Girl-Guides  links girl-child education to world peace, development



The Nigerian Girl Guides Association (NGGA) has identified sound and qualitative education as a critical tool in empowimg the girl-child toward attaining  leadership positions.

The association’s Chief Commissioner, Mrs Maria-Goretti Sule, said in Lagos on Saturday that such empowerment would bring about global peace.

Sule spoke at the opening of the Nigeria Hub of the 2019 Juliet Low Seminar (JLS) on Saturday.

The seminar had the theme: “Lead Out Loud: Tackling Gender Barriers to Leadership”.

The Nigeria News Agency  reports that   JLS is hosted by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).

According to Sule, the potential of any girl- child may remain untapped if not educated.

She said that education had the key to unlocking the potential.

Sule said that lack of education of the girl-child was a challenge to  achieving purposeful  leadership, national growth and global development, peace and harmony.

“That is the essence of this event.  Today marks a new dawn for us in the NGGA because this happens to be the first time we are hosting our movement’s global event.

“We have been playing host to many national and Africa region events and some others sponsored by the WAGGGS but when Nigeria was granted the hosting rights as one  of the 20 hubs for the seminar, our joy knew no bounds.

“You will agree with me that the girl-child is going through many issues such as gender discrimination, rape, poverty, barriers to education, violence and female genitsl mutilation, among others.

“We must not feign ignorance of these issues if we intend to give our girls the much needed empowerment through education to ensure freedom for them and find the space to develop their potential.
“The theme for the 2019 JLS is a very timely one;  this is the reason we must call on stakeholders to join forces with  us to break barriers that hinder the girl-child and young women from developing their talents  and becoming who God wants them to be,” she said.

The commissioner  urged that from homes to schools,  workplaces,  markets or political campaign grounds, all barriers to girl-child development must be broken.

She called  for legislation that would destroy barriers working against  females, to achieve accelerated national  transformation.

“We appeal  for legislation that will help young women to gain the confidence to pursue their life dreams and pursue success in whatever field they desire.

“We appeal for appointments for women who have the capacities to lead and make  impacts rather than discriminate against them because of their gender.

“As an association, we are ready to continue equipping our girls and playing our part to ensure they are mentored and polished to be of great service to the world,” Sule said.

Mrs Lilian Damie, the Assistant National Project Commissioner of the NGGA, told NAN on the sidelines of the event that  about 700 members of the association were participating in the JLS in different countries, including Nigeria.

She said that the leadership programme  targetted females between ages of 18 years and 25.

According to her, the purpose is to identify gender barriers to leadership and come up with ways to overcome them.

“It is expected that when these participants and facilitators drawn from 18 countries  return to their local communities, they should be able to transfer skills and impact knowledge  garnered during the JLS experience to at least  100  girls, each.

‘”We strive to deal with  the issues facing the 21st century young women and girls by equipping them with the right education (formal and non formal), and skills that will enable them to discover themselves and unleash their potential for leadership roles.

“For us, education  remains the gateway. It remains the key to preventing all forms of challenge working against women.

“It is, therefore, important that every woman is given the opportunity to learn, lead and grow, ”  Damie said.

Christa Ochocki, a facilitaor from the U.S., said that WAGGGS remained one of the global organisations that had impacted on millions of the girl-child and women.

According to her, JSL which is in honour of Juliet Low,  Founder of the Girl Scouts in the U.S., over a century ago, has given girls, the world over,  opportunities to see themselves as change agents.

“‘This seminar comes up once in three years, and this year’s event is special in the sense that it is the first time it is holding simultaneously in 18 different countries.

“The good thing about the seminar is that it fosters international friendship,  creates better understanding among persons from different cultural backgrounds and different works of life and, therefore, ends up making the world a  better place,” she said.

Miss Ruth Afoko, a student of the Winscosin University, Accra, who participated in the event, urged more women to show interest in  politics and  governance.

Edited by Ijeoma Popoola


COVID-19: NIMASA issues advisory on vessels from high risk countries



The Management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has notified stakeholders about 13 vessels from five countries heavily affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Eight of the vessels are expected to berth in Apapa, Lagos; four in Bonny and one in Port Harcourt in Rivers.

The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, made this known in a statement signed by Mr Philip Kyanet, Head, Corporate Communications, NIMASA, in Lagos on Saturday.

According to him, information about the vessels, expected to arrive the three Nigerian ports between June 23 and July 17, was received through the Command, Control, Communication, Computer and Intelligence System (C4i) Centre under the NIMASA Deep Blue Project.

He noted that the project was also called the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure.

Jamoh added that the need to ensure stakeholders adhere strictly to the guidelines put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria informed the decision to red-flag the vessels.

“We are counting on the continued cooperation of frontline government agencies and private sector operators in this regard as we jointly wage the war against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Jamoh said.

The director-general said the advisory was to further alert all agencies of government and private sector operators at the ports of expected arrival of the vessels.

He urged them to demand the highest level of professionalism from all concerned officers in keeping with the agency’s earlier advice on the handling of such vessels.

He added that operators at the ports should ensure all safety measures and precautions in the best interest of the maritime community and the country were fully applied.

NIMASA had earlier given an advisory through a marine notice on the operational procedures for the ingress and egress of vessels arriving from such countries.

It requested officers of agencies concerned to immediately report any situation or circumstance that might compromise best practices in handling the arrival and discharge of these vessels and others that might be advised in the future.

Jamoh listed the name of vessels’ previous ports of call, expected time of arrival and destination to Nigerian ports as: EBONY RAY, United States Apapa-Lagos, June23; NORD SUPREME, United Kingdom, Immingham, Apapa-Lagos, June 25.

Others listed are GASLOG WARSAW, Spain, Ferrol Bonny, June 26; DESERT PEACE, United States, Houston, Apapa-Lagos, June 26; SHANGHAI EAGLE, Spain, Garrucha Apapa-Lagos, June 25; KATRINA THERESA, Spain Algeciras Bay, Apapa, Lagos, June 25.

Also on the list are: HARMONIC, Spain, Escomberas, Bonny, Nigeria June 27; DESERT HOPE, Brazil Santos, Apapa-Lagos, July 1; STENA CLEAR SKY, India, Dahej, Bonny, Nigeria, July 4; MUSKY, United States, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, July 7.

Also expected are: VECTIS OSPREY, United States, Houston, Apapa-Lagos, July 11; GRANDE ISLAND, United States, Houston, Apapa-Lagos, July 11; and LNG BONNY II, India, Dahej, Bonny, Nigeria, July 17.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
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African Child Day: CBAAC canvasses for implementation of child-friendly justice system 



The Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) has called for the implementation of child-friendly justice system in Africa as cases of child-rape,labour and sexual violence increased across the continent.

The Director overseeing the office of the Director-General of CBAAC, Mrs. Osaro Osayande made the call in a statement, in commemoration of the Day of African Child (DAC) on Tuesday.

The theme for the 2020 edition of DAC is: “Access to a Child Friendly Justice System in Africa”.

Osayande also appealed to stakeholders at all levels to put effective measures in place to curb the rising cases of sexual violence in the country.

She said it was time for African leaders to work unanimously in implementing a child-friendly justice system to restore hope and confidence in every African child.

” CBAAC lends its voice against all forms of sexual violence, including rape, the centre is in support of the implementation of a Child-friendly justice system across the continent.

” Rape is a traumatic experience which causes psychological, emotional and physical pains to its victims, together with its adverse effect.

” We appeal to stakeholders at all levels to put in place effective measures to curb the rising cases of sexual violence in Nigeria,” she said.

Osayande said that as a cultural agency, CBAAC had in the past raised its voice against societal ills that negate the good tenets of African cultural values, through its numerous children programmes.

She urged parents and stakeholders to provide children with appropriate education as education was a human right and children deserved good education to be successful in life.

” We say No to Rape for a Better Africa!

” Indeed, this year’s DAC celebration calls for serious introspection and commitment towards addressing the numerous challenges facing children across the continent.

” We felicitate with African children on a special day like this,” she said.

The Director said that regrettably, due to COVID-19 pandemic, the centre would not be able to mark the 2020 event with its usual activities.

She said that the centre will participate in the webinar meeting organised by the African Union Commission seeking to examine the elements of a child-friendly justice system in Africa.

Thousands of black school children took to the streets in Soweto, South Africa on June 16, 1976, to protest discriminatory educational policies by the South African government and to demand their right to be taught in their own language.

Hundreds of them were shot down in what became known as the “Sharpeville Massacre”, and in the two weeks of protests that followed, more than a hundred people were killed and more than a thousand injured.

Hence, the DAC is aimed at remembering these children and the brave action they took to claim their right as well as celebrate the entire Children of Africa who have endured one form of challenge or the other in the course of their growth.

Osayande said three decades down the line, children across Africa were still faced with varied forms of societal challenge that have hampered their safe growth and development.

She said among other societal ills, was the uncontrollable spate of sexual violence, manifesting in the form of rape, inflicted on the African child, including women and girls.

” These are sad realities particularly in Nigeria and some parts of the continent and this is the reason African leaders must unanimously implement a child-friendly justice system for the African children,” she said.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)
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Child labour gains since 2000 could be wiped out by COVID-19, UN warns



Huge gains made toward ending child labour over the last 20 years, risk being reversed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN said on Friday.

The UN made the observation in a statement issued to commemorate the World Day Against Child Labour marked annually on June 12.

It, however, appealed to governments to continue to invest in measures that have helped reduce the number of youngsters working, by 94 million, since 2000.

Existing global estimates indicate that 152 million children are being put to work, but the figure is due to be updated next year, once the wider impact of Coronavirus lockdown precautions become clearer.

The statement quoted Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), as saying: “As the pandemic wreaks havoc on family incomes, without support, many could resort to child labour.

“Social protection is vital in times of crisis, as it provides assistance to those who are most vulnerable.

“Millions more children risk being pushed into child labour as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, which could lead to the first rise in child labour after 20 years of progress.’’

Echoing that message, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Henrietta Fore, explained how child labour was “a coping mechanism for many families” in times of crisis.

“As we re-imagine the world post-COVID, we need to make sure that children and their families have the tools they need to weather similar storms in the future.

“Quality education, social protection services and better economic opportunities can be game changers.

“Of particular concern is growing evidence that child labour has risen in line with school closures linked to the pandemic, with more than one billion youngsters in some 130 countries impacted to date.

“Even when classes restart, some parents may no longer be able to afford to send their children to school,” ILO and UNICEF warned in a joint statement.

They added that children “may be working longer hours or under worsening conditions” as the pandemic continues.

“More children could be forced into exploitative and hazardous jobs, (and) gender inequalities may grow more acute, with girls particularly vulnerable to exploitation in agriculture and domestic work.

“More worrying still, more may be forced into the worst forms of labour, as households use every available means to survive,” they warned.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
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NGO seeks domestication of Child Rights Act to end rape, child labour



An NGO, Netete Initiative, has called for domestication of the Child Rights Act to end child labour and all forms of violence against women and children in the country.

The NGO made the call while briefing newsmen on Friday in Abuja in commemoration of the World Day Against Child Labour, celebrated every June 12.

The President of the organisation, Mrs Rose Gold-Idehen, said that domestication of the Act was important, especially in states that were yet to implement it.

Gold-Idehen decried the spates of abuse and violence against women and girls in the society, saying it had increased tremendously during the COVID-19 lockdown.

She called on the Federal Government, Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders to sensitise states that have not domesticated the Act, to adopt it to address violence and other forms of abuse.

“States that have not yet domesticated the Child Rights Act should do so urgently for effective protection of the girl-child rights.

“It is a pity that some states are yet to domesticate the act because it shows that they lack adequate understanding of the children’s need.

‘” I advise that those states should have a rethink on the Act because their inaction is having effect on the average Nigerian child,” she said.

She noted that children were more at risk and exposed to sexual violence, criminal tendencies and other related offences, when they engaged in child labour.

According to her, it is important for the government to compel all states in the federation to adopt the Child Right Act.

Gold-Idehen also called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency over the increasing cases of sexual violence against women and the girls.

She called for investigations and prosecutions of sex offenders and their accomplices.

“We demand justice for all victims of sexual violence. We encourage our women and girls to report all cases of violence against them, no matter how closely related the perpetrator is to them, ” she said.

Also speaking, the NGO’s Secretary, Justice Gladys Olotee, disclosed that the organisation had recently empowered women and girls in Edo through advocacies, education and donations.

Olotee condoled with the families of Miss Uwaila Omozuwa, who was raped and killed in Edo, while studying in preparation for school resumption.

She, therefore, encouraged parents and the society to focus on the training of the male child, who were also victims and perpetrators of Gender Based Violence (GBV).

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the World Day Against Child Labour is to create more awareness and activism that will prevent child labour and its effects on the child.

The 2020 theme for the day is, “COVID-19 – Protect children from child labour now, more than ever”.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey and Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
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