UN Secretary General calls for change in legal and social norms that discriminate against women

UNIC Lagos National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun addresses the audience

UNIC Lagos National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun addresses the audience

The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has called for a change in legal and social norms that support male control over women, reinforce discrimination and prevent the elimination of violence against vulnerable family members. ‘As we shape a new sustainable development agenda and strive for a world of dignity for all, let us stand united for women’s and children’s rights in families and societies at large,’ he continued.

The UN Secretary General made this call in his message on the observance of the 2015 International year of families held at the Library Auditorium of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos.

Speaking further, Ki-moon noted that the theme of this year’s International Day of Families “Men in Charge?” highlighted the importance of gender equality and children’s rights in contemporary families.

Cross-section of participants

Cross-section of participants

He added that more women were becoming recognized as the equal partners and decision-makers in families that they should be, thus helping to ensure a conducive environment for the full and harmonious development of children.

In his overview of the theme, “Men in Charge? Gender Equality and Children’s Rights in Contemporary families”, the National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun, noted that 2015 International Day of Families, celebrated every 15th May, highlighted prevention of family violence through fair family law frameworks and promoted gender equality and rights of children within families.

He called for an end to those cultural practices which reinforce inequality and injustice against women. These, according to him, included ‘all forms of gender inequality within families especially those related to inheritance, education, dowry, marriage and sexuality as well as those family laws that place women in a subordinate position to men in families.’

Soremekun added that gender inequality within families might also be perpetuated for economic reasons and due to social norms such as the desire for sons, or dowry-related financial reasons.

The occasion was spiced up by a Poetry Presentation titled, ‘My idea of an ideal family’ by the students of Fountain Heights Schools, Lagos and a Drama Presentation titled, ‘My Ideal Family’ by the students of Lagoon Secondary School, Lagos. Students of New Era Girls School, Lagos were also in attendance.

Other speakers included Dr (Mrs) Grace Evbuomwan who spoke on ‘Supporting Families: A path to National Development’ and Mr Michael Ijeh who made a presentation on ‘The unique contribution of fathers to adolescent development’.

UNIC Lagos Director applauds Nigeria for its support to UN Peacekeeping operations

Cross-section of participants from the Army, Air Force and the Navy

Cross-section of participants from the Army, Air Force and the Navy

The Director of the United Nations information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Mr. Ronald Kayanja has commended Nigeria for its role as a troop contributing country to UN peace operations around the world since the 1960s. Mr. Kayanja was presenting a lecture on the “United Nations Peace Operations: Organisation and Roles” at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Jaji, Kaduna, Northern Nigeria on 14 May 2015.

“As at 31 March 2015, Nigeria had about 3,000 serving officers in UN peacekeeping operations around the world. Currently Nigeria is the 6th largest troop contributor to UN peace operations in Africa and the 10th largest in the world,” he noted. “The United Nations is grateful to Nigeria for its continued support to UN peace efforts.”

Jaji 1The UNIC Director informed the Officers of the Nigerian Military that this year the UN marks 70 years of carrying out its mandate to maintain international peace and security. He explained that the UN has seven main avenues to promoting international peace which include preventive diplomacy; peace making; peacekeeping; peace enforcement; peace building; counter terrorism and disarmament. “Since its establishment, the UN has deployed 69 peacekeeping operations around the world. Currently, there are 16 ongoing peacekeeping operations and 11 political and peacebuilding operations around the world,” Mr. Kayanja said.

Mr. Kayanja also explained that the development, human rights and humanitarian work of the United Nations system helps to deal with underlying factors responsible for causing conflict and instability. In Nigeria the UN agencies, funds and programmes are focusing on good governance; social capital development; equitable and sustainable economic growth; human security and risk management.

Following the Lecture the participants engaged the UNIC Director in a discussion which touched on counter terrorism and the UN support to Nigeria, the duration of peace operations, influence of member states to UN initiatives and issues of human rights.

The UNIC Director was received at the Nigerian Armed Forces Command and Staff College by the Commandant AVM JC Ifemeje. He thanked Mr. Kayanja for making the presentation to the Officers of the Nigerian Military which will go a long way to enable them understand how the United Nations works, especially in the context of peace operations.

Following the lecture, the UNIC Director held a meeting with the Commandant of the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria, Major-General Birigeni with whom they discussed the commemoration of 70 years of the United Nations.

UNIC wins Lagos State Government award of recognition in support of its school initiative

Award PlaqueThe Lagos State Government through its Ministry of Education has given an award to the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos in recognition of its support to the government’s schools’ Initiatives.

According to the Ministry, the award plaque, signed by the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, was presented to UNIC Lagos ‘for partnering with the State Government in support of our Schools’ Initiative. The Government and People of the Centre of Excellence appreciate your support.”

Award presentationReceiving the award, the Director of UNIC Lagos, Ronald Kayanja, thanked the Lagos State Government for recognising the UN Information Centre’s Educational Outreach activities and its contribution to educational development of students. He noted that the existing collaboration between the Ministry of Education and UNIC Lagos became the launching pad during the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak as UNIC Lagos in partnership with the Ministry of Education embarked on a robust Schools Hand-washing Campaign.

Kayanja reassured the Ministry of Education of UNIC’s continued partnership especially in relation to educational outreach activities at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels.

The award plaque was presented to the Director by the Principal of Falomo High School, Mrs Catherine Abosede Adeboye.

UNIC Lagos Director moves to strengthen communicating as one, meets Resident Coordinator, Heads of UN Agencies

Resident Coordinator, Daouda Toure (Left) discusses with UNIC Lagos Director, Ronald Kayanja

Resident Coordinator, Daouda Toure (Left) discusses with UNIC Lagos Director, Ronald Kayanja

Lagos, 06 May 2015. With the aim of strengthening communicating as one at the country level, the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Ronald Kayanja, has initiated one-on-one partnership meetings with individual Heads of UN Agencies in Nigeria.

Communicating as one, he said, was to promote One Voice, One UN within the framework of Delivering as One (Dao), and to promote coherence within the UN system.

Highlighting the role of UNIC in the Country team, Kayanja explained that the Centre has the responsibility to provide communication support to the UN Country Team and also serves as an additional communication platform for UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes.

Welcoming him to his office, the Resident Coordinator of the UN system in Nigeria, Daouda Toure, underscored the strategic importance of UNIC to the operations of the UN at the country level. He noted that it was high time UNIC established presence in Abuja to strengthen its collaboration with other Agencies.

The Director also used the meetings to promote the 2015 priorities of the Department of Public Information (DPI) which included the UN 70th anniversary, the Post-2015 sustainable development agenda as well as climate change issues.

The Heads of Agencies which included those of UNFPA, IOM, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNOCHA, UNDP, UNODC, UNAIDS and FAO, expressed their delight at the communication opportunities offered by UNIC Lagos. They pledged their support to the Director.

Let journalism thrive, UNIC Director tells stakeholders

Resource persons

Resource persons

Lagos, 05 May 2015. The Director of United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja, has called on stakeholders to allow journalism to thrive. ‘Journalism’ he continued, ‘could only thrive when stakeholders, including government, civil society and media practitioners redouble efforts to enhance safety of journalists.

Ronald speaks to the press High table and cross section Mr Kayanja who spoke at the World Press Freedom Day observance organized by UNIC Lagos in collaboration with Media Awareness and Information For All Network (MAIN) and the Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, noted that the observance was to encourage and develop initiatives in favour  of press freedom, assess the state of press freedom worldwide and remind governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom.

Presenting the joint message of Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN); Irina Bokova, Director-General, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, the UNIC Lagos Director noted that for peace to be lasting and development to be sustainable, human rights must be respected and everyone must be free to seek, receive and impart knowledge and information on all media, online and offline.Kayanja-Oso-Lekan-Olatunji

Mr Kayanja added that ‘quality journalism enables citizens to make informed decisions about their society’s development. It also works to expose injustice, corruption, and the abuse of power.’

In his overview of the 2015 theme, ‘Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, & Media Safety in the Digital Age’, the Chairman of Media Awareness and Information For All Network (MAIN) Prof Lai Oso, noted a growing influence of commercialization and concentration of media enterprise ownership, which in a way impacts upon the independence and quality of journalism on all platforms.

Cross-section of participantsHe stated that media ownership and control remain one of the challenges of independent journalism in Nigeria, citing the way some media organisations reported political activities during the just concluded general elections in the country.


In his remarks, the Chairman, Centre of Excellence, Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, Prof Ralph Akinfeleye reflected on the issues of press freedom and safety of journalists. He enjoined everyone to renew efforts to end impunity and safeguard safety of journalists. ‘Freedom of expression and press freedom’, he continued, ‘are components of good governance and sustainable development.

Other speakers included the Online Editor of ‘The Nation’, Mr Lekan Otufodunrin who made a presentation on ‘Independent Journalism in the Digital Age’; the Acting Head of Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, Dr Abigail Ogwezzy (Gender, Media and the Beijing Declaration); Dr Olunifesi Suraj (Towards better digital safety for journalists and their sources) and Dr Fassy Yusuf (FOI Implementation and Challenges).

UN Secretary General expresses regret at executions in Indonesia

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon

The Secretary-General expresses deep regret at the executions carried out in Indonesia today, 29 April despite numerous calls in the country and internationally for a reprieve. He again urges the Government to exercise its authority and commute all death sentences.

The Secretary-General reaffirms his belief that the death penalty has no place in the 21st century. This is also the conviction of a growing majority of the international community: a record 117 States voted in the UN General Assembly in December 2014 for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. The Secretary-General urges all countries where the death penalty is still in place to join this movement and declare a moratorium on capital punishment with a view toward abolition.

UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, in talks with President-Elect Buhari of Nigeria about missing girls

UN-Emblem 2Gordon Brown has welcomed the release of 200 girls from captivity by Boko Haram and called for the immediate release of all abducted girls.

“It is time to end the nightmare,” said the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, who will have talks with President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari tomorrow.

“For a year families have not known whether their daughters are dead or alive, married off, sold off or violated as a result of their captivity.

“Now that some girls have been released we want all girls released. “And we want them home with their families in days – not months or years.

“I will talk to President-Elect Buhari tomorrow about how the international community can provide air and military help to free the girls.”And I will also offer help for safe schools which allow girls to participate in education, free of fear.

“We need more secure, better-prepared safe schools to make girls and parents know everything is being done to protect them.

“Today 10million children don’t go to school in Nigeria.

“By creating safe schools and communities where girls are free of fear we can get every child into school and learning.”

UNIC Lagos Director takes UN70 and post-2015 development agenda to partners

Ronald at Channels TV

Kayanja speaking at Channels Television studios

In his quest to reaffirm the commitment of the United Nations to serve “we the peoples” and build strong partnership for the observance of the 70th anniversary of the UN in Nigeria, the Director, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, Ronald Kayanja, has taken the message of the UN70 and the post-2015 sustainable development agenda to UN Agencies, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and media partners in Lagos.

Kayanja addressing students of University of Lagos

Kayanja addressing students of University of Lagos

“The UN 70th anniversary”, Kayanja noted during his meetings with partners, “is not the celebration of the UN as an organisation alone, but the celebration of all the peoples of the world.”

Referring to the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s message for UN70, the Director said, “The 70th anniversary of the United Nations is an opportunity to reflect – to look back on the UN’s history and take stock of its enduring achievements. It is also an opportunity to spotlight where the UN – and the international community as a whole – needs to redouble its efforts to meet current and future challenges across the three pillars of its work: peace and security, development, and human rights.

UNIC Lagos Director at Voice of Nigeria, Lagos

UNIC Lagos Director at Voice of Nigeria, Lagos

Kayanja, who in the last two weeks has led the UNIC Lagos team to one-on-one partnership meetings with Seven UN Agencies, eight NGOs, three media organisations and three educational institutions, spoke about the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) this year and highlighted the strategic importance of the post-2015 sustainable development initiative.

Kayanja inspecting Television production equipment at University of Lagos (UNILAG) Studios

Kayanja inspecting Television production equipment at University of Lagos (UNILAG) Studios

He called on partners to join hands with the Centre in its efforts to effectively disseminate life-saving and development-oriented information to the Nigerian populace.

UNIC Lagos Director with officials of Media Awareness and Information For All Network (MAIN)

UNIC Lagos Director with officials of Media Awareness and Information For All Network (MAIN)

Ronald presenting Basic Facts to Channels TV Team

Kayanja presents ‘Basic Facts about the United Nations’ to the management of Channels Television, Lagos

The seven UN Agencies visited were United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), International Organisation for Migration (IOM), World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Department for Safety and Security (UNDSS), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The NGOs included United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN); United Nations Association of Youth (UNOY); All Nigeria United Nations Students Association (ANUNSA); Media Awareness and Information For All Network (MAIN); Warein Rose Foundation; Third Age Foundation; Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals in Nigeria (ASCPN); and Femi Arts Warehouse.

The media organisations visited included the Voice Nigeria (VON), Channels Television and the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) while the educational institutions were The University of Lagos; the Lagos State University and Falomo High School, Lagos.


UN Secretary General discusses climate change with Pope

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon

The Vatican, 28 April 2015. The Secretary-General met this morning with His Holiness Pope Francis on the margins of the workshop, “Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity.”

They had an extensive discussion on the issue of climate change. The Secretary-General said he very much looked forward to the Pope’s encyclical on the subject, which would act as moral voice on the issue. The Secretary-General also briefed His Holiness on his visit yesterday to the Italian Navy vessel San Giusto where he was briefed on the on-going operations to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean. They had a further discussion on social exclusion, human trafficking and all forms of slavery.  They also exchanged views on the situation in South Sudan.

The Pope and the Secretary-General also discussed the role of sport as a tool for education and human development.

The Secretary-General further updated the Holy Father on his Global Education First initiative in the forthcoming global education forum to be held next month in Korea.

The Secretary-General also updated the Pope on the ongoing review conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in New York. They reaffirmed their commitment to continue to work for a world free of nuclear weapons.

Lastly, the Secretary-General said he very much looked forward to the Pope’s visit to the United Nations in September.


Terrorists profiting from drug trade, says UNODC Chief

MOSCOW/VIENNA, 23 April (UN Information Service) – There is growing concern about the connections between violent extremist terrorists and global drug trafficking networks, an anti-drug ministerial conference in Moscow heard today.

In his remarks, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, noted that illicit drug trafficking appears to play a prominent role in the alliances between terrorists and criminals.

“The Taliban in Afghanistan, terrorists in West Africa and the Sahel and the Middle East are profiting from the drug trade, either through direct involvement or, most often, by levying taxes on the criminal groups,” he said.

The UNODC Executive Director said there was widespread acknowledgement that illicit drugs, organized crime, corruption and terrorism had a significant impact on security and development. The General Assembly’s Special Session on the world drug problem in April 2016, he said, was – as a result – coming at a highly opportune moment.

Robust action was needed to confront the criminals behind illicit drug trafficking, said Mr. Fedotov. But, he also stressed the need for access to controlled medications for medical purposes; the promotion of evidence-and health-based approaches to preventing and treating drug use disorders, as well as HIV; and alternative livelihoods to reduce poor farmers’ vulnerabilities.

“The hard work of putting a comprehensive, vigorous and balanced approach to drug control into action on the ground continues every day,” he said.