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General News of Monday, 16 November 2020


#EndSARS: ActionAid urges FG on definite timelines to meet youths’ demands

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A Civil Society Organisation, ActionAid Nigeria, AAN, at the weekend, urged the Federal Government to give definite timelines to meet youths’ demands aftermath of #EndSARS protests.

This was contained in a statement issued by the organization after a meeting by the Board of Trustees of AAN, to review of the State of the Nation, which also was the 42nd meeting held virtually as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, where they made observations and recommendations to address some of the issues of concern.

According to the BoT the efforts by the Buhari-led administration are being recognized in the bid to move the country forward, particularly at an unprecedented time when the world is battling a pandemic.

The statement reads in part, “The Federal Government should provide definite timelines for government’s response to youths’ demands. This can be kick-started with investigations of the incident that transpired at Lekki Tollgate.

"Those who ordered the shooting, as well as the officers who fired at peaceful protesters must be brought to book openly.

“Those who sponsored hoodlums to disrupt the peaceful protests, attack their fellow citizens and destroyed properties must be identified and made to face the wrath of the law to pass a clear message that elites should desist from using young Nigerians for political gain. We call on the Federal Government to ask the Central Bank to unfreeze the accounts of EndSARS promoters without delay.

“We call on the Federal Government to rethink its stand on the IPPIS and pay the salaries of ASUU members and implement the FGN/ASUU agreement. What education needs now is for the government to declare a state of emergency to re-build it.

“This re-building should start with proper funding on everything about education. Proper funding will ensure that the children of the poor, who cannot afford the prohibitive cost, paid in private universities, or do not have opportunities to study outside Nigeria, get quality education, which is not priced beyond their reach.

“To avert the looming food crisis, financial inclusiveness should be encouraged through increased access to low-interest credit by the small-scale farmers, especially smallholder women farmers who produce over 70% of food consumed in the country.”

Other recommendations the BoT made include, Federal Government and sub-national governments to investigate the other myriads of problems raised with the outset of COVID-19, with a view to resolving all pending issues so as to maintain industrial harmony and avoid needless sufferings and death of Nigerians.

Reversal of the fuel price and electricity tariff, and request that meters be provided for all electricity consumers as monumental inflation affects living standards of Nigerians who have been pulled out of poverty through various programmes by development partners including government.

Sexual Gender-Based Violence response services should be a basic and accessible service in every state of Nigeria. The minimum standards for prevention and response to SGBV in emergencies should be institutionalised.

The mitigation, prevention, and response standards will enable states to ensure access to reproductive health services for SGBV survivors, including clinical management of rape, distribution of dignity kits, and effective referral systems to facilitate access to psychosocial support, safety and security, justice, and legal aid, and socio-economic support; while the coordination and operational standards will enable states to conduct SGBV assessment, coordination, advocacy and communications, and secure human and financial resources in emergencies.

“We urge the Federal Government to continue to engage with key international actors including the United Nations, United States and the United Kingdom in providing support for the Nigerian forces and Multi-national Joint Task Force, MJTF in countering and ending insurgency in the Northeast. In addition, Nigeria should consider looking inwards for its own solution to end the growing insecurity in the country”, it added.

The BoT explained that the recommendations were made based on their observations which include: Lack of proper accountability mechanism for the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, and responsiveness of government over the years.

The attempts by the Federal Government to encourage local farmers and food producers over imports are commendable, however, Nigeria is currently dealing with the twin crises of flooding and food shortage. This is threatening to push Nigeria into a devastating food crisis.

The Federal Government and ASUU’s prolonged failure to reach a mutual agreement invariably strengthens the decay in education to the disadvantage of the entire country.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has made some strides in terms of combating the dreaded coronavirus but the country’s limited testing capacity and inconsistent contact tracing remain a major concern.

The hike in electricity tariffs by almost 100 per cent as well as the fuel price increase coming amid the COVID-19 pandemic is not only ill-timed, but it is also counterproductive.

Since the COVID-19 lockdown, a wave of rape and other forms of Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) has increased.

Regardless of claims of increased security measures by federal authorities, an atmosphere of insecurity persists across Nigeria. Increasing attacks are being reported in the northeast including reports of fresh attacks in Chibok, home of the Chibok girls who are yet to fully return home 6 years after their abduction, with 112 girls still missing.

The attempts by the Federal Government to encourage local farmers and food producers over imports is commendable, however, Nigeria is currently dealing with the twin crises of flooding and food shortage. This is threatening to push Nigeria into a devastating food problem.

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