Peters Emuze Elected To UN CESCR [2018]

Ambassador Peters Emuze has been elected to the United Nations (UN) Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) to represent the African continent for a four-year tenure, in a keenly-contested election held at the UN Headquarters, New York.

CESCR is the body of 18 independent experts that monitors countries’ compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of citizens by its States parties. The committee was established under the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Resolution 1985/17 of May 28, 1985, to carry out the monitoring functions assigned to the UN ECOSOC.

Peters Emuze, who entered the race barely two months to the election, beat candidates of six other countries; Algeria, Sudan, Niger, Uganda, Cameroon and Mauritius, who had been campaigning for upward of one year. His victory, in securing the first of the two seats for Africa is seen as a ‘feather’ for Nigeria which would also improve Nigeria’s future “diplomatic leverage”.

However, Cameroon withdrew at the last minute while Mauritius’ candidate defeated Algeria’s in a run-off to secure  the second seat for Africa.

Fielding candidates for CESCR would require the country’s permanent mission to the UN. In this instance, the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN at New York and Geneva, in conjunction with all the 54 Nigerian missions in ECOSOC member states, coordinated the process and canvassed for votes for the position.

Nigeria’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Bande, wrote to all the 54-Member States of ECOSOC, seeking their support for Nigeria’s candidate.

Nigeria’s Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Samson Itegboje, said it became impossible to get countries to step down for Nigeria, as all of them wanted to “go for broke”.

According to Nigeria’s Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN:

“The victory has raised our profile on the international stage. I don’t think there are many countries that can pull such outing, two months to the election. We can call it a miracle but it was a result of hard work, strategy and good relations.

Also, we presented the best, as our candidate has got the required experience including being the former Charge d’Affaires at the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN Offices in Geneva.”

After the election, Ambassador Peters Emuze pledged:

“Nigeria long signed the treaty and that means Nigeria is ready to comply with various international human rights instruments as a responsible member of the international community.

It is also fulfilling one of its foreign policy options.

Nigeria is also in tune with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Charter and the African Human Rights Charter.

So, Nigeria cannot be aloof to these issues of human rights because they are contemporary, modern times.

Nigeria has always believed in the covenants of the United Nations with regards to human rights.”

Peters Emuze, a retired career diplomat for 33 years, rose to become a Special Grade Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served as Head of Mission at Nigeria’s Permanent Mission in Geneva.

Emuze had also served in Nigeria’s diplomatic missions in Zambia, the Netherlands, Italy, Hong Kong, and proficient in human rights issues.

He was President, Conference on Disarmament and Coordinator of the African Group of Ambassadors on World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), leading to the establishment of WIPO offices in Nigeria and Algeria.

NIPOST Awarded 2018 WSIS Prize In E-Employment Category

The Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) has been awarded the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) 2018 Prize in the category of e-Employment for the NIPOST Address Verification System (NIPOST AVS).

Post Master General Bisi Adegbuyi received the Award at the WSIS Forum 2018 in Geneva, marking the 15th anniversary of the World Summit on the Information Society Forum.

NIPOST was selected as one of the finalists of the WSIS Prizes contest for 2018. The finalists, known as World Summit on the Information Society Champions, represent the top 90 projects selected from a record-breaking 492 nominated projects.

In a release by NIPOST Media Officer, Mr Franklin Alao, the NIPOST AVS project, recognised as a WSIS Champion, seeks to create a centralised and up-to-date database of physical addresses and the details of their occupants to bridge gaps in the nation’s national financial inclusion strategy, empower the CBN’s KYC, and improve national security infrastructure, while creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in a commercially sustainable manner.

The World Summit on the Information Society Prizes is a global initiative recognising innovative projects using information and communication technologies, ICTs, to better the world.

Since 2012, the prestigious WSIS Prizes contest has been recognising remarkable efforts made by entities and organisations from around the globe that focus on accelerating socio-economic progress of the whole world as a community.

The World Summit on the Information Society Champions represents all regions of the world, and all stakeholders, and are recognised as stellar models of using ICTs towards implementation of the WSIS Action Lines and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.

Eighteen winners were announced from the 90 finalists, and together, all World Summit on the Information Society Prizes Winners and WSIS Prizes Champions were honoured at the event.

Each winner was recognized as the best in each of the 18 prize categories, which are aligned with the 18 WSIS Action Lines outlined in the Geneva Plan of Action. The WSIS Prizes submission phase, which ran from 11 September, 2017 to 10 January, 2018, received a record 685 project submissions, out of which 492 exceptional projects were nominated. Close to one million online votes were cast, from 29 January to 18 February, for the nominated projects, from which 90 extraordinary initiatives were selected as the finalists – the WSIS Prizes 2018 Champions, after a comprehensive review by the Expert Group.

This year, more than 240 projects were submitted by government agencies, 97 projects submitted by private sector companies, and 82 projects submitted by national civil society organisations. International organisations and others accounted for more than 100 submitted projects.

Akinwumi Adesina Receives Order Of The Star Of Africa Of Grand Band Of The Republic Of Liberia [2018]

Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), has received the Order of the Star of Africa with the Grade of Grand Band of the Republic of Liberia, during an investiture ceremony hosted by Liberian Head of State, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, at the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Monrovia, Liberia.

Akinwumi Adesina

The award honours Dr. Adesina’s visible and tireless commitment to the rapid economic development of Liberia through, among others, the implementation of the Bank’s first and second priorities as set out in the High 5s: Light up and power Africa and Feed Africa.

According to the Liberian President while presenting the Order of the Star of Africa with the Grade of Grand Band of the Republic of Liberia honour:

“The African Development Bank has always been a good partner for Liberia. In the last two years, Liberia went through troubled times.

And the African Development Bank became a close partner to Liberia in being able to set down with us, share our successes and challenges and continue to respond to our agenda and to our commitments regarding two priorities: power and connectivity and agriculture. In this last case, Akinwumi Adesina helped us to duplicate what he did when he was Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria with cassava. Now, cassava is grown all over Liberia.”

In the words of Dr. Akinwumi Adesina on receiving the Order of the Star of Africa with the Grade of Grand Band of the Republic of Liberia:

“On behalf of the African Development Bank, I am deeply honoured to receive the Order of the Star of Africa, Liberia’s highest distinction.

I would like to personally thank President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the jewel of Africa. When I took over as President of the African Development Bank in 2015, President Sirleaf became an important ally in our High 5s strategy to Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa. She had already begun focusing on these development priorities in Liberia, decades earlier as Minister of Finance and more recently as President.

The African Development Bank will continue to support Liberia.

We look forward to working with President-Elect George Weah and the new administration to score the most important goals of developing Liberia.”

The African Development Bank is credited with transforming the lives of Liberians through financing road and infrastructure projects, the provision of electricity, and the improvement of water and sanitation services.

To date, the African Development Bank’s total cumulative commitments of approved projects in Liberia since its first intervention in 1967 is US $1.124 billion. The Bank’s active portfolio comprises 11 ongoing and recently approved operations with a total commitment equivalent to US $336.17 million.

There are 9 national operations valued at US $219.9 million and two multinational operations valued at US $116.20 million.

The portfolio is largely spread over six sectors and is heavily invested in infrastructure, predominantly in roads, energy, and water and sanitation, amounting to a total of US $290.25 million or 82% of the total commitments. This portfolio is aligned to Liberia’s Agenda for Transformation priorities. The transport sector accounted for the largest share of the portfolio (49%), followed by energy (23%), agriculture and rural development (14%), water and sanitation (11%), and governance (3%). The average project size in Liberia is US $30.6 million.

Nigeria Emerge Chair Of Gulf Of Guinea Commission [2017]

Nigeria has emerged as the new Chair of the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC).

At the 4th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the GGC, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo called on member states to urgently address the socio-economic and security challenges facing the Commission. He said the members would achieve this by collectively taking measures to check violations of domestic and international treaties in the Gulf.

The vice president identified the challenges facing the commission to include a rise in maritime insurance premiums for vessels coming into the Gulf, increased threats and reduced commercial traffic to the region as well as unregulated and unreported fishing. He also charged the member states to take measures to reduce pollution and environmental degradation in the Gulf of Guinea, lauding the individual efforts of some of the member states who improved the capacities and capability of their Navy and other relevant organisations to enable them perform their duties more effectively.

In his statement:

“In conformity with the theme of the 4th Ordinary Session which is; “A Vibrant Gulf of Guinea Region for sustainable Development’’, let us renew our commitment to making the Gulf of Guinea more effective and a truly vibrant partner in all our efforts, be it regional, national or international, to ensure a zone of peace, security and sustainable development for our countries, our peoples and other stakeholders in the region. This effort is capped by the establishment of the inter-regional coordination centre based in Yaoundé, Cameroun, as the collaborative link between the two maritime regional centres led by ECOWAS and ECCAS.’’

The National Security Adviser to the President, Babagana Monguno, observed that the meeting was a framework for consultations among the countries of the GCC, and that current situation in the Gulf of Guinea region especially the surge in illegal activities of piracy, illicit drugs, arms and human trafficking, illegal immigration, environmental pollution and degradation calls for greater attention from member countries to curb these activities. He maintained that an improvement of Maritime security could positively contribute to increased national, regional and continental stability and by the same token make a sustainable contribution to global security, He noting that Nigeria on its part had continued to develop the capacity of its armed forces particularly the Navy and other Maritime agencies to effectively tackle these challenges.

Mr. Monguno said other measures being implemented include; employment of the robust maritime domain awareness capability through the employment of the original maritime awareness capability and the Falcon Eye Project, activation of a Naval Taskforce to combat piracy and related attacks on shipping and oil and gas infrastructure, establishment of 37 check points by the Nigerian Navy to ensure continuous presence and monitoring of crude oil thefts in the Niger Delta area, the conduct of regular sea exercises by the Nigerian Navy such as exercise Eagle Eye, to improve its state of readiness and proficiency. He disclosed that Nigeria had also prepared the draft anti-piracy bill to give effect to the relevant provisions of the United Nations Conventions of the Law of the Sea of 1982 and the Convention for the Suppression of Illegal Acts at Sea 1982 and its protocol of 2005 to punish and deter piracy and other maritime crimes.

In his words:

“Suffice it to say that maritime security and economic prosperity are interdependent and mutually re-enforcing. The Nigerian Navy has been maintaining a strong presence in Maritime area with a band configuration and operations capabilities to deal with surface, air and underwater threats. Indeed, the surveillance capabilities of the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency are being developed to ensure a secure environment within the domain as well as in the Gulf of Guinea. In addition, the Nigerian Navy has been cooperating with neighbouring countries and allies in Nigeria’s Maritime area of interest with a view to pursue security and safety.

Nigeria has ascribed to the continent’s maritime charter on maritime security safety and development in Africa, this was done on 15th of October, 2016 with the aim of strengthening the inter-agency for national coordination and cooperation to tackle maritime issues for the region. Nigeria has also ratified The United Nations Organised Crime Convention which enjoins parties to criminalize practices and combat that subject human beings to all forms of exploitation. Nigeria has adopted a strategic framework such as the 2015 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy and the Yaoundé Code of Conduct for the repression of piracy and other illicit maritime activities within the Gulf of Guinea.’’

Mr. Monguno noted that the security challenges confronting the member states of the GGC, which had continued to impact negatively on the development of the region, called for concerted and unrelenting efforts by all stakeholders. The NSA observed that the Gulf of Guinea provided a verifiable platform to tackling these numerous security challenges. He therefore, called for increased cooperation and collaboration among member states as well as support for the GGC to enhance its capacity to deliver on its mandate.

The Executive Secretary of the GGC, Florentine Ukonga, called on member states to support the proposed Revitalisation Strategy of the GGC, saying that under the proposal the secretariat would establish five new committees for effective management of the commission.

Members of the GGC, which was established by the Treaty signed in Libreville, Gabon, on July 3, 2001 included Cameroon, Togo, Benin, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe and Ghana.

Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon Is Appointed ILO Assistant Director-General & Regional Director for Africa

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has appointed Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon as its Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa.

According to Guebray Berhane, the Senior Communication Officer of ILO Regional Office for Africa in Abidjan, in a statement:

“Guy Ryder, the Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), after having duly consulted the Officers of the Governing Body, has appointed Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon of Nigeria as Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire with effect from Nov. 10, 2017.’’

Until her new position, Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon was the Deputy Regional Director for Africa, a post she held since July 15, 2016.

She joined the ILO in 1995, where she held different positions in the field and Geneva, including Chief of the ILO Programming Unit for Africa and Deputy Director of the ILO Office in Pretoria.

She has been a member of the senior management team of the ILO Regional Office for Africa for more than nine years.

The Nigerian has played an important role in the development and implementation of regional strategies to deliver quality programmes, fostering opportunities for cooperation, particularly with the African Union and Regional Economic Communities, and alliance building throughout the region.

Born in 1961, Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon holds a B.Sc in Sociology and a Masters’ Degree in Industrial and Labour Relations from the University of Ibadan.

With more than 32 years experience in the world of work, she had worked as Assistant Director of the Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA).

She also worked as a lecturer on gender, industrial sociology and group dynamics at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Ms. Samuel-Olonjuwon was appointed to the Board of the International Sociological Association (Research Committee on Women in Society) from 1986 to 1990.

She has significant experience in leadership, management and strategic partnerships to promote decent work and development outcomes at regional, sub-regional and national levels.