FACT SHEET: U.S. Efforts to Assist the Nigerian Government in its Fight against Boko Haram

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 14, 2014

FACT SHEET: U.S. Efforts to Assist the Nigerian Government in its Fight against Boko Haram

In April 2014, the world was horrified to learn that the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram had abducted approximately 270 girls from their school in Chibok, Nigeria. In the six months since, some girls have been reunited with their families, but most remain in captivity, and Boko Haram has continued to terrorize the region. This year alone, the group has abducted hundreds of men, women, girls and boys and killed 3,000 people in Nigeria. President Obama has directed that the U.S. government do everything it can to help the Nigerian government find and free the abducted girls and, more broadly, to combat Boko Haram in partnership with Nigeria, its neighbors, and other allies. This support takes many forms but the goal is singular: to dismantle this murderous group.

Advisory Support to the Nigerian Government

The United States is assisting the Nigerian government to undertake more concerted, effective, and responsible actions to ensure the safe return of those kidnapped by Boko Haram, including through on-the-ground technical assistance and expanded intelligence sharing.

Multi-Disciplinary Team

· In May, the United States dispatched a multi-disciplinary team to Abuja to advise the Nigerians on how to secure the safe return of those kidnapped, encourage a comprehensive approach to address insecurity, and establish a capacity to respond more effectively in the future. These officials provide guidance to the Nigerian government on conducting a comprehensive response to Boko Haram that protects civilian populations and respects human rights.

· The team includes civilian and humanitarian experts, U.S. military personnel, law enforcement advisors and investigators as well experts in hostage negotiations, strategic communications, civilian security, and intelligence. The team continues to facilitate and coordinate information sharing and the provision of assistance for survivors and their families.

Expanded Intelligence Sharing

· The U.S. government also has provided the Nigerian government with Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) to aid Nigeria’s efforts to locate the missing girls.

Sanctions Against Boko Haram

In recent years, we have helped isolate Boko Haram’s leaders by leveraging our own authority to designate them as terrorists and by encouraging the United Nations to do so as well.

· In June 2012, the State Department designated Boko Haram’s top commanders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224. In June 2013, the State Department added Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s official leader, to our Rewards for Justice Program and offered up to $7 million for information leading to his capture.

· In November 2013, the State Department designated Boko Haram and Ansaru, a splinter faction, as Foreign Terrorist Organizations under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224. This designation empowers U.S. law enforcement and the Treasury Department to pursue these violent extremist organizations.

· The United States worked closely with Nigeria to pursue terrorist designations at the UN Security Council for Boko Haram, which were approved and took effect on May 22, 2014. These designations prohibit arms sales, freeze assets, restrict movement, and encourage regional cooperation.

Continued Engagement to Counter Boko Haram

The United States is committed to supporting efforts by Nigeria and its neighbors to combat the threat of Boko Haram more effectively and in a manner that respects human rights through a variety of assistance programs designed to advance regional cooperation, bolster rule of law, and strengthen security institutions.

· President Obama announced Nigeria’s participation in the Security Governance Initiative (SGI) during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in August. SGI is a new Presidential initiative in which the United States and Nigeria will work to improve security sector institution capacity to protect civilians and confront challenges and threats, with integrity and accountability. To support a longer term focus, SGI involves multi-year funding commitments of increased U.S. support and requires sustained, high-level leadership and commitment by partner countries to pursue policies in support of the agreed upon goals.
· Nigeria is a partner in the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership, a U.S. government effort to enhance regional security sector capacity to counter violent extremism, improve country and regional border and customs systems, strengthen financial controls, and build law enforcement and security sector capacity.

· The State and Defense Departments are launching a $40 million Global Security Contingency Fund for Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria to counter Boko Haram. The program will provide technical expertise, training, and equipment to the four countries to develop institutional and tactical capabilities to enhance their respective efforts to counter Boko Haram, and to lay the groundwork for increased cross-border cooperation to counter Boko Haram.

· We work closely with other international partners, including the United Kingdom, France, and Canada, to enable information-sharing, alignment, and coordination on international strategies and programs to counter such threats in the region.

Support to Populations Affected by Boko Haram

Boko Haram is inflicting untold hardship on the people of Nigeria, with repercussions for men, women, girls, and boys throughout northeast Nigeria. The United States provides assistance to affected populations, including support to health, water, and sanitation services; the delivery of emergency relief supplies; and protection services, including psycho-social support for survivors of Boko Haram violence. The United States further invests in helping Nigeria to build security and increase opportunity in northeast Nigeria, including through education programs for girls and boys; maternal and child health services; and programs to strengthen democracy and governance and counter violent extremism by engaging leaders across society, including women.

· The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provides trauma counselling to survivors and their families, including those directly affected by the Chibok abduction, through a $4.5 million, five-year (2010-15) program. USAID also recently completed its third training for psycho-social support teams based in Borno–the locus of Boko Haram’s violence. The role of these social workers, health care providers, and other community members is to sensitize communities to prevent stigma against abductees when they return, and to provide psycho-social first aid to girls and their families.

· USAID is starting two new programs that will address critical educational needs for both girls and boys in northern Nigeria. A $20-30 million crisis response program will provide basic education to internally displaced persons and others affected by the violence in the northeast. In addition, a flagship five-year, $120 million program will strengthen education systems so that they can provide greater access and improve reading among primary school children.

· In support of the contributions women make to peace and prosperity, USAID is promoting women in leadership and peacemaking through a series of conferences and workshops. Training exercises in Kano and Sokoto states promoted tolerance across ethnic and religious lines through engagement with influential religious, traditional, and women leaders. Women participants came out with a plan to use “naming ceremonies” (common across most Nigerian cultures) to carry out campaigns against hate speech and electoral violence. Interfaith media dialogues discussed how women and other stakeholders can prevent electoral violence in the run up to the February 2015 elections and how women can contribute to Nigeria’s political and economic progress.

· USAID is launching the Nigeria Regional Transition Initiative to improve stability and strengthen democratic institutions in northeast Nigeria. The initiative will focus on building the resistance of communities vulnerable to the effects of violent extremist organizations, weak governance, and insecurity through increased positive engagement between government and communities; increased access to credible information; and support to reduce youth vulnerability to violent extremist influences.

· The State Department supports efforts to facilitate dialogue between local women activists and security-sector personnel and to highlight the role of female law-enforcement officers. State also supports a Hausa-language multi-media platform which includes a free-to-air satellite TV channel designed to serve northern Nigeria. The channel highlights the rich cultural diversity of northern Nigeria while offering programming with themes that reject political violence and violent extremism. It also includes programming intended to meet the needs of mothers with young children. One show highlights as role models women who have overcome obstacles and now own their own businesses or have obtained higher education. The objective is to show that any girl can grow up to be a strong contributor to her society

IMG_0560-0.JPG

Advertisements

Domestic Violence is a Crime: Make Lagos State Domestic Violence Free!

Being the Text of The Press Statement issued by Lagos State Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT) on the occasion of the Week of Action against Domestic Violence in Lagos State -October 13-17, 2014

Gentleman of the Press,
I welcome you all to this important occasion of the week of action against domestic violence that will be celebrated throughout Lagos state this week, 13-17th of October, 2014. This is the first of its kind in Nigeria, where collectively as Civil society, government and the private sector we are working to achieve the common goal of ensuring lasting cohesion and peace in our homes, communities, state and nation.

The week of action is very timely; it is coinciding with the celebration of the international day of the girl child whose theme “ending the circle of violence against the girl child” connects with the focus of the week of action. This succinctly calls to mind the criminal abduction of the Chibok girls and the general state of insecurity which pervades our land as a result of violent attacks unleashed by Boko Haram. The abduction of chibok girls is akin to crime against humanity of which domestic violence is no less.

The impacts of domestic violence and sexual assault on girls, women, youths, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups is a cause for concern. It is commendable that the state has responded as far back as 2007 to enact the Protection against Domestic Violence Law to protect everyone regardless of sex, age or marital status. This is a signal that government and all stakeholders can no longer accept the adornment of domestic violence in the garb of “family affair” but an offence punishable under the law.
This week of action is aimed at raising awareness about the criminal aspect of domestic violence, providing information about support services and encouraging citizens to break the culture of silence by reporting cases of violations and pursuing criminal litigation to punish offenders.

The Lagos state domestic violence law though did not criminalize domestic violence in absolute terms but it made adequate provisions for the granting of protection orders to prevent and protect victims from violence. Notwithstanding the existence of the law, low level of awareness about the law and the culture of condoning domestic violence as family affair not deserving to be reported as a crime, limits the enforcement of the law on perpetrators.

Overcoming the challenge of enforcing the law on perpetrators will mean commitment to massive awareness and working with the populace to break the mind-set that nurtures the culture of silence. Therefore, the challenge of changing mind-sets and encouraging survivors to take domestic violence as a criminal offence rest on our shoulders as game changers and agents of change. It is our collective responsibility to let the populace know that silence in the face of domestic violence or any form of violence at all is not accepted as virtue in any civilised society rather it is a vice which must be discouraged.

In the same vein, it must be recognized that the power in speaking out and changing mind-sets can only be realised when survivors are aware of preventive measures and accessible support services that are in place to protect them.
We commend the innovative approaches which Lagos state has so far adopted in addressing the issues of domestic violence, especially the training of policemen in handling cases of domestic violence and sexual assault, the setting up of the model police stations and family support unit; and the recent establishment of the Domestic Violence and sexual Assault response team. These are laudable initiatives that can strengthen the effective enforcement of the law and give victims the confidence to report violations.

While we acknowledge the enormous work that has already been done by Lagos state, a lot still needs to be done in sharing information to the public especially about the new approach in handling domestic violent cases at the family support unit now in existence in Adeniji Adele, Isokoko, Ilupeju and Panti Police stations. Of equal importance are the services of Mirabel centre in providing forensic tests required in substantiating criminal cases.

On the part of LASGAT and its partners, we will be raising awareness and encouraging the people of Lagos during this week of action to take full advantage of the law and support services provided by government and other stakeholders to prevent and protect people against domestic violence. Significantly, we will be unveiling our awareness stickers for the week and the Directory of institutions and organizations rendering support services on domestic violence in Lagos state.

We will continue to reiterate the responsibility of the state to fulfil the rights of citizens to life and bodily integrity and ensure that their rights are not violated by calling on the government to step up action to strengthen the enforcement of domestic violence Law through;
-Adopting and passing into law the sexual offences bill which is currently before the National Assembly. The sexual offences bill criminalizes all forms of violence including domestic violence in absolute terms. The bill is comprehensive, detailed and responds to almost all issues relating to sexual offences and domestic violence.

-Gathering data to enable the quantification of the economic and non- economic cost of domestic violence in the state to enable budgetary allocation needed to fight the scourge. We must not allow the damaging impacts of domestic violence to impede the ability of the resourceful population of Lagos state to contribute to the economic growth of the state.

-Developing policy guidelines that will ensure zero tolerance for trivializing the offence and letting perpetrators go free.

-Giving legal backing to the week of action against domestic violence as annual event to be celebrated throughout Lagos state.

We use this occasion to remember our chibok girls who are still suffering all manner of violence in the hands of their captors. We call on Nigerian government to step up action to get them released and reunited with their families.

We appreciate the support of our partners in making this week of action a reality. We particularly appreciate the continued support of the Department of International Development / State Accountability and voice Initiative (DFID/SAVI), Ministry of women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Office of the Attorney General of Lagos state, Iyaolojo General of Nigeria Mrs Folashade Tinubu Ojo, office of the Public Defender (OPD), SOS Children Villages, Save the children, Lagos state Civil Society Partnership (LASCOP),Laudable support for Women, Youth and community, The Canopy Organization, The group of 8 on violence against women comprising of; Partnership for Justice, Baobab for women’s Right, Women’s Right and Health Project (WP), Women Consortium of Nigeria (WOCON)., our media partners; Leadership Newspapers, Traffic Radio, LTV , Eko FM , Metro FM, UnilagFM, The News, Asha Initiative, Simonateba.com and of course the dynamic members of LASGAT.
Thank you for your support. Eko oni baje o!
Titilope Ngozi Akosa
Executive Director,
Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) and
Coordinator, Lagos State Gender Advocacy Team

IMG_0502.JPG

Centre for 21st Century Issues coordinates The Week of Action Against Domestic Violence in Lagos State

The Executive Director of centre for 21st century Issues As the Cordinator of Lagos state Gender Advocacy Team will be coordinating the activities of the week of action Against domestic violence in Lagos State which is scheduled to hold from 13- 17 of October 2014 throughout Lagos state.
The objective of the week of action is to raise awareness and provide information in Lagos state communities about Domestic Violence Law of Lagos State and provide information about support services that will assist victims to respond to the incidence of domestic violence.
Below is the schedule of events for the week.IMG_0557-1.JPG

International Day of the Girl Child 2014

Day of thegirl child
Girls learning

As we celebrate  the International Day of the Girl Child today 11th October 2014,  we remember the continued abduction of the Chibok girls for over 6months now and calls on Nigerian government to expedite action in rescuing the girls alive and ensure that the perpetrators of the heinous crime are brought to book.
We call on Nigerians and the international world  to continue to hold campaigns, vigils and demonstrations that will imprint the issue in the consciousness of all stakeholders to galvanize actions necessary to get the girls released.
Abduction of the chibok girls is a criminal act of violence and crime against humanity which must continued to be resisted.
Bring back our girls now! Secure and protect the future of the Nigerian girl child.
Lets join hands to end the circle of violence against the girl child
Ms Titilope Akosa
Executive Director
C21st

Big Blind Country: Nigeria @ 54

By Ms Titilope Akosa
My experience working with virtually impaired persons made me understand that blind people may not have physical sight but they have sharp inner sight that helps them to relate as if they have physical sight.
However, this key experience as factual as it is cannot be applied to Nigeria’s degree of blindness.
The wordings of late Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s Unreleased albums where he referred to Nigeria as a big blind country (BBC) years back s is still very true today .To make matters worse the blindness of Nigeria is so incurably bad to the extent that our inner sight that could have made up for our loss of physical sight is also stone dead. This blindness is also compounded by regular and consistent electricity outage which is a recurrent signature event of our generation.
Nigeria remains a failed nation, groping in the dark with no physical, inner or spiritual sight. We continue to wallow in the foolery of corruption, Boko Haram insurgency, political prostitution, kidnaps,abductions, 419, cybercrimes, name it! The list is endless.
Our foremost Nationalists fought for the independence that we are now squandering like the biblical prodigal son, yet our actions still falls below the standard of the biblical prodigal son as it appears that we are not interested in going back to retrace our steps and remedy past historical wrongs rather we are looking for shortcuts.
As a nation we need to tell ourselves the truth. The greatest deceit is self deceit. We need to ask, what have we done to our country? What has our country done to us ? Can we say that the state in which we find ourselves today is the legacy bequeathed to us by our nationalists ? The responsibility to make Nigeria great rest on all of us. It is a mutual accountability process between the government and the governed, it is never one sided.
Can we honestly admit that a government that has allowed over 250 girls to be in the hands of terrorist for over 6 months and who is now making an effort to rescue them after they have been violated and made pregnant is a responsible government ? Or a government that has admitted its involvement in $3.9million money laundering saga is truly interested in making Nigeria great?
On the other hand, as a citizen of Nigeria what have we done to hold the government accountable? Are you one of those involved in corrupt practices ? Are you involved in yahoo yahoo business? Are you operating a baby factory and trafficking in human beings? What are you doing to your country . Can your ignoble acts make Nigeria great?
I will leave us with just two words of wisdom from our late elder statesman Chief Anthony Enahoro to reflect on for our 54th independence Anniversary.
First, no matter how far you have travelled on a wrong road you may need to come back to the starting point to chart the right direction. Second, a man who does not have a destination wherever he finds himself will be his destination.
Let us ponder on these words and retrace our steps. Our nation is important to us ! We are equally important to our nation. Let us examine ourselves and change for the best. I hope these words of wisdom will cure our blindness and empower us as a nation to chart the right course for our nation.
Happy independence! Great people! Great nation!
Titilope Akosa
.IMG_0507.JPG

Developing countries’ fund key to climate pact

BY ZACK COLMAN | SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 | 5:00 AM

NEW YORK — What once seemed a harmless token of good will from rich countries to poor ones could derail negotiations over a global climate deal next year.

Developing nations want industrial countries to contribute the $100 billion they promised for a Green Climate Fund by 2020 to pay for clean energy and other projects meant to help them adapt to a changing climate.

That $100 billion was never realistic. The fund has $2.3 billion, of which $1.3 billion was raised at the United Nations climate summit last week in New York. Rich nations that were expected to contribute when the U.N. started the fund in 2010 aren’t feeling rich anymore.

Unless developing nations drop their demands, negotiations over a binding climate pact next year in Paris might be over before they really begin.

“The United States and other Western countries and other industrialized countries need to indicate that that amount of money won’t be forthcoming. We can’t allow this funding issue to sabotage an agreement on emissions,” said Paul Bledsoe, senior fellow on energy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Inking a deal would be difficult anyway. Theoretically, nations want commitments to cut enough greenhouse gases by 2020 to avoid a 2 degree Celsius global temperature rise by 2100. Most climate scientists say not enough is being done to curb the emissions they blame for stoking climate change. They argue that even some steps that have been considered bold, such as President Obama’s proposed rules on power plant emissions, are too tame.

The existence of yawning gaps between rhetoric and reality is routine at the U.N. And the hot air is no less plentiful on the subject of climate change than it is on other issues.

The Kyoto negotiations in 1997 set the precedent. They failed because China and India, hewing to their plans for economic growth, refused to participate. The United States balked at signing the treaty without them. The same nations also doomed the 2009 negotiations in Copenhagen, the last major attempt to secure a climate treaty.

India remains obdurate. New Delhi has candidly expressed skepticism about the concept of climate change. It said bluntly last week that its emissions would continue to rise and it would not offer a plan to reduce them before the Paris negotiations.

Although the Copenhagen talks collapsed, the Green Climate Fund was one of the few tangible results of the negotiations. It is symbolic for developing nations and crucial for keeping them engaged in climate talks.

A key moment will come in November, when nations meet specifically to make pledges to the fund. U.N. officials have reduced their first-round goal to $10 billion from $15 billion.

“A strong fund mobilization in November is critical because it’s seen as part of the original deal,” said Lou Leonard, vice president for climate change with the World Wildlife Fund. “If it is not lived up to, then it will be hard to convince the developing countries to live up to the Paris deal.”

In 2040, developing nations are expected to emit 127 percent more carbon dioxide from energy than the world’s most developed countries, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Even though they’re projected to contribute more emissions in the future, developing nations consider the Green Climate Fund a matter of fairness. They point out that they are expected to deal with the consequences of climate change even though a great proportion of the heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere were emitted by rich countries that developed earlier. Many undeveloped nations are ill-equipped to bear the consequences either financially and functionally.

But many rich nations aren’t feeling so wealthy these days, noted Deborah Gordon, energy and climate director with the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace. For all the idealism and global cooperation that those leaders aimed to highlight at the climate summit, economic realities might prevent significant financial pledges.

“Whose responsibility is it to act?” Gordon said. “In a perfect world it would be on the shoulders on the developed world … but these countries are going through their own changes, which are expensive.”

Bledsoe said developing nations shouldn’t overplay their hand or they would risk being left out of negotiations while bigger economies search for solutions.

It will be difficult even for big economies to agree to a deal by themselves. Canada’s economy is heavily dependent on fossil fuels, for example, and its concerns are therefore radically different from those of Latin America, where deforestation is a much bigger issue.

“It’s a hard one to slice and dice, which is why they probably looked at a global accord,” Gordon said.

Leonard said there is hope of keeping developing nations on board.

While the fund was originally pitched as a rich-to-poor donation, Leonard noted that some developing countries such as Mexico and Indonesia said they would contribute. He also noted that the United States, European Union and Japan haven’t put down any money, but probably will.

Leonard thinks the $100 billion is possible, but November’s pledges will give a better indication. If the commitment is weak, he said, it could reduce the chances of inking a legitimate draft accord in Lima, Peru, in December.

Gordon says getting to $100 billion is unlikely.

“The deadlines that were set from Kyoto and the U.N. leading up to now — 2020 seemed like the future. 2020 isn’t the future now,” she said.

Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/developing-countries-fund-key-to-climate-pact/article/2553989IMG_0506.JPG