United States President, Donald Trump, said the killing of dozens of civilians in northern Syria in an apparent chemical weapons attack is an “Affront to humanity”.
According to UK-based monitoring group, the Syrian observatory for human rights, out of 86 people killed in the chemical incident in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib province, 30 of them are children.
The US President, however, did not mention Russia, Syria’s ally, which says chemical weapons in rebel hands may have been released.
But America’s envoy to the United Nations (UN) accused Russia of covering up for Damascus.
The United States says it has withdrawn its funding for the United Nations Population Fund Agency (UNFPA), an agency which promotes family planning in more than 150 countries.
According to the State Department, the agency supports and participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation.
Earlier this year, President Trump had reinstated a ban on U.S. funding of any international organization that provided any kind of abortion service or advice.
Meanwhile, the agency has called the claims “Erroneous”, saying that all of its work promotes the rights of individuals and couples to make their own decisions, free of coercion or discrimination.
The U.S. State Department further stated that the money allocated to the agency will be “Transferred and reprogrammed to the Global Health Programs account, which will be used by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support family planning, maternal and reproductive health activities in developing countries.
This is the first of the promised cuts to U.S. financial contributions to the UN by the Trump administration.
Hundreds of Nigerians, who fled Boko Haram in Borno State, have returned to devastated towns and villages in recent days after the army seized back the militant group’s last remaining strongholds.
This is according to the United Nations, which also warns that families will return to find their homes and farmland destroyed, basic services wiped out and will live under the persistent threat of attacks by the jihadist group.
Spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, Mr. Leo Dobbs, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that healthcare, agriculture, and security services are in ruin after around two years of Boko Haram rule.
He adds that in the last week, buses organised by the Borno State government have begun transporting people from the capital, Maiduguri, to the newly accessible areas, with others are returning by their own means.
“Many of the areas they are going back to have been completely devastated,” said Dobbs.
The U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said last month nearly half a million children were at risk of ‘severe acute malnutrition’ in the area around Lake Chad that has been ravaged by Boko Haram.
Despite the Nigerian army’s success in driving Boko Haram out of occupied territory that 18 months ago was the size of Belgium, the militants still manage to stage regular suicide bombings in Nigeria and neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
Since 2009, more than 15,000 people have been killed, 2.3 million displaced due to Boko Haram activities in Nigeria.
The Senate has mandated its Committee on States and Local Governments to investigate the demarcation of the boundaries between Nigeria and Cameroon in Boki Local Government Area of Cross Rivers State.
The Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, brought a motion on the floor of the Senate warning of an impending border crisis between Nigeria and Cameroon if the matter was not addressed.
Senator Ndoma- Egba said that there was anxiety in the area over the recent activities of the Joint Technical Team of the Nigeria Cameroon Mixed Commission, who went to Danare and Biajua communities in Boki, Cross Rivers State, aided by Nigerian soldiers to arbitrarily enforce demarcation of the boundary between the two countries.
Senate President, David Mark, however, cautioned that the Senate needs to investigate the matter before making any resolution on the boundary demarcation exercise.
The demarcation of boundary between Nigeria and Cameroon by the United Nations (UN), if approved, could cede about eight local governments to Cameroon.
An educationist, Abiola Awosika on Tuesday urged the federal government to dedicate 35 per cent of its budget to education to ensure that the country meets the international educational standard.
Speaking during a programme on Channels Television, the education professor said she had written an academic article in 1992, recommending that 25 per cent of Nigeria’s budget be dedicated to education because “we had a shortfall and we needed to catch up with the rest of the world”.
“So if the United Nations (UN) is recommending 26 per cent today, we need to be at may be 35 or 36 per cent of our budget going into education” noting that “if we do that, we will be able to move our universities up” she said.
She further advocated for a shift in the mode of learning saying “I keep saying that technology is the way to go. E-learning”.
She recounted the visit of former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown’s visit to Nigeria, where he also, according to her, told the National Universities Commission (NUC) and “told them categorically that e-learning is the only way that we are going to be saved in this country”.
She however noted that “a lot of our universities are in the fore front of that” listing “Obafemi Awolowo University (Ife), Ahmadu Bello University (Zaria), University of Ibadan (Ibadan)” as universities that “are trying to do something different so that we can get different results”.
Despite canvassing for financial autonomy for Nigerian universities, she noted that “we have to also think about the economy that we are in” expressing dismay that Nigerians pay overseas and don’t want to pay in Nigeria.
She further noted that over N60 billion is paid to Ghana by Nigerians who go there to study annually.
Professor ABiola Awosika is also the Rector of Olawoyin Awosika School of Innovative Studies (OASIS), Isheri-Lagos.