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FG Signs Agreement With UNICEF to Ensure Safety of Children Rescued in Conflict Areas

The federal government has signed an agreement with the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to ensure the safety and protection of children found by Nigerian Security Agencies in conflict areas in the country.



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The federal government has signed an agreement with the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to ensure the safety and protection of children found by Nigerian Security Agencies in conflict areas in the country.

According to a statement on Friday, UNICEF representative in Nigeria Cristian Munduate stated that the handover protocol will prohibit the detention of children allegedly associated with armed groups.

Munduate further added that the agreement signed will enable proper integration of such children into the society through educational and psychosocial support, adding that it will give them the privilege of acquiring an identity.

With this agreement, children rescued will be taken to the ministry of women affairs and social development for proper support within seven days.

The statement reads, “The handover protocol is a practical tool to prevent or reduce the detention of children encountered by military and security forces during armed conflict and presents an opportunity to identify and transfer children allegedly associated with armed groups within a period of seven days to the ministry of women affairs and social development.

“The government of Nigeria and UNICEF will continue to work together to ensure that children allegedly associated with armed groups receive appropriate, tailored social and economic reintegration assistance that supports the children’s, families, and communities resilience and social cohesion through child protection, education, psychosocial support, and livelihood initiatives, vocational and skills development, and life skills.

“Under this agreement, the government of Nigeria, the United Nations system in Nigeria, and UNICEF will appoint focal points to oversee the implementation of the protocol and develop a detailed operation plan to guide the implementation of the protocol, outlining roles to ensure its operationalization and share regular compliance reports on the implementation of the protocol with relevant authorities.

“Today marks a historic moment for children who are victims of serious rights violations in north-east Nigeria. This positive undertaking in signing the handover protocol represents a significant milestone and demonstrates the government of Nigeria’s commitment to upholding its obligations to establish and implement the minimum safeguards to prevent the involvement of children in armed conflict.

“The protracted armed conflict in north-east Nigeria has resulted to mass displacement and humanitarian and protection crisis. From 2016 to September 2022, 4,204 children (2,866 boys, 1,338 girls) have been released from administrative custody by the Nigerian military and have received interim care services at the Bulumkutu transit center, including community-based social and economic reintegration assistance.”

The handover protocol is reported to be the first civil human rights instrument to specifically cover the transfer, custody, and care of children in northeast Nigeria and minors from other nationalities who escaped or were rescued from armed groups.

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Fidelity Bank Set to Host 2 Days of Family Entertainment



In the spirit of the Yuletide, leading financial institution, Fidelity Bank Plc, has announced plans to host the maiden edition of the Fidelity Family Weekend.

Scheduled to hold on Saturday, 16 and Sunday, 17 December 2023 at the Fidelity Grounds, Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos, the event is designed to create a fun and relaxed atmosphere for children to play, parents to relax and young adults to unwind during the festive season.

“The Yuletide season is all about coming together and spending quality time with loved ones especially as we wind down the year in anticipation of a new year. As a bank committed to providing memorable experiences for its clients, we pioneered the Fidelity Family Weekend to fete host our customers and clients to two fun filled days of family entertainment. We believe this is one more way of thanking our customers for a successful year,” noted the Divisional Head, Brand & Communications, Fidelity Bank Plc, Meksley Nwagboh, Ph.D. in a chat with journalists.

The Fidelity Family Weekend would run from 10am to 10pm daily and would feature dedicated fun activities for children including dancing competitions, bouncing castles, train rides, Santa’s Grotto, balloon games, amongst others.

Similarly, the programme for the adults’ section would feature exciting activities like karaoke competitions, games arcades, couple games, musical performances and so many more fun games that are geared towards providing a memorable experience for guests.

Entry into the event is free but guests are required to pre-register at before 12 December 2023.

Commenting further, Dr Nwagboh said, As a bank dedicated to helping individuals grow, businesses thrive and economies to prosper, we boast of an array of products and services for our diverse client base.  These include the Fidelity SWEETA account for young children below the age of 17 years, Fidelity Flex for teenagers and undergraduates; and even the Fidelity Vintage Account for senior citizens; all tailor-made to meet our customers specific needs. The Fidelity Family Weekend is therefore another demonstration of this devotion to provide platforms for our customers to fulfill their lifestyle requirements”.

Ranked as one of the best banks in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged customer commercial bank with over 8 million customers serviced across its 251 business offices in Nigeria and the United Kingdom as well as on digital banking channels.

The bank has won multiple local and international awards including the Export Finance Bank of the Year at the 2023 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards, the Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 and Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards; Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2023; and Best Domestic Private Bank in Nigeria by the Euromoney Global Private Banking Awards 2023.


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Egypt Eyes Tourism Boom Despite Regional Tensions




Despite the recent Israel-Hamas conflict, Egypt’s tourism sector remains optimistic about meeting its target of 15 million arrivals in 2023 with expectations of further growth in 2024.

The North African nation is gearing up for a hotel-building initiative to address the pressing need for additional capacity, aiming to add at least 25,000 rooms in 2024 and 40,000 the following year.

Tourism Minister Ahmed Issa emphasized that the scarcity of hotel rooms is the primary challenge, prompting the government to consider incentives such as tax breaks to expedite construction.

“The No. 1 challenge that Egypt faces today is the number of hotel rooms. We need at least 25,000 additional rooms in 2024 and 40,000 the year after,” said Issa.

Tourism, a crucial component of Egypt’s economy, is gaining increased significance amid the country’s fiscal challenges.

Despite concerns raised by the Israel-Hamas conflict impacting nearby countries, including Egypt, the relative containment of the conflict and the favorable exchange rates due to currency devaluations have made Egypt an attractive destination.

In the past financial year, tourism revenue in Egypt reached a record $13.6 billion, with a focus on attracting higher-spending tourists and solid visitor numbers from countries like Germany and Russia.

The government is also looking to tap into the vast potential of Chinese tourists, aiming for 1 million Chinese visitors between now and 2028. While Red Sea cities like Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada continue to be popular, efforts are underway to promote tourism in the northwestern Mediterranean coast.

To encourage further development, the tourism and finance ministries are proposing incentives for hotel builders, including rebates for funding costs and potential tax holidays on capital expenditure.

Issa stated, “We’re going to seek the approval of the cabinet over the coming couple of weeks” and expects to announce the incentives “before the end of December.”

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N-Power Beneficiaries Decry Delay in Monthly Stipends, Seek Government Intervention




Some participants in the Federal Government’s N-Power Programme have voiced their frustration over the persistent delay in receiving their N30,000 monthly stipends.

In interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, beneficiaries expressed concern about the prolonged delays, citing the impact on their livelihoods.

Mr. Francisco Noah, a teacher in the N-Teach segment of Batch C1, serving at a Nomadic School in Keffi, Nasarawa State, revealed that the delay had forced him to halt his educational activities, affecting his ability to commute to the Nomadic School due to transportation challenges.

Noah, dismayed by the situation, mentioned that he last received his stipend in November 2022.

“Our program is for two years, starting from January 2021 and ending in December. However, since its commencement, I have only been paid for 12 months, with the last payment received in November 2022,” he explained.

Mr. Usman Dantala, a beneficiary from Batch C2 in the Agro segment, echoed similar sentiments, stating that despite being enrolled in October 2022, he was owed nine months of stipends with repeated promises of payment.

Dantala emphasized that, despite making inquiries about his posting, he has not been assigned to a specific place to serve.

Reacting to the beneficiaries’ concerns, Dr. Akindele Egbuwalo, the National Programme Manager of the N-Power Scheme, assured them that the government is committed to settling all outstanding claims.

He explained that the temporary suspension of the program was implemented to investigate and address genuine claims, urging Nigerians to understand the rationale behind these measures.

The N-Power scheme, initiated by the Federal Government on June 8, 2016, as part of the National Social Investment Programme Agency (N-SIPA), aimed to tackle youth unemployment and enhance social interventions.

The concerns raised by beneficiaries underscore the importance of timely and consistent support to sustain the program’s positive impact on participants’ lives.

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