Johannesburg, Feb 8, 2017: According to Food and Agriculture organisation report, Africa’s biggest humanitarian crisis will likely to retrograde during ‘lean’ season between season between June and August in northeast Nigeria.
According to PTI, It is estimated that more than 120,000 Nigerians will suffer to the detrimental famine like conditions caused by Boko Haram Islamic uprising. Among 11 million are bearing severe food shortages this year in accordance to a new UN report.
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The worst affected zone is Borno State, which accounts 65 per cent of the “expected famine zone”. It is coincidently the place of origin of Boko Haram.
UN agencies have reported that children are perishing in this region already and if any help is not given, half a million will die.
Rampant Corruption and conflict between the government and aid agencies are exacerbating the crisis. Investigation officials report that local government agencies embezzled with the food aid.
The report stated that even though the Boko Haram uprising has evacuated hundreds and thousands of farmers off their land. Despite that, Nigeria’s cereal production went up by about 5 per cent in 2016, said PTI
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Increased government support for agriculture, above-average rainfall and increased commodity prices are said the factors for increased cereal production stated in the report.
The report also stated that Nigeria remains a “food-deficit country” with cereal imports, mainly rice and wheat, predicted to exceed 7 million tons this year.
Nigeria remains the world’s biggest importer of rice, indicating a failure of government efforts to reduce dependence on food imports. This is amid a gross shortage of foreign currency caused by low global prices for oil.
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Thousands of Nigerians marched and protested this week for growing hardship through high food prices, poverty, corruption and unemployment.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo assured them that he feels their pain but life will get better. “With complete focus on improving the economy every day, the recession will soon be history,” he said in a statement Tuesday, without elaborating.
That’s the day she says her 8-year-old daughter walked up to her and asked if she could wash her panties.
Philip asked her daughter why she needed to wash her panties and her daughter said a male neighbor had “climbed on her body” and then told her to wash her panties afterward.
The mother immediately took her daughter to a clinic. And on the same day, Philip and her husband went to the police. The neighbor, who was arrested based on the medical report, was released from jail and is awaiting trial.
They have been ridiculed by people in the community, pressured to drop the charges, and condemned for “trying to ruin a man’s life,” Philip said. When her daughter goes outside, people stare, laugh or throw stones at her, the mother said.
The shame and social stigma attached to sexual abuse stop most families in Nigeria from seeking justice. They usually end up settling cases of child sex abuse through cash payments often quietly negotiated by religious leaders.
“To settle means to forget about it … let sleeping dogs lie,” said Bukola Ajao, the Philips’ lawyer. “Please, we are sorry, but this kind of matter is not something that you just apologize for.”
The most recent data available on child sex abuse in Nigeria is from 2014. That study — from Nigeria’s National Population Commission, the U.N. Children’s Fund and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — revealed that 1-in-4 girls and 1-in-10 boys in Nigeria experience sexual violence before the age of 18.
The Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital at Kaduna State University in the Kaduna state capital handles requests to provide evidence for suspected child sex abuse. At the time VOA visited the hospital, in the space of 30 minutes, more than five women with children had entered the ward.
All are new cases of suspected child abuse, according to Dr. Musa Shuaibu, a pediatrician.
“Nearly on a daily basis, there would be one form of abuse or the other. And that is quite alarming in view of the fact that quite a negligible fraction, actually get reported to the hospital,” Shuaibu said.
Activists seek new law
Activists are lobbying Kaduna state to approve the federal Child Rights Act of 2003 that mandates a 14-year jail sentence for a child sex abuse conviction and life imprisonment for rape. Eleven states in the north, including Kaduna, have not ratified it. Instead, those states rely on Sharia courts and a colonial-era penal code to prosecute child sex abuse.
Kaduna State Minister of Women and Social Development Hajia Hafsatu Mohammed Baba told VOA the state government is committed to passing it. But the Supreme Sharia Council has said that the federal statute is a Western import and an attempt to restrict Sharia courts.
Meanwhile, families are often left with only difficult choices.
“You know how things are around here. Things like this can never be buried,” said Asabe Musa, whose daughter was molested when she was 5 years old. “This is the kind of story that goes around … maybe when the girl does find someone to marry, someone will go and tell his family what happened to her.”
After hearing about the abuse, relatives of Musa’s husband, who live in northern Nigeria, traveled to Kaduna to speak with Musa about settling the case. Afterwards, they took the child with them, hoping that she would be less stigmatized in a community where she is unknown.
Musa, whose face is lined with sorrow, said she wants her daughter back.
Few go to court
At one orphanage in the center of town, children dance around together in a circle. A slender young woman clenches the hand of her little girl. The woman, who asked to be identified as Ladi, said she can’t go to court as it was her father who raped her young daughter.
“My daughter was covered in blood. I picked her up and just stood there. He was someone I had always respected, so I didn’t say anything to him. I picked her up and went to town with her in the morning,” she said.
She has been running ever since. Going back to her village is not an option, she said, as her father is a chief there.
For the past decade, Hauwa Hassan, the owner, and manager of the orphanage has worked with about 20 families dealing with child sex abuse. She says only three of them took her advice to go to court. Those cases were never concluded.
One 7-year-old orphan said he was walking to school when an old fruit seller offered a pear to lure the boy into the back of his shop. The abuse went on until the boy complained to his uncle about pains in his body.
“When it happened, the first thing we did has we stopped him from going out and even from school and kept him at home,” the boy’s uncle, Anas Umar, said, blinking hard to stop the tears.
“I wrote the police statement myself. A lot of my friends first suggested we all go and beat him up, but I didn’t because of what could follow. I can’t take the law into my own hands… I can’t just go and take his sins upon myself,” he added. “Other people were telling me to just leave the matter because the man is too old, but what he did was serious…The judgment passed was not enough, but still, I thank God there was some sort of judgment.”
The court found the fruit seller guilty under a colonial-era sodomy law. He couldn’t pay the 80,000 naira — about $200 — fine so he is serving a 3-year jail sentence.
“That is what he deserved. That will scare others like him,” Umar said. “The judgment passed was not enough but still, I thank God there was some sort of judgment.” (VOA)