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Use Nigeria’s cultural diversity to build formidable nation: CBAAC chief

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The Director-General of the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC) on Friday harped on the need for Nigerians to use their cultural diversities to build a formidable nation.

Mrs. Osaro Osayande told the News Men in Lagos that Nigerians needed to live in love, peace, and harmony to achieve national aspirations.

Osayande spoke to reporters in an interview to commemorate World Culture Day.

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, known popularly as World Culture Day is an UN-approved international day for the promotion of diversity.

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The day is set aside to help communities to understand the value of cultural diversity and learn how to live together in harmony.

Osayande said that Nigeria’s multi-cultural potential was a huge asset that provided opportunities that Nigerians should take advantage of to achieve national development.

She said that most of the conflicts experienced in the country were due to cultural differences, advising citizens to take out time to understand one another’s culture.

“We all must learn to live peacefully, respect people’s culture, and not make jest of anyone’s culture.

“We are meant to celebrate our cultural diversity as a people because there is a whole lot we can achieve with that when we take our time to understand one another.

“We should learn to interact with one another to make the right decisions and not take decisions based on assumptions.

“Living peacefully in love and harmony will enable us to achieve our goals as a nation.”

She also advised Nigerians to learn at least one local language that is not their mother tongue to hasten cultural integration.

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The director-general enjoined parents to educate their children and wards on cultural issues to integrate them into their cultural milieu.

“Everyone must attain a level of the majority to imbibe the mode of dressing of other ethnic groups and also learn to cook and eat other people’s dishes.

“No culture should be seen as inferior or superior to another,” said Osayande.

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Workshop identifies harmful impacts of Global Gag Rule on developing nations

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Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, a facilitator at an Ipas-organised workshop for journalists, says the US Global Gag Rule (GGR) has the potential to increase the rate of unsafe abortions in Nigeria and other developing nations across the world.

Akiyode-Afolabi’s said this on Thursday while delivering a lecture on the “Exceptions in the GGR and its implications for Women and Girls in Nigeria” at a three-day workshop in Owerri.

She said that GGR drastically reduced the funding of services by non-governmental organizations, including advocacy and counseling, on Women Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (WSRHR).

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She said that the development had hindered women’s access to relevant information on safe abortion, hence making the resort to unsafe abortion inevitable.

“The GGR, in effect, hinders access to safe abortion services and puts women in vulnerable situations – left to resort to unsafe abortions, risking their health and lives because of the policy,” she declared.

Akiyode-Afolabi further said that a WHO report indicates that “there are 225 million women in developing countries, who want to avoid pregnancy but lack access to modern contraception”.

According to her, GGR will not only hurt abortion access or access to contraception but other forms of health care as well.

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“This expanded GGR will hinder and possibly end the work of health care providers, who may be the only source for reproductive health care and a woman’s entry point for receiving a wide range of primary health services,” the Ipas facilitator said.

She also said that GGR had thrown up a challenge for local NGOs that depended on US donors, including USAID, to initiate collaboration with other donor agencies in order to remain functional.

She charged the media to embark on a sustained campaign to highlight the dangers inherent in GGR.

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Also speaking, Ipas Country Director, Mr. Lucky Palmer, said that the negative impact of GGR on funding had compelled the Florida-based NGO to scale down its operations in Nigeria.

The Newsmen reports that GGR, otherwise known as “Mexico City Policy”, is a U.S policy that prevents foreign NGOs from deploying funds from U.S. donor agencies in providing abortion services.

It, however, does not prohibit funding for counseling or referrals in rape, incest, or life-threatening cases and humanitarian services.

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NiMet predicts cloudy, thundery activities Friday to Sunday

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The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted cloudy and thundery activities from Friday to Sunday across the country.

NiMet`s weather outlook released on Thursday in Abuja predicted cloudy skies over the Northern region on Friday, with prospects of thunderstorms over parts of Bauchi, Gombe, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, and Kaduna in the morning hours.

According to the agency, there are prospects of isolated thunderstorms over Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa, leaving other places in the northern region cloudy during the afternoon and evening period.

“The north-central region should be mainly cloudy with prospects of rain over parts of Plateau, Nassarawa, Benue, and southern Abuja in the morning hours.

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“ Moderate rains are expected over parts of Niger, Kwara, Kogi, and Abuja during the afternoon and evening period.

“Cloudy morning is expected over the southern region with prospects of light rains over parts of Enugu, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers state,“ it said.

The Agency forecast cloudy skies to prevail over the southern parts during the afternoon and evening period.

According to NiMet, cloudy morning is expected over the northern region on Saturday, with prospects of thunderstorms over parts of Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, and Kaduna.

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“The afternoon and evening period holds better prospects of isolated thunderstorms over parts of Katsina, Kano, and Bauchi.

“ The north-central region is expected to be cloudy in the morning hours. Later in the day, isolated thunderstorms are expected over part of Plateau, Nassarawa, and Abuja.

“Cloudy skies are anticipated over the entire southern region throughout the forecast period,“ it said.

The agency envisaged cloudy skies over the northern region on Sunday in the morning hours.

It predicted isolated thunderstorms over parts of Adamawa and Taraba, leaving other parts of the north in the cloudy conditions in the afternoon and evening period.

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NiMet forecast the north-central cities to be cloudy in the morning.

It said there were better prospects of isolated rains over parts of Niger, Plateau, and Abuja during the afternoon and evening.

According to the agency, the southern states are expected to be cloudy during the morning hours.

It said there were chances of isolated rains over parts of Cross River in the afternoon and evening period.

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Anambra monarchs protest suspension, say “nothing warrants it”

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The suspended traditional rulers of Anambra on Thursday said that they did not commit any wrong to warrant their suspension by the state government.
The monarchs stated this at a joint press conference addressed by Chief Chioke Nwankwo, the Igwe of Nawfia, in Abuja.
The Newsmen, reports that the traditional rulers were suspended on Tuesday for allegedly travelling out of the state without government’s approval.
The 12 monarchs had travelled to Abuja for an “official engagement”.
A letter announcing the suspension of the 12 traditional rulers for one year, was signed by Mr Greg Obi, Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs.
It said that the action was taken because they travelled outside the state “without the government’s approval”.
But Nwankwo, at the press conference, said that the monarchs travelled to Abuia to thank President Mohammadu Buhari for the good things he had been doing for the South-East Zone.
“The visit was to thank Buhari for the appointment of notable Igbo sons and daughters into important positions since he became President.
“Is this an offence? The Second Niger bridge had been presented as an impossible task by previous administrations, but it is now becoming a reality under his watch as it is nearing completion. We appreciated him for this.
“We know that the project is very dear to our hearts because it is key to boosting business activities between the people of the South East and the entire country. Where did we go wrong here?
“The Enugu-Onitsha expressway that the Buhari administration is rehabilitating is another magnificent reason why we went to thank the President.
“The Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway rehabilitation that the government has also embarked on, is another reason why we took the step. These projects have been pipe dreams and had been elusive during past administrations.
“They have given the entire South Eastern people concerns. As Royal Fathers who are custodians of all our heritage, we felt that it was incumbent on us to express our appreciation to the president and to urge him to do more for the zone.
“Where have we committed a crime in these laudable efforts? On what ground are the Igwe and the state government angry with us?”
Nwankwo said that what the suspended traditional rulers had done was in the exercise of their fundamental human rights, emphasising that “no one can take that from us”.
“Freedom of speech, freedom of movements are all enshrined in our constitution and grand norms. Any attempt against these amounts to muzzling the traditional institutions and we cannot accept that.”
He described the state government’s claim that the suspended traditional rulers did not obtain permission from the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs before the visit as “a lame reason”.
“Is there anywhere in our laws where freedom of movements by anyone is restricted within or outside the country?” he asked.
Nwankwo said that the Anambra government had no constitution of its own and there was no known law in the country stopping traditional rulers from having free movement.
“We are not ashamed to be associated with the great Prince Arthur Eze, who has been major succour to the poor masses of Anambra and has emancipated many of them from economic bondage.
“As traditional rulers, if we come together to visit the President or associate with Prince Eze, is it an offence? There is no known law against this.”
He said that what the Anambra state governor had done was an attempt to “intimidate the traditional institution”.
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