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


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.


Widows cry out for help as UNIC Lagos, Partner, mark Int’l Widows’ Day

Former Chair, House Committee on Diaspora, Hon Abike Dabiri; Director UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja; Prof Grace Alele-Williams; Executive Director, Hope For Life Initiative, Ms Kendi Aig-Imoru and National Information Officer, UNIC Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun

Former Chair, House Committee on Diaspora, Hon Abike Dabiri; Director, UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja; Prof Grace Alele-Williams; Executive Director, Hope For Life Initiative, Ms Kendi Aig-Imoru and National Information Officer, UNIC Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun

As the world marked the 2015 International Widows’ Day on Tuesday, 23 June, over 100 widows in Lagos Nigeria have cried out for help against discrimination and social exclusion directed at widows by family members of deceased husbands.

Lamenting, Mrs Risikat Abiodun (38 years) disclosed that since her husband died seven years ago, his crashed car was sold and his family collected all the money and never showed up again to look after her and the children. For Mrs Ibidun Amusa, a 69-year old widow whose husband died 28 years ago, ‘My late husband’s family ejected me and my children from the house. I have been moving from one house to the other. We are currently homeless… as I could not pay rent as and when due. Feeding is hard and life is difficult.’

They therefore, called on all family members of deceased men in Nigeria to show love and care to widows in their families. The widows were speaking at the programme organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, in collaboration with Hope For Life Initiative to commemorate the Day.

Drama presentation by secondary school tudents

Drama presentation by secondary school tudents

Earlier, the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, emphasised the need to ‘erase the social stigmatization and economic deprivation that confronts widows; eliminate their high risk of sexual abuse and exploitation; and remove the barriers to resources and economic opportunities that constrain their future.’

The Secretary General in his message presented by the Director of UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja, and translated into Yoruba language by the Centre’s National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun, further called for advancement of widows’ equal rights to inheritance, property, land and other assets.

Group pixDelivering the keynote address, the immediate past Chairperson of the House committee on Daispora at the House of Representatives, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, urged the widows to commit themselves to educating their children, adding that it would be a double jeopardy should their children dropped out or failed to attend a school.

In her welcome address, the Executive Director of Hope For Life Initiative, Ms Kendi Aig-Imoru, asserted that the challenges of widows and widowhood are challenges of all. Therefore everyone should join hands together to alleviate their hardship, abuse, discrimination and human rights violation.

The occasion was chaired by the first female Vice Chancellor in Nigeria, and a senior citizen, Prof Grace Alele-Williams.

Benue gets UN village for displaced persons, Governor gives kudos

IDP camps under construction in Mbawa community - 200 housing units for 200 familiesFollowing incessant conflicts in Benue State and the attendant increase in the number of displaced population, the United Nations in Nigeria through its Agency for Refugees, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), has commenced the construction of 200 housing units tagged, ‘UN Village’ to accommodate 1000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Benue State.

Located at Mbawa community in Guma Local Government Area (LGA) of the state, the Housing project which is funded by UNHCR, is being implemented by Benue Non-Governmental Organisations Network (BENGONET), and supported by the Benue State Government and the host community. RC and UNHCR Rep

Speaking during a visit to the site by the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), the UNHCR Representative in Nigeria and the ECOWAS, Ms Angele Dikongue-Atangana, disclosed that the project was a pilot one which would soon be replicated in the North-east of the country. She added that a unit of the 2-room apartment cost only N95, 000 which according to her, was less than the cost of a temporary tent.

RC at IDP housing siteIn his remarks at the project site, the Resident Coordinator of the UN system in Nigeria, Mr Daouda Toure, noted that the project would improve protection of IDPs and enhance their wellbeing.

Receiving the UNCT members at the Government House, the Benue State Governor, Dr Samuel Ortom acknowledged the life-saving contribution of the UN system to Benue State, citing the UN village, the Primary Health Centre support by UNICEF, UNFPA and WHO; provision of boreholes as just few of the numerous interventions of the UN in the State.


UN@70 echoes at UNCT Retreat

UN70 presentation slideIn consultation with the Resident Coordinator’s Office and in continuation of its commitment to promoting the UN 70th anniversary as a one UN event in Nigeria, the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja, has presented to the UNCT an update on activities so far in Nigeria and proposed events for the rest of the year.

He noted that the Foreign Affairs Ministry had responded to the letter on UN@70, written by the Resident Coordinator, Mr Daouda Toure, on joint activities with the Federal Government of Nigeria.UN70 presentation by Ronald

Mr Kayanja proposed a formal launch of UN@70 with the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs which will be succeeded by monthly events until December 2015. However, according to him, there would be one week of activities which would climax on 24th October 2015 when the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is expected to be Chief Guest of Honour.

Other proposed activities include an international conference on the UN@70 organised in partnership with the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs proposes; Peacekeeping Command of the Nigerian Military to honor fallen combatants during Peacekeeping operations; Public lectures on the UN and Nigeria organized in collaboration with Covenant University, Ota Ogun State; School Arts Exhibitions and essay competitions on the work of the UN by a School in Abuja and another one Ogun State; and a Photo exhibition which would probably be the world’s longest photo exhibition organized with Femi Arts Warehouse and planned to be staged at the Bar Beach, Lagos, among others.

In his contribution, the Resident Coordinator observed that the 70th anniversary provided a platform for the UN system to highlight its works in the country. He, therefore, called on all Head of Agencies to communicate UN@70 during their activities.


UNDAF III implementation in 2014 cost $316.5m

UNDAF III Cover pictureEighteen months into the implementation of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF III) 2014 – 2017, signed with the Federal Government of Nigeria, the United Nations system in Nigeria has spent $316,594,365.00 in the country in 2014. This amount represents the expenditure on various activities of the UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes under the Framework in Nigeria.

According to the UNDAF III Annual Report 2014, the performance delivery status which stands at 34% in the first year, covers four thematic areas: Good Governance, Social Capital Development, Economic Growth and Human Security and Risk Management. The Report further states that over $268.7 million, representing 48% of total expenditure, was spent on activities under the Social Capital Development thematic area while over $32.1 million (28%) was spent on activities promoting good governance in Nigeria.

Others are Equitable & Sustainable Economic Development with expenditure of $10.7 (8.7%) and Human Security and Risk Management with expenditure of $2.9 million which represents 3.5% of total expenditure.

Speaking, the Resident Coordinator reaffirmed the commitment of the UN system to the realization of the fifty-two outputs of UNDAF III.