Cameroon youths unite for peace, denounce hate speech

Youths from Cameroon's West Region took a stand for peace on Thursday, June 12th, 2024. Thousands marched through the streets of Bafoussam, led by the Cameroon National Youth Council (CNYC) president Fadimatou Iyawa. The peace walk served a dual purpose: condemning hate speech and encouraging youth voter registration. It aligns with a national campaign launched by the CNYC to establish regional dialogue platforms across Cameroon. 'This walk fights against hate speech, xenophobia, and youth manipulation,' Iyawa declared. 'We fully support the consolidation of peace in Cameroon.' These dialogue platforms will allow young Cameroonians to discuss pressing issues, including unemployment and entrepreneurship. The campaign's theme is 'The Contribution of Youths to the Consolidation of Peace.' The next stop for the campaign will be Bamenda, the capital of the North West Region. This initiative exemplifies the growing youth movement in Cameroon striving for a more peaceful and unified nation. Source: Cameroon N ews Agency

Expert backs commission’s move to sanitise digital lending space

Money Lenders Association, has commended the continuous actions by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) to sanitise the digital lending space in Nigeria, saying it is a welcome development. Chairman of the Association, Mr Gbemi Adelekan, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday, said efforts of the FCCPC resulted in growth of online lending applications. Adelekan, also the Managing Director of Trafalgar (Kwikpay Credit), said that the use of online lending applications, when compared to traditional financial institutions, had witnessed significant growth in the past few months. He, however, noted that this growth also led to increase in default rate due to the economic situation and financial constraint for some customers. He furthered stated that the growth in the industry had also attracted licensed players and some unregistered operators that were violating the consumer rights in the country. Adelekan recalled that in August, 2022, the FCCPC issu ed interim guidelines on the registration of digital lending platforms in the country. These guidelines, he stated, were necessary to curb these unlawful practices in the eco system and help to sanitise the industry. According to him, the FCCPC has made significant progress in monitoring this important sector as the commission continues to investigate and track most of these illegally operating DMLs. 'While most licensed Digital Money Lenders (DML) are operating their loan app business ethically, in compliance with the prevailing laws of the land and lending principles, we also have a few bad eggs in the industry. 'Most of these unscrupulous lenders are unregistered and without the required licenses, thereby contravening various regulations and guidelines introduced by FCCPC and the various regulatory bodies of the government. 'These illegal operators use threatening and arm-twisting tactics as part of their collection strategy,' he said. Adelekan stated that the continuous investigation and surveillanc e by the commission demonstrate its commitment to tackling these unwholesome practices head on. He said that as of today, over 230 digital money lenders have been registered by FCCPC with 88 existing loan operators put on watch list. He noted that the commission had also delisted 47 Loan apps from operating online on the google play store and also blocked the bank accounts of lenders violating the contraventions. Adelekan charged the general public to desist from patronising illegal loan apps, saying any loan application that has approved and disbursed funds to you without the necessary verification was a red flag. 'The association advises the general public to exercise caution when applying for loans online, to only select licensed and approved Digital Money Lenders (DML) on the FCCPC's website. 'This will help to reduce the rate at which these illegal loan apps name, shame and contravene the rights of consumers,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

First Bank partners IWS to empower 250 widows

First Bank of Nigeria has partnered with the International Women's Society (IWS) to empower over 250 widows, in commemoration of the 2024 International Widows' Day. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that beneficiaries at the event, tagged 'IWS Widows Feast and Empowerment Programme', received various essential tools, equipment and grants on Wednesday in Lagos. The items distributed were sewing machines, freezers, coolers, hair dryers, cake mixers, industrial cooking gas, generators, and freezers to help the widows establish and sustain their businesses. Ms Lande Atere, Chief Customer Experience Officer of First Bank, said that the financial institution had been partnering with IWS for over a decade. According to her, the bank has been empowering women-owned Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with funding and skills acquisition. 'As an organisation that strategically prioritises financial inclusion, we will continue to support IWS in creating entrepreneurial opportunities and promoting self-relia nce and vocational skills among women,' Atere stated. Mrs Adebanke Adeola, Chairperson of the International Women's Society (IWS) Widows Trust Fund (WTF), appreciated First Bank for supporting the society in empowering and feasting with the widows. Adeola mentioned that the bank provided Point of Sale (PoS) machines to improve the benefiting widows' access to financial services and income generation opportunities. Also, some beneficiaries would receive extra working capital through the generosity of the financial institution and other sponsors. 'This partnership, along with generous sponsorships from other companies and individuals, enables us to continue our mission and expand our impact. 'The programme, organised yearly, aims to help widows achieve financial independence and self-sufficiency,' Adeola said. (NAN) Source: News Agency of Nigeria

WISE holds funfair for hearing-impaired children in Kaduna

The Women Initiative for Sustainable Environment (WISE), on Thursday, organised a funfair for students of Demonstration School for Deaf Children (DSDC) in Kaduna, to make them have a sense of belonging. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the children perform a dance choreography and a drama on the dangers of cutting down trees and its impact on climate change. The children were later taken outside to the school field where they played all kinds of games - table ludo, crossing the bridge, rowing the boat, table soccer, puzzle and skipping, including painting. The founder and Programme Director, WISE, Mrs Olanike Olugboji-Daramola, explained that the essence was to celebrate the 2024 Children's Day and 2024 World Play Day with the children. The goal, according to her, is to make the hearing-impaired children have a sense of belonging, particularly during commemoration of national and international days. She added that the funfair was also to foster a sense of inclusive and sustainable cities an d communities for the Nigerian child, through green skills engagement and play. 'Children are close to our heart, and we know they are the future. We have been talking about sustainable development, but there is no way we can leave out the children and the youths, because they are future. 'We have done a lot of injustice to the environment and to the climate. Man, over time, has abused the environment and has been living in disharmony with nature. 'That is why we are grooming children and mentoring our youths to begin to take care of the environment, because what we did to the environment today, is what it will give back to us tomorrow,' she said. She explained that the games children play could be harnessed to stair consciousness around sustainability in the minds of the children. She added that as active participants in driving climate solutions, children could be guided to begin to think about how they want the environment and their neighbourhood to look like. Olugboji-Daramola also said that childre n and young people could be inspired to design cities with the right facilities in the right places and build beautiful houses with landscapes. 'These are something they can do with toys, and we are here today to explore play in engaging the children. 'This is in line with the 2024 World Play Day theme, 'Toy Libraries grow sustainable cities and communities through play. 'We are encouraging the children to bring out their skills to artistically give us a picture of what they think the environment should look like or tell us a story through arts and through play, about how we can better protect our environment,' she explained. She said that WISE would consider long-term partnership with the DSDC and other primary and secondary schools in the state to mentor and build the capacity of school children in addressing climate change. One of the students, Usna Auwal, said: I feel excited; I am having fun. 'Some groups of people have visited us before and all they do is come and share things for us and go, but W ISE came, celebrated with us, stayed with us, and played games with us. 'So, we feel equal with the people around us,' she said. Auwal also said that she learned the importance of protecting the environment, keeping it green. 'I have particularly learned that when you cut a tree, then you have to plant more trees to replace it,' she added. Similarly, Hafiz Umar, a JSS III student, said his day was fun, having participated in paintings, skipping, and playing different games, saying, 'It is so wonderful having people in our school to celebrate with us. 'I want the government to help build our Senior Secondary Schools section because I am already worried that as soon as I finish, I will have to leave the school. 'We also government to help us, the less privileged, by providing learning materials for us.' Earlier, the Principal of the school, Mrs Victoria Adesina, said that the charity school, with a population of 108 students was established in 1987 by a Canadian daughter of a hearing-impaired mother. Ad esina explained that the school runs nursery, primary and junior secondary and was being funded with donations from individuals, and organisations. She added that the parents don't pay school fees but a voluntary token, stressing that the majority of the students were from low-income families where feeding was a huge problem. 'Our dream is to have a senior secondary school within the school environment to encourage transition and completion of their secondary education. 'Before, after graduation from Junior secondary school, the students go to the secondary school for the deaf in Jos, Ilorin or Abuja, but with the security challenges, that is no longer feasible. 'A few of them, however, proceed to Kaduna State Special Education School, with many eventually graduating for colleges of education and others obtaining university degrees,' she said. The principal also identified lack of sufficient funds to construct the senior secondary school section and for payment of the salaries for the 20 teaching and non -teaching staff in the school. Other challenges, according to her, are resources needed for the maintenance of the school facilities and payment of utility bills. (NAN) Source: News Agency of Nigeria

FCT residents laud NGO for food items, cash donation

Residents of Nyanya community in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have commended the Hajiya Hadiza Foundation for giving them food items, clothes and cash, for the Eid El-kabir celebration. One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Comfort Ibiang, a widow, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja, said she was surprised at the gifts she received from the foundation. 'I am surprised for a woman to do what she is doing. You can see we are all happy. 'We are widows and less privileged and for her to come to our aid, through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, I am so grateful,' Ibiang said. Ibiang, who appreciated the efforts of the founder of the foundation, called on the government and stakeholders to also assist them. Mr Iyke Vincent, another beneficiary, said he was highly impressed and excited by the opportunity the occasion offered him and other less privileged people of the community. 'I never knew something like this can come up at a time like t his considering the economic challenges of the nation and the situation of things. 'People are really hungry and for somebody to come at a time like this and alleviate our burden, no matter how little, is commendable. 'People in the Nyanya community are truly happy and we are celebrating her from the depths of our hearts,' Vincent said. Earlier, Amb. Hajiya Hadiza Umar, the founder of the NGO, told NAN that giving back to the society was what gave her joy. 'Today is one of my happiest days because it's what I love to do to put smiles on people's faces,' she said. She explained that her foundation was non-profit, committed to making a positive impact and to inspire hope for all Nigeria widows, orphans, less privileged and vulnerable people. She said her vision was to create a society where women were empowered, children educated and persons with disabilities valued and everyone having equal opportunities to thrive. Hadiza said that the funding of her project was purely from her purse as a business woman , with no international sponsorship or donations. On his part, Mr James Thomas, Chairman of Karu Local Government Area, said he was proud to offer support to the foundation with laudable objectives. He said the foundation did well considering the reality of things, where people found it difficult to feed. 'The beneficiaries today shall never forget how the foundation has impacted their lives,' he said. The Chairman said he was happy that the people expressed joy and delight. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Diaspora investment crucial for national development – Expert

The Chairman of Silicon Valley Nigeria Economic Developments, Chief Amina Labinjo-Ajayi, has called on the Federal Government to leverage diaspora investment and entrepreneurship for national development. Labinjo-Ajayi, who is also a U.S.-based humanitarian expert, made the call during an online meeting with journalists to mark Nigeria`s 25th Democracy Anniversary. She said that it was high time the Nigerian government shifted attention from petroleum to other sectors, such as Compressed Natural Gas, entrepreneurship development, youths' empowerment among others to develop the country. 'Nigeria is richly blessed in natural and human resources, we need to channel our focus and invest more in other sectors. 'Nobody talks about petrol again these days; attention is being shifted from it because of the effects of climate change. 'The plan B now is compressed natural gas and as one of the CEOs of Silicon Valley, I can tell this for a fact. 'Let us capitalise on our natural and human resources, we have smart youths and first class brains that can drive this process,' she said. Labinjo-Ajayi said that she had brokered over 19 billion dollars investment to Nigeria and had also signed partnership with some companies on compressed natural gas, mechanised farming among others as part of efforts to contribute to the nation`s development. Labinjo-Ajayi said she had also approached the management of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), to work with corps members on some of the projects in Nigeria. She, however, used the medium to call on the government to create a market and promote entrepreneurship spirit among Nigerians, youths in particular to compete favourably with their counterparts in the global markets. 'I am currently working with the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa, the Federal Housing Authority and the Federal Mortgage Bank to leverage diaspora investment for housing delivery. ' Labinjo-Ajayi called on Nigerians all over the world to give support to the nation`s democracy, so as to achieve a better future Nigeria desired. 'Democracy is about the people, so citizens should continue to exercise their power through active participation and engagement. 'On this 25th anniversary of democracy; I urge you to have hope and be resilient as we are making progress in spite of the challenges. So let us continue to work together towards a brighter future. 'Democracy is a collective effort, it is a shared responsibility, so let us embrace active citizenship and hold leaders accountable,' she said. Labinjo-Ajayi also stressed the need for inclusive growth and development across the country, adding that Nigeria is a country where everyone should have access to opportunities regardless of background or location. (NAN) Source: News Agency of Nigeria

CAS charges junior officers to be decisive in discharging duties

The Chief Of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, has charged junior military officers to be decisive in handling any tasks or missions given to them . Abubakar gave the charge at the regimental dinner night of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Junior Course 97 on Thursday in Jaji Kaduna State. He said, 'As junior commanders, you have to take vital decisions in the field. Junior leaders must understand that indecision is not an option. 'The dinner night is one of the major events lined up for the graduation of Junior Course 97 on June 15 . 'As you are aware, the objective of the college is to develop the professional knowledge and understanding of selected officers of the Armed Forces to prepare them for increasing responsibilities in staff and command appointments.' Abubakar said that the junior course cCurriculum has been restructured to lay a solid foundation for junior commanders. 'The College has done commendably well by continually reviewing the Curriculum to keep in t une with current developments in the world and to effectively align training objectives with emerging defence and security challenges locally and within the African Sub-Region, 'he said. The CAS said in the past 23 weeks, the officers have learnt vital concepts like counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations, the estimate process, the manoeuverist's approach to warfare and peace support operations, amongst others. 'It is also gratifying that you learnt the rudiments of time management, perseverance, determination, team spirit, staff work, self confidence and most importantly, discipline while on this course,' he charged. Abubakar said the members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and some of their neighbours were already aware of the security challenges confronting the nation and the challenges they would face in the field. He said these security challenges were complicated by non-state actors acquiring commercial off- the- shelf technologies such as drones and satellite communications, thereby prof oundly impacting the operating environment they would face as junior commanders and leaders. According to him, as junior leaders, they are the bridge between senior leadership, the men and women who execute the missions on the land, sea, in the air, and the cyber space operational environments. 'Your leadership, dedication, and ability to inspire and guide your teams are essential to maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and excellence. 'As junior leaders, you must be able to inspire confidence in subordinates and not lead through intimidation or be overtly coercive. 'As military leaders, you need to be firm and, in certain circumstances, authoritarian. Cross section of students of junior course 97 of AFCSC . ' As junior military leaders, you would make critical decisions in combat environments and other high-pressure situations with consequential risks to your life and your subordinates. 'You must understand that your Influence and actions extend beyond immediate tactical missions. 'Yo ur impact significantly contributes to the overall plan and objectives at the operational and strategic levels, 'he said. Abubakar charged them to lead with integrity, saying, 'we often pay lip service to the word Integrity. 'But it is indeed all-encompassing, Integrity to yourself, the Service and your subordinates.' The Air Chief emphasized that it was vital to maintain open lines of communication with their superiors and subordinates. He said clear and effective communication was crucial for operational coordination and fostering a cohesive team environment. Abubakar congratulated the international officers from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo Republic, DR Congo, Eswatini, The Gambia, Mali, Togo and Zimbabwe. ' You have made your countries and families proud for completing the Course. I hope you will continue to nurture the relationships you have established while on this Course. 'Such relationships will go a long way in fostering our bilateral and long-standing military cooperation, 'Abubakar said. He also congratulated the students of course 97 from Ministries, Departments and Agencies. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that prizes here given to the students who distinguished themselves . Source: News Agency of Nigeria

ASR Africa, BUA Group donate N10m to empower widows

The Abdul Samad Rabiu Initiative for Africa (ASR Africa), in commemoration of the 2024 International Widows' Day, donated N10 million grant to the International Women's Society (IWS) on Tuesday in Lagos. ASR Africa is a brainchild of African industrialist, philanthropist, and Chairman of BUA Group, Mr Abdul Samad Rabiu. The initiative, established in 2021, aims to provide sustainable, impact-based, homegrown solutions to developmental issues affecting health, education, and social development within Africa. Dr Ubon Udoh, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ASR Africa, announced the donation at the Widows Feast and Empowerment Programme organised by IWS in Lagos. According to Udoh, the grant is part of ASR Africa's ongoing efforts to invest in social development, one of its primary focus areas. He noted that the grant also reflected the commitment of the chairman of ASR Africa and BUA Group to improving the livelihoods and welfare of Nigerians. He said that the grant, distributed to w idows in partnership with IWS, aimed to bring relief to the beneficiaries while ensuring its relevance and sustainability. Udoh appreciated the significant work done by IWS since its establishment in 1957. Commenting on the donation, Mrs Adeola Adebanke, the Chairperson of the Widows' Trust Fund of IWS, expressed joy and satisfaction. She stated that not less than 250 widows benefited from the empowerment programme. Adebanke explained that the programme, organised yearly through the IWS WTF, is held to feast with and empower the widows. She further explained that the IWS WTF plays a vital role in supporting widows by providing them with the resources, skills, and connections needed to build a bright future. Adebanke prayed that the ASR Africa/BUA Group chairman continues to make significant strides and break new boundaries. The widows unanimously expressed their gratitude to ASR Africa and BUA Foods Plc for the timely palliative care packs received. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 250 wi dows received palliative care packs from BUA Foods Plc, which comprised rice, pasta, edible oil, and semolina Source: News Agency of Nigeria