Police Shoot Protesting Workers In Kano

Men of the Kano state Police Command on Thursday opened fire on workers of a private company during a peaceful protest.

The workers, who are staff of Viva Poly Bag Company, Gunduwawa, Gezawa Local Government Area, are demanding for the establishment of a union, which the management of the company does not sanction.

One of the overzealous policemen shot indsicriminately and in the process injured one of the protesting workers.

This resulted in the workers attacking the policeman.

Both the injured worker and the policeman were rushed to the hospital for treatment.

The Police however denied shooting one of the proteesters, insisting that men of the command were at the company premises to maintain law and order.

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Egypt: Serious Abuses in Scorpion Prison

Inmates Isolated, Beaten, Denied Food and Medicine

(Beirut) – Authorities at a maximum security prison in Cairo that holds many political prisoners routinely abuse inmates in ways that may have contributed to some of their deaths.

Staff at Scorpion Prison beat inmates severely, isolate them in cramped “discipline” cells, cut off access to families and lawyers, and interfere with medical treatment, according to the 80-page report, “‘We Are in Tombs’: Abuses in Egypt’s Scorpion Prison.” The report documents cruel and inhuman treatment by officers of Egypt’s Interior Ministry that probably amounts to torture in some cases and violates basic international norms for the treatment of prisoners.

The abuse in Scorpion, where inmates are held in cells without beds or items for basic hygiene, has persisted with almost no oversight from prosecutors and other watchdogs, behind a wall of secrecy kept in place by the Interior Ministry.

“Scorpion Prison sits at the end of the state’s repressive pipeline, ensuring that political opponents are left with no voice and no hope,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Its purpose seems to be little more than a place to throw government critics and forget them.”

Human Rights Watch interviewed 20 relatives of inmates held in Scorpion, two lawyers, and one former prisoner, and reviewed medical files and photos of sick and deceased prisoners.

Since July 2013, when Egypt’s military, led by then-Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, overthrew Mohamed Morsy, the country’s first freely elected leader and a high-ranking Muslim Brotherhood member, the Egyptian authorities have engaged in one of the widest arrest campaigns in the country’s modern history, targeting a broad spectrum of political opponents.

Relatives said that conditions in Scorpion deteriorated drastically in March 2015, when al-Sisi, who was elected president in 2014, appointed Magdy Abd al-Ghaffar as interior minister. Between March and August 2015, Interior Ministry officials banned all visits by families and lawyers, essentially cutting off the prison from the outside world.

The ban prevented families from delivering much-needed food and medicine otherwise unavailable in the prison – where there is no hospital or regular visits from a doctor – and amounted to what relatives described as a “starvation” policy that left inmates sick and gaunt.

Between May and October 2015, at least six Scorpion inmates died in custody. Three of their families agreed to speak with Human Rights Watch. Two of the men had been diagnosed with cancer and one with diabetes. Their relatives said that the authorities prevented the men from receiving timely treatment or medicine deliveries, refused to consider conditionally releasing them on medical grounds, and failed to investigate their deaths.

In one case, Interior Ministry authorities refused to provide Essam Derbala, a high-ranking member of al-Gama`a al-Islamiyya (the Islamic Group), with his prescription diabetes medicine, despite orders from a judge and prosecutor, Derbala’s brother and lawyer said. The authorities refused even after Derbala appeared at an August 2015 court hearing shaking, semi-conscious, and unable to control his urination. Derbala died hours after the hearing.

Another inmate, Farid Ismail, a former member of parliament for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, suffered from Hepatitis C and died in May 2015, after passing out in a hepatic coma inside the prison.

Aisha al-Shater, the daughter of Muslim Brotherhood deputy supreme guide Khairat al-Shater, said that when Ismail failed to answer a daily roll call devised by her father and others in the cellblock during a period when they were confined to their cells, they told the guards, who responded that it was “none of their business.” The next day, guards discovered Ismail unconscious in his cell. He died in an outside hospital about a week later.

“Afterward, even calling to each other was prohibited,” Aisha al-Shater said. “So right now, they say, ‘We are in tombs. We’re living, but we are in tombs.’”

Since the months-long visit ban in 2015, authorities at Scorpion have continued to arbitrarily ban inmates from meeting their families or lawyers for weeks or months. They do not allow inmates to meet privately with their lawyers at any time. Officers, including some high-ranking Interior Ministry officials, have beaten and threatened inmates who went on hunger strike to protest conditions and humiliated and mistreated prominent prisoners during cell searches.

Between Morsy’s overthrow and May 2014, Egyptian authorities arrested or charged at least 41,000 people, according to one documented count, and 26,000 more may have been arrested since the beginning of 2015, lawyers and human rights researchers say. The government has admitted to making nearly 34,000 arrests.

While detainees at other prisons in Egypt have alleged serious abuses, Scorpion has emerged, not for the first time in its history, as the central site for those deemed the most dangerous enemies of the state.

Constructed in 1993 and officially known as Tora Maximum Security Prison, Scorpion was intended to hold “preventive detainees in state security cases,” according to the decree that established the prison.

“It was designed so that those who go in don’t come out again unless dead,” Major General Ibrahim Abd al-Ghaffar, a former Scorpion warden, said during a television interview in 2012. “It was designed for political prisoners.”

The National Security Agency of the Interior Ministry, then known as State Security Investigations, effectively ran Scorpion with extrajudicial authority, ignoring scores of court orders to lift arbitrary bans on access.

Today, little seems to have changed in Scorpion, which holds about 1,000 prisoners, relatives estimate. They include most of the Muslim Brotherhood’s top leadership, alleged members of the Islamic State extremist group, and various critics of al-Sisi’s government, including journalists and doctors.

Egypt’s Interior Ministry should immediately end arbitrary visit bans, ensure regular access to doctors and medical treatment, and provide prisoners with minimum necessities for hygiene and comfort. The Egyptian government should allow international detention monitors to visit Scorpion, and form an independent national committee with the authority to make snap visits to prisons and other detention sites and submit complaints to a special prosecutor.

The Egyptian public prosecution should investigate deaths in custody and charge those with command responsibility for Scorpion in connection with any acts of torture and cruel and inhuman treatment.

“Egypt’s detention system is overflowing with critics of the government,” Stork said. “Ending the abuses at Scorpion is a small step toward improving dire conditions across the country.”
Source : Human Rights Watch

Awaitng Trial Inmates Are More In Prison-Lagos CJ

The Chief Judge of Lagos state, , Justice Oluwafumilayo Atilade has lamented the high rate of awaiting trial inmates in prisons in the state.

Justice Atilade made this disclosure,recently, at the Ikoyi Prisons, while releasing 20 inmates, as part of activites marking the 2016/2017 legal year.

“It is a notorious fact that the number of awaiting trial inmates far exceeds those of convicted inmates, and for this reason, my administration has established a Prison Decongestion Committee to set up criteria for the release of inmates.”

”It is better for 10 guilty persons to go scot free than for one innocent person to suffer being punished unjustly.”

“I have taken it as one of the key pillars in my administration to regularly conduct this visit with a view to granting amnesty to eligible and deserving inmates”she concluded.

Successive Govts. Responsible for the Impoverishment of of Religious Institutions-Prof. Olagoke

Successive Governments in Nigeria have been blamed for the impoverished state of religious institutions in the country.

According to the foundr of Shafaudeen Worldwide, Wkajaiye, Ibadan, Nigeria, Prof. ASabitu Olagoke, who made this disclosure in an interview wit Federationews2day, ”the environment of religion has inherited nothing from ouyr past leaders, but poverty. That is why you see all that is going on in Churhces and Mosques”.

We cannot evaluate those who are true men of God. Instead of been role models as Clerics, we ahve people who are committing sins. You have Clerics in the name of making money, commercialization of religion. When you mix religion and education, both are supposed to give us the best character”, he stressed.

Prof. Olagoke posited that Nigerians still expected the best from the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration, saying ”we expect the best from Presidnet Buhari, because he is a man of integrity and experience. And he has been longing to become President.”

”Your leaders are not religious, they are only mosque and church goers, with the process they must have undergone in Churches and Mosques, they ought to be goo leaders. What religiondemands, they are not ready to follow, they are occultists. When you use sentimental issue to choose leaders, you will not get the right leaders, merit will be ignored. We don’t have role models in Nigeria again, as in the 60s and 70s. Presently, we ahve inpunity. There is hope, after the darkness, comes the light. Our leaders have not really got it, they are only trying to get it”, he concluded.

PROMOTING INCLUSIVE SOCIETY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS PERSPECTIVES

index

By Engr. Prof. S. A. Olagoke, JP

 

ABSTRACT

The Poverty Indices in Nigeria refers: 1960 (.5%), 1980 (28.1%), 1999 (65.6%); 2004 (55.4%); 2006 (70%); 2009 (70.8%), 2010 (76%); 2011 till date (76%), (National Bureau of Statistics).  The attendant unemployment rate is 24% (2015).  74 million Nigerian graduates remain job seekers.  Under this condition, the fate of the vulnerable and people with disabilities hang in the balance with threat of total neglect in Nigeria.  There is therefore a high need to promote inclusive society using the advantage of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as new project challenge mandate for all nations.  Indicators of development for women and people with disabilities are very low using the International standards of bodies like WHO, UNICEF, UNESCO, CEDAW and a host of others in an atmosphere of established respect for fundamental human rights.  There is therefore a dire need for Nigeria to have a data base of marginalized women (Economic and access to health services), and the People With Disabilities (PWDs) as well as forming Self Advocacy Movements for PWDs for ease of running an inclusive society through the SDGs 4, 5, 8 and 16.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • BACKGROUND

National Action Plan Report for Nigeria on the implementation of UN Resolution SCR 1325 refers.  Since its independence in 1960, thousands of Nigerians have lost their lives in various levels of armed conflicts and violence.  Many more have become perpetually internally displaced.  Within the last two decades, Nigeria has grappled with a plethora of conflicts which have sapped enormous energy and resources meant for economic development and improvement of the living standard of its citizens.  Today, in Nigeria unemployment rate stands at 24%.  74 million Nigerian graduates remain job seekers.  What then is the fate of the vulnerable and people with disabilities?

 

UNICEF Report (2015) refers:

 

  • Maternal mortality reliable estimate in Nigeria is put at 54,000 women and girls who die each year as a result of pregnancy and related complications.
  • Between 1,080,000 and 1,620,000 Nigerian women and girls do suffer from disabilities caused by complications during pregnancy and child birth each year
  • 2005: average National Maternal Ratio (NMR) at 1,100 deaths per 100,000 live births giving a life time risk of maternal death of 1 in 18 in Nigeria (UNICEF, 2009).

 

To arrest the situation at prevention level, the following facilities must be rightly repositioned:

 

  • Inadequate health facilities
  • Lack of transportation to institutional care
  • Inability to pay for services
  • Resistance among some population to modern health care

 

It is unfortunate that the same scenario obtains in many African countries and other developing nations through poor governance leading to radicalization and eventual insurgence and conflicts with unimaginable carnage of lives and destruction of properties.  It has equally disrupted the general social lives, environmental and economic services of which the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) 8 Point Agenda (2000-2015) stood to address at the instance of the United Nations.  Unfortunately many nations toyed with the grants with consequent failed or poor implementation to the detriment of the desired improvement need.

 

The MDG was not specific on the need for inclusive society to take care of the People with Disabilities who suffer most from marginalization and social stigmatization in an environment of deprivation or lack of access to almost all tools of empowerment.  Fortunately the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on its 17 Point Agenda emphasize the need to take care of them through Goals 8 and 16 as vital elements of inclusivity that must not be neglected.

 

 

 

 

  • PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES(PWDs) IN AN INCLUSIVE SOCIETY

More than 500 million people in the world are disabled as a consequence of mental, physical or sensory impairment (UN Women, 2015).  They are either impaired with consequent loss or abnormality of psychological or anatomical structure or function.

Or

Disabled as a result of impairment with consequent restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity in the manner considered normal for a human being.

Or

Handicapped as a form of impairment or inability that limits or prevents the fulfillment of a role that is normal and limitation of opportunities to take part in the life of the community on an equal levels with others.

 

The World Programme of Action (WPA) of the United Nations is a Global Strategy to enhance:

 

Disability prevention, rehabilitation and equalization of opportunities for the PWDs to be able to have full participation in socio-economic life and national development in an environment of human rights perspectives with the context of normal community services.

 

PWDs in an inclusive society must have access to all good things of life by:

 

  • Prevention – primary prevention of the onset of mental, physical and sensory impairment. Secondary prevention for impairment when it has occurred from having negative physical, psychological and social consequence.
  • Rehabilitation as processes of enabling and empowering the disabled persons with the tools to change his/her life e.g. technical aids and fundamental needs etc. It is goal oriented and time limited.
  • Equalization of opportunities – disabled persons having access to the general system of the physical, cultural environment, housing, transportation, social and health services, educational and work opportunities, cultural and social life like sports and recreational facilities

 

It is the duty of every Government to ensure that the benefits of development programmes also reach out to disabled citizens.  Every society must have measures of benefit incorporated into the general planning process and administrative structure of every society.  The case of PWDs is now special with additional demand which must at the planning stage be part of the general services of every country.

 

  • SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS AND THE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Sustainable Development, (Olagoke 2015) is a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generation to meet their needs (UN).  There is a great need to consider the economic services, environmental safety and social security systems that must matrix-mix for the nation’s dynamic political and socio-economic sustainability to promote lasting peace and development:

 

 

 

Figure 1: Matrix of Sustainable Development

 

 

 

 

Goals 4, 5, 8 and 16 of the 17 Point Agenda of the SDGs stated that:

  • Goal 4: ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life long learning opportunities for all
  • Goal 5: achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Goal 8: promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
  • Goal 16: promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development and provide access to justice for all and build effective accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

 

The question of good governance is demanded in Goal 16 while in the two targets, issue of inclusive society is paramount.  In this wise, the PWDs are being focused to enjoy all those that are able bodies enjoy as freedom of access.  Inclusive institutions require that right from the design and planning stages of any programmes or project, PWDs must be carried along.  To this effect, the following points must be noted for action:

 

  • Measures must be taken to heed primary prevention of accidents, epidemic of diseases while early detection is important too, to ensure adequate education and orientation of families and technical assistance to them by Medical Social Services.
  • Important resources for rehabilitation must exist in the families of disabled persons and in their communities:
    • In planning rehabilitation and supportive groups programmes that will take into account the customs and structures of the family and community and to promote their abilities to respond to the needs of the disabled individual. Families and communities must be pulled together and sensitized aright for effective support for the PWDs.
  • The environment determines the effect of impairment. PWDs must have equal access like the able bodied persons to the following essentials of life:

 

Family life, education, employment, housing, financial aid, personal security, participation in social and political groups, religious activities, intimate and sexual relationships, access to public facilities, freedom of movement and the general style of daily living

 

By the above, an inclusive society that would ensure protection of the PWDs’ interest would have been achieved through equalization of opportunities as fundamental human right that must be respected.

 

  • CHALLENGES TO ADDRESS

The major challenges are three:

 

  1. Communication of the SDGs 17 Points Agenda to every nation for ease of understanding, documentation and implementation in such a way as to reach out to the vulnerable most especially the poor and PWDs to promote inclusive society.
  2. Development of effective monitoring framework including clear indication for ease of assessment and evaluation. Monitoring network must be the major concern of:

 

  • National level where the central locus of accountability resides.
  • Effective reporting and progress reviews at regional and global levels.
  • UN leadership of relevant organisation on the key thematic communities such as health, education, agriculture to establish monitoring frameworks for the goals in a way to ensure that interests of PWDs is protected along, under established frameworks for the goals.
  1. International Community (IC) to decide on how to finance private and public and how they can be organized for effective and ease of disbursement:
  • Government involvement in financing with technical orientation programmes for her personnel must be put in place
  • Emergence of the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in which PWDs will be involved.
  • Generation of data base for PWDs through organised movement of this group for the SDGs to promote inclusive society through communicable goals and targets, effective metrics and an operational financing framework (Guido, 2015). The figure 2 below is a summary of how the stakeholders should interact using media advantage for the awareness of all.

 

 

 

Media                    Media

 

 

 

Media

 

Figure 2: Stakeholders Interaction Networks on Inclusive Society

 

  • STRATEGIES TO MAKE SDGs WORK FOR INCLUSIVE SOCIETY

All disabled with mental, physical or sensory impairment are entitled to the same rights as all other human beings and to equal opportunities.  Too often their lives are handicapped by physical and social barriers in society which hinder them from full participation.  For this reason, millions of children and adults in all parts of the world often face a life that is segregated and debased.

 

In the context of the SDGs 17 Point Agenda, the Goals 8 and 16 emphasize the inclusive society as a solution to remove the PWDs stigma, neglect and despise state of frustration but the realization of this rests on the following stakeholders:

 

  1. Governments
  • Must take the lead in awakening the consciousness of populations regarding the gains to be derived by individuals and society from inclusion of disabled persons in every area of social, economic and political life.
  • Must also ensure that people who are made dependent by severe disability have an opportunity to achieve a standard of living equal to that of their fellow citizens – able bodies.
  • In our case in Nigeria there must be inter-connectivity and Sustainable Development Goals – Local government, State government and Federal government in the provision of the necessary supports for the PWDs.

 

  1. Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO)
  • They are dynamic groups operating in enabling environment and society on respect for Human rights. They are to assist government by formulating needs, suggesting suitable solutions and providing services complimentary to those provided by governments including situation reports on domestication of these International Instruments with assessment and evaluation analysis report:
    • They are to be responsible for the sharing of financial and material resources by all section of the population including the rural areas of developing countries.
    • Can be of major significance to disabled persons by resulting in expanded community services and improved economic opportunities.

 

  1. International Communities

Their intervention is highly significant as foundation of sensitization, mobilization, through such action plans such as preventive measures against:

 

  • Environmental pollution, malnutrition, poor hygiene, inadequate pre natal and post natal care, water borne diseases and accidents of all types.
  • Make a major breakthrough against disabilities caused by poliomyelitis, tetanus, whooping cough, diphtheria, and to a lesser extent tuberculosis, through a worldwide expansion of programmes of immunization.
  • Creation of enabling environment and monitoring implementation of action plan.

 

  • THE WORKING TOOLS: PWDs ADVOCACY MOVEMENT

 

  1. Advocacy movement of persons with disabilities must put in place in an organised form to among other things for self development:
    • Protect and asserts their rights.
    • Provide a voice of their own.
    • Identify needs.
    • Express views on priorities.
    • Evaluate services.
    • Advocate change and public awareness
    • Develop skills on the following areas:
      • Negotiation process.
      • Organisation abilities.
      • Mutual support.
      • Information sharing.
      • Vocational skills and opportunities.
    • Insist on their right to take part in decision making and discussions particularly as it affects them and generally as it affects the society.

 

  1. The Media
    • Prepare information and disseminate same to improve the situation of the disabled.
    • Promote understanding of the rights of disabled persons aimed at the public and the persons with disabilities themselves.
    • Bring about paradigm shift from the traditional stereotypes and prejudices to provision of enabling environment of an inclusive society for the disabled.

 

  1. The United Nations (UN)

Government needs to domesticate international instruments and ensure the rights of the PWDs are protected by adopting the following:

  • United Nations Charters on:
    • Principles of Peace.
    • Human rights and fundamental freedom.
    • Dignity and worth of the human persons.
    • Promotion of social justice.
  • Implement the Universal Declaration of human Rights by giving specific principles contained therein as it:
    • Affirms the rights of all people – PWDs inclusive, without distinction of any kind to such values as: marriage, property ownership, social security, equal access to public services and realization of economic, social and cultural rights.
  • Recognize, acknowledge, domesticate and implement the contents of the following:
    • International Covenants on Human Rights.
    • The Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons.
    • The Declaration on the Rights of the Disabled Persons. For example, the Declaration on Social Progress and Development proclaims the necessity of protecting the Rights of Physically and Mentally disadvantaged persons and assuring their welfare and rehabilitation.  It equally guarantees everyone, the PWDs inclusive, the right to and opportunity for useful and productive labour.

 

  1. Enabling Environment
    • Government at all levels must provide good governance that will ensure peace, development and high level of security.
    • Must avoid war, conflicts, insurgence and terrorism since all these increase the fold of the disabled as well as increasing the agony of persons with disabilities.
    • It is only in an atmosphere of peace that we can implement programmes to the benefit of all and the disabled persons in particular as well as promoting inclusive society.

 

  • CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

 

  • Conclusion

Creation of enabling environment for peaceful co-existence and development is a pre-requisite to achieving the MDGs, SDGs and Universal Declaration of Human Rights Charter contents.  Without effective remedial action, the consequences of disability will add to the obstacles to development.  Achieving inclusive society will afford Government to positively impact on the lives of the PWDs and marginalized women and girls.

 

  • Recommendations
  • It is essential that all nations should include in their general development plans, Nigeria in particular for the prevention of disability, rehabilitation of disabled persons and for the equalization of opportunities in an environment of high and conscious respect for peoples Human Rights to promote inclusive society for the PWDs.
  • There is a need for Self Advocacy Movement of Persons with Disabilities for appropriate data gathering for reliable data base that is paramount to effective planning for the People With Disabilities.
  • The cause of the disabled has both social and divine support which must be respected by all[1]. This implies that advocacy and policy implementation are equally direct challenges to the Faith Based Communities without religious bias or ethnic colouration for the PWDs.

 

REFERENCES

 

Olagoke, S.A. (2015):  National Transformation for Sustainable Development: A Management Challenge. Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) Distinguished Lecture

 

Schmidt-Trans G. (2015): Three Challenges to Address to Make the SDGs Work.

 

UNICEF (2015):  Gender Analysis of Health Policy, Plans, Tools and Strategies Related to Maternal Mortality in Nigeria, pg. 6.

 

UN Women (2015):  National Action Plan for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 and Related Resolutions in Nigeria, pp 12-13.

[1] Q49 vs. 13, Q48 vs. 17, Q47 vs. 35, Proverb 22 vs. 22-23

The World Bank’s plan to bail out Mugabe’s government

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With the economy in freefall, and state coffers nearly depleted, Robert Mugabe’s government desperately needs a lifeline. They could be getting one – from the World Bank, which has somehow concluded that “popular” Mugabe’s economic reforms are working, and that ongoing human rights violations can be tolerated. By SIMON ALLISON.

The World Bank is working on an extensive bailout package for Zimbabwe, which could see the state receive a cash injection of up to $400-million beginning in 2017, according to leaked documents. The documents have been reported in Zimbabwean media, and were received independently by the Daily Maverick.

This news could provide some respite for Mugabe’s under-fire government, which is facing an unprecedented level of popular protest. This unrest has been exacerbated by the country’s perilous economic situation, which has all but emptied government coffers. Civil servants, police and military have all been paid late, while the government has imposed new restrictions on foreign exchange and imports in a bid to keep cash in the economy.

The internal documents – a draft turnaround eligibility note, and a draft country engagement note – praise Zimbabwe’s economic reforms, and appear to dismiss concerns about the level of human rights violations occurring in the country. They are dated 27 July 2016 and 28 July 2016 respectively, and were prepared by the departments responsible for handling Zimbabwe.

“The [Government of Zimbabwe] has gradually implemented reforms to recapture parts of the state dominated by deep vested interests and more effectively broaden the benefits of recovery and growth,” said the country engagement note, which outlines the bank’s proposed engagement with Zimbabwe in the 2017 and 2018 financial years. It notes improved policy in the areas of mining, banking, investment climate, state-owned enterprises, land reform, and public procurement.

It does not, however, acknowledge the government’s disastrous and universally criticised announcement in May that it would introduce “bond notes” in lieu of US dollars for exports; the imposition in June of an import ban on 42 products, which sparked huge protests at the Beit Bridge border post; or the increasing delays in processing international money transfers.

Nor do the documents make much reference to human rights. Notably, in the turnaround eligibility note, a reduction in human rights violations is not a necessary condition for financial support. In a list of desired indicators, the note requires only that the “number of alleged human rights violations level off or decline from 2014 average and/or no unwarranted arrests of key opposition leaders”. No mention was made of the arrest in early June of Pastor Evan Mawarire, leader of the #ThisFlag movement, or several of his supporters; or the police brutality with which #ThisFlag marches have been met.

The same note also appeared to praise Mugabe’s governance skills.

“Finally, Mugabe’s factional balancing skills have also been a source of stability by keeping the ruling party and the security forces together. The president’s factional balancing skills have helped to unify the fractious Zanu-PF at critical moments in the party’s history and are likely to have prevented all-out conflict on several occasions. Unlike his party, Zanu-PF, he remains popular in Zimbabwe,” it concluded.

Zimbabwe is already in arrears with international institutions, including the World Bank itself, the International Monetary Fund, and the African Development Bank (AfDB), to the tune of $1.8-billion. The World Bank’s proposed assistance package is conditional on Zimbabwe clearing those arrears. The government is in advanced negotiations with the African Development Bank to do just that, which would pave the way for the government to access foreign currency – a potential lifeline for the regime.

When contacted for comment, the World Bank said: “The World Bank cannot resume direct lending to Zimbabwe, under standard World Bank rules and procedures, unless the issue of arrears is resolved. Once the arrears are cleared, Zimbabwe would be eligible as a borrowing member of the Bank to a broad range of financing instruments.”

The World Bank’s position is problematic on several levels.

First, as outlined above, its analysis ignores recent events in the country, including controversial new economic policies that have seriously undermined reform.

Second, the document appears to take Zimbabwean officials at their word when it comes to further reforms. This does not take into account the unpredictable nature of the current faction-fighting within the ruling party, nor the government’s history of failing to deliver on promises.

“The notion that the Mugabe regime will reform itself is absurd. The record is long and clear. For the World Bank to give the regime funding based on more false promises would be reckless and irresponsible,” said Todd Moss, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development.

Third, the provision of further funding is likely to have a significant political impact in the country. With popular support for the regime drying up, it is increasingly reliant on patronage for support. The government’s cash crunch has made it harder for it to buy loyalty, a major factor in the scale of the popular protests. A promised cash injection will inevitably tip the balance of power back in favour of the regime.

After 36 years in charge of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe has made plenty of enemies. These leaked documents suggest, however, that the World Bank is not among them. Source : Daily Maverick

Zimbabwe: Mugabe UN Pull Out Threat Sparks Outrage, Zimbabweans Say President Delusional and ‘Insane’

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ZIMBABWEANS have expressed outrage and scorn at threats by President Robert Mugabe to trigger a United Nations (UN) pull out by African states whose demands for two permanent Security Council seats have largely been resisted by western countries.

Addressing Zanu PF supporters soon after touching down from the UN General Assembly in New York, Mugabe said this was in line with sentiments expressed by like-minded African countries which feel the current composition of the UN Security Council was unfair to Africa.

African countries want two permanent seats in the Security Council and five non-permanent ones.

Mugabe, who has led calls for reforms, said Saturday most of his African peers, whose countries depend on western benevolence, were too timid to join his demands for the changes.

Like-minded Africans feel Western countries have abused their positions in the influential body to bully other less powerful world countries into following their own selfish agendas.

After the pull out, Mugabe said, rebel states would form a breakaway body alongside China and Russia, the two UN permanent members who have found themselves constantly called to veto some UN Security Council decisions for military interventions in certain world territories.

But political leaders and civic group activists in Zimbabwe have warned any UN pull out will have dire consequences for a country that has relied on the multi-lateral body for technical, humanitarian and fiscal support.

Leading the assail was former finance minister and now PDP leader Tendai Biti who said Mugabe was delusional.

“He is delusional. No sane African country will pull out of the UN,” Biti told NewZimbabwe.com on Sunday.

“The UN is part of global infrastructure that has basically prevented a global war from happening for over 70.The UN has been key in the execution of international law and global diplomacy that has kept the world as safe as possible.

“So, for dictators like Robert Mugabe to suggest that you can dismantle the UN because you are unhappy with the composition of the security council is absolutely insane and this is a man who ironically has been in power for 36 years denying Zimbabweans a voice which he is now demanding from the UN security council, it’s absurd.”

“The UNDP, UNICEF, UNAIDS, part of the UN offshoot, WHO all have serious roles in Zimbabwe.”

ZimPF spokesperson Jealous Mawarire said by purporting to be speaking for “cowardly” African leaders, Mugabe was unnecessarily overstating his influence in Africa.

“Mugabe is not the spokesperson for AU; he is no longer the chairman. On whose behalf is he speaking?” Mawarire said.

“We have seen over the years Mugabe posturing and displaying this kind of bravado each time he goes to the UN and it has never changed our situation as a country and I don’t think he is a legitimate voice to drag the whole of Africa into his personal battles with the west.”

Civil Society activist and former NANGO spokesperson Fambayi Ngirande said a UN pullout would be retrogressive for Zimbabwe which stands to lose out on aid and the benchmarks placed by the multilateral institution in efforts to bring global development.

“Any pull out means we can forget initiatives such as sustainable development goals, it also means a decline in development assistance coming to Zimbabwe, we also stand to lose the benefits of being part of established norms and standards particularly around human rights because the UN has been in many ways, underwriter of the world human rights framework.”

Former education minister David Coltart, who during his tenure presided over a lot of assistance channelled to his ministry through Unicef, also slammed Mugabe for threatening another pull out, more than a decade since he led his country out of the Common Wealth.

“Zim’s pull out of the Commonwealth, SADC Tribunal & the trashing of the ICC shows one should never underestimate his destructive capacity,” tweeted Coltart.

Media businessman Trevor Ncube said Mugabe, at 92, should not be at the forefront of determining a future for the younger Zimbabweans generations.

“A 92 year old wanting to commit a whole continent to a blunder whose consequences he won’t live with,” he also commented through twitter.

By being a UN member, Zimbabwe has benefitted loans from UN agencies such as IMF and the World Bank.

The country, which has been devastated by myriad man-made and natural disasters has also seen the UN, through its health agencies extend crucial humanitarian assistance the most memorable being support to end the 2008-09 cholera outbreak which claimed 4,000 lives and left over a hundred thousand more needing treatment for the disease.

The UN has also provided development support through infrastructure and technical support the country in the area of finance and policy formulation, among others.

Mugabe’s comments came two months after the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee Rural Livelihood Assessment established that the number of food- insecure people in Zimbabwe would increase to over 4 million during early next year.

The third Multi-Stakeholder Consultative meeting held in July was, ironically, jointly hosted by the Office of the President and Cabinet and the UN System in Zimbabwe.

Source : New Zimbabwe

Nigeria: Special police squad ‘get rich’ torturing detainees and demanding bribes in exchange for freedom

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A Nigerian police unit set up to combat violent crime has instead been systematically torturing detainees in its custody as a means of extracting confessions and lucrative bribes, Amnesty International said in a report published on 21 September 2016.

In Nigeria: You have signed your death warrant, former detainees told Amnesty International they had been subjected to horrific torture methods, including hanging, starvation, beatings, shootings and mock executions, at the hands of corrupt officers from the feared Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

“A police unit created to protect the people has instead become a danger to society, torturing its victims with complete impunity while fomenting a toxic climate of fear and corruption,” said Damian Ugwu, Amnesty International’s Nigeria researcher.

“SARS officers are getting rich through their brutality. In Nigeria, it seems that torture is a lucrative business”

“Our research has uncovered a pattern of ruthless human rights violations where victims are arrested and tortured until they either make a ‘confession’ or pay officers a bribe to be released.”

Amnesty International has received reports from lawyers, human rights defenders and journalists and collected testimonies stating that some police officers in SARS regularly demand bribes, steal and extort money from criminal suspects and their families.

“SARS officers are getting rich through their brutality. In Nigeria, it seems that torture is a lucrative business,” said Damian Ugwu.

SARS detainees are held in a variety of locations, including a grim detention centre in Abuja known as the ‘Abattoir’, where Amnesty International found 130 detainees living in overcrowded cells.

Amnesty International’s research shows that, in addition to its stated remit of tackling violent crime, SARS investigates civil matters and in some cases tortures detainees involved in contractual, business and even non-criminal disputes.

In one case in Onitsha, Anambra state, a 25-year-old fuel attendant was arrested by SARS after his employer had accused him of being responsible for a burglary at their business premises.

He told Amnesty International: “The policemen asked me to sign a plain sheet. When I signed it, they told me I have signed my death warrant. They left me hanging on a suspended iron rod. My body ceased to function. I lost consciousness. When I was about to die they took me down and poured water on me to revive me.”

Like many people detained by SARS, he was not allowed access to a lawyer, a doctor or his family during his two-week detention.

Yet in various cases where victims of police torture or other ill-treatment attempted to seek justice, the authorities took no action.

When asked by Amnesty International to explain why no police officers had been suspended or prosecuted for torture, the police simply denied that any torture had taken place.

However, one senior officer disclosed that around 40 officers alleged to have carried out various acts of torture and ill-treatment of detainees were transferred to other stations in April 2016. He did not say whether the claims against them were being investigated.

“This lack of accountability breeds and perpetuates impunity, creating an environment where SARS officers believe they have carte blanche to carry out acts of torture,” said Damian Ugwu.

“This is hardly surprising when many of these officers have bribed their way to SARS in the first place. The police chiefs in charge are themselves entwined in the corruption.”

Chidi Oluchi, 32, told Amnesty international he was arrested in Enugu before being robbed of his belongings and then tortured in custody by SARS officers.

“They told me to slap myself and, when I refused, they started beating me with the side of their machetes and heavy sticks. My mouth was bleeding and my vision became blurred,” said Chidi, who was released after he paid SARS officers N25,500 ($100) to be freed.

Apart from demanding bribes, SARS officers have been accused of stealing or confiscating property from relatives of detained suspects.

Some family members told Amnesty International that SARS officers stole their cars or withdrew all the money from their bank accounts.

The brother of a man arrested on suspicion of participating in an armed robbery told Amnesty International how a team of SARS officers raided his home in Nsukka.

“The police team from SARS forcefully broke into boxes, locked furniture and drawers. By the time they left, several items including watches, jewellery and shoes were missing. We were too scared to report the incident,” he said.

Our research has exposed the callous workings of a police squad operating outside of the law
Damian Ugwu, Amnesty International’s Nigeria Researcher
The majority of the victims of torture in SARS custody are poor and unable to hire legal representatives. In some cases when detainees cannot afford to pay bribes, they are simply tortured more.

“Our research has exposed the callous workings of a police squad operating outside of the law and inflicting daily brutality on Nigerians who are often legally powerless to defend themselves against criminal accusations, let alone from the torture meted out by SARS,” said Damian Ugwu.

“Depressingly, there are scant judicial or any other mechanisms in place to prevent SARS officers from subjecting vulnerable targets to human rights violations for their own financial gain.”

Despite repeated calls from Amnesty International in recent years, the Nigerian justice system has failed to prevent or punish torture.

In December 2014, the Nigerian police launched a human rights manual which prohibits torture and other ill-treatment of detainees, but SARS has failed to implement it.

When a new Inspector General of Police was appointed in early 2015 it was announced that there would be reform and reorganization of SARS, but officers attached to the unit told Amnesty International they were not aware of the reforms.

A revised version of a bill to criminalize torture, which was first introduced in 2012 but was returned unsigned by the President, was passed by the House of Representatives in June 2016 and will be resubmitted to the Senate for further debates in 2016.

“With the Nigerian government’s previous attempts at stamping out torture proving completely ineffective, it is time for the authorities to ensure that officers responsible for such human rights violations are finally held accountable,” said Damian Ugwu.

“Police torture is a stain on Nigerian society that must be addressed with clear orders to law enforcement officers not to inflict torture or other ill-treatment on detainees under any circumstances.

“There is also an urgent need for robust legislation that ensures all acts of torture are offences under Nigeria’s criminal law. All victims have a right to reparations, and steps must be taken to ensure that nobody profits from abusing detainees.”

Nigeria is obligated under international and regional human rights law to ensure the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment.

Source : Amnesty International

Causes of food poisoning

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Food can become contaminated at any stage during its production, processing or cooking.

For example, it can become contaminated by:

  • not cooking food thoroughly (particularly meat)
  • not correctly storing food that needs to be chilled at below 5C
  • keeping cooked food unrefrigerated for a long period
  • eating food that has been touched by someone who is ill or has been in contact with someone with diarrhoea and vomiting
  • cross-contamination (where harmful bacteria are spread between food, surfaces and equipment)

Cross-contamination can occur, for example, if you prepare raw chicken on a chopping board and don’t wash the board before preparing food that won’t be cooked (such as salad), as the harmful bacteria can be spread from the chopping board to the salad.

It can also occur if raw meat is stored above ready-to-eat meals and juices from the meat drip on to the food below.

See preventing food poisoning for information about reducing these risks.

Types of infection

Food contamination is usually caused by bacteria, but it can also sometimes be caused by viruses or parasites. Some of the main sources of contamination are described below.

Campylobacter

In the UK, campylobacter bacteria are the most common cause of food poisoning. The bacteria are usually found on raw or undercooked meat (particularly poultry), unpasteurised milk and untreated water.

The incubation period (the time between eating contaminated food and the start of symptoms) for food poisoning caused by campylobacter is usually between two and five days. The symptoms usually last less than a week.

Salmonella

Salmonella bacteria are often found in raw or undercooked meat, raw eggs, milk, and other dairy products.

The incubation period is usually between 12 and 72 hours. The symptoms usually last around four to seven days.

Read more about salmonella infections.

Listeria

Listeria bacteria may be found in a range of chilled, “ready-to-eat” foods, including pre-packed sandwiches, cooked sliced meats and pâté, and soft cheeses (such as Brie or Camembert).

All of these foods should be eaten by their “use-by” dates. This is particularly important for pregnant women, because a listeria infection (known as listeriosis) in pregnancy can cause pregnancy and birth complications, and can result in miscarriage.

The incubation period can vary considerably, from a few days to several weeks. The symptoms will usually pass within three days.

Read more about listeriosis.

Escherichia coli (E. coli)

Escherichia coli, often known as E. coli, are bacteria found in the digestive systems of many animals, including humans. Most strains are harmless but some can cause serious illness.

Most cases of E. coli food poisoning occur after eating undercooked beef (particularly mince, burgers and meatballs) or drinking unpasteurised milk.

The incubation period for food poisoning caused by E. coli is typically one to eight days. The symptoms usually last for a few days or weeks.

Shigella

Shigella bacteria can contaminate any food that has been washed in contaminated water.

Symptoms typically develop within seven days of eating contaminated food and last for up to a week.

An infection caused by Shigella bacteria is known as bacillary dysentery or shigellosis. See the topic on dysentery for more information about it.

Viruses

The virus that most commonly causes diarrhoea and vomiting is the norovirus. It’s easily spread from person to person, through contaminated food or water. Raw shellfish, particularly oysters, can also be a source of infection.

The incubation period typically lasts 24-48 hours and the symptoms usually pass in a couple of days.

In young children, the rotavirus is a common cause of infection from contaminated food. The symptoms usually develop within a week and pass in around five to seven days.

Parasites

In the UK, food poisoning caused by parasites is rare. It’s much more common in the developing world.

Parasitic infections that can be spread in contaminated food include:

  • giardiasis – an infection caused by a parasite called Giardia intestinalis
  • cryptosporidiosis – an infection caused by a parasite called Cryptosporidium
  • ameobiasis – a type of dysentery caused by a single-cell parasite (ameoba) called Entamoeba histolytica (this is very rare in the UK)

The symptoms of food poisoning caused by a parasite usually develop within 10 days of eating contaminated food, although sometimes it may be weeks before you feel unwell.

If left untreated, the symptoms can last a long time – sometimes several weeks or even a few months.

Source :NHS

MILLENNIUM GLOBAL ECONOMIC PROBLEM AND NIGERIAN POLITICAL CHALLENGES: EFFECTS ON MOTHERHOOD

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By Engr. Prof. S.A. Olagoke, JP

 

  • INTRODUCTION

Mother is a female parent who inhabits biological maturity to bear and nurse offspring and perform the role of bearing some relation to their children as a social responsibility.  She is a family of incredibly smart sensors that one sets to monitor whatever one cares about.  Motherhood is therefore a state of being a mother.  She is the first school of a child, vector of knowledge for the children a beast of burden for procreation and survival of the household.

 

It is against the above background that the major parts of the Millennium Development Goals are focused while almost half of the 17 Point Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals is equally dedicated to womanhood for every nation to implement through her government.  However, motherhood in Nigeria will have to storm against the turbulence of our political challenges amidst the present poor human development index, poor health facilities, and viscous fluid of discrimination against the girl child and womanhood.

 

  • GLOBAL ECONOMIC PROBLEM EFFECT ON NIGERIA

Nigeria has experienced different types of global economic changes with direct impacts on our development because we run mono-economic system of oil as our 80% economic mainstay.  1982 experienced oil glut limiting our production supply or exportation of our crude oil. The budget implementation reality could not meet up with the budget plan.

 

2005 Economic meltdown due to climate change and seasons of Tsunamis that ravage agricultural products resulting in drought, loss of aquatic lives etc and rise in prices of commodity.  Presently, the global price of crude oil per barrel has fallen from $114 per barrel in 2013 to $39.5 in 2016.  The budget has to be cut down drastically with implementation success hope depending on borrowing and debt!

 

One can now imagine the quality of life of Nigerians with Naira worth falling for dollars, unpaid salary of workers and retirees for possible flow of the currency. The unfortunate scenario is an environment under which motherhood needs to survive!  Imagine the plight and hardship of Nigerian mothers!

 

  • NIGERIA ECONOMIC SITUATION

Nigeria is ranked 3rd in the world Bank (2013) rating of world poverty in terms of level of extreme hunger, malnutrition, homelessness, diseases and high crime rates which are the offshoots of poverty.  90% of the nation’s wealth is looted by the elites hence in the hands of less than 10% of the population.  Since independence Nigeria has experienced deteriorating profile of all social indices of development: (Life expectancy 47years, HDI 0.478).  The poverty indices in the table below refer:

 

Table 1: Poverty Indices 1960-2015

Year 1960 1980 1992 1996 2004 2009 2011 2015
Poverty Index 15 28.1 44 65.5 55.4 70.8 76

Source: National Bureau of Statistics (NBS 2010)

 

Presently, Nigerians are into throes of financial pain through profligacy, elevated to state policy due to heinous treasury looting game of her various ruling regimes:

  • Federal government uncovers 3.2trn fraud in government agencies! News headline Punch, March 15, 2016
  • Nigeria oil wealth was grossly abused by the elites through various corrupt practices
    • All MDAs – ghost workers’ syndrome, diversion of billions of project fund into personal purse! etc.
  • Nigeria GDP per capita is low with:
    • Unemployment is 24%
    • Social indicators are low with:
    • 10% of the world one in ten out of school children (>10.5 million in Nigeria)
    • 10% of child and maternal deaths
    • 25% of global malaria cases
    • Ebola touch, Lassa fever outbreak and Zica virus (potential neurological and auto immune complications)

It is unfortunate to note that after hard struggles to effect our external debt profile totaling $30bn some few years ago, Nigeria is now indebted to the tune of $60bn (Daily Times, Wednesday, March 2016, pg. 12).  The Islamic Development Bank Official, Abdullah Mohammed Kiliak equally observed:

  • Nigeria is one of the countries in the world that use largest percentage of her revenues for debt servicing
  • Nigeria with low debt – GDP ratio of 17% but resources being used to pay the debts are enormous going by percentages taken on yearly basis compared to 150% for Italy and other countries, and 100% for United States.

 

All these directly affect motherhood on the issues of gestation, child delivery, child rearing and nature nurturing of the youth or adolescent and the health status of the mother.

 

  • NIGERIA SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHALLENGES: A POLITICAL CLIMATE

Nigeria faces immense challenges in:

  • Accelerating growth
  • Reducing poverty
  • Meeting the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs (2000-2015)
  • Sustainable Development Goals Challenges, SDG (2015-2030)
  • Promoting inclusive society (2015-2030)
  • Servicing debts

 

In May 2004, Nigeria launched her National and State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategies (NEEDS, SEEDS) for growth and poverty reduction based on:

  • Empowering people and improving social service delivery
  • Improving the private sector and focusing on non oil growth
  • Changing the way government works and improving governance

 

2007, Late Yar Adua 7 Point Agenda of wealth creation, security energy, education, land reform, mass transit and the Niger-Delta on one hand, 13 Point Agenda of Jonathan (2011-2015) notwithstanding, the Agenda impact was too low to sustain Nigerians and womanhood hence the Change Mantra of President Buhari that needs to start afresh through restructuring, fighting corruption and institutional indiscipline to create right environment for development.

 

  • MOTHERHOOD IN CONFLICT SITUATION

 

  • Women are the first to be affected by infrastructure breakdown as they struggle to keep families together and care for the wounded
  • Women may also be forced to turn to sexual exploitation in order to survive and support their families (UNSCR, 2010)
  • Aftermath conflict effect: Impact of sexual violence persist including
  • Unwanted pregnancies
  • Sexually transmitted infections and
  • Stigmatization
  • Insecurity and impunity
  • Within an environment of discrimination and inequitable laws, sexual violence can prevent women from:
  • Accessing education
  • Becoming financially independent
  • Participating in governance and peace building

 

Nigeria women paid a heavy price in the long and violent conflicts that have been ravaging the country especially in the past two decades:

  • Plateau to Kaduna
  • Borno to Benue
  • Lagos to Jigawa
  • Anambra to Kogi
  • Rivers, Delta, South-south
  • Fulani herdsmen and farmers, Boko Haram and Niger-Delta militants, ethnic and electoral violence etc.

In all women have continued to endure unprecedented levels of sexual violence and assaults and suffer in a patriarchal world as beast of related burden.  It is unfortunate in March (2016), that the National Assembly in Nigeria turned down the bill on Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (Gender Equality of Access) perhaps because of defect in the bill proposal structure.  I wish and advocate for a quick re-presentation.

 

  • SAVE WOMANHOOD

Poor governance, poor economy, insecurity, domestic violence, threats of war etc, have direct consequences on motherhood:

  • Loss of lives in various levels of armed conflicts and violence
  • Internal displacement due to violence and insurgence
  • Resources spent in managing conflicts rather than for economic development and improvement of the living standards of the citizens
  • Conflicts that have placed tremendous burdens on Nigeria community including women who suffer from:
  • Displacement
  • Loss of families
  • Loss of livelihood
  • Various forms of gender based violence
  • Conflicts have led to various women experiencing forms of violence against women that affect:
  • Their lives
  • Hinder their personal development as well as their contributions to community and nation building
  • Contributions to socio-economic development
  • Loss of family member to conflict – husband killed
  • Women suffer from food insecurity
  • Live in fear of being kidnapped, used as slaves or as domestic servants
  • Suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and other psychological consequences of conflict

 

  • Suffer from unprecedented lives of:
  • Sexual violence, many of which are unreported
  • Assault
  • Related HIV infection
  • Involuntary pregnancy
  • Health complication as a result of rape, and
  • Other sexual abuses

 

  • EMPOWERING AND SUPPORTING THE GIRL CHILD FOR REAL WOMANHOOD
  • Efforts across the Nations (March 2016 Report): The Ethiopian government has been ordered to pay $150,000 to a girl who was raped, abducted and forced to marry at the age of thirteen (13), in a landmark ruling.
  • The government of Zimbabwe Standard Media is clamping down on child marriage by making it an offence for parents and guardians to accept a bride price for children below the age of 18years (African News).
  • A new multi-country UN programme has been launched which aims to eliminate child marriage by 2030 (UNICEF)
  • In India the governor of Punjab and Haryana has said child marriage is a violation of basic human rights and the freedom of choice. (Business Standard)
  • In Nigeria the Senate has rejected a proposed law aimed at banning child marriage and discrimination against women. Leadership Newspaper.
  • Muslim organizations in Northern Nigeria have launched a video to highlight the importance of seeking a woman’s consent before marriage. (AA).
  • In Bangladesh, new research show that skill based education for girls can encourage parents not to marry off their daughters early. (The Daily Star).
  • The US has launched its Global Strategy to empower adolescent girls aimed at improving the lives of adolescent girls worldwide. (Girls Not Brides).

 

At the level of organisations, civil societies and religious denominations and sects, we must not relent to educate, sensitise and empower the cause of girl child and womanhood.

 

  • POOR MOTHERHOOD AND CONSEQUENCE ON THE SOCIETY

The motherhood focus is to raise a happy home with children of sound health, good behaviour as future leadership hope of the society.  Poor motherhood will ever be characterized with poor child custody, poor child rearing and neglect of nature nurturing for the grown up.  The consequence of this is a world of crime, value erosion and cultural bastardisation.

 

  • For Nigeria, as reported by Daily times, Wednesday, March 2, 2016, pg. 24:

 

153 Nigerians awaiting execution in China, Malaysia due to various drug offences in different countries of the world in Guadong and Gumut of China, Indonesia etc.

 

  • Harm Reduction International (HRC) a United Kingdom based NGO said:

 

33 countries impose death penalty for drug related offences

 

At home, let us ponder on the prison yard condition, inmate living conditions and the rising rate of crime being committed by Nigerians:

 

Table 2: Prison Admission by Types of Offence (2001 – 2006)

Admission Type 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Debt 970 1,529 853 715 684 490
Arson 2,146 1,466 1,968 2,425 2,146 204
Affray 5,604 3,575 161 4,000 3,812 4,158
Assault 10,450 7,900 7,826 6,819 5,700 6,629
Murder 8,100 11,868 1,615 12,918 10,520 9,266
Treason 10 12 27 39 36 12
Sedition 137 179 167 10 13 3
Abduction 1,905 2,981 1,467 1,601 1,050 17
Smuggling 5,192 1,356 1,865 6,142 3,916 5,621
Immigration 3,170 2,212 162 1,847 840 270
Stealing 51,408 34,391 46,060 48,142 50,231 43,174
Robbery 12,800 15,716 7,128 10,160 10,888 10,750
Armed Robbery 15,120 17,462 15,577 18,322 13,491 7,860
Sex Offences 3,950 4,271 3,598 4,517 5,606 5,270
Traffic Offences 4,114 2,257 2,296 5,860 7,114 6,123
Currency Offences 2,102 1,401 1,529 1,514 3,645 2,947
Indian Hemp offences 5,972 6,376 3,090 8,109 9,172 7,448
Contempt of Court 3,100 4,772 4,146 3,117 3,619 2,140
Unlawful possession of arms 9,405 6,232 6,090 5,203 7,209 3,110
Forgery and Altering 5,172 4,375 7,169 4,680 5,161 3,413
Escaping from Lawful Custody 78 182 101 214 1,480 952
Offences against Native Law and Custom 2,450 8,000 1,274 886 1,300 726
Unlawful Possession of property 6,650 4,178 4,265 3,158 4,909 3,108
Economic sabotage N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 753
Human trafficking N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 305
Criminal lunatic N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 182
Cultism/Ritual N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 206
Breach of peace N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1,209
Other offences 4,795 18,225 12,782 2,000 2,059 241
Total 164,798 160,916 132,216 152,298 154,311 126,587

Source: Nigeria Democracy and Sustainable Development: The Journey So Far

 

Table 2b: Summary of Prison Admission by Types of Offence (2001 – 2007)

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Armed Robbery 2,726 2,915 2,059 2,295 2,275 2,899 2,506
Prison Admission 164,798 160,916 132,216 52,298 154,311 26,587

Source: Nigeria Democracy and Sustainable Development: The Journey So Far

 

Are these not the consequence of poor motherhood and negative parenthood? Children are fruits of the womb, no mother will ever be happy seeing her children committing crimes or going into prisons or for execution.  Where lies our integrity?  Nigeria deserves to have a human friendly leader that will address all these problems through empowering and emancipating women folk including the girl child.  The role of mothers is crucial to raising good children.

 

  • MOTHERHOOD, EDUCATION AND DECISION MAKING

Without education, motherhood is primitive and it suffers from all forms of deprivation because of lack of access to beneficial resources.  Without adequate women representation in power sharing and decision making, gender sensitive laws and policies will be patriarchally silenced for women abuse to continue unabated.  Nigeria is still to embrace 35% Affirmative Actions of the Beijing ’95 on CEDAW – Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.  Let us look into the situation report on women’s representation by election 1999-2011:

 

 

 

Table 3: Women Representation by Election (1999-2011)

    1999 2003 2007 2011  
S/n Positions Total No Women Total No Women Total No Women Total No Women Remarks
1 Senate 109 3

2.8%

109 4

3.7%

109 9

8.3%

109 7

6.4%

2 House of Representatives 360 7

1.9%

360 21

5.8%

360 27

7.5%

360 25

6.9%

3 State House of Assemblies 990 24

2.4%

990 32 990 57 990 68
4 Local Government chair 710 13

1.8%

774 15

1.9%

740 27

3.65

740
5 Councilors 6,368 69

1.08%

6,368 267

4.22

6,368 235

3.69%

Source:  Okonkwo Chukwu Udodinma (2013), Gender and Women Participation in the 2011 elections.  Research on Human and Social Science ISSN 2222-1119 Vol. 3, No2, 2013.

 

Only women will have the right feelings and passions for bills on women’s human rights to remove stigmatization, abuse, oppression and other challenges of development facing women for ease of passing them into law even when some men do resist.  Measures must be taken to ensure equal women’s access to and full participation in power structure and decision making.

 

Assignment:  Compute that of the 2015 election result outcome.  It is even worse!

 

  • WOMANHOOD LIVE SUPPORT

Food, water and air are the most essential needs for survival.  Unfortunately in Nigeria, food and water are luxuries for many families in the urban and rural areas.  A UNDP Report 2013 stated that women constitute 60-80% of agricultural labour force in Nigeria:

  • Cooking
  • Fetching water for farm workers
  • Transporting farm produce
  • Harvesting
  • Processing
  • Marketing

However, despite the enormous contribution of women in agricultural practices, government policies and programmes in the sector and increase in global food pricing (globalization) have decimated accessibility to adequate food by the poor especially women.  There is yet to be on ground gender sensitive policies/blueprint on how to close the gap.

 

Agriculture is seen as a male occupation hence policies and programmes are not based on accurate information and analysis to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women.  When the capacity to support the home is low, women are faced with worries and all forms of abuse – adultery, unwanted pregnancy, raising children (school etc.), sexuality education and health related issues.

 

  • THE WAY OUT

Let the government be pragmatic about women or gender sensitive policies by implementing the following to make motherhood fertile, productive and enjoyable:

  • Programme that addresses unequal access to health
  • Revise laws and administrative practices to ensure resources including health and nutrition, education, skill development and training of girl child. Also say ‘No’ to girl child marriage
  • Eradicate violence against women and girl child including economic exploitation of child labour
  • Increase women capacity to participate in decision making
  • Promote good governance to prevent violence and effect of conflict on women. Let us say ‘No’ to insurgence, violence, militancy, terrorism, ritual killing and war!
  • Counsel couples on the essence of dialogue in running the home and promote the need to respect ordinance of marriage on issues of responsibilities of the husband and wife to promote favourable motherhood[1].

 

  • CONCLUSION

There is hunger and poverty in the land affecting womanhood with direct consequence on the child and crime.  There is need for government to expand the scope of resources through diversification of economy into other critical areas especially agriculture.  We need to create value addition from production to processing and increasing exporting index to earn Nigeria the required foreign incomes.

 

Bills on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women need to be domesticated through National Assembly and various Houses of Assemblies to empower women and give them access to resources including ability to have a voice at decision making points in order that their fundamental human rights are not trampled upon.

 

In the words of Barak Obama of the USA, let us respect motherhood right from the home front:

 

A husband is tested when he has everything

A wife is tested when her husband has nothing

 

Motherhood is a divine construct that must be respected by all to have justice, equity, peace and sustainable development.

 

Thanks and God bless.

 

 

REFERENCES

 

UNSCR 1325 (2015). National Action Plan for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 and Related Resolutions in Nigeria, pp. 1-13.

 

Centre for Gender and Social Policy Studies, OAU (2015).  Gender Analysis of Health Policy, Plan, Tools and Strategies Related to Maternal Mortality in Nigeria. Pp. 6-14.

 

Beijing +20 (2015).  Review of the Status of Women in Nigeria.  1st Edition, 2015 Group of 6, Secretariat.  Partnership for Justice, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.

 

Olagoke, S.A. (2014).  Nigeria Democracy and Sustainable Development: The Journey So Far.  SAO Multiventures, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, pp. 302

[1] Q4 vs. 34, Mathews 11 vs. 3-6