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Monday, February 27, 2017

Obiano’s wife lifts Awba-Ofemili widow, Jacinta Ofonyelu with bungalow

It was a mini carnival in the sleepy Umuosite village in Awba-Ofemili, Awka-North Local Government Area Anambra State as the traditional ruler, the Nze-na-Ozos and prominent stake holders turned up Thursday 23rd February 2017 to witness the handover of a house built by the Wife of the Governor, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano for an indigent widow in the community, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The 2-Bedroom bungalow, according to, is the tenth house donated by the governor's wife under CAFE Housing for Indigent Widows, a programme of her NGO, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE) which targets helpless widows who are in need of a roof over their heads in communities across the state.

Addressing the excited crowd, Mrs. Obiano stated that her motivation for embarking on such selfless work is in fulfillment of her promise to God that she would provide succor to such helpless widows to ameliorate their plight. Said she: “I came to Awba Ofemili today to fulfill my duty to my God by handing the keys to this house to yet another indigent widow. I have never met the beneficiary before now, she was chosen based on the report and photos of her dilapidated house provided by a staff of CAFE and confirmed by the elders of the community."

Mrs. Obiano further stated: "As I hand over the keys to Mrs Jacinta Ofonyelu, I wish to say that the house belongs to her and her children only. It is at her discretion to choose relations to allow into her house and should be allowed to live in peace without harassment."

The governor’s wife urged the community to shun any practices that may tend to undermine the dignity of women but instead channel their energies towards helping the poor. She announced that the water borehole component of the project to be managed by a Community Woman Leader, Mrs. Jane Nweke would serve the beneficiary and the rest of the community.

Welcoming the wife of the Governor, Head of Local Government Service, Awka North Local Government Area, Mr. Charles Chukwuma said with excitement that "we have not seen such before.  For such a building to be built free for somebody. I can assure you that the beneficiary cannot forget Mrs. Obiano. You can see she is grateful as well as the members of the community."

Mr. Chukwuma told the people to pray for the governor's wife and also pledged that the people of the area will continue to support the governor.

Other Community leaders who spoke at the event including the traditional ruler of thecommunity, Igwe Ezekwesili Mmaduagwuna and the Chairman of Anambra State Housing Board Cooperation, Chief Godson Ezenagu represented by Chief Bertram Nweke pledged their total support for governor Obiano and the APGA government in Anambra State.

In her Vote of thanks, the excited beneficiary, Mrs Jacinta Ofonyelu sang and danced in appreciation and thanked Mrs. Obiano for rescuing a helpless widow like her even without meeting her. She also prayed to God to protect Mrs. Obiano and her husband the Governor.

*courtesy Odogwo Emeka Odogwo; adopted from

Pix: 1a&1b: Awba Ofemili House Before & the New 2-Bedroom Bungalow
Pix 2(L-R): Cutting the Tape :Beneficiary, Mrs. Jacinta Ofonyelu, Wife of Deputy Governor, Mrs. Oby Okeke, Wife of the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano, Traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Ezekwesili Mmaduagwuna and Chief Bertram Nweke at the house commissioning in Awba Ofemili.
Pix 3(L-R): Let there be water: Mother of Mrs. Obiano, Evang. Fidelia Nwanuka (JP), Commissioner for Social Welfare, Children and Women Affairs, Dr. Mrs. Victoria Chikwelu, Wife of Deputy Governor, Mrs. Oby Okeke, Wife of the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano, Traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Ezekwesili Mmaduagwuna and Chief Bertram Nweke at the commissioning of the water borehole in Awba Ofemili.
Pix4a&4b (L-R): Wife of the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano,(centre) handing-over keys of the new house to the beneficiary, Mrs. Jacinta Ofonyelu with the Traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Ezekwesili Maduagwuna at Awba Ofemili.
Pix5: Excited and appreciative crowd welcome the Wife of the Governor to Awba Ofemili

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515,000 children suffer SAM out of 7.1m severely food insecure in Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria

An estimated 7.1 million people are now severely food insecure across Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, with 515 000 children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) made this revelation at the just concluded  Oslo Humanitarian Conference today, organized to mobilize international funding for the crisis-struck region, mostly where 80 to 90 percent of people rely on farming, fishing and herding for their livelihoods.

Confirming the revelation, the Director, FAO's Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, Dominique Burgeon, noted that  among these countries are 515 000 children who are suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM); a condition which, if untreated, could lead to permanent damage to a child's development and even death. 

FAO pointed out that with the next planting season starting in May, and with scarcity of animal fodder and water points during the lean season, it has become crucial that crop seeds, tools and livestock support reach families urgently to limit the scope of the deepening crisis that now involves four countries,

According to FAO, the food crisis has split across borders as a result of violence related to the armed group Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria , while some parts of neighboring countries in the Lake Chad Basin, precisely Cameroon's Far North, western Chad and southeastern Niger; with what it described as devastating effects on food security and livelihoods. 

FAO, therefore, urgently calls for $30 million in immediate emergency support to assist farming families in these four countries to get ready to plant in the upcoming May planting season and prevent them from slipping into long-term dependency on food aid. 

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UN cautions on why hunger may not end by 2030

The latest study by the United Nations (UN) agency, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has cautioned on why hunger may not end by 2030 after all, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The study entitled “The Future of Food and Agriculture: Trends and Challenges” the UN agency noted that mankind's future ability to feed itself is in jeopardy due to intensifying pressures on natural resources, mounting inequality, and the fallout from a changing climate.

Pointed out though that very real and significant progress in reducing global hunger has been achieved over the past 30 years, "expanding food production and economic growth have often come at a heavy cost to the natural environment."

Emphasising that "Almost one half of the forests that once covered the Earth are now gone. Groundwater sources are being depleted rapidly. Biodiversity has been deeply eroded," it notes.
Sounding the cautions, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva in his introduction to the report, noted that as a result, "planetary boundaries may well be surpassed, if current trends continue."

By 2050, NaijaAgroNet gathered, humanity ranking is expected to likely have grown to nearly 10 billion people.

FAO further said that in a scenario with moderate economic growth, this population increase will push up global demand for agricultural products by 50 per cent over present levels projects, noting that  ‘The Future of Food and Agriculture,’ intensifying pressures on already-strained natural resources.

At the same time, greater numbers of people will be eating fewer cereals and larger amounts of meat, fruits, vegetables and processed food — a result of an ongoing global dietary transition that will further add to those pressures, driving more deforestation, land degradation, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Alongside these trends, the planet's changing climate will throw up additional hurdles. "Climate change will affect every aspect of food production," the report says. These include greater variability of precipitation and increases in the frequency of droughts and floods.

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Hunger crisis deepens in Nigeria’s northeast, rolls over into Lake Chad Basin

As conflict and instability continue in the Nigeria’s North-eaast, the food security situation in the country and the Lake Chad Basin has drastically deteriorated, says the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), reports NaijaAgroNet.

According to FAO in a press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet, the agency also called for swift and decisive action from the international community to protect the livelihoods of millions of families dependent on farming, livestock and fishing for their food and livelihoods. 

With the next planting season starting in May, FAO noted that with scarcity of animal fodder and water points during the lean season, it is crucial that crop seeds, tools and livestock support reach families urgently to limit the scope of the deepening crisis that now involves four countries; Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.  

FAO is among the UN agencies and governments attending the Oslo Humanitarian Conference today, organized to mobilize international funding for the crisis-struck region, where 80 to 90 percent of people rely on farming, fishing and herding for their livelihoods.

The Director, FAO's Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, Dominique Burgeon, said that in the worst-affected areas, famine continues to loom and millions will remain trapped in cycles of severe hunger if the world don't enable farmers to start cropping now.

"Our collective efforts cannot be limited to merely avoiding massive famine - they need to allow people to return to a dignified life. And supporting agriculture is the key to both," he said.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that besides reducing hunger and boosting nutrition, FAO’s Burgeon said, investing in farmers also provides much needed job opportunities that would reduce migration and limit the potential for radicalization of unemployed youth.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

FAO, UNICEF, WFP deploy massive relief operation

The trio of the United Nations Agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF) and World Food Programme (WFP), with other partners, have conducted massive relief operations since the conflict began, and intensified those efforts throughout 2016 to mitigate the worst effects of the humanitarian crisis, reports NaijaAgroNet.

For example, the said that in Northern Bahr El Ghazal state, among others, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) assessment team found that humanitarian relief had lessened the risk of famine there.

Also, FAO has provided emergency livelihood kits to more than 2.3 million people to help them fish or plant vegetables. FAO has also vaccinated more than 6 million livestock such as goats and sheep to prevent further loss.

While WFP continued to scale up its support in South Sudan as humanitarian needs increase, and plans to provide food and nutrition assistance to 4.1 million people through the hunger season in South Sudan this year.

This, NaijaAgroNet gathered, includes lifesaving emergency food, cash and nutrition assistance for people displaced and affected by conflict, as well as community-based recovery or resilience programs and school meals. 

In 2016, WFP reached a record 4 million people in South Sudan with food assistance - including cash assistance amounting to US$13.8 million, and more than 265,000 metric tons of food and nutrition supplies. It is the largest number of people assisted by WFP in South Sudan since independence, despite problems resulting from the challenging context.

UNICEF aims to treat 207,000 children for severe acute malnutrition in 2017. Working with over 40 partners and in close collaboration with WFP, UNICEF is supporting 620 outpatient therapeutic programme sites and about 50 inpatient therapeutic sites across the country to provide children with urgently needed treatment.

Through a rapid response mechanism carried out jointly with WFP, UNICEF continues to reach communities in the most remote locations. These rapid response missions treat thousands of children for malnutrition as well as provide them with immunization services, safe water and sanitation which also prevent recurring malnutrition.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Above 1m children acutely malnourished in South Sudan

Over 1 million children are estimated to be acutely malnourished in South Sudan, reports NaijaAgroNet, according to the UNICEF Representative in South Sudan, Jeremy Hopkins.

In addition, Hopkins disclosed that over a quarter of a million children are already severely malnourished.

“If we do not reach these children with urgent aid many of them will die. We urge all parties to allow humanitarian organizations unrestricted access to the affected populations, so we can assist the most vulnerable and prevent yet another humanitarian catastrophe," he said.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that this is coming as the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) recent report estimated that 14 of the 23 assessed counties have global acute malnutrition (GAM) at or above the emergency threshold of 15 per cent, with some areas as high as 42 per cent.  

For the World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director, Joyce Luma, this Sudan situation is a man-made crisis.

"This famine is man-made. WFP and the entire humanitarian community have been trying with all our might to avoid this catastrophe, mounting a humanitarian response of a scale that quite frankly would have seemed impossible three years ago. But we have also warned that there is only so much that humanitarian assistance can achieve in the absence of meaningful peace and security, both for relief workers and the crisis-affected people they serve," she said, insisting "We will continue doing everything we possibly can to hold off and reverse the spread of famine."

Across the country, she noted, three years of conflict have severely undermined crop production and rural livelihoods.

“The upsurge in violence since July 2016 has further devastated food production, including in previously stable areas. Soaring inflation - up to 800 percent year-on-year - and market failure have also hit areas that traditionally rely on markets to meet food needs. Urban populations are also struggling to cope with massive price rises on basic food items,” she said.

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Water, hygiene plus sanitation improve health & romance

Washing hands with simple “tippy taps,” made with easily-available supplies,
 and soap or ash reduces the spread of disease.
Nafisatu Yunusa is excited about change. The 23 year-old mother of three lives in Marafa, a village of just over 600 people in Bauchi State, northern Nigeria, where the dry winter season can be hard. Red dust clouds the sky, vegetation turns brown, and there's no rain for months. 

Like other rural communities in the region, for a long time, many people in the village of Marafa did not have access to running water or toilets. Without them, open defecation was the norm. Most households had lost at least one family member to preventable diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
Fields and villages were contaminated with feces, which was not only unsightly and malodorous, but was also extremely unsanitary. “Back then, our children were always suffering from diarrhea, typhoid fever, cholera," Nafisatu explains. "It was the biggest challenge we had, it was everywhere."

Information about stopping open defecation has helped to make the village a more attractive – and healthier place to live.
But the establishment of a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committee, or WASHCOM, in her village, has transformed Nafisatu's life. The WASHCOMS have been set up in communities in the area under UNICEF’s SHAWN (Sanitation Hygiene and Water in Nigeria) programme, which is funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

Nafisatu works as a treasurer for the WASHCOM and is one of the nine Mafara WASHCOM members who have been trained to teach healthy sanitation practices to others in the community. “Now when a child goes to use the toilet he or she comes and washes hands – with soap, if it is available, or ash,” she says, “and that has contributed a lot to stopping the spread of diseases."  As a result, Marafa has become one of 351 communities that are now certified as “open defecation free” in the Local Government Area of Dass, in Bauchi state. Every household in the community has a latrine and nearby hand washing facilities.
And the SHAWN programme has rewarded the community with a borehole and hand pump, so that water is now easier to access, even in the dry season.

The United Kingdom’s DFID supported this UNICEF project.
The improved sanitation and easy access to water, says Nafisatu, has not only saved lives, but it also helped ease a common strain on marriages in Marafa. Among the good hygiene practices they have been trained to teach, WASHCOM hygiene promotion team members have shared their knowledge with women community members about menstrual hygiene management.

When water is easily available, good hygiene practices are also easier to implement.
Nafisatu recalls that women in the village used to stuff dirty menstrual padding under their beds, which often made the bedrooms smell unpleasant. Their husbands, recounts Nafisatu, would burn spirals of mosquito coils, hoping the acrid smoke would cover the smell. But sometimes, even that wasn’t enough, and Nafisatu said that several husbands even refused to sleep with their wives. 

Now that there is water in the village, and with women having learned about better menstrual hygiene practices, that problem has vanished. “The change has been so overwhelming,” says Nafisatu with a smile, “relationships are much improved!”
23 year-old Nafisatu Yunusa trains her community members 
on good hygiene and sanitation practices.
Photo credit for all pictures: UNICEF/Nigeria/2017/Stefan Heunis
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Monday, February 20, 2017

UN says South Sudan is in Famine

Some three agencies of the United Nations (UN) have warned that almost 5 million people urgently need food, agriculture and nutrition assistance in the Southern Sudan city of Juba, reports NaijaAgroNet.

These agencies told NaijaAgroNet that the war and a collapsing economy have left some 100,000 people facing starvation in parts of South Sudan where famine was declared on Monday, just as a further 1 million people are classified as being on the brink of famine. 

The trio agencies, namely the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) equally, warned that urgent action is needed to prevent more people from dying of hunger. If sustained and adequate assistance is delivered urgently, the hunger situation can be improved in the coming months and further suffering mitigated. 

The total number of food insecure people is expected to rise to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July if nothing is done to curb the severity and spread of the food crisis.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update released today by the government, the three agencies and other humanitarian partners, 4.9 million people - more than 40 percent of South Sudan's population - are in need of urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance.

In addition, the agencies said there is need for humanitarian access, maintaining that unimpeded humanitarian access to everyone facing famine, or at risk of famine, is urgently needed to reverse the escalating catastrophe.

As said by the UN agencies urged, further spread of famine could only be prevented if humanitarian assistance is scaled up and reaches the most vulnerable.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that famine is currently affecting parts of Unity State in the northern-central part of the country, and formal famine declaration means people have already started dying of hunger.
“The situation is the worst hunger catastrophe since fighting erupted more than three years ago,” UN said.

For FAO Representative in South Sudan Serge Tissot, famine has become a tragic reality in parts of South Sudan and the worst fears have been realized, as many families have exhausted every means they have to survive.

"The people are predominantly farmers and war has disrupted agriculture. They've lost their livestock, even their farming tools. For months there has been a total reliance on whatever plants they can find and fish they can catch," Tissot said.

UN further described malnutrition as a major public health emergency, exacerbated by the widespread fighting, displacement, poor access to health services and low coverage of sanitation facilities.

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Without science, we’ll be lost – Earth Day Network

The Earth Day Network has declared that without science, the world would be lost, just as its warming up for the 2017 Earth Day slated for April 22 at the National Mall in Washington D.C., reports NaijaAgroNet.
According to the Earth Day Network Team in a public statement made available to NaijaAgroNet, Science serves humanity, thus it protects the air and water, preserves planet, and save lives.
Science, the team, said, helps the world to understand the causes and effects and leads to policies that help reduce the stresses on our planet. 
“We have all seen the news -- melting ice caps, droughts, unstable weather patterns -- are taking a toll on our planet,” they said.
Pointing out that for years, a growing number of scientists through their scientific-based monitoring and research have sounded the alarm about climate change and other environmental issues. 
“Without science, we would be lost,” they declared, stressing the reason why Earth Day Network is partnering with the March for Science to hold a rally, march and teach-in on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. this Earth Day, April 22nd.
NaijaAgroNet recalls that the first Earth Day in 1970 activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement.  All of the progress we have made, however,  is in jeopardy if we don’t take a strong stand now. 
The team, therefore beckoned on activists and enthusiasts to stand with Earth Day Network to show that they value scientific discovery, the sharing of knowledge, and the protection of our environment, by making a “tax-deductible contribution of $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford.”
The team further asked enthusiasts to support the cause, insisting that the vital role science plays in our democracy must be preserved.  
“The Earth is counting on you,” the team asserted.

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