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CBA Foundation Wants Enforcement of Laws Protecting Widows, Children

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CBA Foundation Founder, Chinwe Bode-Akinwande

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Government has been urged to implement and enforce the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act (VAPP), which gives protection to widows in the country.

This appeal was made by a non-governmental organisation in Nigeria known as the Chinwe Bode-Akinwande (CBA) Foundation.

Founder of the group, Mrs Chinwe Bode-Akinwande, noted that the government needs to create more awareness about the act for widows to know their rights and also for people to tread with caution.

Speaking with newsmen through a virtual conference in Lagos on Tuesday in commemoration of the 2020 United Nations’ International Widows’ Day, she said this call has become necessary as a result of the spike in cases of rape, sexual harassment, confiscation of properties, violence, dehumanization, discrimination, poverty and all manners of molestations suffered mostly by women, especially the widows and their children.

“Nobody wishes to lose a loved one; losing someone is never easy and having to live life without your partner is even harder.

“For women all over the world, the loss of a spouse is even bigger as they have to struggle for their basic needs, rights and dignity.

“As we mark International Widows’ Day 2020 today, June 23, I implore us all to take a closer look at our immediate environ, culture/tradition, families, history and significance of the day,” she said.

“According to the United Nations, there are an estimated 258 million widows around the world, and nearly one in ten lives in extreme poverty.

“Apart from that, 2.7 billion women are denied access to the same choice of jobs as men due to certain unconfronted restrictions, and lots face gender-based violence even today.

“The issue of rape, sexual harassment and all manners of molestations are suffered mostly by women not to think of the most vulnerable amongst them – the widows,” the banker stated.

She added that sufficient evidence suggests that widowed women “are severely affected financially, psychologically, sexually and socially and these are rooted in cultural and traditional practices as well as the socialization processes that condition women to dependence.

These conditions have erected enormous difficulties for women to creatively initiate new robust relationships with both men and women in social and economic spheres upon widowhood.

“It’s even sadder that widows are not looked after by families, private sectors, governments etc. and to worsen the matter, societies curse them.

“Their children also face several problems like being withdrawn from the school and becoming more vulnerable to abuse. The CBA Foundation has joined to lend its voice for the past five years,” Mrs Bode-Akinwande stressed.

She added that there was a need to develop policies and programmes to address the problems that widows face in the world, which is the reason she founded the CBA Foundation.

“The day is important as it brings about awareness among the public the problems that widows face all over the world. It is a time to reflect on the progress that has been made and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women.

“It is also a day to draw the attention of the people to take action and provide full rights and recognition for widows. The purpose for marking this day is clear – to care for widows and their children and to change the culture that discriminates against them.

“We are therefore calling on well-meaning Nigerians to join us today to give them hope, stop dehumanization and injustice towards them,” Mrs Bode-Akinwande said.

International Widows Day is a United Nations-ratified day of action to address the ‘poverty and injustice faced by millions of widows and their dependents in many countries.’

Established by The Loomba Foundation, the day takes place annually on June 23. This year, the theme was I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights, which is aligned with UN Women’s new multi-generational campaign, Generation Equality.

Established in 2015, the CBA Foundation, under its 5-point agenda, has reached out to thousands of underprivileged widows and children through skills acquisition training, health intervention, business start-ups and provision of clothing, nutrition and tuition fees for the children.

In breakdown, 5,600 widows have been empowered through its women empowerment and capacity building initiative; over 3,500 underprivileged widows have received health intervention; over 3,500 have also received food items.

The foundation has also reinstated 45 children in school, empowered 120 widows financially to start a business of their own and also, provided palliative to 250 widows during the COVID-19 pandemic lock-down.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Obasanjo Charges Africa to Decide Its Energy Future

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Olusegun Obasanjo Africa

By Adedapo Adesanya

Former president of Nigeria, Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, has said Africa must take charge of its own energy destiny and use its rich resource assets for the benefit of its own people.

His comments come in support of the Africa Oil Week (AOW), which is necessitated as the world scrambles to find new sources of oil and gas to meet its energy needs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In this context, Mr Obasanjo noted that African countries cannot be beholden to the unrealistic ideals of the Global North for an exclusively renewables-driven economy, saying this is particularly true when the developed world is itself accepting the need for hydrocarbons.

“Like the rest of the world, Africa must follow energy policies that promote socio-economic development and sustainable hydrocarbon use,” he said.

The former Head of State, who ruled Africa’s largest crude oil producer from 1999 to 2007 said, “Africa is the lowest producer of greenhouse-gas emissions and needs to lift nearly half-a-billion citizens out of poverty.

“Responsible management of our hydrocarbons and investment in our economies is necessary to ensure a just energy transition and sustainable growth for our people.”

The European Union (EU) had previously said it intends to cut Russian-supplied oil by up to 90 per cent by the end of 2022, and the announcement has already caused global energy costs to soar.

Africa is one of the potential new sources of energy to replace this supply, with an estimated 61 billion barrels of oil equivalent being discovered in the region over the past 10 years.

Mr Obasanjo’s view aligns with that of the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), which also called on member countries and other global institutions to use petroleum as a catalyst for energy security, sustainable development, and economic diversification in Africa through collaboration and partnerships.

Mr Obasanjo has been a major leader of Africa’s post-colonial period, having overseen Nigeria’s transition to representative democracy. Since his move out of the government sphere, he has been a senior statesman, active in defining geopolitical issues – including energy.

He also helped to shape the modern Nigerian oil industry, inaugurating policy reforms that have seen the country become an energy superpower on the African continent.

“Creating an African oil industry that benefits Africa’s people needs strong policy and regulation.

“During my time in government, we launched oil-and-gas policy reforms that helped to build a modern oil and gas hub. There were many learnings that we can apply across the wider region. I look forward to discussing these opportunities for Africa.”

He then called for accelerated dialogue on the sustainable development of hydrocarbons, and the role of Africa as a supplier of global energy needs.

“There has been much talk at forums such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos about a just energy transition. However, we must not allow Africa to be dictated to. The discussions at AOW will be pivotal in charting a new energy course for Africa. We will decide what is best for us,” he said.

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Akande-Sadipe Mourns as Another Oyo APC Chieftain Dies

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Muili Ojuolape Oyo APC chieftain

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A member of the House of Representatives, Mrs Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, has expressed sorrow over the death of a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State, Mr Muili Ojuolape.

In a statement on Thursday, the lawmaker from the Oluyole Federal Constituency in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, described the Oyo APC chieftain as a father who would be missed.

Mrs Akande-Sadipe, in the statement signed by her media aide, Mr Olamilekan Olusada, prayed to God to comfort the family of Mr Ojuolape and grant them the fortitude to bear the loss.

She expressed shock over the death of the party chieftain, saying, “The unthinkable happened. We received the news of the second loss in Oluyole APC. We are saddened by the exit of another committed progressive. It’s difficult to bear the pain!”

“Baba Ojuolape, as I fondly called you, Baba Muili Ojuolape, you were indeed a father to me in Oluyole. As you go to your maker, I pray you to rest in perfect peace. I will surely miss you, APC Oluyole will surely miss you, and APC ward one shall surely miss you too. TASK Oluyole shall surely miss you. My sincere condolences to your immediate family. May the Almighty uphold your family to bear this loss,” she added.

Mrs Akande-Sadipe stated further that, “It is natural to grief when death strikes in a well-knitted family, but we have the confidence that the sacrifices you made in your life to build the APC in your local chapter, Oluyole into a viable democratic institution, shall not be in vain.

“You have played your part and left, and your democratic credentials should always spur us to greater service.”

It was gathered that Mr Ojuolape, a prominent member of the APC in the Oluyole local government area of Oyo State, died on Tuesday after a brief illness in Ibadan.

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Pensioners Only Experience Few Payment Issues—PTAD

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PTAD Few Payment Issues

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) has claimed that pensioners only witness a few payment issues, which it said should become a thing of the past very soon.

The Executive Secretary of the agency, Ms Chioma Ejikeme, while speaking at a Sensitization and Collaboration Forum, which had critical stakeholders in attendance, said efforts are being made to make the process seamless.

She explained that the event was put together to carry stakeholders along, especially security officials, so as to weed out fraud from the system.

Ms Ejikeme said PTAD was ready to collaborate with other agencies to curb pension fraud and resolve issues regarding pension payments to the pensioners under the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS).

“The Directorate has deemed it fit and important to engage these group of stakeholders in order to continually re-strategize and come to terms with the realities of pension payments and its attendant challenges.

“The pension industry had been swamped with complaints of extortion by fraudsters and phone calls demanding for money in order to quicken computation and payment of outstanding liabilities,” she said.

“It is important for agencies that like ICPC, and EFCC to really understand what we do, because of the perception of pension admiration out there as many people think PTAD keeps pensioners’ funds, which is not true.

“As such, we want to make sure that our processes and the way we conduct our payments is very well known to these agencies not just them, but also the general public,” she disclosed.

“Certainly, there are challenges in payment arising from the Government Integrated Financial Management Systems (GIFMIS), but the magnitude is really not significant.

“Consequently, we are here today to look at some of the minor challenges while we sit with the relevant stakeholders and look at how to address them and also get input from the financial managers of the government,” Ms Ejikeme stated.

On his part, the President of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Mr Godwin Abumisi, lauded the efforts of PTAD in managing their pension and stated that they had never had it so good.

“Indeed the union and its teeming members will be eternally grateful to the federal government and the National Assembly for the establishment of PTAD via the Pension Reform Act of 2014 (as amended). The establishment and operations of PTAD is far better than where we are coming from,” he said.

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