Edited and 'Wale Sadeeq
Source Credit: NAN
By ReportersWith the processes leading to the 2023 general elections gathering momentum, political stakeholders across the South-West have uimously called on the three tiers of government to curb all acts of political violence and thuggery.
In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan, Ado-Ekiti, Akure, Ilorin, Osogbo and Abeokuta on Sunday, they said violence, known to usually greet such exercises in the past, must be curtailed for the elections to be free and fair.
They feared that thuggery and violence might disrupt the general elections, if not nipped in the bud early.
Commenting, Mr Ezekiel Ayobami of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Oyo State, said that part of the agency’s assignments was to ensure sufficient and consistent mobilisation of citizens to act in ways that promote national peace, harmony and development.
According to Ayobami, with this mandate, it behoves on the agency to play its roles effectively, especially now that the political campaigns have officially started.
Playing this role, he said, would go a long way in curbing electoral violence during the campaigns, election days and post-election period.
Ayobami said that the agency, in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other relevant stakeholders, had commenced sensitisation across the 33 local government areas of the state.
“What our sensitisation focusses on are to orientate the people, especially youths, on the need to avoid being used as thugs .
“We are engaging youths leaders in various communities, admonishing parents and guardians to prevail on their children and wards, to refrain from thuggery.
“We also let the public know that voting during elections is the civil responsibility of everyone, especially eligible electorate.
“We also orientate leaders of political parties and their candidates on the need to be careful of their actions and those of their followers; to involve security agencies during their campaign outings and let their activities be guided regulations,” he said.
In her contributions, Mrs Alaba Adeniyi, Head of Publicity, INEC, Oyo State, said that the commission had engaged critical stakeholders as part of the efforts to have violence-free campaigns.
“Apart from regular media programmes, where the commission reaches out to the general public on its activities, we, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), engage voter education providers, comprising members of civil society organisations and other stakeholders.
“Such engagement and others were to counter misinformation, disinformation and hate speech fact bare before the voting public,” Adeniyi said.
In addition, she said the commission, in partnership with the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), work on respective political parties to reorientate their followers on better ways to campaign without resulting to violence.
In Ado-Ekiti, Mr Odunayo Adesola, a Political Scientist, said that injuries and casualties resulting from political violences should be avoided in the build up to the 2023 elections.
Adesola cautioned politicians in various political parties to be above board in the interest of the nation, recruitment, camping and funding of political thugs.
He warned that stockpiling of arms and ammunition should also be discouraged.
Commenting, Sheikh Jamiu Kewulere, Grand Imam of Ekiti and Grand Imam for South-West States, Edo and Delta, called on parents to ensure that their wards do not stray into political violence and thuggery.
According to him, parents must be ready to bear the enormous responsibility of instilling discipline in their children and ensuring their moral upbringing.
Kewulere maintained that majority of the acts of violence perpetuated during political campaigns, were carried out to monetary inducement or compensation.
According to him, parents should properly educate their children to know that future of the country is in their hands, hence they should avoid doing anything capable of jeopardising the country’s existence and survival.
“It is also the responsibility of religious leaders to use their sermons to preach peace, unity and tolerance among youths, so that they will behave well and eschew political violence and thuggery,” he said.
Kewulere enjoined couples to learn to respect their marital vows, so as to avoid unnecessary frictions in their marriages, having identified majority of violence perpetrators as products of broken homes and lacking parental care.
However, Mrs Bosede Adeleye, the Coordinator, Society for Positive Change, warned politicians to refrain from indulging in any act of violence while carrying out their campaigns.
Adeleye said it was a common practice among some politicians and candidates of various political parties to allegedly set aside funds for perpetration of violence as part of their campaign plans.
She then enjoined candidates of parties to adopt issue-based campaigns and be tolerant and peaceful in the overall best interest of the nation.
“Violence will not give any positive result, but calamities, and as the nation is again passing through another difficult period, engaging in any act of violence or thuggery will only compound the difficulties already on ground,” she said.
Adeleye said her organisation was working on modalities and strategies toward sensitising politicians and youths on the need to play the game according to the laid down rules and regulations.
Also, a Political Scientist, Mr Clement Ajayi, said that electoral violence had received increased international attention in recent years due to the devastating outbreaks of violence in Nigeria and some African countries each time they held elections.
Ajayi said the notion of violence-free elections, in terms of free, fair, credible and acceptable polls, had been eroded, and now serving as the benchmark for measuring the legitimacy of elections.
According to him, elections are the key elements of democratic processes, which provide for transparent and peaceful change of government and distribution of power.
Electoral violence, he said, could, however, be seen beyond its direct effects, such as hindering people from casting their votes and preventing candidates from participating in elections.
“All of these indices are tantamount to having long-term effects of causing disillusionment and frustration in the process,” he said.
In his views, a political analyst, Mr Benjamin Abefe, said with political campaigns intensifying , the nation’s security needed to be adequately reinforced of government.
“In a country already characterised with insecurity, in form of banditry, kidnapping and abduction, I think the government needs to be very proactive in giving security agencies the desired backing, both morally and ficially,” he said.
Abefe also advised security personnel to imbibe professionalism in their conduct, especially during the campaigns and the elections proper.
He cautioned them against hate speech, which he identified as capable of heating up the polity.
A parent and lecturer, Mrs Deborah Akuh, advised youths and even fathers, who are now, allegedly, found among thugs, to shun all negative tendencies, including electoral violence of all sorts.
Akuh enjoined the places of worship and public institutions to sensitise youths to shun violence in politics.
According to her, this accounts for the reason the elderly politicians are unable to see the seriousness in the nation’s youths taking up key roles in leadership.
“Youths should begin to see themselves as potential leaders of tomorrow and put themselves in positions of honour, so that people can know they are ready to be real leaders of tomorrow.
“Youths should show genuine interest in politics and be conversant with the provisions of the Electoral Acts for them to know the dos and don’ts that can either move them up or lead them to the prison quarters.
“They should turn their backs at the inappropriate request evil sponsorship, during, before and after elections,” the lecturer said.
Akuh appealed to politicians to stop using youths for evil vices and groom them positively to become leaders of tomorrow.
“Using youths for evil vices is not helping to improve values in our youths, but rather, the morals and values of these youths continue to deteriorate in an alarming rate.
“A situation where a fellow youth sees his mate becoming a thug for politicians, and he is able to buy cars, build houses and have some money to spend lavishly; while the one, who graduated with good grades from school is unable to secure a good job, is a sad tale to tell in Nigeria of today.
“It has also been discovered that using youths as thugs give them free time to consume drugs and for the addicts among them to use illicit substance without fear of being arrested ,” she said.
In Akure, Mr Israel Ayeni, the Secretary, Inter-party Advisory Committee (IPAC), the umbrella body of registered political parties in Nigeria, Ondo State chapter, urged the state government to introduce continuous education of the citizens to correct the barbaric act of electoral thuggery.
Ayeni, however, suggested that political parties should be held responsible for any violence perpetrated , claiming that political thugs were either registered members or employed staff of political parties.
“Political parties involved in thuggery or violence should be automatically suspended from the race after due investigation is carried out security outfits. A special security can be established for this purpose.
“The love for the country should come first; we are first Nigerians before becoming members of any political party.
“Political party may fold up, but we must protect the integrity of our nation and property. Where is the almighty NPN today? What about AG and AD?
“This is why I say that continuous education is key,” he said.
The IPAC secretary, who categorically said that acts of thuggery during elections should be criminalised, said that no political party must have influence on the panelists or security outfit set up for the purpose.
“Capital offence with capital punishment should be introduced,” he said.
Also, a Communications expert, Mr Ike Ogbonna, called on media personnel and journalists to ensure that they do not heat up the polity before, during and after the elections.
Ogbnonna urged journalists to, as a matter of necessity, adhere strictly to the ethics of the profession.
“In order to avoid trouble and editorial violence, journalists should avoid personal ideas and comments in their stories.
“If possible, avoid any position that will make you become biased in your reporting.
“Some of us will be offered positions like media assistants and the likes for the campaigns, but we must understand that these things only put us at risk of becoming unprofessional.
“Remember the ethics of the profession and adhere to it in fairness and with the fear of God.
“Dignify your profession . Do not let anybody jeopardise your career; as they will make up later after the elections. It is you who will become unsafe,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Charles Adeyemi, the Executive Director, Nigeria Development Front (NDF), said that continuous sensitisation of Civil Society Coalitions, Faith-based organisations and Non State Actors, would help to checkmate electoral violence and thuggery.
Adeyemi said that the training and retraining of stakeholders on the dangers of electoral violence would go a long way in curtailing the menace.
He said patriotic media reportage of electoral events that discredit thuggery and touting should be done alongside the reorientation of young people, who are key players in the electoral activities.
Adeyemi also called for peace accord meetings in resolving disputes among the stakeholders through negotiations and mediations, before, during and after elections.
Also, Mr Deji Adejare, a political analyst and social commentator, said that checkmating electoral violence and thuggery in our political space depend on the politicians.
Adejare said that politicians unfortunately see politics as a do-or-die affair or a win-at-all-cost game.
According to him, as long as there are willing tools (thugs) around, politicians will continue to engage them to achieve their selfish interests.
He said that Nigerian politics had always been synonymous with violence and thuggery, due to the fact that politicians believed in using force, fear and intimidation to cow their opponents into submission.
Adejare said the new Electoral Act could do little or nothing to stop desperate politicians from employing their old tactics of intimidating the electorate or opponents in order to disenfranchise them.
He, however, urged the electorate to be wise to know politicians with good intentions from the tactics they were employing during their electioneering campaigns.
According to him, security agencies should be informed and engaged during their campaigns.
He said that most political thugs were well connected to politicians in power, thus making it difficult for security agents to prosecute them.
Adejare, therefore, advised parents to admonish their children not to allow desperate politicians to make use of them for their selfish gains.
In Abeokuta, a security expert, James Adetiba, said that electoral violence had, for long, been a feature of elections in Nigeria due to the winner-take-all nature of Nigeria’s elections and politicians.
According to Adetiba, this evil often arises from clashes among supporters of political parties, attacks on existing or aspiring politicians and disruptions at campaign rallies.
He stressed the need to develop ways of checking electoral violence in order to build a strong, democratic and peaceful society; one that is based on the rule of law and transparency.
Also, Mr Kamil Abolade, the Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abeokuta branch, identified unemployment, idleness, poverty and the harsh economic situation in the country as impetuses for political violence.
Abolade called for political education other relevant agencies to convince youths to see their lives as worth more than being used as political thugs.
“These youths have realised that if they follow politicians everywhere, especially during campaign period, they will be given money. Sadly, most of them only look at the gain and do not think of the harm,“ he said.
The NBA chairman also urged parents and guardians to ensure they instil moral values in their wards at an early stage and to also offer them quality education.
“Also, NOA should go on educating people on reasons why they should not engage in such activities. They should create awareness to let them know the negative effects of violence and thuggery,” he said.
Commenting, Mr Sunkanmi Oyejide, the Youth Leader, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun, said that some politicians hired the services of political thugs, knowing that they were not popular and could not win elections.
“Some politicians that are not popular will not be comfortable with the conduct of a free and fair election, hence, they often engaged the services of artisans and unemployed youths to disrupt political process,” Oyejide said.
He added that such menace could be curbed through collective responsibility.
“The political parties, through the offices of their youths leaders, should be educating the young constituency and get them involved constructively and positively in their programmes,” he said.
Also, Alhaji Kamaldeen Akintunde, the Secretary-General, Ogun Muslim Council, said it was sad to acknowledge that electoral violence had been part of Nigeria’s democracy since the First Republic.
Akintunde explained that the menace had often resulted into human and material loses and had continued to hinder the growth of the nation’s democracy.
To check the menace, he called for attitudinal change on the part of the politicians, urging them to play for Nigeria’s democracy to be deepened.
“There must be patriotism on the part of all stakeholders and the umpire must be unbiased level playing field for all,” he said.
Also, Mr Kazeem Abiodun, a Peace expert, told that absence of political parties with defined and quality ideologies was a major cause of electoral violence in the country.
Abiodun said that there would be no need to hire thugs to disrupt electoral process, if such political parties existed.
“The kind of government system that we run in Nigeria allows high level of corruption to thrive, because of improper system of accountability, hence, people are desperate to occupy public positions.
“Also, the politicians are taken advantage of high level of poverty in the country, as they can easily manipulate poor people and use them to perpetrate their selfish interests at little cost.
“It is necessary for us to redefine our political structure and system, promoting that which will be driven than money.
“We play money politics in Nigeria and it is not encouraging.
“There is need to make political offices less attractive. It will mean that whoever wants to get to power is going there to serve the people and not to steal.
“We need to have proper checks and balances with effective anti-graft agencies that will ensure accountability and prosecute corrupt leaders,” he said. Edited /Olagoke Olatoye
Source Credit: NAN
The National Population Commission (NPC) says Nigeria’s population remains its greatest asset in national development and must be harnessed to make life worth living for the people.
NPC’s Federal Commissioner for Katsina State, Engr. Bala Banye, made the declaration on Thursday in Katsina at a two-day state level workshop on compendium of localities for the 2023 population and housing census.
He said the compendium of localities would be presented to President Muhammad Buhari before the 2023 exercise.
“With the huge resources spent on the Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD), we are happy that the NPC has acquired a lot of data sets that will be useful for national development.
“I commend the Cartography Department for its efforts to deliver more data for the locality level from the EAD exercise.
“The present Commission under its current leadership is devoted to collaboration and partnership with relevant agencies to advance national development,’’ he said.
Banye implored all participants at the workshop to work with the NPC to achieve excellent results that will add more value to socio-economic development of the country.
He said the objective of the workshop was to compile all the localities demarcated during the EAD on a local government area basis showing the coverage and location on interactive maps.
“This compilation will be presented to the local government area stakeholders in the state.
The compendium of locality in census parlance is a tool for census data dissemination as well as for National planning and development.
“The 2023 population and housing census results will be released up to the lowest level of the census entities which could be as small as a camp,’’ Banye said.
He assured Nigerians that the Commission was irrevocably committed to positively rewriting the history of censuses in Nigeria.
He said the NPC would deliver accurate, reliable and acceptable census figures that would be purposefully relevant in the drive toward sustainable national development.
The commissioner pointed out that preparations for the 2023 exercise were on course and the NPC is confident of discharging the function effectively.
“I appeal to Nigerians to join the NPC in the bid to give Nigeria reliable demographic data at the forthcoming 2023 census,’’ Banye said.
In his contribution, one of the participants, and a Director at the National Orientation Agency (NOA), in Katsina State office, Alhaji Hadi Yahaya, assured of the agency’s support toward the success of the exercise.
He said the NOA would engage in a series of public enlightenment activities like community drama, market rallies, and community dialogue to support the exercise.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that participants at the workshop included traditional rulers, community leaders and local government chairmen among others.
Stakeholders in the media industry in North-East have cautioned journalists against sensitional reportage to facilitate credible and peaceful 2023 general elections.
The stakeholders including media practitioners, politicians, unionists and activists spoke while responding to a survey by the News Agency of Nigeria on political thuggery in Bauchi, Damatruru, Dutse, Gombe and Yola.They described media as critical towards ensuring violence, fair and credible elections in the country.
Mr Saidu Malala, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Gombe State, said media had a critical agenda-setting role towards promoting peace and harmony in the country.
He said the support of journalists through peace-oriented news would help create a peaceful political atmosphere that contribute to the integrity and credibility of elections.
“Journalists have a duty to report issues that will not fuel violence in the country, even though we have a responsibility to inform the public in a professional manner.
“There are reports that may trigger violence if not handled properly in line with the professional ethics, we must be guided in this regard.
“We need peace not just for election but for our everyday activities, and as critical stakeholders we owe the society reportage that will promote peace and unity,” he said.
While urging journalists to be objective, Malala advised them to be security conscious so as not to become victims of violence or thuggery during electioneering campaigns.
“You must assess the security situation of any event before you embark on any journey to cover events.
“Don’t put yourself in a position where you will be vulnerable in view of the increase in thuggery in Gombe State,” he said.
Also; Mr Rajab Muhammad, the Council Chairman in Yobe, tasked media organisations to shun airing programmes capable of disrupting peace ahead of the 2023 elections.
He noted that such inciting programmes were against the ethics of the profession, and stressed the need for media practitioners to be objective as enshrined in the NUJ constitution.
“Reporters and sub-editors should aim at objectivity while dealing with political stories.
They should not allow their personal bias or ideas to creep into a story.
“They should not take sides but try to present divergent views to achieve balance in their reportage,” he said.
Muhammad also urged politicians to avoid desperation in politics, adding that do-or-die politics is inimical to the entrenchment of democratic governance.
In his contribution, Shettima Ja’afar, Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Borno, attributed thuggery to desperation exhibited by some politicians.
He said it was good for the media to sanction airing incitiful and vulgar language by politicians during their campaigns.
This, he said, was necessary towards ensuring hitch free election, adding that, “the media as major stakeholder should not be promoting contents that will jeopardise the process.
“Reporting hate speech by the media will create tension and violence if not handled with caution”.
According to him, the Agency in collaboration with other stakeholders will creat a forum for collective action towards violent-free election.
The NOA official blamed spate of thuggery in the country to misuse of social media by some self-seeking elements.
“The conventional media are trying, and regulated to some extend unlike the social media.
It is being used to spin news, spread falsehoods and hate speech capable of breeding violence”.
He enjoined the youth to shun misuse of social media and participate actively in the process to ensure peaceful election.
He further advised politicians and political parties to prioritise consultative engagement to promote internal democracy and encourage growth of democratic culture.
In the same vein; Mr Ishaka Dedan, the NUJ Chairman in Adamawa, said the Council had sensitised media executives and journalists on the dangers associated with sensational reportage.
He said the Council had adopted effective mechanism to ensure that media organisations and journalists run their services in line with professional ethics and guidelines governing their operations.
Similarly; Dr Abdullahi Mohammed, a lecturer, Department of Mass Communications, Adamawa State Polytechnic, stressed the need for the journalists to be apolitical, neutral and objective in their reportage.
“Media houses should base their content on credible sources and not to report something that might constitute threat to corpotrate existence of the nation.
“When it comes to announcement of election results, they shouldn’t preempt the electoral umpire,” he said.
Moreso; Mr Sabo Mohammmed, a Bauchi-based political analyst, identified fake news as a bane to effective journalism.
He said the role of the media in agenda setting calls for caution and application of professional in discharging its constitutional mandate.
“Journalists need to be meticulous in sifting stories that are true and those that are false, used in achieving certain ends,” he said.
For his part, David Ayodele, a veteran journalist, said the media plays significant role in ensuring fair, objective, balance and proper investigation of news materials.
“You have a responsibility to be credible, professional and you must be residual of standard by setting a professional code for others to follow, especially during electioneering campaigns,” he said.
This, he said, is necessary for the sustenance of the country’s nascent democracy and political stability, adding that the media must be used positively for societal good rather than destructive purposes.
While urging journalists to be fair and objective in reporting election processes, Ayodele also tasked them to show more decorum and professionalism in reporting security and humanitarian issues.
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has called for sustained humanitarian assistance to flood victims and affected communities.
NOA Director-General, Dr Garba Abari, made the appeal on Thursday at a news conference in Abuja.
”The situation calls for urgent intervention by well-meaning Nigerians and organisations.
”It is, by no means, a burden that government alone can bear.
“The existential challenge of the current flooding in parts of Nigeria is one of such national trying moments that call for every one of us to summon that humanity and brotherly compassion that Nigerians are known for.
“We must rise up to answer the clarion call of being our brothers’ keepers in this time of need.
It is a time when those who can help must reach out a hand to those who need help.
“NOA mandate is to encourage the people to actively and freely participate in discussions and decisions on matters affecting the general welfare of all Nigerians and our country.
“We, therefore, call on all citizens, individual and corporate, to mobilise and send aids to flood ravaged individuals and communities, both in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and elsewhere,’’ he said.
According to him, faith based organisations and non-governmental organisations are particularly encouraged to organise and mobilise their members to provide relief to affected communities.
“The general public is called upon to provide aids such as foodstuff, drinking water, beddings, blankets, wrappers, camping gas, cooking utensils, detergents, sanitary packs, toiletries, mosquito nets and medications to the victims of flood.
“These aids, be they financial, material or physical, will go a long way to ameliorate the sufferings of our compatriots,’’ he said.
The director-general said that the humanitarian crisis was stretching the contingency plans of most of the affected states to their limits.
He said that the recent warning from Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) stated that in spite of concerted efforts to mitigate the consequences, some states would still experience floods.
“States like Anambra, Delta, Cross River, Rivers and Bayelsa are still at risk of experiencing floods up till the end of November this year,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said that in the last eight months, floods in Nigeria, mostly flash floods, had ravaged 33 out of 36 states and the FCT.
NEMA said thereby affecting over 508,000 persons, and leading to about 372 deaths.
It added that, 277 persons were injured and about 37,633 houses destroyed with loss of huge numbers of livestock and several farmland submerged by the flood, mostly in Adamawa, Jigawa, Taraba, Kano, Bauchi, Niger, Anambra, and Ebonyi.
The National Orientation Agency (NOA), Kaduna State Directorate, on Tuesday emphasised its preparedness to sensitise Nigerians on the upcoming national census and educate voters on election matters.
Zubair Galadima-Soba, the Director, NOA Kaduna, disclosed this in a meeting organised by the agency to brief the 23 Community Orientation and Mobilisation Officers (COMOs) on strategies to employ during the sensitisation.
At the meeting which was organised by the NOA in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the National Population Commission (NPC), Soba said for the first time the census would be digital.
He said that this means that it will increase credibility and go a long way to tackle partisanship by Nigerians.
“We need to strategise on how to mobilise Nigerians to ensure they partake in the population and housing census in April 2023, and ensure that everybody is counted as long as they are residents of the country,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria has been suffering for too long and working with inaccurate data in planning and implementing government’s policies.
The NOA boss said that the 2023 census would ensure accuracy.
He said that NOA is ready to ensure that people are mobilised to know that it is their civic duty and responsibility to ensure they and their households are counted.
The director explained that citizens will be educated on elections procedure such as knowing the political parties and their symbols, and knowing how to vote to avoid invalid votes.
He added that strategies would be put in place in order to educate Nigerians, especially youths, to be careful not to perpetrate violence during the elections processes.
“That is why we must get ready and strengthen our COMOs to educate the youth to abstain totally from partaking in violence and to refuse to be employed by unscrupulous politicians,” he said.
Meanwhile, some COMOs stated that they would employ different strategies to sensitise and enlighten people in their local government areas.
Sim Victor, the COMO for Kaura Local Government Area, said she would embark on an advocacy visit to traditional and religious leaders to sensitise them on the matter as community leaders.
Sa’adatu Abdulrashid, the Kaduna South COMO, said she would organise road walk and sensitise market women on the census and voter education.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday, called on media houses, especially Federal Government media to champion the advocacy for successful 2023 census.
He made the call at the opening of a three-day National Capacity Building Workshop on 2023 Population and Housing Census for state directors and management staff of National Orientation Agency (NOA) by National Population Commission (NPC) in Abuja.
Represented by Dr Garba Abari, the Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), the minister, who described census as “very important milestone in National Development”, urged Radio Nigeria, Voice of Nigeria, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and others to rise to the occasion.
He commended the National Population Commission (NPC) for the commitment toward conducting an accurate and reliable digital census come 2023. The Chairman of NPC, Alhaji Nasir Kwarra, said that the workshop was a demonstration of the commission’s commitment to the census.
He added that “the conduct of this important workshop underscores the determination of the commission to effectively mobilise Nigerians, not only for the 2023 Census but also other activities of the commission.
” Kwarra explained that the commission would leverage on the nationwide grassroots outreach of the NOA to communicate with Nigerians.
He reiterated NPC’s need to collaborate with NOA in areas where the agency has comparative advantage over the commission, listing such areas as community engagements, field sensitisation campaign, engagements with traditional institutions, Community Based Organisations (CBOs), Civil Society Organisations, among others.
Prof. Uba Nnabue, the Deputy Chairman, Publicity and Advocacy Committee, called for increased publicity and advocacy aimed at sensitising Nigerians on the importance of census.
Nnabue expressed the willingness of the commission to collaborate with relevant agencies and the media for a successful census.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that following the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari for the next Population and Housing Census to be conducted in 2023, the NPC has intensified preparations to give the nation the first digital census and guide for development planning.
The commission has completed the Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) in local government areas of the country, as well as the first and second Census Pretest in selected Enumeration Areas in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory in preparation for the census.
The methodology for the next census has been designed to produce not only accurate, reliable and acceptable census but also inclusive and user-friendly census data.
The National Capacity Building Workshop is therefore aimed at educating the management and state directors of NOA on the methodology and processes for the 2023 census.
The workshop is also to leverage on the nationwide and grassroots reach and structures of NOA in the publicity campaign of the 2023 census.
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with United Childrens Fund (UNICEF) have inaugurated End Violence Against Children (EVAC) clubs in three local government areas of Nasarawa State.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the clubs were inaugurated at Karu and Keffi local government areas on Monday with that of Awe Local Government Area set for Tuesday.
In Karu, the club was inaugurated at the Local Government Education Authority (LGEA) Primary School, Nyanya Gwandera while in Keffi, the club was inaugurated at the Darul Tazin Almajiri School.
However, the club in Awe to be inaugurated at the Yahaya Darda’u Almajiri School on Tuesday.
Speaking at the inauguration, Dr Priscilla Gondoaluor, Nasarawa State, Director of NOA ,said that the setting up of the club was in the best interest of the children in terms of providing a platform where they can speak up against any form of violence.
“The setting up of this club is in your interest so that you can grow up as healthy, brilliant, productive and useful adults and concentrate on contributing to the development of the society in your own special way,” she said.
Gondoaluor then lauded UNICEF for the collaboration and assured that NOA would do everything it can to make the club active effective.
She also pledged to work with any organisation which goals are tilted towards protecting the rights and dignity of children.
In a remark, Dr Wilfred Mamah, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna Field Office under which Nasarawa falls, said that the setting up of the club was backed by the passing into law of the Child Rights Law at the Nasarawa Assembly, National Assembly and United Nations Convention protecting the interest of children.
“We are setting this club today so that it becomes a forum where children come together to support each other, work with their teachers and parents to make sure their interests are protected.
“We believe that this relationship we are building will go through all your schooling and also help you as you mature into adulthood,” he said.
Mamah who explained further that violence against children includes sexual, emotional and physical, urging the children to make the clubs effective by reporting any form of violence they experience.
Mr Mohamed Alhassan, the president of the club in Karu appreciated NOA and UNICEF for setting up the club and giving children a platform to speak up against any form of violence against children.
He, however, charged children to give their maximum support to the club by not keeping quiet but reporting any form of violence they witnessed to the appropriate authorities to take action.
Three governors in the South-West zone, Nigeria have been advised to adopt the global requirement of one functional primary healthcare facility per ward to stem the high rate of infant mortality.Dr. Ijeoma Agbo, a Health Specialist, gave the advice on Thursday in Ibadan, at the ongoing two-day media dialogue on the 2021 Multiple Indicator Cluster (MICS) 6.The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), supported by UNICEF, had rated Oyo, Ogun, and Ekiti high in infant mortality rates in the country.The media dialogue was organized by UNICEF, in partnership with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Lagos State.The statistics indicated that three to four children die within one month of delivery in the noted South-West states.Describing the development as worrisome, Agbo said that there was need for the affected states to adopt global requirement of one functional primary healthcare facility per ward.She called on the governments of affected states to adopt all necessary strategies to strengthen their healthcare system toward reducing the high rate of infant and child mortality.“Though, governments of these states have introduced various meaningful healthcare programmes, much more still needed to be done to save the lives of newborn babies,” Agbo said.The nutritionist called for improved awareness on the need for expectant mothers to patronise healthcare facilities rather than faith-based clinics, which according to her, is a major factor responsible for the high mortality rate.She explained that though, Lagos State has the lowest rate of child mortality, there was a need for government to do more, considering the population.Commenting, Oluwasola Olanipekun, the UNICEF Chief Management for Result, Programme, and Planning (Monitoring for Results Specialist (MRS) Specialist, spoke extensively on child marriage.Olanipekun said that one out of 10 girls got married before the age of 15, while three out of 10 boys got married before 18 years.Also, Mrs Blessing Ejiofor, the UNICEF Communication Officer, stressed the importance of data in reporting.Ejiofor said that objective of the workshop was to share with the media the result of the most recent survey.She said that such a survey would assist them to report, as well as, analyze the situation of children and women in South-West Nigeria, in an informed way that would be convincing to the public.Ejiofor said that UNICEF expects journalists to work on data-driven stories and reports that highlight challenges confronting children as well as women in society.Contributing, Dr. Waheed Ishola, NOA Director in Lagos, urged participants to pay attention to all the presentations, so as to be armed with facts and figures needed in their reportage.NewsSourceCredit: NAN
The Public Complaints Commission (PCC) has embarked on a systematic effort to investigate unregistered cooperative societies defrauding the people in the Northwest region.
The Chief Commissioner, PCC, Mr Abimbola Ayo-Yusuf, disclosed this at a one-day town hall meeting with various stakeholders in Kano on Thursday.
The meeting had the theme: “Systemic and Proactive Investigation into Activities of Unregistered Cooperatives Societies in North-West Region.
”Ayo-Yusuf, represented by the Federal Commissioner PCC Kano State, Alhaji Ahmed Ado-Dadinkowa, said the meeting was to discuss the activities of unregistered cooperative societies causing a lot of problems to the country.
“It has also affected our economy for not complying with the rules and regulations of the cooperative societies.
“Our mandate is to investigate, have access to all information, make public report, interpret policies, make recommendations after investigation and prosecute offenders.
”He called on law enforcement agencies, especially the court that had a vital role to play, to help the people involved in this kind of scam in bringing unregistered cooperative societies to the bearest minimum.
Responding on the complaints, the Director Public Sector Investigation PCC, Mr Ewa Udu, urged the cooperative regulatory body to be proactive to stop the scam.
He said unregistered cooperative societies were becoming rampant in Kano, particularly the rate at which people were being scammed.
“The regulatory body has a role to play, it is our duty to make sure they carry out their mandate.
” The Chief Executive of the regulatory body will be held responsible and can be prosecuted for not doing his job.
”Udu advised the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to enlighten the general public nationwide to protect people from falling victims of unregistered cooperatives.
Speaking earlier on behalf of the complainants, Alhaji Nafi’u Isyaku-Danbatta, a farmer who represented 4,500 farmers, camplained against National Agricultural Mechanization Cooperative Society of Nigeria over alleged injustice and cheating.
“In 20212022 the cooperative introduced us to a well designed poultry farm empowerment programme and requested us to pay the sum of N182,000 each for registration.
“The total amount they collected is N819 million and promised to offer them capital and other related investments.
He said the situation led so many of the victims to bankruptcy, poverty and break-up of their marriages.
Isyaku-Danbatta appealed to PCC to kindly investigate the complaints and take the necessary action.
EFCC, ICPC, NSCDC, Human Rights Commission, NOA, Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission as well as CAC were among the participants.