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4.1 million in North-East Nigeria at risk of severe food insecurity-UN

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4.1 million in North-East Nigeria at risk of severe food insecurity-UN

4.1 million in North-East Nigeria at risk of severe food insecurity-UN

By: James Bwala

The United Nations (UN) has raised an alarm that 4.1 million people in Northeast Nigeria are at severe risk of severe food insecurity.

According to the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. for Nigeria, Mr Matthias Schmale to avert this $351 million is required, which is part of the overall request of $1.1 billion for the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan, which is severely under-funded at 19.6 per cent.

Schmale briefing Member States of the UN in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday on the needs, challenges and windows of opportunity in the northeast, said: “I cannot emphasise enough, that we need the resources today and not tomorrow.”

He said as northeast Nigeria continues to face an unrelenting humanitarian crisis, 4.1 million people in northeast Nigeria are at risk of severe food insecurity this lean season, noting that people in this part of Nigeria are already extremely vulnerable after struggling through 12 years of conflict.

He added that in 2022, 8.4 million people need humanitarian assistance across Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states while describing the deteriorating food security and nutrition situation as an issue that requires immediate support.

He said: “This food insecurity is felt painfully across the region, especially as operations are so desperately in need of funding. In Yobe State, families have not received food assistance for up to eight months. Some people are left without food for days not knowing where their next meal will come from.”

According to him, the March 2022 Cadre Harmonisé, a tool used to identify areas at risk from food insecurity and malnutrition in the Sahel and West Africa, projects that between June to September, 4.1 million people will be food insecure. Among them, almost 600,000 people are projected to be at emergency levels (Phase 4), which is characterized by large food consumption gaps reflected in very high acute malnutrition and excess mortality.

He noted that this high-risk period, the lean season, overlaps with the rainy season, a time when children are left vulnerable to disease outbreaks, with weakened resistance if malnourished, disclosing that malnutrition among children grows increasingly dangerous in the north-east.

He said approximately 1.74 million children under five are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition across the northeast in 2022, and of these, over 300,000 are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition and are at high risk of death if they do not receive urgent treatment.

He however said a multi-sector response plan has been put in place by the UN and humanitarian partners to provide life-saving aid and prevent a potentially catastrophic food and nutrition situation, stating that the plan requires $351 million, and is part of the overall request of $1.1 billion for the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan, which is severely under-funded at 19.6 per cent.

He revealed that the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan aims to assist 5.5 million people in need, describing it as a two-track process, where: “The bulk of interventions focus on emergency assistance, but at the same time our approach aims to lift people out of vulnerable situations and reduce humanitarian need by increasingly focusing on durable solutions and building resilience where possible.”

Meanwhile, Schmale appealed to the international community for immediate support to get aid to those who need it most.

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Nigeria/EU trade volume hits €45b

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Nigeria/EU trade volume hits €45b

By: Michael Mike

Latest statistics has shown that Nigeria and European Union trade volume has grown to €45 billion.

The statistics showed that this was the case as at September 2023, even as the
United Nations COMTRADE database indicated that Nigeria remains EU largest trade partner, accounting for 20.9% of Nigeria’s global trade.

The EU is made up of 28 European countries, though there are 50 countries considered European.

The Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu during the celebration of 2024 European Day in Abuja on Thursday night said the value of trade between Nigeria and the EU has increased consistently, demonstrating the
potential for even greater collaboration.

Kalu while disclosing that Nigeria is prepared to provide an encouraging environment for investment, said: “The European Union is one of our most significant trading partners, and our economic ties have grown steadily.

“The value of trade between Nigeria and the EU has increased consistently, demonstrating the potential for even greater collaboration.”

Kalu while quoting the United Nations COMTRADE database, added that “as of September 2023, the EU’s bilateral trade with Nigeria has surpassed €45 billion.

“The EU is Nigeria’s largest trading partner, accounting for 20.9% of Nigeria’s
global trade.”

He assured EU that: “As we look to the future, Nigeria is committed to engendering an environment encouraging investment and trade with our European
partners.

“We recognize the vital role that
European businesses play in our economic development, and we welcome
continued investment in ourindustries, infrastructure, and technology
sectors.”

He equally, commended the cultural exchange between both parties, saying “Europe is a source of rich history, art, and
innovation, while Nigeria is a vibrant hub of diverse cultures and traditions.

“By having cultural exchanges, we build bridges of understanding that
transcend geographical boundaries.

“I am pleased to see that more
European cultural events are being held in Nigeria and that Nigerian
artists, musicians, and scholars are gaining recognition in Europe.

“These exchanges contribute to a more harmonious and interconnected world.”

The Deputy Speaker also commended the EU for it support to the country, especially in the area of education, healthcare,
digital economy, agriculture, security, and governance.

He noted that: “The European Union (EU) is supporting Nigeria’s digital transformation with a €820 million
investment through its Global Gateway initiative.

“This investment includes €160million in grants and €660million in loans.

“The EU is also supporting
Nigeria’s digital future through the AU-EUD4D Hub, a project that helps
African institutions create an enabling environment for a sustainable digital
transformation.

“Further more, the European Union has initiated several projects aimed at
promoting climate-smart agriculture and advancing Nigeria’s green transition.

“The GENESII: Mobility for Plant Genomics Scholars to Accelerate Climate-Smart Adaptation Options and Food Security in Africa II, is designed to foster academic exchange and research in plant
genomics, enhancing Africa’s adaptation to climate change and promoting
food security.

“The Small Hydro Power Development for Agro-industry Use (SHP-DAIN) project promotes the use of small-scale hydro power to boost agro-industrial production.”

He stressed that the EU’s commitment to the Climate-Smart Agriculture for Development Programme “underlines its support for climate-smart, innovative agriculture with an improved agribusiness climate and equitable participation of women and youth.”

He also said: “Beyond these projects,
the EU has also demonstrated its commitment to security and peace in the
Lake Chad region, mobilizing €2.5 billion since 2014 to support stabilization, peace, and security initiatives.

“This extensive support highlights the EU’s dedication to sustainable development and enhancing the quality of life for Nigerians”.

Kalu said: “As the Deputy Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, I believe in the importance of strengthening our democratic institutions and promoting
good governance.

“Europe has been a valuable partner in this regard, offering support and guidance as we work to uphold the principles of
democracy and the rule of law.”

In her remarks, Head of EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Samuela Isopi said Nigeria remains a strategic partner to EU.

Isopi said EU cooperation with Nigeria tops global rankings whether in the energy and climate, digital, innovation, health or entrepreneurship areas.

She also said EU is targeting critical private and public investment in Nigeria.

Isopi also assured Nigeria of EU support in the efforts at ensuring democratic rules in the West African region.

She noted that: “A year ago, we met to celebrate Europe Day on the eve of the inauguration of the new administration in Nigeria and the start of a new chapter in our partnership. Since then, the joint visit of EU International Partnerships and Energy Commissioners, Jutta Urpilainen and Kadri Simpson, in October last year for the EU-Nigeria Strategic Dialogue, positioned Nigeria as a primary partner for the European Union.

“By now, EU cooperation with Nigeria tops global rankings whether in the energy and climate, digital, innovation, health or entrepreneurship areas. This is further amplified by our joint work with EU Member States and EU financial institutions (such as the European Investment Bank) as Team Europe, which combines our strengths across most areas of cooperation.

“In line with the Global Gateway strategy, EU cooperation is now targeting critical public and private investments, thereby providing the necessary instruments to make such investments viable and sustainable. In the health sector, besides continuous support to public actors at federal and state level, our support includes the mobilisation of public and private sectors investors towards increased local manufacturing of vaccines and other health products. “

On the coming Nigeria/EU Business Forum on July 2nd in Abuja, Isopi said it will bear witness to progress made and raise our ambition for the years to come.”

Adding, “As we increasingly focus on investments, our support to migration, governance, peace and security will continue unabated. This support reflects the fundamental values and challenges that bind the EU and Nigeria, such as the rule of law, democratic governance and protection of fundamental rights.

“In that regard, we believe that the position – and empowerment – of women and youth in today’s Nigeria deserves our collective attention. “

On the political front, the envoy said “While working with the National Assembly, Government at Federal and State level, we remain strong advocate and supporters of the need for a vibrant civil society, which provides a unique opportunity to promote change and accountability.

“Since we last met to celebrate Europe day, West Africa has gone through one of the most difficult times in its history.

“The EU continues to stand by Nigeria, by its regional partners and by ECOWAS and remains committed to supporting the region in building a community for the people.”

Nigeria/EU trade volume hits €45b

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Gaza: 155,000 Pregnant Women Struggling to Survive- Says Palestine Envoy

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Gaza: 155,000 Pregnant Women Struggling to Survive- Says Palestine Envoy

By: Michael Mike

Ambassador of Palestine to Nigeria, Abdullah Shawesh has drawn global attention to emerging humanitarian crisis in war torn Gaza, stating that around 155,000 pregnant women and new mothers are struggling to survive.

He said: “They are suffering from hunger and the diseases that stalk it, amid life-threatening shortages of food, water and medical care …. Only three maternity hospitals remain in the Gaza Strip, and they are overwhelmed with patients.

“Doctors and midwives … are struggling to provide adequate care to newborns.”

Addressing a press conference at the weekend on the situation in Gaza, Shawesh lamented that mass graves continued to be discovered on Gaza Strip, with the war currently leaving an estimated 37 million tons of debris and unexploded ordnance.

He decried that as it stands, the war is projected could take 14 years to clear the unexploded ordnance and rubble.

Shawesh said: “As of May 1, the number of Palestinian martyrs has reached 34,535, with 77,704 wounded, in addition to thousands of others who are still missing under the rubble or subjected to enforced disappearance in Israeli occupation detention centers.”

He alleged that “Palestinian detainees are subjected to harsh measures, receiving minimal sustenance such as a single slice of bread and a small amount of food to merely sustain their lives and prevent death, resulting in substantial weight loss and serious health consequences.”

“Around 155,000 pregnant women and new mothers are struggling to survive. They are suffering from hunger and the diseases that stalk it, amid life-threatening shortages of food, water and medical care …. Only three maternity hospitals remain in the Gaza Strip, and they are overwhelmed with patients.

He noted that: “The Palestinian Minister of Transport, Tariq Zourub, declared that the losses of the transportation sector in the Gaza Strip exceeded 3 billion dollars. The occupation destroyed about 945 km of roads and 55,000 vehicles, which is equivalent to 65% of the road network and 60% of the vehicles licensed in the strip.
Day after day, Israeli crimes in Gaza are revealed, and every day we witness a new chapter of genocidal crimes.”

He added that: “Recently, many mass graves were discovered in the Al-Shifa Medical Complex and the Nasser Medical Complex in the Gaza Strip, which contain hundreds of dead bodies.”

Gaza: 155,000 Pregnant Women Struggling to Survive- Says Palestine Envoy

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Rwanda Warns that Allowing Hatred, Disunity to Fester Could Lead to Genocide

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Rwanda Warns that Allowing Hatred, Disunity to Fester Could Lead to Genocide

By: Michael Mike

Rwanda has warned of the dangers of allowing hatred and disunity to fester, insisting that this could lead to genocide like it witnessed over 30 years ago where a million people were killed in the spate of 100 days.

The Rwandan High Commissioner to Nigeria, Christophe Bazivamo, stated this at the 30th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Abuja.

The commemoration is observed under the multi-year theme, “Remember – Unite – Renew”.

Bazivamo stated that the path to lasting peace demands constant vigilance, adding that “As we renew, we restate our unbreakable pledge to fight intolerance, discrimination, ethnic hatred, hate speeches, genocide revisionism, and denial in all their forms.

“Unfortunately, this is happening today just beyond Rwanda’s borders in the Great Lakes region. We should never allow the embers of hatred to reignite.”

The High Commissioner further said: stated: “On this Kwibuka 30, together, we can ensure that the memory of the victims becomes a powerful force for good, inspiring future generations to choose peace over hate, unity over division, and hope over despair.

“This can be achieved in different ways including putting course lessons about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in schools and the establishment of memory symbols in remembrance of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi to educate the young and the next generation on the need to fight hate ideologies and stand against any form of discrimination and divisionism. Let us work together to build a world where such atrocities never happen again.”

In his remarks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar conveyed the condolences of the Nigerian government to the survivors of the genocide.

Tuggar represented by a former ambassador to Sudan, Safiu Olaniyan said: “Genocide should not be allowed to raise its head ever again.”

The Secretary General, United Nations, Antonio Guterres urged the world to stand as one against all forms of hatred and discrimination.

Guterres whose speech was read at the occasion by the UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mohamed Malick Fall noted that: “To those who would seek to divide us, we must deliver a clear, unequivocal and urgent message: never again.

“We can draw a straight line between the senseless slaughter of one million Tutsi — as well as some Hutu and others who opposed the genocide — and the decades of hate speech that preceded it, enflamed by ethnic tensions and the long shadow of colonialism.

“Today, around the world, the darkest impulses of humanity are being awakened once more by the voices of extremism, division and hate.

“On this solemn day of remembrance, let’s pledge to stand as one against all forms of hatred and discrimination.

In his remarks, a retired Nigerian Navy admiral, Samuel Alade who witnessed the genocide while in Rwanda said, “I commend the tenacity of purpose and the commitment of the Rwandans to make their nation an example of relevance.”

Rwanda Warns that Allowing Hatred, Disunity to Fester Could Lead to Genocide

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