85 inmates with minor cases have been freed in Aweil Prison

85 inmate have been released in Aweil correctional prison service in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state. The decision is part of the state governor and judiciary initiative to freed those who commit minor offenses and fines sentencing.

Official says the released will ease congestions in prison which was meant to accommodate one hundred and fifty persons, but now hosting a total of four hundred and sixty-eight prisoners.

Some of the inmates who spoke to Akol Yam 91 FM said they were send to prison without proper investigations.

One of the inmate Bakhita Atong Dut said she was arrested by her husband because her daughter was elope by a man who didn’t have cows to pay as dowery. Adding that her husband accused her of giving daughter away to person who has no wealth.

Many of the released inmates have difference varying stories about how they got arrested and end up in prison.

Amou Bol is one of those being released said she spent two years in prison because she was convicted of manslaughter after a person died in her care after receiving drug. “I have been here for two years because I was treating someone locally and unfortunately, she died, and I was arrested to pay blood compensation which I cannot afford”. She said.

Many of the prisoners’ released thanks, the governor and the high court president for pardoning them. They say the prison living conditions were so bad because of the congestion and poor hygiene.

Angok Ayok Malou explained the challenges he encountered in jail. “I am an old man,  I have been falling sick almost every day because my aging condition and my body cannot manage prison life, I am happy I have been doing nothing here for six months”.

Justice Abraham Majur Laat is the president of high court in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state. He said they plan to pardon up to three hundred people with minor cases.

He said that the governor has pledged to pay little fines when the list is submitted to his office for those who did not afford to pay the court fines.

NBG: 16 years’ girl sued parents on forced marriage in Aweil.

A sixteen-year-old girl in Aweil South County has opened a legal court case against her biological parents over forced marriage allegations.

The teenager identified Abuk escaped her father’s home after her family received 16 dowries without her knowledge.

The girl has reported the issue to the Police Special Protection Unit in the area to protect her.

Abuk felt humiliated by her biological parents for abusing her rights because she wasn’t qualified to be married below 18 years.

“My parents have taken cows from someone who wants to take me as a wife, although I told them that I am not interested in marriage because I am very young. I thought of killing myself because I don’t want that person, but some people advised me to first report to the Police.”

Akol Yam contacted her brother Lual Lual. He confirmed that his family had received a summon letter from the police service.

Lual acknowledged his parents received dowries because they tried to marry her off.

“What happened is that this young girl first accepted the marriage and then, later on, changed her mind when we have already made losses of preparing for the wedding, this is what is the problem, but we have agreed to accept her decision and let her return home, 

“We have already returned the cows to the person, and we want her; I have agreed not to marry her off again, so I think there is no need to go to court again.”

The Director of Special Protection Unit, in Aweil Capt. Ayak Agiu says the girl is under their protection unit, and legal procedures will follow.

This is the first time a young girl reported force marriage to the Police in the area.

Last week, South Sudan embarked on a 16 days campaign against gender-based violence to preserve women and girls’ rights.

South Sudan has the eighth highest prevalence of child marriage globally. An International NGO, Oxfam estimated that 71% of girls are married before the age of 18.

Youth Protest Against Unfair Recruitments in NGOs Sector.

Nearly one hundred angry youth in Aweil County have protested against the humanitarian organization’s employment process. The demonstrators accused NGO of “unfair recruitment.”

The move came after eighty candidates shortlisted by the Norwegian Refugee Council, but that process was later nullified.

Some youth blamed the state Relief and Rehabilitation Commission for interrupting the interviews. A group of youth moved to the Governor’s office on Thursday to report the dispute. Complainers alleged that imbalanced employment in NGOs is a violation of labor law.

Anonymous youth representative called for government intervention. “What we want the government should sit with the partner organizations and look at the recruitment process to employ qualified people rather than people they know.”

Protesters said the commission called “RRC” came to the interview place and said that these people you want to interview are not the right people we have our people who usually do the surveys.

“What happened? We were almost sitting for our interviews, and then some people came and refused the interview to take place; this is very frustrating, so where do we belong as the youth”.

The deputy secretary-general in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, Mr. Peter Aguer Muoranyar, confirmed the youth protest. He vowed the Government would investigate the disagreement.

“According to what we know now is that they say NRC is the one having a problem, and we also hear that the Government suspended the interviews.

So youth have come here to the Governor’s office looking for their right, and they are job seekers, and they have a right to know the truth. Still, it’s good that they have made a peaceful protest, I have communicated with the RRC boss, and he will come and tell us what has happened, so we shall look into this matter and solve it”.

The Relief and Rehabilitation Commission Deputy Director Angelo Deng Akol said they had stopped the interview because his office was not informed about the process.

“The NRC refused to understand us and called youth for an interview without our information, so we understood that we are not working on the right channel.

So we asked the security to suspend the interviews so that we can understand ourselves, but they rushed to Governor’s office to complain, but the system is in place and should be respected.” Angelo stated

The NRC head office in Aweil has confirmed that candidates shortlisted for the interviews were stopped. And the process was put on hold until the matter was resolved.

This year, a youth group wrote a petition letter to NGO in Aweil demanding fair employment.

UN pledge to support road construction projects in NBGs

The United Nations Special representative to the Secretary-General in South Sudan David Shearer has promised to support road infrastructure projects in Northern Bahr Ghazal State.

UN is perhaps involved in repairing major roads connecting cities in the country, including Juba Yei road, Unity State, and other states.

Shearer remarked was during his visit to the state on Wednesday. UN representative met with governor Tong Akeen Ngor where both discussed partnership on developmental projects.

Shearer acknowledged the peaceful environment in the state. He said, “peace has already experienced no fear of insecurity.” His comment enlightens that the plan to support infrastructures at the border will improve the trade between Sudan and South Sudan at the border points.

“The main reason was to look at the progress in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, and I was saying the situation here is peaceful. It’s the most peaceful in the whole of South Sudan. And as a result of that, we must start moving towards developmental projects and infrastructure projects that can benefit people and ensure that people can bring themselves up rather than humanitarian projects,” He said.

The Governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state Tong Akeen Ngor has acknowledged UN agencies’ activity. He promised his government would cooperate and support the UN operations within Northern Bahr El Ghazal.

“I presented a lot of challenges one of them; we need investors to come here to Northern Bahr el Ghazal. Because the state is very peaceful, and we have a university on UNBGs because our children are cut off from higher education due to lack of a university. Also, I want to appreciate UNMISS here in NBGs because they implemented 29 quick impact projects,” Said Akeen.

Last year, the United States of America, former Ambassador to S-Sudan, Thomas Hushek, also assured their supports on developmental projects after conflict.

Candidates with no birth certificates risk to miss exam.

Primary and Secondary school candidates in Northern Bahr El Ghazal have no birth certificate, starting to worry about missing the final national examination registration dateline. The birth certificates are a mandatory requirement for all candidates, according to the Ministry of Education.

The fear emerged among the students toward the end of the registration dateline. Students say that getting a birth certificate is a challenge at Aweil’s main hospital, while registration at schools will end on Tuesday 10 November 2020.

They call on the state Ministry of Education and Administration of Aweil Civil Hospital to help them on the matter.

” I have spent one week here coming to the hospital, and I have yet received my birth certificate. We are told to come tomorrow since last week, while the deadline for registration is today, [Tuesday, Nov 10]

“We need the Ministry of education to extend the registration deadline, it, is tomorrow and we still don’t have birth certificates which we have started the process but still waiting for them.”

“Forms are not here at the hospital, and they say they will be brought from juba, which we don’t know when, but we come to check daily. The Ministry should find a solution for us as the deadline clocks tomorrow.”

 The Director-General in the Education Ministry, Cezar Atem Biajo, says they are aware of the challenge. Atem claimed he advised the school administration to register candidates, and their documents will be demanded later.

Primary candidates are expected to sit for their final exam in February next year.

Aweil: Nearly 30 street children put in rehabilitation center

A National NGO known as Community empowerment and Peace Building Organization has put nearly 29 street children in Northern Bahr El Ghazal at Aweil rehabilitation center. The center is located within Aweil town.

CEPBO launched the center two months ago mainly to support vulnerable children living on the streets.

The Project Officer Mr. Daniel Kabango said the aim to reform and educates children on streets. The organization stated that they have selected the youngest children who have no place to sleep.

” We have a small number that is sleeping here because we realized they are in different categories. Some children don’t have any family members, so we have prioritized them and made sleep here at the center. Still, there are those on the streets but have family members, so we tell them to go and sleep at home because accommodation is limited, but they come very early. We give them services here at the center like feeding, counseling, and treatment.” Kabango said.

Mr. Kabango enlightened the organization intended to establish a street children center that will host all the street children in NBG but insufficient funds have limited their plan.

The streets children who are under project services confirmed they are accommodated in new rehabilitation center. “We are no longer facing any challenge like mosquito nets and sleeping items”.

“Since we came here, no one thinks of the market again, and what we used to do at the market we have stopped them like sniffing petrol, and we are now happy that we eat good food, before when you steal you will receive a beating, so we are happy now.”

Some other children said the center end their roaming at the market looking for leftover food from public.

“I went to the streets of the market because I lacked basic needs, but I will thank God for touching the heart of this organization, which is helping and taking care of us. And one of the street girls said they are hoping to join schools through the national organization support”

“I was being brought to this center. We are receiving clothes, feeding, and counseling, so it is perfect now, and we are now delighted. We used to sleep on the floor, but now we have blankets, mattresses, and mosquito nets, and we are waiting to enroll in school once school reopens.”

The new established area accommodates both boys and girls who have been living on the street of Aweil town. The NGO promised to expand it once funds avail.

NBG Formed Committee to Investigate Enrollment of non-candidates.

The ministry of education in Northern Bahr El Ghazal state has formed a committee to investigate non-candidate enrollment to standard eight and four classes. The committee comprised of eight members.

First-time enrollment of unqualified candidates in the classes comes after the government allowed the school to open for primary eight and form fourth finalize.

The committee will start work next week Monday. The commission formed will get the facts right and report the finding to the ministry about an alleged schools’ misconduct against education policy.

Astonishing random enrollment surprises the ministry of education, they said their records early this year show that the number of students in senior four is 2,200 and standard eight candidates were 7,000 across the State.

The Director-General in the state ministry of education, Seacer Atem Biojo, has questioned unmatched candidates increases, which he said his office has the lists of qualified candidates.

“After we received some information that lowered classes were allowed to join senior four and primary eight by the administration of some schools, then we formed the committee yesterday. The committee will immediately be tracing noncandidates who joined the classes because we don’t want to encourage such a habit against education policies. And they will be starting their work on Monday next week.”

According to the education official, the number of students registered this year is recorded at the public education ministry. He warned that if additional candidates added should need explanation or school face disciplinary measures.

Atem stated the ministry would not allow students who jump classes to sit for the final exam. This restriction will also be applied to candidates who will avoid attending classes regularly.

“Again, my advice to entire parents who allow their children to jump classes is that ministry would not allow them to sit if found that the student or pupil did not follow classes in the right procedures,” said Atem.

Some school administrators spoke to Akolyom FM denied the report.

Mr. Sylvester Otieno, a teacher at City of Glory Academy in Aweil town, said the schools were given registration forms according to the number of candidates submitted to the ministry early this year.

Sylvester said, “according to our school, we don’t allow such, and the reason we don’t allow such because learning is a process that acquires lots of knowledge. When students jump the classes that affect his/her education in the future,” those who exist in the primary class right now are students who sat for primary seven last year. Admission forms were issued according to the numbers in the schools. Still, those in primary seven were suspended according to the ministry of education’s instruction they will be joining next year. “

Another headteacher from Ariathdit Primary school, Mr. Albino Anau, said that they request report forms from students and pupils to enroll in the candidate classes.

“We used report form of that schools, for example, “if the person wants to join us maybe they came from different schools. We asked for report forms that show the student has completed those classes; otherwise, we are very strict on education policy,” Anau said.

Last two weeks, the ministry of education urged the school’s management to follow the education policy.

200 fistula patients to be operates without cost in Aweil.

The administration of Aweil Civil Hospital has announced the operation treatment for two hundred fistula patients. Free operation is scheduled to be started next week at Aweil’s main Hospital.

Fistula is a permanent abnormal passageway between two organs in the body, mostly caused by complicated delivery. The UNFPA organization supports the program through the International Rescue Committee (IRC) organization.

Luka Lual Aleu is the Health Education focal point at Aweil’s main Hospital. He said the registration exercise for the patients was commenced on Tuesday this week. And the medical experts who will do the operations are expected to arrive soon from outside the Country.

“On 26th October, we will begin with the operations, so the doctors are expected to arrive in Aweil within this week. The IRC will bring in the doctors and that the targeted number is around 200 people, they will be operated and provided with feeding services and transport services” Lual said.

A fistula patient who requested anonymity has welcomed free treatment. The patient said that she has lived with the disease for more than fifteen years. And she can’t afford any treatment.

“I didn’t expect ever to receive treatment so that I can be healthy like other people, last time people were registered and receive treatment. But when I heard about it, I came to Aweil. But the operations were already done, and I missed out, which disappointed me a lot. I have spent two months here waiting for the free treatment, and my sister will be happy if all goes well. When I receive the treatment properly, then I will be much happier and normally live again. This disease is not a good one.” she said.

A beneficiary who was successfully operated in the past has encouraged all women suffering from Fistula to grab the opportunity. She added discrimination of Fistula Patients in the community was difficult to bear with.

“If I was not treated and people continue pointing at me that she has come because I used to be dirty and smelling, then I would have killed myself. But if God came and helped to get operated freely of charge, then I have nothing to say, although I will not give birth again, my few children will give birth to me,”

Early this year, the Hospital has suspended the operation plan for fifty people with fistula cases in Aweil was suspended due to COVID 19 travel restrictions globally.

Minister of Health Toured Aweil to Access the COVID-19 situation.

The national minister of health arrived in Aweil for a two-day visit to assess the health condition and  COVID-19 center.

She was received by the Governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal  Hon. Tong Akeen Ngor with her delegation on Thursday.

In an exclusive interview with Akol Yam FM, Minister Elizabeth Achuei Yol said her mission is to assess health facilities and listen to medical workers’ conditions.

Aweil has one COVID-19 center known as Light House. It was established as an isolation center to keep coronavirus patients.

Achuei said  that the data she will collect would be used to improve health conditions.

“I came here to assess what I will manage to support the local communities in terms of health. I have already seen that there are few health officials. There is a lack of drugs. I want to add that women don’t lie if I accept to work on one thing, then I will ensure. If I see that there is nothing of my capacity, then I will not promise. Minister Achuei said.

She said that she alone can’t do anything without support from the top leadership to improved health situation in the country.

I am a minister, I have my bosses, and if they are not willing to support the plan, then it cannot happen,” said Achuei.

 Adding that this is  why many top officials may be seen as liars when they make promises which they don’t keep.

She also said that her ministry proposed wages increase for the health workers in the upcoming budget submitted to the cabinets for approval.

Some health officials in NBG state expressed concern about the shortage of medical workers at their facilities.

John Agany Deng is the director at the state ministry of health.

He said that they have challenges ranging from  low payment and irregular drugs supplies to health facilities in the state.

He also said they do not have mean of transport to  visited remotes health facilities in the state.

Adding that even the frontline health workers haven’t been paid any incentives in the fight against coronavirus.

Agany said that he hope that the minister of health will address some of their concerns which she has seen  here.

Other health workers spoke about prioritizing service delivery to the people.

Northern Bahr el Ghazal recorded 11 positive cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic begins and all are discharged.

Three people have been arrested in Aweil for Illegal land Auctioned

Authorities in Northern Bahr el Ghazal said they have three officials in police custody accused to have illegally sold public land. The accused are staff from the state ministry of physical infrastructure and rural development. It’s not clear how many plots they have sold out.

The Governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state Hon. Tong Akeen Ngor said he is dismayed by the allegation of mismanagement. Saying “it disregarded the law”. 

Akeen said the illegal allotment of land is a fraud that has causes a lot of concerns from the public. Adding that his government has received more complaints from the community.

He said the suspects will be arraigned in court to face justice on their illegal land dealing.

Stephen Ajook is the director-general in the ministry of physical infrastructure and rural development in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state.  He said the three staff that have been arrested are employees of the ministry but they acted in personal capacity and were not directed by anyone  in the ministry.

“We are aware that the police have detained some of our staff; what happened is that they are accused of selling public lands and they were caught red-handed last week.”Said Stephen.  

He said that a case has been opened against the individuals and will proceed to court.

Adding that currently they are not surveying any land, and there are no empty plots that the Ministry can sell out.

Some of the community members who spokes to Akol Yam 91 FM said those  officials have caused many land problems in the State.

They said that the people who have been arrested are the same people you deal with when processing land documents in the ministry of infrastructure.

Deng Majok is one of the youth representative in Aweil. He said that they want the government to established a digital filing system that can help detect any duplications of plot.  

Majok said that having a database system will prevent land fraud from individuals who erase other people’s names in the public record”.  

Some residents in Aweil blamed the  ministry of physical infrastructure and rural development as the cause of many land disputes in the State.