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Covid-19: Rape Cases Rise By 149% -Action Aid

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ActionAid Nigeria has lamented that rape cases in the country have increased by 149 per cent.
The increment was attributed to the lockdowns as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A press release issued at the weekend by the Board of Trustees of ActionAid Nigeria, after a virtual meeting to review the State of the Nation, stated that: “Since the Covid-19 lockdown, a wave of rape and other forms of Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) has increased. Since the commencement of lockdowns, reported cases of gender-based violence have substantially risen with a monthly increase of 149% in 23 out of the 36 states in Nigeria where we could obtain data on SGBV.”
It lamented that: “Despite this, till date, only 17 out of 36 states and the FCT have passed the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act in Nigeria.”
The organisation also decried that the recent hike in electricity was unfortunate and ill-timed.
The press release read: “The hike in electricity tariffs by almost 100% as well as the fuel price increase coming amid the Covid-19 pandemic, is not only ill-timed, but it is also counterproductive. The privatization of the electricity sub-sector seven years down the line has not yielded the anticipated positive results.
“This is because through the privatization process, the entire sector was sold at about N400billion. We are also surprised that government within the last four years injected N1.5trillion over and above the amount that accrued from this important asset and Nigerians are still being made to pay more.”
It further lamented that: “Regardless of claims of increased security measures by federal authorities, an atmosphere of insecurity persists across Nigeria. Increasing attacks are being reported in the northeast including reports of fresh attacks in Chibok, home of the Chibok girls who are yet to fully return home six years after their abduction, with 112 girls still missing.”
It, however, commended the Federal Government over it attempts to encourage local farmers and food producers over imports, but decried the twin crises of flooding and food shortages, which is “threatening to push Nigeria into a devastating food crisis.”
ActionAid Nigeria however urged Federal Government to provide definite timelines for government’s response to youths’ demands.
“This can be kickstarted with investigations of the incident that transpired at Lekki Toll Gate. Those who ordered the shooting, as well as the officers who fired at peaceful protesters must be brought to book openly.
“Those who sponsored hoodlums to disrupt the peaceful protests, attack their fellow citizens and destroyed properties must be identified and made to face the wrath of the law to pass a clear message that elites should desist from using young Nigerians for political gain. We call on the Federal Government to ask the Central Bank to unfreeze the accounts of #EndSARS promoters without delay,” it advised.
It also implored the Federal Government and sub-national governments to investigate the other myriads of problems raised with the outset of Covid-19, with a view to resolving all pending issues so as to maintain industrial harmony and avoid needless sufferings and death of Nigerians.
It would also be an opportunity to strengthen our under-funded health facilities.
It said: “The increase in electricity tariff and hike in fuel price has eroded the purchasing power of Nigerians. We recommend the reversal of the fuel price and electricity tariff, and request that meters be provided for all electricity consumers. The gains made on poverty eradication by the President and other stakeholders like ActionAid Nigeria are being eroded drastically because of monumental inflation.”
It also said: “Sexual Gender Based Violence response services should be a basic and accessible service in every state of Nigeria. The minimum standards for prevention and response to SGBV in emergencies should be institutionalised. The foundational standards will help states engage communities better, support national systems, and collect data for effective utilization.”

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RSNC GM Tasks Medical Practitioners On Emerging Pandemics

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The General Manager of the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation, Publishers of The Tide Newspaper, Chief Ernest Chinwo, has called on medical practitioners in the country to assist the government find workable solution to the array of emerging pandemics, including COVID-19, Lassa fever and monkeypox currently ravaging the country.
Chinwo said this in his office during a courtesy call by organisers of the Rivers State Joint Health Summit 2022.
Represented by the Acting Chairman of Editorial Board and Supervising Editor, Mr Nelson Chukwudi, the general manager also stressed the need for the health professionals to come up with private sector-driven health insurance scheme for the country.
He said that it also behoves on them to pool resources together with a view to building mega hospitals in the country to stem the tide of medical tourism abroad while at the same time curbing brain drain.
The general manager also tasked them to check the incidence of quackery in the medical profession.
Chinwo commended them for the proposed summit, assuring of the cooperation and support of the corporation, especially in providing adequate coverage to their activities.
He said the corporation, since inception has been on the forefront in publicising health issues, stressing that it was against this background that a page was dedicated in The Tide newspaper for health, and called for medical experts to contribute to the robustness of content on the page.
He further noted that beside newspaper publishing, the corporation also does all kinds of commercial printing jobs, and solicited patronage from the health professionals.
Earlier, Secretary General of the Rivers State Joint Health Summit, Dr. Joseph Olawuyi, said the summit with the theme “Repositioning HealthCare services in Rivers state” earlier proposed for the 22 to 26 of August 2022 was moved to October 2022 to ensure mass participation by both government and non-governmental organisations.
Olawuyi said the summit which is being put together by private medical practitioners in partnership with government aims at refocusing the health sector for quality service in the state.
He said a lot of people both within and outside the country have started registering for the summit.
According to him the event will also be used to train health practitioner’s on biomedical engineering as well as encourage the utilization of abundant medical equipment by practitioners.
He urged for a health bank in the country to create access to soft loans by health practitioners.
Olawuyi said the event which will be declared open by Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike will be attended by people from all walks of life including members of the armed forces amongst others.

By: John Bibor & Oreoluwa Adigun

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FG Spends N18.69bn Daily On Subsidy, Minister Confirms

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The Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has disclosed that Nigeria spends N18.69billion daily on petroleum subsidies.
She stated this, yesterday, when she appeared before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating oil subsidies.
The minister claimed Nigeria consumes 64million litres per day, and that the figure could have been influenced by smuggling.
Ahmed said the executive is also concerned about the increment in daily consumption.
She noted that some of the products are being smuggled outside the country, adding that during COVID-19 locked down, daily consumption dropped significantly.
She stated that the president alone cannot take the decision on removing subsidy, insisting that there must be a multi-stakeholder approach, including all political parties, who must sit to make the decision.
The minister disclosed that the landing cost of petroleum is N448 per litre and that the NNPC takes care of the rest through under recovery.
She further said the Federal Executive Council has also expressed worry about the figure presented by the NNPC, adding that as the Minister of Finance, she has no access to the bank statement of the NNPC.
The Chairman of the Committee, Ibrahim Aliyu, questioned the figure provided by the minister.
Aliyu said even during the COVID19 locked down, Nigeria was still consuming high volume, which according to him was not logical.
He claimed the daily petroleum consumption was about 32million litres.
But the minister responded that she is not sure whether daily consumption has doubled and not also sure if the total number of vehicles in the country has doubled in the past 10 years.

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Over 20 Countries Arrive Abuja For 2022 INAC

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The 2022 International Arts and Crafts Expo (INAC), themed “Networking Nigerian Crafts to the World”, was, yesterday, declared open in Abuja, by the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe.
The 15th edition of the Expo holding at the Abuja Sheraton Hotels & Towers has in attendance no fewer than 25 countries and eight states in Nigeria.
Some of the countries already on ground include Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Venezuela, Syria, India, Philippines, China, Iran, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Malaysia, Benin Republic, Sudan, Lebanon, South Korea and Tanzania.
States in Nigeria that have arrived Abuja for the annual international event are Lagos, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, FTC, Kaduna and Katsina.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Runsewe said the aim of the expo is to better project Nigerian crafts to various countries of the world given that our stories are better told by us. It is also to promote cultural exchange programmes and improve inter-country collaborations in music, arts, drama, etc.
The expo, as usual, is expected to amongst other items, feature skill acquisition trainings for young people, free medical examination and care, display of countries art documentaries, exhibitions of countries’ arts, crafts and culture.
Runsewe said: “This is another opportunity we have to showcase Nigerian crafts to the world and to let the world know that Nigeria is a safe place to be. We want Nigerians to know that the creative industry is capable of tackling Nigerian insecurity problems by engaging the youths in our crafts for revenue generation.”
The 2022 expo holds from August 18 to 20, 2022.

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