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FGN, Cote d’Ivoire Republic sign cooperation agreement on counter human trafficking



FG inaugurates N-Alerts to deter kidnappers, bandits, others

… As SGF says Nigeria committed to effective border relations with neighbours***

The Federal Government has signed a cooperation agreement with the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire to fight human trafficking especially the trafficking of women and children.

This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Adekoye Vincent of the Press and Public Relations Unit of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) made available to newsmen on Monday in Abuja.

Vincent stated that the signing of the agreement was the high point of the second session of the Ivorian-Nigerian joint commission of cooperation, held in Abidjan between Nov.4 and Nov.6.

He said that the agreement was expected to further deepen existing collaboration and mutual cooperation between the two countries and would be implemented by NAPTIP on behalf of Nigerian government.

“The objective of the agreement is to develop a common front to prevent and punish trafficking in persons by sharing of intelligence and sensitisation campaigns in both countries.

“It is also to protect, rehabilitate and reintegrate victims of trafficking into their original environment and to promote friendly cooperation between both countries,” Vincent stated.

He said that the high-level delegation of Nigeria was led by Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, Amb. Zuberu Dada, Minister of State, for Foreign Affairs, Amb. Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment.

Others were Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, NAPTIP Director-General, and other senior government officials as well as representatives from various Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

He added that the development came on the heels of the renewed commitment and strategic focus of NAPTIP Director-General to strengthen ties with anti-trafficking agencies within the West Africa sub-region to effectively curb human trafficking.

The spokesman said that NAPTIP’s Director-General, in an interaction with the Ivorian counterparts, discussed current trends of trafficking and shared concerns and challenges in the fight against human trafficking.

He added that both heads of counter-trafficking agencies pledged their commitments to jointly work together in eliminating the menace.

In another development, the Federal Government has restated its commitment to more effective border relations with neighbouring countries.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustafa, stated this at the inauguration of the three-day Local Bilateral Committee (LBC) meeting of Borno, Yobe States and Diffa Region of Niger Republic, on Monday in Maiduguri.

The meeting was organised under the auspices of the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation (NNJC).

Mustafa, represented by Mr Andrew David, Permanent Secretary, Political and Economic Affairs in the SGF’s office, said that the LBC meeting was convened to foster unity and promote a closer relationship with the Niger Republic, as part of measures to further friendly relationships with international communities.

“It is expected that at the end of this meeting there will be more effective border relationship, improved revenue generation and cooperation in agriculture, healthcare, commerce and industry as well as support for security agencies in curbing crimes and criminalities,” he said.

He said that all decisions reached during the meeting would be accorded appropriate considerations by the federal government, noting that the inactivity of the LBC over the years had contributed to high rate of insecurity in frontline states in the two countries.

In his remarks, Amb. Rabiu Akawu, Secretary-General of the NNJC, said the LBC was established to promote good neighbourliness to jointly address common problems facing people along the borders of the two countries.

“The resuscitation of the LBC meeting by Gov. Babagana Zulum, who spearheaded the convening of this meeting which was last held 10 years ago is, therefore, an affirmation of the pivotal role that Borno State is known for in the promotion of cooperation and brotherly relations between Nigeria and the Niger Republic.

“Today’s meeting is very important for the obvious reason of the security challenges being faced by our people in this part of our two countries, for a very long time now.

“The issue, therefore, called for a collective action, a bottom-up approach and transboundary synergy and solution,” he said.

In their seperate remarks, Gov. Babagana Zulum and his Yobe counterpart, Mai Mala Buni, highlighted some of the activities of their administrations geared towards strengthening ties between the two countries in areas of road transportation, healthcare, trade, commerce and livestock development.

Zulum was represented by his deputy,  Alhaji Umar Kadafur, while Alhaji Mohammed Liman, represented Mala Buni at the meeting.

Also speaking, the deputy governor of Diffa, Alhaji Yahaya Gode lauded the cordial relationship between Nigeria and Niger Republic, adding that hundreds of people displaced by insurgency in Borno were currently taking refuge in Diffa.

Gode said the displaced persons were accepted as brothers and sisters.


Health and Safety

GOUNI: After 18 Years, Varsity May Give Mass Burial To 33 Corpses



…Abandoned In Its Mortuary***

 Godfrey Okoye University (GOUNI), Enugu, has given families of 33 corpses abandoned in its hospital mortuary 21 days to evacuate them, failing which the corpses would be given mass burial.

Some of the corpses had been in the mortuary for more than 18 years.

Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Christian Anieke, told a news conference in Enugu on Sunday that the ultimatum, given on Nov. 13 became necessary to enable the university to renovate the mortuary.

GOUNI is owned by the Catholic Diocese of Enugu. It recently converted and upgraded one of its hospitals hosting the mortuary to serve as the varsity’s medical teaching hospital.

Anieke said the renovation and upgrading would make the mortuary a fitting one for a teaching hospital.

“We have gotten a court injunction to carry out the mass burial of the 33 abandoned corpses in our teaching hospital morgue.

“Some of the corpses have been in the mortuary for more than 18 years and it is quite challenging as we want to renovate and make the hospital a befitting one for a teaching hospital,’’ he said.

While confirming ignorance of what could be responsible for the long stay of the corpses, he opined that some probably had no relations or they were criminals.

“I am appealing to those who have corpses in the mortuary to come and remove them.

“We are talking about human beings here and not animals. Go and check if your relationship is there,’’ he admonished.

Anieke added that in Igbo tradition, families have to give a befitting burial to the deceased.

“`It is believed that if the dead is not given befitting burial it will have bad consequences on the family,’’ he said.

In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the teaching hospital, Prof. Cajetan Nwadinigwe, said many of the corpses did not have name tags, while about 14 of them bore the same name.

He said there were no records of dates in which some of the corpses were deposited at the mortuary, while it was evident that some had been there for more than 10 years.

“This is our basis of approaching the court and advertising the warning in newspapers for families to see,’’ Nwadinigwe said. 

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Health and Safety

Kidnapped UNTH Doctor Escapes From Abductors’ Den – NMA Confirms



…First crawled, then trekked a while before breaking into a run…!

Those who think educated doctors are weaklings would be shocked as the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) confirms the escape of an abducted resident doctor, Dr Orockarrah Orock attached to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State.

The kidnapped doctor who has now rejoined his happy family gave an account of how he first crawled like an agile soldier, before trekking miles, like a Spartan, to escape and secure freedom.

The Maritime First learnt that Orock attached to the Anesthesia Department of the UNTH was on Saturday night kidnapped within the hospital premises, while on call duty.

The Chairman of NMA, Enugu State Chapter, Dr. Celestine Ugwoke, who gave the confirmation to newsmen in Enugu on Monday, stressed that Orock miraculously made his escape after the kidnappers felt satisfied with the agreement by his wife to pay the ransom demanded,  decided to go and have a “nice time with their weeds and spirits and fell into a deep sleep”

Chairman of NMA, Enugu State Chapter, Dr Celestine Ugwoke

The abducted doctor thereafter, “”gradually crawled away from the spot he was kept in the kidnappers’ den and later trekked and ran a distance before sighting human activities”, before finally coming out, near the Four Corner Junction of Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway.

“He called his wife and the wife called the UNTH chief security officer that picked him up that midnight of Saturday. We are profoundly grateful to God for his miraculous escape,” he said.

The chairman, however, said that doctors had become endangered professionals in the state, as kidnappers always target them especially those working in tertiary health institutions in the state.

“We are really in trouble as doctors are now their target and we are living in fear as the kidnappers now chase us as if they are chasing rats,” he said.

The chairman said that any more abduction of any doctor in UNTH again, doctors in the teaching hospital would totally down tools adding that this warning would be extended to other tertiary hospitals in the state.

Ugwoke said that the association would be meeting with the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of UNTH to mandate to release of security protocol for the hospital, to ensure the safety of all doctors, management staff, staff, and patients in the hospital.

“We also want the hospital management to beef up security within the hospital, ensure adequate perimeter fencing of the entire hospital, and installation of Close Circuit Television Camera (CCTV) and its monitoring base within the hospital.

“As an association, we have previously met the state’s Commissioner for Health and the Commissioner of Police on the spate of insecurity our members face even in the discharge of their life-saving professional duties.

“All efforts through official letters and other means to pay a courtesy call on Gov. Peter Mbah and intimate him on the vital issue of doctors’ security in the state had proved abortive.

“Maybe, the government wants doctors to leave their duty posts and carry placards to the Enugu Government House before listening to us. This will be very bad if allowed to drag to this point,” he said.

Efforts made to get the Spokesperson for Enugu State Police Command, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, to speak on the matter proved abortive as he did not pick up several calls made to his cellphone.

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Health and Safety

Lagos Rallies Volunteer Groups On Environmental Conservation



Sanwo-Olu tasks MSMEs on digitalisation to harness AfCFTA benefits

The Lagos State Government rallied environmental groups to collaborate with it and explore innovative solutions to achieve environmental conservation.

 The Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Services, Gaji Omobolaji during a workshop for Coalition of Lagos Environmental Group (COLEG) at LCCI Building, Ikeja,  said the objective of the workshop is a commitment to the protection and preservation of the environment.  

Gaji, represented by the Deputy Director of Sanitation, Mr. Jide Adeoye said the Coalition of Lagos Environmental Volunteer Group (COLEG) is a coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations that offer non-profit voluntary services and intervention exercises across the State.

He mentioned that the group was created by the Ministry as an umbrella body to coordinate and regulate the activities of the group to check abuses as well as to ensure interventions carried out by the group are guided and focused to achieve maximum environmental gains.

“Consequently, this technical workshop will focus on training environmental NGOs registered as COLEG; cover expectations of the Ministry for the groups which includes proper processes for carrying out environmental interventions in the State as well as compliance with rules and regulations”, he said.

The Permanent Secretary said the duty of non-governmental organisations in the field of environmental conservation is truly invaluable, each playing a vital role in the collective effort to address various environmental challenges, adding that they are the driving force to provide innovative solutions, public awareness, and advocacy for achieving a sustainable future.

LASG Announces Traffic Diversion At Second Rainbow

*Sanwo-Olu, Executive Governor, Lagos State

He highlighted the environmental challenges faced in the state to include improper solid waste management, littering of public places, inadequate waste sorting and removal of recyclables leading to littering of the environment with PET containers as well as the impact of climate change and pollution, saying “All these are responsible for reducing the aesthetic and tourism potentials of Lagos State”.

The Permanent Secretary also gave the assurance of the government’s support, stressing that the present administration recognises the significance of NGOs in shaping environmental policy, implementing initiatives, and being the voices of conscience for the planet.

In a lecture, titled: “Process and Procedure for Environmental Interventions and Compliance with Lagos State, Rules and Regulations”, the Guest Lecture, Mr. Olasunkanmi Sojinu pointed out all areas where the NGOs can effectively partner with the Government, adding that the NGOs need to be a voice for the Environment.

He charged the NGOs and others, on the need to stop provoking the earth, adding that most waste can be used as raw materials for other products.  

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