Mr Ernest Aubee, the Chairman Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Regional Steering Committee, ECOWAS Commission, on Thursday said that Organic Agriculture is generating lots of resources globally.
Aubee said this in Abuja during a two-day national stakeholders meeting on reporting achievements of EOA in Nigeria to the government and national stakeholders.
“ECOWAS Commission is promoting Organic Agriculture in West Africa.
“We, as a region want to benefit from the high turnover in terms of resources so that our farmers can also benefit,” the chairman said.
He said that Organic Agriculture is the best way to adopt because it is promoting sound health for the people in West Africa in terms of protecting the environment and enhancing livelihoods.
Aubee said that most people were used to conventional agriculture, as such it would take a long time to convince them on Organic Agriculture which he said was one of the major challenges experienced in the practice.
He said that Organic Agriculture is a specilised way of farming which requires certain standards, regulations and laws.
“A number of our countries in the ECOWAS region are working hard to have those laws, regulations and standards.
“The ECOWAS Commission is supporting them in the development of the standards,” Aubee said.
He said that for Organic Agriculture to thrive in the region, the emphasis should be on the small farmers.
“ECOWAS has projects in all the 15-member states to support Organic Agriculture.
“We also support various research activities so that the technology that is developed meets the requirements of the small farmers,” Aubee said.
The Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) Prof. Garba Sharabutu, while welcoming participants, said the council is in the vanguard of promoting Organic Agriculture in Nigeria.
Sharabutu was represented by the Director, Plant Resources Department, ARCN, Dr Oluwafemi Salako.
He said that the stakeholders meeting was to report developments of Organic Agriculture in Nigeria with a view to see how it can be enhanced and enlarged to ensure food security.
“We want to see how this meeting will better the life of every Nigerian,” Sharabutu said.
The Country Coordinator EOA Initiative in Nigeria, Dr Olugbenga Adeoluwa commended all stakeholders at the meeting for their efforts to enhance Organic Agriculture in the country.
Adeoluwa said that the Ministry of Agriculture is working effortlessly to put up the draft policy on Organic Agriculture assuring that it will be approved very soon by the executive arm of government.
“We do hope that when this policy is out, Nigerians should be able to do the Organic Agriculture business well,” he said.
Mr Salimonu Oladipo, a farmer from Oyo state applauded the practice of Organic Agriculture describing it as the best way of farming.
“Organic Agriculture is very profitable and sustainable, at least I have been practicing it for the past 10 years,” Oladipo said.
He urged the Federal Government to urgently roll out a policy supporting Organic Agriculture practices, as soon as possible.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Commission), through its Country Rapporteur for the Republic of Kenya, the Honorable Commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso, and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, the Honorable Commissioner Janet Ramatoulie Sallah-Njie, following are human rights issues related to the electoral process in the Republic of Kenya.
The African Commission commends the ongoing preparations to ensure that the national elections scheduled for August 9, 2022 are free, fair and credible, and also notes the enthusiasm of the electorate to exercise their sovereign right through participation in the election process.
election campaign and voting.
However, the African Commission is alarmed by reports of rising political tension and risks and incidents of violence, hate speech and the production and circulation of content to incite division and violence during the election campaign.
In particular, we underscore the urgency and need to prevent the incidence of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women, to prevent the recurrence of such violence reported during previous electoral disputes in the Republic of Kenya.
The perpetration of brutal acts of armed sexual violence and rape in the context of electoral disputes in Kenya involving, in particular, law enforcement personnel, constitute serious violations of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the African Bill of Rights Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights).
Charter), the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol), and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, which it has reiterated separately to Member States.
These include the rights to dignity, personal security, bodily integrity, personal liberty, peace and security, the right to participate in political and decision-making processes, as well as protection against discrimination, torture and inhuman or degrading treatment During the last 2007 and the 2017 presidential elections in Kenya, the Commission received several reports on the perpetration of brutal acts of violence and rape, armed in the context of electoral disputes in Kenya, involving in particular to personnel in charge of enforcing the law that was dedicated to dispersing the electoral demonstrators, with a very low Accountability Act granted in justice to the victims.
The African Commission notes that such acts constitute a serious violation of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Charter), the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Charter Protocol), and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, which it has reiterated separately to Member States.
These include the rights to dignity, personal security, physical integrity, personal liberty, peace and security, the right to participate in political and decision-making processes, as well as protection against discrimination, torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.
The African Commission also notes that trust issues related to the integrity of the electoral process, the electoral management institution and the judiciary can affect not only trust in the electoral process but also, as past experiences show, can create the conditions that violent disputes are precipitated.
Therefore, the African Commission would like to take this opportunity to remind the Government of Kenya of its obligations under the above instruments, to recognize and ensure the enjoyment of all rights therein, by taking appropriate measures to punish SGBV with in order to ensure that women fully participate in the electoral process without fear of any form of violence.
The African Commission urges the Government of Kenya and the Opposition, especially the presidential candidates, not to encourage any form of violence and to initiate dialogue and use established dispute resolution mechanisms with a view to resolving any differences or disputes.
It also calls on all parties that take an active part in the electoral process, including political parties and their supporters, to completely refrain from any use or circulation of inciting expressions that have the effect of subjugating any person or group.
to attacks or discrimination.
It also reminds the institutions entrusted with the responsibility of conducting and supervising the elections, of guaranteeing the security of the electoral process and of certifying the compliance of the electoral process with the applicable laws and regulations to guarantee that they carry out their responsibilities in an independent, impartial and professional.
and are seen as such by the electorate.
The African Commission urges the Government of Kenya to respect and guarantee the freedom of opinion, expression, assembly and peaceful demonstration, as well as the civil and political rights of all citizens during this electoral period in accordance with the Kenyan Constitution.
The African Commission further urges the Government of Kenya to ensure the safety of all citizens in general and all candidates in particular.
Finally, the African Commission urges the Government of Kenya to work with all relevant stakeholders during this 2022 presidential election period, to ensure that all necessary measures are put in place to ensure the non-occurrence of election-related SGBV against women.
and that should this occur, perpetrators are held accountable and adequate reparation is provided to victims where appropriate.
In spite of resumption of grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports under UN, Turkish-brokered deal between Russia and Ukraine.
EU intended to continue its efforts to create alternative freight routes for Ukrainian grain exports.
In spite of the re-opening of maritime routes, an immediate return to pre-war levels of Ukrainian exports remained challenging and alternative export routes were still crucial.
The European Union (EU) Commission told the officials of dpa on Thursday.
EU Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean stressed that there was room for improvement, in the alternative routes being worked on.
He cited a lack of freight wagons, barge operators and storage facilities for Ukrainian produce.
According to the European commission, Ukraine was the world’s largest exporter of sunflower oil, and the third largest exporter of rapeseed and barley.
The fourth largest exporter of maize, and the fifth largest exporter of wheat before the beginning of Ukraine’s invasion by Russian troops in February.
However, hopes were currently pinned on the agreement with Russia enabling a resumption of regular Ukrainian agricultural exports via the Black Sea. According to EU figures, before the war, up to five million tonnes of grain passed through Ukraine’s Black Sea ports each month.
Reaching that level again in the near future was considered highly unlikely, however, with the first ship to leave the port of Odesa under the UN deal carrying just 26,000 tonnes of maize.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will scrupulously apply laws , particularly the Electoral Act, 2022 without fear or favour to ensure free, fair, credible, inclusive and transparent elections in 2023. The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made this known on Wednesday in Abuja, at the 4th Memorial Lecture in honour of Late Director-General of The Electoral Institute (TEI), Prof. Abubakar Momoh, who who died on May 29, 2017. Yakubu was represented by Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, National Commissioner and Chairman, Board of Electoral Institute.
Yakubu assured Nigerians that INEC has no preferred party or candidate, but shall only ensure that all valid votes count and the winners are decided solely by the voters.
The chairman said that as the 2023 general elections draws near, it was imperative for all stakeholders especially the political parties to note the major features introduced by the new Electoral Act 2022. He also advised party leaders to note the possible implications of these changes on the upcoming elections, saying the happenings that accompanied the recent party primaries attest to this.
“These changes include amongst others, the conduct of early party primaries by political parties, technological changes in the electoral process; “The Commission’s power to review the decision of the returning officer and overvoting based on the number of accr
The Trade Directorate of the Economic Community Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) organized a Retreat for the ECOWAS Interdepartmental Trade Facilitation Committee (IDTFC) in Lagos, Nigeria from 1-3 August 2022.
The 3-day retreat provided a platform for ECOWAS Commission Directorates and Agencies to review regional trade guidance documents currently in the drafting stage, such as the Regional Trade and Transport Facilitation Strategy (RTTFS), the framework for the elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTB), the Common Trade Policy (CTP), and the Trade and Investment Development Strategy.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Kolawole SOFOLA, ECOWAS Commission Acting Director of Trade, welcomed the participants on behalf of Ms. Massandje TOURE-LITSE, Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture.
He recalled that the Interdepartmental Committee on Trade Facilitation was established in 2017 to spearhead a coordinated approach to the implementation of trade facilitation decisions, agreements and programs carried out by different Directorates and Agencies of the Commission.
Mr. SOFOLA highlighted recent efforts facilitated by the Commission, such as the adoption of the ECOWAS Community Transit Supplementary Law and the establishment of the ECOWAS Regional Trade Facilitation Committee (RTFC).
The RTFC provides advisory recommendations to the ECOWAS Commission regarding the implementation of all instruments associated with the simplification of export, import and transit within and outside the region.
Before declaring the meeting open, he assured IDTFC members that their comments and input will be incorporated into draft documents before they are presented to member states for consideration and adoption.
On behalf of GIZ, Mr. Kelechi OKORO, Advisor to the Trade Facilitation Program for West Africa (TFWA), underlined the important role of the IDTFC in facilitating trade in the region.
He reiterated GIZ's support for the Committee's work and his satisfaction with the progress made so far in the development of various policy documents.
He expressed his hope that ECOWAS will ensure the effective implementation of the strategies when they are adopted.
Participants in the retreat included representatives from the directorates of Trade, Customs Union and Taxation, Transport, Private Sector, Industry, Free Movement of Persons, Research and Statistics, Foreign Affairs, Legal Affairs, Communication and the Gender Development Center of ECOWAS.
The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and Afreximbank also participated in the recall.
Three UN-appointed independent human rights experts returned from Ethiopia on Tuesday after working to negotiate access to areas important for investigations.
The United Nations International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia is mandated to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into allegations of violations and abuses of international human rights law.
Specifically, it will investigate the violations of international humanitarian law and international refugee law in the state of Ethiopia committed on November 3, 2020 by all parties to the conflict in the Tigray region.
Access Meeting Initially created by the Human Rights Council on December 17, 2021, the three-member Commission, composed of Kaari Betty Murungi (chair), Steven Ratner and Radhika Coomaraswamy, concluded a five-day visit to the country where met with the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Justice and other senior government officials.
Members hoped that their meetings with officials would result in “immediate and full access to visiting sites” as well as their ability to collect testimonies.
The Commission is also tasked with providing guidance and recommendations on technical assistance to the Ethiopian government on transitional justice issues, including accountability, reconciliation and healing.
In addition, members met with members of the National Dialogue Commission and Interministerial Working Group, the Ethiopian National Human Rights Commission, civil society, diplomats, and UN agencies and staff in Ethiopia to discuss the current situation of human rights in the country.
The investigation continues The Commission presented its first update to the Council on 30 June 2022 after UN-appointed investigators announced that they had launched an investigation into an alleged massacre of at least 200 people in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Human Rights Council in Geneva at the time, Ms. Murungi said that while she continued her work investigating rights abuses related to the conflict in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region that erupted in November 2020, the Commission had received reports of killings in western Oromia.
Despite many other conflicts around the world, Ms. Murungi had emphasized that the world must not ignore what is happening in Ethiopia.
"The continued spread of violence, fueled by hate speech and incitement to ethnic and gender-based violence, are early warning indicators of new heinous crimes against innocent civilians, especially women and children, who are most vulnerable."
The Commission is scheduled to present a written report to the human rights body on this trip during its next session in September 2022.
The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council appoints special rapporteurs and independent experts to examine and report on about a specific human problem.
issue of rights or the situation of a country.
The charges are fees and the experts are not paid for their work.
The ECOWAS Commission, in the framework of the project Organized Crime: West African Response on Cybersecurity and fight against Cybercrime” (OCWAR-C) and in collaboration with the Council of Europe and INTERPOL, held a training of trainers workshop on E- Evidence and First Responders in Praia, Cape Verde, July 25-29, 2022.
Reliance on information and communications technology is more pervasive in society, with increased use of personal devices across the region.
This has necessitated the need for law enforcement entities to develop the necessary capabilities to ensure that the efficient investigation and handling of digital evidence is carried out to appropriate standards.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Folake Olagunju Senior Program Officer Internet, Cybersecurity and Electronic Applications at the ECOWAS Commission on behalf of Mr. Sediko Douka, Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitization, underlined the importance of having a coordinated approach and towards a more secure ECOWAS cyberspace.
She highlighted the need for participants to share their national perspectives and experiences, as this was an opportunity to build bridges and lay the groundwork for cooperation regarding future partnerships.
Although she wanted the training to be interactive, she ended up emphasizing the need to build human capacity in a consistent and harmonized manner throughout the region.
The deputy head of the EU delegation in Cape Verde, Ignacio Sobrino Castello, recalled the objectives of the OCWAR-C project, which is to support the strengthening of the cyberspace of the beneficiary countries and the capacities in the fight against cybercrime.
He spoke about the EU's ongoing developments in Cape Verde on cybersecurity and on the fight against cybercrime and on the digital economy in general.
He highlighted the need to improve cooperation between ECOWAS member states and the ECOWAS commission and international partners.
He ended by encouraging everyone's active participation.
On behalf of the Secretary of State for the Digital Economy of Cape Verde, Mr. Joel Almeida, Advisor to the Secretary, welcomed all participants to Cape Verde and reaffirmed Cape Verde's commitment to play its role in the cyber ecosystem of the region.
He indicated that Cape Verde's national cybersecurity strategy contains concrete implementation actions that are in line with the ECOWAS regional cyber strategy adopted in 2021.
He also stated that the national cybersecurity center and the CSIRT-CV are underway.
Finally, he praised the organization of the upcoming first ECOWAS Hackerlab Regional Challenge scheduled to be held on October 10-12, 2022 as a great opportunity to bring the community together to spark interest in the current challenges of keeping our region cyber-secure and as a means to find young talent who are ready to be the next generation of skilled cybersecurity workers.
Prior to the face-to-face training workshop, which consisted of advising and understanding the contents and principles of electronic evidence collection for first responders, participants participated in a short three-week private online course to equip them with the knowledge and skills to design and evaluate learner-focused training following INTERPOL training standards.
The week-long training program built the capacity of law enforcement representatives from Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
The OCWAR-C project is funded by the European Union and the objectives are to improve the resilience and robustness of the information infrastructure in the Member States; increase the capacities of the relevant stakeholders in the Member States in charge of fighting cybercrime.
Three UN-appointed independent human rights experts returned from Ethiopia on Tuesday after working to negotiate access to areas important for investigations.
The UN International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia is mandated to conduct a thorough and impartial probe into allegations of violations and abuses of international human rights law.
Specifically, it will investigate violations of international humanitarian law and international refugee law in Ethiopia state committed on November 3, 2020 by all parties to the conflict in the Tigray region.
Initially created by the Human Rights Council on December 17, 2021, the three-member commission comprised of Kaari Betty Murungi (Chair), Steven Ratner and Radhika Coomaraswamy.
UN Human Rights Office of the Higher Commissioner, in a statement, stated that the three-member has concluded a five-day visit to the country where they met with the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Justice, and other senior government officials.
The members hoped that their meetings with the officials would result in “immediate and absolute access to visit sites” as well as their ability to gather testimonials.
The commission is also tasked with providing guidance and recommendations on technical assistance to the Ethiopian Government on transitional justice, including accountability, reconciliation, and healing.
Additionally, the members met with members of the National Dialogue Commission and Inter-Ministerial Task Force, the Ethiopia National Human Rights Commission, civil society, diplomats, and UN agencies and staff in Ethiopia to discuss the current human rights situation in the country.
The Commission presented its first update to the Council on 30 June 2022 after the UN-appointed investigators announced that they’d launched a probe into an alleged massacre of at least 200 people in Ethiopia’s Oromia region.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Human Rights Council in Geneva at that time, Murungi said that as it continued its work investigating rights abuses linked to conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region that flared in November 2020, the Commission had received reports of killings in Western Oromia.
Despite many other conflicts around the world, Murungi had stressed that the world must not ignore what was happening in Ethiopia.
“The ongoing spread of violence, fuelled by hate speech and incitement to ethnic-based and gender-based violence, are early-warning indicators of further atrocity crimes against innocent civilians, especially women and children who are more vulnerable”.
The Commission is scheduled to submit a written report to the human rights body on this trip during its next session in September 2022. Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation.
The positions are honorary and the experts are not paid for their work.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has urged for true reconciliation for a lasting solution to the insurgency crisis in north east.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Chief Tony Ojukwu, made the call on Tuesday in Maiduguri at the second meeting of the Borno State Project Advisory Committee (SPAC) on promoting reconciliation, reintegration, and transitional justice.
Ojukwu said a lot of damage had been done in communities of affected states in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe where the commission was engaged in promoting reconciliation, reintegration and transitional justice funded by European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
He said the project had begun to lay foundation for a sustainable, peaceful and developed society where consideration would be given to the victims and the communities, not undermining the necessity for justice with regards to the perpetrators.
He noted that the road to reconciliation was long tough and rough, adding that it was only through true reconciliation that progress could be made.
“Therefore, we need to have a sense of justice and restitution, this may not come in terms of cash, but our readiness to put the wounds and pains behind us, in the interest of the nation and a great future is very important for our society.
“The Commission welcomes the acceptance of members of the SPAC to work on this project, the committee is an important mechanism through which the commission intends to accelerate the achievement of the Transitional Justice Project and promote accountability to the Project’s objectives and outcomes.
” The Borno Chairman of SPAC who is also the state Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary Ministry of Justice, Mr Hussaini Izge, assured the citizens of the commitment of the government to the project.
“There are indications that we are exiting the horrific situation, the closure of some camps in Maiduguri is a signal that the peace that we are praying for is gradually returning.
“With the composition of the SPAC, we will cooperate and use our individual and collective expertise to assist the commission to ensure that this project is implemented to the later,” Izge said.
The UNDP Security Analyst, Usman Usman, observed that transitional justice remained key to peacebuilding, particularly now that government was recording maximum exit of persons from the Boko Haram Sect. Project Coordinator Hillary Ogbonna gave a rundown of the achievements of the project, including Capacity building for Media on Reconciliation and Transitional Justice, Development of a framework for Transitional Justice and Reconciliation.
Other achievements were in Harnessing Community Information and Data for Transitional Justice, Communication and Advocacy to Promote Transitional Justice and Reconciliation.
The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has disassociated itself from an online website urging Nigerians to enrol for Permanent Voters Card (PVC).
INEC said this in a statement by Mr Festus Okoye, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, in Abuja on Monday describing the website as fake.
“Barely 24 hours after the suspension of voter registration, INEC attention has been drawn to an online site urging Nigerians to enrol for voter card (PVC) registration,” Okoye said.
He said that the scammers claimed that the Federal Government has approved individual Permanent Voter Card (PVC) registration online, to avoid unnecessary crowd at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) centers.
“The Commission states unequivocally that the site is not linked to the commission and the is spurious and from a dubious source,” he said.
Okoye said that INEC was the only body constitutionally and legally mandated to conduct the registration of persons qualified to vote in any election in Nigeria and to update and revise the register when the need arose.
“The commission is solely responsible for organising, undertaking, and supervising national elections in the country and does not share this responsibility with anybody or organisation.
“Members of the public are strongly advised not to succumb to the antics of online scammers and should avoid such fake sites.
“The commission has concluded the Continuous Voter Registration nationwide and does not need to open an additional site or portal for the purposes of registration of voters,” he said.