By Modupe Gbadeyanka
War and a collapsing economy have left some 100,000 people facing starvation in parts of South Sudan where famine was declared today, three UN agencies warned. A further 1 million people are classified as being on the brink of famine.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) also warned that urgent action is needed to prevent more people from dying of hunger.
If sustained and adequate assistance is delivered urgently, the hunger situation can be improved in the coming months and further suffering mitigated.
The total number of food insecure people is expected to rise to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July if nothing is done to curb the severity and spread of the food crisis.
According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update released today by the government, the three agencies and other humanitarian partners, 4.9 million people – more than 40 percent of South Sudan’s population – are in need of urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance.
Unimpeded humanitarian access to everyone facing famine, or at risk of famine, is urgently needed to reverse the escalating catastrophe, the UN agencies urged. Further spread of famine can only be prevented if humanitarian assistance is scaled up and reaches the most vulnerable.
Famine is currently affecting parts of Unity State in the northern-central part of the country. A formal famine declaration means people have already started dying of hunger. The situation is the worst hunger catastrophe since fighting erupted more than three years ago.
“Famine has become a tragic reality in parts of South Sudan and our worst fears have been realised. Many families have exhausted every means they have to survive,” said FAO Representative in South Sudan Serge Tissot. “The people are predominantly farmers and war has disrupted agriculture. They’ve lost their livestock, even their farming tools. For months there has been a total reliance on whatever plants they can find and fish they can catch.”
Malnutrition is a major public health emergency, exacerbated by the widespread fighting, displacement, poor access to health services and low coverage of sanitation facilities. The IPC report estimates that 14 of the 23 assessed counties have global acute malnutrition (GAM) at or above the emergency threshold of 15 percent, with some areas as high as 42 percent.
“More than one million children are currently estimated to be acutely malnourished across South Sudan; over a quarter of a million children are already severely malnourished. If we do not reach these children with urgent aid many of them will die,” said Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative a.i in South Sudan. “We urge all parties to allow humanitarian organizations unrestricted access to the affected populations, so we can assist the most vulnerable and prevent yet another humanitarian catastrophe.”
“This famine is man-made. WFP and the entire humanitarian community have been trying with all our might to avoid this catastrophe, mounting a humanitarian response of a scale that quite frankly would have seemed impossible three years ago. But we have also warned that there is only so much that humanitarian assistance can achieve in the absence of meaningful peace and security, both for relief workers and the crisis-affected people they serve,” said WFP Country Director Joyce Luma. “We will continue doing everything we possibly can to hold off and reverse the spread of famine.”
Across the country, three years of conflict have severely undermined crop production and rural livelihoods. The upsurge in violence since July 2016 has further devastated food production, including in previously stable areas. Soaring inflation – up to 800 percent year-on-year – and market failure have also hit areas that traditionally rely on markets to meet food needs. Urban populations are also struggling to cope with massive price rises on basic food items.
FAO, UNICEF and WFP, with other partners, have conducted massive relief operations since the conflict began, and intensified those efforts throughout 2016 to mitigate the worst effects of the humanitarian crisis. In Northern Bahr El Ghazal state, among others, the IPC assessment team found that humanitarian relief had lessened the risk of famine there.
FAO has provided emergency livelihood kits to more than 2.3 million people to help them fish or plant vegetables. FAO has also vaccinated more than 6 million livestock such as goats and sheep to prevent further loss.
WFP continues to scale up its support in South Sudan as humanitarian needs increase, and plans to provide food and nutrition assistance to 4.1 million people through the hunger season in South Sudan this year. This includes lifesaving emergency food, cash and nutrition assistance for people displaced and affected by conflict, as well as community-based recovery or resilience programs and school meals.
In 2016, WFP reached a record 4 million people in South Sudan with food assistance — including cash assistance amounting to US$13.8 million, and more than 265,000 metric tons of food and nutrition supplies. It is the largest number of people assisted by WFP in South Sudan since independence, despite problems resulting from the challenging context.
UNICEF aims to treat 207,000 children for severe acute malnutrition in 2017. Working with over 40 partners and in close collaboration with WFP, UNICEF is supporting 620 outpatient therapeutic programme sites and about 50 inpatient therapeutic sites across the country to provide children with urgently needed treatment. Through a rapid response mechanism carried out jointly with WFP, UNICEF continues to reach communities in the most remote locations. These rapid response missions treat thousands of children for malnutrition as well as provide them with immunization services, safe water and sanitation which also prevents recurring malnutrition.
NIN Enrollment Jumps to 92.63 million in November 2022
By Adedapo Adesanya
The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has revealed that enrollment for the National Identification Number (NIN) rose to 92.63 million as of November 28, 2022.
In the latest data released by the commission, a total of 1.95 million new NIN enrollments were in November, as the database grew by 2.2 per cent from the 90.68 million at the end of October.
In terms of gender distribution, the NIMC data revealed that 52.1 million people, representing 56 per cent of Nigerians so far captured in the NIN database, are male, while the remaining 40.5 million (44 per cent) are female.
According to the statistics, Lagos State has so far recorded the highest number of enrolments in the country, with 10.3 million Nigerians captured in the State. This was followed by Kano State, which recorded 8 million registered NIN.
Other states that made the top ten in terms of the number of enrolments include Kaduna with 5.4 million, Ogun with 3.8 million, Oyo with 3.6 million, FCT with 3.2 million, Katsina with 3.1 million, Rivers with 2.7 million, Delta with 2.4 million, and Bauchi also with 2.4 million NIN registrations.
The NIMC data shows that the ten states with the lowest NIN enrolments are Zamfara with 1.6 million total enrolments as of November, Akwa Ibom with 1.5 million, Imo with 1.5 million, Enugu with 1.5 million, Yobe with 1.3 million, Taraba with 1.3 million, Cross River with 1 million, Ekiti with 971,712, Ebonyi with 744,869, and Bayelsa with 583,323.
The commission had recently pledged to scale up enrolment and issuance of the unique National Identification Numbers (NIN) to Nigerians and legal residents, from 500,000 to 2.5 million records monthly in a renewed commitment towards the provision of Identity services to the nation.
Pursuant to Act No. 23 of 2007, amongst others, create and manage the National Identity Database, enrol citizens and legal residents and issue them a unique NIN, a general multipurpose card, as well as harmonize and integrate existing identification databases in government agencies into the National Identity Database.
Section 27(1) and (2) of the Act, 2007 also mandates all government and private agencies providing services as captured in the NIMC Act to make the NIN a prerequisite for service provision to Citizens and Legal residents.
The NIN not only affirms the identity of an individual, but it also avails the government necessary information needed for national planning, the creation of social intervention initiatives, tracking and monitoring crime, curb corruption nationwide, and other numerous benefits.
Experts, Others to Discuss Potential Risks in Real Estate Transactions in Lagos
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) has invited critical stakeholders in the real estate market to the 3rd Real Estate Market Place Conference and Exhibition.
The two-day event will commence on December 6, 2022, at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu expected to declare it open.
According to the organisers, participants will discuss The Lagos Real Estate Emerging Markets – Mitigating Potential Risks.
They will focus on potential risks in real estate transactions, laws that protect real estate investment transactions, and policies and guidelines about Lagos State real estate sector.
Recall that on February 7, 2022, Mr Sanwo-Olu signed the LASRERA bill into law in a bid to regulate, sanitise, and protect individuals from illegal real estate transactions and fraudulent persons/organisations, monitor the activities of real estate transactions and ensure real estate transactions in the state conform to global best practices.
This conference is sponsored by a luxury property development company, The Address Homes, as part of its contribution to the growth of the real estate sector in Nigeria.
“The partnership between Address Homes and Lagos State Government on this conference and exhibition would further propel the already existing collaboration to promote integrity, professionalism, customer satisfaction and safety in the real estate industry in Nigeria,” the Marketing Manager of The Address Homes, Mr Segun Ogunbiyi, noted.
He said the company is also a major exhibitor of the programme, showcasing real estate development with a combination of high-class, contemporary architectural design and high-level finishes with respect to designs and styles that meet consumer passion, taste and comfort.
Rising Electoral Violence Cases Frighten CNPP
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has expressed concerns over the spate of attacks on facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and campaign rallies across the country.
Nigerian heads to the polls in February 2023 to elect a new President, governors and lawmakers.
Ahead of the general elections, there have been pockets of violence at political rallies, with attacks on politicians and their followers becoming rampant, in a few cases, leading to death.
In a statement issued on Monday, CNPP feared that the exercise is under threat despite assurances by relevant stakeholders, including INEC, that the poll would not be shifted.
The group, in the statement signed by its Secretary General, Mr Willy Ezugwu, warned that “unless political thugs were treated as enemies of the state, the ongoing attacks on political opponents would gravely endanger the credibility of the 2023 elections.”
“Despite the recent matching orders to the security agencies by President Muhammadu Buhari, which was reiterated by the National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President, Mr Babagana Monguno, to the effect that the President has given the go-ahead to all security agencies to deal decisively with individuals or groups trying to prevent peaceful conduct of the 2023 general election, the hope of a violent free electioneering campaign may be dashed.
“Our major fear is that from the records of the federal government, as revealed by the NSA that Nigeria recorded 52 acts of political violence across 22 states in one month, between October 8 and November 9, 2022, there seems to be gross inaction on the part of security agencies, particularly the Nigeria Police Force to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of this violence.
“Worse still, after the recent emergency meeting of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja, Nigerians have seen nothing but inactions by security agencies in preventing or arresting and diligently prosecuting perpetrators of the ongoing electoral violence and their sponsors.
“Every lover of Nigeria and her future knows that, as far as violent attacks on political opponents and opposing political parties in states is concerned, the situation is becoming alarming as one of the elementary security measures is crime prevention.
“For instance, last week, there was a suspected politically motivated assassination of Victoria Chintex, the Labour Party women leader in Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State, who was reportedly killed last Monday after gunmen invaded her residence and shot her.
“At the weekend, there were reports that the Labour Party’s rally in the Lakowe town area of Lekki, Lagos State, was visited with violence by suspected political thugs allegedly sponsored by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the area.
“In November, suspected APC supporters attacked supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubarkar, in Maiduguri, Borno State, just as on October 17, suspected thugs also disrupted the campaign train of the PDP in Kaduna State.
“In the same month of October, some supporters of the APC in Oyo State were reportedly injured in Ibadan during a campaign rally when some hoodlums in some vehicles allegedly launched an attack on the crowd.
“In Ebonyi State, a State Government sponsored security outfit, Ebubeagu, has been severally reported to have been unleashing against political opponents of the APC leadership in the state, among other several incidents of political violence in other states across the country”, the CNPP recalled.
“If truly President Muhammadu Buhari has given his directive through the NSA to all the operational intelligence and law enforcement agencies to ensure that the 2023 elections are held in an atmosphere devoid of any rancour, as the NSA has disclosed recently, why are we not seeing security agencies discouraging political thuggery in the country?
“We, therefore, call on all political party leaders at all levels to restrain their supporters both online and offline from carrying out violent activities against oppositions.
“This has become imperative as retaliations and counter-attacks by victims of the ongoing violence could degenerate the issues and worsen the current security situation in the country.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari, who was said to be extremely pleased with the outcome of the results of elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states to ensure a repeat of such performance in 2023, both by INEC and all security agencies, including the anti-graft bodies because an election is not war”, the CNPP stated.
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