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Sanwo-Olu reveals plan to tackle Lagos traffic in 2020

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday, said his administration would soon roll out massive water transport services in order to reduce over-dependence on road transportation.

Sanwo-Olu said this in his speech at the Public and Private Innovation For Sustainable Cities organised by the Embassy of France at Alliance Francaise, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, Sanwo-Olu said that the future of Lagos lies primarily in viable alternatives to over dependence on road transportation.

Lagos have a sizable mass of water, we are ramping up with the roll out of public water transport services.

“We are also focusing on the medium and long term water and rail transport service in order to ease the stress of transportation in the state,” Sanwo-Olu said.

He said that his administration intends to launch the first of several planned intra-city lines by the end of 2020.

We would be moving Lagosians into efficient mass transport services.

“We would be reducing the time and productivity lost to traffic logjams and reducing the city’s carbon footprint,” the governor said.

He said that daily migration to Lagos brought huge challenges of increased waste management the state was tackling through various initiatives and appealed to residents to embrace the Blue Box Initiative to sort waste.

In line with our determination and commitment to ensure a cleaner and healthier environment, we have re-energized the solid waste management sector by promoting concepts of reduce, reuse and recycle as the major thrusts of waste management in the state.

“We urge everyone to embrace and spread the gospel of the blue box program as well as the community clean up campaign that was recently launched as innovative way of strategically managing solid waste in the state.

“The Blue Box initiative is essential to the full realization of the benefit derivable from a technology driven recycling process.

We are investing in an upgrade of our waste processing infrastructure, state-wide: Loading Stations, Recycling Centers, Treatments Plants, Waste-to-Energy plants,” he said.

He said that his government was stepping up efforts to collaborate with its northern neighbour in order to serve the needs of increasing com mingled population.

As Lagos grows, it will inevitably continue to spill northwards.

Therefore, we are collaborating with Ogun State Government since we are bound together in order to serve the needs of the increasing population,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Mr Jerome Pasquire, The France Ambassador to Nigeria, in his welcome address, said that Africa-France Summit will be coming up in Bordeaux, France between June 4 and June 6, 2020.

The summit would bring together leaders from all over Africa, policy makers, private businesses to debate collectively, concrete actions to proffer solutions to challenges of urbanization, demographic growth and climate change,” Pasquire said.

Panelists at the event stressed the need for government to tackle issues of insecurity, provide basic facilities and infrastructure for people living in the rural areas thereby reducing rural – urban migration.

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They also emphasized on the need for good drainage system and good road network towards and other environmental issues.

 

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Expect delays, long hours of checks, re-checks, FAAN warns ahead of airports reopening

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Coronavirus: FAAN postpones aviation conference

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said it has put in place arrangements on passenger facilitation, ahead of the resumption of flights.

The General Manager Corporate Affairs of FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, stated this while speaking at an aviation webinar organised by Women in Aviation (WIA) Nigeria with the theme: “Aviation: The New Norm in the post-COVID-19.”

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Yakubu warned passengers to expect delays and long hours of checks and re-checks from when they arrive at the airport until they depart.

She said noted escorts of VIPs would no longer be allowed to follow their principals into the terminal.

“We are going to expect flight delays, flights will experience delays from checks and re-checks. If you are travelling, I will expect a potential traveller to leave home hours before his flight. Why do I say this?

“Because there is going to be a lot of checks in the front of the terminal we have been told that some may activities and procedures will take place in front of the terminal. So air travellers are expected to leave home very early so that they can get to the airport on time,” Yakubu said.

 

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COVID-19: Bauchi records two new deaths, discharges 37

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The Bauchi State Ministry of Health has announced the deaths of two people due to coronavirus [COVID-19]-related complications.

The ministry also said 37 people were discharged after treatment for the disease.

WuzupNigeria reports that the development was revealed in a statement on Tuesday night.

This brings the total number of deaths in Bauchi State to seven since March 24th when the first index case was recorded in the state.

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Meanwhile, 37 more patients who have recovered after testing negative twice for the coronavirus have been discharged.

So far, the total number of discharged patients in the state has risen to 201.

The total number of confirmed cases in the state so far stands at 232.

The statement reads:

“37 discharges have been made with zero cases for two consecutive days in the state but unfortunately we recorded 2 deaths.

“At the moment, only 24 patients are on the hospital’s admission as of today 26th May 2020. The only patient is in severe condition has recovered and is getting better, where the entire case fatality rate stood at 3.0%.”

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Military condoning torture, unlawful detention, sexual abuse of children escaping Boko Haram in Northeast 

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Nigeria must urgently address its failure to protect and provide education to an entire generation of children in the Northeast, a region devastated by years of Boko Haram atrocities and gross violations by the military, Amnesty International warned today in a chilling new report.

The 91-page report, ‘We dried our tears’: Addressing the toll on children of Northeast Nigeria’s conflict, examines how the military’s widespread unlawful detention and torture have compounded the suffering of children from Borno and Adamawa states who faced war crimes and crimes against humanity at the hands of Boko Haram.

It also reveals how international donors including the UK have bankrolled a flawed programme that claims to reintegrate former alleged fighters, but which overwhelmingly amounts to unlawful detention of children and adults.

Joanne Mariner, Acting Director of Crisis Response at Amnesty International, said:

“The past decade of bitter conflict between Nigeria’s military and Boko Haram has been an assault on childhood itself in Northeast Nigeria. The Nigerian authorities risk creating a lost generation unless they urgently address how the war has targeted and traumatised thousands of children.

“Boko Haram has repeatedly attacked schools and abducted large numbers of children as soldiers or ‘wives’, among other atrocities.

“The Nigerian military’s treatment of those who escape such brutality has also been appalling. From mass, unlawful detention in inhumane conditions, to meting out beatings and torture and allowing sexual abuse by adult inmates – it defies belief that children anywhere would be so grievously harmed by the very authorities charged with their protection.”

Between November 2019 and April 2020, Amnesty interviewed more than 230 people affected by the conflict, including 119 who were children when they suffered serious crimes at the hands of Boko Haram, the Nigerian military, or both. This included 48 children held in military detention for months or years, as well as 22 adults who had been detained with children.

Boko Haram’s brutality

Children have been among those most impacted by Boko Haram’s string of atrocities carried out over large swathes of Northeast Nigeria for nearly a decade. The armed group’s classic tactics have included attacks on schools, widespread abductions, recruitment and use of child soldiers, and forced marriage of girls and young women, which all constitute crimes under international law.

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The scale of abductions has often been underestimated and appears to run into the thousands. Boko Haram continues to force parents to hand over boys and girls, under threat of death. It continues to forcibly “marry” girls and young women. And it continues to murder people who try to escape.

Children in areas under Boko Haram control have been subjected to torture, including floggings and other beatings, as well as forced to watch public executions and other brutal punishments.

A 17-year-old girl who escaped Boko Haram after being abducted and held in captivity for four years described life in the Sambisa forest: “[My] wicked ‘husband’ always beat me… My daily activities included praying, cooking if there was food, [and] going for Quranic lessons. No movement was allowed, and no visiting friends. It was a terrible experience, and I witnessed different punishments, from shooting to stoning to lashing.”

She, and most other former child “wives” interviewed — including some who returned with children born during captivity — had received little or no assistance in returning to school, starting livelihoods, or accessing psychosocial support.

Thousands, including children, held in military detention

Children who escape Boko Haram territory face a raft of violations by the Nigerian authorities, including crimes under international law. At best, they end up displaced, struggling for survival and with little or no access to education. At worst, they are arbitrarily detained for years in military barracks, in conditions amounting to torture or other ill-treatment.

The UN told Amnesty it has verified the release of 2,879 children from military detention since 2015, although it previously cited a higher figure of children detained between 2013 and 2019. These statistics are likely to be a vast underestimate, and the UN has said its access to military detention is restricted so it cannot provide the actual number of children detained in the context of the conflict.

Most of these detentions are unlawful; children are never charged or prosecuted for any crime and are denied the rights to access a lawyer, appear before a judge, or communicate with their families. The widespread unlawful detentions may amount to a crime against humanity.

Almost everyone fleeing Boko Haram territory, including children, is “screened” by the military and Civilian Joint Task Force – a process that, for many, involves torture until the person “confesses” to affiliation with Boko Haram. Alleged Boko Haram members and supporters are transferred and held – often for months or years – in squalid conditions in detention centres including Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri and the Kainji military base in Niger State.

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Conditions so severe they amount to torture

Every former detainee interviewed offered consistent descriptions of the conditions: extreme overcrowding; a lack of ventilation amid stifling heat; parasites everywhere; and urine and faeces on the floor, because of the lack of toilets. Although there have been some improvements in recent years, many former detainees, including children, also faced grossly inadequate access to water, food, and health care.

Tens of thousands of detainees have been held in these conditions, which are so extreme that they constitute the war crime of torture. Many children continue to be held in such conditions, even after mass releases in late 2019 and early 2020. Amnesty estimates that at least 10,000 people, including many children, have died in detention during the conflict.

A 14-year-old boy whom Boko Haram abducted as a young child before he fled and was placed in detention by the Nigerian military, said: “The conditions in Giwa are horrible. They could make you die. There’s no place to lie down… It’s hot, all your clothes were wet, like they put you in a river… Up to now, nobody has told me why I was taken there, what I did, why I was in detention. I wonder, why did I run from [Boko Haram]?”

UK support to the Nigerian military and unsafe detention centres

The UK Government is supporting the Nigerian armed forces to counter the threat from Boko Haram through British military training and by providing operational guidance and advice.

As part of this support, the UK is one the international donors (including the USA and EU), providing millions of dollars to Operation Safe Corridor – a military-run detention centre set up in 2016 with the aim of ‘de-radicalising and rehabilitating’ alleged Boko Haram fighters or supporters.

Whilst conditions are better at the Safe Corridor site than elsewhere in military detention, and former detainees spoke positively about the psychosocial support and adult education there, Amnesty has documented a number of human rights violations at the site, including:

  • Most of the men and boys there have not been informed of any legal basis for their detention and still lack access to lawyers or courts to contest it. Their promised six-month stay has in some cases extended to 19 months, during which time they are deprived of liberty and under constant armed guard.
  • Former detainees there told Amnesty that medical care was sorely lacking. At least seven detainees have died, many, if not all, after receiving inadequate medical care. The Nigerian authorities did not even notify their families – they were informed by released detainees instead.
  • A vocational training programme that is part of Safe Corridor may amount to forced labour, since most detainees, if not all, have never been convicted of any crime and make everything from shoes to soap to furniture for no pay.
  • The programme also subjects some detainees to unsafe work conditions. Some detainees suffered serious injuries to their hands after being made to work with caustic soda, a highly corrosive substance, without protective equipment. “The caustic soda is dangerous. If it touches your body, it will remove the flesh,” said a 61-year old former detainee.
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Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty UK, said:

“Amnesty’s investigations show the brutal and inhumane treatment of many children by the Nigerian military.

“This must serve as an urgent warning to the UK Government and the British forces currently supporting a military abusing the very people it’s meant to be protecting.

“The UK’s support of a military-run detention centre that is unlawfully imprisoning people, including children, and subjecting them to unsafe conditions is particularly worrying – continued support for the programme must be conditioned on the Nigerian authorities undertaking a full investigation into deaths in the facility and taking steps to ensure the military respects children’s rights.

“The priority must be supporting victims of Boko Haram. The UK Government must work with the Nigerian authorities to ensure that the military is protecting the population, and that absolutely no UK support is contributing to the vile abuses taking place in the context of the conflict.”

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