Saturday, 28 June 2014

How Ondo State has influenced who I am by Kemi Vivacity



If you have been reading my blog for a while or following me on some form of social media, you would know that from time to time I like to write a little something on how I see certain things in life.
So here goes
For those who don't know much about me, i'm actually an inquisitive young woman with an insatiable quest for knowledge.
Graduated as an electronic and communications engineer but somehow I've found myself in the world of PR and global business. OK! yes I agree that they are quite opposites

My quest for engineering was born out of my love for physics and further maths (maths mechanics). My thirst for PR was born out of my love to talk lol. If i'm going to spend  23hrs a day on the phone, I might as well make money from it. The rest: the love to create, to think, to express my quirkiness, to help and most of all to keep learning.
Learning in the classroom, on the street, church, internet newspapers board meetings forums.......Name it, this girl just wants to lap up as much of the world as she can.

The downside to my quest for life was: I learnt never to take off my rose tinted glasses as I might not like what I'm truly going to see. So I wore them always with my infectious vivacious smile and no matter how little the water in the glass was, I always considered  it somewhere along the way to being full.

Anyway enough of my babbling lets get to the point. Its a rare day when I can take off my rose tinted glasses and see the world for its real self not like butterflies in fairy land.
But I must say I recently took a trip to my homeland for a meeting with The Ondo State Directorate of Public Private Partnership. After my meetings I was taken on a tour around the capital and for once in a long time, I saw real butterflies.
I saw a state that was heading fast towards ultimate transformation.  A state with a governing body that cares about the indigenes and their personal development. A state that believes empowering one individual can change the lives of a thousand.  A state that believes every individual has a right to free education (the Awolowo way). A state that believes in quality healthcare. A state that believes in excellence and quality. A state that believes in engineering. Yipee!!!

 





 Ondo State Mega school and free school bus shuttle initiatives

 ―"We believe that for us to re-engineer education and reposition it, we must provide the best 
infrastructural facilities of global standard. We are happy that we dreamt about this and 
God has helped us to realise it".
  Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State


 

 
 
 
Ondo State Mother and Child initiatives

“We took up with a promise to free the mind and that means we must invest in human capital development. From the beginning we knew we have to make a lot of investment in health sector. We started with the most vulnerable in the society: the kids and pregnant women.”

 Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State







Akure Ultra Modern Mechanic Village

“Despite their critical role in the transportation industry and being a major part of the economy, mechanics have continued to litter the streets where they operate with inadequate space. “For so long, we have pretended that these people don’t matter whereas, they are much part of our everyday life. 
“If these mechanics are a very important aspect of our socio-economic life, why has 
government over the years pretended as if they don’t exist?” 




Former Akure Nepa Market now A Caring Heart Shopping Mall


 

 Isikan market


 


 


 

The Caring Heart Neighborhood Recreational Park, Ilula, Akure is one of the places for relaxation after work or during holidays. Facilities include a basketball court, volleyball, table-tennis, bar etc. It is located in the down-town area of the town and built with the purpose of quelling restiveness by dissipating energy in meaningful activities.


Above are just some of  developments taking place in Ondo state. To read more click on the links at the bottom of this article.

Ondo State, although a microcosm of the Nigerian nation, is blessed with resourceful, industrious and hospitable people. Her crop of educated elite has led to its being classified as one of the most educationally advanced states in Nigeria.


So in conclusion I learnt more about the blood that flows through my veins.

Why engineering?  Check
Why inquisitiveness? Check
Quest for learning? Check
Wanting to help make others stand? Check

In my opinion, beauty, brains and a great heart can only mean a sunshine state of mind. So here goes. Her Vivaciousness solemnly declares she is a full fledged Ondo babe. I rep the sunshine state. Ise loogun ise.




Wishing you Vivacious sunshine always
Sincerely
Miss Vivacity
NB: Yeah l'm half Benin too but I will tell you that story another day.


Ondo State Goverment:

VISION: “To make Ondo State the best administered state in Nigeria and the cynosure of all eyes; of which all its citizens shall be proud; where equity, justice and fairness shall be the driving forces of Government action”

MISSION: “To mobilize the people of Ondo State to harness all our God-given resources, create and use wealth for the ends of individual happiness, collective fulfilment, and peaceful cohabitation in an environment of transparent and honest leadership”

POLICY THRUST: To accelerate the pace of industrial development through efficient distribution and development of human, mineral, water, agricultural and forest resources in the state.

Read more Ondo State A CARING HEART agenda here
Read more on  The Magical transformation of Ondo State here



Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Astounding Omawumi releases another classic video titled ‘Megbele’



Astounding Omawumi releases another classic. The song titled ‘Megbele’ comes with a great video that is performed in honour of Chief Dr. Frank Amirejotitse Megbele. Directed by AJE Filmworks. An awesome vid. Watch below!




Monday, 16 June 2014

Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I’ll miss you Until we meet again!


Some of Kefee's achievements

Best African Video - Today’s Music Awards (2006)
Best Female Vocalist - Nigerian Entertainment Awards (2005)
Female Performer Of The Year - Niger Delta Advancement Awards 2007
United Nations Young Ambassador For Peace 2008
Best Vocalist - Women In Entertainment & Arts Awards, UK (2009)
Best Female Video - Dokubo Asari Foundation (2009)
Best Collaboration Video – South-South Awards (2009)
Best Gospel Video - Nigerian Entertainment Awards (2009)
Best Collaboration Video – Hip Hop World Awards (2010) 
Best Female Vocalist - Tava Awards (2010)
Female Artist Of The Year - City People Awards (2010)
Best Collaboration - City People Awards (2010)
Best Vocalist - Women In Entertainment & Arts Awards, UK (2010)
Best Indigenous Concept - Nigerian Entertainment Awards (2010)
Best Collaboration Video - Nigerian Entertainment Awards 2010 USA 

The first time I caught glimpse of her performing on TV, I stopped in my tracks and exclaimed  at what beautiful talent and confidence she possessed on the stage. I never knew we would one day work together.

Kefee to me was not just a client, she was more than a sister, more than a friend. When I faced hard times she taught me how to hand it all over to God and how He could heal every pain.

She shared my dream for Women in Entertainment and Arts. She ensured the awards were successful each year.
There was something unique about her that drew people closer and closer, she was selfless to a fault. Had to always make sure she took care of everyone else before herself. Whether I was in Sapele or in Lagos, Kefee could always get me a phone number for anything I needed from hair to make up and on.

One of the things I loved most about her was her ability to talk and to listen, so many nights we stayed up and nattered away till the wee hours. The good thing was our nattering was always constructive and we each went to bed learning something new or with a new outlook for the next day.

If anything ever upset me she would always be the first person I would ping and she always helped me manage the situation.

I remember our crazy dancing sessions. We once parked the car in the middle of a street, we got out and began dancing "No be Sapele Water" passersby would have thought we were high on something.

A few weeks ago we sat in her living room and nattered away as usual. Bros Teddy was there nattering away with us and she and her husband shared this look that made her blush like a 15 yr old school girl. A tear almost dropped from my eye I felt "Dear Lord see strong love". It was just amazing.

I'm so happy she spent the last few years being truly happy. She went back to school and finally became that certified film producer she wanted to be.

 My only regret is we always believed we would see each other tomorrow

"Unfortunately sis tomorrow is never gonna come.

I know you're resting now with your bodyguard and I know He will take great care of you till I meet you on that side. In the meantime I will ensure I do everything to keep your legacy alive. You will never be forgotten. Adieu Sweet one"

Your loving sister
Ann-Melody Kemi Vivacity





About Kefee

Honored with the prestigious UN award as Young Ambassador for Peace Kefee was greatly armed with a warm spirit, a tender and thankful heart and a desire for everyone she comes in contact with to have the same experience. Kefee was a prolific song writer, a skilled dancer and a passionate singer. An artiste who's music is not only encouraging but inspiring and motivating. Born to Deacon and Mrs. Andrew Obareki in Sapele, Delta State. She started singing at an early age (8yrs) in the children choir, ever since, she has been transformed from one glory to another, She moved on to the adult choir when she was fifteen and at age eighteen she was made the choir Director. The choir released a couple of albums where she took lead vocals and backup vocals as well. Kefee, the Branama Queen studied Public Administration in the prestigious University of Benin, Edo State. By this time she had already written well over 20 songs and had a greater passion for music.

In 2000, she playfully composed and released an album titled “TRIP” with a friend; the album was a success and got them shows alongside artiste likes Tony Tetuila, Plantation boys and a long list of others. The album gained some recognition as the videos where the talk of the town in Benin, being the first female group to break off from the usual approach, the two friends parted after school but Kefee did not give up. In December 2003 she signed on with Alec Music and released her first solo album as a female artiste. Kefee’s “BRANAMA” sold nine thousand audio cassettes in just three weeks of the albums release and over two million copies of CDs/VCDs in a month. She became the hottest Nigerian female artiste and won a number of awards. Kefee's fan base increased all over Africa and also on the international scene, she was invited to perform in London and other parts of Europe and America.
Kefee's first album was a huge success which had her fans eagerly anticipating for her second album titled "BRANAMA 2".Her sophomore album was just as terrific as her first and also got her the respect of other well known Nigerian Artiste who worked with her for the album. The release of her latest effort titled “A Piece of Me” in January 2009, marked the unfolding of still a new era in the life and career of one of Africa’s most prolific music talents. “A Piece of Me” is almost notable for its tracking stylistic diversity, thread of modern Afro – Pop, R&B Classic and Traditional Africans etc. are all ingeniously woven together into a work that is cutting edge contemporarily but with a perfect touch of familiarity and tradition. “A Piece of Me” is irresistibly catchy.   She is the founder, CEO of BRANAMA AFRIQUE. An entertainment outfit known for excellent production, established in 2007. The company is responsible for the production, promotion and the entire packaging of Kefee’s  album titled “A Piece of Me”.

Her unique afro-centric music appeal received global recognition when she was selected as the poster African artiste for 2011 edition African music at The African Festival of the Arts in Chicago (AFA).

With her well lauded performance in Chicago, Kefee joined the hallowed list of other African music greats to mount the same platform such as Angelique Kidjo and Hugh Masekela.

That international exposure among numerous other tours to several parts of Africa, Europe and the rest of the world was a testament to her cross-cultural music appeal.

Her recognition as United Nation Ambassador for Peace is in recognition of her contribution towards bringing lasting peace to troubled regions in Nigeria such as the Niger Delta region where she hails of from and lately the Northern Nigerian city of Jos, Plateau State. Aside recently staging a concert and donating relief items to victims of violence in Jos, she also led over 20 artistes representing diverse cultures to record a peace song.


Read more about Kefee

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.182635891936.130202.106048886936&type=3

http://vivacitypr.blogspot.com/2012/01/multi-talented-nigerian-musician-kefee.html

http://vivacitypr.blogspot.com/2012/03/kefee-remarries-how-woman-blossoms-when.html

http://vivacitypr.blogspot.com/2012/02/kefee-releases-new-track-you-are.html

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY: PHCCIMA PLEDGES ACEP SUPPORT


Comrade Tam Konakri (RIWAMA),  Ed Chmara, an environmental envoy (Whiteman), Kaine Chinwa,  Chairperson ACEP (Last) Director of ACEP, Christian. Idibia (ACEP Director) with students and others pose for pix during the WED celebration. 



Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce has said it will continue to support the activities of its member organization, the African Center for Environmental Protection, ACEP to ensure its goal of enthroning a better environment and mitigating the effect of climatic changes is achieved in the state.
This declaration was made by the President of the chamber, Engr. Emeka Unachukwu in his goodwill message to a cross section of participants who converged as part of activities to mark the 2014 World Environment Day celebration organized by the African Centre for Environmental Protection (ACEP) in conjunction with the Rivers state Waste Management Agency RIWAMA.

He said as an organization whose cardinal objective is to ensure that businesses thrive within the city, it is imperative to support such invaluable programmes aimed at ensuring that our environments are safer and conducive for businesses to thrive.
Represented by Mr. Larry Azubuke, Director Local Content PHCCIMA, the president commended ACEP for her various initiatives, giving kudos to her tree planting project that aims to plant a million trees by the year 2020. He also lauded her ‘catch them young scheme’ that tends to enlighten and sensitize our young ones on the dynamics and challenges of climatic changes and solutions. Unachukwu once again reiterated PHCCIMA’s resolve in supporting ACEP’s efforts at mitigating the effect of climatic changes and achieving a healthy environment.
The event which was held at Herock conference hall in GRA Port Harcourt also featured lecture presentation, speeches by resource persons, Quiz by invited schools and unveiling of the ACEP pet project.
In his presentation Director of ACEP, Mr. Christian Idibia said man is the architect of his environmental problem, drawing his conclusions from the fact that man contributes 70% of the things causing harmful effects in the environment like gas flaring, bush burning. car fume among others that contribute to global warming.
Elaborating on the effect of global warming, he enlisted depletion of the ozone, climatic changes, over flooding, erosion, air borne disease among others and said these are altering the natural composition of the earth.
Calling for concerted effort and display of positive environmental practices by all and sundry, he said all hands must be on deck to change the trend no matter how small.
The ACEP director noted that Nigeria is losing a total of 351 million hectares of land as a result of climatic changes even as Nigeria recently spent N2.5 trillion naira in managing the recent flood;  money that would have been channeled to other sectors of need. He urged all to help the environment by planting trees and engaging in practices that are not counterproductive to save the environment.
Idibia explained that tree planting is one of the cardinal objectives of the African Centre for Environmental Protection (ACEP), noting that the body has so far planted over 600 trees in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local government area of Rivers state. According to him, ACEP hopes to complete the planting of one million trees before the year 2020.
In her remark the chairperson of ACEP, Mrs Kaine Chinwah said World Environment Day is a yearly event held every 5th of June to raise global awareness on the need to take positive environmental action. “The event also known as WED for short is the climax of environmental activities being undertaken all year round by UNEP and other organizations like ACEP and individuals around the world” she said.
According to her the UN General Assembly declared 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States and to this end the theme for this year’s event is ‘Small Island Developing States (SIDS) – Raise your Voice not the Flood’. She said the theme is apt because these small islands majorly in coastal cities are home to vibrant and distinct cultures and heritage as well as to rich ecosystems, biodiversity and dazzling landscapes, hence should be protected because they face challenges of climate change, waste management, unsustainable consumption, degradation of natural resources, extreme natural disasters in the midst of overpopulation and continuing industrialization among others.
Speaking on actions taken by ACEP to support WED, she said the body supports a wide range of projects in these vulnerable areas in Rivers state, particularly in ONELGA, a region hit by flood and other environmental challenges. “ACEP seek to achieve sustainable growth, and environmental protection through the ‘Plant a Tree Initiative’ which is aimed at planting a million trees before the year 2020 and today ACEP has already planted over six hundred trees and hope to increase the number of trees through various support and contribution – we are also involved in the sensitization project through the catch them young initiative aimed at passing the messages to the upcoming generation so that they can start early to advance the cause of protecting the environment.”.
The ACEP chairperson noted that an average size tree produces enough oxygen in one year to keep a family of four breathing, stating that trees are useful as they beautify the environment, help prevent desertification, mitigate climatic change and most importantly acts as air filter that cleans the air especially for us in the Niger Delta region.
Speaking to newsmen, the Rivers State Environmental Sanitation Authority (RSESA) Director of Administration, Mr Ian Gobo commended ACEP for the plant a million tree initiative and the catch them young programme where students from various schools are invited to partake in the WED programme. He said the impacts of human induced climate change, including rising sea levels and increased intensity of extreme weather events, are particularly acute for SIDS and requires supports and a wide range of projects in these vulnerable areas to achieve environmental protection. He described the theme for this year as appropriate noting that RSESA and the Rivers state Waste Management Agency (RIWAMA) are happy to be parties to the WED celebration because being a part of the celebrations gives you an opportunity to share your ideas and activities for making our world cleaner, greener, and brighter.
The event featured quiz and award presentation for the visiting schools and presentation of the ACEP pet project which successful students are selected according to the criteria set aside. The benefitting students are expected to attend a 5 day eco programme tour to the USA, where they will visit sites and get imparted with change, ideas and to develop partnership. The programme put together by ACEP in collaboration with an environmental envoy Ed Chmara is said to be another milestone by the environmental body.



Beautiful2me red carpet moment is a celebration of Love & Building Relationships. it is an event for Lovers to celebrate one another. Beautiful2me is not only for Nigerians but for all race, culture and religion. Come and be a celebrity at beautiful2me Red Carpet Moment.

Beautiful2me Red Carpet Event is to be held at the Woodlands Sch. in Basildon on June 28, featuring DJ KASHIF DA FLASH, PRESIDENT OBONJO, ROJIH PROMZ, MC SPLASH and many more.

All proceeds will go towards our new program for Singles & Empowering Women. For tickets or information on supporting this program please call
Ibukun on 07440272035 or email beautiful2me@outlook.com.

Tickets online at Eventbrite or call any of these numbers,Lara: 07908609667/ Rojih: 07930096423/ Bunmi: 07940162485/ Oyin: 07424193611/ Ronke: 07450009781. Ticket: Standard fee: £25/ Couple Standard £40/  V.I.P Single: £35/ Couple V.I.P £55.

Beautiful2me….. Celebration of Love & Building Relationships.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

#PrayForKefee A PRAYER FOR KEFEE!


Kefee is more than a colleague to many of us, she is a friend and a sister. I know we all love her and that is why we asking everyone to #PrayForKEFEE.
Wherever u are, all over the world please join us to #PrayForKefee  God will hear our prayers and return her to us hail and hearty. Remember her in all your prayers and have faith that God has done it!
Pray any way u know how... #PrayForKEFEE!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kefee?fref=ts

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Civil Rights Activist Maya Angelou Dies



American author, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou has died at the age of 86.

She died on Wednesday in her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, her family said.

"Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belaboured by a loss of acuity or comprehension," a family statement said.

"She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace.

"The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love"
Ms Angelou was the author of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Ms Angelou became one of the first black women to write a best-seller, her 1970 autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.

But she thrived in virtually every artistic medium, performing as an actress, singer and dancer in the 1950s and 1960s.

Her story fascinated millions of Americans - starting as a single mother who worked at strip clubs before becoming an acclaimed performer and celebrated poet.

"I'm not modest," she told The AP news agency last year.

"Modesty is a learned behaviour. But I do pray for humility, because humility comes from the inside out."

South African Archbishop Emeritus  Desmond Tutu kisses the hand of poet Maya Angelou during a ceremony to honor Tutu with the J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding Award in Washington
With South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu in 2008
Barack Obama called Ms Angelou "one of the brightest lights of our time", whose voice "helped generations of Americans find their rainbow amidst the clouds."

He said: "With a kind word and a strong embrace, she had the ability to remind us that we are all God's children; that we all have something to offer."

Over the course of her career, Ms Angelou provided eloquent commentary on race and gender.

Dr. Maya Angelou Honored By The Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait
Tall and regal, Ms Angelou had a deep and majestic voice

She befriended US presidents and such influential cultural figures as Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela and the Rev Martin Luther King Jr.

The renowned poet was chosen to read at Bill Clinton's first inauguration in 1993, where she recited On The Pulse Of The Morning.

For George W Bush, she read another poem, Amazing Peace, at the 2005 White House Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

In 1998, she directed the film Down In The Delta about a drug-wrecked woman who returns to the home of her ancestors in the Mississippi Delta.

Born Marguerite Johnson in St Louis, Ms Angelou was raised by her parents and grandmother, often moving between Stamps, Arkansas, and San Francisco.

She was raped at age seven by her mother's boyfriend and did not talk for years, choosing to learn by reading and listening.

"I loved the poetry that was sung in the black church: 'Go down Moses, way down in Egypt's land'," she told The AP.

"And then I started reading, really reading, at about seven and a half, because a woman in my town took me to the library - a black school library. ... And I read every book, even if I didn't understand it."

Ms Angelou remained active late in life. She was a fixture on the lecture circuit, giving commencement speeches and addressing academic and corporate events.

She received dozens of honorary degrees, and several elementary schools were named for her.
Via Sky News US Team

Kudos and Knocks GREETS THE CLIMAX for CHARITY LOUNGE 10TH EDITION




The Climax of the Season Ten of Charity Lounge was the adoption of #BringBackOurGirlsAliveNow at the Children Day Celebration held at the Down Syndrome Foundation. Setting the tone and providing the inspiration for this process, renowned Media Practitioner and Executive Board Member of KUTH Foundation, Mr. Francis Chilaka in his keynote address captioned “Essence of Individual Social Responsibility” implored all Nigerians to embrace the act of  Individual Social Responsibility, which he said holds the key to making impact on the lives of especially children with disabilities, who if given equally opportunities will challenge the normal children and help in molding them to become even more responsible citizens.


The attitudinal change Charity Lounge is effecting in the lives of Future Leaders can only be likened to the tides of a great overflowing river, with its ripples touching both the small and the great alike. Little wonder individuals like Bethia Idoko, Chuka Ofili, Enekweizu’s, L.O, Akeem Babs, Jide Olusanya , Stephen Oguntoyinbo, Mobola Odunbaku and Mass Online media partnered with Creative Five World during its Nigeria-International Children Day Celebration tagged: “Natural Child”. In the words of the Program Director, Down Syndrome Foundation, Ms. Amaka Ogbidi, “We are Proud to be associated with Creative Five World and the man behind the Vision, Mr. Chaste Inegbedion and we hope for further partnerships that would help promote Social Good in the state”.
While discussing the future of Charity Lounge’s Natural Child and x-raying on its past activities side-by-side its failures and successes so far, the UN Peace Ambassador & man behind Creative Five World owners of the Charity Lounge brand, Mr. Chaste Inegbedion  said it is enviable for those who have been blessed by God to always “Put their wealth Where their Mouth is: A Caring World Shares” he went further to say that “Conceiving an idea could be challenging and seeking the support to actualize it could be Frustrating. However, despite all the challenges, his defiant attitude and resilience could only be described in these words: “One with a heart for those in needs”. He also had something to say to individuals and corporate organisations that in his words do not have integrity when it comes to honoring their pledges:  “If not you, who? If not now, when?”

The sudden arrival of “The Kurukere Master” Mr. Iyanya and his Tripple MG group changed the already charged atmosphere. The kids could not contain their emotions as they frantically held on to him and danced their hearts out to his music. It was a wonderful sight to behold, leaving everyone present in tears. In his words “If Iyanya can make it, you guys can also make it, just keep the hope alive”. He went further to say that his foundation will support them on a monthly basis through the Creative Five World.

We are most grateful to all those who supported us namely: DJ FRIZZIE, LINGUINI PHOTOGRAPHY, YAFRICA, PAMCOM, THE CABLE NEWSPAPER, VIVACITY PR, ALIME MEDIA, BELLA NAIJA, IN3K8MEDIA, IYANYA FOUNDATION, KUTH FOUNDATION, MUDI AFRICA, CONNECT NIGERIA, JULIA BLAISE BLOG, LOLADEVILLE,  SCOOP CONCEPTS, BUDGIT, JOBMAG, CENTURY GROUP, SECURE NIGERIA, BARE MOBILE SERVICES, YES INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE, TOP CELEBRITY MAGAZINE, OUR LADY QUEEN OF APOSTLE CATHOLIC CHURCH ILUPEJU, FAN MILK, STAY IN SCHOOLNG AND MORE WHO PLEADED ANONYMITY.







For more information on how you can get involved call 08180516395,  08137603115 or email ann@vivacitypr.com


Friday, 23 May 2014

Only America is helping Nigeria find kidnapped girls



(AFP) – The United States is alone in helping Nigeria locate more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamists, Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday, despite help on the ground from Britain, France and Israel.

With 80 military personnel sent to neighboring Chad for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, the United States is the biggest foreign participant in the effort against the militant group Boko Haram.

Washington has also deployed surveillance drones, spy planes and about 30 civilian and military specialists to support Nigeria‘s security forces.

“Boko Haram, Nigeria, only the United States is there offering the assistance to help find those young women,” Kerry said during a dinner at the State Department.

“Other countries, not only aren’t they invited, but they did not even offer.”
Kerry spoke during a dinner at the State Department on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the US diplomatic corps.

However the United States is joined in Nigeria by Britain, France and Israel, which have sent their own experts. China, which saw 10 citizens likely abducted by Boko Haram in a region bordering Cameroon, has also proposed to help.

The United Nations earlier Thursday imposed sanctions on Boko Haram, blacklisting it as an Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organization.

In his speech, Kerry also lashed out at France, whose Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has expressed regret that the United States did not attack Syria a year ago amid spiraling violence in the conflict there.

“People are angry because we did not strike Syria at one instance but guess what: Today, 92 percent of all the chemical weapons in Syria are out and being destroyed and the other eight percent will get out,” a visibly angry Kerry said, without mentioning France specifically.

“That never would have occurred otherwise.”

Kerry is said to have backed military action against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, only to have US President Barack Obama oppose the move at the last minute.

via vanguard ngr

Even If Boko Haram Releases Nigeria's Missing Girls, The Students' Troubles May Not Be Over




On April 14, Boko Haram militants kidnapped more than 300 Nigerian girls from a secondary school in the northern Borno state and drove them into the remote Sambisa forest. Weeks later, the group's infamous leader Abubaker Shekau claimed responsibility for the kidnapping in a video message, threatening to marry off the students and sell them in the market.

The girls' disappearance has moved communities worldwide. Social media users around the globe called for the students' release using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. African leaders declared a "war on Boko Haram" at a conference in France. Israeli experts joined the search. Britain and the United States sent surveillance planes, and the Obama administration even deployed 80 Marines to help in the search.

But as Human Rights Watch's Nigeria researcher Mausi Segun points out in a blog post for the British newspaper The Independent, even if the girls come home, their troubles won't be over.

Segun told The WorldPost that there are concerns about what happened to the girls in captivity -- they may have been sexually and physically abused -- and that the students may face stigma and shame upon returning to their communities. "If the girls come home, they need to be seen as survivors and not as victims," she added.

That may be challenging, however. Segun explained that there are previous reports of attacks on women who had been married to suspected Boko Haram members, and that among the families of Christian girls that were kidnapped, religious issues may come up as well.

In addition, chances are that upon their return, the students will continue to face a range of range of hurdles familiar to so many girls and women living in the country, especially in the north.

Northern Nigeria has some of the highest child marriage rates in the world, with UNFPA estimates indicating nearly half of the girls in the region are married by the age of 15.

Northern Nigeria has some of the highest child marriage and maternal mortality rates in the world.

While the country's 2003 Child Rights Act puts the minimum age for girls to marry at 18, federal law is not always implemented equally on the state level. In addition, Nigeria has civil, customary and Islamic legal systems operating simultaneously, and federal law only applies to marriages that take place within the civil system.

Early marriage often comes with disastrous consequences for girls' development throughout the rest of their lives. Studies indicate that child brides are at higher risk of domestic violence, rarely attend school and suffer more complications during pregnancy and child birth.

In fact, Nigeria has one of the world's highest maternal mortality rates worldwide. While maternal death rates have declined around the world, numbers in Nigeria have remained painstakingly constant. According to UNICEF, the United Nation's children fund, one in 13 Nigerian women dies from pregnancy or childbirth. Only India loses more of its mothers.

Many maternal deaths in Nigeria are entirely preventable, the U.N. argues. They are often related to a lack of accessible health care or communities' insistence that mothers go through childbirth alone or without relying on modern medicine. UNICEF research indicates just 35 percent of births are attended by a skilled health professional. Less than 20 percent of health facilities offer emergency obstetric care. “I don’t think it is proper for a male doctor to attend to my wife, not to talk of assisting her during delivery,” Hassan Kurfi, a 48-year-old farmer in the village of Nassarawa, told IRIN.

In addition, reports indicate more than half of Nigerian women say they experience physical, sexual and psychological abuse in their villages, often at the hands of their partners. International human rights organization Amnesty International echoed those concerns in its 2010 world report, arguing that violence against women by state officials and private individuals remained pervasive throughout the country. In addition, the organization warned that the failure of state and non-state actors to address sexual violence had led to an entrenched culture of impunity.

- Nearly half of girls in northern Nigeria are married by the age of 15.
- One in 13 Nigerian women dies from childbirth or pregnancy.
- Less than 20 percent of women in Nigeria's north are literate.

And while girls' access to basic education is already terrifyingly low in the north of the country, where less than 20 percent of women are literate and have attended school, the threat of Boko Haram may just make the education gap worse. As Amnesty International explains, the group's threats and attacks on schools in Nigeria's north have forced many teachers to flee and have prompted parents to withdraw their daughters from schools.

While the case of the missing girls is deservingly receiving worldwide attention, HRW's Segun argues that the horrors perpetuated by Boko Haram should not mask the routine violations of women's rights in Nigeria's north.

"Women's rights must be recognized as human rights and the government must recognize that women and girls require special measures," she told The WorldPost. "The double talk must end."

via huffingtonpost