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AU honours eminent female African scientists.

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ON TUESDAY, 24 January 2017, the Kwame Nkrumah Regional Awards for women 2016 were presented during the Opening Ceremony of the Gender Pre-Summit, of the 28th AU heads of states and government assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The prize ceremony took place in the presence of Dr. Dlamini Zuma Chairperson of the AU Commission. The EU was grateful and honoured to be invited and delivered one of the five prizes, represented by Ranieri Sabatucci Ambassador of the EU Delegation to the African Union. Under this initiative, awards are made to top African scientists at national, regional and continental levels. The EU has sponsored the prestigious Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards since 2009.

The 2016 laureates of the Regional Awards for women are five female scientists from the East, North, South, and West African Regions:

“The EU has sponsored the prestigious Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards since 2009”.

  • Prof. Jane Catherine Ngila from Kenya as the East Africa Region laureate for her research in the area of Analytical-Environmental Chemistry on water resource management.
  • Dr. Lamia Chaari Fourati from Tunisia as the North Africa Region laureate for her research activities on conception and validation of new protocols and mechanisms for quality of service provisioning over emerging networks technologies.
  • Associate Prof. Celia Abolnik from South Africa as the laureate of the South Africa Region for her research in avian respiratory viruses, especially those that effect chicken and ostrich production in Africa.
  • Prof. Rokia Sanogo from Mali as one of the West Africa Region laureates for her research in Pharmacognosy with a particular focus on Traditional Medicines.
  • Prof. Olu-Owolabi Bamidele from Nigeria as the second laureate of the West Africa Region for her research on the development of sustainable alternative materials for water treatment.
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The European Union wishes to express its congratulations to the five female laureates of these prestigious awards. The participation of women in research, their opportunities to contribute fully and their recognition, as well gender issues in research itself, are also an integral part of good research policy. The EU strives for the fullest contribution from women to science, by ensuring gender equality and gender mainstreaming in research because encouraging gender diversity supports scientific excellence.

It is worth noting that a previous laureate of the regional awards for female scientists is the current President of Mauritius, Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, for her work in phytochemistry.

 

The European Union’s support for the Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards is part of the EU-Africa collaboration in Science, Technology & Innovation (STI), under the Human Development component of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES).  This comprises budget support to the AUC’s Department of Human Resources, Science & Technology (HRST) led by Commissioner Martial De-Paul Ikounga, as well as support for the second phase of the African Union Research Grants (AURG), under which the first call for proposals was launched in 2016 with a budget of €8.5 million.

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Surging violence in Nigeria drives displacement to Niger

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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is alarmed at surging violence in north-west Nigeria which has fuelled displacement into neighbouring Niger’s Maradi region, where violence is also on the rise.

Fearing armed groups and communal clashes, more than 7,660 refugees have fled Nigeria into Maradi this year and another 3,500 citizens of Niger have been displaced inside the country. Most of the refugees are women and children, displaced following recent attacks in Nigeria’s Sokoto state.

The Maradi region, in southern Niger, now hosts nearly 100,000 displaced people, including 77,000 Nigerian refugees, who have fled relentless attacks in Katsina, Sokoto, and Zamfara states.

UNHCR commends the generosity of Niger as it continues to grant access to asylum, despite border restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNHCR teams in Niger have recorded a spike in deadly violence inside Maradi itself, with more casualties and serious incidents reported in January and February 2021 than in the second half 2020. Refugees describe gruesome murders, kidnappings for ransom, and looted villages. Many have also been caught up in clashes between farmers and herders as well as vigilantism, as self-defence groups are being set up in most villages.

People fleeing are in urgent need of water, food, shelter, and health services. Most have fled empty handed in the rush to save their lives.

UNHCR is providing life-saving assistance and protection and has scaled up border monitoring activities. Our teams are also registering new arrivals to identify people with vulnerabilities and other specific needs.

We are working closely with Nigerien authorities to relocate refugees away from the border and into safer localities where basic assistance and services are available. Since October 2019, some 11,320 refugees have been relocated to other villages where UNHCR and its partners have strengthened water, health, sanitation, and education infrastructure for the displaced and their hosts, helping to ease pressure on communities who have shown incredible generosity but have limited means.

Armed groups in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions have been fuelling one of the world’s fastest growing displacement and protection crises. To date, more than 3.2 million people have been displaced by violence in the Lake Chad Basin.

Humanitarian efforts to respond to the emergency are dangerously overstretched –UNHCR’s Lake Chad Basin operation requires US$128.6 million and is only 10 per cent funded. UNHCR is urging the international community to boost support for the region and to help governments root out the causes of this forced displacement and to boost strategic and sustainable development.

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Akeredolu intensifies effort to address insecurity, directs LG chiefs to set up local vigilantes

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As part of his efforts to tackle insecurity and rid the state of criminal elements, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has charged the elected chairmen across the 18 local government areas of the state to set up local vigilante.

Governor Akeredolu urged the council chairmen to engage local hunters who will work effectively with the state security network codenamed “Amotekun”.

The governor gave the directive on Tuesday during a meeting with the local government chairmen at the Cocoa Conference Hall of the Governor’s office, Alagbaka, Akure.

Akeredolu assured that, at least, two vehicles will be provided for the Amotekun Corps in each of 18 local government areas of the state, as operational vehicles to aid their fight against criminality.

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Security: Makinde hosts Kwara gov, as states plan joint committee

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Governments of Oyo and Kwara States have agreed to set up a joint committee to address the challenges of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in 13 villages of Kwara State, following skirmishes in Ibarapa axis of Oyo State recently.

The joint team is to work out modalities on how the two states could mutually address the situation and surmount security challenges within their territories and to also seek alignments and collaboration on economic and security fronts.

A statement by Mr. Taiwo Adisa, Chief Press Secretary to the Oyo State Governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, indicated that the governors announced the position while briefing newsmen at the end of a closed-door security meeting held at the Executive Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Agodi, Ibadan.

The meeting had in attendance Governor Makinde and his Kwara State counterpart, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, as well as service commanders from the two states, including the General Officer Commanding, 2 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major-General A.B. Omozoje, the Commissioners of Police of Oyo and Kwara states commands, among others.

Also in attendance at the meeting were major traditional rulers from Kwara as well as some members of the cabinet of both states.

Speaking shortly after the closed-door session, Makinde, who spoke on behalf of the two governors, appreciated the efforts of the security agencies in the two states, charging them to deepen their intelligence-gathering efforts with a view to dealing more decisively with the security challenges facing the country.

According to Governor Makinde, the meeting was necessitated by the urgent need to work together and to look at the security challenges in the states and come up with solutions, especially as it regarded movement of some residents of Oyo State into Kwara, following threats in parts of Ibarapa.

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According to Makinde, the actions of non-state actors who tried to spread hatred, had led to a number of residents of the state moving into Kwara and constituting a challenge to the state, a situation which he said would be jointly addressed by the two states.

He explained that leaders in the country, most especially the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, must speak with one voice and be firm in dealing with the security challenges that the country is facing currently.
He said: “We had a joint security meeting. We appreciated the efforts of our security agencies and thanked them for the work they are doing in our country and we encouraged them to do more.

“We also acknowledged the fact that non-state actors are getting the upper hand in communicating and spreading hatred within our country. So, we asked that our leaders must speak with one voice, especially the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. We have to be firm and decisive in dealing with the security challenges we are currently faced with.

“We have also taken notice of the fact that our intelligence-gathering efforts have to be deepened. Considering some of the situations we have been faced with recently, we have had to react instead of being able to act before those things occur, due to some intelligence failure.”
Governor Makinde equally called on the traditional rulers in Oyo and Kwara States to come together and exchange information and ideas on how to surmount the security challenges.

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He said: “Also, traditional rulers on both sides of the boundaries, between Oyo and Kwara States, will be encouraged to come together in unity and exchange information.

“In that manner, our intelligence agencies will be able to proactively deal with the situation rather than being reactive.”

The governor added that the meeting agreed that there was the need for a working relationship between the two states and that the states will announce the members of the joint team in a matter of days.

He stated: “We agreed that a more detailed working team is to be set up between Oyo and Kwara states. We know that the issues to be addressed have wider national ramifications.

“Yes, they asked somebody to leave Igangan and that has created issues in Kwara State, where Internally Displaced Persons are now spread over 13 villages and seven local government areas in the state, with its attendant challenges of maintenance of those individuals.

“We believe that the working team to be set up should be able to dispassionately look at those challenges and come up with solutions, which my brother-governor and I will be able to look at and solve.”
He also assured that Oyo State would take advantage of the National Livestock Transformation Plan, which, according to him, is already being implemented in Kwara State, with a view to further collaborating on the economic and security levels.

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“Also, the National Livestock Transformation plan is currently not implemented in Oyo State but Kwara State has started its implementation over a year ago. So, we believe that there is lateral learning that Oyo State will be able to take advantage of and this should lead to further collaboration on the economic and security levels. So, that is what we have discussed so far.

“I believe in the days ahead, probably within the next couple of days, we should be able to disclose to the public the members of this working team between Oyo and Kwara States. And in the weeks ahead, we will also be taking recommendations from them for implementation.”

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