By Adedapo Adesanya
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) has offered to collaborate with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) toward providing support to communities affected by the 2022 floods in the country.
The Head of UN-OCHA Nigeria, Mr Trond Jensen, disclosed this during a visit to NEMA headquarters in Abuja, saying the office was prepared to support in the areas of assessment as well as information management among others.
Other areas include resource mobilisation and capacity enhancement towards building resilience in the affected communities and helping the affected persons to recover from the disaster.
In addition, he said in line with its coordination mandates, the UN-OCHA would identify and request the support of relevant agencies of the United Nations in Nigeria to also deploy available assistance to the affected communities.
However, he noted that UN-OCHA was aware of the significance of working with the relevant agencies of the Nigerian government, which NEMA had been identified as a suitable platform for the provision of aid.
Responding, the Director-General of NEMA, Mr Mustapha Habib Ahmed, appreciated UN-OCHA for the offer of assistance to the affected persons and communities ravaged by floods, while he assured of the collaboration of NEMA with the UN-OCHA.
He said, “I appreciate your continuous intervention in the prolonged humanitarian crisis in the North East region, supporting NEMA to develop a joint humanitarian action plan and capacity building for the Agency’s staff.”
“I believe that your visit today will provide us the opportunity for a greater conversation on supporting people impacted by the ongoing flood disaster and other conflicts, especially in the North West and North Central states of Nigeria.”
The recent flood disaster that has affected the entire Nigerian federation, coupled with the prolonged humanitarian crisis in the North East region, banditry in the North West and North Central states, political agitation in the South East region and environmental degradation in the Niger Delta region have no doubt created a cocktail of challenging events for NEMA and its partners.
NEMA said it is not relenting in its efforts at disaster risk management, the building of national resilience and relief service delivery for Nigerians in distress.
The current flood disaster outlook indicates that all 36 States and the FCT have been impacted. 612 persons are reported dead; 3,219,780 are affected; 1,427,370 persons are displaced and 2,776 others are injured.
A total of 181,600 houses are partially damaged; 123,807 houses are totally damaged; 176,852 hectares of farmland are partially damaged, and 392,300 hectares of farmland are totally destroyed. There is a widespread environmental dislocation.
He said NEMA has been working closely with State Governments and all relevant partners to ensure that life-saving assistance is delivered in a well-coordinated and effective manner.
“We have delivered humanitarian relief assistance in the form of food, non-food items and basic household utensils to support the efforts of state governments. So far, we have reached over 1, 427,370 displaced persons in 28 states and the FCT. The intervention is still ongoing,” he said.
He explained that NEMA has deployed its emergency response assets, including mobile water purification equipment, search and rescue boats, and Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICUs) Ambulances, to conduct life-saving first aid and support to vulnerable populations.
“Some of the challenges we have faced include the slow movement of both human and material assets in addition to relief items due to flooded and quite often washed away roads, bridges and over issues of safety and security in some areas. Our partners in the Military Disaster Response Units (DRUs) have supported us with their air assets to conduct airdrop of relief materials in cut-away locations.
“We are looking forwards to the support of the UN-OCHA both materially and through the sharing of your vast wealth of experience in global best practices in managing complex emergencies as we are confronted with.
“I am aware that you are working towards facilitating support to NEMA through the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to aid the ongoing flood disaster relief efforts in Nigeria.”
“I once more welcome you for this very important visit which I believe will open a new vista of mutual support and collaboration between NEMA and the UN-OCHA,” the DG concluded.
Aminu Adamu Lands in Prison for Insulting Aisha Buhari
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A student of the Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State, Mr Aminu Adamu, has been remanded in prison for allegedly ‘insulting’ the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Mrs Aisha Buhari.
A few days ago, news filtered in that Mr Adamu was kidnapped by some security officials to Aso Rock, Abuja, over his post on Twitter that the President’s wife was feeding fat on the taxes paid by the poor masses.
This did not go down well with the First Lady, and the student, who is reportedly due to write his final year exams next week, was taken away from his campus and allegedly tortured.
This action angered many Nigerians, who asked Mrs Buhari to release the man or charge him in court.
On Tuesday, the student was charged to court by the police, and he was remanded in the Suleja correctional facility in Niger State, pending when his bail application would be heard next Wednesday.
According to his lawyer, Mr C.K. Agu, the student was arraigned before a court sitting in Abuja, but he pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against him.
“Even in the court session yesterday, we notified the judge about the efforts made to have him released on bail, but we did not receive any reply from the police.
“We applied to the court to release the student on bail on health grounds and the fact that he will sit for the exam on December 5.
“The court has ordered the police to provide the bail application before it for consideration between Tuesday and Wednesday,” Mr Agu informed BBC Hausa Service.
On June 9, 2022, Mr Adamu posted a picture of Mrs Aisha Buhari at the presidential primary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja held two days earlier and wrote in the Hausa language, “Su mama anchi kudin talkawa ankoshi,” which loosely means “Mama is feeding fat on poor people’s money.”
House of Reps Probes Incessant Attacks on INEC Offices
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The House of Representatives has condemned the incessant attacks on the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
At the plenary on Wednesday, the green chamber of the National Assembly said the actions of the arsonists could put the nation’s democracy under threat.
On November 10, 2022, an INEC building in the Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun State was burned, with over 65,000 uncollected PVCs destroyed by the arsonists. A similar incident happened in Osun State and a few days ago, the office of the electoral body was attacked in Ebonyi State.
It was gathered that since 2019, about 42 attacks have been carried out on INEC offices in 14 states and to the House of Reps, this is worrisome.
In order to curb this, the parliament has set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the incessant razing of the offices of INEC within three weeks and produce a report of its findings.
At the plenary presided over by the Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, the House urged the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and other security agencies to liaise with the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minster of Justice in bringing the perpetrators to book.
The decision to probe the matter followed a motion on notice moved by a lawmaker, Mr Olarewaju Ibrahim Kunle.
According to him, the attackers destroyed the main building of INEC in Ogun State earlier this month and other facilities such as 904 ballot boxes, 29 voting cubicles, 30 megaphones, 57 election bags, eight electric power generators and 65,699 uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).
The lawmaker said on the same day, arsonists and thugs set ablaze the INEC building at Oke Iresi, Ede South Local Government of Osun State.
He warned that if these systematically orchestrated attacks on personnel and facilities of the agency are not checked, the 2023 general elections could be disrupted.
Mr Kunle appealed to his colleagues to take urgent action to protect democracy in Nigeria.
His appeal was welcomed, with the parliament calling on “politicians and stakeholders to admonish their supporters to refrain from attacks and violence before or during the 2023 elections.”
Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Unveils Platform for Youth to Explore Business Prowess
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
An initiative to give an opportunity to youth in the country to explore their creativity and business prowess has been introduced by Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited.
The platform known as FUZE talent hunt will employ a holistic approach to youth empowerment and feature four categories across music, dance, fashion and technology, a statement from the leading pension fund administrator (based on assets under management) said.
According to the subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, the first-of-its-kind talent hunt aims to promote indigenous talents.
The chief executive of Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, Mr Olumide Oyetan, explained that the project was to the benefit of Nigerian society, adding that as a future-ready organisation, Stanbic IBTC valued talent, creativity and innovation and created the platform to shine the spotlight on youngsters and provide the necessary support they require to succeed, regardless of their chosen sphere of influence or industry.
He stated that youth empowerment had become increasingly essential with the heightened unemployment rate declared by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) at over 33 per cent.
On her part, an Executive Director at Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, Ms Nike Bajomo, disclosed that the “primary goal of the FUZE Talent hunt is to create a platform for Nigeria’s talented youth to engage and learn from other youths while also gaining access to funds and best-in-class mentoring to support the actualisation of their dreams.”
She urged young Nigerians to participate in the event, stating that the audition application is free, and the public would be relied upon to vote for their preferred candidate, who would be showcased at the grand finale in December 2022.
“FUZE is open to all Nigerians between the ages 18 and 35 years. To participate, you can download the Stanbic IBTC Events App on either the android or iOS store, register and upload an audition video,” she said.
It was disclosed that the winners of the FUZE Talent Hunt would be unveiled at the FUZE Festival slated for December 21, 2022, and in addition to the chance to win N32 million, contestants will gain recognition in the industry and winners will receive mentorship to support their careers.
“Around the world today, young Nigerians are making a statement on the global scene, putting their names and communities on the roadmap to greatness.
“The average young Nigerian is bursting with talent and potential waiting to be harnessed, and we are here to give them the support they need to soar high. After all, Nigeria is our home, and we drive her growth,” the chief executive of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Mr Demola Sogunle, said.
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