BREAKING: Shuwa, Gusau, Mairo Mandara named as Zulum announces new appointees

BREAKING: Shuwa, Gusau, Mairo Mandara named as Zulum announces new appointees

Borno state governor, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum has appointed Alh. Jidda Usman Shuwa as new secretary to the state government, SSG.

Similarly, the governor has appointed Isa Umar Gusau, as his special adviser on public relations and media strategy, with Dr. Babagana Wakil as his chief of staff.

The appointments were contained in a statement by the governor’s principal private secretary, Barr. Mustapha Ali Busuguma on Wednesday and seen by YERWA EXPRESS NEWS. 

Other appointments include Amb. Adamu Abbas who was appointed as senior special assistant on external relations and Dr. Mairo Mandara as special assistant/coordinator SDGs.

Similarly, Baba Sheikh Haruna and Alh. Ahmed Sanda were appointed as senior special assistants on media and protocol, respectively. 

Zulum also appointed Tahiru A. Tahir and Abdulrahman Ahmed Bundi as special assistants on media and new media, respectively. 

The statement added that the appointees were chosen based on their credentials, proven capacity and selflessness.

Mustapha noted that all appointments are with immediate effect.

UN Secretary-General appoints new members to Emergency Response Fund’s Advisory Group (Including GCC Board Chairperson Dr. Mairo Mandara

(New York, 19 October 2017): United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced last week the appointment of nine new members of the Advisory Group of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, the 21-

member Advisory Group provides policy guidance to the Secretary General and advice on the use and impact of CERF, through Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock, who manages the Fund on the Secretary-General’s behalf.

The new members are:

  • Mr. James Wallace Isbister, First Assistant Secretary and Humanitarian Coordinator     for the   Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia
  • Mr. Bruno van der Pluijm, Director General of Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, Belgium
  • Ms. Alexandra MacKenzie, Director of Humanitarian Organizations and Food Assistance Division, Canada
  • Mr. Toro Tassara, Director of the National Emergency Office (ONEMI) and leading coordinator of the National Civil Protection System, Chile
  • Ms. Rahel Asfaw, Director of the National Disaster Response and Rehabilitation Directorate, Ethiopia
  • Mr. Claus Lindroos, Director of the Humanitarian Assistance and Policy Division, Finland 
  • Ms. Alison Milton, Director of the Humanitarian Unit, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ireland
  • Mr. Per Enarsson, Ambassador of Sweden to Eritrea
  • Ms. Mairo Mandara, Country Representative of Nigeria at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


“I thank the departing members for their service and welcome the new members to CERF’s Advisory Group. As the fund moves towards an increase in its annual target from $450 million to $1 billion by 2018, the Advisory Group plays a key role in providing the strategic guidance vital to enable CERF to fulfil its mandate in an increasingly challenging humanitarian context,” Lowcock said. 

CERF is one of the fastest ways to get urgent aid to people whenever and wherever they need it the most. For more than a decade, CERF has enabled the UN agencies, funds and programmes, and their implementing partners to provide close to $5 billion in life-saving assistance across the globe. The Advisory Group is key to managing the Fund efficiently, and to ensuring that assistance reaches those most in need.

GCC provides holistic interventions that meet the needs of vulnerable adolescent girls especially those from poor rural areas, disadvantaged and underserved groups like married adolescent and girls in humanitarian settings. Our specific interventions include Adolescents Reproductive Health & Rights, Female Students Scholarships for vulnerable girls, Advocacy and community mobilization and sensitization on civil rights and responsibilities as well as gender equity.

Girl Child Concerns takes an active participation in shaping the future of young people through research, advocacy, community mobilization and implementation of strategic programs that further its objectives.

Our Mission

To Provide young people with the opportunity they need to develop to their highest potential.

Our Vision

A society where every girl young person is able to develop to their highest potential irrespective of race, gender or religion

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GCC provides holistic interventions that meet the needs of vulnerable adolescent girls especially those from poor rural areas, disadvantaged and underserved groups like married adolescent and girls in humanitarian settings. Our specific interventions include Adolescents Reproductive Health & Rights, Female Students Scholarships for vulnerable girls, Advocacy and community mobilization and sensitization on civil rights and responsibilities as well as gender equity.

Girl Child Concerns takes an active participation in shaping the future of young people through research, advocacy, community mobilization and implementation of strategic programs that further its objectives.



Girl Child Concerns GCC has taken the lead in organizing a zonal consultative workshop on development process of a National Safe Spaces Curriculum recently. The workshop which attracted many stakeholders was convened in Kaduna. Safe Space is all about making girls relevant. They are places where girls go to learn from role models, access services and become good decision-makers. Girls in poverty often have few friends, little free time and no power. For a space to be safe is must be; Girls only, girls must own the contents and activities, and there must be mentors. In her Remark, Program Officer for GCC Hajia Umma-Iliyasu Mohammed said many organizations work to empower and improve girls access and right to education, health and information in Nigeria. However over the years, safe spaces for girls have been identified as a strong and strategic initiative that provides an opportunity for girls to gain life skills, sexual and reproductive health and \

rights related knowledge and enhance their ability to express themselves, negotiate for self-defines goals, learn about local health services, improve literacy and numeracy and build social networks and relationship trust.

She emphasised that through safe spaces girls are able to access life skills that are aimed at developing their confidence and awareness, empowering them to become informed and active members in the communities and gain a sense of social responsibility.

Hajia Umma-Iliyasu also explained that behavioural change in girls who participate in safe spaces has demonstrated that peer group solidarity and effective mentoring can foster a safe environment in which girls reflect on their lives and kind of life to which they aspire.

In the last decade, a number of organizations recognizing the value of safe spaces have designed and are implementing safe spaces programmes in Nigeria. A review of these programmes, however, highlights the use of limited and non-standardized methodology and curriculum (content). In fact some organisations have been operating safe spaces without knowing they are doing so because they are not structured. She added.

Explaining on how the idea of developing  a National curriculum development for safe spaces emerged, she said since 2015, Girl Hub Nigeria (GHN) in collaboration with British Council (BC) has been closely working with a wide range of stakeholders including Nigerian government through national Technical Working Group (TWG) which Girl Child Concerns is a member,  to improve coordination, knowledge and implementation of safe spaces in Nigeria. The TWG is managed by the Federal Ministry of Education (FME). There are 51 members and 3 working sub committees of the TWG. These are the Evidence, Learning and Best Practice committee, the curriculum development subcommittee and safe spaces in conflict and hard to reach communities. 

She added that the subcommittee on national curriculum development is chaired by the Nigerian Education Research and Development Council (NERDC) and the objective of the subcommittee is to collaboratively develop a comprehensive and standardized stand-alone safe spaces curriculum and manuals for girls ages 10-19. To achieve this, members of the TWG were consulted to hold consultations in all the 6 geo-political zones of the country to review the curriculum draft content page that was developed through a harmonisation process of several curriculums are in use by different groups.


  1. To introduce the national curriculum development initiative to key stakeholders in the state.
  2. To ensure overall community buy in and collaboration of key stakeholders to the initiative
  3. To ensure the success as well as national validity of the national curriculum.
  4. To get key state stakeholders feedback on the draft contents page of the curriculum developed by experts.
  5. To engage with state government institutions and NGOs that will be possibly involved in the initiative

The curriculum upon completion will help NGOs, CSOs, Schools and Government institution have a better understanding and structured Safe spaces.

The workshop drew participants from all works of life, ranging from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Media, religious organizations, FBOs and government agencies such as Kaduna State Ministry of Education, National Teachers Institute (NTI), Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE), All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary schools (ANCOPPS), KPSMB, Kaduna State Ministry of Women Affairs, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Development partners like UNFPA, Voice for Change (V4C), Mobilising For Development (M4D), State Accountability and Voice Initiative (SAVI) among others.

The absence of a Health Care Centre within Keke community aggravates the challenges the women face in terms of accessing health facilities and commodities. Keke community is on the outskirts of the state with limited health care facilities and poor or most times absence of government infrastructure like schools, pipe-borne water, roads and electricity. To this end a demand creation approach was adopted by Girl Child Concerns to conduct advocacy to the local government to provide a health care centre and to sensitize the community on the need to advocate for and make use of a health centre.

Specific activities of the project included; advocacy visits to the local government officials, community and ward leaders;  community awareness programs for adolescent women on the importance of availing health services during pregnancy and other services for themselves and children, other services rendered by health centers;  Advocacy visits to the village head to champion a community initiative that will compel husbands to allow young mothers to access RMNCH services; Sensitizing older women (mother in-laws) and local mid-wives on the importance of encouraging younger women to avail the RMNCH services in the health centre and ANC. The project goal was to Increase access to RMNCH services for adolescent mothers in Keke B community of Chikun Local Government of Kaduna State.

Almost a year of unrelented Advocacy has finally started yielding positive results as the village Head of Keke donated part of his palace to be reconstructed, renovated and used as a clinic for the community. On her part the chairperson of Chikun Local Government Hajia Hadiza Ladi Yahuza during a visit to the community with GCC officials, supported in the renovation of the facility. She commended Girl Child Concerns for sustained advocacy and health awareness/ sensitization and health spaces offered to the people. She said she had also submitted the sample of polluted water from Keke which was reported to her office by Girl Child Concerns to the commissioner of water resources for analysis.

Based on the report of water challenges she received from GCC, The Chairperson further pledged the sinking of an additional borehole to address the water shortage and poor water sources faced by the community. Already work has started on that.hThe Chairperson was optimistic that the Community will get a permanent Primary Health Care Center and also pledged to post medical personnel that will provideprofessional RMNCAH services at the clinic to the people of keke community.

Dr. Mairo
Seated on a mat with their needles and threads, weaving embroideries on northern caps in production, the four young men appeared as if they had no care in the world. But the moment they started sharing with me their horrifying stories, it became clear that behind the veneer of that calmness were scars that may never heal.

The story started one early morning in 2014, in Banki, Bama local government area of Borno State, when the residents were roused from sleep by booms from guns. With the invasion of Boko Haram insurgents that followed, everybody in town started to run into the bush before embarking on journeys to nowhere that lasted several days for those who survived. Eventually, these young men landed in a Cameroonian village from where they found their way back to an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Yola, Adamawa State where they would spend the next two years.

The foregoing summary does not tell the tragic story of horror, blood and tears recounted for me on Tuesday at Dalori IDP camp on the day residents of Banki ran for their lives, some only in their underwear. Today, many cannot locate their parents or children or siblings nor are they sure as to whether these relations are still alive or dead. As I moved quietly within the camp, with a strong warning that if any of the patrolling soldiers knew of my presence, there would be trouble, I met another set of men who congregated under a tree. They were all Fulani. Five years ago, according to their account, they were living in Damasak until Boko Haram took over the area and they fled to Baga. A few weeks ago, their nightmare resurfaced when Boko Haram struck Baga and they had to flee without their herds that are now history. But then the question, what was I doing in Maiduguri?


Last week in Abuja, the Girls Child Concerns (GGC), an NGO being promoted by Dr Mairo Mandara, held a summit which attracted traditional and religious leaders from 22 African countries to discuss the plights of girl child on the continent with special focus on education. It is part of Mandara’s efforts to elevate the conversation on maternal and child health and the status of women and girls, against the background that education is central to addressing complex challenges like health, poverty and conflict. But my interest is more on what GGC is doing in Maiduguri with the victims of Boko Haram and I have for the past two years been promising Mandara thatI would visit her projects.

In fulfilment of that promise, I left for Maiduguri on Monday though if I knew that President Muhammadu Buhari was also visiting that day, I probably would have postponed my own plan. But aside the discomfort of our aircraft being forced to roam in the air for about 20 minutes before being allowed to land, the upside is that the presidential visit meant that security was beefed up in the state that has become notorious for insecurity. And I learnt a lot within the 24 hours that I spent in Maiduguri.

With the general election less than a month away, I am aware that most of my readers are more interested in politics, especially with the media space awash with stories of huge crowds of idle people being drawn to campaign grounds at working hours on weekdays; celebrations of the ability by a candidate to spend one night in America; the desperate efforts to remove the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) who, I must add, has not done himself any favour with revelations that call to question not only his personal integrity but that of the judiciary he heads etc. In between, President Olusegun Obasanjo has lately been very busy, writing his usual seasonal letter to the incumbent, and following up with strong statements. But there is nothing in what is going on that we have not seen before which is why I have elected to invest my time on issues that directly impact the most vulnerable of our society.

Although more renowned for her extensive interest in public health as an obstetrician-gynaecologist by training with Fellowship from the Faculty of Public Health, United Kingdom Royal College of Physicians, Mandara’s efforts with vulnerable girls became her central focus after she left the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as the Country Director. With what I saw in Maiduguri, I must commend her for the job she and her team are doing not only to improve the lives of several girls through education but also for the forward-thinking that has birthed an expansive skills’ acquisition centre that is currently under construction with funding support from the King of Morocco’s Foundation.

The moment I arrived Maiduguri on Monday, Mandara took me straight to the Bakkassi IDP camp where Boko Haram victims from five local governments are sheltered. There, I met the women who have been organised into a cooperative that offers them opportunity to learn different trades that would be useful for them to stand on their own when they eventually return to their villages. Under the Community Health Extension Workers (CHEW) programme, Mandara is also training selected women and girls in healthcare so that they can provide basic health services like treating malaria, helping in ante natal care and nutrition, administering oral rehydration therapy (ORT) to prevent and treat dehydration etc. The essence of the training, according to Mandara, is because health workers have deserted the communities attacked by Boko Haram and may not want to return when the villagers go back.

On Tuesday morning, we visited Government Girls College where some of the GGC scholars are students. These are girls that were picked from the camps and were interviewed. The promising ones are being put in schools in Kaduna, Katsina and Maiduguri with their tuition fully paid by Mandara’s GGC that draws support from friends and some international partners. Four of the girls are currently in the United States where one is about to enter university to study medicine. As we drove around Maiduguri to see her projects, my interactions with Mandara were quite revealing on the impact of Boko Haram insurgency on women and girls in Borno and what the future portends unless there is a massive intervention by all stakeholders.

The Dalori camp that I visited on Tuesday, I must say, is well-maintained, unlike many such camps across the country. But what is also evident at the camp is the inequality that defines our society. Mandara told me that the rent prices are skyrocketing in Maiduguri. Although she believes it’s because of the presence of many international agencies, there is also a variable that she is not looking into: the pressure from prominent people within the state who uproot their families from the rural communities. Those are not people who stay in camps!

The tragedy of Boko Haram comes in different dimensions and I heard heart-rendering stories. For instance, my guide recounted a recent attack on Gwange village where the insurgents killed a popular Imam. “We heard that they left instructions that the Imam should not be buried but that made no sense. The next day, we all gathered for the burial. All of a sudden, we started hearing gunshots and we abandoned the corpse and ran for our lives. A few hours later, Boko Haram men came back to the village to kill the Imam who was leading the prayer at the burial ground.”

There is also a growing pattern that the authorities must pay attention to. Those who fled Baga attest to the fact that they were actually given the option to stay or leave and the insurgents who came were almost civil in their approach, preferring only to engage the military. I understand they were men of the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) led by Abu Musab Al-Barnawi. He is said to be polite and completely different from Abubakar Shekau renowned for his extreme violence. But that makes Al-Barnawi even more dangerous.

While I intend to interrogate the resurgence of Boko Haram and other terror affiliates another day, I must express my concerns about the growing desperation for power by politicians in both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). if there is any lesson I learnt from the IDP camps in Borno State, it is that we must do everything to avoid anything that would engender another humanitarian crisis in our country before, during and after the general election.

In his book, “Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places”, Paul Colliermakes dire predictions about how ballots could easily lead to bullets, especially in developing countries with weak institutions and where there is a clear absence of accountability in governance, a category to which Nigeria belongs. At a period we expect serious campaigns on critical national issues, including the strike that has kept students of our public universities at home for almost three months, the growing desperation for power speaks to the possibilities of violence after the election if care is not taken.

In his Vanguard Newspaper Lecture last week, Fate Foundation Chairman, Mr Fola Adeola, who spoke on ‘12 giant evils’ confronting our country, also raised several critical questions. But it is his conclusion that should serve as food for thought for those who love our country: “If we continue to ignore the reality that we are a country on the precipice, it is almost certain that we will fall over. It can get worse, and there are examples all around us. Yemen, Sudan, Libya, the DRC; these are all countries with people who also pray to ‘the living God’. Between the opioid optimism of the religious, and the parochial preoccupation with the nuclear that numbs the elite, we are stumbling towards Armageddon. And the thing about Armageddon is it engulfs all: the poor, the rich, the innocent and the guilty.”

What the foregoing says very clearly is that on top of all that the troubles that ail us in Nigeria, we really do not need an election crisis. We should do everything to avoid one!

Femi-Pearse Goes Home

The remains of the late Professor Deji Femi-Pearse, renowned medical practitioner and a former Provost of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), will be committed to mother earth today in Iworo, Badagry. The same community he built the famous Whispering Palms resort, following his retirement from academic life in 1991. At the invitation of his son-in-law, Mr Robert Ade-Odiachi, famously known to many of us younger ones as Uncle Robbie, I flew into Lagos from Maiduguri on Tuesday to attend the Night of Tributes at Muson Centre.

For a man who excelled in the field of medicine before venturing into the hospitality industry where he also built a respected brand, the late Femi-Pearse has left a lasting legacy. This much became evident as eminent professors and captains of industry paid their tributes. There were also hilarious testimonies from Pastor Ituah Ighodalo and others. But the climax of the occasion was the rendition, by a young man, of Frank Sinatra’s evergreen signature song, ‘My Way’. Said to be one of the late Femi-Pearse’s favourite tracks, it is also a fitting tribute to an accomplished man everybody testified lived and died strictly by his own code:

The Verdit By Olusegun Adeniyi

And now, the end is near And so I face the final curtain My friend, I’ll say it clear I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain I’ve lived a life that’s full I’ve traveled each and every highway And more, much more than this I did it my way…

Youth from across Africa came together at a youth forum which was a pre-conference activity that took place at Nicon Luxury Hotel, Plot 903.Tafawa Balewa Way, Area 11, Garki, Abuja, Nigeria on 13th January 2019. The forum was set to kick-start activities for the First Regional Conference of African Traditional and Religious Leaders on Keeping Girls in School in Africa. One of the key objectives of the pre-conference was to stimulate discussions among youth that were participating at the main conference and get their unique perspective as well as the role they can play in Keeping girls in school. It was aimed at ensuring the voices of youth will be properly represented in decisions that will be taken at the end of the conference. The goal was for the youth to set an agenda on how to interact with the Traditional and Religious leaders and explore innovative ways for collaboration and partnership within the region. It was also aimed at promoting dialogue between young people, Traditional and Religious leaders and giving them an opportunity to come up with recommendation on the most effective strategies for keeping girls in school   (K G S).     There were 3 sessions At the Youth Forum; 1- An interactive session where participants were divided into 4 groups to articulate their questions and method of engagement with Traditional and Religious leaders. Each group was expected to come up with key messages, tailored at at streamlining the discussion to be focused towards KGS.   2-Two panel discussions to provoke discussions among the youth. The first panel which was headed by the Emir of Argungu HRH Alhaji Samaila Mera had panelists of Youth-led groups from Botswana Gogontlejang Phaladi, Nina Mbah from Nigeria, Joannes Yimbeselu from Cameroon, Joecelia Monica Quewon from Liberia.   Their discussions centered around programs within their communities that were led by youth. These included; Setting up youth-led commitment in mentorship programs for young people and creating vibrant youth networking and partnership with Traditional and Religious Leadership to advance Keeping Girls In School  ( KGS). The second panel was made up of youth working in different education focussed organizations, where they shared the work they do, their experiences and best practices as explored other strategic ways to ensure all girls access education and remain in school.     From the interactive session, some key issues were highlighted viz-a-viz;
  1. The need to create awareness, sensitize communities on the importance of keeping girls in school (KGS).
  2. Identified challenges of inadequate youth friendly centers and poverty as one of the key issues affecting girls education , there is need to come up with ways to address this and also identify the roleTraditional leaders can play in sustaining the process.
  3. Identifying issues that keep girls away from school.
  4. Changing the narrative on girls Education.
  5. Need to drive accountability by not only keeping girls in school but ensuring they complete
  6. The unique role Traditional and Religious leaders can play especially in taking the lead to advocate for Keeping girls in school (KGS).
  7. Exploring innovative and workable interventions that will keep girls in school


My name is Dausiya Rufa’i. I come from a poor Northern family in Kudan Local government, Zaria. My dad is a farmer and my mum a full time house wife. This has been the status of my Family since I was born. In my local government, female education has a very low percentage; they believe that after primary school level, the girl should be in her husband’s house. lack of education and early child marriage are some of the common things in my Local government and the northern part of Nigeria generally. I am one of the few people whose parents struggled to send to school out of the little money they have. Soon as I completed my Primary 5 level at LEA primary school Hunkuyi, my parents and other relatives started asking me to present a husband (as a normal practice back there), this also had to do with the fact that we had no/very little money and they could not afford to pay for another school so getting married was to save the costs. I was okay with the idea of getting married because it is a normal thing for girls to get married at a very young age, and I could not tell the importance of further education because I did not grow to see any girl in the neighborhood further their studies. Personally, the reason why i went to primary school was because I was enrolled and my parent told me to do so, school was more like a meeting place for me and my class mates to play. In 2004, I earned a primary school certificate. What next? Marriage as my parentS had planned. They had someone in mind for me in case I told them I had no one to marry. But luck smiled at me. One good blessed day, a friend of my dad came to the house, he and my dad had not seen for a long time because he travelled, so they had a lot to talk about. As their discussion went on, the friend told him about a scholarship program introduced to our Local government by a registered and legit non-governmental organization called Girl Child Concerns (GCC). My dad was not comfortable with the idea of taking me (as a girl) away from home and living me in the hands of people whom we know nothing about, in addition to that, he thought to himself, who will help my mum with all the house chores when I’m gone and how sure are they that this people are to be trusted? It was a struggle getting my dad to consider this option for me, but his friend been an educated man had solid information about this organization. He had heard a lot about them and how they have helped in the improvement of communities by encouraging and supporting child education in different communities for years. After some time, we met the program officer and the other officials where we wrote an exam and we were interviewed. I passed the test and was enrolled into Queen Amina collage, where I started from JSS1 -SS3. School life was as sweet as lollipop even though initially I was catapulted in to the world of loneliness being taken away from home but with the encouragement of GCC Staff it is now history.. Apart from class education, I and other GCC beneficiaries had other advantageous privileges such as the annual retreat program which was designed to bring all GCC beneficiaries together and to remind us of our options in life. During this retreat, they would enlighten us more on the importance of education, dangers of early marriage, expected life challenges and more. It is a golden opportunity to be a GCC beneficiary because if not for this organization, I am certain I would have been married with kids by now, probably in the same gloomy situation. This program has not only helped me but my family as a whole and many other young girls especially those from poor families whose parent cannot afford to send them to school. I successfully graduated from Queen Amina College in 2011 and currently, I am an ND-2 computer science student at Federal polytechnic, Bauchi. Today, I am able to stand in front of crowds due to the self-esteem/confidence I have also gained during this period. I am very thankful to Girl child concerns for the life time priviledge they have offered me and as a way of showing my appreciation, I will like to partake In GCC programs designed to assist young girls, so that I can share my experience with them and remind them what a great opportunity they have at hand.
Dausiya Rufai