Monday, 29 February 2016
Wednesday, 24 February 2016
Monday, 22 February 2016
The company deforested more than 7,500 hectares (18,500 acres) of rain forest and smallholder farms on Bugala Island on Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria farmers cite Bidco land-grabbing, environmental destruction and human rights violations
The Bugala Farmers Association has called on the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to sever its ties with Bidco Africa, a Kenya-based edible oil producer accused of land-grabbing, human rights violations and environmental disasters in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
Over 100 farmers lost their land to Bidco when, in partnership with the local government, the company deforested more than 7,500 hectares (18,500 acres) of rain forest and smallholder farms on Bugala Island on Lake Victoria to make way for one of the largest palm oil plantations in Africa.
In a petition delivered to the UNDP Kampala office on 28 January, the Bugala Farmers Association called on the UNDP to investigate the organisation’s recent announcement that Business Call to Action (BCtA), a UNDP offshoot, concluded an agreement with Bidco Africa.
“For those who know the real business practices of Bidco Africa and its CEO Vimal Shah, the embrace by BCtA of Bidco Africa is a tragedy for smallholder farmers and a major stain on the reputation of UNDP,” the petition says.
The petition cites Bidco Africa’s failure to comply with court orders to compensate the farmers for their land; the company’s labour practices in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya; alleged tax evasion in Kenya; and the deforestation of land for its palm oil production in Uganda. The deforestation has become so bad that the World Bank, originally a sponsor of the project, had to withdraw its support.
“The Bugala Farmers Association calls on UNDP and its senior leadership to examine the morally questionable association of such a distinguished U.N. organisation with such a blatant violator of human rights that is Bidco Africa,” the petition says. “The evidence of Bidco Africa’s poor business practices is well documented, and UNDP must immediately disassociate itself with such a company.”
The petition continues: “Bidco Africa, which claims to adhere to the U.N. Global Compact, is in fact in violation of all U.N. Global Compact principals, from human rights to protection of the environment. Against the backdrop of such repeated violations, the UNDP/BCtA’s partnership with Bidco Africa is a violation of UNDP’s core mission and principals.”
When the farmers presented their petition at the UNDP office in Kampala, security officers blocked them at the compound gate and confiscated video filmed by accompanying media. UNDP officials refused to meet the farmers, and suggested that the petition – which is addressed to UNDP Administrator Helen Clark – could only be delivered at the organisation’s headquarters in New York City. Only after a four-hour wait was the petition officially received by a UNDP receptionist in Kampala.
In addition to Administrator Clark, the petition is addressed to Peter Liria, Chief Ethics Officer, Director of the Ethics Office; Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Director Regional Bureau for Africa; and Mila Rosenthal, Director of Communications; among others.
The UNDP has not responded to the farmers’ petition since it was presented on 28 January.
Wednesday, 10 February 2016
LAGOS STATE PLANS ALL INCLUSIVE EDUCATION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS. This was one of the news headlines contained in today's edition of The Punch newspapers.
Reading further I discovered that the report was simply making reference to the 360 Degrees Initiative of the Lagos state government; intended to ensure that the quality and functionality of primary and secondary education in the state meets global standards and best practice.
The 360 Degree Initiative is a very good initiative and the disability community in Lagos state commends the Lagos state government for this innovative idea.
However, I wish to remind Her Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Lagos state that:
1. there are over 40 inclusive primary and secondary schools in Lagos state lacking in teachers, teaching and instructional assistive aides, mobility aides, etc;
2. virtually all public primary and secondary schools in Lagos state are not accessible to Lagosians with disabilities;
3. children with disabilities constitute more than 50% of out of school children in Lagos state.
In view of these challenges, The disability community in Lagos state implores the Lagos state government to:
1. implement the Lagos State Policy on Inclusive Education;
2. Provide budgetary support for the Task Committee on Inclusive Education Policy;
3. declear a state of emergency in attending to the development of the over 40 inclusive primary and secondary schools;
4. recruit special and regular teachers for the 40 inclusive schools;
5. procure relevant teaching and learning aides, assistive technologies, mobility aides, etc for the 40 inclusive schools;
6. design strategies for the designation and rehabilitation of more public primary and secondary schools in Lagos state to be come inclusive and accessible to children with disabilities in Lagos state;
7. Organize an Annual Lagos State Conference on Inclusive Education to regularly gather ideas for the improvement of inclusive education in Lagos state.
Until these steps are taken, even if the "360 Degrees Initiative" succeeds, and even if all schools in Lagos state meet global best standards, children with disabilities will still be left out of schools.
Children with disabilities have the rights to education...
Saturday, 6 February 2016
Nebiat Hailemichael, Area Manager of Ethiopian with Amadi Nwokocha, NIDO-Qatar President during the signing ceremony in Doha on Thursday.
The Nigerians In Diaspora Organisation (NIDO-Qatar), representative of the Nigerian community in Qatar has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ethiopian Airlines, for cooperation, mutual usage of services provided by both entities and promotion of special offers and discounts from Ethiopian to the Nigerian community in Qatar.
The agreement, which was signed on Thursday, is for an initial period one year, with the possibility of extension. Terms of the MoU include a special offer by Ethiopian to the Nigerian community, of 15% discounts on existing/applicable passenger fares from Qatar to Nigeria, 2pc/23kg baggage allowance and cargo rates that are more attractive to all Nigerian destinations.
NIDO-Qatar will provide an avenue on its social media platforms and sponsored community events to distribute Ethiopian Airlines brochures and fliers to its members.
The agreement was signed in the presence of the HE Enoch Pear Duchi, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of Nigeria, Qatar, HE Shiberu Mamo, Deputy Ambassador, Embassy of Ethiopia, Qatar. Amadi Nwokocha, NIDO-Qatar President and Nebiat Hailemichael, Area Manager of the Ethiopian.
Talking to Qatar Tribune, Duchi said: “It is quite encouraging to witness this kind of occasion because it helps our cooperation to be our brother’s keeper. Both parties have to be faithful to the agreement. Am sure Ethiopian will do their best to honour the terms of the agreement while NIDO should also take this advantage. I, therefore, encourage NIDO to reach out to the Nigerian community and tell them about this laudable agreement with the airline; encourage them to patronize the airline. I am sure the Enugu route would have many passengers during the festive period and am sure Ethiopian will enjoy the relationship.”
The Ethiopian envoy congratulated the airline and the Nigeria community for the agreement; he emphasized the safety, customer service and effective air service of the airline.
Nebiat Hailemichael, Area Manager of the airline said: “Ethiopian airlines is the largest, fastest and the most profitable airline group in Africa serving more than 90 destinations & flying to four cities in Nigeria: Lagos, Abuja, Enugu and Kano. As a pan-African airline, Ethiopian Airlines started the flight to Nigeria on 1960, Ethiopian airlines have been serving our Nigerian brother and sister for more than five decades without interruption, even at the time of crisis like Ebola.”
“We have a convenient connection with less than two hours connection time in Addis Ababa for Abuja, Logos and Kano. We are flying from Doha Monday, Wednesday and Friday our departure time is 03:30 am early morning from Doha and our passengers will get to Nigeria in the morning the same day,” he added.
According to NIDO-Qatar, membership registration is required to access these special offers. Registered members of the community wishing to travel to Nigeria should obtain the discount code from NIDO-Qatar Executive Council members, go online to Ethiopian Airline website and make their booking to their desired Nigerian destination, enter the code and automatically receive the 15% discount on the fare.
Ethiopian Airlines is the largest and most profitable airline in Africa. Ethiopian commands the lion share of the pan-African passenger and cargo network operating the youngest and most modern fleet to more than 85 international destinations across five continents. Ethiopian fleet includes ultra-modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as the Boeing 787, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200 Freighter and Bombardier Q-400 with double cabin. In fact, Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to own and operate these aircraft.
Recently, NIDO-Qatar launched its new website and membership card, to assist both public and private entities in Qatar in sourcing for information and opportunities in Nigeria. The membership card is to create avenues for discounts on purchases and services.
The organization is the umbrella body of over 7,500 Nigerians in Qatar. Its aims are to promote unity, love and harmony amongst all Nigerians living in the State of Qatar, promote the image of our country and assist every Nigerian in Qatar to achieve their legitimate personal goals and aspirations.