In the months since COVID-19 was first reported in Nigeria, rippling effects with devastating impacts have been felt across the global economy and on individual livelihood.
The crisis, characterized by border closures and lockdowns, comes as a shock to the majority impacting not only the economical but physical and mental health of many within and beyond the Nigerian constituencies.
In Nigeria, rural communities make up the largest portion of these constituencies and in this crisis, these communities are particularly important, as they are among the most vulnerable. However, most of the burdens of COVID-19 in rural areas have been under the radar.
For rural households, the impact of the virus will likely be felt first in compromised livelihoods. The health impact, however, cannot be overlooked or understated. With the gradual ease of the lockdown coupled with a fast-rising number of reported cases, Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), one of the nation’s foremost NGOs tackling the prevalence of gender-based violence in Nigeria, have observed that the pandemic and disruption of the present moment is one which requires efficient sensitization on safety protocols for survival while also addressing the prevalence of domestic and sexual gender-based violence within their communities.
Shocking statistics by WARIF revealed that domestic violence has surged since the initial period of the coronavirus lockdown.
This led to the NGO re-opening its centre to cater to survivors of sexual violence. This decision was made after the NGO observed a 64 per cent increase in call cases, during the lockdown mandated by the Federal Government in March 2020.
Dr Kemi DaSilva-Ibru, Founder of WARIF, voiced the need for a more aggressive sensitization scheme for rural communities – “There is an urgent need for rural communities to be sensitized about these pandemics as they have little access to adequate healthcare facilities’’.
Building on this, WARIF has become more concerned with sensitizing rural communities around the state about the pandemic. Through a recently launched Covid-19 response initiative, the NGO commenced a one-month sensitization program designed to engage women in grassroots communities.
The relevance of initiatives like this cannot be overemphasized, as programs targeted at the most vulnerable individuals within the society ultimately influence the greater good of the society.
It is all about education, information and sensitization; and individuals, government and non-governmental organizations (NGO) all play a critical role in making sure the right information and materials get to the people within these communities.
In response to this urgent consequence of the pandemic, WARIF has also implemented safety planning protocols to assist survivors in need of help. These protocols designed and implemented by the organization to protect both adults and children are aligned with the recently released set of procedures by the UN to keep children safe while the pandemic lasts.
WARIF has noted that it is one thing to propose a sensitization program and another to maximize its efficiency. This is why the program has been implemented through the leverage the support of trained Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) from the WARIF Community Gatekeepers Project, a pre-existing initiative by the NGO.
The Traditional Birth Attendants were identified to carry out this sensitization as they are familiar with the people and the environment. These trained attendants, already educated on the prevalence of domestic and sexual gender-based violence within their grassroot communities and the immediate response and management of these cases, have been galvanized into small cell groups and are making house to house visits in their various communities to offer assistance to women who are residing with their spouses and partners.
The Traditional Birth Attendants will go into communities weekly to create awareness on services provided at the WARIF center and identify if there has been an increase in cases of sexual and domestic abuses. Cases of abuse in these households are being identified and recorded and are referred to the WARIF Rape Crisis Centre.
It is commendable to note that WARIF had successfully completed the first cycle of its rural sensitization program which engaged 10, 774 individuals in Alimosho, Kosofe, Apapa, Epe and Ikorodu LGAs of Lagos state. Regardless, there is still much work to be done as private sector inclusion and partnerships are encouraged by the NGO.
It is no news that women are still at risk during this period and this is why WARIF through its initiative aims to get first-hand insight to GBV cases within these communities and engage survivors with all the support they require. This is a major factor which lead to the NGO’s Police Awareness Initiative, which gives survivors access to a select number of police stations across Lagos.
In these stations, there are assigned officers to assist survivors with their cases and protect them from any further harm from the perpetuator. With collaborations such as this, WARIF is ensuring that survivors can get prompt and satisfactory responsiveness from the police in locations closest to them.
In its 2020 vision, WARIF aims to impact I million lives and as far has successfully influenced 340,000 people this year. The NGO continues to operate a 24-hour confidential helpline (0809 210 0009) to assist survivors of gender-based violence in Nigeria.
NCC, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator and Digital Encode, Cybersecurity and Compliance advisory company, have indicated interest to partner with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), the national umbrella body of ICT reporters, as it organizes a forum that will x-ray the industry’s future plans for ICT growth post pandemic era.
The event, slated to hold on October 15, 2020, will seek to discuss the needs for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era, and the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of being pivotal to the stability and growth of all other sectors.
A statement from NITRA National Secretariat in Lagos indicates that due to the pandemic and need to observe the COVID-19 protocol on social distancing, the event will be held via a Webinar.
This year’s theme, “Multi-stakeholder Approach To National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, is in line with the annual event’s generic theme, ‘NITRA Innovative Tech Forum’, a contribution by NITRA to the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) innovations and policies in Nigeria.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the event and will throw more light on Federal Government’s plans, programmes and policies on post-pandemic strategies using ICT.
Dr. Adewale Obadare and Dr. Seyi Akindeinde, founders of Digital Encode, while accepting to support the event expressed their readiness to offer their expertise in Cybersecurity for organisations to prepare against cyber- attacks with the new normal.
They will also highlight areas that are high risks that need fortification in terms of cybersecurity.
Speaking on the event, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, national chairman, NITRA, noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its negative trails across the globe, economic reboot for countries will not only depend on how well they readapt to the new normal, but also more on their recovery plans.
According to him: “While the federal government has consistently expressed its willingness to set all policies in place to engender growth, and accelerated implementation of these policies, private sector firms have also shown great hunger for the task ahead in post-COVID-19 era.
However, the question that needs to be answered is whether all stakeholders are ready for the required task ahead.”
The event will also offer participating companies opportunities to publicize some of their individual efforts at contributing to reacting a soft landing or lifeline for SMEs and other ancillary companies as the pandemic threatens their survival.
Digital Encode is a multi-award winning and leading consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.
NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution
Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has warned telecom consumers to desist from using illegal GSM boosters.
The commission also said that anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.
GSM boosters are devices that transmit and receive telecommunications signals and can therefore interfere with other radio frequency equipment.
Ikechukwu Adinde, director, public affairs, NCC, said in a notice published on NCC website, that only licensed network operators are allowed to use GSM boosters.
The booster, also known as amplifier or repeater is made up of three main elements – exterior antenna, amplifier, and interior antenna.
They form a wireless system to boost cellular reception
“Members of the public should note that, willful interference with any wireless telegraphy is an offence under Section 16 of the Telegraphy Act, 2004,”it said
The agency said it will not condone any flagrant breach of this law.
It has also enforced measures to prosecute offenders.
Accordingly, monitoring mechanisms have been put in place and anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.
“Any member of the public with useful information regarding the illegal use of GSM Boosters should contact the Commission on 09-4617000/7351 or send an email to [email protected],” the notice said.
“Individuals desirous of using GSM Boosters should note that they can only do so in conjunction with licensed network operators,” it added.
Tizeti Selects Nokia to Provide LTE Fixed Wireless Access Solution for High-Speed internet Services in Nigeria
Tizeti announced that it selected Nokia’s Fastmile Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to enable usprovide superior internet services to over 1 Million subscribers in Port Harcourt, Edo and Ogun in Nigeria.
Tizeti will deploy Nokia’s AirScale Base Station TDD-LTE and FastmileFixed Wireless Access (FWA) gatewaysto deliver premium internet and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to Residential, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The solution will also enable Tizeti’sto deliver a more robust, high-speedinternet service to subscribers and the flexibility to seamlessly evolve to 5G Fixed Wireless Access when needed.
Nokia’s FWA solution enables Tizeti to fast-track broadband access and provide a best-in-class broadband experience to its subscribers.
Nokia’sAirScale Base Stations ensure high-quality connectivity and coverage and enablesTizeti to evolve the network in line with customer demand.
Nokia’sFastmilegateways connect wirelessly to the existing network to createa fastbroadband connection and enhanced Wi-Fi experience in the home.
The Nokia Network Services Platform will help Tizeti to simplify operations and quickly respond to changing market demands.
Kendall Ananyi, Tizeti, said:“We are committed to providing the best-in-class network experience to our subscribers. We are confident that Nokia’s proven technology and expertise will help us differentiate our services based on quality. This a crucial project for us as it introduces LTE in our networks and allows us to bring new and innovative services to our subscribers.”
Eniola Balogun, Nokia, said:“We are thrilled to work with Tizeti on the initiative to upgrade their network to bring the latest products and services to its subscribers. Nokia Fastmile will help Tizeti to cost-effectively enhance the customer experience.
The project will also enable them to delight their subscribers by providing more reliable data services.
On the other hand, Tizeti will benefit by adding new revenue streams.”
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