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ECOWAS Advocates Stronger Protection of Child Rights

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ECOWAS Advocates Stronger Protection of Child Rights

By: Michael Mike

The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has advocated for stronger protection of child rights in Nigeria and across the West Africa subregion.

This was the advocacy at a stakeholder interaction initiative to drive effort on strengthening delivery on child rights across the entire ECOWAS institution and the sub-region held in Lagos between 10-13 October, 2023.

The Lagos Retreat major thrust aimed at the Development and Validation of an ECOWAS Child Rights Inter-sectoral Strategic Plan and Methodological Guidelines for Mainstreaming Child Rights into ECOWAS Programming.

ECOWAS described the inter-sectoral strategic plan critical for the promotion and protection of Child Rights, including in relation to the rights of the child in a time of conflict, fragility and violence as an important move for different dimensions of Child Rights protection.

These dimensions include situations of emergency, children affected by armed conflict, child safeguarding, generally. Survival and development of the child also involves issues related to nutrition, education, human capital development, etcetera.

Programme Officer, Trafficking in Persons within the Directorate of Humanitarian and Social Affairs, ECOWAS Commission, Olatunde Olayemi, said it doesn’t have to be a non-international conflict such as a civil war but also in situations of fragility for example in a time of elections.

He said: “Elections, sometimes if mis-handled, breed violence which could also affect children. We have disasters such as mudslides, landslides, economic downturns and others issues such as COVID-19, Ebola.

“Also inclusive is the early warning system with regional and national level centers in member states to ensure they anticipate challenges challenges to the rights of children and respond in a timely and effective manner.”

The SDGs comprise 17 Goals and 169 targets to be delivered by 2030 of which 48 targets are directly relevant to children, while 47 are somewhat relevant. Goals One, Two, Three, Four, Five and Six are of direct consequence to children, while Goals Eight, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen and Sixteen have targets directly or closely linked to the realisation of child rights’.

It may be recalled that the ECOWAS Commission has reviewed and adopted a new ECOWAS Child Policy and Plan of Action (2019-2030) covering not only child protection but survival, development and participation. This sets a new tone for programming for the entire Commission and will require better coordination between various Departments and Directorates of the Commission.

Despite the foregoing, ECOWAS identified clear weaknesses in the the integrated implementation of Child Rights instruments in the ECOWAS.

These gaps have been glaring within the context of issue and events including: (1) Weak integration of child rights in pandemic preparedness and response i.e. Ebola Virus Disease and COVID 19 pandemic etc.; as borne out in the reports by UNICEF and Save the Children (2.) Weak integration of child rights in Security Sector initiatives i.e. ECOWAS Counter Terrorism Plan of Action etc.; in relation to Children affected by Armed Conflicts, Preventing Violent Extremism and Countering Violent Extremism and well as Deradicalization etc. Also, a clear need to mainstream child protection into Peace and Security frameworks overall.

Drawing from the ECOWAS Human Rights List of Indicators, required from Member States, certain actions must be integrated into ECOWAS Programming on: Measures/legislations for preventing violence against women and girls; Security forces and gender policy versus traditional and native practices; availability of special laws against child trafficking child labour and prostitution.

To this effect, the Olayemi’s Division that leads on the Rights of the Child, under the Directorate of Humanitarian and Social Affairs, headed by Dr. Sintikiti Tarfa Ugbe, which is a part of the Department of Human Development and Social Affairs, headed by the Commissioner, Professor Fatou Sow Sarr, said the ECOWAS Child Rights Inter-sectoral Strategic Plan follows through with the broad mandate of its dedicated programme area.

ECOWAS Advocates Stronger Protection of Child Rights

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Yobe: Emir of Fika charges Journalists on fair reportage

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Yobe: Emir of Fika charges Journalists on fair reportage

By: Yahaya Wakili

His Royal Highness, the Emir of Fika. Chairman Yobe State Council of Chiefs and the National Convener of the Council of the Traditional Leaders of Africa, Alhaji Dr Muhammadu Ibn Abali Muhammad Idrissa, CFR, have implored the journalists in the state to be fair and just in all their reporting.

His Royal Highness disclosed this in a unique receipt organized by the correspondent chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Yobe State, at his palace in Potiskum.

“We must command journalists in Yobe State and in Nigeria in general, and you are a very important part of this society, and you have been playing your role, which sometimes is very ropey and sometimes is not easy, because you have to be critical of government activities.” he said.

“We are happy with you and your remarkable achievements in Yobe State, in particular, about the reporting of government activities on what is happening.

He charged the journalists to redouble their efforts and also said the truth: be equitable, be fair, so that is not always to be praising the government. When you are supposed to say the truth, say the truth, and he also urged them to be very fair and make remarkable achievements in Yobe State in your activities.

His royal father also implores the journalists to be fair and just in all their reporting so that when the government is wrongly saying it, when they are rightly saying it, I think you have been doing that.

“I think you have been doing well. We need to tell the government that we are living on a time bomb, and if it is exploited, we are all going to suffer. We have to appreciate the youth. 65% of the time, wherever you go, you see youth who are on drugs out of frustration.

Speaking earlier, the chairman of the correspondent’s chapel, Alhaji Ahmed I. Abba, ensured His Royal Highness that we are here to serve this state, and we sacrifice all we have for the state and for the palace.

“This palace has been home for us; we really appreciate your royal highness and the members of the palace; this is a unique reception we have never had anywhere; we will forever live to remember the reception we always have in this palace.” The chairman added.

He also assures his royal father that when he needs our support, we are ready to be available for your royal highness. He also sympathizes with the palace with the recent accident that just happened in Fika, as well as the recent accident that just happened in the same schools within the emirate.

Yobe: Emir of Fika charges Journalists on fair reportage

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Nigeria Commiserates with Tanzania Over the Pssing of Former President Ali Hassan Nwinyi

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Nigeria Commiserates with Tanzania Over the Pssing of Former President Ali Hassan Nwinyi

By: Michael Mike

The Federal Government of Nigeria has commiserated with the Government and People of the United Republic of Tanzania over the passing of former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi.

The former President died on Thursday. He would be remembered as
an African Elder Statesman, who was an astute and influential politician that contributed significantly to laying the foundation for Tanzania’s economic development.

A statement signed by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Francisca Omayuli on Friday said: “Nigeria stands with Tanzania in this period of grief. May the soul of the departed former President rest in peace and may God grant the bereaved family, the Government and the good people of the United Republic of Tanzania the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

Nigeria Commiserates with Tanzania Over the Pssing of Former President Ali Hassan Nwinyi

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Youth are vital to sustainable peace, better Nigeria-Prof Usman to Youths

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Youth are vital to sustainable peace, better Nigeria-Prof Usman to Youths

By: Ladi Dapson

The Borno state government has charged the youths to take the lead in peace building,conflicts management and learn how to be tolerant in respective of faiths and ethicity coloration.

The State Commissioner for Information and Internal Security, Prof Usman Tar made this known during an inaugurating of 100 awardees of yoths as Peace Advocates in Borno State held in Maiduguri.

He urged the youths to take the advantages of their population in Nigeria just like the way China took the advantage of their population and bring some innovation to boast their economy.

“Today we inaugurating the young peace Ambassadors that we will be going into the society tricking down the capacity of peace building and tolerance that we have thought them.

“The outcome of this excise is that we now have critical young mind that will serve as ambassadors of peace go out and target specific community as well as teach the art of peace, conflict resolution, conflict management, peace building, and diplomacy.

“So that the society will be more tolerant, more engaging and society will learn to leave side by side with people of all faiths and tendency,”he said.

Earlier, the Founder of Peace Ambassadors Center for Humanitarian Aid and Empowerment, Amb. Ahmed Shehu said youths are critical stakeholders in peace processes, urging the people in the community to identify the youths in their community and give them the necessary support.

“As a civil society, we thought we have to play our role towards ensuring we have a stable society.

“What we observed in these efforts is that a critical element is missing. This is the youth groups and we thought why can’t we come up with an initiative where we build the capacity of the youth and make them youth advocates and unleash them to the society for peacebuilding.

“We carefully selected young people and voices across all sectors, from the media, CSOs and academia. Our dream is you would go back to the community and change the narratives,”Ahmed said.

He was awarded for a responsible media practice and promoting of a culture of peace.

One of recipients of the Peace Advocate Award and Social Media Influencer, Aliyu Mohammed Tong applauded the Peace Ambassadors Center for Humanitarian Aid and Empowerment and partners for finding them worthy of this award after a series of trainings and community engagements.

“As we accepted the award we equally took it as a challenge to positively make an impact in our various communities by stepping down the knowledge we gained on reintegration and sustainable peace.”Aliyu thanked.

Some of the recipients include Mohammed Usman, General Manager of Al-Ansar Radio; Usaman Mohammed, Report with Yerwa Express News; Umaru Kirawa, Correspondent of Newscentral Africa, Zainab Yetunde Adam, Reporter with NTA amongst.

The project was funded by the British Council in partnership with the Borno State Ministry for information and Internal Security and implemented by Peace Ambassadors Centre for Humanitarian Aid and Empowerment.

Youth are vital to sustainable peace, better Nigeria-Prof Usman to Youths

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