- UN Allocates $13.4m to Support Humanitarian Assistance in N’East
The United Nations, through the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF), has allocated $13.4 million to help thousands of persons in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in crisis-hit North-east Nigeria.
The humanitarian emergency in the North-east is considered to be one of the most severe in the world today, with 8.5 million people in need of life-saving aid in 2017, in the worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
According to a statement by the national information officer, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Abiodun Banire, “The Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF) allocation will help address this devastating situation by financing 24 projects in the sectors of protection, nutrition, water and sanitation, health, education, shelter and non-food items, rapid response and early recovery, targeting a total of 950,000 people.”
He said in line with commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit, five local responders were being supported through direct funding in this allocation.
The statement noted that by empowering national partners, a more integrated and localised response will be possible, and their capacity will also be strengthened.
“Humanitarian needs in North-east Nigeria are still vast. The United Nations and our partners, in support of the Government of Nigeria, are committed to assisting those in need, especially in pivotal areas such as protection and health,” the statement quoted Edward Kallon, the humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria as saying.
It added that the funds will be used to expand and improve sexual and reproductive health services for nearly 130,000 women and adolescent girls in areas of Borno, the epicentre of the crisis, and boost mental health services for vulnerable children, women and men.
“Gender-based violence will also be addressed by providing more accessible medical care. In light of the recent cholera outbreak and to mitigate the risk of faecal contamination and poor hygiene, funds have also been allocated to improve the availability of safe water and sanitation for 125,000 people,” the statement added.
The NHF is one of 18 country-based pooled funds and was launched during the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad region in February 2017.
Managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), on behalf of the humanitarian coordinator, it plays a vital role in ensuring an effective, coordinated, prioritised and principled humanitarian response in Nigeria.
To date the NHF has received $41 million in contributions and pledges, thanks to the generous support of Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, the Republic of Korea, Canada, Spain, Luxembourg, the Arab Gulf Programme for Development, Malta, Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka.
Buhari Declares Oct 1 Public Holiday
The Federal Government has declared Thursday, October 1, 2020, as a public holiday to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who made the declaration, congratulated all Nigerians on the celebration of the country’s Diamond Jubilee while stressing the government’s commitment to the socio-economic transformation of the country.
This was contained in a statement titled, ‘FG Declares Thursday, October 1, 2020, Public Holiday To Mark Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary’ and signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Georgina Ehuriah.
According to the statement, the minister praised Nigerians for the feats in economy, education, the creative sector, amongst others.
The statement also quoted Aregbesola as saying, “Though celebrating sixty years of independence really calls for pomp and pageantry, but with the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced all nations in the world to think and act cautiously, we cannot avoid the imperative of a low-keyed celebration at this time.”
It added, “While wishing Nigerians a fruitful independence celebration, he reminded them of the fact that our founding fathers, in spite of the differences in faith, tribe and tongue came together for Nigeria’s independence.”
INEC To Introduce E-voting, Talking to Machine Manufacturers
INEC Commences Process of Introducing E-voting, Discussing With Manufacturers
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday said it has commenced plans to replace manual voting with an electronic voting system.
According to Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who disclosed this during the demonstration of electronic voting machines, the commission has invited manufacturers of electronic voting machines around the world to demonstrate how the machines work and preparatory to the full migration.
He said, “Over the years, the commission has been automating the critical pillars of the process. The biometric register of voters has been updated continuously. At the moment, the INEC register of voters is the largest database of citizens in Nigeria.
“In addition, the combination of biometric voter cards commonly known as the Permanent Voter Card and the Smart Card Reader have revolutionised the accreditation of voters during elections.
“More recently, the introduction of a number of portals has facilitated the seamless nomination of candidates for elective offices by political parties as well as the accreditation of observers and the media.
“Most significantly, the commission now uploads polling unit level results in real-time on Election Day to a portal for public view. These are significant innovations that have deepened the transparency and credibility of elections and the electoral process in Nigeria.
“The commission developed the specifications of the functions required of the machine. After extensive discussion and review, the commission took the decision to invite original manufacturers of electronic voting machines around the world for a virtual or practical demonstration of the machines.”
Yakubu explained that more than 40 companies have indicated interest and would be demonstrating to the commission how the IT solutions meet its specifications.
“The commission is aware that Nigerians want us to deepen the use of technology in elections. Let me reassure Nigerians that the commission is committed to expediting the process leading to the deployment of the EVMs in elections in earnest,” the INEC chairman said.
Mali Sworn In Bah Ndaw as Transition President
Mali’s interim president, Bah Ndaw, chosen to head a transitional government following a coup last month, was sworn in during ceremonies in the capital Bamako on Friday, AFP journalists witnessed.
A committee appointed by the junta which seized power on August 18, toppling President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, selected Ndaw, a 70-year-old retired colonel, as interim president.
Ndaw is due to lead a transition government for a maximum of 18 months before organising national elections.
Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the military junta, was also sworn in as interim vice president.
The ceremony on Friday took place in a theatre filled with officials dressed in military fatigues, senior judges, and foreign diplomats.
During the ceremony, Supreme Court Chief Prosecutor Boya Dembele said the challenges facing both men were “enormous”.
“It will truly require a reformulation of the state,” said the judge, dressed in red fur-lined robes.
The swearing-in comes as the fragile Sahel state’s neighbours have leaned on the military junta to appoint civilians as interim president and prime minister.
The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) slapped sanctions on the poor country on August 20 to push for a swift return to civilian rule.
A decision by the bloc on whether to ease the measure is possible on Friday, according to former Nigerian president and ECOWAS mediator Goodluck Jonathan.
“We are optimistic that this event will signal the beginning of the return to normalcy in Mali,” he said on Twitter on Thursday night, referring to the swearing in of interim-government leaders.
Last month’s coup followed weeks of mass protests against Keita, spurred by frustrations over a brutal jihadist conflict, perceived corruption and the country’s slumping economy.
Mali has struggled to quell an eight-year-old Islamist insurgency which has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives.
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