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Traditional Rulers Reaffirm Commitment to End Violence Against Women, Girls

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Traditional leaders, united under the Council of Traditional Leaders in Africa (COTLA), have reiterated their commitment to ending violence against women and girls in Nigeria. This affirmation was made during a media dialogue organized by COTLA in Abuja as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), supported by UN Women with assistance from the Ford Foundation.

HRM (Arc.) King Adedapo Aderemi, the Convener General of COTLA, commended UN Women for its ongoing efforts in advocating for the rights of women and girls. He emphasized COTLA’s dedication to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in Nigeria.

Dr. Haliru Yahaya Ndanusa, the Emir of Shonga and Deputy Convener-General of COTLA, highlighted various initiatives introduced by traditional leaders to address harmful cultural practices and negative gender norms. He emphasized that Islamic principles advocate for the protection of women’s rights, including property ownership.

Dr. Usman Ngakupi, Sapeyi of Garki, shared success stories of counseling interventions to discourage prostitution among girls in his domain. He stressed the importance of education for women and girls and the positive impact of initiatives promoting gender equality.

Eze(Dr.) Onyibe Cosmos, Enechi Ekuma IV Okposi Kingdom in Ohaozara, Ebonyi State, discussed laws implemented in his kingdom, such as giving women the right to share their fathers’ properties. He highlighted measures taken to eradicate female genital mutilation and empower women.

Ms. Funke Baruwa, Programme Officer at the Ford Foundation, acknowledged the traditional leaders’ deep knowledge and experiences, emphasizing their crucial role in promoting understanding and denouncing GBV. She highlighted intensified campaigns against various forms of gender-based violence.

UN Women Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Beatrice Eyong, commended the traditional leaders for their commitment. She stressed the importance of working with them to end violence against women and girls while encouraging them to share their community initiatives in the fight against GBV.

Established in 2018, the Council of Traditional Leaders in Africa (COTLA) continues to work towards ending GBV with the support of UN Women. The traditional leaders in Nigeria, through COTLA, have developed a work plan to actively engage in efforts to combat gender-based violence.

 

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Abuja Reports

NEMSA Inspects 21,681 Electricity Installations, Certifies 13,154

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The Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) has inspected and tested over 21,681 electricity installations, certified 13,154 of them, and monitored 16,624 electricity networks as at March 31, 2024.

The agency has also inspected and certified over 4,921 factories, hazardous installations and public places

In a related development, the agency is seeking the establishment of an electricity offences tribunal for faster dispensation of electricity related offences.

The managing director of NEMSA, Aliyu Tahir, who made this known in Abuja on Thursday at a news conference , said that the tribunal should have an in-built appeal system.

Tahir said that NEMSA in house-counsel should be vested with powers to prosecute electricity offences.

“The establishment of this tribunal will assist NEMSA to enforce its mandate of ensuring that electrical materials, equipment and instruments used in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) are of standard and specifications.

“The sanctioning of violators is a long process as it involves several steps .To fast- track the prosecution, this tribunal will go a long in ensuring that violators are effectively prosecuted

“The establishment of this tribunal is not under NEMSA Purveyor and we have made a submission to the legislature on this, ‘’ he said.

According to him, as at March 31, NEMSA had inspected and tested 21, 681 electricity installations projects out of which 13, 154 were certified.

He said that 16, 624 electricity networks were monitored, adding that about 4, 921 factories, hazardous installations and public places were inspected, tested and certified fit,

Tahir said that 2, 655,488 electricity meters were also tested and calibrated and 487 incidences were investigated.

The managing director said that NEMSA was taking several measures to enhance its enforcement activities.

He listed the measures to include the development of the Nigerian electrical and construction guidelines manuals, provision of the state-of-the art equipment for meter test statistics, expansion of NEMSA facilities across the nation.

Others, he said were the completion and inauguration of a new National Meter Test  Station (NMTS) and the opening of a new Inspectorate Field Office (IFO) in Enugu.

“Construction of a new NMTS in Kano  and Benin city, establishment of new inspectorate field offices in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, Minna, Niger, Dutse, Jigawa,Oshodi Lagos,  Owerri, Imo and Bauchi.

“NEMSA had issued an enforcement notice to Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos), to disconnect from their networks all structures within the Right-of-Way(ROW) of transmission and distribution lines nationwide, ‘’ he said.

Tahir assured Nigerians of the agency’s determination to continue its statutory function of technical inspection, testing and certification of electrical materials in the NESI,  thus soliciting the support of the media for effective coverage of NEMSA activities

 

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Abuja Reports

Stakeholders Urge FG to Foster Business-Friendly Environment Amidst Industrial Decline

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Stakeholders have urged the federal government to create a conducive atmosphere for businesses to thrive and to establish and protect jobs. They argue that current government policies are counter-productive, attracting investors only to drive them away with inconsistent policies.

The stakeholders highlighted that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s efforts to establish an industrialized economy would be futile without first retaining existing companies. They also pointed out that the Naira’s value will continue to decline as long as Nigeria maintains an import-driven economy.

Comrade Jimoh Oyibo, President of the Food Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (FOBTOB), attributed the mass exit of firms to multiple taxation, unreliable electricity supply, and the high costs of diesel, fuel, and gas. “Over 325 people have lost their jobs within a few months,” Oyibo stated, calling for greater involvement of industry stakeholders in policy-making decisions.

The impact on employment has been severe. According to Comrade Gbenga Komolafe, General Secretary of the Federation of Informal Workers of Nigeria (FIWON), over 150,000 direct and indirect jobs were lost between July 2023 and February 2024, with more than 770 firms leaving the country. Komolafe linked the mass exodus to harsh business environments, including electricity issues and difficulties in restocking shops, particularly in the confectionery sector.

Komolafe also pointed to the significant loss of revenue due to the inability to sell finished products. This challenge is compounded by the lack of consumer purchasing power, multiple taxation, and transportation difficulties for finished goods, leading to the shutdown of many businesses.

The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association of Nigeria (NECA) has also appealed to the federal government to help workers retain their jobs. NECA’s Director General, Adeyemi-Smatt Oyerinde, lamented the exit or shutdown of hundreds of companies over the past three years. He noted that companies such as Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing (JSM), Proctor & Gamble, Unilever Nigeria Plc, PZ Nigeria Plc, GSK Nigeria Plc, Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, Bolt Food, Nampak, Microsoft, Jumia Food, Equinor (oil & gas), Mayor Biscuits Company Limited, and Greif Nigeria are among those affected. Many multinational companies have reported combined losses of over N1 trillion from unsold products.

Oyerinde emphasized the urgent need for the government to address these challenges to prevent further economic decline. “The current realities indicate a dire need for a more stable and supportive business environment,” he said. “Without such changes, the industrial sector will continue to suffer, leading to more job losses and economic instability.”

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Abuja Reports

Rights Group Tasks Tinubu On Envoys’ Absence In Foreign Missions

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The Coalition of Civil Society Groups on Transparency and Accountability has bemoaned the absence of envoys in no fewer than 109 foreign missions and asked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to address the matter.

The group’s convener, Comrade Igwe Ude-Umanta, issued a statement yesterday in Abuja in which he appealed to Tinubu to fill the vacant positions in the country’s interest.

The coalition argued that as it stands, Nigeria cannot undertake any serious bilateral engagement because top officials do not grant an audience to officials less than the status of an ambassador.

The coalition argued that President Tinubu and the National Assembly should critically examine the strange and abrupt recall of career and non-career Nigerian Ambassadors from all over the world in September 2023.

They noted that it is unfortunate that the Ambassadors were recalled without arrangements by the Foreign Affairs Ministry to replace them, under the pretext of lack of monies to mobilise new Ambassadors.

The group stressed that in the absence of resources to mobilize new Ambassadors, the right thing to do is to allow the recalled ones return to their duty posts since it will not require extra costs, pending when the government has enough funds for a seamless change of guard.

It accused the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar and the ministry’s permanent secretary, Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa, of not addressing the problem.

They alleged: “It is evident that the minister and the now suspended Permanent Secretary prefer the foreign missions not having ambassadors.

As embarrassing and costly as it is, it serves some personal interests for them as they will be servicing those missions directly.

They appealed to Tinubu to clear the alleged mess by sacking Tuggar and Lamuwa.

 

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