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Nigeria’s top business leaders, UN to visit Borno in support of conflict-affected people in the North-East

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Some of Nigeria’s most influential and powerful business leaders travelled to Maiduguri on Tuesday in a first-ever collective visit to camps for internally displaced people where aid agencies have been responding to the most urgent needs of women, men, and children freshly displaced by the ongoing conflict.

Mr. Adewale Tinubu, Group CEO of Oando Plc, one of Nigeria’s largest indigenous energy companies, led a delegation that included Access Bank’s Group Managing Director Mr. Herbert Wigwe, and former chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) Mr. Kyari Bukar, among other private sector leaders. They joined the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, and other UN representatives on a visit to two IDP camps in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, where they met people whose lives have been uprooted by the ongoing crisis.

“The humanitarian community has been working tirelessly to provide shelter, food, health care and other basic needs to families who have been left with little or nothing. To see CEOs of banks and energy companies show compassion for the mothers and fathers, daughters and sons affected by this crisis brings a new beacon of hope for people who have endured too much. Together with the leading business minds in Nigeria, there is so much more we can do for Nigeria’s most vulnerable people,” said Edward Kallon, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria.

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The visit was part of the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund-Private Sector Initiative (NHF-PSI), a groundbreaking global initiative created in Nigeria that will see companies join donor countries in pooling donations and resources together. The platform aims to create a more collaborative and effective response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis that has affected over 7 million people in Nigeria’s north-east, 80 percent of whom are women and children.

“This initiative is about Nigerians helping Nigerians. Today I have witnessed some of the most vulnerable people; women and children in the most dire circumstances. Having seen the magnitude of their humanitarian needs, it is obvious that it is not a task that the Government or any one agency can take on alone,” said Mr. Adewale Tinubu.  “The onus is on us to use our position to repair, nurture, build and sustain our society and pave a path for a truly inclusive economy,” Mr. Tinubu added.

The delegation also met with the Executive Governor of Borno State, Alh. Kashim Shettima who welcomed this unique partnership.

“I am very glad that the Nigerian private sector, a very vibrant sector, is at the vanguard of driving this program. In the UN, Nigeria’s private sector has found a partner that has the integrity to truly make things work”, Governor Shettima stated.

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Fourteen of the biggest companies in Nigeria signed up to the initiative launched in Lagos in November 2018, which will harness their financial resources, innovative capacity and entrepreneurial drive in support of the humanitarian response in the affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.  The NHF-PSI offers a measurable and accountable platform for companies to pool their resources together to more effectively transform the lives of millions of their fellow Nigerians.

To date, the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund has raised $83 million in contributions and pledges, thanks to the generous support of seventeen donor countries.  Nigeria boasts one of Africa’s largest economies with an emerging and thriving private sector globally.

The United Nations and founding private sector members of the initiative are urging more businesses to come together and collaborate under the platform of the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund-Private Sector Initiative.

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Boko Haram conflict causing misery to millions 10 years on

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Ten years since the beginning of a violent insurgency in northeast Nigeria, the living conditions for displaced people are continuing to deteriorate at an alarming rate due to inadequate and overcrowded facilities. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) calls for increased efforts to improve their living conditions and prevent an imminent cholera outbreak.

Ten years after the first attack launched by the armed group Boko Haram, more than two million people remain displaced from homes in northeast Nigeria, the highest number of any time over the last decade.

“Every week, people continue to flee violence and insecurity in northeast Nigeria. Many settle along the roadside or on empty strips of land, devoid of proper sanitation and water points,” says Eric Batonon, Country Director at the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Nigeria.

Hundreds of thousands of people are living in overcrowded displacement sites far below international minimum standards and without proper access to latrines and clean water. Some have put up shelters made of wooden sticks and pieces of ripped fabric. These improvised shelters provide no protection against wind or rain and offer almost no privacy or security. Many don’t even have a door – leaving women, men and children highly vulnerable to intrusions and attacks.

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More than 180,000 people are currently in need of shelter in Borno State with many sleeping in the open or in deplorable makeshift homes. As the rainy seasons gets underway, fears of another deadly outbreak of cholera are looming. Last year, 10,000 cholera cases were confirmed along with 175 recorded deaths, although the real figure is likely to have been much higher.

“People in Nigeria need safe pathways back to their homes and much better living conditions in the meantime. Displacement sites are dangerous, chaotic and entirely unsuitable for children. It is critical to decongest these overcrowded sites, provide people that have been forced to flee with safe, dignified facilities and prevent another deadly cholera outbreak,” Batonon adds.

The NRC is calling on donor countries to increase their financial support for relief to families trying desperately to survive in one of the world’s most volatile regions.

“Ten years on, it is harrowing to see families still crowding into make-shift shelters with inadequate drainage systems to remove rain water. The global humanitarian community, local and national authorities have to do much more and much better to improve the lives of these people,” says Batonon before concluding: “The world needs to scale up the relief work and send a message of hope to the more than seven million people in need of humanitarian assistance in northeast Nigeria. After a decade of conflict, we need to show them that they have not been forgotten.”

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Over 200 Kidnap Victims Regain Freedom In Zamfara – Police

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The Commissioner of Police in Zamfara, Mr Usman Nagogo says over 200 victims of kidnap have been received from their abductors in the last three weeks in the state.

Nagogo made this known at a news conference in Gusau on Monday.

The police chief  said  the bandits willingly returned and handover the victims to him as the leader of a peace and reconciliation initiative recently set up by Governor Bello Matawalle.

He explained: “Since the beginning of the peace and reconciliation initiative team assignment about three weeks ago now, we have received over 200 kidnap victims from Fulanis and Yansakai.

“We have sat with all the warring factions and they have understood that peace is the most important aspect of growth and development which is why they willingly return the victims,
“and await the promise made by the governor to re-establish grazing reserves, build hospitals and veterinary clinics, provide good drinking water and other amenities at Fulani settlements.

“At the moment, all the factions go to the markets that were closed due to the armed bandit activities while farmers go to the farms without any hindrance or threats,”.

The commissioner of police who urged residents to continue to pray for the success of the peace process and sustenance of peace in the state, cautioned politicians against politicising the effort so as to allow security agencies carry out their operations without diversion.

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Some of the rescued victims told newsmen at the police command that they were tied like animals and without any shelter against rain or sun.

Some of the victims spent more than seven months in the hands of their abductors.
After their rescue, the victims were camped at the Government House, Gusau, where they received medical and psycho-social support services before they were reunited with their families.

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Corps Member Serving With Channels TV Dies In Shiite, Police Clash

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Unfortunately, a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) serving with Channels Television, Precious Owolabi, is dead.

The 23-year-old died of a gunshot wound he sustained while covering the clash between the police and the Shiite protesters on Monday in Abuja.

The management and staff of Channels Television are greatly saddened by the untimely and unfortunate death of such a promising journalist.

They pray that God will grant his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss, and avail his soul eternal rest.

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