Irregular Migration: Nigeria’s Development Is Failing Young Citizens, Says Amina Mohammed


United Nations (UN) Deputy Secretary‑General, Amina Mohammed has stressed that incomplete development has formed a trajectory that is failing young people in Nigeria, leading to a chain of migration to seek greener pasture in Europe.

Mrs Mohammed in a remark delivered at the launch of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report titled “Scaling Fences, Voices of Irregular African Migrants to Europe”, in Abuja,  stated that it is time for the country to aim higher and support the conditions for hope to flourish at home.

She explained that the report which captures urban young people, better educated have Nigerian youths featured prominently and it shines a light on issues relating to African migration.

“This report gives voice to more than 3,000 irregular migrants, people who left their homes across 39 African nations and travelled to Europe in search of a better life.

“Prominent among this group were men and women from Nigeria; who, like their peers, embarked on difficult journeys not to seek asylum or because of persecution, but because, as they themselves say, their ambition had outpaced the opportunities available in their home country.

“The people featured in this study are not the poorest of the poor.  They are the “springboard generation” — beneficiaries of two decades of remarkable development progress in Africa.”

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The UN Deputy Secretary-General added that the movements have received enormous attention in the political and media landscape, but more worrisome is the fact that their own perspective on why they move and what they experience often go unheard.

She pleaded with the government to raise the level of creativity, ambition and pace of Africa’s economic transformation and socio-political development.

“This new report challenges Governments and policymakers in Africa and Europe to really see and hear a group of people who are more often spoken of than listened to.

“Yet these bright, ambitious young people share a perception that opportunities to fulfil their aspirations at home are closed.  This perception is held so profoundly that it has driven many to reject their known circumstances in favour of a potentially perilous and irregular journey to an unknown future in Europe.

Mrs Mohammed stated: “This brings us to a core message of the study, migration is a driver of development but it is also an indicator of incomplete development, and particularly of a development trajectory that is failing young people.  It is time for us as a country, and as a global community, to aim higher, so that human development launches today’s and future generations into the fullness of its potential.

“Hope is the commodity too many bright, ambitious, young Africans are going to dangerous lengths to pursue.  We must support the conditions for that hope to flourish at home.  And in parallel, we must ensure that those who choose to leave can do so through pathways that reduce their risk to abuse, violence, exploitation or worse.”

Nasarawa Govt. Partners UNICEF To Tackle Malnutrition

Nasarawa Govt. Partners UNICEF To Tackle MalnutritionInfants and young child feeding has been described as essential to ensure the growth and development of children.

Nasarawa State Nutritional Officer, Amina Mohammed, stated this at a three-day training of community volunteers on infant and young child feeding held at Keffi Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.

She also stressed the importance of the programme to address the nutritional needs of young children in Nasarawa State, north-central Nigeria.

“The programme is to understand how the children are fed, if the children are well fed cases of malnutrition will be drastically reduced,” the Nutritional Officer said.

To achieve the objective of the programme, infant and young child feeding support groups were formed to go into various communities to educate the people on the importance of the programme, especially exclusive breastfeeding.

The community volunteers are expected to put in their best to advocate attitudinal change towards exclusive breastfeeding and complimentary feeding.

Nutrition Focal Person of Keffi LGA, Habiba Umar, encouraged the participants to take advantage of the training to impact positively on the lives of children.

Some beneficiaries, Maryam Ibrahim and Deboraah Joseph, lauded the programme and called for its sustenance.

“Before I didn’t engage in exclusive breastfeeding but from today, I have discovered that it is not the best. From now I will be engaging in exclusive breastfeeding,” said one of the beneficiaries.

The programme, Infant and Young Child Feeding, was organised by the Nasarawa State Primary Health Care Development Agency in collaboration with United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

The program was organised to train health workers and community volunteers on the nutrition of children from a day old to five years.

In all, 50 community volunteers and 28 health workers were trained on infant and young child feeding.

IWD 2017: Women Clamour For More Gender Inclusive World

IWD 2017: Women Clamour For More Gender Inclusive WorldNigerian women have reiterated their clamour for gender equality, women empowerment, as well as their active participation in political, economic, social and cultural life.

This was the general consensus at a panel discussion in commemoration of the 2017 International Women’s Day held on March 8.

The discussion, themed: Women In Leadership: Be Bold For Change, brought together women in various industries such as the C.E.O Fine and Country, Udo Okonjo; Legal Adviser, Toke Benson; C.E.O Social Media Week, Obi Osika; Actress, Omotola Jalade; and even the British High Commissioner, Paul Arkwright among others.

British High Commissioner, Paul Arkwright

Encouraging other women, some of the guests agreed on the notion that women must rise up to their roles and their commitment to making a change rather than waiting around to be served positions.

Also addressing the notion that women are their own worst enemies, some argued that a woman might be her own worst enemy by not stepping up to her rights and roles with boldness.

Mr Okonja, however disagreed with the ideology, insisting that on the contrary, a lot of women especially in recent times, have begun supporting themselves, while making reference to programmes such as the Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) and She Leads Africa, among others.

She also opined that in changing the narrative of how women are perceived as against men, the men have to be engaged in such a way that they stopped seeing women as threats or simply not as good as the men.

According to her, women bring something new and different to the table and they possess a number of unique qualities such as intuitiveness and the ability to multi task which makes them just as good as the men.

The Deputy British High Commissioner, Laure Beaufils, said although much progress has been made on all fronts, much more still has to be done.

She therefore urged women to get out their comfort zones; saying that though they may feel the fear, they should do what they have to do regardless.

Beaufils, while advocating legislative change, also encouraged that sons, not just daughters, must be educated in order for the nation to experience real change.

Counting some of the progress made in educating the girl child, the Borno State Commissioner for Education, Ahmed Babawo, revealed that 110 women are currently studying medical sciences in Sudan.

Omotala Jalade Ekeinde

Also speaking on the efforts towards helping persons, especially women with disability, Toke Benson, assured women living with disability that the Lagos state government is making conscious efforts to that effect.

As part of efforts in contribution to helping women and the general population of the girl child, Omotola in conjunction with her ONE campaign, resolved to get every girl off the streets and into schools as soon as possible.

Amina Mohammed To Resume Duty As UN Deputy Secretary-General

Amina Mohammed, United Nations, UN Deputy Secretary-GeneralNigeria’s Amina Mohammed will resume duty as Deputy Secretary-General at the United Nations this week.

Her appointment was announced on December 15, 2016 shortly after the new UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, resumed office.

Before her new appointment, she had served in a number of high profile roles in Nigeria, making it no surprise that will be chosen for the top job.

Ms. Mohammed served as Special Adviser on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

She is also an adjunct Professor in Development Practice at New York’s Columbia University, and serves on numerous international advisory boards and panels.

Born in 1961, and educated in Nigeria and the UK, the former Minister of Environment is married with six children.

FEC Holds Valedictory Session For Amina Mohammed

FEC Holds Valedictory Session For Amina MohammedIt was an emotional moment in the council chambers of the Presidential Villa, as Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council held a valedictory session for the out-going Minister Of Environment, Amina Mohammed.

Mrs Mohammed, who has served the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for 15 months, is set to take over as the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations on March 7, 2017.

The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who chaired the session, described the out-going minister as a role model to Nigerian women.

Some of her colleagues also lauded her achievements, describing her as a gift from Nigeria to the world.

The minister, who could not hide her emotions while giving her address, said she was proud to be the one to fly Nigeria’s flag up there at the United Nations, promising to give it her best shot.

Ogoni Clean Up: FG Conducts Ground Breaking Ceremony

El-Rufai Lauds Amina Mohammed’s UN AppointmentThe out-going Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, has said that the people of Ogoni land will see tangible cleanup of their area in the next five years.

The minister said this during the ground breaking ceremony of the building of the centre of excellence, otherwise known as the Integrated Contaminated Soil Management Centre in Bori, Khana local government area of Rivers state.

The event brought together federal and state government officials, traditional rulers, commuinity leaders, as well as members of the board of trustees for the clean-up of Ogoni land.

Restored Ecosystem

In June 2016, the Federal Government formerly launched the clean-up of oil spills in the region, as recommended in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.

The government had said that it is committed to restoring the ecosystem to what it used to be and as such restore the peoples’ source of livelihood.

It also stated that it is not just committed to implementing the UNEP report but is going beyond that by taking steps to improve security, good governance and economy of the Niger Delta region.

In an attempt to restore peace in the oil-rich region, the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has been meeting with government officials and traditional rulers.

The meetings have been centered on improving crude oil production and resolving the youth restiveness in the oil rich regions such as Bayelsa, the Gbaramatu Kingdom of Delta state, and Imo state.

Change Will Be Evident Before 2017 Ends – Femi Adesina

femi-adesina-politics-todayThe Special Adviser to the Nigerian President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina has again assured Nigerians that the end of the country’s economic challenge is nearer than ever.

Speaking on Politics Today, Mr Adesina said that all efforts of the Buhari administration to get Nigeria and Nigerians back on their feet would begin to materialize before the end of 2017.

He added that projections by notable international agencies have also predicted that Nigeria would exit recession in 2017.

“World Bank has said it, IMF has said it and before those institutions, the government has said it,” he said.

Adesina refused to have the Buhari administration blamed for the recession that hit the country saying Nigeria had been ‘primed for recession’ at the time Buhari became President.

“That recession was inevitable (with) the way Nigeria had been run two to four years prior the time we went into recession. There was no way it would not have happened,” he said.

He explained that President Buhari remained committed to correcting the mistakes of the past.

“What he is doing is good governance which will translate to better life for the people. It’s not going to be by a sudden flight, it’s not a magic wand that he will wave – policies that will yield over time and lead to improvements in the life of the people,” he said.

President Not Sick

Mr Adesina also debunked the rumours that President Buhari has been ill and wondered why critics altered the sequence of the statement issued regarding the President’s trip to the UK in order to make the President appear ill.

“Don’t forget, the statement we issued said he was going on holiday and during that holiday he would do medical checkups. The sequence is very important – holiday first, medical checkups second.

“Nigerians want to turn the sequence to medical checkups instead of holiday first.”

Mr Adesina’s explanation also triggered questions regarding the President’s trust in the quality of medical services in Nigeria but he argued that it is usually important to consult doctors who have the patient’s medical history.

“Before he became President, he has been using those same set of people. So, it stands to reason that the same people continue to attend to him,” he explained.

Cabinet Rejig?

There have been questions regarding the current makeup of the President’s cabinet, with many wondering if there would be a rejig of ministerial appointments.

The death of the Kogi state-born former Minister of State for Labour, James Ocholi, and the impending exit of the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed for her UN appointment have also fuelled the speculation that there could be a rejig.

However, Mr Adesina insisted that it remained the prerogative of the President to rejig his cabinet.

While admitting that citizens have the rights to criticize the cabinet in the face of economic challenges, he maintained that the President has the final say on who works with him.

He gave the assurance that President Buhari is in touch with the grassroots and understands the challenges Nigerians have been going through.

El-Rufai Lauds Amina Mohammed’s UN Appointment

El-Rufai Lauds Amina Mohammed’s UN AppointmentKaduna state Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has commended the appointment of Amina Mohammed as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The Governor, in a congratulatory message he issued on Sunday through his Spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, described Mrs Mohammed’s appointment as an excellent choice.

The Governor said that the appointment of the Minister of Environment as UN Deputy Secretary General,  is due to  “her honourable service to Nigeria and her substantial contribution to efforts to empower people and safeguard the planet.

“Just one year as Environment Minister, she has put environmental issues on the front burner of Nigeria’s political discourse.

“She has undoubtedly earned the trust and respect of not just Nigerians but environmentalists the world over.

“At the core of Amina’s work and passion is the welfare and right of citizens to peace and security wherever they may be.

“She addressed those challenges while serving in the government of President Obasanjo, then as Special Adviser to UN Secretary-General, Ban ki Moon and recently as Minister under President Buhari.

“As a global ambassador, she now gets to display her phenomenal skills on a world stage. Nigeria’s temporary loss is the world’s gain.

“President Buhari has made a great sacrifice in releasing Amina from the federal cabinet for service at the global level.

“Her appointment is a tribute to the President’s judgment in recruiting such a globally-respected personality.”

Governor El-Rufai urged Mrs. Mohammed to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in her new role, stating that he had no doubt that Amina Mohammed would continue to make Nigeria proud at the global level.

“Her tenacity and the passion she applied to secure global agreement on the SDGs will be required to get them implemented,” he added.

Nigeria’s Amina Mohammed Appointed UN Deputy Secretary-General

Nigeria's Amina Mohammed Appointed UN Deputy Secretary-GeneralThe United Nations Secretary-General-designate, António Guterres on Thursday announced that he will be appointing Amina Mohammed of Nigeria as the UN deputy chief, on his assumption of office as the ninth chief of the global Organization in January 2017.

Ms. Amina J. Mohammed is currently the Minister of Environment of Nigeria, where she steers the country’s efforts to protect the natural environment and conserve resources for sustainable development, read a statement issued by Mr. Guterres’s office.

She also served as Special Advisor to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning, where she was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Before joining the UN, Ms. Mohammed worked for three successive administrations in Nigeria, serving as Special Advisor on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). She is also an Adjunct Professor in Development Practice at New York’s Columbia University, and serves on numerous international advisory boards and panels.

Born in 1961, and educated in Nigeria and the UK, Ms. Mohammed is married with six children.

The Secretary-General-designate also announced the appointment of Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil as his Chef de Cabinet and that he will create the position of Special Advisor on Policy, and appointed Ms. Kyung-wha Kang of the Republic of Korea to this new role.

“I am happy to count on the efforts of these three highly competent women, whom I have chosen for their strong backgrounds in global affairs, development, diplomacy, human rights and humanitarian action,” said Secretary-General-designate Guterres, in the statement.

He added: “These appointments are the foundations of my team, which I will continue to build, respecting my pledges on gender parity and geographical diversity.”

Ms. Ribeiro Viotti is presently the Under-Secretary for Asia and the Pacific at the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A career diplomat since 1976, she served most recently as Brazil’s Ambassador of to Germany (from 2013 to 2016) and as Brazil’s Permanent Representative to the UN (from 2007 to 2011).

Ms. Kang is currently the Chief of the Secretary-General-designate’s Transition Team. She has served as Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator since April 2013, and was Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights from January 2007 to March 2013.

Guterres had hinted on Monday after he took the oath of office that gender parity would be top of his agenda as the UN scribe.

“I think that one very important element of the agenda would be to give a clear signal that gender parity is a must and so in the appointments I will be making.

“And the first ones would be announced soon. You’ll see that gender parity will become a clear priority from top to bottom in the UN and it will have to be respected by all.

“This is a very ambitious agenda, an agenda that must be for both woman and man, and that is why parity is so important in our reform perspectives.

“That is also why the empowerment of women is so important in everything the UN will be doing around the world,” the incoming UN scribe said.

Guterres, succeeds outgoing secretary-general Ban, who bows out on Dec. 31, 2016 after a decade of two terms, while the new secretary-general assumes office on Jan. 1, 2017, for the next five years.

FG Presents Sports Equipment To 51 Primary Schools

FG Presents Sports Equipment To 51 Primary SchoolsThe Federal Government of Nigeria has presented sports equipment to about 51 public primary schools in Ogun state, southwest Nigeria.

This according to the government, is to develop talents at the grassroots in nine core areas of sporting activities such as athletics, badminton, football, volleyball for national and international sporting engagements.

At a ceremony held at the MKO Stadium in Abeokuta, the state capital, the representative of the Secretary to the Government of the federation, Amina Mohammed, reiterated the commitment of the federal government towards diversification of the economy through national and international sporting activities

“Let me state at this juncture that it is not by coincidence that this event is taking place at the early stage of the life of this administration.

“Even though the trust fund was established 11 years ago, today’s ceremony affirms the avowed commitment of this administration to change the life of every Nigerian positively in a manner that matters to them.

“Consistent with the economic blueprint of diversifying the economic base, the renewed focus on the lottery industry is a testimony that government is determined to harness needed resources wherever they may be found in order to continue to develop our economic potentials and apply them to the generality of Nigerians”.

Revenue Generation

Further, Mohammed added that “already, government has identified sports as a major revenue earner and capable of significantly contributing to our gross earnings outside of oil.

“Over the last three decades, we have imported a high number of youths with sports talents especially football, where they are excelling in major European leagues and even in Asia.

“It is with this realization that the policy on good causes is channeled to encourage more youth participation in sports”.

Local Manufacturing

“In the same vein, and in order to broaden the scope of participation and eliminate obstacles regarding access to certain sporting activities, especially the games considered as elitist, government is now encouraging the local manufacture of sports equipment and products.

“To this end, I am pleased to acknowledge the production of international quality football by the Research Institute for Chemical Technology, Zaria in Kaduna state,” she said.

The Ogun state Deputy Governor, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga, who represented the governor commended the federal government for the gesture, while promising that the sporting equipment would be judiciously used to boost sporting activities among the pupils across the state.

“The gesture by the presidency will further boost recreational activities in our schools and also develop sporting potentials in our youths at large.

“This administration of the Ibikunle Amosun will continue to encourage our children to participate in sporting activities right from their younger ages.

“Let me assure you at this juncture that our pupils and youths will make maximum use of the sporting equipment.

Mrs Onanuga then stressed that the government of Ogun state looks forward to more collaboration with the federal government.

Oil Spill Detection Agency Seeks Law Reforms To Enhance Role

Ogoni landThe National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) is pushing for a law reform to enable the agency perform its duties effectively.

The agency’s Director General, Peter Idabor, made the recommendation in Abuja at a meeting with the Chairman House Committee on Environment and the Minister of Environment.

According to him, the existing laws that established the agency made it impossible for it to criminalise those responsible for oil spills especially in the Niger Delta region.

The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency -NOSDRA is an agency of the Federal Government created to take the lead in ensuring timely and effective response to oil spills and ensure that clean-up and remediation are made to affected sites.

Since its establishment by an Act of the National Assembly in 2006, however, the agency has continued to contend with the overwhelming numbers of sites needing clean-up in the Niger Delta region.

After the Director General of NOSDRA explained how the laws that established the agency had limited its performance, the Chairman House Committee on Environment, Obinna Chidoka, assured the agency of the support of the legislators.

He, however, pointed out that the existing laws could make the agency do its job.

One of the areas needing clean-up is Ogoni Land and the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, explained the reasons behind the delay in executing the clean-up project of the Ogoni Land in the Niger Delta region.

The Federal Government had announced the clean-up of Ogoni Land in June this year, but five months after, that project is yet to be executed.

Nigeria Reiterates Readiness To Tackle Environmental Challenges

Amina Mohammed, Nigeria Reiterates Readiness To Tackle Environmental ChallengesThe Nigerian government has pledged its readiness to tackle the environmental challenges in the country in order to ensure a safer environment for all persons.

Speaking in Abuja at the 2016 annual conference of the Nigerian Environmental Society, the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed says the government remains committed to diversifying the nation’s economy by reclaiming deserts for agricultural purpose.

The Minister informed the gathering of the federal government’s resolve to tackle issues of environmental challenges in addition to diversifying the nation’s economy.

“As you are all aware, this administration is highly committed to addressing issues concerning our environment. The federal ministry of environment is driving a new narrative of empowering people, taking climate action and protecting the environment as a whole and it also remains one of the key pillars of the change agenda of this administration”.

The president of the Nigerian Environmental Society, Professor Lawrence Ezemonye, takes advantage of the occasion to appeal to the National Assembly to hasten the passage of the institute of environmental practice bill in order to address issues of quackery in the profession.

“We seek the support of the federal government, the National Assembly, stakeholders and all present today to support the passage into law, the bill for the Institute of Environmental Practitioners of Nigeria. This is what we are looking for. This is our plight.”

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright, called for a global synergy that will ensure the protection of the environment for generations unborn as he announces the financial commitment of Britain to the fight against climate change.

“As of September 2015, 62 million UK pounds from the UK’s Global Environmental Fund and Clean Technology had been put to projects in Nigeria to support adaptation and the wider fight against climate change.”

Although environmental challenges are said to be huge, the annual conference of the Nigerian Environmental Society is expected to produce a road map that will guarantee the protection of the environment and the promotion of a green economy.