NIGERIA @53: RECLAIMING POWER TO SECURE OUR FUTURE

Since my birth in the mid 1980s in Nigeria and as much as I have been conscious of my environment, irregular power supply has been a recurring challenge in Nigeria. Passing through primary and secondary school and now in the university; at a time when free education had become history coupled with the ever present challenge of erratic power supply has ensured that schooling and passing exams continues to be a herculean task.
Inadequate power supply has affected the education of Nigerian youths more than any other thing. We did not enjoy free education, free health, good roads and a host of other things that our parents enjoyed that made schooling a good experience.
Today, we commute to school in rickety old public buses on bad roads whereas our parents had the privilege of commuting to school in good condition scholars bus provided by the government for students only. Our parents had free meals with milk as additional dietary intake to keep them healthy and alert to learn while in school but we did not have that privilege. Our poor parents find it hard to give us at least one meal a day while struggling to pay our schools fees. Our schooling is further challenged by poor remuneration of the few teachers that are available and incessant strikes by Academic Staff of Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked upon by university lecturers.
All these challenges are not happening in isolation of the decay and rot that had eaten deep into all sectors of Nigerian economy. Corruption, bad governance, infrastructural deficit, mismanagement of resources and insecurity unleashed on the nation by kidnappers and Boko Haram are all challenges which makes the education of the Nigerian youth a misadventure in today’s Nigeria
The impact of erratic power supply is one of the biggest challenges facing Nigeria today. Apart from the fact that it is critically hindering quality education and seriously limiting the production of human capacity needed to power the Nigerian economy, it is also frontally attacking the economy, in that energy to power our industries and service sectors are procured at a very high cost. Many companies in Nigeria have relocated production to Ghana where they enjoy stable power supply thus deepening unemployment challenges for our youths
Today as we celebrate 53 years of independence, I am celebrating the independence in darkness. I have not seen electricity in the last 4 days in my area and I am greatly worried that I may continue to celebrate independence in darkness for many years to come if no action is taken by government.
As a young man, experiencing all these challenges, it is important to engage these issues with my peers. As young people we need to “reclaim power”. Meaning that, we must start making our voices heard in influencing our policy makers to tackle the issue of sustainable power supply. We must reclaim our space in the political sphere and actively participate in governance and policy processes.

I call on Nigerian government to ensure stable and regular power supply by year 2015.It is only when we have stable power supply that we can truly have independence. Independence without regular power supply is bondage in darkness. “Let there be light”. Let us light up Nigeria, let Nigerians truly feel and celebrate independence.
I call on Nigerian youths to Reclaim Power Now! Reclaim Power as in stable power supply and energy to power our economy, reclaim power as in political power and voice to influence policies. We must reclaim power to secure our future.
I love Nigeria and still believe that Nigeria shall be great. Happy independence Nigeria!!!
This article is written by
MR. Adekunle Samson Akinde Program Assistant /Media Officer with Centre for 21st century issues (C21st)

TARABA FLOOD SCAM

TARABA FLOOD SCAM: WACSOF HAILS AG. GOVERONOR, OTHERS Following the recent flood scam rocking Taraba state, the West Africa Civil Society Forum (WACSOF), Nigeria Platform has hailed the courageous move by Acting Governor of the state, Alha…ji Garba Umar for wielding the big stick against eight top government officials allegedly involved in embezzling over N400 million intervention fund allocated to the state by Federal Government, primarily to alleviate the sufferings of the 2012 flood victims that ravaged many parts of the country in 2012 and rendered many residents in the homeless with loss of farms and property running into hundreds of millions of Naira.   Rather than mopping up the tears on the faces of the victims of the flood disaster, the SSG and his team as alleged by the House ad-hoc committee were said to have been busy smiling to their various banks with the funds that ought to have been used in assisting the victims of the flood. This act is shameless and a complete embarrassment not only to the Taraba people, but to the entire federation.  Corruption is always in the news; in fact it has become so common, that it is no longer surprising. It no longer shocks the sense, at least not for ordinary Nigerian, but what is not common in Government of the day is the axing of officials for misappropriation both at State and National level particularly when they are favored by the powers that be.    WACSOF describe this “ill action” of the flood committee as embarrassing and disgraceful to the state and indeed an abuse of office and the confidence reposed in them. We join the celebration of their removal, and urge other states and Federal government to follow suit in the eradication of such impunity going on at every facet of our political class.     WACSOF also give a thump up to the State House of Assembly which fingered the affected persons in the mismanagement. No doubt, this is democracy at its display and must be supported by every system and institution that believes in the tenets of democratic principle. This shows that there is a ray of light at the end of the tunnel for the Nation. WACSOF gathered that before the ailing governor of Taraba state, Danbaba Danfulani Suntai crashed in the light weight aircraft he was piloting, near Yola, the capital city of Adamawa state, it was gathered that he held an extraordinary meeting with special advisers and commissioners where he vented anger over the attempt by the SSG to front his company to supply relief materials.  WACSOF also observed that SEMA did not live up to expectation during the flood saga by not undertaking an assessment tour of the affected communities. This paved the way for the display of exaggerated figures. There was no proper market survey for the purchase of the relief materials by any of the concerned agencies hence, the bogus procurement figure.  WACSOF call on government at all level to shun any form of corrupt practice that has eaten deep into the fabrics of our common wealth. Due process must also be followed in every procurement process as an instrument for transparency and accountability. —
 

Keynote address by Mr. Peter Carter The British Deputy High Commissioner at the Legislative Retreat on climate change in Lagos on 6th June 2013

Keynote address by British Deputy High Commissioner, Mr. Petre Carterr
Legislative Retreat On Climate Change in Lagos State

 KEYNOTE ADDRESS DELIVERED BY MR. PETER CARTER, THE BRITISH DEPUTY HIGH COMMISSIONER AT THE LEGISLATIVE RETREAT ON CLIMATE CHANGE IN LAGOS STATE ORGANIZED BY POLICY ADVOCACY PARTNERSHIP IN LAGOS STATE . “RESHAPING GOVERNANCE AND LEGAL STRUCTURE OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN LAGOS STATE”

It’s a great pleasure for me to have the opportunity to address you all today. I am reassured to know that such a rich pool of experts is coming together here in Lagos to address this critical issue. You have a lot of work ahead of you, and I will therefore try to keep my comments short and leave you as much as time as possible to get on with your important work.

IMPORTANCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE

I don’t need to tell you that climate change whatever we do, it is going to affect the lives of our children even more. The actions we take now will determine how much. By taking immediate, real and positive steps, and by enjoining others to take action with us, we can limit those effects.

Climate change is not just a challenge for Lagos, or Nigeria, or the UK. It’s something which faces the whole world. It is for that reason that we need to take action, not just locally but globally. We need to work together- NGOs researchers, businesses, state governments, federal governments and countries, to find solutions and agree common goals. Working together is the only way that we will mitigate the effects of climate change.

UK ACTIONS

The British Government is trying to do its bit. There, there are difficult decisions to be made, and the present economic environment only makes them harder. But we remain committed to making effective changes, and raising awareness about the way people think about climate and energy issues.

We are committed to reducing emissions by at least 30% by 2020. We are also leading the way in supporting the poorest countries deal with the consequences of climate change. At CoP 18 the UK supported the EU in making clear financial commitment to the international climate fund.

We acknowledge that adaptation efforts should include managing the risks of loss and damage. By our significant commitments of international climate finance we are helping countries adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

We have also supported development of crops, crops that will help increase the resilience of countries and communities. These include drought tolerant varieties of maize and flood resistant varieties of rice we are optimistic that locally our investments will yield positive results.

Closer home, the British High Commission in Abuja has appointed a new officer with responsibility for science, innovation and climate change. This new post will have specific responsibility for developing scientific and academic links between Nigeria and the U.K to find and implement solutions to local challenges including on climate change and renewable energy.

NIGERIA AND UK TOGETHER

I’m pleased to say that Nigeria and Lagos in particular is taking positive approach towards addressing the issue of climate change. The UK is keen to work with you in the public and private sectors,in addressing the local challenges faced due to climate change. As you may know, UK Trade and Investment took a Nigerian delegation to attend the Green Technology Road Show in London recently, where forward –looking Nigerian businesses were able to increase their knowledge capacity and pursue partnerships. The opportunities are there to make green Lagos a thriving part of your economic emergence. The UK is ready to help you find partners to develop those opportunities.

We are engaged in discussions with the honorable commissioner for energy and minerals in particular on renewable energy such as solar to power street lamps, energy from waste and Hydro- power. I took forward to pursuing that to develop our common interests. E are not just collaborating on trade. The UK is currently in discussion with the energy commission of Nigeria to develop a sophisticated carbon supply and demand forecasting tool for Nigeria. This tool has been developed to British Government and successfully implemented in other countries. Once in place, it will give Nigeria better evidence supporting targeted actions to improve emissions.

NIGERIA ON THE GLOBAL STAGE

I’ve said that Nigeria is taking positive steps. But Nigeria should just content itself with taking actions at home. This is a powerful country, with one of the strongest voices in Africa. The evidence you develop here and the practices that you adopt should be shared with other African countries. On the global stage, you have an important role to play in ensuring that Africa presents itself as a pro-active partner in the fight to mitigate the effects of Climate change.

And Lagos state is at the forefront of all this, leading the way as it does in so many areas of Nigerian public life. Your focus today and more generally on the governance and legal structure of climate change in this state goes to the hearth of the issue. Without a legislative infrastructure and effective governance in place, achieving real change in economic models and public and privatebehavior become significantly more difficult. But I have every confidence in your ability to produce results that will not only meet Lagos’s needs but provide a template for others to adopt across Nigeria.

WRAP UP

Climate change presents us with many challenges, requiring different but complementing solutions. The forward thinking innovative approach you are taking in Lagos is an important step towards developing those solutions. I hope you have a successful event, and I look forward to a continued partnership between Nigeria and the UK in the months and years to come.

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 9TH NATIONAL COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENT (NCE) HELD AT MAKURDI, BENUE STATE, 5TH TO 10TH MAY, 2013

INTRODUCTION
The 9th National Council on Environment (NCE) was held at the J.S. Tarka Foundation Building in Makurdi, Benue State on 9th of May, 2013. It was chaired by the Honourable Minister of Environment, Mrs. Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia with the theme “Green Economy: A Panacea for Sustainable Development”. The Council meeting was preceded by the National Technical Committee session from 5th – 8th May 2013 at the same venue chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr. Taiye Haruna, with Permanent Secretaries of State Ministries of Environment and other delegates from the 36 states of the federation and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
2. The opening ceremony was declared open by the Executive Governor of Benue State who was ably represented by the Deputy Governor, His Excellency, Chief Stephen Lawani, OFR. Also present at the ceremony were the First Lady of the State, Arc. Dooshima Yemisi Suswam; Chairman House Committee on Climate Change, Hon. Eziuche C. Ubani; Honourable Commissioners for Environment from 31 States of the Federation and the FCT; Special Advisers to the Governors on Environmental Matters; Permanent Secretaries; Chief Executives of related Federal and State Agencies; Officials from Federal and State Ministries of Environment; Non-Governmental Organizations; and the Organized Private Sector.
3. In her Keynote address, the Honourable Minister stated that the choice of the theme “Green Economy: A Panacea for Sustainable Development” for the Council meeting was informed by the outcome of the recent United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20 Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012. The choice was also to enable members reflect on the general state of the Nigerian Environment, examine the challenges and chart the way forward. The Honourable Minister reiterated the fact that the responsibility for environmental management is to be shared between the three tiers of government as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution. She highlighted the key functions and some of the achievements made by the FMENV in the past one year. She enjoined all States and Stakeholders to contribute their quota to remedy the extensive damage to the nation’s environment.
DELIBERATIONS
4. The Technical Committee considered 110 memoranda submitted by the Federal and State Ministries of Environment/Agencies, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)/Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the Academia, and made appropriate recommendations to the Council.
Council Notes and Observations
5. The Council deliberated extensively on all the memos including 62 from the States, and noted the following:
i. The need for harmonization of the National Environmental Sanitation Policy (NESP) and provision of Public Toilets in all public and private places as required by existing guidelines and regulations;
ii. The need for strict adherence to existing regulations on the use of land along flood plains and for States to undertake effective awareness programmes on flooding;
iii. The efforts of the Federal Ministry of Environment on the operations of web-based and automated Flood Early Warning Systems (FEWS) in flood monitoring and management in Nigeria;
iv. The status of implementation of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) as well as the approval for the borrowing plan by the National Assembly;
v. The development of the National Dispersant Use Policy for Nigeria which is being reviewed for stakeholders’ validation;
vi. Efforts to effectively tackle identification of oil spill sources through existing regulation on finger printing;
vii. The status of implementation of the intervention programme of the Federal Government to address the lead poisoning incident in Zamfara State;
viii. The approval of the sum of N850 million by Mr. President to execute relevant programmes and activities on the Zamfara lead poisoning incident;
ix. The importance of demand-driven approach for the second phase of the Presidential Initiative on Afforestation Programme and concerns of States with respect to the integrated management of natural resources;
x. The existing guidelines on Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) for sustainable management of non-timber forest species;
xi. The intervention by the Invasive Aquatic Weeds project was in 25 States and 75 communities and has positively impacted the livelihood of the affected riparian communities;
xii. The need to establish NFIS/GIS desk offices at the State level;
xiii. The halting of mangrove depletion would provide better ecosystem health, economic empowerment and development opportunities for coastal communities;
xiv. The approval and preparation for implementation of the Great Green Wall Regional Project;
xv. The importance of bamboo and rattan as versatile resources to promote forest and natural resources conservation, environmental integrity and wealth creation;
xvi. The need for more effective collaboration between the States Ministry of Environment and Development Control Authorities as regards land allocation for EIA D development projects;
xvii. The concerns raised by States in the area of erosion, flood and coastal zone management;
xviii. The need to continue to effectively mainstream gender in environmental management;
xix. The need to enhance awareness on Climate Change;
xx. The efforts of the Federal Ministry of Environment on the management of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), particularly Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in the minimization of Dioxin emission in Nigeria;
xxi. The progress made in the implementation of the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone layer;
xxii. The concerns raised by States on the establishment of integrated solid waste management facilities, including sanitary landfills and sewage treatment plants;
xxiii. The progress made by States to implement the 2011 decision of the 8th NCE on the total ban on export of fuel wood and charcoal;
xxiv. The efforts by some States and sectors on Renewable Energy and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM);
xxv. The achievements of the Federal Ministry of Environment on the strategies being adopted on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) implementation in Nigeria, including the review of existing guidelines and development of new ones, as well as improvement of access to EIA reports through the e-based registry;
xxvi. The concern raised by a State on the contravention of the EIA Act by Chevron Nigeria Ltd. on the Funiwa Gas Explosion on its Drilling Rig;
xxvii. The celebration of World Environment Day on 5th June of every year;
xxviii. Nigeria’s successful participation at the Rio+20 Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012;
xxix. The efforts and achievements of the Federal Ministry of Environment towards increasing GEF funding in the country and the need for counterpart funding as local commitment to complement such international funding support for projects;
xxx. The production of a new Framework for the Development of Environment Statistics (FDES) by the United Nations Statistics Division and the need to adopt the FDES for the production of environment statistics in Nigeria.
Council Resolutions
6. Sequel to the above Notes and Observations, Council resolved as follows:
i. Commended efforts of some States that are already implementing the NESP and directed other States to emulate them;
ii. iUrged States to consider other relevant options for actualizing the establishment of Integrated Solid Waste Management Facilities, including Sanitary Landfills and Sewage Treatment Plants through Public Private Partnership arrangement in line with Government Transformation Agenda;
iii. Directed that all ongoing projects on solid waste management should be completed by the Federal Ministry of Environment and that the Ministry should develop a National Policy on Solid and Liquid Waste Management;
iv. Urged States to partner, support and collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Environment in the installations of FEWS outstations and replicate same in their respective domains to prevent the recurrence of flooding;
v. Urged State Ministries/Agencies and other stakeholders to take advantage of the strategies being adopted on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) implementation in Nigeria, to achieve the desired results;
vi. Directed the Federal Ministry of Environment to continue to ensure the active involvement of States and other relevant stakeholders in the EIA implementation;
vii. Directed the establishment of a contributory fund by oil companies for the management of spills, which should be centrally managed;
viii. Endorsed the adoption and pilot testing of remediation technologies for a contaminated site in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country through the tool kit developed by the Federal Ministry of Environment with the support of UNIDO;
ix. Advised States to consider various options regarding the establishment of Environmental Reference Laboratories, including the upgrading of existing facilities in relevant institutions within their domain;
x. Urged the participating States in the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) to provide counterpart funds for the implementation of the project;
xi. Urged States to domesticate the existing guidelines on Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) for sustainable management of non-timber forest species;
xii. Approve that efforts be made by both Federal and State Governments for the project to continue in view of its ecological and socio-economic importance by seeking fund from all relevant sources;
xiii. Approve the establishment of NFIS desk officers at State level and NFIS/GIS nodal centers in the 6 geopolitical zones;
xiv. Recommended the Implementation of Second Phase of Presidential Initiative on Afforestation Programme Nationwide, which will be demand-driven and include raising and planting of seedlings taking cognisance of land availability in each State as opposed to setting uniform targets for all the States;
xv. Urged all tiers of government and other stakeholders to effectively participate in the implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation programmes;
xvi. Urged participating States in the Great Green Wall Regional Project to intensify the sensitization and awareness campaign, including putting in place an effective institutional framework;
xvii. Urged States to develop and implement State Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (SBSAPs);
xviii. Urged that efforts should be intensified at all levels to achieve desired goals on Renewable Energy and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM);
xix. Approved the establishment of Climate Change Desk/Unit according to the circumstances in each State;
xx. Approved the establishment of Gender Desks at the Federal, State and Local Government levels and across sectors;
xxi. Approved the establishment of a National Steering Committee on Bamboo and Rattan to assist in guiding the executing Agency of Government in the elaboration and implementation of the national programme;
xxii. Encouraged the completion of the National Ozone Village to provide local capacity for the sustainability of the programme;
xxiii. Urged the Federal Ministry of Environment to ensure the completion of the ongoing Post Impact Assessment (PIA) study by Chevron Nig. Ltd;
xxiv. Approved the creation of Environmental Education and Awareness Desk in the States;
xxv. Urged States to effectively implement relevant programmes and activities for the 2013 World Environment Day in line with the 2013 guidelines of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the global theme, ‘Think-Eat-Save’;
xxvi. Council noted the relevance of the Rio+20 outcome, The Future We Want, to sustainable national development and approved that a National Action Plan for the Implementation of the Outcome of Rio+20 be developed;
xxvii. Urged all GEF-benefitting States and local governments to endeavor to provide required counterpart funding in cash or kind for the internationally funded projects in their various States;
xxviii. Urged the Federal Ministry of Environment to provide the necessary leadership and guidelines for the application of the United Nations new Framework for the Production of Environment Statistics (FDES) in Nigeria;
xxix. Urged States to ensure effective implementation of relevant decisions, and report on progress at the Council meeting;
xxx. Directed that letters of commendation should be sent to Mr. President in respect of His Excellency’s intervention and support during the flood incident that ravaged many States of the Federation in 2012, as well as the Zamfara Lead Poisoning;
xxxi. Confirmed the next hosting State as Jigawa 2014; and
xxxii. Directed that host States should host the technical session two months preceding the National Council meeting.
APPRECIATION
7. Council expressed appreciation to the following:
i. Mr. President, Commander-in-Chief, His Office and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) members towards Nigeria’s successful participation at the Rio+20 Summit, as well as other programmes, activities and interventions of the Federal Ministry of Environment.
ii. The Government of Benue State for the successful hosting of the 9th NCE, and the warm reception and hospitality extended to delegates.
iii. All the corporate bodies and individuals that contributed towards the successful hosting of the 9th NCE.

Makurdi, Benue State
9th May, 2013.

NIGERIA: Deliver to Decipher

Recommendation: Make Health Care Facilities Safe and Accessible

When the time came for me to deliver my first daughter, my maternal grandmother took me aside and told me to sit down.
“There is no pain as that of child birth,” she said. “It is indescribable. Delivery can only be done by God. Put your faith in him. As for the doctors—forget them.”

Her words made me deeply afraid for what I was to experience next, and my mother’s words only confirmed my fears.

“Has she explained everything to you?” she said. “It will be painful.”

True to their words, my labor was the most horrific experience of my life. My relatives prepared me for the physical pain, but I was not alerted to the conditions I would meet in Nigeria’s health care facilities.

I went to the hospital to deliver my daughter on April 25, 2002. Pain gushed out of me like the flow of a river. I screamed, expecting soothing medications to reduce my pain, or at least soothing words to help me through. Instead, one of the nurses shouted at me: “Shut up! It is time for you to know that a baby’s head is bigger than a man’s manhood.”

At the hospital, there was not a single doctor. The room was crowded with women in various stages of delivery. We were forced to labor on benches, as there was only one bed. When the baby crowned at the birth canal, women would be transferred to the only available bed.

A nurse sternly warned me not to push, despite my baby’s insistence on coming into this world. When I could not take it any further, I screamed and the nurse almost hit me. “I told you not to push! No space for you to deliver!”

The pain of attempting to stop my labor made me cry out in more pain. I pulled my husband aside and gave him these instructions: “If I die, ensure that you take me back to my village for burial. I do not want to be buried in Lagos, or in your village.” He responded with a hiss.

When my baby was finally delivered, she could not breathe. The nurse looked at me straight in the face and said, “Witch, you have killed your daughter.” She handed the baby to my husband and said, “She is a still birth. Your wife killed your child.”

I began to cry as my husband wrapped a scarf around the baby to prepare her for burial. But suddenly, a doctor who arrived just in time took the baby from his arms. I don’t know how, but by some miracle of God he was able to revive my daughter. Relieved, I fell asleep.

I woke in a pool of blood—the nurses had forgotten to stitch my vagina where the episiotomy had been performed. I recovered after eight days in intensive care.

These horrible experiences happened in one of the largest hospitals in Lagos. I was lucky to survive. My daughter, whom we named Oluwatobiloba meaning ‘God is a Great King’, was lucky to survive. Every day, women are sacrificed at the altars of medical negligence in Nigeria.

I could quote statistics of maternal deaths in my country, but they would be useless: official numbers do not represent the actual quantity of casualties we see daily. I call on our government to commit to proper funding and staffing for our health care system. We must all come together to reduce the number of women and infants buried in the graveyards of Nigeria.

Olutosin Oladosu-Adebowale | Nigeria

Source https://worldpulse.com/magazine/articles/women-birth-a-new-vision-for-maternity-care?page=0,0&utm_source=World%20Pulse&utm_campaign=9bcd645924-2013.05.27.Emagazine_Maternal_Health&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2ba7a2ad38-9bcd645924-415579445

NIGERIA: What I Learned From my Mother

I always wondered why my mother separated from my father. It took years for her to tell me why she had to leave. According to her, my father neither cared for her nor showed her love while she was pregnant. My mother lost three pregnancies before giving birth to me, and on those occasions my father was not around to give her the love, care, and support she needed to overcome the trauma of miscarriage. Instead, he always complained about the money he had to pay at the hospital.

She said the breaking point was when she gave birth to me, and she had complications that almost took her life after childbirth. Rather than focusing on how the doctors could help her to survive, he was busy questioning my paternity. This was because I was “very dark” in complexion and my father is very fair in complexion.

My mother’s story was a nightmare for me; I kept wondering why my father was displaying such gross irresponsibility at a time when she needed him most. I thought my father was the most wicked man on earth—until my mother tried having another husband. The man was very kind until my mother got pregnant. That was the last we saw of him.

As if this was not enough, my mother tried a third time at having a husband, which led to more tragedy. After impregnating my mom, the man took off again and my mother was left to raise all of us children alone.

The men in my mother’s life represent one category of men who do not value women and their childbearing roles in our society—but they are not representative of all men. I have been privileged to work with many male allies who value and care for women. They are remarkably different to the men in my mother’s life. They have love in their hearts and are able to feel the pains that women experience during pregnancy and childbirth.

All over Nigeria, the work of our male allies is making a difference for women. In Kano and Kaduna States, male members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers provide emergency transportation to health facilities for women in labor. This project has helped save the lives of many women who otherwise would have died as a result of pregnancy-related complications. The men who are involved in these activities have reported that they are increasingly more appreciative of the value of childbearing and the importance of their own supportive roles. They will likely not treat their pregnant wives the way the men in my mother’s life treated her.

Men’s active participation in caring for their wives, girlfriends, or mistresses during pregnancies is key to finding solutions to maternal mortality challenges in Nigeria. Men can and should play a role in addressing maternal mortality in Nigeria. Many a time, the lack of care and love exhibited by men towards the pregnant women in their lives makes childbearing a traumatic and risky venture for women.

No matter how well equipped our hospitals may be, if the care, love, and support of men is missing, efforts at reducing maternal death will continue to be a mirage.

Today, I celebrate my mother for her resilience and bravery, and I celebrate all women who labor to bring the next generation into the world. Moreover, I celebrate the men who stand with women to put an end to the deplorable conditions pregnant women face.

Titilope | Nigeria

Source: http://worldpulse.com/magazine/articles/women-birth-a-new-vision-for-maternity-care?page=0,4

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CELEBRATING THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: WHY MEN SHOULD STOP THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS IN NIGERIA

Today, as we celebrate the International Women’s day all over the world, the message i am sending to the world is that women should be appreciated not abused. Gender equality and women’s empowerment is a human right which must be respected by all.
As a young man, reflecting on womanhood on this international women’s day , I realized that from the early stage of creation women have been there for us men. They gave us life by giving birth to us, they nurture us, educate us and support us to reach our potentials.
Why then should we reward them with violence, why should we continue to sexually harass them, rape and unleash terror on them? Women don’t deserve violence rather they deserve love and affection. I imagined how the world will look like without the women? Lonely, boring and uninteresting.
The ideas of cooking, washing, helping, caring and love was made profound by women. Meaning that, men rely on women in at least 70% of their daily activities. We can do without pets, assets, money and properties, but women the most significant creation on earth, we cannot do without.
Today as we celebrate the International Women’s Day worldwide, Men in Nigeria should stop the violence and abuse (emotional, sexual and psychological) against women and girls. Men must STOP destroying the future of our female leaders through sexual harassments. The future of generations of women and girls has been destroyed by men in various societies through rape and other forms of violence.
Imagine a 50 years old married man violating a girl of 5years years! There is need to raise awareness about the menace of violence against women and girls particularly among men and boys. Men and boys must learn to appreciate and respect women and girls and support them to live a safe and violence free life.
I never cease to wander and fathom why men and boys should destroy the women who cared for them, who loved them and are always there for them. When we are depressed women are there to console us. When we are sad they make us happy and above all satisfy our sexual emotion. After all, all men and boys have mothers, sisters and nieces. Men are only strong and successful through the support of women around them.
On this international women’s day i extol the virtues of women. They are bold, brave and hard-working. They play various vital roles on earth till their last breath in taking care of family or household and spending their valuable time teaching and taking care of the children and the environment.
Women are our mothers they need to be cared for and cherished. I celebrate women and girls today; I commit to support gender equality and women’s empowerment by ensuring that I do not violate any girl or woman no matter the situation and circumstances. I will raise awareness among men and boys to change violent behaviours towards women and girls and thus putting an end to violence against women and girls in Nigeria.
I call on men and boys to support and work with me to make Nigeria a haven for women. Happy international women’s day to my mothers, sisters, aunties and nieces. God bless women and girls!
AdeKunle Akinde
Program assistant media and youth development
Centre for 21st Century Issues, Nigeria
08020739787
BB Pin :2104A52F