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BLACK, WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Former US Diplomat Engages Makoko residents on Voting Rights no



Chief Dr. Atim Eneida George

In commemoration of the Black and Women’s History Months, Dr. Atim Eneida George, a former Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy in Nigeria, has engaged residents of Makoko community in Lagos to sensitize them on their voting rights and women empowerment.

The event, hosted by CEE-HOPE Nigeria, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) working with young people in marginalized communities, and sponsored by the United States of America’s Embassy in Nigeria, attracted several stakeholders from within the community and beyond.

Dr. Eneida George, the celebrated former diplomat of African-American descent and currently living in the USA, recalled the pre-civil rights era in the USA where African Americans were disenfranchised and marginalized from governance and general decision-taking processes in their own country.  According to her, even with the right to vote, the black population in the USA still faced a major huddle due to their then low literacy level. She therefore advised the younger generation present to take governance process.

“Democracy, governance and education are interwoven. To the young ones, your education is your key to anywhere you want to go,’ she said. ‘Regardless of your situation now, focus on your studies, regardless of the barriers, do not be discouraged, you can change the world and you can raise a wonderful institution like CEE-HOPE and make impact in the lives of several others. Especially to the girl child, education is essential because If you educate a boy, you educate an individual, when you educate a woman you educate a nation”, she added.

Dr. George who attracted several awards and recognition in the course of her long duty post in Nigeria including the traditional title of Yeye Araba of Ife, further reiterated that, “governance is too important to be left in the hands of a selected few. All and sundry should play effective roles in governance either by voting or by being voted for.’
Emmanuel Agunze, Founder, Makoko Dream School and a Nelson Mandela Washington Fellow, noted that one of the reasons for the decline in participation in governance at the grassroots levels is because of the challenges that are encountered during the voting process.
He noted that the process of securing voters’ card, poor facilities at voting centers and violence are some of the many reasons people, most especially women have been discouraged to vote.
Dr. Atim Eneida George and some Makoko traditional chiefs, and staff of CEE-HOPE.

A Community Leader, Mr. Agbodemu Ishola Musbau said so many Nigerians are responsible for voting wrong persons into power because they are rather satisfied to vote for persons who would induce them with money and food items than to vote for those who would serve genuinely.

The event attracted several local chiefs from across Makoko as well as women leaders, youth leaders pupils from the Diaspora School and the Makoko Dream School, both in Makoko.

One of the local chiefs, Chief Albert Ayide (aka Baale Jeje), thanked CEE-HOPE for the opportunity of the program which he described as very enlightening and asked for a repeat of such for more enlightenment. He however noted that despite the efforts of their community members to participate in governance by voting for people they believed were suitable, they are not getting the dividends of good governance.  He also pleaded for educational support, lending more support to the ongoing work of CEE-HOPE in Makoko, in addition to programs that would empower women.
Chief Dr. Atim Eneida George and some Makoko women.

Other chiefs present include Alase Agoyon Francis, Baale Shemede Emmanuel, Baale Panke Victor, Oluwo of Makoko Olaiya, Aji Steven and the immediate host, Chief Adewale Akintimehin (aka Alfa). There were also officials from the USA Embassy in Lagos.
Earlier in his opening remarks, a Board of Trustees member of CEE-HOPE Nigeria and veteran journalist, Lekan Otufodunrin appreciated the guest speaker for choosing CEE-HOPE and Makoko as beneficiaries of the event which he described as highly empowering to the participants.

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In a bid to fight Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in communities across Lagos, the Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) partnered with RiseUp, a women and girls’ rights group to mobilize community stakeholders as gatekeepers and to build better links with law enforcement agencies.The meeting at Otto-Ilogbo community, one of the most populous informal communities in Lagos was the first of three meetings targeting Otto-Ilogbo, Makoko and Bariga. It would bring together local stakeholders such as local chiefs, women leaders, youth leaders, heads of girls’ groups among others in a bid to reduce GBV particularly against teenage girls.

It would also ensure that the communities work more closely with government agencies, law enforcement agencies and other state actors as well establish community systems that would report sexual violations so that the perpetrators are brought to book and thereby help towards the reduction and indeed eradication of such crimes in those communities.The first meeting at Otto-Ilogbo held recently was fruitful as it provided a robust platform for the rubbing of minds among the community stakeholders.

Both the old and youth freely aired their concerns and observations and welcome the idea of a better working relationships with constitutionally appointed bodies and personnel to curb sexual violence in their community as in everywhere in the country especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and associated pressures and socioeconomic abnormalities.

Comrade Mushbau Ishola Agbdemu, an eminent community leader and activist at Otto-Ilogbo and the local organizer, welcome the idea and promised that the community would work closely with the CEE-HOPE team to ensure the success of the project.

Betty Abah, CEE-HOPE’s founder and Executive Director, expressed delight at the turn of the one-day event. “We are really impressed by the enthusiasm of the communities to collaborate with us and the others in focus and we hope that we have such good responses from the other communities as well. Our work with informal communities over the years proved that if given the opportunities and cooperation from constituted authorities, the community people would always leverage on their potentials and experiences to turn things around positively. We are positive that this will go well,’ she added.
The October 25 meeting at Otto-Ilogbo was preceded by another one-day meeting at Makoko constituting leaders and representatives from the three target communities including Makoko, Bariga and Otto-Ilogbo on September 11. 

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Veteran movie actress, Rachel Oniga has passes away on Friday. According to the family, the actress died of heart disease.

The actress reportedly died Friday night in a hospital in Lagos.

In a statement yesterday by the deceased’s sister, Deaconess Toyin Odusote, Oniga, who passed away at the age of 64, had been battling the ailment for some time now.

The statement read in part:

“With a heavy heart and total submission to God, we write to announce the passing of our beloved sister, mother and grandmother, Chief Rachel Tabuno Oniga .

“She died in a Lagos hospital at the age of 64 , on Friday, July 30, 2021 at about 10 pm.

“Contrary to diverse reports informing that she died of COVID-19 complications, we write to inform the general public that she died of heart related issue, an ailment she battled for a short period before her demise.

“We accept her sudden transition as God’s design and we see it as a function of a race of life well finished.

“Painful as it may, we accept it in good faith and total submission to her Maker.

“We, therefore, desire to be allowed to mourn her death privately for now, as we do cause with deep sense of respect for her soul and the glorious life she lived.”

Burial arrangement would be announced in due course by the deceased’s family, the statement promised.

The deceased reportedly had been on Kunle Afolayan’s movie set in Mowe area of Ogun State since last week.

Biography and Profile of Rachael Oniga

An indigene of Eku in Delta State, Oniga was born on 23 May 1957 in Ebutte Metta, Lagos State. She began her acting career in 1993, shortly after her divorce. She worked briefly at Ascoline Nigeria Limited, a Dutch Consultant Company before her first movie titled Onome and her debut Yoruba movie was Owo Blow. Over the years, Oniga has featured in notable Nigerian films such as Sango, a movie scripted by Wale Ogunyemi, produced and directed by Obafemi Lasode and Wale Adenuga’s television series, Super story.She was one of the famous Nigerian Actresses who played a role of a mother in movies. Although featured mostly in Yoruba movies, she was also active in Nollywood English movies.Among the movies she featured are Sango in 1997, Out of Bounds in 1997, Owo Blow 1997, Passion of Mind in 2004, Power Of Sin, Restless Mind and Doctor Bello in 2013, 30 Days in Atlanta in 2014, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel in 2017, Power of 1 in 2018, The Wedding Party and My Village People 2021.

Oniga is survived by three children and several grandchildren.

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Benue State and all the states around the Rivers Benue and Niger basin including the FCT should expect to experience devastating flood between August and October, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), has predicted.

NIHSA, an agency of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, earlier predicted the recent flooding in Lagos, Nasarawa, Anambra, Abia, Kwara, Kaduna, Rivers, Enugu, Borno and Ondo states as a result of heavy local rainfalls. The situation was aggravated by poor drainage system.

The Director-General of the Agency, Engr. Nze Clement Onyeaso, in an interactive session with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, said all areas earlier identified as flood prone this year as well as those along the Rivers Niger and Benue might likely begin to experience more devastating flooding from the end of August.

“Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin which is occupied by nine countries namely Benin, Burkina- Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivore, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. Nigeria is located at the lowest position of the Basin and this means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding. The period of flooding in these upstream countries is August and September of every year,’’ he said

According to the DG, NIHSA was monitoring the development as the world approaches these critical months, adding that the agency would also continue to monitor Cameroonian authorities with regards to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin.

Nze Clement Onyeaso,

Engr. Nze warned Lagosians against the practice of dredging and sound filling the Atlantic Ocean, to build what they usually call model cities like those in Lekki and Banana Island, saying such may, in the future, pose serious threats.

As part of the preparation for the expected floods, the DG called on Nigerians, especially the state governments to be fully prepared by ensuring cleaning of blocked drainage system and canals remove refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats on water channels.

The Agency had earlier predicted that 121 LGAs in 27 states and FCT might experience severe flooding this year.

Oche Onu writes from Lagos

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