Qatari Ambassador pledges support to 1,000 Borno orphans 

The Qatari government on Thursday disclosed that over 1,000 orphans resulting from the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno state will be supported while laying the foundation stone for constructing a new primary school.

Making the announcement in Maiduguri during a meeting with the governor of Borno State, Babagana Umara Zulum, at the Government House, the Qatari ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Ali Bn Ghanem Al-Hajari, said essential support would be provided for about 1000 orphans in Borno.

While in Maiduguri, Mr Ghanem also laid the foundation for construction of a new primary school in Maiduguri to support the government initiative of providing a conducive learning environment.

He was assisted by Governor Babagana Umara Zulum in laying the foundation stone for the school where he expressed the commitment of the Qatar Government to support Borno.

Recall that Governor Zulum in January laid the foundation stone for construction of an orphanage centre which is under construction by the Qatar Charity Organisation. 

Speaking during the courtesy call at the government house, Zulum expressed gratitude to the Qatari Government for the support and assured them of providing an enabling environment.

The ambassador was accompanied during the visit by his assistant, Mr Abdullah Hilal Alnuimi, and the Country Director of Qatar Charity, 

Despite the amount of irregularities and sundry challenges, the 2023 general elections reflected the will of the electorate, a 2023 Country Report on Human Rights Practices, Nigeria by the U.S. Department of State has said.

While acknowledging that the elections largely reflected the will of voters, the report however highlighted issues that marred the electoral process.

According to the report obtained by Blueprint, Thursday, “Many independent observers assessed the results of the presidential, legislative, and state-level elections during the year reflected the will of voters, despite reports of voter suppression and vote buying, campaigning at polling stations, lack of ballot secrecy, violence, and intimidation.”

The report cited an incident which occurred during the March 18 state election in Lagos, stating, “During the March 18 state election in Lagos, All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters reportedly intimidated and suppressed voters in Igbo-dominated areas, which Labour Party presidential candidate and ethnically Igbo Peter Obi won in the February 25 national election.

The report further states, “Viral videos on social media showed APC supporters in Ojo threatening to attack ethnic Igbo voters presumed to be pro-Obi. In Eti-Osa, APC supporters also attacked journalists and, in some cases, shut down voting and prevented non-Yoruba voters from accessing polls. They similarly destroyed property and physically blocked voters in Amuwo-Odofin.”

 “According to videos posted on social media, police officers were present but failed to respond to attacks. There was no evidence that alleged perpetrators were arrested or prosecuted,” the report said.

The report also highlighted the persistent under-representation of women and marginalized groups in Nigerian politics. “The national average of women’s political participation in Nigeria was 6.7 per cent in elected and appointed positions,” it stated, citing religious, cultural, and economic barriers as contributing factors.

A gender-based violence survey of the 2023 elections conducted by the NGO ElectHER found that “religious and cultural barriers such as double standards, blackmailing, and media smear campaigns were actively used against women politicians.”

The report further noted that media outlets often stereotyped women politicians and, in some cases, refused to cover their campaigns allegedly on the orders of opposition officials and candidates.