Rwanda Scraps Tax On Sanitary Pads To Make Them Cheaper

(PHOTO USED TO DEPICT THE STORY) In this file photo taken on April 10, 2018 Indian employees at the Myna Mahila Foundation prepare sanitary pads at their office in Mumbai.PHOTO: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP

 

Rwanda announced on Wednesday it was scrapping an 18 percent value added tax on sanitary pads to make them cheaper for girls who are often forced to skip school during their periods.

The country becomes the latest to drop the controversial tax which has increasingly infuriated women around the globe who argue tampons and pads are basic necessities and should not be subject to taxes.

“The Government of Rwanda has added Sanitary Pads to a list of goods that are VAT exempted in a bid to ease their affordability,” the ministry of gender and family promotion announced on its website and on Twitter Wednesday.

The move came after fierce lobbying from feminist groups and NGOs urging government to act to reduce the price of sanitary pads in the country.

“This is a step in the right direction but not the ultimate solution. It is a shame that girls have to drop out of school just because of a biological process, so it is a good step what government is trying to do,” Annette Mukiga, a feminist activist in Rwanda told AFP.

“Our target is to make sure that sanitary pads are free, not just cheap but free in all schools, so that girls do not have to worry about this challenge anymore.”

In 2017 a study conduction by the education ministry showed that girls aged 16 and above were eight percent more likely to drop out of school than boys, especially in rural areas.

The report cited lack of access to sanitary pads during menstruation as one of the reasons for this.

Kenya is credited with being the first country to abolish taxes on menstrual products in 2005, and in recent years many have followed suit.

However Tanzania in June decided to re-introduce the tax after having done away with it in 2018, arguing it was counterproductive as retailers had not lowered their prices.

AFP

Burundian Schoolgirls Jailed For Scratching President’s Photo

UN Pushes Burundi To Reach Agreement On 2020 Elections
Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza (2ndL) arrives in a car for celebrations marking the country’s 53rd Independence Anniversary at Prince Rwagasore Stadium in Bujumbura. Marco LONGARI / AFP

 

Three teenage schoolgirls in Burundi have been sent to prison to await trial for scribbling on a picture of President Pierre Nkurunziza in textbooks, activists said Thursday.

The girls, aged 15, 16 and 17, face up to five years in prison for insulting the head of state if found guilty.

Judges said the three girls should be “prosecuted for contempt of the head of state”, and ordered them to a juvenile section of a prison in the north of Burundi at Ngozi to await trial, said FENADEB, a civil society umbrella group of 48 organisations.

The trio has been in custody since March 12, when they were arrested with three other schoolgirls and a 13-year old boy. The boy was released immediately because he was below the age of criminal responsibility, while the three girls were released without charge.

READ ALSO: 12 Killed In Egypt Chemical Plant Blast

The girls are accused of defacing photographs of Nkurunziza in five textbooks belonging to their school, but teachers pointed out that the books are shared among all the pupils as there are not enough for everyone to have their own.

A judicial source, who called the case “very sensitive” and said it was overseen directly by the Attorney General, reported that the girls arrived at the prison on Wednesday afternoon.

It was not clear when they might face trial, but the father of one of the girls said they were already “too scared to eat”, according to Lewis Mudge, from Human Rights Watch (HRW).

In 2016, several schoolchildren were handed prison sentences for similar scribbles on the president’s face, and hundreds of pupils expelled, sparking an international outcry.

Burundi has been in turmoil since Nkurunziza in April 2015 sought a fiercely-contested third term in office.

The violence has claimed at least 1,200 lives and displaced more than 400,000 people between April 2015 and May 2017, according to estimates by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has opened an investigation.

“With so many real crimes being committed in Burundi, it’s tragic that children are the ones being prosecuted for harmless scribbles,” HRW’s Mudge added.

“Authorities should focus on holding perpetrators of serious rights violations to account instead of jailing schoolchildren for doodles.”

AFP

APC Asks Nigerians To Pray For Schoolgirls Still In Captivity

APC Asks Nigerians To Pray For Schoolgirls Still In Captivity

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked Nigerians to pray for the safe return of the remaining abducted schoolchildren and others in the captivity of the Boko Haram terrorists.

The party made the plea on Saturday in an Easter message to the people signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Bolaji Abdullahi.

It said as Nigerians gather around family, friends and loved ones for the festivities, they should remember the girls and others in the custody of the insurgents in their thoughts.

The APC, however, assured Nigerians that the Federal Government remains solidly committed to ensuring their safe release and bring lasting peace to the troubled North-east region.

It further joined Christian faithful in the country and across the world in celebrating Easter which commemorates the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In line with the true essence of Easter, the party urged Christians to take cognisance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Cavalry for the sins of mankind.

The ruling party called on all Nigerians, irrespective of their religious affiliations to emulate the virtues of Jesus Christ as epitomised by his life of understanding, tolerance and sacrifice.

It noted that if the country could achieve this, only then would the people co-exist peacefully as a nation and collectively achieve the Nigeria of their dreams.

Pray For Return Of Those In Captivity, Buhari Tells Nigerians

President Muhammadu Buhari is optimistic the remaining Chibok girls in captivity would regain their freedom

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has asked Nigerians to continue to pray for the safe return of the remaining Chibok girls, and others in Boko Haram captivity.

The president made the request in his Easter message to Nigerians on Thursday, one month and 10 days after the terrorists who abducted schoolgirls from Chibok in 2014, snatched 110 schoolgirls from a secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe State.

Five of the Dapchi girls had died in captivity, 104 of them were freed on March 21 and reunited with their parents on Sunday. However, the terrorists held one, Leah Sharibu, back; allegedly because she refused to renounce her Christian faith.

Her fate has remained a source of worry with many calling for her release.

President Buhari is thankful for the release of Leah’s schoolmates and is hopeful that all those still in captivity would also regain their freedom. He, however, believes the prayers of Nigerians would help.

“I am very optimistic that all others, including the Chibok girls who are still in captivity, will be safely released unconditionally to their families. I urge you to continue to pray for their safe return,” he said in a statement.

The abduction of the schoolgirls had raised concerns about the safety of schools, especially in the North East which is the hotbed of the Boko Haram insurgency.

To ensure such an incident does not occur again, the President said security agencies have been given directives to protect schools.

“I have given clear instructions to our security agencies to prioritise safety in schools in areas where the humanitarian and security situation are still dire, in addition to ensuring adequate protection of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs),” President Buhari said.

With the 2019 elections less than a year away, President Buhari also used his Easter message to call on politicians to be law abiding.

He said, “As we approach the period of campaigns, I appeal to our political actors and other stakeholders to resist any act that could mar the integrity of our electoral process.

“I am optimistic that with God on our side, the dark days of Nigeria’s elections being manipulated by violence and rigging by corrupt politicians and their agents are over.

“They are confined to the dustbin of history where they rightly belong. I remain committed to bequeathing a legacy of supremacy of the people’s will through the ballot box.”

Knocks And Kudos Greet Return Of Dapchi Schoolgirls

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 28, 2018 a watchman stands at the gate of the deserted student boarding of Government Girls Technical College, where 110 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram Islamists at Dapchi town. PHOTO: AMINU ABUBAKAR / AFP

 

Mixed reactions have trailed the return of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents in Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, Yobe State.

The schoolgirls were reportedly dropped in the community on Wednesday morning, more than four weeks after they were kidnapped.

READ ALSO: Ezekwesili, Others React To Return Of Dapchi Schoolgirls

Nigerians in reaction to this news have taken to social media to view their opinion. While some expressed great delight on the return of the schoolgirls, others demand more explanation on the ‘sudden return’ with no arrests made, despite the heavy security agents deployed to secure the state.

However, the Federal Government has said that the release of the schoolgirls by Boko Haram terrorists was unconditional.

Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed on Wednesday said: “the girls were released in the wee hours of Wednesday through back-channel efforts and with the help of some friends of the country.”

See the mixed reactions below…

 

Jubilation As Abducted Dapchi Schoolgirls ‘Return’

Abducted Dapchi Schoolgirls 'Return'
Some of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls who regained freedom from Boko Haram terrorists on March 21, 2018.

There was jubilation in Dapchi town in Yobe State on Wednesday as Boko Haram freed most of the girls it abducted from the  Government Science and Technical College in the town.

Unfortunately, at least two of the girls are reported to have died as a result of the trauma while one of them was not released.

READ ALSO: Abducted Dapchi Schoolgirls’ Release Unconditional, Says FG

One of the girls told Channels Television in an interview on Wednesday, hours after their release arrival that they were not maltreated throughout the period in captivity.

However, details of the girls’ return are still sketchy while the exact number of those that returned have yet to be ascertained.

We Won’t Rest Until Chibok, Dapchi Schoolgirls Are Free, Says Buhari

Some of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls who regained freedom from Boko Haram terrorists on March 21, 2018.

– Terrorists Invasion –

Members of the outlawed group had stormed the Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, on February 19 and abducted many students from the school.

The Federal Government had consequently declared that 110 students were unaccounted for after the school was invaded. It had also increased security presence in schools across the state in a bid to prevent a reoccurrence of such incident.

Amid calls for the girls’ return, President Muhammadu Buhari paid a condolence visit to Yobe State and sympathised with the families of those whose children were abducted by the insurgents.

He told the parents of the students that his administration would not rest until all the Chibok and Dapchi schoolgirls in the Boko Haram custody were released and reunited with their families.

In another meeting with Mr Rex Tillerson, the U.S. Secretary of State who was sacked recently, President Buhari explained why the government had “chosen negotiation” to secure the return of the girls rather than use military force.

“We are trying to be careful. It is better to get our daughters back alive,” he had said.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, had also given a hint that troops were already closing in on the girls and their abductors.

“It can be earlier; maybe a week, it can be two weeks, but we are on it, and I’m telling you with all sense of sincerity that we are closing in on them,” Dan-Ali said during an interview on Dateline Abuja, a Channels Television’s programme which aired on Saturday last week.

Dapchi Abduction: Escapees Return To School, Recount Ordeal

Dapchi Abduction: Escapees Return To School, Recount Ordeal
File photo

 

Five students of the Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, in Yobe State, who fled when suspected Boko Haram terrorists invaded their school.

The entire Dapchi community has been thrown into a sorrowful mood, following the invasion of the school by the insurgents which led to the closure of the institution (in the meantime) by the state government.

READ ALSO: Stop Feasting And Go To Dapchi, PDP Tells Buhari

However, hope seems to be returning to the community as some of the students reportedly held hostage managed to escape the terrorists’ enclave.

In an exclusive interview with Channels Television, one of the students Sadiya Mohammed, who was part of the students that escaped capture when the school was invaded, narrated her experience in Hausa language.

After the Federal Government confirmed that 110 students were abducted, Sadiya lamented that her best friend, Zahra Mohammed, who they do things together, was missing.

 

Sadiya Mohammed wants her abducted friend and other Dapchi schoolgirls rescued

 

She, however, said: “Honestly, we are saddened with the abduction because we don’t really gain; sitting idle at home with the value of education in our modern world cannot be over-emphasised.

“I call on the government to look at the pathetic situation to intensify efforts towards the rescue of our colleagues.”

Why We Redeployed Troops From Dapchi – Military

It is 10 days since the students were declared missing by their school authorities, as their parents have called on the Federal and state governments to ensure their safe return.

President Muhammadu Buhari, obviously worried about the situation, has given the assurance that he would ensure the safe return of the girls and other citizens in the captivity of the outlawed group.

The National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, who also met with the Yobe State Governor, Mr Ibrahim Gaidam, also reassured him of the Federal Government’s support.

“I want to reassure you of the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari in getting all these girls back,” he said.

“This is a primary responsibility that rests not only on his shoulders but on mine, as well as all my colleagues who are here and on those who are also operating elsewhere.”

On his part, Governor Gaidam called for improved cooperation among religious, community and military leaders to ensure the speedy return of the girls.

Yobe Attack: FG Confirms Abduction Of 110 Schoolgirls

Yobe Attack: FG Confirms Abduction Of 110 Schoolgirls

 

The Federal Government has confirmed that 110 students were kidnapped after suspected Boko Haram terrorists invaded the Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, in Yobe State.

Addressing reporters in the state on Sunday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, said: “As of today (February 25), we cannot account for 110 students.”

READ ALSO: Dapchi Schoolgirls’ Abduction A National Disaster – Buhari

There have been conflicting figures of the abducted girls since suspected members of the outlawed group stormed the school on Monday last week.

The attack sparked mixed reactions in the country while President Muhammadu Buhari sent a delegation to the school to ascertain the situation there and report back to him.

Barely four days after the first visit, Mr Mohammed a delegation of the Federal Government to the state to meet with the State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, as well as representatives of the Dapchi community and security agencies.

 

Lai Mohammed briefs reporters during a visit to Yobe State

 

He told reporters that the meeting which held behind closed doors was also attended by the Local Government Chairman and all the relevant stakeholders to get a first-hand information and progress report on the abduction.

The minister explained that school population on the day of the attack was 906 and after headcount, 110 girls were confirmed to have been abducted from the school.

“The total register of students that came to school on that Monday was 906 but as of today, 110 of them cannot be accounted for, and that is the situation,” he said.

‘My Sister Is Still Missing’: Dapchi Schoolgirl, Others Narrate Ordeal

Mohammed added that the meeting also identified measures to be taken to prevent a reoccurrence of the incident.

According to him, these include the deployment police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) personnel to improve security presence in schools in the state.

“Far-reaching decisions were taken here today – one (of such) is that henceforth, the police and the civil defence corps will ensure that their presence is strong in every school so as to serve as a deterrent to insurgents,” he stressed.

The minister assured Nigerians that the government is using every available option to ensure the safe return of the girls while the security agencies would continue to work together to achieve the aim.

Parents Release Names Of 105 Abducted Dapchi Schoolgirls (Full List)

Parents Release Names Of 105 Abducted Dapchi Schoolgirls (Full List)

 

Parents of the students abducted by suspected Boko Haram terrorists from the Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, in Yobe State, have released the names of the girls.

The parents, who revealed a list containing the names of 105 schoolgirls on Saturday, noted that they were the only source of credible data.

They also dismissed conflicting figures from various sources and asked the state government to stop giving attention to “fake data.”

Read the full list below:

1. Fatima Bashir
2. Aisha Kachalla
3. Zainab Abubakar
4. Falmata Wakil
5. Fatima Isa
6. Fatima Musa
7. Aisha Usman
8. Aisha Adamu
9. Fatima Isa
10. Hauwa A. Mohammed Idriss
11. Maryam Mohammed
12. Fatima Mohammed II
13. Hauwa Salisu
14. Hassana Gambo
15. Aisha Adamu
16. Adama Garba
17. Zara Grema
18. Maryam Daamkontoma
19. Zainab Bama
20. Fatsuma Abdullahi
21. Fatima Yahaya Tarbutu
22. Amina Yahaya Tarbutu
23. Amina Adamu
24. Hajara Ali
25. Fatima Abdullahi
26. Fatsuma Ali
27. Zara’U Mohammed
28. Salamatu Garba
29. Falmata Alh. Inuwa
30. Falmata Alh. Ali
31. Aisha B. Danjuma
32. Maryam Bashir
33. Maryam Aliyu Mabu
34. Fatima Modu Bamba
35. Aisha Modu Bamba
36. Hafsat Haruna
37. Rabi Alh. Nasiru
38. Hadiza Moh’D
39. Fatima Aji Hassan
40. Falmata Wakil
41. Aisha Wakil
42. Falmata A. Audu
43. Aisha Maina
44. Aisha Mohammed
45. Aisha Mamuda
46. Name missing on list
47.Zainab Usman
48. Hadiza Mohammed Taiduma
49. Maryam Ibrahim
50. Fatima M. Gira
51. Hafsat Ibrahim Gira
52. Maryam Ibrahim
53. Zara Tijjani
54. Amina Haruna
55. Fatima Adamu
56. Khadija Mai Sale
57. Khadija Ali
58. Habiba Musa Jakana
59 Fatima Bukar
60. Hajara Gidado
61. Maryam Basiru
62. Fatima Usman
63. Maryam Ibrahim
64. Leah Sherubu
65. Aisha Alh. Deri
66. Fatima Hassan Mustapha
67. Zainab Manu
68. Zara Tijjani
69. Zainab Bukar Abba
70. Hauwa Saidu Abubakar
71. Karima Inusa
72. Amina A. Abubakar
73. Yakura Sani
74. Rabi Yahaya Tela
75. Hajara Yahaya Tela
76. Marya Mustapha
77. Aisha Abdullahi
78. Maryam Adamu Mohammed
79. Bintu Usman
80. Fatsuma Mohammed
81. Salamatu Isiyaku
82. Hauwa Lawan
83. Aisha B. Danjuma
84. Aisha Moh’D Jakusko
85. Hauwa Bulama
86. Fatima Abubakar Jambo
87. Walida Adamu
88. Fanna Mohammed
89. Aisha M. Bukar
90. Maryam Usman
91. Aisha Abba Aji
92. Maryam Usman
93. Maimuna A. Hassan
94. Zara Musa
95. Maryam Mohammed Kaku
96. Khadija Suleiman
97. Habiba Nuhu Dan Inu
98. Fatima Isiyaku Aliyu
99. Sahura Jibir Mohammed
100. Khadija Grema Dabuwa
101. Zara Grema Dabuwa
102. Zara Mohammed Lawan
103. Fatima Mohammed
104. Fati Modu Aisami
105. Fatsuma Alli.

U.S. Condemns Abduction Of Dapchi Schoolgirls

U.S. Condemns Abduction Of Dapchi Schoolgirls
Mr Stuart Symington

 

The United States government has strongly condemned the abduction of some girls from the Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, in Yobe State.

Addressing reporters in Kaduna State, the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stuart Symington, described the invasion of schools and abduction of innocent students by the Boko Haram terrorists as the highest height of desperation by the outlawed group.

READ ALSO: Dapchi Schoolgirls’ Abduction A National Disaster – Buhari

Symington who spoke after visiting a tomato farm in Igabi Local Government Area of the state alongside Governor Nasir El-Rufai, urged Nigerians to support the government in tackling insecurity in the country.

“There are many reasons for insecurity in the world, but the greatest reason is that people sometimes depend on others to keep them secured,” he said.

The business of keeping Nigeria secure is not the business of any small group of Nigerians, it’s the business of every day of every Nigerian.”

On ways to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency and develop the country, the US Envoy is of the view that the Federal Government must tackle poverty, illiteracy, and underdevelopment at all levels.

He stressed that such challenges are what breed insecurity, pointing out the urgent need for the government to address the issues, especially in the North East where the insurgency has killed several people displaced thousands.

“The fundamental way for Nigeria to be even greater tomorrow than it is today is for every Nigerian to be educated and healthier; have a better job, have a better life, have a better sense of their own civic duties and responsibilities,” Symington said.

Conflicting figures of the abducted girls had emerged after suspected terrorists stormed the school on Monday and forcefully took away some girls while others were said to have fled into the bush.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu, President Muhammadu Buhari described the abduction as a national disaster.

The President, however, gave the assurance that no effort would be spared by the Federal Government to rescue the girls and bring succour to their families.

Dapchi Schoolgirls’ Abduction A National Disaster – Buhari

Dapchi Schoolgirls' Abduction A National Disaster – Buhari
File photo

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has described the abduction of some students from the Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi, in Yobe State as a national disaster.

The President, however, gave the assurance that no effort would be spared by the Federal Government to rescue the girls and bring succour to their families.

He gave the assurance in a statement issued on Friday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

READ ALSO: PDP Accuses FG Of Lying To Nigerians

“The entire country stands as one with the girls’ families, the government and the people of Yobe State,” President Buhari said.

“This is a national disaster. We are sorry that this could have happened and share your pain. We pray that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return your missing family members.”

The President explained that after he received the news of the incident, he immediately dispatched a delegation on a fact-finding visit to the town and ordered security agencies to deploy in full and ensure that all the girls were returned safely.

He added that the Federal Government would send more troops and surveillance aircraft to keep an eye on all movements in the entire territory on a 24-hour basis, to ensure that all the missing girls are found.

President Buhari, who said it was devastating that the local authorities could not account for all the missing students, vowed that the attackers of the school would be arrested and made to face justice.

Suspected Boko Haram terrorists had stormed the school on Monday and forcefully took away some girls while others were said to have fled into the bush.

However, there were conflicting figures of the abducted girls while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) led government of being insensitive to the plight of Nigerians.

“Government’s visiting team headed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, only had a whistle stop at the Dapchi school and made no effort to interface or even commiserate with community leaders and parents of the abducted girls, while completely shutting out the media. This only further confirms APC’s insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians,” the party said in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan.

Yobe Govt Makes U-Turn, Retracts Statement On ‘Rescue’ Of Schoolgirls

Gaidam
Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam

The Yobe State Government has retracted a statement it issued on Wednesday announcing the rescue of some of the missing Government Science Technical College (GGSTC) Dapchi.

In the statement, the government had said some of the girls had been rescued from terrorists by the Nigerian Army, promising to provide more information.

However, the government has issued a fresh statement retracting the claim.
According to the statement by Mr Abdullahi Bego, the Director-General, Press Affairs, to the Yobe State Governor, the information Wednesday’s statement was based on was not credible.

The fresh statement reads, “The public may recall that we issued a statement last night in which we announced that some of the girls at Government Girls Science Technical College (GGSTC) Dapchi who went missing after Boko Haram terrorists had stormed their school last Monday were rescued by officers and men of the Nigerian Army who are currently executing the war against the Boko Haram Insurgents.

“The Yobe Government has retracted its statement saying that the military rescued some of the Dapchi.

“We issued the statement on the basis of information provided by one of the security agencies that is involved in the fight against Boko Haram and which we had no reason to doubt.

“We have now established that the information we relied on to make the statement was not credible. The Yobe State Government apologises for that.”

The state governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, on Thursday met with community leaders and the Principal and staff of the Girls’ College. The governor also addressed the parents of some of the schoolgirls that are still unaccounted for where he told them to pray and exercise patience as the government and security agencies at all levels continue the work to address the unfortunate situation.

He directed Education Ministry officials and the school administration to work closely with the security agencies to establish the actual number of the girls that are still unaccounted for and to contact parents and the community for possible information that could be useful in the investigation.

The governor expressed concern over the incident at the Girls’ College and, under his leadership, the Yobe State Government will continue to do everything necessary in partnership with security agencies and the Federal Government to address the situation.