Borno Governor, Babagana Zulum, has directed the immediate suspension of ACTED, an international Non-Governmental Organization (iNGO) following Saturday’s discovery that the humanitarian organisation was using a hotel in Maiduguri for training some persons on shooting.
Zulum’s spokesperson, Malam Isa Gusau, who announced the Governor’s directive, said the French iNGO was found using toy guns and simulators in training exercises at a hotel located off circular road in Maiduguri.
Gusau explained that residents near the hotel had reported to officials that they were hearing sounds of gunshots from the hotel, following which government officials reported the matter to GRA Divisional Police Headquarters which oversees the hotel’s location.
The police found three toy pistols at the hotel while two trainers, both Nigerians, were at the police station with investigation ongoing.
The statement said pending the outcome of police investigation, Governor Zulum has directed sealing of the hotel and suspension of ACTED from any humanitarian activity in Borno State.
Gusau noted that Governor Zulum acknowledges and deeply appreciates the roles of credible iNGOs which have been providing critical humanitarian interventions in different parts of Borno.
He assured them of government’s continued cooperation and support while also upholding obedience to prevailing laws, policies and rules guiding all activities and actions across the state.
Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) in Cross Rivers State and a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) – the Queen Priest Foundation have distributed food items, clothes, and toiletries to less-privileged children and widows in the state.
They made the donation on Valentine’s Day to some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) of Bakassi camped at Ikot Eyo in Akpabuyo Council of the state.
NAWOJ Chairman in the state, Umo Bassey-Edet, said the donation was important to help cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and also give them a sense of belonging.
“There is a need to extend this love to those who really need it, the kids on the streets, widows dying of starvation, the girls down the street without clothes to wear.
“As humans, we have a mandate and responsibility to God and man and that responsibility is to spread love to ensure that the next person beside you is happy,” she said.
She added that the exercise will be done on a regular basis.
“We will be going to different communities as possible. I call on stakeholders, everyone privileged to see it as a responsibility that we owe the society,” she added.
Founder of Queen Priest Foundation also known as Love A Child Foundation, Apostle Stella Achibong in her speech said that there is a need for other foundations to take their activities back to the village where it is needed more and not just in the cities.
“I’m here to celebrate love with the children. A lot of them have been rejected and forgotten and I feel so good, fulfilled, and happy that I could put smiles on their faces.
“I decided to come to where the displaced people of Bakassi have their remnants, that is why we chose Ikot-Eyo because some of them don’t have houses to stay,” she said.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an organ of the United Nations has just admitted Nigerian NGO, Friends of the Creators Artistic Foundation (FCF) as a permanent observer.
The decision was reached on Wednesday at the ongoing WIPO meeting taking place in Geneva with over 1,000 delegates from its 192 member-states in attendance.
According to WIPO, “once an observer is admitted to attend the meetings of the Assemblies, it is also invited to attend, in the same capacity, meetings of committees, working groups, or other bodies subsidiary to the Assemblies, if their subject matter seems to be of direct interest of the observer”.
FCF, which was co-founded by Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo and Barr. Rockson Igelige, was formally incorporated in 2017, with headquarters in Oleh, Delta State, Nigeria.
The objectives of the NGO include to create awareness of copyright, to document intellectual property infringement cases in Nigeria and to promote intellectual property rights through campaigning, advocacies and other mediums.
FCF, an award-winning NGO has held the World Intellectual Property Day celebration in collaboration with Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) among others in Nigeria, three consecutive times.
The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the activities and sources of funding of non-governmental organisations, for possible culpability in the unending spate of insurgency in the north-east.
This was part of the resolutions reached when a matter of urgent public importance on increased funding for the nation’s security agencies was raised in at the green chamber on Tuesday.
The Nigerian Army has accused a non-governmental organisation, Action Against Hunger (AAH), of aiding and abetting terrorists.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Deputy Director Army Public Relations, Operation Lafiya Dole, Colonel, Ado Isa stated that the actions of the NGO persisted despite several warnings.
Consequently, the army declared persona non grata for aiding Boko Haram Terrorists/Islamic State West Africa by supplying them food and drugs despite several warnings from the Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE (TC – OPLD).
Read the full statement below.
SABOTAGE OF THE COUNTER INSURGENCY OPERATIONS IN THE NORTHEAST
The Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE (TC – OPLD)) has observed with utter disappointment and concern the notorious activities of some Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) working in the North East (NE) Nigeria.
The subversive and actions of the NGO Action Against Hunger (AAH) persisted despite several warnings to desist from aiding and abetting terrorists and their atrocities The TC – OPLD has on many occasions raised alarm over this unwholesome practices of some NGOs and expressed same position during meetings with the NGOs operating in the NE Theater of Operation.
Consequently, the AAH has been declared persona non grata for aiding Boko Haram Terrorists/Islamic State West Africa by supplying them food and drugs despite warning from the TC – OPLD.
The Command has obtained several credible intelligence indicating AAH as one of those NGOs operating in the NE that is notorious in supplying food and drugs to the criminals in the area.
Members of the public are enjoined to continue to give credible information on the activities of the marauders/criminals and their supporters in the NE Theatre of operation.
The OPLD wishes to assure the public of its resolve and determination to always partner with credible NGOs and CSOs to cushion the impact of humanitarian crisis generated by the criminals in the NE in line with the international best standards
ADO ISA Colonel Deputy Director Army Public Relations Operation LAFIYA DOLE 19 September 2019
Action Against Hunger said in a statement it “demands the liberation of its staff member and her colleagues”.
“These are humanitarian workers who chose to devote their lives to helping the most vulnerable communities in Nigeria and they are only motivated by the values of solidarity, humanity and neutrality,” it added.
The footage of the abductees, authenticated by AFP on Thursday, was released through the same channel as previous videos from the IS-affiliated jihadists.
The hostages are believed to be held in an ISWAP enclave on the shores of Lake Chad.
Villagers told AFP the kidnapped aid workers were seen with their armed captors passing through the villages of Chamba and Gatafo on the day of their abduction.
ISWAP is a splinter group of jihadist group Boko Haram that swore allegiance in 2016 to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
It has repeatedly attacked military bases and targeted aid workers in northeast Nigeria.
ICRC workers Hauwa Liman and Saifura Khorsa were murdered by ISWAP last year and a woman working for the UN children’s agency UNICEF is still held by the group.
The jihadists are also holding 15-year-old Leah Sharibu, the last remaining captive of over 100 schoolgirls kidnapped by jihadists in Dapchi Town, Yobe State, last February.
The only Christian among the hostages, she remains in captivity months after all the other girls were released because she refused to convert to Islam.
Boko Haram’s decade-long conflict has killed 27,000 people and displaced about two million from their homes in northeast Nigeria.
The violence has spread to nearby Niger, Chad and Cameroon, with the affected countries forming a regional military coalition to fight the group.
Boko Haram fighters have abducted huge numbers of women and children across the region.
The group drew worldwide attention with the kidnapping of 276 girls from a school in Chibok in 2014.
Taliban militants stormed a US-funded aid group’s central Kabul compound in an ongoing attack Tuesday, having targeted the organisation for promoting Western culture and the “inter-mixing” of men and women.
At least nine people were wounded in the latest attack to rock the Afghan capital, which came even as US and Taliban officials were meeting in Qatar for talks aimed at bringing an end to Afghanistan’s war.
The assault began around midday (0730 GMT) when a massive blast tore across Kabul. Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said attackers then entered the compound of Counterpart International, a non-profit group funded at least in part by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
“The police have surrounded the area and a clearing operation is ongoing,” Rahimi said, later adding that in the hours following the initial blast, 169 people were rescued from the site.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, saying Counterpart International was targeted because it promoted the “inter-mixing” of men and women.
The aid group mentored “Kabul admin workers in various aspects of brutality, oppression, terror, anti-Islamic ideology & promotion of western culture,” Mujahid said on Twitter.
The counterpart was not immediately available to comment, but the group’s website says it runs a USAID-funded Afghan civic engagement programme supporting women and other marginalised groups across Afghanistan.
Emergency, an Italian-run trauma center in Kabul, said it had received 15 patients so far. Wahidullah Mayar, the spokesman for the ministry of public health, said at least nine people had been wounded.
The huge explosion shook nearby buildings and shattered windows.
“We started running out of the building and while running outside, I heard small gunfire and the sound of grenades going off nearby,” said Akbar Khan Sahadat, a prosecutor in the Attorney General’s office which was close to the scene of the blast.
John Bass, the US ambassador to Afghanistan, said he strongly condemned the attack against the US non-governmental organisation.
“The targeted organization helps local communities, trains journalists and supports the Afghan people,” he said on Twitter.
“For this, it is the target of senseless violence,” he added, thanking local security forces for their rapid response.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said the attack was “particularly deplorable, hitting civilians helping Afghans & taking place during Ramadan”.
Difficult peace talks
The Taliban are notorious for their treatment of women during their reign from 1996-2001 when the Islamist extremists kept women locked up in houses, barred them from getting an education and sometimes stoned them to death on flimsy allegations of adultery.
Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban’s political spokesman, told AFP earlier this week that the latest round of peace talks, currently taking place in Doha, had become bogged down over the issue of when foreign forces might withdraw in return for the Taliban security guarantees.
The two foes are hammering out a deal that could see foreign forces leave Afghanistan in return for a ceasefire, talks between the government and the Taliban, and a guarantee the country will not be used as a safe haven for terror groups.
The talks follow a massive peace summit in Kabul last week where President Ashraf Ghani offered the Taliban a ceasefire to begin on the first day of Ramadan — but the insurgents refused.
The insurgents have rebuffed repeated calls to halt fighting over the last year as they seek to gain leverage at the negotiating table by pressing the fight on the battlefield.
Last year the Taliban announced a three-day ceasefire at the end of Ramadan after Ghani declared a unilateral truce for eight days earlier in the month, in the first formal nationwide ceasefire since the US-led invasion of 2001.
Since then the insurgents have steadfastly refused to talk to Ghani, who they view as a US puppet, and talks thus far have cut out his government.
According to Counterpart International’s website, the organisation was founded in 1965 by Australian actress Betty Bryant Silverstein and a priest called Father Stan Hosie.
Officials earlier wrongly identified the target of Tuesday’s attack as the nearby CARE International.
The Tanzanian government said it had suspended an NGO it had accused of promoting gay marriage in contravention of local “customs, traditions and laws”.
The move followed a police raid on a Community Health Education Services and Advocacy (CHESA) centre, which is accused of being involved in “the promotion of marriage between people of the same sex”.
The government said “marriages between people of the same sex are unacceptable in Tanzania as (they are) contrary to the customs, traditions and laws of the country”.
CHESA stands accused of organising last Tuesday a workshop for gay couples in a hotel in Dar es Salaam, the country’s largest city.
Police made 12 arrests Wednesday at the hotel, including two South Africans and a Ugandan, for presumed homosexuality.
In a joint statement Friday CHESA and South Africa’s Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA), a fellow NGO, insisted they were merely coordinating a “legal consultation” to challenge a government decision to limit the provision of some health services.
In February, Tanzania provoked criticism notably from the United States after announcing the closure of several health centres specialising in AIDS prevention, alleging they were fronts for promoting homosexuality.
CHESA and ISLA said 13 arrests were made Tuesday, including ISLA’s executive director, Sibongile Ndashe, and added all were back in custody after bail was revoked Friday.
The organisations stated that “the Tanzanian constitution enshrines the right to seek legal redress when fundamental rights have been violated”.
They added Tanzania has signed the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ rights which “recognises an individual’s right to an appeal to competent national organs against acts violating his fundamental rights as recognised and guaranteed by conventions, laws and customs in force”.
The NGOs insisted the case against its workers had no legal basis and demanded an end to state persecution of lawyers and their clients.
Tanzania has vowed to deport foreigners campaigning for gay rights in a country where gay male sex is punishable by anything from 30 years to life imprisonment.
In July 2016, the government banned the import of some lubricant gels alleging they were used exclusively by homosexuals.
Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu said the sale and occasional free distribution of the gels encouraged gay sex.
According to Amnesty International, homosexuality is illegal in 38 of 54 African states and is punishable by death in Mauritania, Somalia and Sudan.
Uganda repealed a 2014 move to impose the death penalty on those found guilty of being gay.
In order to inculcate the reading culture in the minds of school-age children in Yobe state, the Children, Youth and Women Empowerment Initiative (CHIYOWO) has offer books to students of ECWA Beckett Memorial College Kukar-Gadu in Yobe.
Reading culture particularly among the youth over the years has been on the decline and the situation is further worsening sequel to the high development in the Information and Communication Technology.
With the theme; ‘Bring Back Our Reading Culture’, the school benefitted from assorted books aim at restoring the lost reading culture among secondary school students across the country.
CHIYOWO visit to Yobe state according to the is to the Chief Executive Officer Ms. Tokunbo Ifaturoti is to help restore the lost reading culture among the school-age children.
“What we set out to achieve is to improve the reading culture among school-age children across the country all geared toward improving quality education that can improve our sustainable development.
“Carrying out such initiative make them become self-determined to broad their career and to also know their potentials as future leaders.”
She said reading will effectively tackle the brainwashing strategy of luring underage children to joining terrorism, arm robbery gang or other violent groups as they will know what is good or bad for themselves as a result of wide reading.
“We also believe that reading will help curb insurgency because if they are well read and educated, no one will tell them to do what they know is not right,” Mrs. Tokunbo said.
She revealed that CHIYOWO has been to eleven states to inculcate in the minds of the youth the reading culture by giving out books to schools and by selecting library prefect to take proper custody of the books.
The principal of the ECWA Beckett Memorial College Kukar-Gadu, Mr. Ibrahim Abako while appreciating the gesture commend the choice of his school as a beneficiary and tasked other donor agencies to emulate CHIYOWO in inculcating the reading culture in the minds of youth.
“This development to some extent is a welcome development and a great achievement for us all and I commend CHIYOWO’s initiative of restoring the reading culture and I thank them for selecting our college to be a specimen where this will be carried out.
“I call on well-meaning Nigerians, corporate groups and society groups and societies to follow in the footprints of CHIYOWO in order to provide sound education for all”
In her address, the Zonal Director of Education, Mrs. Hauwa Yakubu urges the students to make the best used of the books as no student will attend the highest height without reading.
“I want to implore the students to make the best use of the books by reading hard as no successful person will attend his heights without reading hard”
She advised the students to read widely and also tutored them on the use of library and the prefects, how best to take stock of available books therein.
The library prefect was chosen in a spelling competition with the best emerging the prefect while the runner-up become his deputy.
They were all presented with prizes for their performance in the competition.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Borno state government are partnering to monitor the activities of humanitarian agencies operating in Borno state.
Representative of the country, Director Edward Kallon, who is in Maiduguri on a familiarisation visit, has been engaging in talks with the state Governor, Kashim Shettima on the the matter.
The talks centered around concerns recently raised by Shettima over some 126 Non-Governmental Organizations whom he accused of failing to justify funds they claim to be spending on the affected population in Borno.
Shettima had asked all of such humanitarian agencies to vacate the state, which according to him has become a “cash cow” for them.
The UNDP had however asked the state government to liase accordingly for better understanding of the activities of the many NGOs operating in the state.
“NGOs are partners of choice, some of them are good. It’s just like when you have children at home.
“There are good ones and there are troublemakers – but you try to manage and that is how it works here. That is why you see us on ground here, to make sure that whatever we do is transparent.
“Your Excellency, if you need any information on the activities of these people, ask us. – We should be able to report to you and give you information and you can crosscheck if you are not happy, that’s why we are here.”
Kallon also cautioned that only synergy between the government and humanitarian bodies would serve the best interest of the affected population.
According to him, humanitarian crisis around the world has placed a lot of demand on the UN system.
“The crisis we are managing here is also competing with emergencies in other parts of the world example Syria, Sudan etc.
“In Syria, for instance, the appeal that we launched is asking for six billion dollars. The South Sudan appeal is asking for three to four billion dollars so I really appeal to you and your government that we need to work together and speak with one voice.
“As we say in West Africa, if we allow the media to shoot us on our legs we are not going to be able to work because this is what is happening now.
“If we start sending a different language, different message it’s not going to help all of us here. So I really solicit your support for us to work with one voice and come together in strategic partnership.”
Shettima then absolved the UN system from his recent outburst, insisting that the presence of the non-performing organisations has caused untold hardship to people in the state.
“My anger was largely directed on the 126 NGOS who are smiling their ways to the bank on the agonies of our people but I think I was quoted out of context. Otherwise how can I criticise the UN system?
“People that have invested hundreds of millions of dollars on the welfare of my people; I want to make this clarification. My criticism is with the NGOs; especially the indigenous ones who are going on the international media and telling the whole world about the tragedy that has befallen Borno, providing account numbers where contributions should be made.
“My anger is to those of them that are here in Maiduguri that have created artificial scarcity of homes, making housing more prohibitive in Maiduguri than in Maitama Abuja.”
The governor however extolled the impact and achievements of the UN system since the humanitarian crisis begun.
“You guys are doing a great job and we remain eternally grateful to you. Honestly we are most grateful,” Shettima stated.
The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) living with disabilities in Yobe State have been provided with some relief materials as well as health support to improve their comfort.
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), the Christaphen Blinding Mission (CBM) made some donations to physically challnged persons at the Kukareta IDPs camp located on the outskirts of Damaturu, the state capital in Nigeria’s northeast.
Those who benefited from the gesture were the cripples, blinds, lepers and the aged among other destitute totalling about 550 persons.
The Programme Officer of CBM in Yobe State, Mr Elisha Agagak, said that the essence was to carry the IDPs along in the sharing of succour at this critical time of need.
He noted that in the distribution of relief materials, it has always been survival of the fittest as those living with disabilities get to be under-served.
The CBM, which is said to have greatly improved the lives of destitute and people with disabilities in Yobe State, also reached out to the IDPs in the area of health.
A mental health physician, Dr. Charles Nwoga, said that the mission made the health support necessary, considering the fact that most of them have severe mental challenges as a result of the insurgency.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, the village head of Kukareta, Mr Bulama Lawan, commended the mission for the gesture.
Mr Lawan noted that it was the first time disabled IDPs were being prioritised in the distribution of food and non-food items.
An Ogun State High Court sitting in Isabo, Abeokuta, has sentenced a retired soldier, Alabi Ibrahim, to life imprisonment for raping his 10-year-old stepdaughter and infecting her with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
The convict was alleged to have committed the crime in 2012 and was subsequently arrested and tried following intervention from the Ogun State Chapter of Child Protection Network (CPN), an umbrella body of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) that fight for the rights of children.
A medical report presented in the court from the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, established that the convict had sexually assaulted the girl and also infected her with HIV.
The report tendered by a medical practitioner, Dr. Seyi Adejobi, says that after the defilement, medical investigation revealed that the girl had been penetrated, and blood investigation also showed that she had HIV.
The blood sample of the convict also tested positive for the virus.
However, Counsel to the convict, Adebola Okudoro, told the court that the allegation against him was hearsay, thereby appealing to the court to temper justice with mercy in seeing that his client was not sentenced.
He pleaded, “My Lord, the accused person is a first offender. The health of the accused should be put into consideration. He is infected with HIV and will need access to medical attention, which is very expensive, and there is no such facilities in prisons custody.
“The accused person is the breadwinner of the family. He has several dependants. We pray the court to temper justice with mercy,” he pleaded.
In his judgement, however, the presiding judge, Justice Abiodun Akinyemi, said that the accused faced a one-count charge of having sexual intercourse with the child; offence said to be contrary to section 3 of Child Rights Law, noting that the court was convinced with the allegation against the accused after several court sittings.
Akinyemi further added that the victim’s testimony during cross examination showed that she was telling the truth and not being tutored, as there were concrete evidence that the victim was sexually assaulted, having also lost count on number of times the convict assaulted her.
“The court is convinced about the girl’s evidences. She is intelligent, she remained consistent during cross examination and she does not seem to have been tutored.
“I find her evidence credible. Evidence of her mother corroborated her own,” the judge stated.
The presiding judge also made reference to the medical report which stated that the accused infected the girl with HIV, stressing that the convict’s action has brought a permanent stigma on the innocent girl.
“I am fully convinced that the accused had repeatedly had sex with the girl. I found the accused guilty as charged. I find it not in my mind to show any mercy.
“The man is shameless, sleeping with mother and child, what an abomination.
“People like him need not to be in the society. I therefore sentence him to life imprisonment. He should, however, be given access to reasonable treatment,” the judgement declared.