UNSG Ban Ki-moon ends visit to Nigeria on a high

SG and President Buhari 2It was a glorious day for Nigeria when she hosted the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 23 – 24 August 2015. From colourfully clad dance troupe for airport reception to dialogue with her leaders of business and philanthropy, Nigeria rolled out one of her best to make the visit of the Secretary General (SG) worthwhile.

Visiting for the second time in four years, and showing no sign of jet lag, Mr Ban within two hours of arrival in Nigeria had a dialogue with the nation’s State Governors on ‘Pathways to a new Nigeria – Role of sub-national governments’SG immunizes a baby.

With over ten engagements on the last day, the SG’s activities reached a high point when Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari received him at the Presidential Villa where they had a closed-door meeting and later a joint Press Stakeout. Mr Ban afterwards met with members of the diplomatic corps to speak on ‘Democracy, human rights, development, climate change and countering violent extremism’; and had a dialogue with Nigerian youth.SG lays a wreath

Earlier, he visited the UN House to lay a wreath in honour of fallen colleagues during the bomb attacks on the building in 2011 and had a town hall meeting with UN Staff.

The meeting with leaders of business and philanthropy was aimed at stimulating the private sector for national development especially as related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and within the framework of the Post 2015 Development Agenda.SG in the classroom - Low Res

The visit was not just about meetings as the SG visited a school and a clinic in Abuja. At Garki 2 Health Centre, a few babies were personally immunised by the SG while at the school, he engaged with the students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNIC, SMILE attracts massive crowd to youth day in Lagos

UNIC Director, Mr Ronald Kayanja addresses the youth

UNIC Director, Mr Ronald Kayanja addresses the youth

The atmosphere was electrifying; over 1400 youths attended; two youth-led panel sessions held; ‘Youth civic engagement’ was the theme; it was stimulating and inspiring, the 2015 International Youth Day, that is. Organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos and Strategy for Mentoring Initiative and Leadership Empowerment (SMILE), the observance of the Day held at the University of Lagos main auditorium, featured film show, knowledge sharing by youth, musicals and engaging interactive sessions.

In his message on the occasion, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, called on young people

President, SMILE, Mrs Bimpe Bamgbose-Martins giving  closing remarks

President, SMILE, Mrs Bimpe Bamgbose-Martins giving closing remarks

to speak out and leaders to listen. According to him, ‘Young people are proving to be invaluable partners who can advance meaningful solutions. Young leaders have contributed fresh ideas, taken proactive measures, and mobilized through social media as never before.’

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

The message, delivered by the Director of UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja, further noted that the engagement of youth was more valuable than ever as leaders prepare to adopt a bold new vision for sustainable development. ‘Youth’, the UN Secretary General added, ‘can also join forces with the United Nations as we move from forging the new sustainable development goals to implementing them.’

In his keynote address, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Idiat Oluranti Adebule pledged to involve youths in decision making process, building their skills to encourage entrepreneurial initiatives and creating opportunities for them to contribute positively to their communities.Panel discussion with audience

Represented by the Director of Administration and Human Resource at the Office of the Deputy Governor, Mrs Yetunde Odejayi, the Deputy Governor disclosed that the recent creation of the Office of Civic Engagement by the Lagos State Government was an indication of the importance the State government placed on citizen engagement in developmental programmes and policies.

Cross-section with stageIn her closing remarks, the President of SMILE, Mrs Bimpe Bamgbose-Martins noted that the discussion of ‘Youth Civic Engagement’ as it affects political, economic and social issues was not exhaustive and would therefore be further explored by the organisation with active participation by the youth.

She observed that the vision of developing an environment where youth could thrive and realise their full potential was work in progress, ‘but we are convinced that the recommendations contained in the communiques issued at the end of the programme will go a long way in addressing the issue of youth and development,’ Mrs Bamgbose-Martins added.

UNIC engages 210 girls at summer camp, discusses UN@70

A soft-furnishing trainee (Left) briefs UNIC Director, Ronald Kayanja

A soft-furnishing trainee (Left) briefs UNIC Director, Ronald Kayanja

It is summer time, widely known as ‘long vacation period’ within the education circle in Nigeria, during which students and their parents get engaged in some predetermined activities both locally and abroad. While many pupils have gone on vacation with their parents after a tedious academic year, some are in camps developing their skills and nourishing their interests without hurting their academic studies. The latter, of course is in line with the United Nations strategic framework for the Post-2015 Agenda, especially the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 5 which dwells on achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls.

UNIC Director, Ronald Kayanja addresses the participants

UNIC Director, Ronald Kayanja addresses the participants

It is in the light of the above that ‘Yes I believe Academy’, a strategic partner of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, organized a Summer Camp for 210 girls aged between 10 and 18 years. Titled, Summer Skills Acquisition Workshop’, the one week programme featured different training sessions including those on Beadworks, Shoe making, Make-up, soft furnishing, among others.

Addressing the participants who were students of Gbagada Girls Junior Secondary School, Bariga Lagos, the Director of UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja spoke about the works and history of the United Nations especially the 70th anniversary. He noted that skill acquisition was a lifetime gift which should be embraced by everyone who had the opportunity to get one.

Summer camp - Director and a trainee shoemakerHe commended the parents of the participants for sending their children to the summer camp and to the students he congratulated for being a part of the programme which he assured, would have a positive impact on their future.

In his remarks, the Executive Director of ‘Yes I Believe Academy’, Mr Niyi Adekunle, disclosed that within four days of training, the children demonstrated high level of seriousness and commitment to learning specific skills. He later, in company of the facilitators, conducted the UNIC team lead by the Director round the exhibition of some of the products produced by the participants. ‘I am highly impressed,’ Mr Kayanja concluded.

Domestic violence, not a family affairs – UNIC

UNIC Lagos National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun addresses the audience

UNIC Lagos National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun addresses the audience

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, has reiterated that domestic violence was not a family affairs rather a criminal offence and a breach of fundamental human rights. ‘Incest, rape, abuse and all other forms of domestic violence cannot be a domestic affair,’ the National Information Officer of UNIC Lagos, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun had said at a programme on ‘Domestic Violence: Breaking the Cycle, Dealing with the Consequences’ in Lagos.

The programme, jointly organized by UNIC Lagos and Warien Rose Foundation, was attended byDomestic violence - pix 3 students, media and other members of the public. Speaking further, Mr Soremekun called on victims to speak out and seek help, being a bold step to breaking the cycle of domestic violence. He added that everyone should revisit family and societal values which place premium on good conduct and good family name.

In her opening remarks, the President of Warien Rose Foundation, Ms Efe Anaughe, expressed concern about the alarming rate of domestic violence especially those related to sexual assault, child abuse and rape.

Domestic violence - pixDelivering a keynote address on the occasion, the Information Manager of Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), Mr Timothy Melaye, noted that domestic violence ‘is a problem for all of us, no one knows the next victim, could be your brother, sister, friend, neighbour, cousin, niece, nephew, son, daughter or even you.’ He therefore, called on all Nigerians to work to raise our voice against this, shame it, shout it down and support the victims.

UNIC Lagos, partner unveil world’s largest African shirt on Mandela

Seyi as the CuratorAs the world prepares for the Nelson Mandela International Day on 18 July 2015, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos in collaboration with Femi Arts Warehouse, has commenced a week-long exhibition of arguably the world’s largest African shirt, ‘Dansiki’ with hand-finished quotes of Nelson Mandela.

Some of the quotes on the shirt included, ‘Live life as though nobody is watching, and express yourself as though everyone is listening’; ‘Courage is not the absence of fear, it is inspiring others to move beyond it’; ‘Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished’; and ‘There are a few misfortunes in this world that you cannot turn into a personal triumph, if you have the iron will and the necessary skill’; among others.Group pix

Mounted on the Nelson Mandela’s effigy, the larger-than-life African shirt called ‘Dansiki’ in Yoruba Language of South-West Nigeria, and which measures 12 feet wide and 16 feet in length, is to edify the ideals, thoughts, philosophy and values of Nelson Mandela. His words on Marble, a few of which were inscribed all over the shirt, formed a veritable educational tool for students and people of all ages.

close up shotThe exhibition which opened on Wednesday 15 July 2015 at the premises of UNIC Lagos, will end on Wednesday, 23 July 2015. Already, students, NGOs, media, and other members of the public have visited the exhibition ground where the National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun, acting as the Curator, shared the message of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon and explained the rationale behind the exhibition.

The Secretary General had in his message, called on people around the world to make a difference in the communities where they live and work by taking time to serve others. ‘The theme behind the Day – “Take action, Inspire change” – highlights the importance of working together to build a peaceful, sustainable and equitable world,’ he added, ‘Let us all continue, each day, to draw inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s life-long example and his call to never cease working to build a better world for all.’

Respect for human rights can engender trust for the Nigerian police

UNODC 2Dignitaries at a one-day national sensitization workshop on human rights for Commissioners of Police, which preceded a three-day training of trainers workshop on human rights for Assistant Commissioners of Police, have noted that respect for human rights can help the police to gain the trust of the society.

In an address at the opening ceremony of the workshops, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mamman Tsafe, said, “A human rights based approach to policing will ensure that our actions are in accordance with the fundamental principles for the development of just societies.” He thanked the European Union and the Embassy of Switzerland for providing funds for the workshop and said the sensitization and training programs would help enhance respect for human rights by police officers and the protection of members of the society.

In his speech, the Country Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Mr. Koli Kouame, represented by Mr. Jesse Wachanga, Project Officer at UNODC, said a number of surveys, including those conducted by UNODC, have shown the link between the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and trust in police authorities. “By safeguarding the fundamental rights of all citizens, the police will engender trust throughout the society and encourage the reporting of crime, thus contributing to more effective crime fighting and enhancement of justice for victims,” he said.

Dr. Hans-RudolfHoder, Ambassador of Switzerland to Nigeria, and Mr. Alan Munday, Head of Governance and Political Section at the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, who were also present at the occasion, congratulated the Nigeria Police Force for taking another step to strengthen their adherence to human rights and international standards. Mr. Munday praised the commitment by the police authorities towards achieving the goal of having “a trusted police force which is guided by the respect and protection of the rights of Nigerian citizens and is working hand in hand with communities to make Nigeria a safer place.”

On behalf of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tsafe presented a 408-page training manual on human rights for the police and a trainers’ guide, which were developed through consultations with a wide range of stakeholders. The manual contains 47 modules on different aspects of human rights, including gender, children’s rights, use of force and firearms, prevention of torture, etc. It will provide a roadmap for training of police officers on issues of human rights in Nigeria.

The sensitization workshop and the follow-up training of trainers were organized in collaboration with the Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA) and the Embassy of Switzerland under the framework of the European Union funded project, “Support to the Justice Sector in Nigeria,” implemented by UNODC. The sensitization and training workshops aim to contribute to actions to foster a relationship of trust between police and the society through the entrenchment of the rule of law and respect for human rights.

Support to the Justice Sector in Nigeria is a 42-month project funded by the European Union with €26 million and implemented by UNODC to improve the effectiveness, accessibility, accountability, transparency, and fairness of the justice system in Nigeria. It supports key initiatives of the Federal Ministry of Justice to drive a coordinated, unified and integrated reform across the justice sector.

Strengthening capacity for counter-terrorism efforts in Nigeria

UNODC

L-R – Bassey Akpanyung (National Planning Commission), Trevor Rajah (UNODC), Koli Kouame (UNODC) and Alan Munday (European Union)

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has trained 640 Nigerians in different aspects of anti-terrorism intervention to boost the national response to terrorism and multi-dimensional security threats in the country. Drawn from 33 organizations, beneficiaries of the training will serve as in-country counter-terrorism national officials. The training was conducted over a 20-month period, with funds provided by the European Union under the framework of the Nigeria-EU-UNODC-CTED Partnership on Strengthening Criminal Justice Responses for Multidimensional Security. Trainees included investigators, prosecutors, legal advisers of relevant government agencies, law enforcement agencies, and judges of the Federal High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ roundtable in Abuja to disseminate and discuss achievements of the project, Mr. Alan Munday, Head of Political Governance and Democracy (Development Cooperation) at the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said the knowledge gained from this training was significant and very important. “The training has delivered a core of better trained and better aware Nigerian officials dealing with counter-terrorism in different ways and at different levels. We hope that the program has helped to strengthen the ability not only to counter terrorism but to also deal with perpetrators of the terrorism act,” he said.

UNODC is actively involved in the fight against terrorism globally and provides capacity building programs that are adapted to local needs. The counter-terrorism project in Nigeria aims to enhance criminal justice capacity for effective rule-of-law-based investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of terrorist cases; promote inter-agency collaboration on counter-terrorism matters, enhance the national legal regime against terrorism, strengthen international cooperation against terrorism and ensure respect for human rights. The project featured 24 training sessions with practical lessons, role-plays, mentoring, and experience-sharing by counter-terrorism professionals from different parts of the world.

“The capacity building program has been focused on practical issues relevant to the challenges that Nigeria is facing right now. We’re making sure that the technical assistance is specific and tailored to the needs of Nigeria,” said Mr. Trevor Rajah, Chief of Terrorism Prevention Branch at UNODC headquarters. “UNODC is pleased to serve an important role of building capacity to bring terrorists to justice. The project has been successful and we hope that it will help in taking the fight against terrorism further,” said Mr. Koli Kouame, UNODC Nigeria Country Representative.

Mr. Bassey Akpanyung, Secretary of the National Planning Commission, delivered opening remarks at the roundtable. Other high level representatives of 21 Nigerian entities participated in the roundtable. These included representatives of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigerian Police Force, Department of State Security Services, Office of the National Security Advisor, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Prisons Service, Nigeria Securities and Civil Defense Corps, embassies, and the National Judicial Institute.

Participants in the roundtable discussed achievements and lessons learned from the project and agreed on priority issues for technical assistance, helping to ensure that the next phase of UNODC’s technical assistance program will be developed with the full input, support and ownership of the Nigerian national stakeholders.

UN Secretary General calls for investment in youth skills development

Group pixThe United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has called for political and financial investment in developing the skills of young people in order to build a more just and sustainable future for all. ‘With the right skills, these young people are exactly the force we need to drive progress across the global agenda and build more inclusive and vibrant societies,’ he continued.

Hands-on soft furniture

Soft furniture/Interior decoration training

Speaking at a Youth Skills Workshop organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos and a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), ‘Yes-I-Believe Academy’, in observance of the first World Youth Skills Day, the Secretary General represented by the National Information Officer and the Officer-in-Charge of UNIC Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, noted that ‘Skills development reduces poverty and better equips young people to find decent jobs.’

Wire-works training

Wire-works training

He added that ‘it strengthens youth capacity to help address the many challenges facing society, moving us closer to ending poverty hunger, injustice and environmental degradation.’

In his opening address, the Executive Director of Yes-I-Believe Academy, Mr Niyi Adekunle, urged the participants to maximize the skills training opportunity offered by the observance as that could be a turning point for greater achievement in their lives.Seyi speaks

The Workshop featured training in Make-up; Cake making; Soft Furnishing; Beaded Jewelry; Fabric Accessories and Shoe making. The trainers were Mr John Olaolopin; Ms Oreoluwa Solana; Ms Nneoma Effanga; Ms Isi Onabolu; Mr Abiodun Folawiyo; Ms Yetunde Ifebogun and Ms Yimika Offo.

 

Bridge policy disconnect in services trade – UNCTAD Secretary General urges Africa

L-R: Prof Pat Utomi, Dr Patrick Osakwe and Mr Oluseyi Soremekun

L-R: Prof Pat Utomi, Dr Patrick Osakwe and Mr Oluseyi Soremekun

The Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Mukhisa Kituyi, has urged African leaders to bridge the policy disconnect of services trade in order to unlock the sector’s potential for growth and economic transformation of the African continent. “The impact of a continent-wide free trade area,’ he continued, ‘will only be meaningful for Africa if services are opened up in parallel with trade in goods. This is because services, such as transport and storage services, are necessary components of trade in goods.”

Represented by the Chief of Trade and Poverty Branch, UNCTAD Switzerland, Dr Patrick Osakwe, at the official launch of UNCTAD Economic Development in Africa Report (EDAR) 2015, hosted by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Nigeria, the Secretary General added that the report found that many national development plans mention services trade as a vehicle for development but fail to link it to existing regional plans or regulation on services in the context of their regional economic communities.

Chief of Trade and Poverty Branch, UNCTAD, Dr Patrick Osakwe presents the Report

Chief of Trade and Poverty Branch, UNCTAD, Dr Patrick Osakwe presents the Report

The Report subtitled “Unlocking the potential of Africa’s services trade for growth and development”, recommends that services trade be adequately mainstreamed into national development plans; which requires that a policy formulation exercise be informed by country-wide consultations with all the major stakeholders. At regional level, the report notes that greater coherence could be achieved if a pan-African mechanism is established to allow for the continuous consultation and coordination of a regional agenda and concerns relating to services trade that arise within the regional economic communities and the African Union.

Speaking at the event, the Special Guest Honour, Professor Pat Utomi, said it was high time the world understood that economic growth in Africa was not oil-driven growth but services and trade. For the growth to reflect in the wellbeing and lifestyle of the people, he continued, there must be policy coherence at the national, regional and global levels as well as paying attention to services trade.

UNIC Lagos Officer-in-Charge, Oluseyi Soremekun addresses the audience

UNIC Lagos Officer-in-Charge, Oluseyi Soremekun addresses the audience

In his welcome address, the National Information Officer and Officer in Charge of UNIC Lagos, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun, reaffirmed the commitment of the Centre to disseminating publications by United Nations Agencies, Programmes and Funds to the Nigerian public. He noted that the UNCTAD EDAR 2015 would serve as a veritable resource for government economic policy planners, the private sector and the academia.

Contributing, the Director General of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Barrister Emmanuel Cobbam, urged captains of Industries and various governments to pay attention to the recommendations of the Report as a guide for economic planning.

In a goodwill message on the occasion, the Director of Partnership Development, Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Bankole Adetola, representing the Permanent Secretary, disclosed that the Lagos State government desired a stronger partnership with UNCTAD and UNIC in order to have access to flagship UN publications and best practices around the world.

Nigeria launches National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) 2015-2019

Nigeria has taken giant strides on drug control with the endorsement and launch of the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) 2015-2019. The Government of Nigeria approved the Master Plan in May 2015 and on 26 June 2015, at the commemoration of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Alhaji Ahmadu Giade, Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), launched the Plan in Abuja.

Ahmadu Giade (5th from left) launches the Master Plan with the support of other dignitaries

Ahmadu Giade (5th from left) launches the Master Plan with the support of other dignitaries

With the launch of the Master Plan, Nigeria now has a new framework for reducing harm caused by drugs and for suppressing illicit drug production, supply and trafficking. The Plan offers a platform for strengthening responses on drug control by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

In his address at the launch of the Master Plan, Ahmadu Giade said, “This comprehensive quality document is a compendium of new ideas and drug control approaches with specific roles for each of our stakeholders.” He thanked the European Union and the UNODC for supporting the development of the plan.

The NDCMP was developed through a participatory and all-inclusive nationwide consultative process supported by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) under the European Union funded project to support Nigeria’s response to drugs and related organized crime.

NDCMP was developed by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Drug Control (IMC) and it provides an integrated and comprehensive solution to a range of drug related issues, in line with international drug control conventions. It has four pillars: law enforcement, drug demand reduction, access and control of narcotics and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes, and coordination.

“UNODC is particularly proud to be associated with the formulation of the Master Plan, which provides an integrated and comprehensive roadmap for multi-sectoral interventions to address a wide array of drug related issues in Nigeria, in line with international drug control conventions. It outlines activities that will help reduce significantly the incidences of illicit cultivation, production, use, and trafficking of narcotic substances in Nigeria and indeed the sub-region,” said Koli Kouame, UNODC Nigeria Country Representative.

UNODC is currently supporting the IMC to develop an operational plan and a monitoring and evaluation framework that will enable seamless implementation of the Master Plan.