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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Access to safe water, sanitation services help keep children in school - NaijaAgroNet

Estimated 4,500 people in Riyom local government area of Plateau State, north-central Nigeria will benefit from improved access to safe water and sanitation facilities following the commissioning of a communal solar driven motorized water facility and WASH facilities in a school which include gender segregated latrines and a handpump, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Built with support from the European Union (EU), the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities will go a long way towards ensuring that every child in Nigeria has access to safe WASH services.

“Children who do not have safe access to WASH, are most likely to lose interest in pursuing learning opportunities because they are forced to spend more time in search for water during school hours or stay out of school to recover from illness caused by frequent episodes of diarrhea,” says Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Nigeria Representative.

According to the data from the WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH NORM), as many as 47 million Nigerians practice open defecation, only 11 percent of Nigerians have access to complete basic water, sanitation and hygiene services and only 13 percent of schools have access to basic water and sanitation services.

The ripple effect of this is that more than 100,000 children under five years of age die each year due to water borne diseases like diarrhea, of which 90 percent is directly attributed to unsafe water and sanitation.

“Clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are critical for the survival and development of children. Without these basic needs, the lives of millions of children are at risk. We must do better for children by prioritizing WASH on the development agenda,” says Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, Head of EU Delegation in Nigeria.

The European Union Ambassador explains that ending open defecation and making water, sanitation, and hygiene services available to children in rural Nigeria is one of the biggest challenges in Nigeria, construction and management of which requires sustained investments and more partnerships.

In November 2018, the Nigerian president declared a state of emergency in the WASH sector, reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment for eliminating open defecation and launched a national campaign with an objective of achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) status by 2025.

The EU through UNICEF and other development partners is supporting the government of Nigeria to protect the rights of children through the provision of access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene services in needy locations within the country.

The EU funded programmes support WASH projects in urban and rural areas through the provision of water schemes, technical assistance and capacity development to sector institutions and agencies responsible, and improved access to safe water, adequate sanitation and hygiene services in communities. 

The European Union has has invested more than 250 MEUROs in the Nigerian water sector improving the WASH conditions of more than 10 million people in 14 States. Working towards achievieng the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is a priority for the EU and Nigeria. SDG 6 ensure access to clean and sustainable water for all.

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Heavy rainfall, flood may disrupt movements in Lagos

The International SOS and  Control Risks Group have warned that Lagos may be flooded in the coming days due to persistent rainfalls, reports NaijaAgroNet.

They also advised Lagosians to plan their journeys which may be disrupted due the heavy rainfall and flooding.

According to the notice available to NaijaAgroNet, flood and road disruptions may cause some inconveniences to movements.

"Members in the commercial capital Lagos (Lagos state) in the coming days should plan journeys accounting for disruption caused by heavy rain. Reports on 25 June said flooding affected several areas, including in parts of Victoria and Lagos islands. Further rainfall is forecast in the coming days," part of the warning made available to NaijaAgroNet read.

They group further advised that Lagosians should consult the Nigerian Meteorological Agency website for information on weather conditions, and be prepared to adjust itineraries accordingly.

Noteworthy is that roads are prone to flooding and may be impassable after heavy rainfall. 

In addition, they advised Lagosians to liaise with local contacts to reconfirm the status of routes before setting out, allow extra time for journeys and be prepared to postpone travel, if required. It is recommended to hire a car and driver.

"Do not attempt to cross flooded roads. If you come across one, seek an alternative route to your destination. The above advice is not exhaustive; consult the Standing Travel Advice for Nigeria for further Lagos-specific advice," they said.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

UNICEF condemns use of children for human bombs in north-east Nigeria - NaijaAgroNet

The UNICEF has bemoaned the use of children in north-east of Nigeria as human bombs, just as girls top the number of children used for this purpose, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Disclosing this to NaijaAgroNet, the UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins condemned the use of children as human bombs especially in Nigeria’s north-east.

He told NaijaAgroNet in a press statement made available to correspondent that the use of children as human bombs in any combat or non-combat roles in the conflict in north-east Nigeria is condemnable.

“According to several reports, three children - two girls and a boy (ages unknown) – were used to detonate explosives that killed 30 people and injured 40 others at a community football viewing centre in Konduga, Borno today. UNICEF sends its condolences to all those who have been killed or injured in this horrific incident.

“It is unacceptable that children should be used in this way.

“UNICEF appeals to all those involved in this terrible conflict to protect children at all times and to keep them out of harm’s way.

“This incident brings the number of children who have been reported as having been used as human bombs to five, since January 2019. In 2018, 48 children - including 38 girls - were used in suicide attacks.

“We again call on all parties to the conflict in north-east Nigeria to immediately cease all attacks against civilians, to stop using children in this conflict, and to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law.”

NaijaAgroNet gathered that since 2012, non-state armed groups in north-east Nigeria have recruited and used children as combatants and non-combatants, raped and forced girls to marry, and committed other grave violations against children. 

Some of the girls, NaijaAgroNet also gathered, became pregnant in captivity and give birth without any medical care or attention.

In the ongoing armed conflict in north-east Nigeria, more than 3,500 children were recruited and used by non-state armed groups between 2013 and 2017.

The use of children in suicide attacks by armed groups as Person-Borne Explosive Devices (PBIED) significantly increased from 2014 to 2017.

In 2018, a total 48 children (38 girls) were used in suicide attacks whilst 146 (45 boys, 101 girls) children were used in the same way in 2017.

In first quarter 2019, two girls were reported as having been used as PBIEDs. 

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Crude theft: Shell loses 11,000 bopd in 2018 - NaijaAgroNet

The Shell Nigeria has lost some 11,000 barrels of oil per day in 2018 alone, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Just as they called for stakeholders’ concerted efforts to curb the incessant vandalism of crude oil-bearing pipelines, highlighting the danger of continuous sabotage to people and environment. 

The General Manager, External Relations of The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Mr. Igo Weli, said such efforts to curb pipeline sabotage will save lives, secure communities and protect the environment.

Weli spoke in Lagos on Thursday at a Media Workshop on Pipelines Right of Way Encroachment and Vandalism. 

“Shell is concerned the repeated sabotage of recently repaired pipelines exposes the environment and people to renewed and worsening pollution. Oil theft is focused on short term fiscal benefits, ignoring the long-term effects of environmental degradation.”

“Since 2017, sabotage spill rate has risen steeply and crude oil theft from SPDC JV’s pipeline network averaged 11, 000 barrels per day in 2018, an increase of about 20% over previous year. The number of sabotage-related spills increased in 2018 to 111 compared to 62 in 2017 and, since 2012, SPDC has removed more than 1,160 illegal theft points,” he said.

Also speaking at the workshop, Shell’s General Manager, Safety and Environment, Chidube Nnene-Anochie, said irrespective of the cause, SPDC cleans and remediates areas impacted by spills from its facilities.”

According to Nnene-Anochie, “SPDC implements work programmes to appraise condition of, maintain and replace key sections of pipelines and flowlines. In 2018, for example, we installed 70 kilometres of pipelines and 188 kilometres of flowlines. Over the last seven years, SPDC has replacedapproximately 1,300 kilometres distance of flow lines and pipelines.”

She said, “In line with industry regulations, SPDC only pays compensation if the spill is operational.”

Towards the UNEP Report-guided Ogoni Clean Up, Weli said, “SPDC actively supports the clean-up process along with other stakeholders. SPDC remains fully committed to providing its share of $900 million (N283.73 billion) over five years to the Ogoni Trust Fund as stipulated in the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) gazette and the agreed governance framework.”

“The SPDC JV has completed its first-year contribution of $180 million (N54.54 billion). Early 2017, the SPDC JV made available $10 million to help set up HYPREP office and in July 2018, joint venture deposited additional $170 million (N51.52 billion) into an escrow account to fund HYPREP’s activities.”

The company said it is also collaborating with communities to effectively patrol pipelines’ rights-of-way through direct surveillance and GMoU surveillance, proactively engaging government security agencies to prevent crude theft and vandalism and carrying out awareness campaigns to educate community members, surveillance contractors and general public of the requirements of the 1990 Pipeline Act which prohibits any third-party activities 100ft from existing oil and gas right-of-way.

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Pic: L-R: Encroachment Management Lead, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), Ucheoma Amechi; External Relation Manager, Shell Nigeria Gas, Babatunde Olaleke; SPDC’s General Manager, External Relations, Igo Weli; Compliance Monitoring Lead, Temitope Ajibade; and Right-of-Way and Encroachment Lead, Okojie John, at a media workshop on Pipeline Right of Way held in Lagos…

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

GSMA dangles agro value chain fund - NaijaAgroNet


The GSMA Innovation Fund for Digitisation of Agricultural Value Chains has open for entries, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The fund, 
NaijaAgroNet gathered aims to scale digital solutions for the agricultural last mile and improve smallholders’ financial inclusion, livelihood and climate resilience.

The priorities of the fund is for enterprise services targeted at organisations (e.g. agribusiness, cooperatives, etc.) procuring from smallholders with the focus on those living on less than USD 2 per day.

Up to eight grants of £220,000 each are being made available to support projects of 24 months duration. In addition, the GSMA will provide in-kind support and consultancy to assist the development of business plans, and service implementation through market research, user-centric design, business intelligence, user-testing with agribusiness staff and smallholders.

Also NaijaAgroNet gathered that grants are available across two categories of application, namely Mobile Money Driven Category and Data Driven Category.

Applications for funding across both categories, 
NaijaAgroNet gathered are assessed through a two-stage application process.

"Concept Note: The first step will be to submit a Concept Note, which outlines the project objectives, lists proposed partners, demonstrates the consortium’s capacity to deliver the project and explains how the project fits within wider strategy of the business owner.

"Business Plan: A short-list of applicants whose Concepts Notes meet the objectives and eligibility requirements of the Fund will be invited to develop a Business Plan which will further outline the strategy for implementing and scaling the service; provide a budget projection with an indication of how the grant is to be spent, and a workplan for the 24 month implementation period.

All eligible applicants at Concept Note stage, irrespective of whether they ultimately receive grant under this Innovation Fund, will be invited to join the GSMA AgriTech Priority Learning Partners Initiative, where they will gain access to a number of knowledge sharing resources and events, including webinars on the topic of enterprise solutions for the last mile.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that submission of Concept Note applications by 31 July 2019 is ideal.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Enugu massacre: Tragedy of Internal migration - NaijaAgroNet

In this piece, REMMY NWEKE, revisits the Enugu massacre of 2016 and called for justice for the victims forced into internal migration by Fulani herdsmen despite clues based on technological evidence, over three years after.
Dateline is April 25, 2019. Obulum is a four-year old boy literally discovered after his mother, a widow and two sisters were killed during recent attacks by the Fulani herdsmen in his community in South Eastern part of Nigeria. He could be one of the 541,000 newly displaced as at December 2018, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, reports NaijaAgroNet.

As he continued to wander about, members of the security agencies and international aid organisation picked him and sent to the nearby camp for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), thus began his internal migration journey.

With the UNICEF's support, 272,316 IDPs including 121,135 children under the age of 5 were reached with integrated primary health care (PHC) services in health facilities in IDP camps and host communities in the three northeast states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. This figure is out of the 4.5 million children in need of humanitarian assistance according to Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP July 2018), whereas 7.7 million people were in need within same period.

What’s Internal Migration:
Internal migration, according to experts at open source encyclopedia, Wikipedia, is human migration within one geopolitical entity, usually a nation-state. Internal migration ordinarily could be travel for education and for economic improvement or because of a natural disaster or civil disturbance, which often is the case in Nigeria.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that Internal displacement affects some 25 million people worldwide, thus increasingly recognized as one of the most tragic phenomena of the contemporary world, with attendant traumatic experiences arising from violent conflicts, gross violations of human rights and related causes in which discrimination features significantly; displacement nearly always generates conditions of severe hardship and suffering for the affected populations.

“It breaks up families, cuts social and cultural ties, terminates dependable employment relationships, disrupts educational opportunities, denies access to such vital necessities as food, shelter and medicine, and exposes innocent persons to such acts of violence as attacks on camps, disappearances and rape,” the UN Guiding Principles highlighted, pointing out that whether clustered in camps, escape into the countryside to hide from potential sources of persecution and violence or submerge into the community of the equally poor and dispossessed, the internally displaced are among the most vulnerable populations, desperately in need of protection and assistance.

Obulum, may pass for an internal migrant child from Nimbo, a border town in Uzo-Uwani area of Enugu State in the Nigeria’s South East; where some seven villages- Ekwuru, Nimbo-Ngwoko, Ugwuijoro, Ebor, Enugu-Nimbo, Umuome and Ugwuachara were invaded, and scores massacred by over 500 armed Fulani herdsmen, who are rated the fourth deadliest terror group in the world, in the early hours of April 25, 2016.
NaijaAgroNet gathered that Uzo-Uwani has boundaries with the Southern States of Ebonyi and Anambra, and Central States of Benue and Kogi, where these attacks have increased lately till date.

For Enugu State governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Nimbo terrorism happened due to inability of security agencies to successfully act on the counter intelligence report about herdsmen grouping at neighbouring Odolu in Kogi State in preparation for attack.

Igbo social cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by Dr Nnia Nwodo, expressed dismay over the seemingly security lapses which led to the terror attack and likelihood of another attack. They asked the government to carry out thorough investigation to bring those responsible to justice and forestall further occurrences. Declaring “Imeobi views with grave concern and unequivocally condemns the recent slaughter by Fulani herdsmen of our defenseless kith and kin in Nimbo, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State.

The herdsmen, 
NaijaAgroNet reportedly gathered, were bent on occupying a portion of the farming community's land for cattle grazing plotted the attack, and went on to notify the natives about their invasion on April 23, 2016, two days before. This intelligence was promptly reported to security agencies who met but definitely did nothing. However, at about 5.15 am on April 25, 2016, the armed herdsmen numbering over 500 struck killing 40 people. The following day, April 26, 2016, six more bodies were recovered and 14 victims were lying critically ill at Royal Cross Hospital, Nsukka, Nsukka District General Hospital and Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Nsukka.

During the raid, a church, known as Christ Holy Church International, (AKA Odozi-Obodo), at Onu-Eke and 11 houses were burnt by the marauders, resulting in displaced natives fleeing to neighboring communities of Nkpologu and Uvuru, (Uvuru-Agada) even as indigenes of those communities also fled to Nsukka in fear of further attacks.

Invasion of Ukpabi-Nimbo community, known as ‘Enugu Massacre’ by Fulani herdsmen followed similar massacre of hundreds of natives in another farming community, Agatu, Benue State by the same herdsmen, a few weeks before.

There was invasion of neighbouring Abbi, another Uzo Uwani community, by some 30-masked Fulani herdsmen leaving about 19 persons missing and seven houses and motocycles raised.

Still on dateline, April 25, 2016:
Elsewhere on this day, April 25, 2016, in the United States, the known world super power, deployed some 250 more U.S. troops to Syria, and launched cyberattacks on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In Israel, the youngest Palestinian prisoner aged 12, Ms Dima al-Wawi was freed after pleading guilty on attempted manslaughter after approaching an Israeli West Bank settlement with a knife in February of same year. The fact remains she was a victim of the war between Israel and Palestine for some 52 years as the time of filing this report.

EU Intervention:
So, it was not out of place that the European Union (EU) recently pledged to support Nigeria to stem the tide of irregular migration, as affirmed by the Media Officer, EU Mission in Nigeria, Mr Modestus Chukwulaka, who informed NaijaAgroNet in Enugu, capital of Enugu State recently that EU would also work for the integration of returning migrants. Stressing that the union would through political dialogue and development cooperation with the government deal with drivers of irregular migration. Disclosing that the collaboration would equally unravel the long-term and structural root causes and forced displacement of migrants, especially collaborating with the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

In view to facilitating sustainable reintegration of returning migrants, he said, in April 2017, the EU through its Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) launched the Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Africa (JIMPRA) with IOM. Noting for instance that within the framework of the joint initiative, 12, 974 stranded Nigerian migrants have been assisted to return to their home country, including 1,158 in 2019. Emphasising that the initiative, wholly funded by EU aims at improving migrant protection, voluntary return and reintegration. It is being implemented by the IOM in collaboration with Nigerian government.

He further said, JIMPRA was anchored on the principles of saving lives, protecting and assisting migrants along migration routes by way of employing actions that are rights-based and protection-focused to ensure the dignity and safety of the assisted people in line with international standards.

“The initiative ensures that the migration process is safer, more informed and better governed for both migrants and their communities of origin,” he said, pointing out that saving and protecting the lives of migrants and refugees, breaking the business model of smugglers and traffickers and providing legal pathways were at the heart of EU’s policy. NaijaAgroNet reports that the Head, EU delegation in Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr Ketil Karlsen assured on resolution of EU to address the root causes of irregular migration, insisting that migration ought to happen out of aspiration, not desperation. Insisting, EU works in all areas of migration in Nigeria, including migration management, labour migration, irregular migration, return and reintegration, mobility and international protection.

UN Guiding Principle on Internal Migration:
The international community, NaijaAgroNet gathered, has become gradually aware of the plight of the internally displaced, thereby taken steps to address their needs via provision of the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

Thus paving way for a compilation of human rights and humanitarian law relevant to internally displaced persons, since 1993, at the instance of the Commission on Human Rights, prior Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons, Francis M. Deng, who prepared the first study on existing law and provided broad protection for the rights of internally displaced persons, in spite of obvious gray areas and gaps.

In Nigeria, for instance, this guideline has been translated into at least some four languages in Nigeria, including Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba and Fulfude outside the English language out of the 53 global languages for ease of understanding.

Accordingly, the Representative of focused the activities of his mandate on developing appropriate normative and institutional frameworks for the protection and assistance of the internally displaced, undertaking country missions in an ongoing dialogue with Governments and others concerned, and promoting a systemic international response to the plight of internally displaced populations, despite lack of capacity in discharging the responsibility. On the other hand, it is fair to say that the international community is more inclined than prepared, both normatively and institutionally, to respond effectively to the phenomenon of internal displacement.

Working in close collaboration in 1996 with a team of international legal experts, the Representative prepared a Compilation and Analysis of Legal Norms relevant to the needs and rights of the internally displaced and to the corresponding duties and obligations of States and the international community for protection and assistance.

NaijaAgroNet noted that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has since developed a manual, based on the Compilation and Analysis, for the practical use of its staff, especially in field operations. As there are indications that other organizations and agencies emulated UNHCR.

As the anniversary has come and gone unannounced, with the only known report of any investigations over the April 25, 2016 attack on Uzo-Uwani communities, was the five-man arrest reportedly made on May 2016, barely a month after by the operatives of the Inspector General of Police (IGP’s) Intelligence Response Team (IRT) viz: Mohammed Zurai, Ciroma Musa, Sale Adamu, Suleiman Laute and Haruna Laute, and recovered one Gionee L88 mobile phone with a memory card containing the video recording of the massacre in the community.

As such no one has conclusively been brought to book yet and no seeming justice for the Nimbo victims like Obulum, who is now eight years, even as there are rumours that even the five suspects arrested since 2016 that nothing is heard of them again afterwards.

It’s hoped that EU pledge has come to fruition, but will the IDPs get the help earnestly needed to have a change of life, including the likes of Obulum, without misappropriation of the aids.

Maybe, domestication of the UN Guiding Principles on IDPs across 36 states of Nigeria will be a plus to understanding the enormity of conflict and internally displaced persons in our midst. While security agencies must take intelligence seriously and work with requisite information.

Above all, IDPs deserve better life like every one of us. After all, who knows tomorrow?

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*The Fulani herdsmen arrested by Police on Enugu Massacre - Mohammed Zurai, Ciroma Musa, Sale Adamu, Suleiman Laute and Haruna Laute. Courtesy Punch.