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UN Women Asks For Prioritisation Of Funding For War Against SGBV

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United Nations Women has called for prioritisation of investment by all stakeholders in financing development plans towards ending violence against women and girls, even as it pleaded for strategic policy development aimed at putting a stop to the scourge.

The call was made at the weekend by the UN Women Deputy Country Representative to Nigeria. Mr. Lansana Wonneh at a Joint Symposium on Prevention of Violence Against Special Need Groups in Nigeria; with the theme: “Tackling Multi-forms of Vulnerability and Violence through Improved Policies, Programmatic and Funding Mechanisms”.

Wonneh, who was represented by the National Programme Officer UN Women, Mrs. Patience Ekeoba, said that despite many countries passing laws to combat violence against women, weak enforcement and discriminatory social norms remain significant problems.

He said: “Being able to stop violence from occurring in the first place is critical to achieving the goal of ending violence against women and girls (VAWG) because if violence does not occur all the other GBV responses will not be necessary. VAWG is preventable; we need to continue to invest in transforming social norms, addressing unequal gender power relations, strengthening essential services for survivors, and enabling safer environments. I call for more attention to gender-responsive budgeting, ensuring that budget circulars have definite allocations to gender equality and women empowerment including the budget for addressing violence against women and girls.”

Wonneh explained that women with special needs and other groups experience violence differently because of their vulnerability and special needs, hence the need for stakeholder engagements to mobilize support and raise awareness to end the menace.

He added: “The symposium provides an opportunity for ASWHAN and the other special needs groups to share their experiences of violence, their survivor stories and make demand for increased prevention interventions and response. It will also allow all relevant government agencies, the UN System, development partners, and civil society to gather here today to listen, discuss, and advance prevention strategies and funding mechanisms to enhance prevention and mitigation services and actions for the target groups. So I call on you to participate actively so that at the end of today’s interactions we will all come up with practical strategies towards reducing and eliminating violence that affects these critical groups in our society.”

Also speaking, the Acting Director, Policy Planning and Coordination, Nation Agency for the Control Aids (NACA), Dr. Yinka Anoemuah, noted that the agency will continue to work with partners to achieve the desired goal of ending all forms of violence.

“We have so many vulnerable populations that experience vulnerabilities and that is why we will continue to partner with the UN system and partners to find ways to bring an end to all the challenges that people are facing in the communities. We recognize very much the relationships between Gender Violence (GBV) and HIV, and that is why the key area of strategic engagement that we have had over the years is if we want to control the virus and end the epidemy by 2030, we need to bring to a stop all forms of violence, be it emotional, psychological, physical, then we have to work together to make that happen. Without resources, without people, without investment, we will not be able to do it, but with collaborations and partnerships we will achieve a lot”. She noted

On behalf of people with disabilities, the President of Women With Disabilities, Lois Auta, called for an increase in budget allocation on disability issues.
“Women with disabilities are much more vulnerable to issues of GBV, this violence could be in different forms such as issues of economic empowerment, issues of health, issues of institutional barriers, and infrastructural Barriers. We have legal frameworks and these frameworks are not implemented. The big issue is the lack of funding, with the need to come together and collaborate and activate goal 17 of SDG, by working together. We need to insert a budget plan in all the MDAs for issues of women and girls with disabilities.
She said: “We need to talk to the National Assembly to increase the budget allocation on issues of disability as well as increase awareness on GBV in the rural areas.”

According to the Head Health Desk, Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs Marian Shuaibu, the ministry takes priority in the wellbeing of all women. Noting that approval to establish a mobile court to deal with the perpetrators of GBV has been gotten, as well as the development of a policy on mental health.

This year’s theme, “Unite!; Invest to Prevent Violence Against Women & Girls” is apt as it focuses on investment and financing of strategies and programmes that will help prevent violence from happening the first place against women and girls.

The symposium was put together by UN Women, NACA, UNAIDS, the Association of Women with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, (ASWHAN), and the Ministry of Women Affairs.

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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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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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