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British High Commission Worried Over Low Attendance Of Children With Disabilities In School

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Gill Atkinson

 

 

The British High Commission has lamented the low attendance of children with disabilities in school in Nigeria.

 

The Acting British High Commissioner, Gill Atkinson gave the lamentation while hosting a gathering of members of Nigeria’s disability rights community and their advocates as well as representatives of the diplomatic community in Abuja.

 

He said: “It is particularly shocking that it is estimated that only 12% of children with disabilities are in education. I know from my own experience that people with disabilities can and do make a full contribution to society – I hope that by speaking out I can help make a positive impact in Nigeria.

 

 

The envoy added: “As I prepare to leave Nigeria, it was a priority for me that the final event I host should bring the spotlight onto the challenges faced by the disabled community in Nigeria. I live with a disability myself and I know that, even with a good employer and a strong legal framework, it can be extremely challenging for people with disabilities to fulfill their capabilities and potential.”

 

He said: “While legal developments are part of the necessary change, it is also vital that this is mirrored by culture and attitude changes too.”

 

The theme for the event was the progress of the SDGs with and for persons with disabilities – aligning with International Day’s theme this year. Attendees were treated to panel discussions which included key reflections from Mr James Lalu, the Executive Secretary to the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, and Mr Jake Epelle, CEO of TAF Africa alongside a performance by the Deaf Can Dance group.

 

The forum was also an opportunity to spotlight women leaders in the disability space, and to learn about the particular Health and Social challenges faced by women living with disabilities in Nigeria which was especially relevant during 16 Days of Activism.

 

It is no secret that there are no accurate figures on disability in Nigeria, but millions of people have disabilities. It is estimated that unemployment rates are over 60% against a national rate of 21.5% and that only 12% of children are in education compared with 57% for those without disabilities.

 

Women with disabilities are also up to four times more likely than other women to experience violence. The Government of Nigeria has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities UNCRPD and passed the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act in 2018. In 2015, the Government also passed the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act.

 

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FOREIGN NEWS

Canadian Embassy, NIDCOM Collaborate To Manage Migration

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Dr. Jamie Christoff, Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, has emphasised the importance of collaborating with Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) to achieve mutually beneficial migration management outcomes.

The Canadian Envoy made the statement during a visit to NiDCOM Chairman/CEO Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa in Abuja.

He stated, “I understand the impact of large diaspora groups and their contributions to Canada. The Nigerian diaspora is one of our top five migrant groups and a major contributor to Nigeria’s economy. We must assist these Nigerians in migrating on a regular basis.

Christoff went on to say that the two must work together to bridge the gap in Nigerians’ expectations, particularly those who are acting with good intentions, in order to showcase the best of Nigeria.

The envoy stated, “This can be accomplished through regular engagements with Nigerians, knowledge and information sharing on the proper steps to regular migration, and what to expect in Canada.”

According to the Ambassador, he and his team are ready to assist the commission with opportunities, time, and expertise to achieve a better-managed migration.

Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO NiDCOM, welcomed the delegation and expressed her appreciation for the visit, as well as the offer of partnerships, revealing some of the Commission’s ongoing projects with the Nigerian Diaspora in Canada.

She recalled her time in Canada meeting with Nigerian groups and the many positive developments that resulted from the interactions.

The NIDCOM CEO stated, “This year, we will host the Nigeria-Canadian Business Summit in Canada, as well as a Nigeria Day, to bring together this large diaspora group to explore ways to make an impact, both in the host country and back home.”

Dabiri-Erewa reiterated that both countries have numerous opportunities to capitalise on, adding that the Commission, with the assistance of a Councillor in Canada, is working on a Canada Pull Factor as a pilot project to harmonise Nigerian data in Canada with the Diaspora Data Mapping portal.

She also mentioned other strategies implemented by the Commission to engage Nigerians in Diaspora, such as the National Diaspora Policy, the National Diaspora Day Celebration/National Diaspora Merit Award, the Diaspora Investment Trust Fund, the Diaspora Door of Return Festival, and Diaspora Medical Missions, among others.

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FOREIGN NEWS

Don’t Judge Our Performance By Present Political Situation, ECOWAS Insists 

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Dr. Alieu Touray, President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, has expressed concern that the current political situation in the subregion has overshadowed the regional bloc’s efforts to address the needs of its citizens.

He said this while lamenting the low trade volume among member states, which is around 12%.

Touray also said the trade volume within the larger African continent was not also impressive as it stands under 20%.

Speaking at the maiden briefing on the activities of the sub-regional body on Wednesday in Abuja, Touray said: “There is so much more that ECOWAS is engaged in, because ECOWAS is present in virtually all facets of human development in the region, planning and providing
for the contemporary needs of the community.

“Unfortunately, these laudable strides in the region’s relentless march towards
an economic union have been overshadowed by contemporary political developments.”.

He said with the strategies and policies in place to encourage trading and movement of goods and people within the subregion, it is disheartening that trade amongst member states is abysmally low, noting that: “At the moment, our intra community trade stands around 12%. On the whole in Africa, intra continental trade is under 20% which is extremely low.”

He stated, “When you look at developed countries, countries that are sufficiently integrated, or regions that are sufficiently reintegrated, intra-continental trade alone is around 60 to 70%.

” So we have a long way to go. Very long way to go and this is why it is important that we open our markets for our own produce, our own manufactured items.”

He also emphasised the importance of having a sufficient local content in subregional production.

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FOREIGN NEWS

Russia Praises ECOWAS’ Partial Lifting Of Sanctions On Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso

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Russia has praised the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) decision to lift some sanctions imposed on departing members of the bloc, Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso, as a result of military intervention in civilian governance.

An official statement by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday said: “The window for dialogue between the Sahel States Alliance (SSA) and ECOWAS remains open, and the decisions made at the Abuja summit can be seen as a demonstration of political will in the interest of maintaining Community unity.”

The statement said, “On February 24th, an extraordinary summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was held in Abuja, Nigeria, where the most pressing regional issues were discussed. The forum resulted in a series of important decisions, including those addressing the preservation of ECOWAS unity in light of the recent announcement by the leadership of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso of their “immediate” withdrawal from its membership. These countries, amidst the Community’s imposed restrictions, established a new integrative alliance in September 2023, named the “Sahel States Alliance” (SSA), aimed at consolidating efforts in national defense and security.

The forum resulted in a series of important decisions, including those addressing the preservation of ECOWAS unity in light of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso’s recent announcement of their “immediate” withdrawal from the organisation.

“The Russian side emphasizes that the West African states should determine their own ways to resolve the current situation. The window for dialogue between the SSA and ECOWAS remains open, and the decisions made at the Abuja summit can be seen as a demonstration of political will in the interest of maintaining Community unity.

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