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COVID-19: ‘Women’s concerns remain unaddressed’

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Governments at all levels in Nigeria have been urged to develop specific protection and support for women and girls in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This call was made on Wednesday 13th May, 2020 by panellists at Plan International Nigeria’s webinar on the topic: Women, Girls and COVID-19: Issues, Impact and Opportunities for Gender Responsive SocialTransformation.

The panel discussion of five, hosted by Plan International Nigeria’s Country Director, Dr Hussaini Abdu, noted that there has not been sufficient attention paid to issues specific to women. According to the discussants who include the Special Advisor to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investments Programme, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, many women, especially those in crisis-affected communities are in double jeopardy as they have to now contend with health issues in addition to the challenges of coping with insecurity and internal displacement.

While the panellists acknowledged that effort had been made by the government to respond to the economic and other social challenges posed by the pandemic, it was also noted that some of the efforts came out late and inadequate, especially as they do not pay attention to issues affecting women.

Other panel discussants, which include the Director, Center for Democracy and Development (CDD), Idayat Hassan; Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF Nigeria, Ramatu Budah Aliyu; Senior Gender Equality Advisor, Plan International Nigeria, Obianuju Osude and Programme Director, Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu, observed that some of the concerns noted about the response arose because “We are always a latecomer with slow response”.

“We have a health system that is small and fragile that cannot attend to the need of the people. The pandemic has hit the vulnerability and fragility of our system”, noted the panellists who called for an urgent and strategic response including increase in the budgetary allocation to the health sector.

“We need to declare a national emergency situation in the health sector in Nigeria. Now people with other life-threatening conditions and women in need of special need are being neglected. We need to localise our responses and look inward. The need for stronger public and private collaboration in the health sector” the panellists advised.

Emphasising the grim situation facing women across the country, the panelists noted that “before the pandemic women were already disadvantaged. Now women are more disadvantaged. The health burden and mortality rate of women post-pandemic is going to increase.  The informal sector which is the most affected bears the face of women.”

The special Advisor to the President on Social Investment Programme, Maryam Uwais admitted the need to improve on the response system, admitting that the cash transfer palliative used the social register that was developed before the present health crisis which made it impossible for other needy persons to be reached, she however revealed that the register was being updated to address the existing gaps.

“The social register has not correctly covered the entire country. That process has been on since the cash transfer system began since 2016. It’s a tedious but meticulous process. The social register as the avenue to reach vulnerable people during crisis will make it impossible to reach everywhere.

“The register was done basically with the state apparatus. It is dependent on the political will of the state governors.

“Using it as palliative completely marginalises the communities that have not been reached. I understand the register is being transformed to include areas we don’t have a register yet,” Uwais confirmed.

The CDD Director, Idayat Hassan expressed regrets that many Nigerians still do not believe that COVID-19 was real. “People still do not believe that it (COVID-19) is real. It is still about the distrust in the system. People think it is another oil boom for public officials”, she said. She blamed historical poor accountability and corruption for the lack of trust in government from the people who do not believe that COVID-19 was real but a means for personal enrichment.

She called on government to work harder to get the trust of the people as it was only through the cooperation of the people that the disease would be defeated.

Cynthia Mbamalu of YIAGA Africa and Obianuju Osude of Plan International both lamented how gender blind the government’s response to the pandemic has been.

“Gender sensitive response strategy to the pandemic is what we need right now. We need to be futuristic in our law making and planning because even in the attempt by the legislators to respond to the pandemic, the legislation is still largely like before; it doesn’t address specific needs of women and children,” said Cynthia.

On her part, Obianuju said: “The involvement of women is not coming out as would be expected. We do not have the gender aggregated data on the beneficiaries. There are other women who already have certain conditions before the pandemic such as HIV; we are not seeing a strategy that addresses their concern.”

She further advised that there is an urgent “need to strengthen the protection system for the informal sector where the women are mostly engaged. There is also the need to address the issue of gender concerns in the digital space. This includes issue of capacity and gender transformative messaging.”

UNICEF’s Ramatu Budah Aliyu commended the cash transfer initiative of the federal government which paid significant attention to women-led households but said same could not be said of the food distribution.

She said: “For food aid, male households are the key focus apart from cash transfer from the federal government that uses the social register.”

To address this, she advised that “we need to engage more with the system that our communities know and engage people through them. We need to engage more with women in our communities.”

GidiNews is exclusively designed to cover and report Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital city. We bring you news updates, reports, opinions and analyses in Politics, Business, Sports, Entertainment, Crime, Health and Education among others. GOT NEWS FOR US? Reach us: +2349090870065, +2348055441309

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NURTW calls off proposed protests

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The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW),Lagos chapter has called off the proposed protest slated for today.

In a phone conversation with our correspondence, the Chairman Lagos chapter of the association said the protest slated for today has been postponed. He made the decision after the intervention of the commissioner of police and the director of DSS Lagos State office.

It will be recalled that the association has forwarded a letter to the state Governor on a proposed peaceful protest as they want the state governor Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu to prevail on the suspended chairman of the union Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya, to vacate the union’s office to avert another looming protest worse than End Sars.

Speaking with newsmen, Akeweje asked the Governor to instruct the embattled Lagos park management chairman popularly called MC Oluomo to vacate the office in accordance with the national body’s directives.

The peaceful protest is slated to pick up from the Governor’s office in Alausa Ikeja, Lagos down to the NURTW state office at Agege, Lagos.

Akeweje told our correspondent that the embattled chairman of the union Alhaji Musliu Akinsanya aka Mc Oluomo has been told to vacate the office since April 2nd this year but has remained in the office in defiance to the instruction of the national leadership of the association.

Akeweje calls on the governor to prevail on him to avoid possible breakdown of law and order that will endanger serious security breach.

According to Akeweje, “NURTW is the authentic body for transport business in Lagos state, we are all experienced members of the union from different branches and unit in Lagos state, we are also card carrying members of the All Progressive congress (APC) under the leadership of our father Asiwaju BOLA AHMED TINUBU.

Commenting on the protest, NURTW National Chairman, Alhaji Tajudeen Baruwa confirmed the proposed protest by its Lagos branch urging them to remain peaceful even in the face of provocation.

Akeweje notes that, they agreed to suspend the protest after the state commissioner of police and the director of DSS pleaded with them to give the government two weeks to proffer solutions to the problem.

Alhaji Akeweje said if the government failed to fulfill it’s own side of the agreement, they will be forced to go on with their planned protest by the end of two weeks.

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Group demands justice for Deborah

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CCGI, Civic Consciousness Global Initiative, a non governmental organization in a media parley on Wednesday in Lagos stressed the need for the people to participate in the running of government. The group lamented over the deteriorating state of the nation, calling on government to end the incessant killings in the land and proffer solution to the widespread insecurity facing the country at large.

 

CCGI specially demanded for accelerated justice for the killers of Deborah Samuel, a student of the Shehu Shagari College of Education stoned to death last week, for alleged blasphemy.

“Religion crises, killings and violent protest may come to an end if there’s strong political will to uphold the constitution and bring perpetrators to book without bias”. Professor Idowu Sobowale, Chairman of the Civic Consciousness Global Initiative, CCGI.

 

During the meeting which was supported by Rev Dr. Julius Odofin, Rev Solomon Adegboragun, Bishop Funsho Awe and the famous Dr. Bolaji O. Akinyemi of PVC-Naija, Professor Shobowale expresses sadness that impunity reigns supreme in Nigeria to an extent that people take the lives of others and go scot free.

Below is the full text of CCGI Press Statement as read by Professor Shobowale…

“the state of our nation has been very worrisome in the past few years

 

Insecurity has reached its highest level in our history as a nation, the event leading to the Nigeria civil war seems a child play when compared with the present happenings!

 

We need not remind you of the gory details, but for the records :

The smuggling of the Islamic Sharia laws into our Constitution ab-initio has been the bane of divisions among all loving Nigerians. Those who smuggled it in had a hidden intention and those who saw the evil or danger inherent in it, out of fear of losing out kept quiet. The same attitude goes on today and unless the fraud is arrested boldly and firmly, the recurring stone age jungle justice will continue in our beloved Nation Nigeria. Few cases will suffice for the press as guide to our Rulers.

 

The case of Tafawa Balewa University students on whom the sentence of FATWA (an Islamic death sentence) was pronounced in 2004 by a 31 year old FULANI man who is still walking around as a free man today!

 

One of the sentenced persons in this School had been beheaded before CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) intervened to rescue the rest to Lagos!

 

We also have the RCCG woman who was on her Daily Morning Evangelism (Morning Cry) in Abuja that was brutally killed!

 

We cannot forget the case of AKALUKA who was beheaded somewhere in Kano and his head was hoisted on a stick and carried about in jubilation like a flag.

 

The Head of State then, General Sanni Abacha ordered the death of eight (08) of the nine (09) culprits fingered in the case.

 

The ninth person, though, incarcerated for two (02) years then, is today walking about now, a free man!

 

There is also the very annoying case of a government teacher who was transfered to a school in Gombe state, Northern Nigeria and while invigilating in an internal examination, she tried to prevent a student from cheating by seizing the student’s bag and throwing it where other students’ bags were kept. The cheating student instantly raised a false alarm that the teacher had desecrated her copy of the holy Quran!

 

The teacher was lynched and beaten to death!

 

Sad enough that arms of equal military sizes are in the hands of non state actors, enemies of our sovereignty, for whom a more strategic decisive action is still being expected from the highest security authorities in the land.

 

Our President, SIR, in the hope of a better and greater country, you have the assurances of our prayers for your person and office, trusting the Lord will grant you a happy ending of your tenure in 2023.

 

Of concern is the deteriorating value for human life; the sokoto killing unlike many others before the advent of technology didn’t save us from a video sighting of an evil of psychosocial trauma.

 

We are indeed traumatized!

 

The killing of Deborah Samuel a 200 level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, speaks volume for our constitution, rule of law and administration of justice. We stand in shame with you before the global community! We therefore, condemn the killing of Deborah Samuel. We also need to call the attention of the global community to the protest for the release of certain persons who were arrested in connection with the crime. That religion is the reason is a fallacy, well meaning Muslims have come out to condemn the killing; notable among them sre His Excellency, Aminu Tambunwa, the Executive Governor of Sokoto state and the Supreme leader of Islam in Nigeria to whom all Muslims must defer in all matter of their religion. It is sad to note the the person and office to interpret the appearance of the moon is judged to be in error over is condemnation. Little wonder Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was rumoured to have withdrew his condemnation of the killing.

 

The practice of Islam in Nigeria is more political than religious.

 

The mob in the video and those who came out to protest against the civility of The Governor of Sokoto state and the throne of Sultan are intellectually incapable of electoral decision. We should therefore as a matter of urgency, given the embarrassing level of our illiteracy review the conditions of eligibility of voters in Nigeria. If persons to be voted into offices requires a level of educational qualification, it is needful that those to decide that fate must have an aligning level of knowledge.

Back to Justice for Deborah

 

Diverse as the many faces in the video are, are reasons for which the blue murder was committed.

 

The question it raises however is for the constitution to answer and for your as the President and Commander In Chief Of The Armed Forces to defend. Our sympathy will be with your office if the 1999 constitution as amended has no answer! This will further strengthen the need for restructuring of our federation and raise the immediate need of a new constitution.

 

The question on very many lips is when will the next one happen? This lack of hope in us as a nation, we must rise to disappoint those who have the urge to continue to kill senselessly.

 

We therefore want to make the following recommendations in the immediate:

 

The arrested initiators in her class and their army of collaborators who took the law into their hands to kill Deborah must be brought to book.

 

Long term recommendation, we can’t feign ignorance of separation that Islam expected between male and female, nor are we ready to be pretentious about the right of every Christian, may we therefore recommend that Christian students be given exclusively their faith educational facility where the hope of ignorantly annoying the faith of Muslims would not exist

 

Give Nigerian ONE mutually agreed CONSTITUTION where peace and justice truly reigns he concluded.

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Oniseri of Isheri Kingdom laid to rest

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The remains of His Royal Majesty Oba Wahab Ayinde Balogun, the Onisheri of Isheri Olofin Kingdom who joined his ancestors on Tuesday 8th of February was interred in his palace at Isheri on Wednesday.

Council Chiefs, politicians and many prominent individuals who thronged the internment programme, were full of eulogies for deceased King.

Many took out time to commiserate with the popular son of the late monarch, Crown Prince Idris Oluomo of Isheri Kingdom.

The Lagos state house of assembly member hon Kehinde Joseph described the late Monarch as a man of integrity and hardworking,

Also, hon Babatunde Aboyade, APC Apex Leader and vice chairman Lagos west senatorial district described the Oba as father for All, ”

he united the people of Idimu, Isheri and Alimosho for a peaceful environment”

Oba Ayinde Balogun joined his ancestors at a very ripe and eventful age of 97

Prince Idris Balogun fondly called Oluomo Kafata is an House Representatives hopeful in Alimosho Federal constituency come 2023.

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