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894 Child Soldiers Released From Civilian JTF In Maiduguri – UNICEF

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has said that 894 children have been released from the ranks of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in Maiduguri.

The children, including 106 girls were released on Friday as part of commitments to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in the fight against insurgents.

According to a statement from UNICEF, the release would be followed up with reintegration programmes to help them return to civilian life.

“Any commitment for children that is matched with action is a step in the right direction for the protection of children’s rights and must be recognised and encouraged,” said Mohamed Fall, Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria and the Co-chair of United Nations Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting on Grave Child Rights Violations (CTFMR).

“Children of north-east Nigeria have borne the brunt of this conflict. They have been used by armed groups in combatant and non-combatant roles and witnessed death, killing and violence. This participation in the conflict has had serious implications for their physical and emotional well-being.”

The organisation further stated that since September 2017, when the CJTF signed an action plan committing to putting measures in place to end and prevent recruitment and use of children, 1,727 children and young people have been released. Since then, there has been no new recruitment of children by the CJTF.

It also noted that the children and young people released today will benefit from reintegration programmes to help them return to civilian life, seize new opportunities for their own development, and contribute to bringing lasting peace in Nigeria, as productive citizens of their country.

According to the UNICEF, without this support, many of the children released from armed groups struggle to fit into civilian life, as most are not educated and have no vocational skills.

More than 3,500 children are said to have been recruited and used by non-state armed groups in the conflicts in northern Nigeria between 2013 and 2017.

According to UNICEF, others have been abducted, maimed, raped and killed.

“We cannot give up the fight for the children, as long as children are still affected by the fighting. We will continue until there is no child left in the ranks of all armed groups in Nigeria,” Fall said.

The organization says it would continue to work closely with state authorities and partners to support the implementation of reintegration programmes for all children released from armed groups, as well as others affected by the ongoing conflict.

The gender and age-appropriate community-based reintegration support interventions include an initial assessment of their well-being, psychosocial support, education, vocational training, informal apprenticeships, and opportunities to improve livelihoods.

At least 9,800 people formerly associated with armed groups, as well as vulnerable children in communities, have accessed such services between 2017 and 2018.

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NEWS

NUC, NYSC to block ‘fake’ foreign-trained graduates from service

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The National Universities Commission (NUC), in collaboration with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), on Tuesday said it had put measures in place to block fake foreign-trained graduates from partaking in the compulsory one-year national service.

The NUC said it would continue to ensure the credibility of certificates issued by Nigerian universities and block fake foreign-trained graduates coming into the country.

Its Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, spoke when the NYSC Director General, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, visited him at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

A statement in Abuja by the NYSC Director of Press and Public Relations, Adenike Adeyemi, regretted the challenges in vetting the certificates obtained from universities established by Nigerians outside the country.

The NUC chief said many universities produce quality graduates while some produce graduates who cannot defend their certificates.

He said the commission had not approved the degrees of some online universities operating in the country.

Rasheed added that the commission had approached the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to shut down some illegal universities operating in Nigeria.

“NUC and NYSC must work together to help the country in producing quality graduates. The NUC will continue to certify the credibility of certificates obtained from Nigerian universities,” he said.

The NYSC DG said the scheme will not issue Certificate of National Service to unqualified graduates.

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NEWS

Eid-el-kabir: FG declares Monday, Tuesday public holidays

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The Federal Government has declared Monday 12th and Tuesday 13th August as Public Holidays to mark the 2019 Eid-Al-Kabir celebrations.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Barr. Georgina Ehuriah, who made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, congratulated the Muslim faithful on the occasion .

She called on all Nigerians, at home and in diaspora, to use the period of this year’s Eid-Al-Kabir celebration to embrace the virtues of love, humility, peace and sacrifice as exemplified by the Holy Prophet Mohammed.

She urged Nigerians to shun any form of disruptive tendencies and join hands with the Federal Government to build a peaceful, strong and united Nigeria so as to achieve an enviable Next Level of growth and development.

According to a statement by Director (Press & Public Relations), Mohammed Manga, the Permanent Secretary reaffirmed the determination of the President Muhammadu Buhari led-administration to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians, adding that Security Agencies under the Ministry have been directed to ensure the provision of adequate security, before, during and after the Eid-Al-Kabir celebrations.

She restated government’s desire for all Nigerians to live a life of sacrifice, charity and love for one another.

Bar. Ehuriah wished Nigerians a happy, peaceful and fulfilling Eid-Al-Kabir celebrations.

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ENTERTAINMENT

Why Buhari must act now, by comedian Ali Baba

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Foremost Nigerian stand-up comedian and actor, Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome, widely known as Ali Baba recently charged President Muhammad Buhari and Nigerians to be futuristic in their dreams.

The ace comedian who took to his social media page said the present administration needs to be proactive in creating the future for the next generation.

“Buhari needs to act now. He must start creating the future, developing our infrastructures and prepare them for the next generation,” he posted.

“The Eiffel Tower was built in the 1800s. Today, that structure is the centre of the economy of Paris. The Pyramids built in the days of Moses, still feed Egypt. The Walls of China. The leaning Tower of Pissa. The Ruins of Rome… What structures do we have, to drive economic development and help trigger different dreams. Where can you see those iconic landmarks in Nigeria?  How have their values been maximized? Visit our Museums. Yet we want the artefacts taken away, that are getting the best treatment, to be returned. Laughable.”

The 54 years old comedians, however described the present situation of the country as ‘hand to mouth,” “We live from hand to mouth. We sell the oil. Spend it. Drill for more oil. Spend it. And the fraction we even spend is small. The rest of the money stolen. We have been stolen blind. And the thieves are living large amongst us. And we can see them but can’t make them face the music.”

Ali Baba who after completing his academic degree in 1990, relocated to Lagos to develop his comedic talent said he still think about how people tried to discouraged him when he started doing stand-up comedy in 1988.

“In 1988, when I started doing standup comedy, there were many who told me that much. My father disowned me. His reason? He could not see any future in what I did. Many people are limited by history of things and what they already know. Those who create the future get triggered by things that can be seen in the future.

“I look back now and think about how many people tried to discourage me. Those who thought the ladder to success, was exclusively by climbing as a Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer, Banker, Architect, Accountant, Civil Servant… Today, there are comedians who are worth 3 billion (more or less) in assets and liquid cash. There are comedians, whose social impact and economic value has empowered many who are in those core walks of life mentioned above.”

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