Search NaijaAgroNet

Showing posts with label world. Show all posts
Showing posts with label world. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

PHSAI youth identifies high risk in adolescents’ sexual behaviour - NaijaAgroNet

The youth arm of the Public Health Sustainable Advocacy Initiative (PHSAI) has attributed the high risk in sexual behaviour among Nigerian adolescents as responsible for the increasing teenage pregnancy, out of school girls, baby dumping, post abortion complication and death, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Coordinator, Life Planning for Adolescents and Youth at PHSAI Lagos State, Abiodun Ajayi, made this disclosure while addressing participants at World Contraception Day 2019 hosted by the Pathfinder International.

Dwelling on ‘Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health (AYSRH) in Lagos,’ Ajayi noted that despite bold steps taken by the state and some stakeholders to increase young people access to youth-friendly Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services, the upsurge in sexual behaviour remained high.

He called for an urgent need to increase discussion around youth SRH cum family planning issues at all levels.

Ajayi also called for increase in funding to sufficiently meet the SRH-FP need of the high risk sexual behaviour of these rapidly growing young populations.

He identified further lack of adequate access and accurate life planning information and services, stressing that lack of youth friendly health facilities and provider bias as some of the worrisome issues.

Additionally, Ajayi said that poor knowledge of contraceptive options and benefits have been a stumbling block for the youth in the state.

“The Lagos State Youth Policy that could provide some backing to the state response to AYSRH has some significant gaps, especially the target audience which is youth between 18 and 35 years and its focus is more on poverty alleviation and other interventions as appendages,” he told NaijaAgroNet.

Ajayi lamented that though the policy had provision for reproductive health services, “it was not explicit on access to contraceptives or family planning services.”

Further, he proposed there should be an evidence based policy and legislative advocacy for implementation of AYSRH services in Lagos State.

“Enhance partnership with NGOs by the state government to establish youth friendly SRH services,” he said.

The PHSAI youth coordinator, maintained that trainings and supervisory programmes that effectively address medical and personal provider’s biases regarding young people’s use of all available contraceptives should be conducted.

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

World Malaria Day 2018: AMMREN applauds African countries on free malaria by 2020

As part of the 2018 World Malaria Day, the African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN), has applauded some five African countries aiming to eliminate malaria by 2020, reports NaijaAgroNet.

AMMREN Executive Secretary, Dr. Charity Bika, applauded Egypt and Morocco which have been malaria free since 2000 as well as Algeria, which achieved this feat in 2016.

The network also acknowledged five African countries, namely, Botswana, Cape Verde, Comoros, South Africa and Swaziland, which have been identified as most likely to eliminate malaria by 2020.
April 25, 2018, Accra - World Malaria Day is here again to bring stakeholders together in the hope of winning.

Describing the fight against malaria as fight against one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases, Bika said that each year, 25th April has been set aside as the World Malaria Day to highlight efforts to control malaria and celebrate the gains that have been made.

Equally, she said, since 2000, the world has made historic progress against malaria, saving millions of lives. However, half the world still lives at risk from this preventable and treatable disease, which costs a child’s life every two minutes.

As the world commemorates this year’s World Malaria Day, the African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN), made up of a group of African journalists and scientists leading a malaria advocacy agenda, “it is also gratifying that Algeria, Comoros, Madagascar, the Gambia, Senegal, and Zimbabwe have also been honoured this year by the African Leaders Malaria Alliance for leadership in scaling down malaria cases.”

As said by her, “we all look up to these shining examples of countries that are making progress in the fight against malaria.”

AMMREN further urged countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya to double the malaria control efforts to ensure they join or at least get close to the ranks of countries at the elimination stages by 2020.

Nenye Dom/GEE

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Monday, February 5, 2018

Merck Foundation marks World Cancer day 2018

The Merck Foundation, a non-profit company and a subsidiary of Merck KGaA Germany has marked the 2018 ‘World Cancer Day’ by creating awareness around cancer and building cancer care capacity aimed at increasing the limited number of oncologists across Africa and developing countries, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The chief executive officer (CEO) of Merck Foundation Dr. Rasha Kelej recently visited Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Science, Tanzania to meet the alumni of ‘Merck Oncology Fellowship Program’ with the aim to evaluate the impact of the one and two-year medical oncology fellowship programs conducted in Tata memorial center in India. Through ‘Merck Oncology Fellowship Program’ foundation has trained the first medical oncologist in Tanzania, Dr. Christina V. Malichewe.

During her visit to Tanzania Dr. Rasha Kelej emphasized, “We strongly believe that building professional capacity is the right strategy to improve access to quality and equitable cancer care in the continent. Dr. Christina is one of the 59 future oncologists, Merck Foundation has committed to train for Africa.”

In June 2017, BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH), and the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC), released a white paper on the African continent’s emerging cancer crisis.

Over 20% of African countries have no access to cancer treatments at all, while access is limited and sporadic in other countries. Later-stage diagnosis in African patients contributes to poorer outcomes. For example, 5-year female breast cancer relative survival rates are 46% in Uganda and 12% in The Gambia, compared with around 90% in developed countries.

The first medical oncologist in Tanzania, Dr. Christina V. Malichewe said, “I can now make difference for my patients. We don’t have medical oncology to manage patients through chemotherapy, we only have clinical oncologists and radiotherapists. Thus, one-year medical oncology fellowship in India has enabled me to save many lives, every day. Thanks to Merck Foundation for this opportunity in Tanzania.”

During her meeting with Dr. Christina, Dr. Rasha Kelej said “I’ve enjoyed every moment with her, witnessing the great impact she makes every day on her patients' lives. Through her, we transform people's lives every day.”

Hon. Sarah Opendi, Uganda Minister of State of Health said, “Merck Foundation and ministry of health of Uganda have been partners for a very long time, we have been working together on various issues with special focus on cancer and infertility. We appreciate the efforts of Merck Foundation in building cancer care capacity in Uganda and other African countries, and we hope soon we would have world class cancer facilities and expert locally in our beloved country.”

The first fellow for ‘Merck Oncology Fellowship Program’ from Uganda Dr. Sekitene Seei Buwambaza said, “Merck Oncology Fellowship program is very important to me because it is giving me an opportunity to learn and improve on the way, I have been doing things concerning the management of cancer patients. It is also ushering me into the new trend that cancer care and research is taking in this 21st century. A bond with Merck Foundation as an alumnus is going to keep me updated with new developments in cancer care.”

Fellowship Program’ from Uganda, Dr. Musana Othiniel, an obstetrician and gynaecologist from Uganda, “Uganda as a country lacks a national cancer screening program yet cervical cancer and breast cancer remains the most common cancers and accounts for the highest proportion of cancers requiring treatment. The country also has a shortage of good gynae-oncology clinicians, researchers and educators in Uganda hence limiting access for women with cancer to screening, diagnostic and treatment services.”

He further added, “The ‘Merck Oncology Fellowship Program’ will expand my knowledge on the selection of appropriate clinical and research methodology used in gynae-oncology. I hope to improve my skills in carrying out appropriate and evidence-based clinical diagnosis and treatment but also empower me with excellent clinical education skill to mentor other young health workers in gynae-oncology.”

Isaac Oyimah with agency report/GEE

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Nigeria breaks world record with more girls out of school – Malala

The Pakistani activist, student and United Nations UN Messenger of Peace and the youngest person ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala Yousafzai, has revealed that Nigeria has broken world record with more girls out of school than anywhere else in the world, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Malala made this disclosure during a working visit to Abuja and Maiduguri on Monday, lamenting that despite Nigeria riches, its record of girls child out of school remain alarming.
“Nigeria is the richest country in Africa, but has more girls out of school than any country in the world,” said Yousafzai. “Studies are clear — educating girls grows economies, reduces conflict and improves public health. For these girls and for their country’s future, Nigeria’s leaders must immediately prioritise education.”

According to UNICEF sources, over 2,295 teachers have been killed and 19,000 displaced and almost 1,400 schools destroyed since the start of the Boko Haram insurgency in 2009. Three million children in the northeast are in need of support to keep learning.
While in Maiduguri, the epicenter of the crisis in northeast Nigeria, Malala visited schoolchildren in a camp for displaced families and secondary school girls at Yerwa Government Girls School.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that while the 90 camps and camp-like settings in Maiduguri house thousands of families, more than three-quarters of the 600,000-plus displaced people are living with family, relatives or friends in host communities, placing an additional burden on local schools.

Beyond the crisis in the northeast, she noted that Nigeria already had the largest number of children out of school in the world – over 10.5 million. Among primary school-aged children not in school, only five per cent are dropouts: three-quarters of them will never step foot in a classroom, and the majority are girls.

Across West Africa, 46 per cent of primary school-aged children not in school are Nigerian. Globally, one in five children not enrolled are Nigerian.


“We will do everything in our power to make sure all children can keep learning. We believe that education – especially for girls, is the single most important way to bring hope, peace and prosperity not just for this generation, but for also for future generations,” said Mohamed Malick Fall, UNICEF’s Representative in Nigeria.

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

OECD, FAO predict decline growth in world food prices

The duo of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) have predicted a decline in growth in the world food prices, reports NaijaAgroNet.

A joint press statement on the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026, informed NaijaAgroNet that the global food commodity prices are projected to remain low over the next decade compared to previous peaks, as demand growth in a number of emerging economies is expected to slow down and biofuel policies have a diminished impact on markets, according to the latest 10-year agricultural outlook published today by the OECD and FAO.

The Outlook also predicted that vegetable oils, sugar and dairy products are expected to be main provider of additional calories over next decade.

Equally, the Agricultural Outlook, NaijaAgroNet gathered indicated that the completed replenishment of cereal stocks by 230 million metric tonnes over the past decade, combined with abundant stocks of most other commodities, should also help limit growth in world prices, which are now almost back to their levels before the 2007-08 food price crisis.

The report foresees per capita demand for food staples remaining flat, except in least developed countries. Additional calories and protein consumption over the outlook period are expected to come mainly from vegetable oil, sugar and dairy products.

“Growth in demand for meat is projected to slow, with no new sources of demand projected to maintain the momentum previously generated by China,” part of the outlook showed.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Monday, June 12, 2017

World leaders unite for Polio one-step closer to eradication, raise $1.2bn

World health leaders gathered at the Rotary Convention in Atlanta to reaffirm their commitment to eradicating polio and pledged US$ 1.2 billion to finance efforts to end the disease, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Thirty years ago, NaijaAgroNet recalls, polio paralyzed more than 350,000 children each year in more than 125 countries around the world. But thanks to the extraordinary efforts of governments, health workers, donors and the partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), a public-private partnership dedicated to ending the disease, the highly contagious virus has now been eliminated in all but three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. There have been only five cases to date in 2017.

However, children remain at risk everywhere until polio is completely stopped. To end the disease for good, government representatives and partners came together to renew their commitment to supporting crucial activities such as vaccination and disease monitoring, which will protect more than 450 million children from polio each year.

“Thanks to the incredible efforts of Rotarians, governments, health workers, partners and donors –  including those who have gathered at the Rotary Convention in Atlanta – we are closer than ever to making history,” said Chris Elias, Global Development President, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Chair of the GPEI Polio Oversight Board. “These new commitments will help ensure that we will finish the job.”

In a time of many global challenges and priorities, governments and partners have stepped forward to demonstrate their collective resolve to seeing the second human disease ever eradicated. Major pledges include: US$ 75 million from Canada, US$ 61.4 million from the European Commission, US$ 55 million from Japan, US$ 30 million from Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, US$ 30 million from the Dalio Foundation, US$ 25 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies, US$ 15 million from an anonymous donor, US$ 13.4 million from Australia, US$ 11.2 million from Germany, US$ 5 million from easyJet, US$ 5 million from Italy and US$ 4 million from the Republic of Korea.

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and John Germ, president of Rotary International, also announced an extension of their partnership in front of more than 20,000 Rotarians. Up to US$ 150 million in funds raised by Rotary members over the next three years will be matched 2:1 by the Gates Foundation, resulting in up to US$ 450 million in the next three years for the GPEI. The Gates Foundation pledged a total of US$ 450 million, including this matching agreement.

“The global eradication of polio has been Rotary’s top priority since 1985. Rotary members have been the driving force behind the fight to end polio since its inception,” said John Germ, President of Rotary International. “Their continued commitment to raising funds for eradication – coupled with today’s match by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – makes that impact even greater.”

Today’s funding helps address a US$1.5 billion funding need that will help ensure that the virus is eliminated from these remaining countries and prevented from regaining a foothold anywhere else in the world.


“Constant innovation has been key to improving vaccination coverage and reaching more children with the polio vaccine,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, Acting Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The unrelenting commitment and support of these global leaders will help us do just that—and ultimately end this disease for everyone and forever. CDC remains deeply committed to polio eradication and has contributed US$ 2.28 billion since the beginning of the initiative."

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Sunday, December 11, 2016

UNICEF@70: We’re not tired of bringing succor to world children

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said its not tired of bringing succor to the suffering world children, just as it celebrates seven decades of service to humanity, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Executive Director, UNICEF, Mr. Anthony Lake made this known as it marks the 70th anniversary of UNICEF founding, saying its seen as celebration of the immense progress made for the world’s children.

This is coming as NaijaAgroNet reports that UNICEF renewed the urgent call to reach millions of children whose lives and futures are endangered by conflict, crisis, poverty, inequality and discrimination.

“UNICEF was founded after World War II to bring help and hope to all children at risk or in need – no matter which country they lived in or what role that country played in the war.  Our mission is no less urgent and universal today. With so many children around the world in so much need, we are recommitting ourselves to delivering results for every child,” Lake said.

The organization, he noted, was established by the United Nations General Assembly to help children in post-war Europe, China and the Middle East; Funded entirely through voluntary contributions from governments, civil society, the private sector and concerned citizens, it rapidly expanded its reach and by 1955 was working for children in more than 90 countries.

Today, he said, UNICEF is the world’s largest children’s organization, working with partners in 190 countries and territories and through the efforts of 13,000 national and international staff to reach every child.


As said by him, UNICEF’s relentless engagement in the world’s toughest places has helped create remarkable progress for children in recent decades. The number of children dying before their fifth birthdays has been more than halved in the past 25 years. While hundreds of millions of children have been lifted out of poverty, just as out-of-school rates among primary-school-aged children have been reduced by over 40 per cent since 1990.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

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.

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

Friday, April 22, 2016

Hilary Clinton petitions Congress over Zika virus funding

The United States presidential hopeful, Senator Hillary Clinton has petition the Congress over lack of adequate funding to check the spread of Zika virus across the world, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Clinton in a petition seeking some 500 signatories expressed worries about Zika virus, but lamented that despite the concerns expressed by global leaders including President Barrack Obama, the United Nations (UN), and every major health organization in the world. 

But Congress has taken no action to provide funding that could help us stave off this virus and ultimately find a cure,” she said.

According to her, over 2 billion people are at risk for Zika, which could cause serious health problems for pregnant women and babies, stressing that in the United States, estimated 800 cases have been documented so far, and in Puerto Rico, it’s possible that 1 in 5 people will be affected by the end of this year.

“… That’s why I’m sending members of my staff there this weekend to discuss what more we can do to mitigate this crisis,” Mrs. Clinton said.
NaijaAgroNet recalls that the World Health Organization has declared Zika a public health emergency, hence, Mrs. Clinton noted that the United States needs to step up and do more about it.
Also NaijaAgroNet reports that President Obama had requested emergency funding from Congress two months ago, but Congress has yet to give him the money. 

That’s just unacceptable and together, we can do something about it,” Clinton assured, stressing that there’s a lot the world is yet to know about Zika.

“How exactly it’s transmitted, how far mosquitoes carrying the disease can travel, and the full extent of the health risks involved. We need to move quickly on life-saving research to develop a diagnostic test, a vaccine, and a treatment,” she said.

Pointing out that nothing really could be done until Congress approves the needed funding, insisting that with Americans’ health at risk, she said, Congress must take action.

“I know petitions have been a powerful tool to influence Congress - Change.org petitions have helped prompt Congress to provide health care for firefighters who fight wildfires and families affected by contaminated water at a military base,” she submitted.


Clinton, therefore, urged people of good conscious to help by signing the petition so as to convince Congress to do the right thing to confront this dangerous virus.

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology
Pix: Hillary Clinton

Friday, August 7, 2015

African rain makers in the eyes of drought




REMMY NWEKE in this report examines the prowess of African rain makers as option for check-mating droughts on the continent and world at large.

Preamble:
GROWING up in a typical African agrarian town, Aguleri of Anambra State in the eastern part of Nigeria, one is constrained to hear very often about rain makers and their prowess, which include the ‘extra-ordinary’ powers to force rain down or send it away, most times to draw attention in order to be contracted or better still to disrupt functions of their supposed enemies.

But it is disheartening to note that over the years in spite of the professed powers, some African nations and communities, even in Nigeria, especially in the northern part of the country suffer a kind of lack of rain or its frequency to aid crops to grow optimally.

The most prevalent one or exhibition of this prowess by supposed rain makers occur during burial ceremonies or occasions where people are expected to gather for a function in an open place. It is also very often that environmental watchers will see that the weather has suddenly become cloudy and the sky opens up just to drench participants at such occasion and make a mockery of the ceremony and their organizers for daring to disobey ‘rain makers’.

God’s rain, no appeal:
Recently, a burial in Nkwelle town in Anambra State, attracted friends and well-wishers from home and abroad and lasted for a week. Before the burial, a rain maker was consulted to ‘hold’ the rain temporarily from disrupting the ceremony until the week is over, that is approximated seven days.

To the amazement of those in the know, there was no rain from Saturday of the previous week until the next Saturday, but on the evening of the last day, Saturday, the rain maker was consulted to extend the rain holding ‘sense’ but he vehemently refused, claiming that the rain that will follow on Sunday is God’s divine rain and no one dare obstruct it.

Also to the surprise of everyone at the funeral who was to attend the burial thanksgiving ceremony in a church the following day, Sunday; just a few minutes past midnight, the sky opened as it rained cat and dog till about 1pm, with attendant thunder storms. This, no doubt, forced some of the participants for the burial thanksgiving ceremony in the church to stay back.

Wars of Rain Makers:
In the past, there have been instances where rain makers claimed to have sent rain specifically to an occasion because they want to exhibit their prowess, thereby causing heavy downpour only within the arena of such occasion, which has made some Africans to believe in the know-how of the rain makers to assert themselves.

There was also a situation, a given rain maker in town has to show another rainmaker in a nearby town, that ‘power-pass-power’ by sending heavy rains during the former’s ceremony to the extent of getting people and visitors drenched.

How to engage a rain maker:
Then an agreement is usually reached on what should be brought before the gods invariably for sacrifice of sort. The list very often includes a clay pot accommodating several leaves and shrubs among other mixture.

For instance, at Nkwelle also in Anambra State, the rain maker, who chooses to be anonymous, his price was bargained down to N20,000 for the ‘workmanship’ in addition to the N10,000 for the purchase of firewoods for the making of fire among other ingredients required for him, the rain maker to sleep in a nearby thick bush cum forest for three days, while he feeds himself with food which he prepares, drinks and cigarettes.

Drought in our land:
Therefore, at times the news filters that a community is suffering from one form of drought or another. Although generally, drought could be defined as a prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall; a shortage of water resulting from this, according to an open source online Wikipedia.
Also, Wikipedia identified that countries of Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya suffered drought very often and specifically in 2011 saw the death of about 260,000 persons with an estimated 10,000 per day.

The FEWS Net food security projection for East Africa, NaijaAgroNet gathered at the height of the drought, between July and September 2011 attracted the sum of $1.3 billion as relief, though reports have it that demographically, 9.5 million were in need of assistance in Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya, in addition to what environmentalists described as severe drought between July 2011 and mid-2012 in East Africa region.

As said by officials of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) office in Somalia, the food crisis in Somalia primarily affected farmers in the south rather than the northern pastoralists. 

Speaking recently, the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Dr Anthony Anuforom, told newsmen that in Nigeria, there are possibilities of slight drought in some states including Benue and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, while in others like Bayelsa and Akwa-Ibom, there would be a kind of extended rain fall till end of October 2015.

Namibia drought triggers 210,000 tonnes Cereal import:
In Namibia, NaijaAgroNet reports that the government has concluded plans to import 210,000 tonnes of Cereal to ensure food security as a consequence of the 2013 and 2015 droughts.

The devastating effects of the two droughts, NaijaAgroNet gathered resulted in some of the poorest harvests in recent history and also had an adverse impact on the country’s livestock rangelands. Thus, a serious food shortage is forecast for the northern communal areas by the end of August 2015, according to the Crop Prospects, Food Security and Drought Situation Report made available to NaijaAgroNet by the government notable among which was maize production in the communal areas of the Zambezi.

The Situation Report added that Kavango East and Kavango West regions indicated a reduction of 80 per cent below average and 73 per cent lower than last season’s harvest. Whereas in the commercial areas, the maize harvest showed a significant drop of 46 per cent less than last season’s harvest and 12 per cent below the average production.

As a country, the national rough aggregate production for maize, millet, sorghum and wheat is estimated at 67 800 tonnes, which tend to reflect a substantial decrease in the harvest of about 46 per cent below the average production and 49 per cent lower than last season’s harvest.

The national cereal aggregate is 17 per cent lower than the 2013 drought, demonstrating the seriousness of the current drought. But the report states that although maize production in the commercial areas recorded about 36,700 tonnes this season, over 92 per cent of this total came from irrigation projects, and dry land maize only contributed about 8 per cent of the total.

Pearl millet production showed a decrease of over 74 per cent below average and 65 per cent less than last season.

“Sorghum production has also showed a significant decrease and is estimated at 79 per cnt below the average production and 60 per cent lower than last season. Wheat is a winter crop and production thereof is ongoing. The harvest estimate for wheat is provisionally forecast at 12 700 tonnes. This reflects an increase of 21 per cent above the average production and 23 per cent higher than last season,” the report notes.

Many dry land crop producers in both communal and commercial areas are reported to have suffered a total crop failure, with no single harvest this year.

“Available cereal locally for the current marketing/consumption period is estimated at 92 500 tonnes. This comprises 20 300 tonnes of wheat, 54 700 tonnes of white maize and 17 500 tonnes of pearl millet and sorghum,” according to the report.

“In contrast, the current domestic cereal domestic availability is only about 28 per cent of the cereal requirements; hence a shortfall of 234 000 tonnes is required to cover the shortfall. This consists of 59 800 tonnes of wheat, 118 100 tonnes of maize and 56 100 tonnes of pearl millet and sorghum.”

“After the considerations of imports received during May and June this year, an after-trade deficit of 209 100 tonnes is estimated. This deficit consists of 47 000 tonnes of wheat, 107 100 tonnes of maize and 55 000 tonnes of millet/sorghum. This deficit under the normal circumstances is expected to be covered through commercial imports in the form of either grain or meals,” the report further states.

As Commercial maize declines:
In a related development, South Africa from where Namibia gets most of its maize imports, reported a 31 per cent decrease in commercial white maize harvested this season. According to the South Africa June 2015 Monthly Food Security Bulletin, the country expects only 9,840 million tonnes this season, compared to 14 250 million tonnes received last season.

Water availability for livestock is limited too, as most catchment areas did not receive significant inflows this season. The affected regions are mostly the north-central regions that are heavily dependent on surface/rainfall water for livestock consumption. “Given the poor harvest as well as poor grazing conditions, the majority of households are expected to face serious food insecurity conditions as from August,” the report warns.

It is recommended that the current food aid, which was set for three months targeting vulnerable people, should be extended and broadened to include all households affected by drought this year, until such time that they are able to regain their normal livelihoods, the SA report says.

Invited by England’s first family:
In April 2012, a team of famous rainmakers from Edo State led by one OsaroboEnogie was invited to England to attend the Royal wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton despite the snubbing of Nigerian former president, his vice president and other first ladies. 

The rainmakers were honoured and accommodated in Windsor Castle just to ensure it did not rain within the duration of the Royal wedding, in spite of high-level skepticisms among scientists over weather modification efforts.

How to make rain:
Obviously, various rainmakers vary in methods in either holding down the rain or causing it to happen. According to Vanguard Newspapers reports, a native doctor who asked for anonymity but identified himself as rain-holder Kamuope Alabi said weather alteration is mostly done in the native ways by using leaves, shrubs and herbs. 

“We can use leaves, roots with some incantations to drive away the rain. If it is cloudy, once we match some leaves together and put it in a basin facing the direction where we want it to go, in few minutes, you will see the result and it will not rain,”Alabi said.

Of course, Alabi was reported to have refused to mention the leaves and shrubs used in clearing the weather, pointed out that he could rig a thunderstorm out of a desert but he does not do it for a fee as it’s against the interest of his gods insisting that he only does it to benefit his people.

“If a close relation is having a social function in an open place and it is being threatened by the rain, I can do it or if some people beseech me to do it in their favour, I will do it. But I don’t do it to exploit people at social functions. I don’t charge a fee either. It is against the gods,” he insisted.

Alabi further stressed that some of those fronting themselves with this power to make rain no longer use the power for the right purpose, adding that some of them use the power to intimidate people by sending down the rain when they have occasion to celebrate unless the celebrant gives them money as a form of bribe.

“The rainmaker would enter the bush and pluck leaves, stems and even roots of plants, shrubs and grasses. The combination of these are burnt in fire and as soon as the smoke goes to the sky, the rain starts pouring,” the rainmaker and Geography graduate from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said the modern method uses a kind of stone called ‘crystal stone.’

He explained that modern technique affords practising rain makers a type of stone known as the crystal stone; emphasizing that “the stone is washed and as soon as the stone starts glazing, the sky starts changing and soon rain starts.” He added that the method is dangerous because it often attracts heavy thunderstorm.

Conclusion:
For every African and believer in African rain making, it is time to harness this mysticism by identifying those who make rain and engaging them positively for the sake of the continent, saving lives and creating more green environment where ordinarily it could be impossible in addition to the foreign exchange accruable from anticipated rain makers’ exploration.
This could mean even engaging rain makers like professors on sabbaticals and when their task is completed could return to their abodes.

+Remmy Nweke (ITRealms) 

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology