Ronke Soyombo, Director-General, Quality Assurance Office, Lagos State Ministry of Education, has lauded the Strap and Safe Child Foundation, for creating awareness to tackle children’s emotional safety which will further impact on government’s policy.
Speaking at the Strap and Safe Child Foundation symposium with the theme: “Emotional Safety, The New Frontier’’, to commemorate this year’s Children’s day, Soyombo said emotional side of children needed more attention.
“The emotional side of a child is still an area everybody needs to look at because that is an area that we don’t talk about too much. And children are really going through too much emotional distress.
“The first thing we have done in Lagos State is that we have done evaluation schedule, thereby collaborating with stakeholders like leaders from private and public schools, where we were able to put several parameters in place.
“Lagos State has made sure that in all our schools, there is a designated person that every student can go to. It is within that designated person to take an action if they make any disclosure,’’ she said.
Soyombo added that the state had adapted innovative steps to address critical issues as they arise.
“Another measure Lagos State has done is that if you type *6820# on your phone, we will respond within 48 hours pending on what the nature of the problem is.
“If it is sexual abuse and emotional abuse, we will have to respond immediately. And with that, this is making a lot of children to actually call us.
“And so far, we’ve had cases of sexual abuse, in all our cases in the last two years, we’ve done almost 2,000 cases and 40 per cent of them are all on child sexual abuse,” she said.
She commended Strap and Safe Child Foundation for the awareness programme and noted that Lagos State would support the child initiative programmes of the foundation.
“Our children must know that we are here for them; we shouldn’t neglect them and listen to them more often. We also expect our parents also to be great role models.
“Charity begins at home. We urge parents to have more time for our children, listen to them, dine with them, there are so many of them bottling things up and they don’t have anybody to talk to,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Founder of Strap and Safe Child Foundation, Bolanle Edwards, said that it was important to direct more energy to the emotional well-being and state of children.
“Parents need to be more aware of and invest in what’s going on inside their children and to keep in mind that everyday interaction has an impact on our children’s emotional well-being.
“Narrowing it down, the present educational system in Nigeria is clearly different from what was in existence years back.
“Children are bombarded with tons of class works and assignments that they cannot answer or give solutions to by themselves. After the assignments, these same children come home to go through one to two hours of home coaching.
“Our tripod approach to child safety home, road and school is aimed at highlighting the safety hazards that exist in homes, schools and on the road and advocating ways to mitigate these hazards.
“Strap and Safe Child Foundation founded in April 2009, is a self-funding community of volunteers, supporters and stakeholders,” she said.https://nnn.ng/dg-quality-assurance-lauds-ngo-for-creating-more-awareness-to-address-childrens-emotional-safety/
President Buhari’s UNGA75 National Statement
22ND SEPTEMBER 2020
Ø Mr. President,
Ø Heads of State and Government,
Ø Distinguished Delegates,
Ø Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me on behalf of the Government and good people of Nigeria, congratulate you on your well-deserved election as President of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). I would like to assure you of Nigeria’s readiness to avail the United Nations all necessary cooperation needed for the fulfillment of your mandate.
2. I wish to also thank the General Assembly for the support accorded His Excellency, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande during his tenure as President of the 74th Session of the General Assembly.
3. We acknowledge the accomplishments of the Assembly under his able leadership, particularly his efforts on attacking global poverty through the Global Coalition on Poverty Eradication.
4. We also commend the tremendous efforts of His Excellency, Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in steering the affairs of the organization during this challenging period of the Coronavirus pandemic, as well as his strong commitment to making the UN more efficient and responsive in its international responsibility.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,
5. It is my privilege to use this opportunity to congratulate Member States on the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations. Over the past seven decades, the United Nations, as the People’s Assembly, has helped to stabilize the global community.
6. In addition to international peace and security, the UN has undertaken programmes on poverty eradication, women’s empowerment, youth development and humanitarian emergencies.
7. The theme of this year’s General Assembly – “The Future We Want, The United Nations We Need: Reaffirming Our Collective Commitment To Multilateralism – Confronting Coronavirus Through Effective Multilateral Action”, is indeed most appropriate and timely, as it captures our common desire for a renewed and revitalized organization in need of multilateral approaches to the many challenges facing the world.
8. As we reflect on the future we want and the United Nations we need, we must realize that the peoples of the world not only look up to us: they count on us. If the United Nations system cannot mobilize the world to marshal out a truly effective and inclusive response to the Coronavirus pandemic, then the United Nations would have failed in its core mission of giving expression, direction and solution to the yearnings of the international community.
9. The future we want must guarantee human rights, human dignity, human prospects and prosperity. The principles of “Leaving No One Behind and Doing No Harm” must be expressed through accountability, strategic growth initiatives and elimination of threats of all kinds.
10. In our quest to provide a future of hope and prosperity for Nigerians, our administration has embarked on measures to ensure enhanced national resilience. We intend to achieve this through the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan and the Medium Term National Development Plans for the period 2020-2025 and 2026-2030. We expect that these ambitious initiatives will deliver sustainable economic growth and development to Nigeria.
11. Predicated on the values that inspired its creation, the United Nations we need has to remain an agent of progress, by giving expression to the tenets of multilateralism, solidarity and international cooperation. It is within the context of this rules-based multilateral order that the world can find solutions to its many problems.
12. The world is currently in the grips of the Coronavirus pandemic. Regrettably, our communities and countries are losing lives. The Coronavirus pandemic has devastated the world economy and strained the capabilities of the health system of many countries, including our own country.
13. In the aftermath of Coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria, we prioritized vulnerable groups, including women, children, older persons and the unemployed, in our efforts to provide medical and social assistance to cushion the socio-economic effects of the disease.
14. Accordingly, we have expanded our National Social Register, to include an additional 1 million Nigerians. Our National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) has been the vehicle for reaching out to the poor and vulnerable members of the Nigerian population, as well as providing cover for over 22 million households.
15. I use this opportunity to commend the efforts of the United Nations and the World Health Organization in combating the Coronavirus pandemic.
16. I note, with appreciation, the $2 Billion United States Dollars Global Humanitarian Response Plan launched by the UN Secretary-General to fund the Coronavirus response in the poorest countries of the world.
17. I also commend his call for cease-fire in conflict areas, to enable humanitarian assistance reach groups vulnerable to Coronavirus .
18. I should also state that Nigeria is committed to working with other Member States in the spirit of global cooperation and solidarity to promote human health and general well-being. Nigeria will continue to partner with the WHO and some countries to ensure accelerated development and manufacturing, as well as uninhibited supply of safe and effective Coronavirus vaccines to all.
19. In order to mitigate its impact on Nigerians, our administration has commenced the disbursement of the sum of N10.9 Billion to households and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as palliatives.
20. In addition, we have established a five hundred billion (N500 billion) fiscal stimulus package and sustained delivery of humanitarian and social interventions to poor and vulnerable households, while our Central Bank has launched a N3.5 trillion-stimulus package to boost manufacturing and facilitate import substitution.
21. The international community will need to cooperate in addressing the scourge of poverty, particularly in developing countries. It is in this regard, that we commend the President of the 74th General Assembly for launching an Alliance for Poverty Eradication in June.
22. We encourage global leaders, particularly leaders from the global North, to support the Alliance at this time when the COVID-19 pandemic is reversing gains made in the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and is pushing an additional half a billion people into extreme poverty.
23. As we mark the beginning of the UN Decade of Action for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, Nigeria has made significant strides in domesticating the SDGs.
24. There is an ongoing re-alignment of the National Statistical System (NSS) with the requirements and indicators of the SDGs. This is expected to ensure effective tracking and monitoring of the SDGs and guide SDG interventions across the country.
25. Nigeria has also developed its home-grown Integrated Sustainable Development Goals model (iSDG Model) – an analytical framework for assessing how policy-making can better address the indivisible nature of the SDGs.
26. Nigeria remains deeply concerned over the illicit trade, transfer, and circulation of small arms and light weapons, particularly on the continent of Africa.
27. We urge the international community to renew efforts to stem this traffic and promote the Arms Trade Treaty in order to codify accountability in the on-going battle against trans-border crimes, including terrorism and acts of piracy.
28. The litany of sophisticated terrorist attacks across the globe is a harsh reality of the challenges the world is facing today. We must therefore redouble our efforts to ensure collective security.
29. In Nigeria, we are still facing violent extremism from the insurgency of Boko Haram and bandits. We continue to count on our strong cooperation with UN Counter-Terrorism bodies and neighbouring countries to overcome the terrorists in the Lake Chad Basin and the wider Sahel Region.
30. We will vigorously sustain the rehabilitation, reconstruction and resettlement of victims of terrorism and insurgency in the North-East. The North-East Development Commission has been established for that purpose.
31. Nigeria is committed to universal nuclear non-proliferation. In this connection, we recall the adoption of the landmark Treaty on The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which opened for signature on 20 September 2017. Nigeria participated actively in the processes leading to its adoption and was an early signatory and ratifier.
32. With less than ten ratifications needed for the TPNW’s entry into force, we urge other member states who have not done so to quickly ratify the Treaty for the actualization of its important objective.
33. Climate Change is an environmental crisis which requires urgent action. Our Administration is conscious of the fact that the attainment of national development targets would be greatly impeded unless the consequences of climate change are addressed holistically in line with the Paris Agreement.
34. To this end, Nigeria has intensified climate action through the upward review of reduction in greenhouse gas emission under the Nationally Determined Contributions, which are climate change targets under the Paris Agreement.
35. Nigeria remains steadfast in our commitment to the revitalization of Lake Chad. We are convinced that recharging the Lake will improve the living conditions of our people in the area, promote inter-state cooperation, strengthen community resilience, and assist in addressing environmental and security challenges threatening the region and its resources.
36. Let me, therefore, reiterate the call for international support for the sub-regional efforts to raise the $50 billion USD required to actualize this initiative.
37. Nigeria experiences high internal and external migration due to the size of its population, economic situation and climate. We are therefore fully committed to migration management and prevention of irregular migration and human trafficking.
38. I enjoin the international community to also communicate the positive contributions of migrants, particularly in countries of destination, in order to combat racial discrimination and xenophobic attacks, and facilitate the social integration and protection of migrants.
39. The global aspiration to recover from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic will not be fully met without addressing existing structures that make it more difficult for countries to generate and retain their financial resources.
40. It is in this regard that I thank the immediate past Presidents of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, Ambassador Tijjani Muhammad-Bande and Ambassador Mona Jul, respectively, for jointly launching the High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda.
41. In the area of human rights, Nigeria has passed a number of human rights-related bills into law. The bills include: the Anti-Torture Act, the Comprehensive Treatment and Care for Victims of Gun-Shot Act, as well as the National Senior Citizens Centre Act. In addition, Nigeria has launched a National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.
42. This measure is designed to strengthen institutions, coordinate the prevention of violent extremism, enhance the rule of law, access to justice and human rights as well as engaging communities and building resilience and integrated strategic communication.
43. The United Nations has made progress in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment through initiatives such as the Beijing Declaration and Programme of Action and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The creation of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), in July 2010, was an important milestone.
44. Nigeria acknowledges the importance of gender equality and recognizes the critical role that women play in development. We also recognize that the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and other internationally-agreed Development Agenda depend largely on the empowerment of women. Nigeria will sustain its affirmative stance through women empowerment initiatives.
45. Quality education for all is the cornerstone of sustainable development.
46. In this connection, I am happy to announce that the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be hosting the 4th International Conference on Safe Schools in 2021.
47. I invite you all to Nigeria to participate in the Conference which aims to advocate for the protection of education from attack as we work together towards the future we want.
48. As we urge and strive for inclusion within our societies, we must also ensure inclusion prevails in our collective action as members of the International Community. Nigeria supports the expansion of the UN Security Council to reflect the diversity and dynamics of the 21st Century. Africa deserves permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council.
49. I will conclude by reaffirming Nigeria’s commitment to promoting international peace and security and sustainable development, as well as strengthening partnerships and cooperation with international and regional organisations.
I thank you. https://nnn.ng/president-buharis-unga75-national-statement/
China Focus: Braving challenges, CPC to lead China to new economic success
The Communist Party of China (CPC), the world’s largest political party, celebrated its 99th birthday as the country is consolidating its economic recovery amid the COVID-19 epidemic.
Official data shows activities in many Chinese industries, from auto manufacturing to e-commerce, are returning to pre-epidemic levels. Given the country’s solid pace of recovery, Fitch Ratings on Monday raised its 2020 GDP forecast for China to 1.2 percent from 0.7 percent.
The recovery is hard won, though. For months, the COVID-19 epidemic, coupled with lingering trade tensions and weak external demand, has been testing the economic governance capacity of the CPC, which led the country to transform from a vastly impoverished agricultural land into the world’s second-largest economy with better-off people.
Based on the valuable experience it has accumulated over the past decades, the CPC will steer the country toward a healthier and long-term growth through deepening reform and widening opening-up, analysts say.
QUALITY MATTERS MORE IN TOUGH DAYS
After four decades of breakneck expansion, the CPC has been pushing China’s economy to transition to high-quality development, putting emphasis on greener and more sustainable growth.
China lowered its economic growth targets over the past few years, and even set no target for this year, showing the country is relying less on using GDP to measure success.
“This marks a great shift in the leadership’s development philosophy, which will continue to have far-reaching impacts on economic and social life,” said Gao Peiyong, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
In a bid to push forward high-quality development, China has given less weight to traditional high-polluting and high energy-consuming industries even though they are vital sources of jobs and tax revenues.
Instead, the country has doubled down on support for new drivers of growth such as high-end equipment manufacturing, modern services and high-tech industries.
Even in the first quarter when the novel coronavirus epidemic pushed China’s economy into its first contraction in decades, the country still avoided launching a massive stimulus and maintained a tight grip over the property sector.
Further, rather than embarking on traditional infrastructure investment programs, China is seeking more targeted investments in “new infrastructure” such as 5G networks, big data centers and other projects that facilitate innovation and improve weak links in economic and social development.
“Expanding investment in new infrastructure is not a stopgap. It will not only boost consumption and benefit the people, but also facilitate structural adjustments and enhance the sustainability of growth,” said Liu Duo, head of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.
REFORM KEY TO ECONOMIC SUCCESS
Chinese policymakers innovatively started the reform and opening-up policy in 1978 to eliminate the constraints of a planned economy, nurture private sectors and advance state-owned enterprise reforms step by step.
To unleash economic growth, the government has been pressing ahead with reforms to reduce corporate burdens, transform government functions and cut red tape.
A total of 2.36 trillion yuan (about 337 billion United States dollars) of taxes and fees were cut in 2019 for businesses, well above the original target of 2 trillion yuan, with manufacturing and micro and small businesses benefiting most.
In the face of the COVID-19 epidemic, the country has not slowed its pace of reforms toward expanding marketization.
In May, China issued a guideline to accelerate the improvement of its socialist market economy, pledging to improve the market, policies, the rule of law and the social environment for supporting the development of private businesses and foreign-invested enterprises.
Thanks to the deepening of reforms, the country’s entrepreneurial enthusiasm ran high and the market vitality stayed unabated despite downward pressures and trade tensions, with 20,000 new businesses being set up each day on average last year.
The process of reforms is far from complete. The advancing supply-side structural reform will inject new impetus to the economy, analysts say.
EMBRACING OUTSIDE WORLD
Along with the sustained efforts to invigorate the domestic economy via market reforms, the CPC has been consistent in pushing opening-up step by step.
“Unlike many Western countries, where policy initiatives are often overturned once an administration changes, China’s policies have always been consistent with effective implementation, providing stable expectations for firms,” said Zhao Lei, a professor with the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC.
The CPC has been leading China’s opening-up through trial and error. Pilot reforms were carried out in free trade zones designed to test water for new modes of international cooperation. The number of sectors that are off-limits for foreign investors was gradually reduced over the years as the country further opened up.
In its latest efforts to open the economy, China unveiled a new negative list for foreign investment in late June, cutting the number of sectors that are off-limits for foreign investors to 33 from 40 in 2019.
At a time when protectionism and anti-globalization sentiments rise, the CPC’s opening-up push is facing unprecedented challenges.
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has reiterated that it would continue to broaden market access and open up its service sector, vowing supportive measures to shore up foreign investment and trade.
“Many thought that China would hit the brake on promoting the Belt and Road Initiative amid the pandemic, but the country has been unwaveringly advancing it, as evidenced in the recent High-level Video Conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation,” Zhao said.
Under the CPC’s leadership, China is becoming ever more confident in the international market, shifting its role from merely a participant to an active builder of globalization by pushing for the establishment and development of multilateral institutions, he said.
Children play at Pavilion of Knowledge – Ciencia Viva Centre in Lisbon
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Children play at the Pavilion of Knowledge – Ciencia Viva Centre, a scientific and technological space, in Lisbon, Portugal on June 1, 2020, the International Children’s Day. (Photo by Pedro Fiuza/Xinhua)https://nnn.ng/children-play-at-pavilion-of-knowledge-ciencia-viva-centre-in-lisbon/
Spotlight: As restrictions ease further, Europeans mark Children’s Day with messages of hope
European countries took another step to normalcy on Monday with a further easing of anti-coronavirus restrictions, as part of the continent celebrated the International Children’s Day with public figures sending messages of consolation and hope for better days ahead.
In a phased approach, lockdown measures have been lifted cautiously by European governments, with a new phase of easing often coming on Mondays. Across Europe, businesses are reopening and many children are back in school.
An online dashboard, maintained by the WHO European Region, showed that 2.16 million confirmed COVID-19 cases had been reported in 54 countries, with 180,650 deaths as of 10:00 a.m. CET (0800 GMT) on Monday.
Starting on Monday, more than 10 European countries further eased their coronavirus lockdown restrictions, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Romania, Cyprus, Greece, Finland and Albania.
In the Belgian capital of Brussels, the iconic Atomium building reopened its doors to the public, after having been closed since March 14 when Belgium imposed a nationwide lockdown to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Built on the occasion of the 1958 Universal Exhibition and representing the conventional iron crystal mesh magnified 165 billion times, the Atomium is on the verge of bankruptcy, with an estimated loss of 3 million euros (3.3 million United States dollars) due to the lockdown measures.
Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said the Atomium’s reopening marked the return of some degree of freedom. Even if masks and social distance were necessary, she noted, this “should not keep us from enjoying the culture,” Brussels Times reported in an online story.
Also on Monday, the Netherlands reopened restaurants, cafes, theaters, concert halls, museums and cinemas after two and a half months.
“We are taking the second step in easing the anti-coronavirus measures today,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Twitter. “Only if everyone adheres to the measures can we take a step forward.”
Greece also took another step to normalcy with the reopening of primary schools and kindergartens, open-air cinemas, hotels and swimming pools among other businesses which had closed since March.
In Italy, lovers of archeology and antiquity were rewarded by the reopening of the Colosseum Archeological Park and its monuments — which include the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the remains of the Emperor Nero’s Palace, the Domus Aurea — all of which are on the UNESCO World Heritage list as sites of “incomparable artistic value.”
June 1 is the International Children’s Day in more than 10 European countries, including Romania, Portugal, Albania, the Czech Republic, Poland, Bulgaria, and Serbia.
In Romania, this year Children’s Day has become a big day for people of all ages, since it’s the first day that most of the anti-virus measures were lifted.
When the Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History opened at 11 a.m., there was already a long queue at the gate. Zoos and parks in Romania were also favorite choices for children. In parks, children can be seen happily playing with rollers and skateboards.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa published a message on his social media as the country entered the third phase of de-confinement.
“On the day that we celebrate another Children’s Day, we return to socializing in pre-school establishments. Fifteen days ago, we reopened the daycare centers, demonstrating that … we could have our children in these establishments again,” wrote Costa in his tweet.
The Polish government and organizations helped the children celebrate the International Children’s Day with various online activities. The authorities organized a number of online readings for children, including Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki who read a Polish children’s poem for kids.
In Albania, authorities lifted restrictions for citizens to visit parks and playgrounds. The Children’s Day was celebrated with fun activities dedicated to children at the newly reconstructed “Rinia” park in the center of the capital.
Children accompanied by their parents enjoyed the new playgrounds, toys, the concerts with songs and dances, sports games, circus and other fun activities organized by Tirana Municipality.
Albanian President Ilir Meta paid a visit to an orphanage in Tirana, where he donated books and drawing notebooks to the children.
Meta commended New beginnings orphanage for helping some 200 abandoned children, orphans or children from families with major social or financial problems, for 25 years.
“Your mission throughout these years has been to help, support and invest in the children with major social problems, and have them educated and get them out of…poverty, preparing them for the challenges of the future,” he said.