Daily Archives: December 5, 2017

Nigeria Ramps Up Crusade Against Human Trafficking

ABUJA/LONDON By rewarding whistleblowers, boosting prosecutions and challenging beliefs in black magic, Nigeria is ramping up its crusade against human trafficking, backed by millions of pounds of British aid, anti-slavery and government officials said.

Thousands of Nigerian women and girls are lured to Europe each year, making the treacherous sea crossing from Libya to Italy, and trafficked into sex work, the United Nations says.

The number of female Nigerians arriving in Italy by boat surged to more than 11,000 last year from 1,500 in 2014, with at least four in five forced into prostitution, according to data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

To tackle this rise, Nigeria’s anti-trafficking agency NAPTIP is stepping up efforts to catch traffickers and support victims, backed by a 7 million pound aid package announced last week by Britain’s foreign aid department (DFID).

“We have embarked on more aggressive campaigns to create awareness,” Julie Okah-Donli, NAPTIP’s director, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “We are covering all the schools and rural areas because this is where they get the girls from.”

The agency is also rewarding whistleblowers with a share of traffickers’ gains.

“Since the policy was adopted in October, we have had more than 50 people coming to us with information,” Okah-Donli added.

Britain’s latest pledge for Nigeria follows a promise in September to double its spending on global projects tackling slavery and trafficking to 150 million pounds.

The money will create jobs in sectors such as hospitality, technology and farming in Nigeria, and support victims with safe houses, rehabilitation and training for counselors, DFID said.

“We are giving vulnerable people more choices to earn a living in their own country and reducing the chances of their suffering from modern slavery,” Penny Mordaunt, Britain’s international aid minister, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Battling black magic

More than nine out of 10 Nigerian women trafficked in Europe come from Edo, a predominantly Christian state of 3 million people, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC).

Edo’s governor, Godwin Obaseki, who came to power last year, said his office is tackling the problem.

“We have established a local task force to … increase surveillance intelligence and arrest traffickers,” he said, adding that a bill to give the task force powers to prosecute traffickers has been sent to the state parliament for approval.

Obaseki said his office was also trying to dispel fears around black magic, known as “juju”, which traps thousands of Nigerian women and girls in sex slavery in Europe.

Victims of trafficking fear that witchcraft rituals performed by spiritual priests could cause them or their relatives to fall ill or die if they disobey their traffickers, go to the police or fail to pay off their debts.

“We have gone to (the traditional priests) and asked them to reverse the juju,” said NAPTIP’s Okah-Donli, adding that the agency shows trafficked women photos of these priests to convince them that any curses cast upon them have been lifted.

The trafficking and enslavement of African migrants has been in the spotlight after footage broadcast by CNN last month appeared to show Africans being sold in Libya, sparking a global outcry and protests across Europe and Africa.

Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari said last week his government had started bringing stranded citizens home from Libya, referring on Twitter to the situation of people being sold into slavery as “appalling and unacceptable.”

IOM data shows that Nigerians made up 20 percent – the biggest share – of a record 181,400 migrants who reached Italy by boat from Libya last year seeking a better life in Europe.

Source: Voice of America

Traditional Affair on tolerance during the summer inition season

COGTA urges zero tolerance during the summer inition season

The Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), is calling on parents to commit to zero tolerance approach to initiation deaths especially as the summer season having just commenced.

The summer initiation takes place in some provinces such as Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Western Cape and the North West. Although the initiation season has just started in some provinces, some will start immediately after the end of the 2017 school examinations. This season will see young men across the country embarking on this sacred path which has been a central part of the traditional African cultures since time immemorial and a necessary process of many African communities.

In those provinces where summer initiation is practiced, the provincial monitoring teams together with the law enforcement agencies will be hard at work responding to challenges on the ground and dealing accordingly with those who continue to be perpetrators.

Like other seasons before, this summer season might bring about some unwanted challenges like abductions, kidnappings, illegal and unregistered schools and the deaths of initiates, hence the importance of the involvement of parents. The Department of Traditional Affairs will continue to work tirelessly with all stakeholders in an effort to bring to an end this challenges, especially the death of initiates. In as much as government will remain visible and vigilant in this period, we are urging communities, especially parents, care givers or legal guardians to play their part and support our goal of ensuring zero tolerance to challenges that emanates during initiation seasons, said Minister van Rooyen.

Deputy Minister Bapela emphasised that as government we will not be able to bring an end to this illegal initiation schools if communities are not involved. It takes communities to raise responsible young men who can contribute positively to the future of our country, said DM Bapela. The Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs also called the coordinating forums in provinces to continue being vigilant and report illegal schools within their within their communities.

Parents have to be involved in this process of initiation from the beginning to the end as this will assist to save many promising lives, said Deputy Minister Bapela. In pursuit of the Zero Deaths campaign during this initiation season, parents are urged to ensure that their children are medically and psychologically prepared to enter this sacred path. The period within which the 2017 summer initiation will be taking place, is expected to register high temperatures weather and excessive heat is possible, hence the need for initiates to remain hydrated.

Parents, care givers, legal guardians and communities have to follow the following tips before initiates embark on this process:

a) Initiates should drink lots of water ahead of undergoing this process.

b) Ensure initiates are psychologically ready.

c) Ensure initiates are medically checked (pre-screening).

d) Parents should use legal initiation schools (parents should insist on seeing a registered permission for the school to operate).

e) Report the mushrooming of illegal initiation schools.

f) Use properly registered initiation schools that has registered surgeons.

Parents should always know that they cannot in anyway abdicate their responsibilities on their children, even when the initiates are at the initiation schools, they are still responsible for their well-being. Parents should also keep in mind that children too have rights in line with the constitution of our country.

Parents are also urged and encouraged to work in partnership with traditional leaders, government, stakeholders and role-players to ensure the creation of a conducive environment for a successful and safe initiation season.

Source: Government of South Africa

Traditional Affair on tolerance during the summer inition season

COGTA urges zero tolerance during the summer inition season

The Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), is calling on parents to commit to zero tolerance approach to initiation deaths especially as the summer season having just commenced.

The summer initiation takes place in some provinces such as Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Western Cape and the North West. Although the initiation season has just started in some provinces, some will start immediately after the end of the 2017 school examinations. This season will see young men across the country embarking on this sacred path which has been a central part of the traditional African cultures since time immemorial and a necessary process of many African communities.

In those provinces where summer initiation is practiced, the provincial monitoring teams together with the law enforcement agencies will be hard at work responding to challenges on the ground and dealing accordingly with those who continue to be perpetrators.

Like other seasons before, this summer season might bring about some unwanted challenges like abductions, kidnappings, illegal and unregistered schools and the deaths of initiates, hence the importance of the involvement of parents. The Department of Traditional Affairs will continue to work tirelessly with all stakeholders in an effort to bring to an end this challenges, especially the death of initiates. In as much as government will remain visible and vigilant in this period, we are urging communities, especially parents, care givers or legal guardians to play their part and support our goal of ensuring zero tolerance to challenges that emanates during initiation seasons, said Minister van Rooyen.

Deputy Minister Bapela emphasised that as government we will not be able to bring an end to this illegal initiation schools if communities are not involved. It takes communities to raise responsible young men who can contribute positively to the future of our country, said DM Bapela. The Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs also called the coordinating forums in provinces to continue being vigilant and report illegal schools within their within their communities.

Parents have to be involved in this process of initiation from the beginning to the end as this will assist to save many promising lives, said Deputy Minister Bapela. In pursuit of the Zero Deaths campaign during this initiation season, parents are urged to ensure that their children are medically and psychologically prepared to enter this sacred path. The period within which the 2017 summer initiation will be taking place, is expected to register high temperatures weather and excessive heat is possible, hence the need for initiates to remain hydrated.

Parents, care givers, legal guardians and communities have to follow the following tips before initiates embark on this process:

a) Initiates should drink lots of water ahead of undergoing this process.

b) Ensure initiates are psychologically ready.

c) Ensure initiates are medically checked (pre-screening).

d) Parents should use legal initiation schools (parents should insist on seeing a registered permission for the school to operate).

e) Report the mushrooming of illegal initiation schools.

f) Use properly registered initiation schools that has registered surgeons.

Parents should always know that they cannot in anyway abdicate their responsibilities on their children, even when the initiates are at the initiation schools, they are still responsible for their well-being. Parents should also keep in mind that children too have rights in line with the constitution of our country.

Parents are also urged and encouraged to work in partnership with traditional leaders, government, stakeholders and role-players to ensure the creation of a conducive environment for a successful and safe initiation season.

Source: Government of South Africa

President Zuma to officially open the Energy Indaba in Midrand

President Jacob Zuma will on Thursday, 07 December 2017, officially open the Energy Indaba at Gallagher Estate Convention Centre, in Midrand.

Hosted by the Department of Energy, the two-day Indaba will be held under the theme Energy Sector Stimulating Economic Growth, Development and Job Creation.

It brings together various role players to discuss measures to reignite economic growth amid the challenges of slow growth. The Indaba will also be addressed by a number of experts in the sector to share concrete solutions on how the sector will re-energize the economy to achieve radical socio-economic transformation whilst creating the necessary jobs. Over 700 delegates are expected to attend from the energy sectors as well as Ministers, Premiers and representatives of local government.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa

LEADING AFRICAN OIL COMPANIES ENGEN AND VIVO ENTER INTO SHARE-SWOP DEAL

NAIROBI, Two of Africa’s biggest oil retailers, Vivo Energy Holding, a Netherlands-based company which is licensed to retail petroleum products of Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell, and Engen Holding, the South African oil company which is majority owned by Malaysian national oil and gas multinational Petronas, have agreed to a share transaction with Vivo purchasing shares in Engen International Holdings for the exchange of a shareholding in Vivo Energy, with a possible cash element.

Under the MoU entered into Monday, the transaction will see nine new countries and more than 300 Engen-branded service stations being added to Vivo Energy’s network, taking Vivo Energy’s total presence to more than 2,100 service stations across 24 African markets.

The new markets for Vivo Energy included in the transaction are the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zimbabwe, Reunion, Zambia, Gabon, Rwanda, Mozambique, Tanzania and Malawi. Engen’s Kenya operations (where Vivo Energy already operates) are also part of this transaction.

Engen Holdings will retain its interest in Engen Petroleum Limited (the South Africa retail business and refinery) and Engen’s businesses in Mauritius, Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho, which are not part of this transaction.

Commenting on the transaction Vivo Energy chief Executive Officer Christian Chammas said: “I am delighted with today’s agreement with Engen which, subject to regulatory approval, will add a number of new African markets to our business so that we can offer high quality products and services to significantly more customers.

Engen is a strong and well respected brand, and complements our existing business. Upon completion of the transaction we look forward to welcoming the Engen team into Vivo Energy and working with them to grow our combined business. Our vision is to become the most respected energy business in Africa. Today’s announcement takes us one step closer to achieving that goal.

Yusa Hassan, the Managing Director and CEO of Engen, SAID: Engen is excited to enter into this strategic undertaking with Vivo Energy, which is clearly aligned with our growth aspirations in Africa. We will seek to build on each other’s strengths from this collaboration for the benefit of our customers across the continent.

With more than 1,800 service stations across 15 African markets, Vivo Energy sources, distributes, markets and supplies Shell-branded fuels and lubricants to retail and commercial customers across the continent. Vivo Energy is jointly owned by the energy and commodities company Vitol and the Africa-focused private investment firm Helios Investment Partners.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK