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Showing posts with label Nigerians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nigerians. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Nigerians urged to prioritise first 1000 days of child life - NaijaAgroNet

Nigerians have been urged to prioritize the first 1000 days of life of a child, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The participants made this call at the three-day Media Training at Consort Luxury Suites, Abuja, on the theme, “The Journalists’ Role in Ensuring Transparency and Accountability in Allocation and Use of Health and Nutrition Funds in Nigeria.”

The event organized by the Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) under the Partnership for Improving Nigeria Nutrition Systems (PINNS) project, saw to building of capacity of media practitioners to develop stories and programmes focusing on transparency and accountability in allocation and use of health cum nutrition funds in focal states and the country at large.

The training was also organized to engender passion and commitment to reporting health and nutrition issues through site visited to Kwali Primary Health Care (PHC) Centre for firsthand experience of the challenges in the sector among other important issues.

Rising from the workshop, participants in a communique made available to NaijaAgroNet noted the importance of Nigerians prioritizing the first 1000 (one thousand) days of life of a child, saying it’s very crucial to the survival and ability of such child to live beyond five years.

For this, participants urged most Nigerian mothers at the Public Health Care (PHC) centres, have been found not practicing Exclusive Breast Feeding (EBF), at least in the first 1000 days of a child.

They also urged Nigerian media to sensitize women more on the need to exclusively breastfeed their children in the first six months of life, without addition of water.

“Media should also sensitize women to continue to breastfeed their children for two years in addition to adequate complementary feeding,” the communique stated, just as they called on husband to get involved on how their children are handled especially in matters regarding Exclusive Breast Feeding for the first 1000 days of infants.

NaijaAgroNet  recalls that breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants and lowers baby's risk of having asthma or allergies, just as experts have often said that babies breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea.

Also, they lamented that government across the state, should make adequate budgetary allocation, approval, timely release and cash backing in support of nutrition interventions.

“Where budgets are allocated and released, they focus more on the curative measures than preventive measures,” part of the communique read.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Nigerians spoil for war: Cow meat boycott takes effect February 1

There is an online cow meat boycott campaign currently going on in Nigeria over the reported incessant attacks on Nigerian Christians, who invariably are the most patronisers of cow meat in the country, reports NaijaAgroNet.

They also alleged that killed Christian bodies are now being used in the preparation of Suya, a popular delicacy made usually from cow meat, unfortunately for other Christians to consume unknown to them.

Investigations by NaijaAgroNet showed that the campaign which is trending on all available social media including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Telegram, was to protest the attacks on other Nigerians especially the Christians by members of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and other unidentified herdsmen across the country.

Part of the message sighted by NaijaAgroNet indicated that the boycott takes effects from February 1st, and urging “Christians all over Nigeria have been asked to stop eating of Cow meat.”

The message insisted that since cow meat are now being “breeded with human and Christian bloods being murdered in cold blood on daily basis without government doing anything, would amount to double killing for those Christian victims.”

The campaign insisted that the ban from eating Cow Meet should be taken seriously as from February 1st in “solidarity for the lives of our dear Christian brothers and sisters killed by wicked Islamist group.”

Urging more people, especially Nigerian Christians to eat, ”more of fish, bush meat, pig, native goat, chicken, duck, snails, etc.”

The unendorsed prayer to Christendom, that Christian elders have discovered and come to the conclusion that Muslims love the life of Cows more than the life of Christians, alleging, “they have gone as far as killing Christians to prepare suya  for Christians to eat.”

For the campaigners, “Christians are the promoters of their sales of Cows and that is enough for them to respect Christians since we are the promoters of their businesses.”

They imagined the Southern Kaduna killings of over 1000 Christians slaughtered by Islamist, but the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led All Progressive Congress (APC) government kept quiet and rather reacted to the death of cows.

For the campaigners, “this is the only way we (Christians) can crumble their economy and bring them to their kneels to respect Christians.”

They equally appealed to Christians to share the protest message on Facebook, and WhatsApp on their contacts until it gets to everyone Christian in Nigeria.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Cattle colonies, insult on Nigerians – CAN

The spate of agitations over planned establishment of cattle colonies by the Federal Government of Nigeria, have been wholesomely described as an insult on Nigerians, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) stated this in Abuja, Tuesday, saying that this is a term every Nigerian should condemn and resist.

CAN through the General –Secretary of Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Dr. Musa Asake, at the National Christian Centre, Tuesday, told newsmen that every Nigerian should condemn in strong terms and resist the attempt by this pro-Fulani government that 'cattle colonies' shall be established all over the country.

“This is an insult on all Nigerians. The idea of 'cattle colony' presupposes that the Fulanis are colonial masters,” CAN said.

Wondering, “How and when one ethnic group transmuted into a ‘colonial master’ over all the other 388 ethnic nationalities in Nigeria is unknown?”

Besides, CAN pointed out that this came up after Nigerians roundly rejected “grazing reserves”.
Further, alleged that the cattle colony is the handiwork of Islamists trying to deceive with change of nomenclature.

Emphasising that again and again, “Muslim leaders from the northern part of the country have demonstrated inability to respect the secularity of the Nigerian State and leave religion as an individual conviction according to Section 38 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution.”

CAN, therefore, demand from President Muhammadu Buhari, a holistic response to curb the horrendous menace of the Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram, who to all intent and purpose have launched Jihad in Nigeria.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

2017 Nutrition Symposium: 13% Nigerians risk mental deformation

Estimated 13 per cent of Nigerian children risk growing up with mental deformity unless proper iodine is part of their nutrition, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Professor emeritus, Babatunde Oguntona, who gave this indication in Lagos at a one-day Nutrition Symposium on ‘Malnutrition,  Child Development and the Media’ organised by the Media Centre Against Child Malnutrition (MeCAM).

He also called on government to pay greater attention to public health.

“If we don't keep iodine level properly, we'll have 13% of Nigerian children mentally deformed,” Prof. Oguntona said.

Lamenting the situation, Prof. Oguntona imagineed that about 13 percent of parliamentarians are mentally deformed and wondered the kind of policies and legislation.

"Inadequate iodine in our food is a serious threat. You can't talk of development when you ignore the issue of nutrition status of your people,” he declared, rapping the Nigerian authorities for their poor response to the threats of malnutrition.

Oguntona, a former president of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, said between 13 and 18 Nigerian children die of malnutrition and related diseases every hour and called on the media to step up advocacy on the issue.

Ivy Ibiso KingHarry, an associate at the Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network | Global Alliance on Improved Nutrition (GAIN), said the media have a duty to promote messages on nutrition as influencers and change agents. 

She added however that such media efforts must flow from proper understanding of the science of nutrition and effective delivery of messages in language understood by common people.

She urged reporters to always fact-check and scrutinize official data on malnutrition, be consistent and build trust in their duty as gatekeepers.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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Monday, November 28, 2016

Five ways Nigerians eat and enjoy rice

Rice is one of the most common food in Nigeria. Every single ethnic group or type has a local dish either made from or eaten with rice, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Generally, this is because rice is commonly inexpensive and easy to make, thus we share five (5) of these local Nigerian meals with rice varieties. For instance, the white rice is classic, but the recipes below also work with brown rice or other varieties of rice.

Tuwo  Shinkafa
A rice meal popular in the Northern regions of Nigeria, Tuwo Shinkafa is a fufu recipe prepared with the soft rice variety. Although usually prepared with short local rice that can be easily mashed to make a mass of Fufu, the meal could also be made with rice flour. It is usually served with Northern Nigerian soups including Miyan Kuka, Miyan Taushe and more. It can also be paired as swallow with other Nigerian soups.

Another Northern Nigerian rice recipe consumed mostly by the Hausa people, Masa or Sinasir is simply rice pancakes. Prepared with the same soft variety of rice used for Tuwo Shinkafa, the meal is simply made by blend the rice till smooth, adding yeast and onion, sugar and salt after the mix has risen, then frying in oil. It is traditionally made into an oval shape. It is popular and seen at most Suya stands.

Jollof Rice
A popular rice recipe in Nigeria. Jollof rice is very tasty and consumed by all and sundry. It is hard to attend an event or occasion in the country without encountering this meal on the menu as its attractive colour and plush taste makes it the preferred dish. It is usually paired with moi- moi, vegetable salad or fried plantain.

Kunun Gyada
A light porridge from Kunun Gyada is much like pap (Akamu or ogi) except that it is made from raw groundnuts and rice instead. To prepare the meal, simply boilgroundnut milk and add to rice blended with cool water. The technique can also be reversed and the rice poured into the hot groundnut milk.

Rice and stew/sauce
Rice and stew is a very common meal combo in Nigeria. The rice is simply boiled with salt and paired with either tomato stew or any other sauce ranging from Ofada sauce, Ofe Akwu, vegetable sauce and even broths like pepper soup and gravy. From Bukkas to hotel restaurants, rice is served as a combo with different types of local stews, sauce and soups.

*Contributed by Nkem Ndem, PR Associate at Jumia Travel
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Northeast: FAO seeks $10m funding to assist 385,000 Nigerians with farming support

The Food and Agriculture Organisaiton (FAO) has said its seeking funding to the tune of $10 million to provide emergency agricultural support to internally displaced people and host families, reports NaijaAgroNet.

FAO told NaijaAgroNet that urgent action is needed to provide farming and livelihood support to 385,000 people in parts of Nigeria's northeast where food insecurity is rampant.

As said by FAO in a press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet, the resumption of agricultural activities in these areas is of utmost priority to ensure that people can produce enough food for themselves.

FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, Bukar Tijani, said “This includes those who have been internally displaced by the conflict as well as communities who have been hosting them.”

These populations, Tijani noted, need urgent assistance to recover their livelihoods, which are mostly based on crop farming, artisanal fisheries and aquaculture and livestock production, stressing that for the last three to four years this has not been possible due to the conflict.

As at press time, over 3 million people are affected by acute food insecurity in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States.

The FAO's Emergency and Response Manager in Nigeria, Tim Vaessen, revealed that FAO has launched a full-scale corporate response to the ongoing crisis and urgently requires $10 million to supply seeds, fertilizers and irrigation equipment for the upcoming irrigated dry season.

Meanwhile, he said, FAO is preparing its response for the main agricultural season for which even more resources are required.

"This year, significant territory previously controlled by Boko Haram has been rendered accessible to humanitarian assistance so we have a critical opportunity to tackle the alarming levels of food insecurity in northeast Nigeria," Vaessen said.

He explained that with funds received to-date, FAO has reached over 123,000 people to improve their food security by enabling them to grow their own food during the ongoing rain-fed season.

While this assistance is crucial, FAO said it reached just a fraction of those in need of support and now is seeking funds to support irrigated crop production, livestock restocking and animal health treatment, including disease control and supplementary feed, in the newly liberated areas. ##

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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Pix: FAO/Sonia Nguyen … A displaced farmer preparing land for planting in Kukarata, northeastern Nigeria.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Good bye to oil subsidy regime, but …

With the hike in Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as fuel in this part of the world, Nigerians may be saying good bye to oil subsidy regime, but the next path is beclouded, writes REMMY NWEKE.
From the gallery:
Historically in 1978 fuel pump price was 15kobo per litre and increased to 60k in 1990. Two years later in 1992, it added 10k to become 70k and barely a year it subsequently jumped to N3.25k per litre and later same year added N6.75k to become N11 per litre which remained for a while.
Since Nigeria was then under military it was mass anticipation that once there is democracy, it could scale down, but alas, it became the first casualty in the list of democracy dividend as in year 2000 pump price moved up to N20 and before December 2000 added N2k to become N22 per litre.
Also in 2001, the federal government under President Olusegun Obasanjo increased pump price to N26 and three years later in 2004 scaled it up to N40 with the rhetoric political promise that the subsidy removed hitherto would be ploughed into bettering the lots of Nigerians. Incidentally the supposed pump prices have never been used to sale fuel in the south east and some parts of Nigerian cities, except Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.

Prediction come true:
Major fears among Nigerians on this subject is that the cost of pump price may go up to about N150 per litre, but as proponents of removal like former governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, now Emir Mohammed Sanusi II and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the erstwhile Finance Minister; it would curb corruption in the oil sector, especially within Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and enable economic planning for all as Nigeria today does not fix oil prices.
“For instance, the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) as storehouse for all subsidy funds by then Head of State, General Sani Abachi was to enable government intervene promptly. Therefore to nail vices in oil sector, President Muhammadu Buhari must exhibit the political will to remove oil subsidy as the best gift APC-led government can give Nigerians at this time.”
The above was an extract of a piece conducted towards the end of 2015 and almost five months later and equally one year after the assumption of office by President Buhari, it came to pass that his administration through the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu penultimate Wednesday, May 11, 2016, adjusted the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol from N86.50 to N145, with immediate effect.
Oil sector analysts, told NaijaAgroNet that with this development, marketers are now free to bring in cargoes and sell, subject to meeting standard quality control, stressing that a benchmark of N145 per litre, is a recommended pump price, at which any trader, irrespective of the source of foreign exchange used to import cargo is guaranteed adequate profit.

Fuel Price debate according to Osinbajo:
But barely 24 hours after, the chairman of the Economic Committee and Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, conversely debunked the news making a round that the FG has removed oil subsidy from the Nigerian oil and gas system. According to Osinbajo, what the government did was to withdraw the monopoly hitherto enjoyed by NNPC to allow free market sales, insisting that “at $40 a barrel, there isn’t much of a subsidy to remove.”
A presidential press statement entitled “The Fuel Pricing Debate: Our story” and personally endorsed by the Vice President, said the decision to adopt a new measure was essentially informed by the non-availability of foreign exchange for the independent marketers to import fuel.
Part of which read: “Fellow citizens, I have read the various observations about the fuel pricing regime and the attendant issues generated. All certainly have strong points. The most important issue of course is how to shield the poor from the worst effects of the policy.  I will hopefully address that in another note.
“Permit me an explanation of the policy. First, the real issue is not a removal of subsidy. At $40 a barrel there isn’t much of a subsidy to remove. In any event, the President is probably one of the most convinced pro-subsidy advocates. What happened is as follows: our local consumption of fuel is almost entirely imported. The NNPC exchanges crude from its joint venture share to provide about 50 per cent of local fuel consumption. The remaining 50 per cent is imported by major and independent marketers.

Nigeria needs $225m to import fuel:
“These marketers up until three months ago sourced their foreign exchange from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the official rate. However, since late last year, independent marketers have brought in little or no fuel because they have been unable to get foreign exchange from the CBN. The CBN simply did not have enough. (In April, oil earnings dipped to $550 million. The amount required for fuel importation alone is about $225million!).
“Meanwhile, NNPC tried to cover the 50 per cent shortfall by dedicating more export crude for domestic consumption. Besides the short term depletion of the Federation Account, which is where the FG and States are paid from, and further cash-call debts pilling up, NNPC also lacked the capacity to distribute 100 per cent of local consumption around the country. Previously, they were responsible for only about 50 per cent, which was partly the reason for the lingering scarcity according to experts. 

Labour rejects hike in pump price, says N145 is cruel, insensitive:
However, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) soon after, described the hike in petrol pump price by the Federal Government from N86.50 to N145 as cruel, insisting they will resist the Wednesday proclamation, and summoned emergency NEC meeting for Friday, May 13.
In reaction, the General-Secretary, Dr Peter Ozo-Eson, described the hike as “unilateral increase in prices of petroleum products Wednesday by government represents the height of insensitivity and impunity that must be resisted,” asserting Labour would resist the hike alongside all the well-meaning civil society groups, decrying the imposition on the citizenry of criminal and unjustifiable electricity tariff and resultant darkness and other economic challenges brought on by the devaluation of the Naira and spiraling inflation, “the least one had expected at this point in time was another policy measure that would further make life more miserable for the ordinary Nigerian.”
As said by NLC, the latest increase is the most audacious and cruel in the history of product price increase as It represents not only about 80 per cent increase but it is tied to the black market exchange rate. Maintaining that the process through which government arrived at this is both illogical and illegal as the board of the PPPRA is not duly constituted.
“In our previous statements and communiques, we had stressed the need for reconstituting the boards of NNPC and PPPRA and prevent both away from the overbearing influence of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources who has assumed the role of a sole administrator,” the Labour posited.

NLC strike imminent:
NLC further said, the allusion to the fact that this increase was arrived at after due consultation with stakeholders is not only ridiculous and fallacious, because it goes to show that the brief meeting held penultimate Wednesday, during which government was advised to shelve the idea until at least it meets with the appropriate organs of the Congress was in bad faith.
Accordingly, NLC said, they urged the government to revert the prices to what they were. “We would want to put everybody on notice that we shall resist this criminal increase with every means legitimate.” Just as an emergency NEC meeting was promptly scheduled for Friday, May 13, 2016 to decide on the next line of action. Meanwhile, NLC affiliates, state councils and civil society allies are requested to commence mobilization immediately.
The following day, being Thursday, May 12, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) issued a four-working day ultimatum to the Federal Government to reverse itself or face industry action nationwide at the expiration of the ultimatum on Tuesday midnight; undoubtedly putting Nigerians into panic buying and stockpiling of food stuffs and daily needs.
NLC and its affiliates in a letter addressed to all the state presidents, secretaries of labour unions, directed members to sensitise all their colleagues towards embarking on indefinite strike cum mass protest action slated to commence on Wednesday 18, May 2016 across the country till further notice.
Therefore, NLC, advised member unions including the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, to liaise with the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress in their states for further arrangements concerning the protest and give this directive a widest publicity it deserves.

FG ‘Nicodemusly’ turning against Nigerians:
Reacting to the imminent strike by NLC, a social crusader and human rights activist, Emeka Ononamadu, said the Federal Government is coming through the back door like Biblical Nicodemus; to impoverish Nigerians, in what he described as “… Nicodemusly turning against the people.’ His position was however, premised on the electioneering campaigns of the president, Muhammadu Buhari during 2015 elections.
He posited that the people, who posed as supporters of fuel price increase in 2012, did not deny that it will have a genocidal effect on poor Nigerians. Alleging this government and their cohorts, may have instigated the recent fuel scarcity as an alibi to force the price up and the standard of living lower. This attitude that whatever this government does is correct should be jettisoned by the accomplices parading themselves as human right advocates or civil society jobbers.
Ononamadu insisted that people who are on well-paid jobs to protect defenseless citizens “should not ‘nicodemously’ turn back to haunt those they are supposed to protect,” stressing that he looks forward to actions and measures NLC would pilot to tell this government that power is still with the people.
This, he alleged, is the same government that is harbouring thieving former PDP members who looted this country and thier respective states. Just as he hope those who support this fuel price increase will not in the future deny thier positions like many who voted in this regime have all denied ever supporting President Buhar, when there were other alternatives after APC and PDP. Some CSOs, have forgotten also work for any government in power, but was consoled that time will tell.

On way forward:
Ononamadu’s submission proffered some solutions including “if 5 licenses are given to people to set up modular refineries in each zone of the country, fuel will become available at less than N50 by the current exchange rate of about N300 per Dollar. Stressing that again, government, like this regime initially promised to make direct purchases without middlemen or women at zero profit. Thus, he advised Nigeria to use letters of credit from reputable financial firms without worrying about immediate sourcing of dollars, until modular refineries become operational.
Government, he said, could even use the crude swap measures with high level transparency and monitoring to overcome the problems associated with it, arguing there are too many options available but the government must decide on the best path to protect citizens than a furnace of adversity in the name of undefined deregulation.
Industry observers also find it disturbing that FG invariably may not have a clue to what its policy on oil and gas at this time is or should be, thereby giving rise to lots of condemnation of the supposed removal of subsidy or partial deregulation, given that nowadays, fixing price for product which is not in her pool, let alone availability is inimical.
At the time of this report, Nigerians are largely confused and even every individual becoming ‘pocket economists’ while asking why it took NLC this long after over two months of fuel scarcity without any pronouncement, but all of sudden find its footing because it felt shortchanged in the scheme as its rank has been divided with a faction emerging.
Also, industry analysts are asking some salient questions including “Why must we be in more danger than the period the country’s leadership was seen as very corrupt? Why is the pump price increase not called deregulation, end of subsidy, if it ever existed, or any name? They attributed these to the era of free oil money which may have beclouded the knowledge of all Nigerian leaders in recent past from ideas that could make Nigeria great.
Like earlier enunciated, to nail vices in oil sector, President Buhari must demonstrate the political will to remove oil subsidy holistically as the best gift APC-led government can give Nigerians at this time and allow the market forces to determine the path to stability of petroleum products in this country, as was done in telecommunications sector and also pave the way to stablising the economy rather than the confusion therein.

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Opinion: Grazing Bill An Insult To Nigerians


The National Assembly is about to pass a Bill that is set to kill whatever is left of our so-called over-centralised federal System. The bill if passed will be the greatest rape on our democracy and the biggest insult on our collective sensitivity as a people and as a country.

“The Fulani National Grazing Reserve” is presently before the National Assembly. The bill has successfully scaled through second reading in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. For it to become law it is to pass through the third reading.

The bill seeks to provide for the establishment of national grazing reserves and stock routes. It is sponsored by Senator Zainab Kure.

The Bill proposes to establish a National Grazing Reserve Commission (NGRC) for the country. The NGRC will be charged with the responsibility of using funds received from the Federal Government to forcefully acquire farmlands from Nigerians in all the 36 States of the country, develop same at government expense through the provision of bore holes, water reservoirs, etc; for the exclusive use of nomadic cattle rearers.

The issue here is very clear. Fulani herdsmen are cattle farmers. They could as well keep their cattle in ranches. They could devise whatever means like their counterparts in Argentina, Australiaand the rest of the civilised world to do their animal husbandry. The men and boys roaming the streets, roads and bushes driving cattle are not the owners of these animals. They are just employees, labourers, attendants or whatever name they are called.

The owners of these cows like Generals Obasanjo, Nyako, Abdulsalami Abubakar and our president Buhari are big time farmers. They are businessmen. It is immoral to ask tax payers to finance the operations of these businesses. Cattle owners must provide capital through bank loans or whatever means to create their grazing lands in their localities. The cows are not owned by the Federal Government.

Just as the Federal Government is not creating farm lands for cocoa and kolanut farmers in Sokoto or Katsina, or creating farm lands for Agatu yam farmers in Enugu or Maiduguri, or creating special areas for fish farming in Zungeru, it cannot for any reason ever consider creating special lands for herdsmen for grazing. Let the herdsmen run their business without encroaching on the lands of other people. Let the cattle owners buy into the Fodder technology and other modern methods of providing feeds for their animals without roaming the streets and plundering other people’s farms.

To ever dream of this perverted bill is to step on the toes of other Nigerians and step on sore foot, and by so doing create a dangerous precedent.

Nobody should play ethnic game here. This is not an issue directed against any ethnic nationality in Nigeria. The simple matter is to let those who trade in cattle fund their business like all other businesses, including farming, in Nigeria.
The bill must not see the light of the day. The sponsors want to create serious problem in the polity and their design must be nipped in the bud.

The Nigeria Bar Association, the Coalition of Civil Societies, and all those who care about the continued existence of this troubled country must rise up to strongly oppose and kill this obnoxious and self serving bill. It beats my imagination that members of the National Assembly did not see the serious danger posed by this corrosive Bill.

In a reaction to the threats posed by this obnoxious Bill, the National Co-ordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams, says: “Without any doubt, this is a very dangerous proposal for Nigeria. We all have seen how the Fulani herdsmen kill and maim members of the community where they graze their cattle without the backing of any law. I am sure that we can only imagine what their attitudes would be if the supposed grazing reserves are forcefully taken over by government and handed over to the herdsmen.”

Nigeria has enough problems on her hand right now; we should not provoke new and potentially more dangerous ones.

•Chief Tola Adeniyi, a former Managing Director, Daily Times of Nigeria, is Executive Chairman, TheKnowledge Plaza and Founder Global Intelligentsia for Buhari. (
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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Chinese farmer empowers Nigerian youths

The Founder of Seven Star Farms Nigeria Ltd, Eric Ni Meng Xiao, a Chinese farmer, has empowered hundreds of young Nigerians through job creation, NaijaAgroNet reports

Seven Star which is located inAgbara-Lusada Road in Ogun State covers about 30 hectares where both the young and old are assisted by a group of Chinese farmers. The farm is reputed for producing a range of fresh vegetables, eggplant, pepper and fruits, NaijaAgroNet learnt.

"I came to Nigeria in 2003 to do shoe business, I was importing shoes from China, until the Nigerian government placed a ban on it, but we have bought this land to set up a factory. I was a farmer in China, but came to Nigeria to do business, so when the government restriction came, I thought it wise to do what I know how to do best and that is farming," he said.

He went further to say,"I am doing this to help reduced unemployment. We also works for Nigeria and foreigners, and this country (Nigeria) is also like my country (China), as long we are here together, we can help each other," he added.

Yusuf Garuba, a secondary school student who was seen busy at the farm cultivating, NaijaAgroNet gathered, said he took up the job because he did not stay home and do nothing. "The reason am working here is just for me not stay home and do nothing, so I came here to keep myself busy," he added.

Another worker who gave his name as Obinna Johnson expressed satisfaction that the Chinese farmers gave him the opportunity to work and learn as well.

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE with additional report from Xinhua agency
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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Maina lauds MTN over women empowerment

The Federal Minister in-charge of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Zainab Maina, has lauded MTN Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of MTN Nigeria, for empowerment of Nigerians, especially the widows, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Hajia Maina gave this commendation at the presentation of tools of trade to beneficiary widows, under the Foundation's new initiative for empowering widows tagged, MTNF Widows Empowerment Scheme, in Abuja.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that the Widows Empowerment Scheme by MTN Foundation is being managed by Growing Businesses Foundation and aimed at empowering widows who have existing businesses, across the six geo-political zones of the country.

Also, Hajia Maina urged that such positive intervention be emulated by other organisations, especially in telecommunications sector. Stressing that widows comprise a significant proportion of women, ranging from 7 to 16 per cent of all adult women, noting that it is regrettable that this significant section of the population is neglected in the society, especially due to their state of widowhood and the various traditional laws and customs which work against them, thus preventing them from gaining access to resources that will better their lot.

"Nigeria should abide by the United Nations' declaration during the 2013 International Widows Day which states that 'all widows should be protected by the rights established in the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and other international human rights treaties. Equal opportunity bill and violence against persons bill presently receiving attention at the National Assembly would greatly benefit widows, when passed into law," she said.

Equally speaking, a Director of MTN Foundation, Mr. Dennis Okoro, said the scheme was the result of a stakeholder's workshop held in October 2011, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.

Pointing out that the workshop highlighted areas of need for widows in communities and discussed ways of empowering them to meet those needs, eventually an Expression of Interest (EoI) was declared and five states, including Imo, Taraba, Lagos, Rivers and Sokoto, in addition to the Federal Capital Territory, representing the six geo-political zones of the country, were selected.

“After an analysis of the needs assessment forms, 226 widows were selected to benefit from the scheme,” he asserted.

Okoro further disclosed that adopting a micro-finance model, the successful beneficiaries were trained on business management skills and to be mentored by two microfinance institutions, namely the Lift Above Poverty (LAPO) and Development Exchange Centre (DEC) to ensure sustainability of the project.

Additionally, he said, beneficiaries were later presented with tools of trade to boost their existing business ventures as interest-free loans, explaining that the loans were expected to be repaid over a 10 month period, with a two month moratorium.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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Photo: Hajia Zainab Maina

Monday, May 13, 2013

Taking immunization seriously in Nigeria

Remmy Nweke in this report examines the merits of taking immunization in Nigeria very seriously by all strata of the society, including the grassroots community-based organisations to cover the hard-to-reach areas.

A child receiving immunization
A spot at Maryland junction in Lagos is where Aisha Usman, a 28-year-old specially challenged lady graduate of microbiology, always stations herself with the help of a brother, Adamu. Aisha’s predicament was traced to the inability of her parents to heed to the calls for Nigerians to take immunization seriously.

Both Aisha and Adamu managed to transport themselves from northern Nigeria to Lagos in the west to beg for alms, an occupation they have engaged for over a year and in fact, it afforded them the luxury of now using a wheelchair to move Aisha around.

After a chat with them on if their parents had immunized Aisha particularly, her situation should not have been the same today. Like every other girl of her age, Aisha should have gained employment which has eluded her due to her disability.

In all honesty, Aisha confessed that she will get immunized, if she has powers to tune the hands of time and even become an advocate for immunization, especially for children whose parents take decision for them at tender age.

Aisha’s predicament represents several Nigerian children who may have missed out on basic vaccines, due to religious believes or absolute misinformation on the importance of immunization. As at press time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says that Immunization currently averts an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths every year. But an estimated 22 million infants worldwide are still missing out on basic vaccines.

Immunization time table:

A nurse doing what she knows best ... courtesy Leadership
NaijaAgroNet gathered that based on WHO’s outline, at birth, antigens vaccines must be given, particularly the BCG, OPV0, HepB0, and six weeks for OPV1, Pentavalent 1, PCV 1; 10 weeks later is for OPV2, Pentavalent 2, PCV 2, then followed by OPV3, Pentavalent 3, PCV 3, which must be taken at 14 weeks, and 9 months for measles and Yellow Fever to be well monitored, even as Pentavalent vaccine comes in two forms Liquid and Liquid + Lyophilized. Liquid + Lyophilized will be used in Nigeria.

Immunization, a protection process:

An official of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. I.E Ukpong informed NaijaAgroNet, while addressing participants at the Association Of General Private Nursing Practitioners (AGPNP) annual scientific conference at Lagos Airport Hotel, recently, that immunization is a process whereby an individual is made immune or protected from a particular infectious or disease agent, which could be passive or active. Stressing that passive immunity is of relatively short duration induced by administration of antibody-containing preparation like antiserum or by transfer of maternal antibodies.

The medical practitioner noted that active immunity is usually of a longer duration and could be acquired through introduction of antigenic material into an individual body leading to development of specific protective antibodies or cellular immunity.

Thus, Ukpong said immunization is a cost-effective intervention which prevents suffering, disability and death, with its benefits universal in nature, comprising improvements in health, life expectancy and positive social and economic impact at the global, national and community levels.

Dwelling on Immunization in Nigeria: Challenges and Way Forward, Dr. Ukpong listed some global achievements through immunization to include eradication of smallpox, reduction in global incidence of polio by over 99 per cent, reduction in illness, disability and death from diphtheria, tetanus, pertusis and measles.

Nigeria and Under-five infant mortality:

In Nigeria, Dr. Ukpong noted that from 2000 and 2008 the national coverage for all antigens was between 10 per cent and 50 per cent. Consequently, the Under-Five (U5) mortality rate and the Infant mortality rate (IMR) for year 2003 were 201 per 1,000 and 100 per 1,000 respectively. While in 2008, U5MR number was at 157 per 1000 and IMR counted for 75 per 1000.

Experts have defined the IMR as the number of deaths of children less than one year of age per 1,000 live births, just as Under-five mortality rate (U5MR) is the probability of dying between birth and before their fifth birthdays.

Further, Dr. Ukpong outlined some challenges facing the Primary Health Care (PHC) in Nigeria, namely weak health and PHC system in most parts of the country, poor funding of the PHC system, low political will and commitment, poor cold chain system, shortage of vaccines and high turnover of health workers at the local administrations.

Additionally, the medical expert pointed out that weak and passive surveillance systems, false contra-indications – Fear of side-effects in patience, missed opportunities, whereas the under-served and hard-to-reach communities were part of the reasons immunization has not been successful as anticipated.

However, Dr. Ukpong proffered some solutions to include that inter-sectoral collaboration in PHC with involvement of the private health sector, should increase, while sustaining advocacy to political leadership for support.

Community mobilization imperative:

Community mobilization and sensitization through workshops, social clubs, markets, schools and health facilities, he said, should be sustained, even as increased funding for the PHC system, cold chain system strengthened, provision of transport logistics, solar refrigerators, whilst improvement of health care services through daily vaccinations of eligible women and children as at when due, plus disease surveillance would ensure that data obtained thereof would be used to improve service delivery.

Advocacy, Ukpong suggested should be taken to political, traditional and religious leaders for ownership and endorsement.

Political will:

This option may have motivated the likes of Bill Gates Foundation to institute a grant initiative for the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), for any state that scales through its threshold on immunization to win some grants among others.

Tagged Governors’ Immunization Leadership Challenge, the initiative challenges governors under the aegis of NGF to deliver an improve polio and routine immunization for the populace and any governor whose state passes a pre-defined threshold to improve routine immunization coverage and end polio will be awarded a $500,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support their top health priorities.

Gov. Mimiko and wife, attending to a baby recently
According to Bill Gates, leaders are critical to making Nigeria polio free and their renewed commitments will make an important difference. Stressing, “As Nigeria’s partner, the Gates Foundation is committed to doing what we can support their efforts to end this terrible, but preventable, disease.”

Gates challenges Nigerian governors:

Also, NaijaAgroNet gathered that the award would support winning governors’ priority initiatives in public health, such as malaria and tuberculosis, improving immunization, HIV prevention and treatment, or safe drinking water and hygiene promotion. 

The grant, would also enable those governors who achieved the goals to receive special recognition from Mr. Gates for their contribution to the elimination of polio. Winning governors will be highlighted in foundation communications, such as Mr. Gates’ annual letter or the foundation’s annual report, social media materials and Mr. Gates’ public engagements globally.

“As governors push hard over the next year … to end polio, I want to ensure their efforts are acknowledged and that the governors are simultaneously supported to tackle other key health problems they face in their states,” said Mr. Gates.

For the Governor of Rivers State and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, they want to stop polio and improve routine immunization to protect Nigeria’s children against preventable diseases.

His Imo State colleague, Mr. Rochas Okorocha, declared that the issue of polio is embrassing to Nigeria and needs urgent steps to curb.

Eradicating polio by 2016:

Visible effect of polio in Nigeria
Chief Executive Officer, NPHCDA, Dr. Ado Muhammad recently maintained that the agency would set priorities in the areas of polio eradication and strengthen routine immunization, activate save- one-million-lives initiative, integrate and ensure a programming of HIV/AIDS intervention, as well as health accountability measures and efficient communication approach to name a few, promising that 2016 is targeted year for eradication of most of these ailments.

Dr. Muhammad said his agency recently achieved successful innovations such as capacity building and deployment of over 7,500 health care workers to 1,500 health facilities through the National Midwifery Scheme and Maternal and Child Health project of the Subsidy Re-investment Programme (SURE-P) in that order.


The United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) recent reports that the unprotected children under one year of age who did not receive Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP3) immunization vaccine worldwide, amounts to 22.4 million in 2011 compared to 21.1 million in 2010. Whereas over 70 per cent of these children live in 10 countries, namely Afghanistan, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines and South Africa; calls for an urgent action by African Union (AU) whose members made up five out of the 10 countries mostly affected.

Equally important in ensuring that Nigerian society, mostly the children enjoy an improved public health, especially routine immunization, media participation and consistency in enlightenment cannot be over emphasized. Hence, it was most demeaning when some elements who claim to be media practitioners at a radio station up northern Nigeria, was using a public medium to pass negative information concerning the efficacy of immunization and future of country like Nigeria.

Thank God, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) promptly banned the programme and ensured that it is off-air, at least, as deterrent to future occurrence and goes far in reiterating government’s determination to attain a polio-free state.

Although WHO cautioned that annually, about 400,000 Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) associated diseases occur in under five years bracket in Nigeria. Noteworthy, is that Hib vaccines protect against Haemophilus influenzae type b, but do not prevent diseases caused by other types of Haemophilus influenzae, such as bronchitis, otitis, and sinusitis. They do not prevent meningitis and pneumonia caused by other agents.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), therefore, must ensure that immunization are administered according to WHO schedule which states that at birth antigens vaccines must be given, particularly on what to take and when, are well monitored in Nigeria.

Parents, especially fathers’ inclusion will make the subject a family affair, so that in a case where a mother forgets, the father can remind her.

Taking enlightenment to village squares, market places, schools, age-group associations and village heads, while not leaving out the collaboration of grassroots community-based organizations to reach the under-served and hard-to-reach communities should be involved as Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

Other states in Nigeria, should as a matter of urgency, emulate the kind gesture of the Ondo State governor, Olusegun Mimiko, who provided pregnant women with free 100,000 mobile phones, to assist them in reaching out to health personnel and act as calendar reminder for immunization, in addition to offering tips on family health in general, despite studies which canvassed against its use by pregnant women.

It is imperative to state that though Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools like mobile devices should be used with caution, its advantages for a better health care cannot be ruled out entirely, because a healthy nation is a wealthy nation.

Remmy Nweke/NaijaAgroNet
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