Complete your education to university level before marriage – female students urged

A student of Bethlehem Girls College Lagos reads the a copy of Pidgin-English translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

A student of Bethlehem Girls College Lagos reads the a copy of Pidgin-English translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Students of Bethlehem Girls College, Festac Town, Lagos have been urged to complete their secondary and university education before thinking of marriage as their contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The National Information Officer, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Mr. Oluseyi Soremekun said this while responding to a question on what a student could do to contribute to SDG 4: ‘Quality Education’ and its targets during the school’s educational visit to UNIC, Ikoyi Lagos.

Explaining, Mr Soremekun said that by ensuring they complete their secondary education and even university before thinking of marriage, the students would be contributing to the total number of girls that had access to and completed primary, secondary and university education.

National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun addresses the students

National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun addresses the students

Besides, he continued, by deciding to shun early marriage and face their education, they would also be contributing to SDG 3: ‘Good Health and Well-being’; SDG 1: No poverty; and SDG 2: Zero hunger’.

Bethlehem Girls school students ‘If a girl is educated, there is high probability that all her children would also be educated and the multiplier effects of that on the nation’s development is huge,’ the National Information Officer added.

Earlier, Mr Soremekun made a presentation on ‘UN For School Children’ during which he explained the history, the purpose, the organs and the works of the United Nations. He introduced to the students the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Quoting from the UDHR, the National Information Officer said, ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards ine another in a spirit of brotherhood.’

UNIC Lagos National Information Officer, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun presents UN publications to officials of the School.

UNIC Lagos National Information Officer, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun presents UN publications to officials of the School.

Mr Soremekun later presented to the official from the school, copies of United Nations publications which included the UDHR, The UN Charter, the African Renewal, SDGs icons, among others.

UNIC takes educational outreach to Eastern Nigeria

Enugu - Ronald explains the UN emblemThe United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos on 20 and 21 May 2016 extended its educational outreach activities to Eastern Nigeria when it visited two High schools in Enugu, Enugu State.

The outreach activities organized in collaboration with Raise A Child Today Initiative (RACTI), and held at Spring of Life International School and Solid Base Secondary School, both in Enugu, centered on the United Nations, its history, purpose and organs, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Across-section of students of Spring of Life International School, Enugu.

Across-section of students of Spring of Life International School, Enugu.

Engaging with the students, the Director of UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja informed the students that the United Nations was formed on 24 October 1945 after the end of the Second World War to stop future wars, to build friendship among nations and help the less developed countries. In the past 70 years, the UN through its specialised agencies has been dealing with all kinds of issues, ranging from keeping the peace, fighting poverty to caring for our planet and making sure everyone is flying safely in the sky, he disclosed.

A cross-section of students of Solid Base Secondary School, Enugu

A cross-section of students of Solid Base Secondary School, Enugu

The UN Charter, he continued, separates the UN into six parts: The General Assembly; The Security Council; The Economic and Social Council; The Trusteeship Council; The International Court of Justice; and The Secretariat.Enugu - Group photo

 

Mr Kayanja responded to many questions related to the challenges of Climate change, terrorism, and refugee crisis, among others. He also provided answers to the questions on the selection of the new Secretary General as well as on the sovereignty of the UN member States.

Over 200 students attended the outreach programmes.

A student of Spring of Life International School, Enugu asks a question

A student of Spring of Life International School, Enugu asks a question

Statement by the President of the Security Council

UN EmblemThe Security Council strongly condemns all terrorist attacks, abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law by Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin region, including those involving killings and other violence against civilians, notably women and children, abductions, pillaging, rape, sexual slavery and other sexual violence, recruitment and use of children, and destruction of civilian property. The Security Council expresses serious concern over the reported violations and abuses of human rights and large-scale displacement of the civilian population across the Lake Chad Basin region as a result of Boko Haram’s activities. The Security Council stresses that those responsible for these abuses and violations of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law must be held accountable and brought to justice.
The Security Council expresses deep concern that the activities of Boko Haram continue to undermine the peace and stability of the West and Central African region. The Security Council expresses alarm at Boko Haram’s linkages with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh).
The Security Council demands that Boko Haram immediately and unequivocally cease all violence and all abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law. The Security Council demands the immediate and unconditional release of all those abducted who remain in captivity, including 219 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria in April 2014 among the reported thousands of others held captive by Boko Haram. The Security Council recognizes that some of such acts may amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The Security Council expresses deep concern at the alarming scale of the humanitarian crisis caused by the activities of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin region, including the internal displacement of more than 2.2 million Nigerians, and over 450,000 internally-displaced persons and refugees in neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The Security Council notes that an estimated 4.2 million people in the Lake Chad Basin region face a food security crisis, including 800,000 in Borno and Yobe States, Nigeria, where an estimated 184 children a day risk starvation without the immediate provision of emergency food assistance. The Security Council commends the support provided to the displaced populations by the international community, in particular the people and governments of the Lake Chad Basin region, including with the assistance of humanitarian actors and relevant United Nations entities. The Security Council urges the international community to immediately support the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance for the people most affected by the crisis in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria and notes that approximately 10 percent of the $531 million required to fulfil such assistance has been received this year.
The Security Council commends the important territorial advances by the governments of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria against Boko Haram, including through the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) headquartered in N’Djamena, Chad. The Security Council urges the Member States participating in the MNJTF to further enhance regional military cooperation and coordination, particularly to consolidate military gains, deny safe haven to Boko Haram, allow humanitarian access and facilitate the restoration of the rule of law in liberated areas. The Security Council underscores the importance of a holistic approach to degrade and defeat Boko Haram that includes coordinated security
operations, conducted in accordance with applicable international law, as well as enhanced civilian efforts to improve governance and promote economic growth in the affected areas.
The Security Council welcomes the crucial initiative of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, to convene the Second Regional Security Summit on 14 May 2016 in Abuja, Nigeria to evaluate the regional response to the threat posed by Boko Haram, including with a view to adopt a comprehensive strategy to address the governance, security, development, socioeconomic and humanitarian dimensions of the crisis, as a follow-up to the Paris Summit of 17 May 2014, which aimed to strengthen regional cooperation between Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, as well as Benin in the fight against Boko Haram.
The Security Council encourages the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in coordination with the African Union, to accelerate joint efforts to adopt a common strategy to combat the threat posed by Boko Haram.
The Security Council urges the Member States participating in the MNJTF to continue efforts toward the sustainable, viable and effective operationalization of the MNJTF. In this regard, the Security Council welcomes the assistance provided by bilateral partners and multilateral organizations and encourages further support, including the provision of financial and logistical assistance, relevant equipment and modalities to increase the timely and effective exchange of intelligence to further the region’s collective efforts to combat Boko Haram.
The Security Council stresses the need for Member States in the Lake Chad Basin region to complement the regional military and security operations against Boko Haram by national and regional efforts, with the assistance of bilateral partners and multilateral organizations, to improve livelihoods, provide humanitarian assistance to displaced and other conflict-affected populations, promote education and job creation, consolidate the rule of law, facilitate stabilisation efforts, reconstruction, development and economic recovery, assist victims and vulnerable populations, prevent illicit trafficking of weapons to armed groups and criminal networks, as well as to strengthen measures to protect civilians and promote and protect human rights, particularly of women and children. The Security Council calls on relevant United Nations entities, including the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) and the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), to support, as appropriate, the Member States of the region, as well as subregional and regional organizations to address the impact of Boko Haram violence on the peace and stability of the region.
The Security Council reiterates that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed. The Security Council reaffirms the need for all States to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and their other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts. The Security Council stresses that terrorism can only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach involving the active participation and collaboration of all States and international, regional and subregional organizations to counter the terrorist threat.
The Security Council underlines the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice and stresses that those responsible should be held accountable, and urges all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with all relevant authorities in this regard.
The Security Council underlines the importance of prompt and effective implementation of its relevant resolutions and statements related to the fight against terrorism, and recalls in this regard among others its resolutions 1373 (2001), 1624 (2005), 2178 (2014) and 2253 (2015), as well as the Presidential Statement of 11 May 2016 (S/PRST/2016/6), which, inter alia, recognizes the importance of countering terrorism and recruitment by terrorist organizations

If you believe, you’ll achieve – Soremekun tells Crawford University students

Crawford University students visit - Seyi speaksThe National Information Officer of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun has urged the students of Crawford University Igbesa, Ogun State, to believe in their abilities as they seek academic excellence and gainful employment afterwards.

He said this during an interactive session with the International Relations and Political Science students of Crawford University who on Wednesday, 11 May 2016, were on educational visit to the United Nations (UN) office in Lagos. Answering questions on career in the UN, the National Information Officer affirmed that the United Nations is an organization of equal opportunities and open to all. However, Mr Soremekun charged them to concentrate on their studies; prepare well for any future interview opportunities and believe in themselves. ‘If you believe, then you achieve’, he added.

Crawford University students visit - Cross-section of participantsEarlier in his presentation on ‘The United Nations, Global Realities and Global Goals’, he explained the response of the United Nations and member States to global quest for development when in 2000, the Millennium Development Goals with a 15-year life cycle were adopted.

Crawford University students visit - Seyi addresses the students 1Having taken stock of the achievements and short-comings of the MDGs towards the end of its cycle in 2015, he continued, there was a wide consultations with UN member States, the private sector and the Civil Society to build on the achievements of the MDGs and address areas that left much to be done. The outcome he explained to the students was the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted and signed off by 193 countries in September 2015.Crawford University students visit - Seyi presents UN Charter and SDG Year Planner

Many of the students who answered questions on the presentation correctly were given copies of the United Nations Charter’ and the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)’.

Crawford University students visit - Group photoThe faculty was presented with copies of the Charter and the UDHR as well as the UNIC Lagos SDGs Year Planner.

Safety of Journalists echoes as UN, EU mark Press Freedom Day in Abuja and Lagos

Group photo

A group photogragh of dignitaries at the Abuja conference.

Safety of journalists in a free, independent and pluralistic media environment has continued to dominate discussions as the United Nations system in Nigeria and the European Delegation to Nigeria and the ECOWAS observed the World Press Freedom Day with a conference in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory and a technical workshop for journalists in Lagos.

Addressing the global theme of this year’s observance, ‘Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms: This Is Your Right!’, the conference in Abuja and the workshop in Lagos both noted the need for government to protect journalists and combat any form of violence and harassment of media actors in the country.

Group - Resource persons 1

At the Lagos workshop: L-R: Officer-in-charge, UNIC Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun; HoD Mass Communication Dept., University of Lagos, Dr Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika; Dean, College of Social and Management Sciences, Caleb University, Lagos, Prof. Nosa Owens-Ibie and Director, Nigerian Press Council, Lagos Office, Mr Patrick Izobo.

In his message at the events organised by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Abuja and the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos representing the United Nations (UN), in partnership with the EU, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-moon urged all governments and citizens to commit to nurturing and protecting an independent and free media. Mr Ban in his message read by the United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i., Ms Rati Ndhlovu, said further, “I am very concerned about the increasing restrictive environment for media workers in many countries”.

Hightable - a minute silence

Dignitaries at Abuja conference observing a minute of silence for journalists that have lost their lives in the line of duties around the world.

Delivering the keynote address, Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, H.E. Ambassador Michel Arrion reaffirmed the commitment of the EU to promote laws and practices that protect freedom of opinion and expression; media freedom and pluralism and foster an understanding among public authorities of the dangers of unwarranted interference with impartial and critical reporting.

Head EU Delegation

Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Michel Arrion delivers the keynote address

In his opening remarks, the Officer-in-charge of UNIC Lagos, Mr Oluseyi Soremekun, noted that annually, the press freedom day is observed to talk about the fundamental principles to protect the independence of the media and to hour media workers who risk and have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. He called on public institutions to adopt proactive disclosure of information as a step to increasing public access to information.

unesco Director speaks 2

Director of UNESCO Abuja Regional Director, Mr Benoît Sossou delivers the message of the UNESCO Director General, Ms Irina Bokova

Speaking on ‘Freedom of Information as a Fundamental Freedom and Human Rights’ at the technical workshop in Lagos which was supported by Media Awareness and Information For All Network (MAIN), the Dean, College of Social and Management Sciences, Caleb University, Lagos, Prof. Nosa Owens-Ibie, noted that promotion of a culture of openness is vital to citizen empowerment for value-added and informed electoral choices which would deepen democratic governance.

Oluseyi Soremekun delivers the opening remarks at the Abuja conference.

UNIC Lagos Officer-in-charge,

In her paper on ‘Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists in the Digital Age’ the Head of Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, Dr Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika, called for an improved rapport between the government and the media as lack of communication and mutual suspicion has been responsible for regular frictions between the government and the media in Nigeria.

Prof Abigail and Owens

Dr Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika (Left) and Prof Nosa Owen-Ibie at the event in Lagos

Other speakers at the events included the Director of UNESCO Abuja Regional Bureau, Mr Sousou Benoit who read the message of UNESCO Director General, Ms Irina Bokova; the Ambassador of Sweden to Nigeria, Ambassador Svante Kilander who spoke on ‘250 years of Freedom of Information Law’; Executive Secretary, Nigerian Press Council, Mr Nnamdi Njemanze; Media and Arts Editor, The Guardian, Mr Kabir Alabi; Representative of the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture; Representative of the National President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists; among others

Plant a tree to preserve the earth – UNIC Director

DSC_0111The Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja, has called on everyone to plant a tree to preserve the earth and for a better living environment for all. “If everyone plants a tree today”, he continued, “the mother earth will appreciate.”

He made this call while presenting the message of the UN Secretary-General Ban ki-moon, at the commemoration of the International Mother Earth Day and a Dialogue on the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement, organised by UNIC Lagos in partnership with United Nations of Youth Network Nigeria (UNOY) and the National Environmental Society (NES), on the 22 April 2016 in Lagos.DSC_0137

Mr Kayanja said, as each tree plays its part in the biosphere, so should we as individuals who care about our planet and every living creature on it, respect and invest in Mother Earth. He added that 170 Countries are represented at the UN Headquarters in the New York, to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, he therefore urged everyone to support in domesticating the agreement.

DSC_0128Speaking on Climate Change Conference Impact (COP21) and its significance on the Nigeria, a Safeguard Specialist in Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Mr Isaac Omoniyi, stated that climate influences man and man influences climate, a situation he said needed to be balanced. He called on the Nigerian government to domesticate the Paris Climate Agreement, to enable her to participate in the international scientific and technological cooperation on climate change.

DSC_0131The Head of National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) Lagos Zone, Engineer (Mrs) Christiana Okunubi, while making a presentation on Environmental Challenges in Nigeria and Solutions, highlighted various environmental challenges facing the country and stated measures to making for sustainable solutions.

DSC_0172The Chairman, Nigeria Environmental Society (NES), Lagos State Chapter, Dr. Eugene Itua, made a presentation on Trees for Life, during which he highlighted the many advantages of having trees around. He concluded by urging everyone to ‘Plant a Tree and Cut no Tree’.

The President, UNOY, Prince Goodluck Obi, while speaking, called on everyone to get involved in the Tree Planting Activity, in order to mitigate the effect of climate change.

The event was attended by members of the Civil Society and students.

Private sector, key to SDGs success in Nigeria – UN

UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Fatma Samoura addresses the audience

UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Fatma Samoura addresses the audience

The private sector remains a crucial sector with countless opportunities to drive the course of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their associated targets in Nigeria. The private sector has a huge contribution to make to the implementation of the SDGs through commitment to seeking shared value and environmentally sustainable ways of operating.

This was the view of the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations system in Nigeria, Ms Fatma Samoura, at the private sector engagement on the SDGs titled, Sustainable Industrial Development in Nigeria organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos and the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), an Agency of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.RC and hightable

Delivering the keynote address at the private sector engagement on the SDGs, Ms Samoura explained that achieving the new SDGs in Nigeria will be near impossible without the active involvement of the private sector. The private sector, she continued, should also start scaling up its efforts to end poverty, to protect the environment and save planet Earth.

Ms Samoura and other dignitaries take a tour of exhibition at the event

Ms Samoura and other dignitaries take a tour of exhibition at the event

“We know, many of you in business are increasingly joining the fight to deliver progress in Nigeria but we need to collectively redouble our efforts and commit more for Agenda 2030,” the Resident Coordinator added.

Speaking, the Senior Special Adviser to the President on SDGs, Hon (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire represented by the Secretary Programmes, Mr Ochopa Ogenyi, reiterated the importance of the private sector to sustainable development and noted that the Federal Government of Nigeria would work with partners to ensure the success of the SDGs in the country.

According to her, the SDGs is a robust 15-year global development framework to which national development priorities of Nigeria and countries around the world would be aligned.RC and Ronald at exhibition

In an 11-point communique issued at the end of the workshop attended by over 300 members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS), participants recommended a continuous dialogue amongst relevant agencies in the public and the private sector of the economy in order to hasten and sustain industrial development in Nigeria.

The workshop also requested that UNIC Lagos should facilitate the setting up of a United Nations-Private sector consultative committee to study, identify and integrate opportunities from the SDGs and the mechanics of mainstreaming them into the operations of the Organised Private Sector.

Students say ‘No’ to hate speech as UNIC Lagos remembers the genocide in Rwanda

A student makes commitment against hate speech and genocide

A student makes commitment against hate speech and genocide

It was a great moment of pledges and commitments by over 200 students from six public High Schools in Lagos at the commemoration of the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos.

With their right hands placed on the left hand side of their chests, the students chorused in unison: ‘I hereby say ‘No’ to hate speech’; ‘I pledge to respect other people’s religions and tribes’; ‘I hereby make commitment to promote peace at all time’; ‘I pledge to love my neighbours for who they are’; among others.

rwanda - A minute of silence for victims

A minute of silence for victims. L-R: Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Education Matter, Mrs Seriki Ayeni; Rwandan Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. Amb. Stanislas Kamanzi and Director of UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja

These commitments were made following the message of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Keynote address by the Rwandan Ambassador to Nigeria, H.E. Amb. Stanislas Kamanzi and the message of the Special Guest of Honour, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Idiat Oluranti Adebule.

Delivering the message of Mr Ban Ki-moon, the Director of UNIC Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja noted that “the theme of this year’s observance is ‘Fighting Genocide Ideology’. It is essential that Governments, the judiciary and civil society stand firm against hate speech and those who incite division and violence.  We must promote inclusion, dialogue and the rule of law to establish peaceful and just societies.”

rwanda - A female student reads a survivor's testimony 1

A student reads the testimony of a genocide survivor

Ambassador Kamanzi, in his address urged the students to learn from the lessons of the genocide in Rwanda by being tolerant of one another while shunning every form of discrimination and hatred.

Representing the Deputy Governor, the Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Education Matter, Mrs Seriki Ayeni, reaffirmed the commitment of Lagos State government to ensuring that students in the State are well educated and informed about global issues and learning from them.

rwanda - students make commitmentrwanda - A student reads a survivor's testimony 1Video testimonies were screened while Testimonies of Survivors were read by Mr Samuel Eliadun, a student of Government Senior College, Ikoyi and Miss Idowu Aniogbe of Akande Dahunsi Memorial Secondary School, Ikoyi Lagos.

Students watch the video testimonies of some survivors

Students watch the video testimonies of some survivors

Earlier, a female survivor of the genocide in Rwanda recounted her sad experience as a 9-year old girl at the time and answered a few questions from the audience.

The event was also well attended by members of the Rwandan community in Lagos.

I have been remodelled – UNIC Lagos intern admits

Mr Yinka Olaito (Left) and Ms Abiola Bashorun (Right)

Mr Yinka Olaito (Left) and Ms Abiola Bashorun (Right)

‘My period of internship at UNIC Lagos has changed my perspectives. I learnt a lot about programming, networking and working in a structured multi-cultural environment. I can say I have been remodelled for greater challenges.’ These were the parting words of Ms Abiola Bashorun, a post-graduate student of Psychology, University of Lagos, after her three-month internship at UNIC Lagos. Her colleague, and another intern, Mr Yinka Olaito, noted the demand for excellence at all times and expressed his appreciation of the opportunity to learn from the professionals at the Centre. Mr Olaito is Communication student of University of Leicester, United Kingdom.