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Civil War: ECOWAS Court Adopts Victims’ Compensation Terms, Nov 30

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The ECOWAS Court of Justice has fixed November 30, 2020, to adopt the terms of settlement in a third party proceeding brought by representatives of some communities and victims of mines and explosives’ remnants of Nigeria’s Civil War.

On the reconstituted panel for the case are Justices Edward Amoako Asante (presiding), Dupe Atoki (judge rapporteur) and Januaria Moreira Costa.

Justice Dupe Atoki said the court was amenable to settlement while emphasising the need for diligence in the process to avoid time-wasting.

The judge added that the court adjourned for a period longer than requested by the parties to enable them conclude the settlement, and file the terms of settlement.

The rapporteur warned that failure to do this before the adjourned date would cause the court to hear the preliminary objection filed by the plaintiffs, Vincent Agu and 19 others.

The plaintiffs had filed an application challenging the propriety of the third party applicants’ suit.

At the resumed hearing, they informed the court of an ongoing discussion of the parties that had reached a substantive agreement stage.

In the initial suit no. ECW/CCJ/APP/06/12, Vincent Agu and others, claimed the violation of their rights by the Federal Republic of Nigeria and five others.

They are the Ministry of Defence, Minister of Defence, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, and two companies the government used to undertake the demining exercise.

In the present suit no. ECW/CCJ/APP/06/12TP consolidated by 10 of the 11 third party claimants (TP1, TP2, TP4, TP5, TP6, TP7, TP8, TP9, TP10, TP11), excluding the third applicant TP.3, the applicants sought to be joined as parties to guarantee the adequate and equitable distribution of the benefits of the Court’s Consent Judgment no. ECW/CCJ/JUD/14/17 of October 30, 2017.

The third party applicants comprise traditional leaders of all impacted communities, sites and settlements as well as victims of mines and explosives’ remnants of war in the country’s Rivers, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Ebonyi, Cross River, Abia, Enugu, Anambra and Benue states.

In their application filed as representatives of the victims and affected communities, the third party applicants are seeking an amendment and variation of the court’s judgment to reflect their names.

They averred that the first defendant, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has consented to settle the plaintiffs and affected communities, but they filed the suit so that the court can order a variation of the mode of payment of compensation to include hundreds of other communities impacted.

They are demanding that the monies and compensation be disbursed through the solicitors of all parties, including those of the third party applicants, to ensure equity, fairness, transparency, probity and justice for all affected victims and communities.

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Foundation Donates N6m To Children With Cancer

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Okapi Children Cancer Foundation yesterday donated N6 million to children fighting cancer disease in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Ms Kemi Adekanye, Chief Volunteer and Founder of the Foundation, Ms Kemi Adekanye said the gesture was part of its annual events to support children fighting cancer at the National Hospital Abuja (NHA) and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital(UATH) in Abuja.
Adekanye, while decrying the high cost of treatment and management of childhood cancer, stressed the need for the government and other philanthropists to support the patients and families, which will increase chances of survival for them.
According to her, the organisation, since its inception in 2017, had donated over N14.8 million to support the children.
“We have been able to render support to these children to reduce the cost of treatment, as well as provide emotional support and job opportunities for some of their parents.
“A lot of these children commence treatment and abandon it midway because of the high cost of treatment and other care,”she said.
She, therefore, stressed the need for more awareness and enlightenment on childhood cancer, which will garner more support and initiation of policies to help manage the disease.
Consultant Paedetric Oncologist, UATH, Dr Uduak Offiong, while commending the foundation, said the donation would support parents, whose children were fighting cancer, especially in accessing blood platelets.
According to her, many children abandon cancer treatment due to financial constraints.
She, therefore, appealed to the government to subsidise cost of treating childhood cancer as well as include it in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for less privileged families to access treatment.
Similarly, Head of Unit, Paedetric Oncology, NHA, Dr Oyesakin Adewunmi, represented by Dr Patricia Igoche of the same unit, stressed the need for more support and attention to be given to childhood cancer.
On his part, President, Nigeria Cancer Society, Dr Adamu Umar, while decrying lack of awareness and neglect of childhood cancer in the called on the Federal Governments to include it in the NHIS and funds should be allocated for its management.
Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Dr Margaret Olokpo, called for more emotional supports to both the children suffering from cancer and their parents.
One of the recipients’ parents, Mrs Titilayo Adewunmi, commended the organisation for their unwavering support to them in caring, managing and treating their children fighting cancer.
The organisation recently held a walk and zoom meeting to educate the public on signs, symptoms and appropriate treatment for childhood cancer in the FCT.

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Minister Seeks More Funding For Agriculture

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The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri, has solicited for more financial support to upscale investments in the agricultural sector.
A statement issued by Chief Information Officer in the ministry of Agriculture, in Abuja, Ezeaja Ikemefuna, quoted  the minister as saying this at a virtual high-level panel discussion last Friday, to round off activities to celebrate the 2021 World Food Day.
He said that being the focus of government’s diversification agenda, agriculture deserved better funding, to provide credit facilities that would support the sector’s value chain activities.
Shehuri said that the ministry was strongly committed to meeting domestic food requirements, exporting at qualitative levels and creating a favorable business environment that would make agribusiness thrive.
“ There is a deliberate strategic approach to job creation, conserving foreign exchange and attaining national food security,” he said.
The minister pointed out that the seed sub-sector supply chain was being repositioned to ensure that farmers had access to quality seeds to improve yields.
“The National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), under my watch, has been directed to interface with key seed industry stakeholders to ensure that Early Generation Seeds (EGS) are structured, to ensure uninterrupted supply of certified seeds.
“ There is also an on-going awareness campaign by the Council on the importance of using improved seeds to boost production,” he said.
The minister added that the administrative bottlenecks that had previously hindered farmers’ easy access to fertiliser had been addressed, while the partnership with the Government of Brazil to pilot the establishment of 117 mechanisation centres across the country was on- going.
“ When these centres are completed and made operational, farmers will be able to buy mechanisation services for a fee, with relative ease, and without the need to own expensive equipment for farm operations,” he said.
‘’ Nigeria’s agriculture has done well under this administration in areas such as, being the world leading producer of yams with 18.3 million MT, world leader in the production of Cassava that has steadily risen to 70 million MT”, he said.

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#EndSARS: LCCI Seeks Strict Adherence To Democratic Ideals

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged leaders in sub-Saharan Africa to embrace the rule of law and democratic ideals to forestall political unrests.
Director-General, LCCI, Dr Chinyere Almona, made the call in an interview with The Tide news yester in Lagos.
She spoke against the backdrop of the one-year anniversary of #EndSARS protests which impacted negatively on businesses across the country.
Almona added that bad governance, forceful takeover of government and extended stay in office may continue to instigate violent protests that disrupt business operations.
She noted that the economic impact of violent protests on the business community globally in 2020 was 14.96 trillion dollars in Purchasing Power Parity terms.
This figure, Almona said, was equivalent to 11.6 per cent of the world’s economic activity or 1,942 dollars per person.
She said that the economic impact of violence increased by 0.2 per cent in 2020.
Almona disclosed that the LCCI estimated the immediate loss from the EndSARS to be above N700 billion in October 2020, with discoveries of more losses after weeks of investigations by the government across the country.
“The 2021 Global Peace Index (GPI) released by the Institute for Economics and Peace ranked Nigeria 146 among 163 independent nations and territories, according to its level of peacefulness in 2020.
“Nigeria moved one step from 147 in 2020 (from 2019 rank), though it still ranked eighth among the least peaceful countries in Africa after South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Central African Republic, Sudan and Mali.
“In 2020, the world witnessed almost 15,000 violent protests and riots.
“The damage it caused came with a hefty price of about 15 trillion dollars or 11.6 per cent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product.
“Among those, more than 5,000 were pandemic-related and were recorded between January 2020 and April 2020,” she said.
Almona advised that businesses should consider taking various insurance policies to protect their premises and facilities against unforeseen destruction.
She called for enhanced programmes that would address youth unemployment and reduce social vices.

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