The United Nations has expressed concerns about the increasing numbers of people fleeing English-speaking areas of Cameroon for Nigeria, saying it is particularly worried over safety of women and children.
William Spindler, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), decried the precarious situation of women and children, who make up about 80 per cent of the approximately 10,000 registered refugees in Nigeria’s Cross River.
“Some of these are boys and girls who fled to Nigeria alone,” Spindler said, adding that unaccompanied and separated children are particularly vulnerable.
“UNHCR has received numerous reports that children have to work or beg to survive or to help their families.
“Many reported that they were unable to attend school, for lack of time and money.
“Thousands more are among the population of unregistered Cameroonians in neighbouring states, where some of the children are unaccompanied and vulnerable.
“UNHCR is working with the Nigerian authorities to assist with the reunification of separated children with their families, to provide unaccompanied children with protection services and to restore the basic right of all children to education,” Spindler said.
He said some of the children fleeing to Nigeria told UNHCR that they had been out of school in Cameroon for all of 2017.
“For women, the lack of work combined with the over-stretched reception facilities, creates a higher risk of sexual and gender-based violence, particularly from survival sex.
“While only a limited number of cases have been recorded, mainly in the Amana community of Cross River state, UNHCR is concerned that many more go unreported or are referred only to community elders.
“Incidents of domestic violence, as well as cases of teenage pregnancies involving girls as young as 14, have also been reported,” the spokesperson elaborated.
He said in Benue, two school buildings were serving as temporary refugee accommodations, where women and their families sleep inside communal school halls – deprived of private space and the right to family dignity.
“For them, and for the rest of the population living in temporary tents hastily built next to local residences, sufficient and appropriate shelter is key to ensure adequate registration, systematic aid distribution and reduced protection risks,” Spindler stressed.
According to him, UNHCR and the Nigerian authorities are currently working to identify sites away from the border, where the refugees can live according to international standards.
“We are also establishing offices in the towns of Calabar and Adikpo to better provide assistance and protection to the women and children,” he said, noting that support includes food, basic relief items, water and sanitation facilities.
Since mid-2017, Cameroon’s Anglophone regions have seen demonstrations as tensions have mounted over what the country’s English-speakers see as discrimination against them in favour of the majority French-speaking population.
2020 Finance Bill Exempts Minimum Wage Earners From Tax: Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that the recently proposed 2020 Finance Bill will exempt workers earning the minimum wage from paying tax.
Buhari disclosed this on Monday in a speech delivered virtually by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the opening session of the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit Group Conference themed: “Building Partnerships for Resilience.”
“We are proposing in the new Finance Act that those who earn minimum wage should be exempted from paying income tax,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande.
“These provisions which complement the tax breaks given to small businesses last year will not only further stimulate the economy but are also a fulfilment of promises made to take steps to help reduce the cost of transportation and the impact of inflation on ordinary Nigerians.”
Nigeria Will Exit Recession By First Quarter Of 2021 – Finance Minister
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed has revealed that Nigeria would emerge from recession in the fourth quarter of this year or by the first quarter of 2021.
Speaking on Monday at the ongoing 26th Nigerian Economic Summit organized by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab said the current recession would be short-lived.
She blamed COVID-19 for the current recession, saying it followed the pattern across the world where many countries had entered an economic recession.
“Nigeria is not alone in this, but I will say that Nigeria has outperformed all of these economies in terms of the record of a negative growth,” Ahmed said.
Court Remands Nigerian Senator, Ali Ndume, In Prison
Senator Ali Ndume, the lawmaker representing Borno South Senatorial district has been ordered on Monday by a federal high court to be sent to prison.
The order follows his inability to produce Abdulrasheed Maina, the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Task Team, whom he stood as surety for in his corruption and money laundering trial.
The high court, sitting in Abuja was presided over by Justice Okon Abang and ordered Senator Ndume to be remanded in Kuje correctional centre.
Justice Abang, however, gave three conditions upon which Ndume can regain his freedom namely payment of N500m bail bond into the Federation Account of the Federal Government and present evidence of such payment in court or the FG sells the property situated in Asokoro, Abuja which Ndume pledge as security for the bond and present evidence of sale and payment of the N500m realised into the Federation Account or he (Ndume) produces Maina, who is believed to have now jumped bail, in court.
Shortly after the pronouncement by the Judge, Senator Ndume was led away from the courtroom by security operatives.
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