the challenges of poverty, inequality and other concerns of the people, we would have succeeded in addressing some of the root causes of military intervention in civilian processes in our region.

‘’Our gathering here today is, therefore, a clear demonstration of our resolute commitment to the development and effective integration of our sub-region.

‘’As a people, we aspire to create a borderless, peaceful, prosperous and cohesive region, built on good governance and the rule of law, where people would have the opportunity to realise their full potentials for sustainable development,’’ he said.

On the issue of democratic abortion in some member countries, the President underscored the need for sustained efforts to ensure the return of peaceful transition of power based on the people’s choice.

‘’Allow me to emphasise that, to further strengthen our regional democratic achievements and uphold the right of our people to elect the leaders of their choice, the region agreed upon specific punitive measures to be taken against any Member State opting for unconstitutional change of government.

‘’While the imposition of punitive sanctions may pose challenges, it is important to underscore that the struggle to protect the fundamental liberties of our Community Citizens must be upheld and respected.

‘’To this end, I would like to reiterate the imperative of re-engaging with the countries under military rule on the basis of realistic and short transition plans that can deliver democracy and good governance.

“On our part, we should be prepared to provide them with technical and material support, to ensure the achievement of these strategic goals.’’

Tinubu said that the countries involved in alliance against democratic tenets would not be allowed to distract the community of its resolve to follow laid down rules and regulations for dealing with such actions.

‘’It is important that we also review some development in our sub-region including the move by some of our members under Military rule to float an Alliance of Sahel States.

‘’This phantom, push back-alliance appears intended to divert attention from our mutual quest for democracy and good governance that will impact the life of our people.

‘’We refused to be detracted from pursuing the collective dreams, aspirations and the noble path of ECOWAS integration as laid out in our institutional and legal frameworks,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government are in closed door meeting to further deliberate on issues affecting the region in the last one year and those arising recently.

The body is expected to receive special reports on the practical arrangement for the Launch of the ECO , report on Member States in Transition, report on States of Implementation of the ECOWAS  Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) as well as decide on the venue of the 65th ECOWAS Session.

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Naira notes: There’s sufficient stock for economic activities, CBN assures Nigerians

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Amidst complaints by some Nigerians about scarcity of Naira notes, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says there is adequate supply of the currency.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that CBN gave  the assurance against the beck drop of complaints by some bank customers  on scarcity of Naira notes at the counters, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) Points of Sale (PoS), and Bureaux de Change (BDCs).

Some officials of Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) also claimed that the DMBs were not getting adequate supply of cash from the CBN.

But, according to a statement issued by the Corporate Communications Department of the CBN, there is no shortage of Naira notes, as there is adequate supply of the currency in the economy.

The apex bank said that the seeming currency scarcity was occasioned by large volume withdrawals of cash from various CBN branches by DMBs.

It said that panic withdrawals by bank customers was also partly responsible for the seeming scarcity.

“The attention of the CBN has been drawn to reports of alleged scarcity of
cash at banks, ATMs, PoS and BDCs in some major cities across the country.

“Our findings reveal that the seeming cash scarcity in some locations is due largely to high volume withdrawals from the CBN branches by DMBs and panic withdrawals by customers from the ATMs.

“While we note the concerns of Nigerians on the availability of cash for financial transactions, we wish to assure the public that there is sufficient stock of currency notes for economic activities in the country.

“The branches of the CBN across the country are also working to ensure the seamless circulation of cash in their respective states of operation,” it said.

The CBN advised members of the public to guard against panic withdrawals as there was sufficient stock to facilitate economic activities.

It also advised Nigerians to embrace alternative modes of payment, which would reduce pressure on using physical cash.

Meanwhile, the CBN also warned Nigerians to beware of fake Naira banknotes in circulation.

Its Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mrs Hakama Sidi-Ali, gave the warning in a  statement.

Sidi-Ali said that the counterfeit Naira notes were mainly used for transactions in food markets and other commercial centres across major cities in the country.

She said that any person found complicit in the circulation of the counterfeit currency notes would face severe sanctions.

The director said that the law provided punishment by a term of imprisonment of not less than five years, for any person found culpable of counterfeiting Naira notes or any other legal tender in Nigeria.

“The attention of the CBN) has been drawn to the circulation of counterfeit banknotes, especially higher denominations by some individuals.

“The CBN is in constant collaboration with relevant security and financial agencies to confiscate fake Naira banknotes, arrest and prosecute counterfeiters.

“Members of the public are also encouraged to report anyone suspected of having counterfeit naira notes to the nearest police station, branch of the CBN, or via contactcbn@cbn.gov.ng,” she said.

She enjoined all DMBs, Financial Houses and Bureaux de Change and the general public to be more vigilant.

Sidi-Ali urged them to take all necessary precautionary measures to curtail the acceptance and distribution of counterfeit notes.

“Furthermore, the general public is encouraged to embrace alternative modes of payment for day-to-day transactions to mitigate the risk of spreading counterfeit banknotes,” she said.

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NOA lauds Dangote’s oil production in Lagos

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The National Agency (NOA) has commended Dangote Refining Company and the Federal Government for restarting local production of petroleum products in the country.

Its Director General, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, in a letter of congratulations to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, celebrated the delivery of the first cargo of 950,000 barrels of crude oil to the Dangote Refining Company.

“The supply from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) is a major breakthrough for the country after many years of importation with attendant supply hicups, corruption and detrimental impact of high foreign exchange demand on the economy.

“The NNPCL and Dangote Refining Company said the breakthrough is a cheering news that underscores the resolve of government and Nigeria’s progress towards economic stability and prosperity.

“For him, the Dangote Refining company, the biggest in Africa, will become a major player in the petroleum production and supply chain in Africa and help to tackle the many problems affecting the sector, including unstable product pricing in the country.”

According to the director-general, this is the beginning of the onward march to self-reliance and development because more refineries will soon come up. We hope that our other refineries will return to business”.

Outlining the benefits of local production of petroleum products in Nigeria, the NOA DG said “This means jobs for our people in that sector, reduction of foreign dependency for supply in NIgeria and huge savings in forex.

“The economic growth outlook will be better with stability of local energy supply.”d

According to the director-general, NOA’s new vision seeks to promote national positives to encourage citizens to renew their hope in the country and reflect the true narrative of our nation’s progress and challenges.

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