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Africa reveals plans to eliminate child marriage by 2030

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AS part of accelerating efforts to eliminate child marriage in Africa by 2030, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has called for the economic empowerment of young girls.

The President who was accompanied by the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Janet Kataaha Museveni was yesterday speaking at a high level side event on the margins of the 72 Session of the United Nations General Assembly under the theme; “Accelerating Efforts to Eliminate Child Marriage in Africa by 2030” at the UNICEF Labouisse Hall in New York.

President Museveni said that because of poverty, parents marry off their children so that their husbands can look after them but if the young girls are empowered economically and through education and skills, this could reduce on the rate of child marriages as the girls would spend more years in school.

“In the past many young girls in the old African societies were immediately married off the moment they started their menstrual periods due to poor knowledge about biology. Biology now tells us that menstruation does not mean a child is ready for marriage,” he said.

Citing Uganda, the President said that there is need to sensitize people about the right age for one to get married and then for the governments to come up with laws that ban early child marriages. “Once we sensitized Ugandans that before the age of 18 children are too young to be married government legislated and banned marriage before the age of 18 years,” he said.

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President Museveni added that there is need follow up the discussion with action, and to find social programs to occupy children such as free education so that children of the poor can study and acquire skills.

“Accelerating Efforts to Eliminate Child Marriage in Africa by 2030”

According to UNICEF, more than 700 million girls and women alive today were married as children. Child marriage is a violation of human rights, compromising the development of girls and often resulting in early pregnancy and social isolation. Young married girls face onerous domestic burdens, constrained decision-making and reduced life choices. This is a human rights violation on a vast scale and a major obstacle to sustainable development. While the practice of child marriage has slowly been declining, particularly for girls under age 15, additional, more concerted efforts are needed to accelerate the pace of change.

The UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage offers a framework promoting the right of girls to delay marriage, addressing the conditions that keep the practice in place, and caring for girls already in union.

The programme targets adolescent girls (ages 10-19) at risk of child marriage or already in union, in 12 selected countries: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia.

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President Edgar Lungu Chagwa of the Republic of Zambia said that if there is no reduction in child marriages, up to 280 million more girls alive today are at risk of becoming brides before they turn 18 and that the effects of population growth mean that this number will approach 320 million by 2050.

“If current trends continue, the total number of women alive today that were married in childhood will grow from more than 700 million to almost 1 billion women and girls by 2030,” he said.

President Arthur Peter Mutharika of the Republic of Malawi called for political commitment to enable girls at the risk of child marriage to choose and direct their own futures, supporting households in demonstrating positive attitudes towards adolescent girls, and strengthening the systems that deliver services to adolescent girls.

“It will also seek to ensure laws and policies protect and promote adolescent girls’ rights, and highlight the importance of using robust data to inform policies relating to adolescent girls,” he said.

The Executive Director UN Women Phunzile Malmbo Ngcuka, the Canadian Deputy Minister for International Development Diane Jacovella, the Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liliane Ploumen, the African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs H.E Mrs. Amira Elfadil Mohammed Elfadil, the Deputy Executive Director UNFPA Ms. Laura Londen and the African Union Goodwill Ambassador for Ending Child Marriages Ms. Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda attended the event.

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Governor Wike proscribes IPOB’s activities in Rivers

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Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state has signed an Executive Order proscribing the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the state.

Governor Wike,  who made this known on Wednesday during a state-wide broadcast in Port Harcourt, also emphasized that the state is home to all tribes.

According to him, “We have everything against the presence and activities of the legally proscribed and anarchic Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and whatever that group stands for in Rivers State.

“This is clearly a terrorist group whose existence, creed, mission, and activities are strongly denounced even by the Government and peoples of the South-Eastern States of the country.

“I have therefore signed the executive order to reinforce the total ban on IPOB and its activities in Rivers State or any part thereof and nothing will stop us from enforcing this ban in its entirety”, Governor Wike assured

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Sports

FIFA President, Infantino tests positive for COVID-19

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FIFA Chief, Gianni Infantino has contracted coronavirus popularly known as COVID-19,  the world’s football governing body announced on Tuesday.

According to the information scooped from AFP, the 50-year-old has mild symptoms and will remain in isolation for a further 10 days.

“All people who came into contact with the FIFA President during the last few days have been informed accordingly and they are being requested to take the necessary steps,” the body said.

“FIFA sincerely wishes President Infantino a speedy recovery,” it added.

Infantino’s last public appearances was at FIFA’s Compliance Summit which ended on October 16 when all attendees were present via video.

Cases, hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 in the body’s base, Switzerland, have doubled from one week to the next throughout October.

The country’s government is expected to decide Wednesday on new measures to control the spread of the virus.

The spread of the illness has cast doubt over Wednesday’s potential meeting between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the Champions League after the Juventus attacker tested positive for the illness earlier this month.

 

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Go for test, COVID-19 not defeated yet, Oyo govt. urges residents

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The Seyi Makinde led – Oyo state government,on Tuesday urged residents of the state with signs and defined symptoms of the COVID-19 to submit themselves for testing, adding that the state  is yet to defeat the virus.

The state government also urged them to adhere strictly to the preventive protocols as enumerated by the  experts.

Dr Bashir Bello, the Commissioner for Health, who spoke at a sensitization program organized for journalists in the state on COVID-19, held at Kakanfo Inn in Ibadan disclosed that the state had some high rise in the positivity rates recently which the government is steering up to.

Dr. Bello averred that the flouting of COVID-19 protocols during the #EndSARS protests which rocked the country over the last few weeks is no doubt going to increase the rate of transmission of the virus, but assured that the state is prepared to tackle any upsurge; stressing that the permanent structures have been put in place to fight the virus on a long term note.

The Commissioner, who admitted that testing has reduced in the state, further explained that factors like stigmatization and fear are responsible for the reduction in the rate COVID-19 tests are conducted in the state.

“We are meant to give people initiative. As you have seen that the problem of stigmatization is one of the problems that we are having. You could now see that the few positively tested ones are refusing to give us their contacts. First of all, they don’t want the public to know that they have tested positive. Two, since they know it has affected you, you are now pointing to other people.

“So what actually happen is that we have left those centres, about 27 centres out of the 33 LCDAs so that people can willfully go without the problem of being stigmatized. It’s a place you can walk to without people knowing you. It’s like the HIV in those days that we were begging people to do test. HIV has now become a common thing even every pregnant woman is ready to get tested.

“So this COVID-19 issue has not been… although we still know we have it. For example, we are having high rises in the positivity rate which the government is steering up to and thanks to God we are not unprepared. We have had a very good output. A reliable arrest of the case but it is just like the motto of the ‘Boys Scout’ which is: we are prepared.

“We are only telling the public that COVID-19 is still very much around and we implore each and everyone of us to at their own free will go and get tested. Nobody will report that because we only send you the result through a coded number and a coded message to your personal phone number which you will have given in the form which is a fairly confidential way”, he added.

He also revealed that Oyo State is the only state where residents can undergo COVID-19 test free of charge,noting that other states now charge various amounts of money.

The Commissioner, however stated that the only set of people who pay to undergo COVID-19 test in the state are those who are planning to travel out of the country and they need a proof to certify that they are COVID-19 free.

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