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UNESCO urges use of radio as unique instrument of peace

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UNESCO urges use of radio as unique instrument of peace

UNESCO urges use of radio as unique instrument of peace

UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has urged everyone not only to celebrate radio’s potential, but also, and especially, to make greater use of radio as a unique instrument of peace.

UNESCO’s Director -General, Ms Audrey Azoulay, made the call on Monday in her message to mark the World Radio Day, observed annually on Feb. 13 to celebrates the power of the medium.

The 2023 theme was  “Radio and Peace”, highlighting its role in conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

“Since it was developed about a century ago, radio has proven to be an exceptional means of communication, debate and exchange – indeed, it is one of the most accessible and widespread types of media,” Azoulay said.

Radio’s accessibility and widespread reach have made it a critical tool for UNESCO, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, when it was necessary to reach students who were out of school.

The UN agency established a system to teach children over the airwaves, benefiting scores of learners in many countries, including in sub-Saharan Africa where less than a quarter of people have internet access.

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“Radio is thus very often the medium of last resort.  We are seeing this again in Afghanistan, where girls and women have been suddenly and unfairly denied their right to learn, study and teach,” Azoulay said.

For Ms Francesca Mold, Chief of Strategic Communications in the UN’s Department of Peace Operations (DPO), this year’s theme could not be more relevant.

DPO recently kicked off a year-long campaign to commemorate the 75th anniversary of UN Peacekeeping.

“Operating as part of UN peacekeeping missions, we operate radio networks which are vital to reaching large-scale and diverse communities, particularly in places where internet penetration is poor and the population is very mobile due to conflict and displacement.”

UN Peacekeeping was established in 1948 and since then, 71 missions have been deployed to post-conflict countries around the world as these operations have to explain their mandates to local populations, communication is essential.

Radio officially became part of peacekeeping in 1989 under the UN Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) in Namibia, a political mission established to ensure the holding of free and fair elections there.

UNTAG created content on issues such as voter registration, which was given to local broadcasters for dissemination. The first significant peacekeeping radio station arrived a few years later, with the UN’s Mission in Cambodia.

“Perhaps the best tool in our toolbox has been UN Peacekeeping radio stations,” said Douglas Coffman from the Peace and Security Section of the UN’s Department of Global Communications (DGC).

Coffman served in the Balkans in the late 1990s, in the wake of the series of wars that erupted following the breakup of Yugoslavia.

“Radio is important because the UN can speak to the local population without going through the filter of biased media,” he said.

“These are media that have been part of the problem in the conflict. They don’t necessarily want to help us get our messages out. So, having the ability to speak directly and in real time to the communities we’re working for, is essential.”

Radio has played a pivotal role in the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan, which has suffered periods of brutal fighting and displacement since gaining independence in 2011.

Radio Miraya at the UN Mission in the country, UNMISS, provides a platform for both establishing and consolidating peace.  In fact, it is “the partner for peace for the Government and the people of South Sudan,” according to Mr Ben Malor, UNMISS Chief of Communications and Public Information.

Some of the station’s programmes include a weekday Breakfast Show, consisting of news reports and interviews with Government ministers, civil society representatives and other key figures.

Another show called ‘Roundtable’, which airs on Saturdays, brings together ministers, senior officials and influencers for a political discussion on sometimes thorny issues, such as inter-communal violence and cattle raiding.

Other programmes target young people, and there is also a dedicated phone line for women who want to call into the station – a way to give voice to women in a society where they need to be heard.

“Our purpose, whatever radio is doing, whether we are online and we are on air, and people are calling in, is to reinforce the togetherness of the people across political divides, across religious divides, across ethnic divides, across gender divides, then across age divides,” Malor said.

Radio is still the primary medium for conveying information to South Sudan’s 11 million people, and Radio Miraya is in a constant state of readjustment and self-evaluation to better support UNMISS in delivering on its mandate.

Recently, the Government asked for the UN’s support for the electoral process that will culminate with a vote in December 2024.

“Radio Miraya is going to be playing its part as best as possible, as much as we get the cooperation of the Government of South Sudan, so that we will do everything to support the leadership for the success of this process,.

“So, there is constant examination, constant restructuring, constant improvement.”

UNESCO urges use of radio as unique instrument of peace

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N70,000 Wage Not Solution to Economic Issues

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N70,000 Wage Not Solution to Economic Issues

N70,000 Wage Not Solution to Economic Issues

By Halima Abdulkadiri

Chairman of the Labour Party (LP) in Oyo State, Sadiq Atayese, has stated that the newly-approved N70,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers is not the solution to the country’s economic challenges.

Atayese made this assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Ibadan.

He emphasized that sustainable solutions to the cost of living require positive economic policies from the government. Atayese highlighted the exchange rate as a key factor influencing fuel costs and subsidies.

He stressed that the government must prioritize fighting corruption and implementing policies beyond just increasing the minimum wage. According to Atayese, corruption in high places accounts for over 90 percent of corruption cases in Nigeria.

“Will this new minimum wage actually assuage the daily rising costs of foods and services? Can it bring a stable solution to the nation’s economic challenges? The answer is No,” he said.

Atayese also urged the government to focus on agricultural development and address issues such as security and funding for effective farming. He believes that addressing these critical issues would have more significant benefits than even a minimum wage of N150,000.

“Labour Party will continue to stand for the wellbeing of the people and development of the society,” he said.

The Federal Government and labor unions recently agreed on N70,000 as the new minimum wage for Nigerian workers. Initially, the government proposed N60,000, which was raised to N62,000, while labor demanded N494,000 before revising it to N250,000. Labor leaders agreed to the N70,000 offer due to additional incentives attached.

N70,000 Wage Not Solution to Economic Issues

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Nigerian Army Reinforces Ban on Camouflage Misuse

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Nigerian Army Reinforces Ban on Camouflage Misuse

Nigerian Army Reinforces Ban on Camouflage Misuse

By Halima Abdulkadiri

The Nigerian Army (NA) has reiterated that the ban on the unauthorized use of military camouflage remains in full effect.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Maj.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, emphasized this in a statement on Sunday while addressing a video showing a soldier harassing a civilian for wearing an Army Desert Camouflage uniform.

Nwachukwu clarified that the footage is an old video being circulated by individuals with malicious intent to create tension between the military and civilians.

He stated that only personnel of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and the Nigeria Police Force are legally permitted to wear military camouflage.

Nwachukwu explained that the regulation is necessary because terrorists, insurgents, and impostors have exploited the misuse of military camouflage to commit crimes, posing a significant security threat.

“The Nigerian Army remains committed to upholding the law and ensuring the safety and security of all citizens.

“We urge the public to disregard the re-circulated video and remain vigilant against attempts to sow discord and tension within the country.

“The incident in question occurred in 2021, and the army took immediate and decisive action at that time.

“The soldier involved was arrested, tried, and appropriately punished for his unacceptable behavior, which violated the core values of the Nigerian Army, particularly the respect for others and their fundamental rights,” he said.

Nigerian Army Reinforces Ban on Camouflage Misuse

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Hisbah Destroys N60m Alcohol, Drugs in Katsina

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Hisbah Destroys N60m Alcohol, Drugs in Katsina

Hisbah Destroys N60m Alcohol, Drugs in Katsina

By Halima Abdulkadiri

The Katsina State Hisbah Board has destroyed alcohol and other illicit drugs worth N60 million in Funtua Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.

Dr. Aminu Usman, the Hisbah Commander in the state, disclosed this to newsmen on Sunday.

According to Usman, no fewer than 1,750 crates of alcohol and about 33 jerry cans of locally-brewed beer were recently seized and destroyed in Funtua.

Usman explained that this effort is part of their mandate to ensure good morals among the people in the state.

He commended the board’s officials for their dedication and urged them to redouble their commitment.

He also sought the support of religious leaders, emphasizing that Hisbah does not belong to any particular group or sect. Usman praised Gov. Dikko Radda for his full support in helping the board discharge its responsibilities.

Usman appealed to the public for genuine information on places where immoral behaviors are committed. He called on parents, teachers, and community leaders to intensify efforts in instilling discipline and good morals among youths in their communities.

Hisbah Destroys N60m Alcohol, Drugs in Katsina

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