Grassfield culture takes center stage at youth FESTAC in Bamenda

More than 100 children and youths from Cameroon’s North West and West regions displayed their mastery and love for Grassfield cultures.

The event took place Sunday, June 16, 2024, at the Saint Joseph Hall in Big Mankon, Bamenda. It was the second edition of the Youth Festival of Art and Culture, FESTAC, organized by the Youth Outreach Programme (YOP) The festival coincided with commemorative activities for the 34th Day of the African Child.

Forest children of Bamenda performed njang, mbaya, bottle, and folkloric dances. Youths from other groups, including Makongui of Babadjou, also participated in a cultural dance competition, captivating the large audience.

Fashion designers showcased the rich traditional outfits of the Grassfield. This aligned with the event’s goals: to encourage cultural expression and preservation among children and youths, promote their cultures, and highlight the culture and creative industries.

‘We primarily targeted children and youths,’ said event coordinator Omer Songwe. ‘For t
hree days, we conducted workshops to train them in income-generating activities that can improve their living standards.’

A ceremony concluded the vibrant event. Cash prizes ranging from 25,000 CFA francs (FCFA) to 200,000 FCFA were awarded to winners in various categories, including children, youths, and elders.

Mr. Nsipanko Macsel, principal of GBHS Babadjou, led a large delegation from Babadjou in the West. He expressed his satisfaction with the event’s inclusivity.

‘I am grateful to the organizers of this great event,’ Macsel said. ‘It comes at a time when our culture faces an influx of Western culture. I believe it’s time for change, and we must invest in our youth to achieve that.’

The theme for the 2024 Day of the African Child celebration was ‘Education for All Children in Africa: The Time is Now.’

Source: Cameroon News Agency

Bamenda: Former combatant killed by ADF fighters

A former combatant who recently joined the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) program in Bamenda has been killed by his former groyp Ambazonia Defense Forces (ADF).

The incident, which occurred in Nchuobuh on Sunday night June 16, 2024, just three weeks after he dropped his weapons.

The Commander of the Separatist group, Dr. Cho Ayaba issued a strong statement warning against betrayal of the Ambazonian cause, stating, ‘Betray Ambazonia and we will get you. LRC should pick up their DDR traitor at Nchuobuh. I send a strong message to all those working for the enemy as traitors in betrayal of Ambazonia to know that we will hunt them down.’

The killing of Fru Isidore Asoba, highlights the complexities surrounding DDR programs and the risks faced by former combatants attempting to leave armed groups. It also underscores the deep divisions and distrust within the Ambazonian separatist movement.

DDR programs aim to facilitate the transition of former combatants into civilian life, but incident
s like these raise questions about their effectiveness in towns where armed groups maintain significant power and influence. Though some former combatants are still surviving after leaving the course.

The killing of the former combatant adds to the challenges of achieving sustainable peace in the Anglophone conflict, which has resulted in years of violence and displacement in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions.

Source: Cameroon News Agency

Group advocates justice, gender reforms in politics

A Non-Governmental Advocacy Group, Feminism Lab, has called for social justice and political advancement of women to ensure gender development in Nigeria’s politics.

The group, in conjunction with Friedrich-Ebert-Stitung Nigeria, made the call during an inter-generational dialogue to promote political gender progress and social justice on Friday in Abuja.

Leonard Oestergaard, Resident Representative, Friedrich-Ebert-Stitung Nigeria, encouraged women to demand for favourable gender principles that would promote social justice and create access to gender justice.

Oestergaard urged leaders in the feminist struggle to articulate compelling vision of inclusive governance and gender parity.

According to him, this will give women opportunities to occupy key policy-making positions, as well as access to essential service.

‘Gender justice is both a question of representation in government and political spheres. It is not only about number or percentage of women in parliament, it is more than that.

‘Over the year
s we realised that it is not necessarily skills that are lacking in the struggle for gender development but more of the political economy that is not correct.

‘For us to make impact on this journey is to create alliances, not only to work with similar people but to form an alliance or create an alliance that fights for gender and social justice,’ he said.

Austin Aigbe of West Africa Democracy Solidarity Network, during the panel session, affirmed the need for equal representation and opportunity for gender equality.

Aigbe called for reforms that would address the issue of feminism appropriately.

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According to him, each time women are empowered without creating a place for the man, it creates disaster for the future.

‘This will create a situation where men will have no knowledge about the conversation on feminism,’ he said.

Aigbe said there was need for affirmative action, adding that ‘if there is no law in place, it will
be extremely difficult to address the issue of gender equality in politics.

‘But by passing a single gender and equal opportunity law, this will increase participation of women in governance and that is the way to go,’ he said.

Earlier, Vina Adams of Feminism Lab, said the dialogue brought together diverse and dynamic coalition of feminists and community leaders to discuss, understand and promote progressive feminist discourse.

Adam said the dialogue was a deliberate effort to pass down feminist skills and knowledge to the younger generation in confronting and overcoming discrimination, building resilience, and engaging in protests and activism for emancipation.

‘One of the most significant aspects of this initiative is its emphasis on bridging the generational gap by bringing together feminists of all ages and backgrounds, to foster a rich environment of mutual learning and support.

‘We decided to host this intergenerational dialogue to interrogate the misconception and misunderstanding of feminism, and
to connect the theory and practice of feminism especially in Nigeria.

‘The dialogue will lay emphasis on the importance of feminism, the history of different feminist movements, and some of the most famous types of feminism.

‘Also, it will help us to understand how continued engagement with feminist theory and practice will mitigate the challenges of misconception and misunderstanding of feminism in Nigeria, ‘ he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

UNICEF trains 500 corps members on digital learning in Adamawa LGAs

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has trained 500 National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members to promote digital learning in schools across 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Adamawa.

UNICEF Education Specialist, Mr Abdurahman Ibrahim, said this on Saturday during a two-day training session for the corps members on the Nigerian Learning Passport (NLP) in Yola.

Ibrahim explained that the NLP, a digital learning platform, was developed to enhance digital learning for both in-school and out-of-school children.

‘The NLP platform offers over 15,000 learning materials. Our goal is to ensure that every child enrolls, registers for courses, and completes them.

‘During COVID-19, educational activities were halted, prompting us to create an alternative learning program.’

He noted that engaging 500 corps members, who serve as teachers in schools throughout the state, aims to address the shortage of teachers on the NLP platform.

‘We are leveraging the one-year service experience of corps members, particularly those
in schools, to enhance learning among children,’ Ibrahim said.

‘Each corps member will be introduced to the NLP, enabling them to register more learners and guide them through their courses.’

He added that this initiative will increase the number of teachers and improve learning outcomes for children in the state.

The NLP includes various components that address the educational needs of schoolchildren, including non-formal education and integrated Quranic education, targeting both primary and secondary levels.

‘We have begun implementing the program in some schools, distributing tablets, routers for internet access, and projectors to support the NLP platform in classrooms,’ Ibrahim said.

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‘We encourage parents to engage their children with the learning platform and reduce their time spent playing games.’

Addressing the distribution of tablets and internet access in rural schools, Ibrahim mentioned that various partners are supporti
ng the programme.

‘We have partners in Adamawa providing essential items like tablets, routers, and projectors to schools to bridge the educational gap in the state,’ he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Nwoko salutes Muslims at Eid-el Kabir, urges sacrifice for nation building

As Muslims prepare for Eid-el Kabir festival commencing on Sunday, Sen. Ned Nwoko (PDP-Delta), has called for more devotion to the teachings of the religion and total obedience to the Will of Allah.

Nwoko, who represents Delta North Senatorial District, gave the charge in his Eid-el Kabir message to the Muslim faithful on Saturday in Abuja.

He urged Nigerians not to despair as the leadership of the country was not unaware of their sacrifices and resilience.

He noted that Eid-el Kabir symbolises and commemorates the ultimate act of willingness, devotion and obedience to Almighty Allah, as demonstrated by Prophet Ibrahim.

According to him, the act holds profound meaning and significance for Muslims.

‘I charge my Muslim brothers and sisters as well as every Nigerian to be devoted and obedient to the Almighty Allah.

‘I urge our Muslim faithful to come together and let love lead as we mark Eid-el Kabir, otherwise known as the feast of sacrifice.

‘I assure Nigerians that their sacrifices and resilience are n
ot unnoticed and, in due course, they shall reap the benefits.’

The lawmaker urged Nigerians to continue praying for the country so that the challenges bedeviling it would be surmounted.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Eid-el Kabir: Sen. Kingibe felicitates Nigerians, calls for sacrifice among leaders

The Senator representing the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Hajiya Ireti Kingibe, has urged leaders in all spheres of life to sacrifice for the good of the country.

Kingibe made the call on Sunday in Abuja, in a statement issued by Mr Kennedy Mbele, her Senior Special Assistant on Media, while felicitating Muslim faithfuls on the occasion of Eid-el Kabir celebration.

She called on leaders to emulate the virtues and sacrifices of holy Prophet Ibrahim, noting that for progress to be made in life, leaders must give up some valuables for the sake of others.

Kingibe recalled the way holy Prophet Mohammed wanted to sacrifice his only son, Issah, without hesitation and the manner in which Allah later blessed him exceedingly by making him the father of all nations.

The senator frowned at what she described as the ‘inexplicable gap between the rich and the poor in the country’, saying the rich must make some meaningful sacrifices to reduce the vast gap.

Kingibe commended her constituents, the FCT residents, for
their accommodating nature.

She noted that being one another’s keeper was imperative in achieving peace anywhere, especially in a heterogeneous setting like the nation’s capital, Abuja.

She prayed for Muslim faithful on pilgrimage in Mecca and wished everyone a peaceful and unifying Eid-el-Kabir celebration,’ she said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Eid-el Kabir: COAS hails troops’ gallantry, sacrifice

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, has commended troops of the Nigerian Army for their commitment and gallantry in confronting the security challenges and threats in the country.

Lagbaja gave the commendation on Sunday in Abuja, in his goodwill message to the troops and their families on the occasion of the Eid-el Kabir celebration.

He described the Eid-el-Kabir as a significant festival depicting the important place of sacrifice in humanity and divinity.

The COAS said the 2024 Eid-el Kabir celebration was also remarkable, as it coincided with the completion of his first year in office as the 23rd Chief of Army Staff.

He expressed gratitude to God for the gift of life and the relative peace restored in many troubled parts of the country.

He acknowledged the enormous sacrifice made by the army, both in human and logistics resources, in the ongoing battle against terrorism, insurgency, banditry, secessionist agitations and sundry crimes.

Lagbaja said the troops had displayed unalloy
ed loyalty, extraordinary courage and faith in the nation, thereby, emerging victorious in the face of grave danger.

He added that many of them currently bore the badge of courage and bravery in the form of battle scars and injuries, while others carried the memories and stories of their sacrifices for the country.

The COAS enjoined all Nigerians to show collective understanding and support for the government’s efforts to implement necessary reforms to restore economic prosperity.

He also urged all personnel and their families to renew their commitment to selflessness and patriotism for the growth and development of the country.

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The army chief, however, reaffirmed his dedication to providing visionary and inclusive leadership needed for effective training, robust living standards and operational effectiveness.

He expressed profound appreciation to President Bola Tinubu, for his unflinching support and leadership.

Lagbaja also ext
ended appreciation to the National Assembly, Minister of Defence, the Minister of State for Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff, for their strategic guidance.

He lauded Nigerians and the international community for their continuous support and belief in the Nigerian Army.

According to him, the Nigerian Army looks forward to continued collaboration to end security challenges and create an enabling environment for economic prosperity and other democratic dividends.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria