Collapsed School Wall Kills Two Children In Amukoko, Lagos

Lagos Closes N85.14bn Series II Bond Issuance Programme

 

Tragedy struck in the Amukoko area of Lagos on Sunday as two children were killed when the fence of a school collapsed on them.

Sources say that the fence of the school, Covenant Point Academy, located along Ajose Close in Amukoko collapsed on Samat Saheed and a yet-to-be-identified girl who lost their lives.

The two victims, a nine-year-old and a three-year-old, were around the school when the fence suddenly collapsed on them.

The source added that while one of the victims died instantly, the other lost consciousness and reportedly died shortly after the incident.

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Confirming the incident, the Lagos State Police Spokesperson, Benjamin Hundeyin, told Channels Television that two suspects have been arrested in connection with the unfortunate death.

He said, “the owner of the school and one more person have been arrested and will be transferred to the state CIID, Panti, for discreet investigation and prosecution”.

Those around the vicinity alleged that the building has no pillars and they are just stacked blocks.

“The building was not well structured at all; there was no wiring, no pillar, and nothing to hold the building together that’s why it fell easily,” the source, who craved anonymity, said.

One of the victims is said to have been buried immediately after the incident in accordance with Islamic rights.

Record 9.3 Million Syrian Children Need Aid – UN

In this file photo taken on February 25, 2021 the United Nations logo is seen inside the United Nations in New York City. Angela Weiss / AFP
In this file photo taken on February 25, 2021 the United Nations logo is seen inside the United Nations in New York City. Angela Weiss / AFP

 

More Syrian children are in need than at any time since a devastating civil war erupted over a decade ago, but funding for them is “dwindling”, the United Nations warned Sunday.

“Syria’s children have suffered for far too long and should not suffer any longer,” the UN children’s agency said in a statement.

A total of 9.3 million Syrian children are in need of aid both inside the country and in the wider region where they have fled, UNICEF spokesperson Juliette Touma told AFP.

“More than 6.5 million children in Syria are in need of assistance, the highest number recorded since the beginning of the crisis, more than 11 years ago,” the agency statement added.

In neighbouring countries, 2.8 million Syrian refugee children depend on assistance, Touma said.

Syria’s war is estimated to have killed nearly half a million people and displaced millions since it began with a brutal crackdown of anti-government protests in 2011.

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It escalated into a devastating and complex conflict that drew in numerous actors including jihadist groups and regional and international powers.

“Children’s needs, both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries, are growing,” said Adele Khodr, UNICEF’s Middle East chief.

“Many families struggle to make ends meet. Prices of basic supplies including food are skyrocketing, partially as a result of the crisis in Ukraine.”

Children are among the most vulnerable and the UN warned they are bearing the brunt of the impact.

UNICEF said the agency faced a severe cash shortfall to provide aid.

“Funding for humanitarian operations is meanwhile fast dwindling,” Khodr said. “UNICEF has received less than half of its funding requirements for this year.”

UNICEF called for $20 million to fund “cross-border operations” in northwest Syria — the country’s last major rebel enclave — to support “the only lifeline for nearly one million children”.

AFP

97 Children Killed Since Start Of Ukraine War – Zelensky

This handout video grab taken and released by the Ukraine Presidency press service on March 12, 202,2 shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking in capital Kyiv. Handout / UKRAINE PRESIDENCY / AFP
This handout video grab taken and released by the Ukraine Presidency press service on March 12, 202,2 shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking in capital Kyiv. Handout / UKRAINE PRESIDENCY / AFP

 

Ninety-seven Ukrainian children have died since the start of Russia’s invasion, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday in a speech to Canada’s parliament, pleading once more for allies to “expand” their support for Kyiv.

In the video address, the Ukrainian leader accused Russia’s military of “destroying everything: memorial complexes, schools, hospitals, housing complexes.”

“They’ve already killed 97 Ukrainian children,” Zelensky said.

“We’re not asking for much. We’re asking for justice, for real support, which will help us to prevail, to defend (ourselves), to save lives,” he said, receiving a standing ovation from lawmakers.

Earlier, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced sanctions against 15 more Russian officials, including “government and military elites who are complicit in this illegal war.”

The move brings the number of Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian individuals and entities sanctioned by Ottawa since the start of the war last month to nearly 500.

“Vladimir Putin’s blatant disregard for human life is unacceptable,” the Canadian leader said, while praising Zelensky as an inspiration.

“Democracies around the world are lucky to have you as our champion,” he said, vowing that Ukraine “can count on our unwavering and steadfast support.”

Zelensky thanked Canada for the sanctions as well as military equipment and humanitarian aid.

But, he said, “unfortunately this just did not bring an end to the war.” “We all need to do more to stop Russia, to protect Ukraine.”

“Please expand your efforts to bring back peace in our peaceful country,” he said.

AFP

J.K. Rowling Promises Up To £1 Million For Children In Ukraine

Refugees wait in freezing cold temperatures to get on bus, after crossing the Ukrainian border into Poland, at the Medyka border crossing in Poland, on March 7, 2022. – More than 1,5 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, according to the latest UN data on March 6, 2022. (Photo by Louisa GOULIAMAKI / AFP)

 

“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling on Monday promised to match donations up to £1 million ($1.3 million, 1.2 million euros) to a charity she co-founded to help children in Ukraine.

The writer set up Lumos in 2005 “to end the systematic institutionalisation of children”, including in the Zhytomyr region west of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

The charity said the area, where more than 1,500 children were trapped in orphanages even before the invasion, was now under attack from Russian forces.

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It wants an urgent end to military action to protect the estimated 100,000 children living in institutions in Ukraine and to prevent more family separations.

In response to Lumos’ appeal to fund urgent supplies and care for youngsters in orphanages, Rowling tweeted: “I will personally match donations to this appeal, up to £1m.”

Donations will go towards providing emergency food, hygiene and medical kits, and funding support families and foster carers to look after displaced and traumatised youngsters.

 

Pfizer To Seek Green Light To Vaccinate Kids Five And Under

The Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine is prepared for administration at a vaccination clinic. Frederic J. BROWN / AFP

 

Pfizer and BioNTech will soon ask US regulators for emergency authorization for a Covid-19 vaccine for children aged five and under, US media reported Tuesday.

This is the last age group in the United States that is not yet eligible for coronavirus shots.

As early as Tuesday, the companies could seek emergency authorization for a two-dose vaccination regimen for children under five and as young as six months, The New York Times and other news outlets said.

The move comes as the Omicron variant wave is waning in the United States but parents are still grappling with school closures and concerns for their unvaccinated children.

New pediatric Covid hospitalizations hit a record high in the United States in December as the Omicron strain spread rapidly.

Last month, the Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer’s Covid-19 booster shot for children as young as 12.

But vaccination rates among this age group are relatively low — less than 22 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As they seek the green light for children under five to receive two doses of the vaccine, Pfizer and BioNTech will also continue studies on a three-shot regimen, the Times said.

The FDA hopes to approve shots for young kids as early as late February. Data on a three-dose regimen would not be submitted until late March, the daily added.

The companies concluded last fall that low doses of the vaccine provided protection in children up to two years old but not in kids aged two to five, announcing in December they would add a third dose to their trials.

“We know that two doses isn’t enough, and we get that,” a source told The Washington Post.

“The idea is, let’s go ahead and start the review of two doses. If the data holds up in the submission, you could start kids on their primary baseline months earlier than if you don’t do anything until the third-dose data comes in.”

Three Migrant Children Killed In Morocco Fire – NGO

 

Three children of a Nigerian migrant died in Morocco in a fire at their makeshift shelter near the North African country’s border with a Spanish enclave, a non-governmental organisation said.

“The mother lit a fire within the confines of their shelter to warm her children, who then died Monday morning asphyxiated and charred by the fire that took hold in their makeshift tent,” said Mohamed Amin Abidar, president of the local division of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH).

They had set up a temporary home in the wooded northwestern Gourougou mountain range, which borders the Spanish territory of Melilla.

The mother was admitted to hospital in the city of Nador “in a critical condition”.

No further details were made available by the Moroccan authorities.

The Gourougou range has become a refuge for many sub-Saharan African migrants seeking to cross the roughly 12-kilometre (7.5-mile) razor-wired triple-fence that separates Moroccan territory from Melilla.

The death of the three children “is a terrible tragedy”, Abidar said, adding that “migrants in this region live in precarious and inhumane conditions”.

Many migrants seek to cross from Morocco into the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta, giving them direct access to European Union territory on the African mainland.

Some 700 migrants — an unprecedented number — attempted to cross into Melilla in October but were rebuffed by Moroccan border forces.

Operatives Rescue 34 Children From Traffickers, Intercept 64,000 Gun Cartridges

A photo released by the NDLEA on December 17, 2021, shows the children intercepted by operatives in Kogi State.

 

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on patrol have intercepted 34 children along the Okene-Lokoja Expressway in Kogi State.

NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi, who confirmed this in a statement on Friday revealed that operatives also seized 64,000 pump action gun cartridges and a new pump action gun in Anambra.

According to him, the children between the ages of eight and 14 were being trafficked from Ijebu-Ode in Ogun to the Federal Capital Territory.

 

“The minors packed in two commercial buses – Toyota Sienna and a 12- seater Mazda with registration numbers Lagos LND124FV and Oyo BDJ-683YK respectively, were recovered in the early hours of Thursday, 16th December from the human trafficking syndicate,” Babafemi said in the statement.

“The bus drivers confirmed that the kids were handed over to them by a woman at Ijebu-Ode to be conveyed to Abuja, adding that on arrival in FCT, the woman is to call another bus driver who will convey the children to Riyom in Plateau State.”

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He stated that the children were initially trafficked from Plateau to Ijebu Ode, where they were distributed to different households as domestic servants.

“Some of the children were discovered to have served for two years and their rewards sent to the woman’s agent in Jos,” the NDLEA spokesman revealed.

In this photo released by the NDLEA on December 17, 2021, the suspected arms dealer is paraded alongside the pump action gun cartridges seized in Anambra State.

 

He explained that the gun and ammunition were seized at a store in Success Line at the Marine modern market in Onitsha in Awka North Local Government Area of the state.

“The discovery which led to the arrest of an arms dealer 34-year-old Donatus Onyemachi Igwebudu followed credible intelligence on drugs and arms deal in the location,” Babafemi said.

“Backed by soldiers from the military, NDLEA operatives stormed the store on Wednesday, 15th December 2021 and moved the arm and ammunition to the agency’s office in Awka.”

A truck carrying the pump action gun cartridges seized in Anambra State.

 

In his reaction, the Chairman and Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa, commended the operatives for their vigilance and preparedness to work in synergy with other security agencies in their areas of responsibility.

He directed that the arm and ammunition, along with the suspect arrested in Anambra, be transferred to the police.

Marwa also ordered the transfer of the 34 trafficked children to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) for necessary actions.

Generation Of Children ‘At Stake’ In Lebanon Crisis, Says UN

In this file photo taken on September 23, 2019 the United Nations flag is seen during the Climate Action Summit 2019 at the United Nations General Assembly Hall. Ludovic MARIN / AFP

 

The UN children’s agency Tuesday called on Lebanon to take urgent action to protect children after it documented a spike in child labour rates and food insecurity since April.

“Urgent action is needed to ensure no child goes hungry, becomes sick, or has to work rather than receive an education,” said Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF representative in Lebanon.

“The staggering magnitude of the crisis must be a wake-up call,” she said, quoted in a statement.

Lebanon is grappling with its worst-ever financial crisis, with nearly 80 percent of the population estimated to be living below the poverty line.

UNICEF in October followed up with the more than 800 families it had surveyed in April and found that since then living conditions had deteriorated dramatically.

“The future of an entire generation of children is at stake,” it said in its latest report titled “Surviving without the basics”.

The survey found 53 percent of families had at least one child who skipped a meal in October 2021, compared with 37 percent in April.

“The proportion of families… who sent children to work rose to 12 percent, from nine percent,” UNICEF added.

It said almost 34 percent of children who required primary health care in October did not receive it, up from 28 percent in April.

“Life is very hard; it is becoming harder every day,” Hanan, a 29-year-old mother, was quoted as saying by UNICEF.

“Today I sent my four children to school without food.

“I have suicidal thoughts and the only thing stopping me from doing this is my children. I feel so bad for them.”

Amal, a 15-year-old who works as a fruit-picker in southern Lebanon, said she had to take up the job to support her family.

“Our parents need the money we earn. What would they do if we stopped working now?” UNICEF quoted her as saying.

“When I look to the future, I see life getting harder.”

Tigray Conflict: Scores Of Children In Hospitals Die Of Starvation

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 22, 2020 a member of the Amhara Special Forces stands at the border crossing as people cross from Eritrea, in Humera, Ethiopia. AFP

 

Nearly 200 young children have died of starvation in hospitals across Ethiopia’s Tigray region as malnutrition soars one year after a brutal conflict broke out, according to a new survey.

The data collected from 14 hospitals offers a rare look at the scale of suffering in Tigray, which is grappling with a communications blackout and what the UN describes as a de facto aid blockade, meaning most essential medical supplies are no longer available.

Yet the toll is hardly comprehensive, given that most health facilities are not functional and Tigrayan health workers have only been able to reach roughly half of the region’s districts, said Dr Hagos Godefay, head of the health bureau in Tigray’s pre-war government.

Hagos described the unpublished findings, some of which were collected in partnership with Mekele University in Tigray’s capital, in an interview with AFP this week.

“We have registered more than 186 deaths,” Hagos said, referring to fatalities caused by severe acute malnutrition in children younger than five. “We collected this information from hospitals only.”

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Some 29 per cent of children are acutely malnourished, up from nine per cent before the war, Hagos said.

(FILES) Children look at books in the library of an elementary school that was damaged during the fighting that broke out in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, in the village of Bisober.  AFP

 

For severe acute malnutrition, the figure is 7.1 per cent, up from 1.3 per cent before the war, he said.

Only 14 per cent of surveyed households report having enough access to food, down from 60 per cent, he said, adding that he fears what is unfolding in areas his teams have so far been unable to reach.

“For those areas that are not accessible, you can only imagine how many children are dying because of starvation. They are living in remote areas, there is no water… there is no food, no communication, no health facility,” he said.

“So I am telling you if we go to the remote areas it will double for sure.”

 ‘It’s catastrophic’

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops into Tigray last November to topple the regional ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a move he said came in response to TPLF attacks on army camps.

The 2019 Nobel Peace laureate promised a swift victory, but by late June the TPLF had retaken most of the region including Mekele and has since advanced south.

Since mid-July less than 15 per cent of needed aid has been able to enter Tigray, according to the UN, raising the spectre of the kind of mass starvation that turned Ethiopia into a byword for famine in the 1980s.

AFP has previously documented scattered starvation deaths in multiple parts of Tigray, describing how mothers feed leaves to their children in a desperate bid to keep them alive.

The survey findings Hagos described covering the four months from late June, when the TPLF retook control of Mekele, to late October.

The 14 hospitals still functioning in the region are each recording between three and four deaths weekly due to ordinarily treatable illnesses like pneumonia and diarrhoea, Hagos said.

He added he was especially worried for tens of thousands of Tigrayans under “chronic follow-up”, including 55,000 HIV-positive patients and others battling conditions like cancer, hypertension and diabetes.

“If we are not able to manage them, if we are not able to provide them drugs… it’s catastrophic,” he said.

 ‘Frustrated’ doctors

Abiy’s government has rejected claims it is blocking aid to Tigray, saying access has been restricted because of TPLF advances into neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions.

In an interview with CNN last week, Abiy’s spokeswoman Billene Seyoum said “the onus of responsibility on humanitarian access… is on the TPLF”.

The US, however, has said access to essential supplies and services was “being denied by the Ethiopian government” while denouncing “indications of a siege”.

And aid workers have sounded the alarm about government-imposed restrictions on medicines entering the region.

Hagos said that with health facilities damaged across Tigray, banking services suspended and supply stocks now empty, there is little health workers can do.

“The commitment from the health workforce is really amazing. They just want to work even without having a salary, but they don’t have food to eat,” he said.

As foreign envoys scramble to end the conflict, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken due in neighbouring Kenya early Wednesday, the TPLF has said lifting the “siege” of Tigray is a condition for any ceasefire.

Hagos, too, said it was a must, describing the current situation as “collective punishment”.

“The rights of the people of Tigray are not what we are negotiating here,” he said.

“If negotiations are to be done, they can only be on issues concerning a political settlement.”

Over 45,000 Children Released From Detention Since April 2020 – UNICEF

UNICEF is among the most widespread and recognizable social welfare organizations in the world.
UNICEF is among the most recognised social welfare organizations in the world.

 

More than 45,000 children have been released from detention and safely returned to family or an appropriate alternative since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF revealed in its latest reports.

The reports released on Sunday are “Detention of children in the time of COVID” and “Estimating the number of children deprived of their liberty in the administration of justice”.

The first analysis indicated that governments and detaining authorities in at least 84 countries have released thousands of children since April 2020 when UNICEF drew attention to their increased risk of contracting COVID-19 in confined and overcrowded spaces, and called for their immediate release.

“We have long known that justice systems are ill-equipped to handle the specific needs of children – a situation further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, was quoted as saying in a statement.

“We commend countries which heeded our call and released children from detention. By protecting children from conditions that could have exposed them to grave illness, these countries were able to overcome public resistance and spur innovative, age-appropriate justice solutions.

“This has proved something we already knew – child-friendly justice solutions are more than possible.”

According to UNICEF, the study is one of two analyses that illustrate the situation for hundreds of thousands of children deprived of their liberty every year.

Both reports were released ahead of the World Congress on Justice with Children.

Children in detention – including in pre-and post-trial custody, immigration detention, held in relation to armed conflict or national security, or living with parents in detention – are often held in confined and overcrowded spaces.

“They lack adequate access to nutrition, healthcare and hygiene services, and are vulnerable to neglect, physical and psychological abuse, and gender-based violence,” the statement said. “Many are denied access to lawyers and family care, and unable to challenge the legality of their detention.

“COVID-19 has profoundly affected justice for children, shuttering courts and restricting access to essential social and justice services. Evidence shows that many children, including children in street situations, have been detained for violating pandemic curfew orders and movement restrictions.”

Failed Systems

An estimated 261,000 children in conflict with the law – those who have been alleged, accused or recognised as having committed an offence – are held in detention, according to the second UNICEF analysis.

The second analysis – Estimating the number of children deprived of their liberty in the administration of justice – the first of such analysis since 2007, warned that incomplete record-keeping and undeveloped administrative data systems in many countries meant the number was likely to be much higher.

“Any child detained is evidence of failed systems, but that failure is then compounded further. Justice systems meant to protect and support children often add to their suffering,” said Fore.

“As policymakers, legal practitioners, academics, civil society, and children and young people convene at the World Congress this week, we must work together to end the detention of children.”

UNICEF stressed the need for authorities to ensure justice for children and safely end the detention of all children in various countries.

It, therefore, called on governments and civil society to invest in legal rights awareness for children in justice and welfare systems, especially for the most marginalised ones, expand free legal aid, representation, and services for all children, and prioritise prevention and early intervention in child offending and diversion to appropriate alternatives.

The organisation also asked them to end the detention of children – including through legal reforms to raise the age of criminal responsibility, ensure justice for child survivors of sexual violence, abuse or exploitation – including investing in child and gender-sensitive justice processes, and establish specialised child-friendly, virtual, and mobile courts.

‘Mommy Is Sleeping:’ Two Girls Spend Days With Deceased Mother In France

ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY (Photo by Lars Hagberg / AFP)

 

 

Two sisters aged 5 and 7 spent several days in an apartment with the body of their mother who had died suddenly in northwestern France, the regional prosecutor said on Saturday.

“Be quiet, Mommy is sleeping,” the girls told police officers who came to their apartment on Wednesday in the city of Le Mans after being alerted by the girls’ schools of their prolonged absence, the prosecutor’s office said.

The officers insisted on coming in and discovered the body of the mother, who was born in 1990 in Ivory Coast and who had died of natural causes, according to a subsequent autopsy.

The girls were taken to a hospital and were then placed in foster care and were being given psychological counselling.

It was not yet clear how long they had spent inside the apartment with their dead mother.

“We have ruled out a criminal hypothesis,” Mans prosecutor Delphine Dewailly told AFP. “We are now going to wait a few days and then try to get witness testimony from the little girls.”

Lions Kill Three Children Near Wildlife Reserve

The nomadic communities around the wildlife reserves in Tanzania were urged to to take precautions against wild animals, especially when they task their children with taking care of livestock. By TONY KARUMBA (AFP)

 

 

Three young children were killed by lions near Tanzania’s world-renowned Ngorongoro wildlife reserve as they went to look for lost cattle, police said on Thursday.

The youngsters aged between nine and 11 had arrived home from school on Monday and gone into a forest near the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to search for the missing animals, Arusha police chief Justine Masejo said.

“That is when the lions attacked and killed three children while injuring one,” he added.

Ngorongoro in northern Tanzania is a World Heritage Site that is home to wildlife including big cats such as lions, cheetahs and leopards.

“I would like to urge the nomadic communities around the reserved areas to take precautions against fierce animals especially when they task their children to take care of the livestock. That will help to protect the children and their families,” Masejo said.

Tanzania allows some communities such as the Maasai, who graze their livestock alongside wild animals, to live within national parks.

However, they are often in conflict with animals such as lions and elephants which can attack people, livestock and destroy crops.

Last year, Tanzania relocated 36 lions from the Serengeti National Park after attacks on humans and cattle from the surrounding communities.