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Npower Batch C: 550,000 Applicants Shortlisted For Final Selection

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A total of 550,000 applicants have been shortlisted by the National Social Investment Management System (NASIMS), for stream 1 of the Batch C N-Power programme.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq announced this at a media briefing in Abuja.

The Minister stated that the 550,000 short-listed applicants are being individually contacted through the e-mail addresses provided by them.

”By the 3rd week of May 2021, over 1.8 million Nigerians successfully updated their records and took the compulsory online test.

“Further screening was undertaken and a short-list of 550,000 applicants qualified for the final selection. 500,000 will be finally selected nationwide to serve as the first stream of the N-Power Batch C programme. This is the Batch C1. The second batch of another 500,000 will subsequently be made in line with Mr President’s directive to engage 1,000,000 beneficiaries under the Batch C,” the Minister said.

The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development launched the National Social Investment Management System (NASIMS) on March 11, 2021, for the Batch C applicants who were requested to urgently update their personal information and subsequently take an online test through the NASIMS Portal.

Home-Grown school feeding programme

In a related development, the Minister also announced the resumption of the National Home-Grown School Feeding programme where a total of 9,196,823 pupils in classes 1 to 3 in public primary schools will receive one nutritious meal daily in all 54,619 schools nationwide.

The programme, according to the Minister is being expanded to accommodate an additional five million children in line with the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The outcome of this programme includes an increase in school enrolment, improved nutrition for benefiting pupils, boosting of local economies and facilitating job creation through the activities of 103,028 cooks, 100,000 smallholder farmers and numerous aggregators and commodity transporters engaged nationwide”.

Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq also revealed plans to onboard the second Batch of beneficiaries under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) which is nearing completion and will be made public soon.

She also reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to the continued implementation of the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP), in line with Mr President’s policy to unfailingly lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, through innovative Youth Empowerment and Gainful Employment.

“As part of the NSIP, the Rapid Response Register (RRR) has been put in place by the Ministry as a shock responsive intervention register specifically targeted at the Urban Informal workers impacted by the Covid 19 Pandemic. One million beneficiaries will receive monthly cash transfers of N5,000 for 6 months. A pilot commenced earlier this year with 3,115 beneficiaries in Lagos and Abuja. It will be upscaled nationwide and beneficiaries will start receiving their stipends soon,” Umar Farouq said.

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Education

Take ASUU to Court, Adamu Adamu Tells Varsity Students

Adamu Adamu, the Minister of Education on Thursday said Nigerian universities student should demand compensation from the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) for the wasted six-month strike.

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Adamu Adamu, the Minister of Education on Thursday said Nigerian universities student should demand compensation from the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) for the wasted six-month strike.

The minister also said the federal government will not pay lecturers the emoluments for the six months spent at home and encouraged students to take ASUU to court.

Adamu Adamu said this at the 47th Session of the State House Ministerial Briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

Adamu suggested that the affected students should “take ASUU to court” to claim damages incurred over the strike period.

According to him, the federal government bears no liability to compensate millions of students grounded for six months over lost time.

He also said if the students are determined to get compensated, they should take ASUU to court.

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Emirates Airlines to Suspend Operations in Nigeria from September

Emirates Airlines has announced the suspension of flight operations in Nigeria, starting from September 1, 2022.

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Following its inability to repatriate funds from Nigeria due to persistent foreign exchange scarcity, Emirates Airlines has announced the suspension of flight operations in Nigeria, starting from September 1, 2022.

According to the airline, the suspension became necessary after all efforts to repatriate realised revenue from Nigeria failed despite a series of complaints.

It said this concern has been raised on many occasions with officials of the Federal Ministry of Aviation, as well as those at the finance ministry.

International airlines operating in Nigeria have struggled to repatriate revenue due to CBN’s failure to make dollars available for airlines looking to repatriate revenue to their home country.  Presently, foreign airlines are looking to repatriate about $600 million in blocked funds.

“We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to our customers, however, the circumstances are beyond our control at this stage. We will be working to help impacted customers make alternative travel arrangements wherever possible.”

It, however, noted that should there be any positive developments in the coming days regarding Emirates’ blocked funds in Nigeria, the airline would, of course, re-evaluate its decision.

“We remain keen to serve Nigeria, and our operations provide much-needed connectivity for Nigerian travellers, providing access to trade and tourism opportunities to Dubai, and to our broader network of over 130 destinations,” the global carrier stated.

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Equatorial Guinea: ‘Cleaning Operation’ Tramples on Human Rights, Not Crime

The Equatorial Guinean authorities must immediately stop arbitrarily and indiscriminately arresting young men in their fight against gang crime

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The Equatorial Guinean authorities must immediately stop arbitrarily and indiscriminately arresting young men in their fight against gang crime, said Amnesty International today after documenting numerous testimonies related to these arrests.

In response to an alleged increase in crime by youth gangs, especially a group known as the “8 Machetes”, Equatorial Guinea’s Vice President, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, launched a national plan to combat these gangs at the beginning of May, which was labelled by the authorities as a “Cleaning Operation”.

On 9 May 2022, Vice President Nguema Obiang Mangue said in a video broadcast on national TV that he had decided to launch the operation ‘to clean’ the streets of Equatorial Guinea of criminals and bandits, and to highlight the “right way” to young criminals.

“The ‘Cleaning Operation’ in Equatorial Guinea is deeply concerning as it leads to egregious violation of human rights. Under the pretext of fighting criminality, young people are being arbitrarily arrested and detained, with many facing torture or other ill-treatment, losing their lives, or being forcibly disappeared,” said Marta Colomer, Amnesty International’s Senior Campaigner for West and Central Africa.

“The Equatorial Guinea authorities must immediately end this campaign, which amounts to little more than a targeted assault on human rights. It is entirely possible to deal with criminal cases while also respecting human rights.”

Mass arrests and curfews

The government’s plan includes a curfew for young people, as well as sending suspected criminals to high security prisons. In a single week in May, more than 400 young people were arrested, while three months later, thousands of young men were reportedly arrested across the country. Due to a lack of evidence in some cases, some judges decided to grant parole to those arrested. At least two of those arrested, however, died in prison.

Amnesty International spoke with relatives of arrested and detained individuals. In many cases, they said their relatives were mistreated by the security forces during their arrest and detention.

Rubén, a 21-year-old from Campo-Yaunde, was arrested alongside a group of other young people on 20 May while gathering in the Campo-Yaunde area of Malabo, the capital. The group had been described by the authorities as criminals. On 6 June, he died in prison. The family received his body and a medical report, which indicated that Rubén had suffered from breathing difficulties and anorexia, among other health issues. The family maintains that Rubén had no health problems at the time of his arrest.

An older brother of two arrested boys told Amnesty: “The government is reacting to the actions of a criminal gang that was stealing from people, but they are taking people at random. Some are criminals, but others are just innocent men. They don’t investigate. We are not the only ones affected. Many families are also affected all over the country.”

‘He is a gangster, and we are going to put him in jail’

For many other young people arbitrarily arrested by security forces, their whereabouts remains unknown, while their families are often left with little or no news.

Lucas, a 24-year-old, was arrested by the Rapid Intervention Force on 8 May while spending time with his girlfriend and other friends. They were taken to the Central Police Station in Malabo. When Lucas’ girlfriend, Anita, tried to visit him, the police said her boyfriend “is a gangster, and we are going to put him in jail”.

The family heard from informal sources that Lucas is reportedly being held in Black Beach, a high security prison in Malabo, yet nobody could confirm this information. The lack of official information on his fate or whereabouts may turn his deprivation of liberty into an enforced disappearance – a crime under international law.

Anita told Amnesty International: “The only thing they are saying is that none of those arrested are innocent. If at some point it is proven that they are innocent, then they will be released. What happened to Lucas is happening all over the country. It’s not just here in Malabo.”

Santiago, a 22-year-old student arrested in the municipality of Bata three months ago, is still being arbitrarily detained by the police. Although the police told his family there was no proof of Santiago’s criminality, they demanded a payment of 100.000 CFA (around US$150) for his release. As the family were unable to pay, Santiago remains in detention in an unknown location.

“It’s not just my story. All the police stations are overcrowded with young boys who have been arrested. The other day, when I went there, there were at least more than 400 boys,” said Santiago’s father.

According to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to which Equatorial Guinea is a party, arrested and detained persons have the right to contact and access a family member or other person of their choice. A few days before the launch of the “Cleaning Operation”, the President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo told the people of Equatorial Guinea that the plan does not undermine human rights, and that international human rights organizations who criticize it are trying to destabilize the country.

“The Equatorial Guinean authorities must urgently offer transparent information on deaths in detention and torture and other ill-treatment. They must also ensure those suspected of criminality face justice in fair trials before ordinary civilian courts and release all those who have been arbitrarily arrested and detained,” said Marta Colomer.

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