'It is worrisome that Africans are lagging behind in catching up with big data handling techniques'- WAYSA President laments - Mega Icon Magazine
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‘It is worrisome that Africans are lagging behind in catching up with big data handling techniques’- WAYSA President laments

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THE President of West African Young Statisticians, Mr. Oyebimpe Adeniji has decried the low level in the use of big data handling techniques by Africans despite the fact that data is now the most valuable commodity. 

Adeniji made this declaration while addressing participants at a four-day training and workshop organised by West African Young Statisticians Association (WAYSA) in collaboration with Statistical Modelling Group (SMG) of the department of Statistics, University of Ibadan.

The WAYSA President while speaking on the topic “Big data analytics and data visualization with JMP-SAS software” at the program held in Ibadan lamented that many Africans have really not given much attention to this revolution in science of data.

Adeniji said, “I am not sure if many of us here are aware of the trending belief in the developed world that “the sexiest job of the next decade is data science”. The reason is not farfetched from the fact that virtually every sector, if not all sectors in this modern age are driving by data.

“It is however, pitiably worrisome that the African continent at large has been lagging behind in catching up with this trend of big data handling techniques as many have really not given much attention to this revolution in the science of data even though data happens now to be the most valuable commodity.

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“Much more, response of the African academia to developing a concise school-based curriculum for data science courses at our universities is alarming lackadaisical, as the little patches of data science education prevalent today in mainstream learning have been in the hands of seminar organizers, who more or less seek to get profit by offering these short courses to intending learners.

“In 2016, a number of us, young Statisticians from West Africa region came together at the SADA 16 event in Cotonou, Republicbof Benin and reached a communique to form a regional powerhouse for the enhancing of sound statistical education with special attention to data analytics.

“This successfully gave birth to the West African Young Statisticians Association (WAYSA). And since then, we have been able to form alliances with some notable data analytics software producers in the world like SAS Inc”.

Also, in his address, Professor Ismail Olanrewaju Shittu of the department of Statistics, University of Ibadan, added that data analysis is an essential element of any research.

He said, “As we all know, data analysis is an essential element of any research. It is the only tool that can help to make data speak. This important aspect of research has been made simpler by the use of computer with its relative advantages of speed, accuracy and its capacity to handle large volume of data.

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“This has made it imperative to acquire necessary skills to handle data particularly high frequency data with specialized software”.

Vice President of American Statistical Association, Professor Richard De Veaux in his message to the participants, noted that the workshop would be useful as stepping stone for them in their day to day activities as Statisticians”.

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29 million babies born into conflict in 2018 – UNICEF

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More than 29 million babies were born into conflict-affected areas in 2018, UNICEF said today.

Armed violence across countries including Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen meant that, throughout last year, more than 1 in 5 babies globally spent their earliest moments in communities affected by the chaos of conflict, often in deeply unsafe, and highly stressful environments.

“Every parent should be able to cherish their baby’s first moments, but for the millions of families living through conflict, the reality is far bleaker,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “In countries around the world, violent conflict has severely limited access to essential services for parents and their babies. Millions of families lack access to nutritious food, safe water, sanitation, or a secure and healthy environment to grow and bond. Along with the immediate, obvious dangers, the long-term impacts of such a start in life are potentially catastrophic.”

When young children experience prolonged or repeated adverse and traumatic events, the brain’s stress management system is activated without relief causing ‘toxic stress’. Over time, stress chemicals break down existing neural connections and inhibit new ones from forming, leading to lasting consequences for children’s learning, behaviour, and physical and mental health.

Examples of the impact of conflict on babies and young children – given by UNICEF staff working in conflict zones – include:

  • “Some of the young children we see shake with fear, uncontrollably, for hours on end. They don’t sleep. You can hear them whimpering, it’s not a usual cry but a cold, weak whimper. Others are so malnourished and traumatized they detach emotionally from the world and people around them, causing them to become vacant and making it impossible for them to interact with their families,” UNICEF worker in Yemen.
  • “My son, five-year-old Heraab, finds himself in a community where he is constantly exposed to the sounds of explosions, smell of smoke, accompanied by the regular shrieking of sirens, be it police or ambulance, or the persistent honking of cars and motorbikes rushing the injured to hospital.  He shudders and wakes up at night if a truck passes by with speed, sometimes shaking the windows of our house, thinking it must be another attack,” UNICEF worker in Afghanistan.
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  • “Some of the children are scared and look very anxious, others are very aggressive. They are frightened of visitors and flee when they see visiting vehicles coming. The cars remind them of fighting, war weaponry they need to flee from,” UNICEF worker in Somalia.

 

  • “I’ve travelled to the hardest to reach areas of South Sudan to help provide humanitarian assistance to children who have been forced to flee their villages because of violence. With no basic services, no health facilities, poor sanitation, no food, and deep-set trauma, families struggle to survive. I see despair in the eyes of the children I meet. The conflict has taken away their childhood,” UNICEF worker in South Sudan.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the landmark Convention on the Rights of the Child, in which, among other things, governments pledged to protect and care for children affected by conflict. Yet today, more countries are embroiled in internal or international conflict than at any other time in the past three decades, threatening the safety and wellbeing of millions of children. Hospitals, health centres and child friendly spaces – all of which provide critical services to parents and babies – have come under attack in conflicts around the world in recent years.

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Providing safe spaces for families and their young children living through conflict – where children can use play and early learning as outlets for some of the trauma they have experienced; and providing psychosocial support to children – and their families – are critical parts of UNICEF’s humanitarian response.

When caregivers are given the support they need to cope with and process trauma, they have the best possible chance of providing their young children with the nurturing care needed for healthy brain development – acting as a ‘buffer’ from the chaos around them.

“Parents who interact with their babies can help shield them from the negative neurological effects of conflict. Yet, in times of conflict, parents are frequently overwhelmed,” said Fore. “Ultimately what these families need is peace, but until then they desperately need more support to help them and their children cope with the devastation they face – 29 million new lives and futures depend on it.”

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Wanted Rwandan warlord killed by DR Congo troops

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A Rwandan Hutu rebel leader wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crime charges has been shot dead by the Congolese army, DRC military spokesperson said on Wednesday in what Kigali described as “good news for peace”.

Sylvestre Mudacumura, commander of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), was “definitively neutralised” in DRC’s North Kivu province on Tuesday night, General Leon-Richard Kasonga said.

Mudacumura, wanted for charges including rape, torture, and pillage, was killed about 60 kilometres (37 miles) from the capital of the province Goma.

Neighbouring Rwanda welcomed the news, saying it proved DRC President Felix Tshisekedi’s commitment to fighting “negative forces”.

“The death of Sylvestre Mudacumura is good news for peace and security in the region,” Rwandan state minister for regional affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe told AFP.

“With his genocide group, the FDLR, he was destabilising DRC, killing Congolese and Rwandans.”

The FDLR was created by Rwandan Hutu refugees in eastern DRC after the genocide of Tutsis by majority Hutus in Rwanda in 1994.

According to the United Nations, the force numbers between 500 and 600 active fighters.

They are scattered across the mineral-rich eastern Congolese provinces of North and South Kivu as well as in southern Katanga, and the group is regularly accused of committing atrocities against civilians in the zones it controls.

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“His death confirms the commitment of President Felix Tshisekedi in fighting negative forces and will open a new era of good and peaceful cooperation between DRC and countries in the region,” Nduhungirehe said.

The FDLR, opposed to the current Rwandan government, has not launched any large-scale offensive in Rwanda since 2001.

– Warning to other warlords –
Eastern DRC has been torn for more than two decades by armed conflicts fed by ethnic and land disputes, competition for control of a wealth of mineral resources and regional rivalries.

Mudacumura’s death “is a strong signal for other rebels,” said General Richard Kasonga, spokesman of the Congolese army, calling it a “big step” in the fight against insecurity and terrorism.

He called on “all armed groups to lay down their arms, or face the same fate as Mudacumura.”

During a visit to the region early this month, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also called on the rebels to disarm.

US researcher Jason Stearn said the death was “an extremely important event”, telling AFP that the FDLR is “one of the biggest armed groups in the region, even if they have diminished in capacity.”

However, Stearn, of New York University’s Congo Research Group, held out little hope for peace in a region where around 130 armed groups remain active.

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“We have seen a lot of commanders die without the groups necessarily disappearing or diminishing in force,” he said.

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Japan: OPU prominent member needs  ¥20 million for kidney transplant, seeks financial assistance

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Oodua Progressive Union (OPU), Japan chapter has disclosed that ailing member,  Mr Segun Tope Sharafa  needs ¥20 million (20,000,000 Japanese yen) to undergo kidney transplant.

The group coordinator,  Comrade Ige Rowland James in a chat with our reporter  disclosed this on Tuesday.

Comrade Ige, who betrayed emotion further described the ex-President, Yoruba Association, Japan,  Mr Sharafa as a prominent member, saying “its so sad for this kind of health challenge news of our respected member , the Baba Oodua of  Japan”.

Speaking further, he said “although Oodua Progressive Union (OPU),  Japan is new among others but  we stand like others and we never envisaged to encounter the health challenge that is facing  one of our prominent members and the union. But we decided to face the challenge as it comes because our main goal is service to  humanity which is the best work of life.

“Baba Oodua is critically ill and it has become obvious that he cannot provide the required funds to have the necessary medical attention.

“At this point, we are calling all our leaders, union, friends and family across the globe to stand by us and let show the real love and unity within us”, Ige appealed.

Mega Icon Magazine reliably gathered that Mr Sharafa is currently hospitalised in Japan due to kidney-related ailment, and urgently needed to be taken to Indian for transplant that will gulp ¥20 million.

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Also,  the OPU is organising a fund raising event on behalf of its ailing member billed for Sunday October 27th, 2019 at Arashi party room, Shinjuku, Tokyo.

 

For any enquiry or support, please contact the Coordinator or the following executives. 

Oodua Progressive Union, Japan National Coordinator, Com Ige James +81-80-5036-3437. 

Comrade Odanibe lucky 81-70-1421-1414 

Comrade Busari Jelly 81-80-5037-4712 

Comrade Adeniyi  Taiwo 81-70-7051-8154 

Comrade Akadi Micheal 81-80-4478-0665. 

 

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