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Human Rights Day: France Reiterates Commitment to Gender Equality

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Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch


By Eric Ojo

Ahead of the 2018 International Human Rights Day, the French Government has reaffirmed its commitment to regional and global efforts geared towards promoting gender equality as a human right.

Human Rights Day is celebrated every year on 10th of December. This day is celebrated internationally to honour 10th December 1948, when the United Nations (UN) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) at Palais de Challoit, Paris.

The defense of human rights is a core foreign policy objective for France, which is carried out through sustained action at the European and international levels.

In addition, respect for human rights is also part of the founding values of the French Republic since the 1789 Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen and up to the preamble of its present Constitution.

This commitment translates into political and diplomatic engagement in multilateral fora and through bilateral relationships. It is also combined with cooperation initiatives on a number of priority themes.

For instance, all year round its Embassies continue to act upon France’s commitment to gender equality by promoting and supporting the message that “women’s rights are human rights”.

His Excellency, Mr. Jérôme PASQUIER , the Ambassador of France to Nigeria gave the assurance while welcoming guests to the opening ceremony for the commemoration of the 2018 edition of International Human Rights Day, which was held at the Institut français du Nigéria in Abuja.

The year’s event also featured the Screening of Aicha Macky’s documentary film, entitled, “The Fruitless Tree”, and a Panel of discussants drawn from the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), Education as Vaccine Against Aids (EVA), an indigenous NGO and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation.

Mr. PASQUIER said respect for sexual and reproductive rights, is truly and indeed, an important first step towards achieving equality of opportunity between women and men.

“Guaranteeing these rights means ensuring access to adequate, high-quality services that will prevent women from dying during childbirth as well as allowing them to choose when to get pregnant and how many children to have. It’s about giving women access to education and employment and enabling them to contribute to development and social progress. It’s about saving lives”, he said.

He noted that the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day is part of wider efforts by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to advocate for human rights through engaging the general public and partners on the ground.

“Today, and until December 10th, we have the opportunity to remember and emphasize the universal nature of human rights irrespective of origin, religion or belief, gender. This year we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the UDHR”, he added.

The envoy further explained that UN adopted the declaration 70 years ago in Paris, in the wake of World War II, observing that “disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind”.

The UN, according to him, laid the groundwork for International human rights law, which has since expanded with the adoption of several protocols and the creation of international bodies such as the International Criminal Court.

While appraising the film, which is Aïcha Macky’s first a documentary feature and a Nigerien-French coproduction, he noted that the director reconstructs the trauma of her mother’s death in childbirth and provides a moving account of her own struggle as a childless woman.

“Through her subtle testimony, she explores the silent suffering of women confronted with society’s indifference to their plight. With The Fruitless Tree, Aïcha Macky echoes the voices of women who, like her, reclaim their rights and control over their own destiny”, he further explained.

Mr. PASQUIER also thanked the panelists for accepting to shed light on a number of challenges faced by health practitioners in Nigeria.

He added that they enlightened participants at the event on the human rights-based approach to their work, especially on their efforts to translate human rights norms into interventions and policies that will improve sexual and reproductive health.

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Plateau unrest: Military taskforce accuses elites of manipulating, misguiding youths into violence

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Nigerian Army

Nigerian Army


The Special Military Taskforce code named Operation Safe Haven (OPSH), saddled with the responsibility of maintaining peace in Plateau State, on Tuesday blamed elites in the state of manipulating and misguiding youths into perpetuating violence.

Commander OPSH, Major General Augustine Agundu, made the disclosure in Jos at a youth summit organised by OPSH and Civil Military Relief Initiative to foster unity and peaceful coexistence.

Agundu said within his five months as OPSH Commander, he was able to interact with different groups (ordinary/elite) and he understood the true situation of things.

“My deduction here on the Plateau is that the youth have been manipulated and misguided into violence.

“Some mischief makers are exploiting the vulnerability of the youth population to unleash mayhem on law abiding citizens,” he stated.

The Commander said, according to UNICEF figures, 45.8 percent of Plateau population are youth under the age of 30 years.

According to him, with almost half of the population being youth, it therefore means that the youths should be prepared to take up leadership responsibilities and not indulge in the act of violence.

“Some claim to be representing you, but in truth they prosper in atmosphere of chaos and bloodletting”, he explained.

“May I arouse your consciousness and urge you to never allow yourselves to be used as agents of disintegration.

“This crises on the Plateau has lasted for too long and must stop now if we all agree in unity of peace purpose,” he added.

He said, “An average Plateau youth is energetic, vibrant, hardworking, focus and result oriented.”

Agundu urged them not to allow anybody to belittle their capacity to positively change the society.

He appealed to them not to indulge in drugs, stating that the crises is perpetrated as effect of drug consumption.

The Commander expalined that the summit by OPSH, is a non kinetic approach to entrench enduring peace in Plateau.

According to him, he convened the meeting so that eyeball to eyeball, the youth who have bore the brunt of most crises, and were most often used to foment the trouble to understand that it would take them no where.

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New minimum wage: Oshiomhole declares stand on N30,000, reveals what Buhari will do

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Adams Oshiomhole, Chairman of APC

Adams Oshiomhole, Chairman of APC


The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomhole has thrown his weight behind the clamour for a new minimum wage.

Oshiomhole stated that the refusal to pay new wage will amount to creating poverty for Nigerians.

He spoke at a reception in honour of the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba on his election as President of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in Abuja.

The former Edo State Governor also stated that there was no basis for governors to refuse to pay what he tagged living wage to workers.

He, however, assured workers that President Muhammadu Buhari will not do anything that will undermine their welfare.

According to Oshiomhole, “I am sure you must have read some of my comments on the minimum wage. I have told people that even I was to become the Secretary General of the United Nations I am a creation of Labour and I will never, publicly or privately, do anything that will undermine or do anything that is designed to possibly affect the welfare of Nigeria workers.

“I am a believer Nigeria needs to have a National minimum wage. I do not belong to those who say because we are in a Federation, we should have different wages.

“I join in amplifying that we cannot apply the principles of federalism separately.

“If we have the National Salaries and Wages Commission that makes it possible for me as governor of Edo State presiding over about 4.3 million population to earn the same salary as the governor of Kano and Lagos state who are presiding over 15 million, that argument cannot change when it comes to fixing a National minimum wage.

“The primary purpose of government is the welfare of the people. The most portent asset of the people is the state that protects you from the oppressor.

“This President is not about to put that asunder no matter the pressure from any section of governors or state.

“I believe that we have to work together not only to get wages fixed, but to ensure also that they are paid. When the President makes public statements like the ones he has made, he has challenged you to take advantage and make sure that when he provide those resources as he has done almost four times, you ensure that they are used for the purpose for which he provided the money. If you don’t, I don’t think you have someone else to blame.

On state governors refusal to pay N30, 000 demanded by labour, Oshiomhole said: “Minimum wage is not about party but about Nigeria.

“When I was a member of the governors’ forum, I did publicly advise my colleagues then that when it comes to the issue of minimum wage, I am not with them. Not only secretly but publicly too, I am going to dissociate myself.

“I believe that we need a National minimum wage. I believe that Nigeria is capable of paying a National minimum wage.

“I believe the primary purpose of government is the welfare of the people and that payment of wages is not a process of prosperity.

“If Nigeria was to wake up tomorrow and there is no one liter of oil and you must employ a worker, you are obliged to pay.

“Wages is a consequence of work. He who must employ must pay and even the Bible says a laborer is entitled to his wages.

“I believe this view and I have canvassed them. I had an extensive interview on this and I spoke extensively on it.”

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Enugu workers hail Gov. Ugwuanyi over 13th month salary

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Gov. Ugwuanyi

Gov. Ugwuanyi


Workers in Enugu State have confirmed receipt of the 13th month salary as 2018 Christmas bonus from Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration to celebrate the season with their loved ones.

Confirming the news, the Chairman of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Enugu State Council, Comrade Igbokwe Chukwuma Igbokwe disclosed that “some workers have started calling me that they have received alert for the 13th month salary”.

The elated labour leader had in a letter issued to Gov. Ugwuanyi, which was co-signed by his secretary, Comrade Benneth Asogwa, appreciated the governor’s “magnanimity for the approval and payment of the 13th month salary (Christmas bonus) to the civil servants and workers of the state-owned parastatals in Enugu State”.

They stated that the Congress was delighted that “for the first time the state-owned parastatals will be paid 13th month salary alongside their colleagues in the civil service”.

The Congress noted that the governor’s kind gesture towards the civil/public servants of the state has “demonstrated your continuous love for the workers of Enugu State by putting smiles on their faces in this Christmas season”.

They therefore, pledged their unflinching support for the success of his administration.

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