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UN warns millions in Nigeria to face food, nutrition crisis

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The United Nations Humanitarian agency has warned of a food and nutritional crisis in what it calls “catastrophic consequences” for millions of people in Nigeria, especially those in the northeast where jihadist insurgency has been rampant for years now.

The UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Matthias Schmale, who gave the warning on Wednesday, says he was “ringing the alarm bell now because the United Nations has received less than 20 percent of its $350 million appeal for Nigeria,” and if the funds needed to assist the people are not made available, the crisis could lead to dire consequences.

In a report, Schmale said people in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe States, all in the northeast, are currently struggling to survive after 12 years of conflict and of the 8.4 million people who need humanitarian assistance, the UN plans to support at least 5.5 million of the most vulnerable.

He added that as it stands, nearly 600,000 people are already starving and go for days without food, with hundeeds of thousands of malnourished children becoming of particular concern for the agency

“Approximately, overall, 1.74 million children under five are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition across the northeast this year. Of these, over 300,000 are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition and are, indeed, at high risk of death,” said Schmale.

He added that about 80 percent of UN aid will be used to assist women and children who often suffer the most in conflict zones due as they are subject to violence, to abductions, to rape, and other forms of abuse.

“It is a serious crisis in the sense that there is no freedom of movement, in the sense that much of the countryside is under the control then or the influence of the various different factions of Boko Haram.

“So, that there are indiscriminate killings of civilians,” Trond Jensen, Head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Nigeria, also said.

The UN officials have recognized that the crisis in Nigeria has been overshadowed by the disastrous war in Ukraine and is in danger of being forgotten, but they also warn that ignoring the humanitarian needs of Nigeria would have far reaching consequences in further destabilizing the region.

Metro

South Sudan activists fight child marriage where girls are sold for cows

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A group of South Sudanese activists have come together to fight against an obnoxious practice where young girls are auctioned off into marriage in exchange for cows, especially in some rural communities.

According to Jackline Nasiwa, the Executive Director of the Center of Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice, the practice had robbed many young girls of a future.

“The price of a daughter, determined in negotiations between her father and would-be husband, is typically 50 to 100 cows, each worth up to $1,000.

“A girl viewed as beautiful, fertile and of high social rank can bring as many as 200 cows. They sell their daughters so that they get something to survive. The younger the girl marries, the more the family gets cattle in return,” Nasiwa said.

“Poor families in South Sudan see laws against child marriage as barring them from profiting from thrir daughters and threatening their very survival, with only about 10% of girls finishing primary school because of factors including conflict and cultural beliefs.

“Some families worry that sending girls to school exposes them to dangers such as sexual assault that could lower their value when it comes time to look for marriage offers,” Nasiwa added.

Another girls’ right activist, Nyanachiek Madit, herself a survivor of the wife-for-cow practice, said she fought back when her father wanted to sell her off.

The 21-year-old Nyanachiek said she refused to be traded when her father said she would be married to a man about 50-years-old when she was only 17, because her family couldn’t afford to send her to school.

“I didn’t accept to get married because I am disabled and my education will be my ‘leg’ later on,” said Nyanachiek who was born with a congenital disorder.

She said she was convinced that schooling would give her a better life, so she stood up to her family and dared them to beat or even kill her.

Nyanachiek’s plight came to the attention of ChildBride Solidarity, which offers scholarships to girls whose parents abandon them after they oppose early marriage. With the group’s assistance, Nyanachiek now studies in South Sudan’s capital and is a very vocal voice against the practice.

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South African man bags two life sentences for brutally raping, murdering 29-year-old woman

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A 40-year-old man, Hendrick Nicholas Hanse van Reinsburg, has been sentenced to two life sentences by a High Court for rape and brutally murdering a 29-year-old woman.

Prosecutors revealed that Van Reinsburg had, on 13 October 2019, brutally raped and murdered Andiswa Zitha, in her home in the Mjejane area of Mpumalanga.

The prosecutors said the victim suffered violence which was perpetuated by the accused, adding that after the accused raped her, he used a wooden object to pummel her several times before he fled the scene.

“Van Reinsburg left Zitha in a pool of blood after raping and brutally attacking her in her home in Mjejane near Komatipoort,” Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, said while testifying.

“Zitha was found by neighbours who took her to Tonga Hospital but she was unfortunately certified dead the next day on 14 October 2019,” Mohlala said.

“The police opened a murder case with an additional charge of rape and worked tirelessly in their investigation with the hope to find the perpetrator. Their hard work paid off when they arrested the accused at a tavern in Kamhlushwa on 20 October 2021,” said Mohlala.

“The accused was charged and taken to court where he was convicted and sentenced to one life sentence for rape as well as another life sentence for murder. The court also ordered for the sentences to run concurrently,” the police spokesman said.

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