Former Mauritius President to speak at MMF Women Forum

-By Funmi Falobi-

Former President of Mauritius, Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim will deliver the keynote paper at the Murtala Muhammed Foundation (MMF) 2018 Women in Development Enterprise Across African Program and Power Lunch in Lagos next week.

The MMF Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode in a signed statement, said the event was in furtherance of its core vision to improve the living conditions of Africans by contributing to reduction of poverty and limitation of conflict, while promoting self-reliance and self-fulfilment.

Muhammed-Oyebode hinted that this year’s edition with the Theme: ‘Smart Economics: Empowering Women in a Changing World,’ will have as the guest speaker Her Excellency, Prof. (Mrs.)  Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, the immediate past president of the Republic of Mauritius (2015-2018)


According to her, “Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is the first woman elected President of the Republic of Mauritius and an accomplished scientist, an entrepreneur and a sustainable development expert. Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is listed by Forbes as one of the most powerful women in the world.”

Also, the Women’s Power Lunch, she said “will attract the attendance of a cross generational audience of women leaders and influencers from all walks of life including government, the private sector, civil society, academia/students, media and the arts.

“So long as there is a continued reluctance to embrace the idea of female authority figures of women in power and leadership, and the gender gap remains as it is, sustainable development may continue to elude us on this continent. Can you imagine how the narrative on Africa would change if women are given their rightful place at the table? This is why the women who have broken these barriers are such powerful and compelling heroines.”

The event, which holds between July 18-19 2018, MMF CEO added, “will address pertinent developmental issues relating to African women and afford the women opportunities to expand their business through networking, partnership, sharing of ideas and exhibitions thereby empowering Nigerian women entrepreneurs for effective, critical and pride of place the economic independence of Africa, thus preparing them for principal roles in the political management of the future of the continent.

“The Women’s Power Lunch is fast becoming a prominent feature in the annual calendar of women’s events in Africa in an ambiance that stimulates robust engagements, rich discussions and networking opportunities.”

The statement recalled that the first edition of the Women’s Power Lunch featured Her Excellency, Mrs Gracia Machel Mandela DBE, the former first lady of South Africa and Mozambique, as Keynote Speaker. While the second featured the former President of Malawi, Her Excellency, Joyce Banda.


U.S supporting Nigerian women mentoring programme

-By Funmi Falobi-

 The United States has reiterated its commitment to advocating for and including women in the workplace both in the United States and abroad.

 Speaking at a mentoring workshop held in Lagos with the theme “Transforming the Future:  Women Mentoring Women in the Workplace,” United States Consul General, John Bray said the programme of structured mentoring was created by the Department of State’s Human Resource bureau to address a number of challenges. Bray who noted he had served as a mentee and mentor during his time in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Department of State said, “Like many of you at your companies, the Department of State was looking for a way to retain its best employees and develop future leaders. 

  “We recognised that we needed to take steps to ensure that our leadership was both ethnically and gender diverse.  And equally important, we wanted to provide a mechanism for knowledge sharing between older and younger employees.  The starting point for addressing these issues was a structured mentoring program.”

 He recalled that the first female diplomat was hired in the 1920s but she had to resign when she married stressing that the “marriage rule” was not abolished until the late 1970s.

 “When I joined the Department, the State Department workforce was 27 percent, most of these people doing clerical work.  It is now 40 percent, but still not the 50 percent we are committed to achieving. The number of female diplomats has remained steady at 30 percent for the past decade. 

“The percentage of senior positions held by women at the State Department is at an all-time high – 30 percent. Through structured mentoring programs run by Executive Women at State and our Human Resources bureau we are working to increase the number of women in line with our goal of having a workforce that reflects the makeup of U.S. society.

 “To support women internationally, we established the office of Global Women’s affairs in 1995. We have identified assisting women to achieve senior positions in both the private and public sector as a priority. One of the many programs that we have includes the Global Women’s Mentoring program. I know that a number of Nigerian women have participated in this program, a collaboration between Fortune and the Department of State, as well as TechWomen and other programs,” he said.

 Addressing the participants, Public Affairs Officer, Darcy Zotter, said that to have a successful mentoring, the mentor must build relationship with the mentee, ask questions and create mentoring agreement.

“You must be able to define your relationship, build rapport and trust, and identify what you want to achieve through mentoring,” she said.

 A participant and a media practitioner, Mrs. Funke Treasure-Durodola, Assistant Director, Programmes, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, Lagos Operations said a lot still need to be done on mentoring in the Nigerian media industry.

“For every organization there should be a mentoring programme. This is what they should do. It has to be well established, backed by the management.

“In media, we should do more of structured mentoring. Many veterans perhaps did not think of mentoring others. We need it especially women. Men have a way of tapping into mentoring than women. We need more women in management,” she said.

DFID holds DEEPEN programme on improving education quality

-By Funmi Falobi-

In order to improve the quality of education of children from low income households in Lagos, the Developing Effective Private Education Nigeria (DEEPEN) programme has brought together top government officials and stakeholders in education to a roundtable discuss. The event, which was a DEEPEN end of Programme Dissemination, held at Abeokuta, Ogun State, and was attended by top government officials and other stakeholders in education – Commissioners of Education, Budget and Planning, Permanent Secretaries, Special Advisers, Directors, CSOs and Private Sector stakeholders in the South-West region of Nigeria.

In his speech, the team leader of the DEEPEN programme, Dr. Gboyega Ilusanya emphasised on the need to address the challenge of improving education quality. “Given the rising importance of private education, the learnings of DEEPEN will help to set the agenda and structure for the intervention of states and development partners in education.”


Participants at the DEEPEN end of Programme Dissemination event


The DEEPEN programme, which is a DFID UKAid-funded programme managed by Cambridge Education, a member of Mott MacDonald UK, was established to improve the quality of education in private schools, especially those serving children from low-income households in Lagos.

 The DEEPEN programme has, without doubt, recorded numerous successes in its attempt to establish a vibrant and dynamic market for private education in Lagos as more than 277, 000 children from across 2,500 schools have directly benefitted from DEEPEN’s interventions.

 Using a market-development approach, the DEEPEN programme continues the progress from the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN), with a particular focus on improving learning outcomes of children from low-income families.

“We believe this is a good opportunity for stakeholders to learn and better understand how to effectively manage the phenomenon of private education, particularly in schools serving children from low-income households”

IPI congress: Stakeholders Underscores ‘Good Journalism’

By Sanmi Falobi

Abuja, Nigeria’s capital is the centre for discourse as the International Press Institute (IPI) brings together hundreds of media proprietors, journalists, media professionals, media professionals groups and associations from across the continents for the 2018 congress of the IPI.

The 2018 edition of the annual World Congress with the theme “Why Good Journalism Matters” running for three days, from Thursday June 22, 2018  to Saturday June 23, 2018 was officially declared opened at an event in presidential Villa. The opening ceremony entailed a session tagged, ‘Conversation With The Government Of Nigeria’ moderated by the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Channels Media Group, Mr. John Momoh. The session had government officials including the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Okechukwu Enelemah; and Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazzau, discussing key issues in the country.

According to a press statement by spokesman of the 2018 IPI congress, Mr. Eric Osagie, who is Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Publishing Limited, thematic sessions and further discussions by media stakeholders shifts to the Transcorp Hilton Hotel where papers on various issues would be presented which in general would “affirm the indispensable role of quality media in building strong societies, showcasing investigative stories and projects that bring positive change to individuals and communities in Africa and around the world.”

Meanwhile, the second day of the congress shall have five editors and publishers from world’s leading publications speaking on the topic: “Why Good Journalism Matters (And How to Make People Like it.” They include: John Daniszewski, vice president (standards)/editor-at-large, The Associated Press; Glenda Gloria, managing editor/co-founder, Rappler; David Jordan, director (editorial policy), BBC; Khadija Patel, editor-in-chief, Mail & Guardian and Mostefa Souaj, acting director-general, Al-Jezeera.

There will also be paper on “Covering Elections, Advancing Democracy,” by chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu and Mr. Lanre Arogundade, Director, International Press Centre (IPC).

The IPC shall also use the event to launch and publicly present the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage to media stakeholders. The presentation of the code, a revised edition of the 2014/2015 Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage which was recently validated and endorsed by media stakeholders is expected to be graced by the EU Ambassador, who shall give a goodwill remark, amongst other dignitaries. Copies of the revised code, whose validation and production was facilitated by IPC under Component 4b: Support to the media of the EU Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) project, shall be  disseminated to journalists present for use ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Other papers of the IPI includes: “Africa’s Looking to the Future. So is its Journalism” by Juliet Ehimuan, country director of Google; while “Reporting Africa – Shaping a New Africa Narrative would be the paper by Roukaya Kasenally, CEO, Africa Media Initiative.  Others are, “Covering Development: A Guide to African Journalists” by Lisa Anne Essex, trainer, European Journalism Centre; “Understanding Terrorism and Conflict in Africa” by Victor Bwire, programmes manager, Media Council of Kenya and Hamza Idris, politics editor, Daily Trust Newspapers. Another paper entitled: “Fighting the Good Fight: African Media Face the Might of State Censorship,” will be presented by Deodatus Balile, Acting Chairman of Tanzania Editor’s Forum (TEF); Joan Chirwa, Editor-in-Chief and CEO, The Mast and Barbara Kaija, Editor-in-Chief, New Vision Printing & Publishing Company.

 “Why Journalists Struggle to Make a Living and What we can do about it” shall be focus of presentations by Ralph Akinfeleye, professor of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Lagos; Funke Egbemode, president, Nigerian Guild of Editors; Mohammed Idris, publisher, Blueprint Newspapers and Abdulwaheed Odusile, president, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

The day’s session will be rounded off by a “Conversation with Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka with Kenneth Woosuk Choi, Editor of The Chosun Daily Newspaper, Korea also speaking at the event.

The Saturday session of the congress will feature papers on “Collaborative Investigative Reporting on Corruption, Financial Crime and Abuse of Power; Covering Natural Resources and the Extractive Sector; Contending with Fake News and Propaganda; Innovative Ways to Fund Investigative Journalism; What Change Can I Bring? Evidence is Power: Presentation of Independent and Secure Platforms for Journalists in Nigeria” among others.


Day of the African Child: Making the Child matter


As Child Rights Advocates, especially in Africa commemorates the Day of the African Child, celebrated on 16 June every year, Government of African nations as well as Policy Makers, Support Groups, Organizations, Parents and Care-givers have been called to ensure that children are consciously integrated into development initiatives.

Speaking to sdnonline to commemorate the 2018 edition, which has the theme, ‘Leave No Child Behind for Africa’s Development’, Mrs. Oruoma Odum, a UNICEF trained child rights advocate and Senior lecturer at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Ogba, Lagos, said it was imperative that all hands are on deck in ensuring proper development of the child.

“That we ‘Leave no child behind” is one the laws embedded in the Child Rights Charter CRC, (1990) and Child Rights Act, CRA, ( 2003). This means that the child ( boy and girl) must come first in anything we do. ”We” here, means parents, Caregivers and Government at all levels. This includes education, health and the general development of the child (Physical, body and soul)” she said.

Speaking further, she noted that the African child, and in particular, the Nigerian child is being deprived of some rights and neglected in many things that is needed for proper development and growth.


mrs odum
Mrs. Oruoma Odum

“If you look at it generally, the Nigerian child is not independent, the Nigerian child does not have the will to do certain things, the Nigerian child is kind of neglected. For instance, in the home, till now, most parents believe that the child should not eat meat and that there are things the child must not take. I think it is ignorance because a child needs meat, needs food because the child needs to grow into an adult. So if you don’t feed that child well, the child will not grow well, the child will not have the mental capacity to absorb the stress of life later, even as an adult. So the Nigerian child generally is not properly taken care of, the Nigerian child is not given that right to be him or herself.”


 According to her, every child should be given what is needed to grow and develop well. “We know that in our society, the child is not giving any form of chance to be able to express him or herself. It is what the parent says, that is taken; it is what the society says that the child obeys. The child does not even know that he or she has a right to education; the father will decide who should be sent to school, especially the girl child. The girl-child in our society is seen as somebody who will marry later and answer somebody’s name so there is no need educating her in any form, so she ends up as a full time or glorified house help in her husband’s home.”

 She lamented that society still permits some cultural practices, which adversely affects the development of children, especially the girl-child.

 “Some society still practice female genital cutting. This is bad. God has put it there for a purpose, but when you cut it, you put the child through some pains and the child grows up with low self-esteem. Some people go to the extent that instead of severing it, they sew it up and put that child in pain for life. That culture is bad. It is a societal construct. We should not accept it”, she noted.

 “Early child marriage is another. A child is a child. Imagine a child that you should still be teaching on how to clean herself, you send out for marriage. Early marriage is a very wrong culture. There is also this issue also that the yorubas call ‘Abiku’. They say that because ‘Ifa’ or whatever says that the child would die young, they then have to carry the child and use him or her to go and beg. It is a wrong culture. These are things and norms that we carry on that are not good for the children and these must stop.”

 I pray that the government will take what concerns the child very seriously”, she noted. “And to the African Child, do not be frail, keep hope alive, persevere, tomorrow will be better that today”, she added.

Day of the African Child, celebrated every year on 16 June, was set aside to remember the young people of South Africa who were massacred in Soweto in 1976 for protesting against apartheid system of education.  The 2018 theme highlights the need to ensure that no child is left behind by specifically targeting those who are not benefitting from Africa’s growth and development.  The theme also underscores the need for inclusive development for children, that is, whenever undertaking to develop programs and policies for implementing Agenda 2030, children should be at the centre-stage and Member States should ensure that no child is left behind in the drive towards sustainable economic development.

* Feature picture courtesy of

U.S. trains Nigerian Students, Women, on Drone Technology

-By Funmi Falobi-

United States Consulate General Lagos in collaboration with Baltimore-based Global Air Media, has concluded a two-day drone technology workshop for students and women STEM leaders. The training which held at the Cedar STEM & Entrepreneurship Hub, and American Corner at Co-Creation Hub (CCHUB), both in Yaba, Lagos was conducted by a team of three drone experts led by Global Air Media co-founder, Eno Umoh.

According to a release by Temitayo Famutimi, Information Specialist, Public Affairs Section (PAS), U.S. Consulate General, Lagos, thirty elementary and high school students were coached on the basics of building a drone from the scratch, as well as the requisite skills for piloting and landing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

IMG_8723 (1)In addition to the students’ seminar, thirteen female STEM leaders were mentored on the evolving technology needs of the 21st century, particularly in the fields of real estate and construction, cinematography, as well as humanitarian and emergency response.

Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Consulate Lagos, Ms. Darcy Zotter, explained that the hands-on workshop was designed to stimulate the interest of the participating students in math and science, as well as careers in the STEM fields.

“STEM enables us to find solutions to some of the most pressing issues of today such as alternative energy or even food security. Creating inventions to solve global challenges can be a catalyst for a country’s economic development,” Zotter said.
According to her, the U.S. Mission in Nigeria has funded a number of projects to increase STEM education in different parts of the country. Whether at home or abroad, she added, promoting STEM education is a top priority of the U.S. government.
“Last March, we hosted a 16-member delegation of senior women technology executives and professionals from Silicon Valley, California. The visiting delegation held a mentoring program for over 70 Nigerian female STEM leaders.
“In December 2017, we funded the establishment of a technology hub in Lagos designed to host training and mentoring sessions for persons living with disabilities in various technology-based skills. We also hosted RoboRAVE, a robotics education program in Lagos and Abeokuta in October 2017,” she explained.

Makoko killings: Lagos Speaker assures residents of justice

=By Tobi Oyetunde=

The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, has promised residents of Ilaje community in Makoko that the Lagos House of Assembly shall look into the killings of four community members by some personnel of the Nigeria Police Force and Lagos State Task Force team.

Speaking on his behalf, Sanai Agunbiade, the Majority Leader of the House made this known when he received protesting members of the community.

Numbering over 200, the residents of Makoko, who expressed bitterness at how their community members were killed, demanded that the State set up an investigation committee into the killings,  which occurred when some police officers and personnel of Lagos State Task Force team invaded the community, on 10th of May 2018, killing four  with many hospitalized.

Stressing the need for government investigation and intervention, Alex Omotehinse, General Secretary of Ilaje National Alliance Movement (INAMO), demanded that the state government swiftly move to arrest and bring to book all involved in the invasion.

He said, “Those involved are still moving around freely and nothing has been done to them. As a matter of urgency, this matter must be addressed, we want the police to parade the culprits and stop aiding and abetting them.”

He also urged the state House of Assembly to set up an independent panel of enquiry to ensure justice is done.

Also speaking, Adekunle Wizeman Ajayi, posited that the killings in Ilaje is taking a similar pattern to the forceful eviction that took place in Otodo Gbame, Ilubirin and other shanties in the state. Ajayi, who is the Secretary of United Acting for Democracy, noted that the government should always seek to help in securing lives and priorities of her people and not destroying them.

Similarly, human rights lawyer, Barrister Adeola Ilori stressed that such killings must be stopped while perpetrators must be made to face the consequences.

“Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done”, he added.


agunbiade1Responding to the protesters, Mr. Agunbiade said that the complaints of the people would be duly addressed. He also urged the protesters to always embrace dialogue stressing that justice would be surely prevail in the matter.

“You can be rest assured that your complaints today would be properly looked into”, he said.