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Atiku’s Unrelenting Appeal to Emotion: A gambit doom to fail – by Femi Adesina

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President Buhari’s remarks at swearing-in of SGF, Ministers

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Feature : Empowering Jigawa rural women through Goats Breeding Scheme

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Features : Empowering Jigawa rural women through Goats Breeding Scheme, by Nabilu Balarabe, Nigeria News Agency

Feelers from beneficiaries of the Jigawa Goats Breeding Micro Finance Scheme, showed that the programme initiated in 2015 is a success story. Gov. Mohammad Badaru echoed it at a recent town hall meeting in Dutse.

He noted that the goats breeding scheme was the most successful micro credit scheme in the state, with 92 per cent retention and 79 per cent repayment level.

Badaru said that the objective of the scheme was to diversify the economy and reduce poverty among women.

“ Our state has one of the highest level of poverty especially amongst women and this is something we must stop.

“ The easiest and most effective way to alleviate poverty is through the goats multiplication programme which we borrowed from Bostwana and South Africa, where millions of women were removed out of poverty,” the governor said.

Available records showed that through the programme, the state had so far empowered over 8,428 rural women with 25,284 goats.

Testimonies from the beneficiaries indicated that through the scheme, the women were “ largely removed from poverty line and their living conditions enhanced.

Aisha Musa, one of the beneficiaries in Dunari village of Mallammadori Local Government Area, said she realised  27 goats from the three goats given to her.

“ What I do now is buying and selling of goats, whenever I sell, I buy small ones to replace.

“ Through this scheme, I can comfortably buy clothes, food and others basic needs for myself and my children,” she said.

Another beneficiary, Sadiya Madu, said through the scheme, she performed her first Eid-el-Kabir sacrifice, an important religious obligation in Islam.

“ I sacrificed one of my goats in 2018 Sallah; before then, my husband only slaughtered chicken during Sallah because of financial problems.

“ That is why I remain grateful to this government for supporting us with these goats,” she said.

A blind woman in Mallammadori town, Yagana Mohammad, said she was left with nine goats after she gave out three of the 12 goats she had to another women as required.

“ Out of the nine goats, I have decided to give out one goat to my guide and another one to my grandson as gifts.

“ The two of them have been very helpful and nice to me, and that is why I have always prayed to God to give me the opportunity to pay them back,” she said.

Falmata Adamu, a widow in Guri town, said she reared seven goats to complement his farming activities.

She said : “ My husband died and left me with a small farm in which I cultivate guinea corn.

“ After I lost the entire crop to the 2018 devastating flood, I had only my goats to fall back on.

“ Each time I need money, I will just sell one to meet my needs and replace it with a small one,” she said.

As a result of the success of the scheme, Jigawa Government plans to start the exportation of goats.

Alhaji Hamza Muhammad, Badaru’s Special Assistant on Community Service, said the state planned to start exporting goats to Saudi Arabia.

He also said that a committee had been set up to ensure that the goats’ loans were recovered and the multiplication output of the scheme marketed and sold at reasonable prices.

Muhammad said that each local government area received 660 goats which were distributed to 220 selected women, including the physically changed.

The official said that each beneficiary received one he-goat and two she-goats, and was expected to pay back with three goats in 18 months, so that other women could benefit.

He said the state chose goats because of economic value of goats and simplicity to rear.

Muhammad said feeding the goats was not a problem to the women who were mostly rural dwellers as grasses were in abundance in their villages.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the former Minister of Information and Culture, who commented on the scheme, said it was a model for other states to copy.

He spoke in November 2017, when he visited Jigawa on an official visit.

He said: “It is a very good initiative because goats produce twice a year, and most goats give birth to two or three kids.

“ So, this is a very good initiative and there is a need for other states to copy from Jigawa. (NANFeatures)

 

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FEATURE: Tackling endemicity of open defecation in Nigerian communities

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Tackling endemicity of open defecation in Nigerian communities, By Nana Musa, Nigeria News Agency

Open defecation is still very rampant in Efut Akaietta-Mbutu community, Calabar South Local Government Area of Cross River.

The residents whose main occupation is fishing defecate in the same river, the source of water supply for their domestic use.

“We defecate in the same river we fetch our drinking water, bath and also fish to earn our living because there is no standard place for defection in our community,” Mr. Kufre William, a fisherman said.

“Most times, people in our community go to the river to defecate, due to lack of adequate toilet facilities,” Enobong Ekong, a resident of the community echoed.

William and Ekong spoke during a field trip to the community organized by UNICEF.

William and Ekong attributed the prevalence of open defecation in the area to lack of toilet facilities.

They said that digging of pit latrine was very expensive because of the topography of the area.

William said: “We have appealed several times to the local and state governments to intervene, but we are yet to get help or get positive response from them.

“We know that as long as we use water from this river, it will affect our health, but we don’t have any alternative.

“To worsen the situation, there is no hospital or any medical center within our community; we pay N500 transport to the nearest general hospital.

“Many families do not have toilets; most of them indulge in open defecation when the need arises for them to respond to the call of nature.”

The traditional ruler of the community, His Highness Ndabo Eyamba, who spoke, appealed to the government to come to the assistance of the community.

“ Our people are facing a lot of challenges, the pit toilets we usually dig do not last up to six months before collapsing, because of the swampy nature of the environment.

` The people as a result of poverty cannot afford modern toilets with solid materials and proper sewage disposal facilities.’’

Eyambo lamented the absence of government’s presence in the community, pointing out that there is no public toilet, pipe borne water, good roads and hospitals in the community.

“ We do not have pipe borne water here, the few boreholes we have here are through community efforts and few individuals, making it difficult for many villagers to access potable water, we do not have clinics and hospitals for handling emergency situations when our people fall sick”, he said.

A community leader, Chief Ene Antigha, said that open defecation had impacted negatively on the health conditions of the residents.

He said that drinking water from unhygienic sources had contributed to cases of cholera, diarrhea, ringworm, among others recorded in the area.

According to him, the main challenges facing the community are lack of toilets, potable water, and good roads.

“Adults in the community defecate in the river and gutters; we are begging the government to come and look at how they can stop this, because of the bad water, diseases are rampant here.

“We do not have good source of potable water and as such, many lives are lost due to infection from water borne diseases.”

UNICEF Communication Specialist, Dr. Geoffrey Njoku, says open defecation portrays Nigeria in bad light before the international community.

“Nigeria loses about 1.3% (N455 billion) of GDP annually due to poor sanitation as a result of illness, low productivity, loss of learning opportunities, among others.

“More than 100,000 children under 5 years of age die each year due to diarrhea, of which 90 percent is directly attributable to unsafe water and sanitation.

“Nigeria is the second country with the highest children’s deaths due to diarrhea,” he said.

Mr Ibrahim Conteh, Chief Field Officer, UNICEF, Enugu, who also spoke, said that by 2030, Nigeria was expected to achieve adequate sanitation by paying attention to the needs of women and girls, as they are the most vulnerable to water borne disease infection.

According to him, when that is done, it will reduce the impact of open defecation on child development.

Conteh said: “1 in 4 children less than 5 years of age exhibit severe stunting, while 1 in 10 is wasted due to frequent episodes of diarrhea and other Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) related illnesses.”

According to available records, Nigeria ranks second among countries practicing open defecation globally.

The 2018 WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH NORM) survey showed that 24 percent of the population (47 million), still practice open defecation.

A survey carried out by UNICEF and other partners showed that only 13 out of the 774 local government areas in Nigeria have been certified Open Defecation Free (ODF).

Great effort is needed to ensure that Nigeria becomes Open Defecation Free by 25 and does not take over from India as the number one country practicing open defecation, as India was expected to be open defecation free by 2019.

The State of Emergency in WASH, declared by  President Muhammadu Buhari on November 2018, should be boosted through sustained support and commitment by all stakeholders.

All stakeholders should show commitment to the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet” campaign and enlighten Nigerians on the dangers of open defecation and the need to sustain the universal access to safely managed sanitation in the country.

With sustained enlightenment and massive provision of toilet facilities, Nigeria may realize its ambition of becoming open defecation free by 2025.

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FEATURE:Addressing threat of Emerging Infectious Diseases in Africa

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They said that strengthening the institutes would enable the countries mitigate infectious disease outbreaks caused by climate change and biological weapons.

They noted that the continent had continued to experience increased cases of Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs) like Ebola, Lassa Fever , Yellow Fever, Monkey Pox, Cholera, Bird Flu and Meningitis.

There also noted cases of drug-resistance diseases like Malaria, Tuberculosis and Bacterial pneumonias.

Available statistics indicate that infectious diseases are responsible for about one quarter of deaths worldwide, causing at least 10 million deaths annually, mainly in the tropical countries.

Experts say that public health plays a leading role in the areas of preparedness and planning to check outbreak of diseases.

In most situations, the public health system would be the first to detect cases and raise  alarm, it would also be at the front line throughout the response.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), echoed the need for African countries to combat emerging infectious diseases, through strong NPHIs.

Ihekweazu, who spoke at the conference with the theme: “Climate Change and Conflict: Implication for Emerging Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity in Africa,’’ stressed that Africa must mitigate the infectious disease outbreaks caused by climate change and biological weapons.

He stressed the need for a strong surveillance and response system managed by skilled public health experts.

Ihekweazu emphasised that African countries must demonstrate high level of preparedness to check disease outbreaks.

“Early detection through a sensitive surveillance system is required to know when and where the outbreak occurs to limit its spread.

“ Most importantly, a coordinated and rapid investigation is required to describe the outbreak and identify interventions,” Ihekweazu said.

Prof. Morenike Ukpong-Folayan, in her contribution, noted that Africa had continued to witness devastating consequences of infectious disease transmission such as the Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ukpong-Folayan, who is of the College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University,  said to understand and respond to infectious disease transmission dynamics, it would require collective efforts and deployment  of technological advances at Africa’s disposal.

She said the transmission patterns were needed for continuous investigation of those complex relationships so that the continent could effectively predict future disease outbreaks.

“The rapid degradation of our environment in the form of deforestation, climate change and accumulation of toxins in water tables and the atmosphere, coupled with rapidly expanding megacities is creating opportunities for EIDs and biosecurity threats in Africa,” she added.

Ukpong-Folayan noted that shrinking natural resources was creating human competition for water and grazing, leading to demographic conflicts.

Akin Abayomi, a Professor of Medicine and Health Science said that “ poor management of waste and unchecked use of chemicals have contributed to the rise of infectious diseases.’’

Abayomi who is the Principal Investigator for Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium, said:

“Whatever we do on the surface of the earth is reflected in the water table that ends up carrying pathogens and heavy metals that are harmful to the body.

“The pressure on water is enormous, when we look at the drying up of the Lake Chad, a source of livelihood for 350 million people in four countries – Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad, it has increased tension in the region.

“Wherever you have conflicts and insecurity, there is always the opportunity for biosecurity threats.”

Making reference to why Ebola spread rapidly in three countries– Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, he listed the reasons to include:

“Lack of human resources, economic and financial resources to cope.

“The inaccessibility of remote locations where the disease was on the rise.

“The inexperience of staff to handle the strange disease and the lack of specialised infrastructure for dangerous pathogens.’’

Mr Sunday Ishaku, an environmentalist said that infectious disease was a serious global health problem.

Ishaku said that epidemiological figures have shown that the burden of infectious disease was highest in Africa, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

He said preparedness was a subset of epidemic management, adding that epidemic preparedness constitutes all the activities that have to be undertaken from the national to the health facility levels to be ready to respond effectively to disease outbreaks.

Ishaku noted: “When all the activities are put together in a plan, then we have an epidemic preparedness and response plan.”

Dr Dotun Bobadoye, the Chief Operating Officer, Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium, said the impact of climate change and conflict in some parts of Africa should not be overlooked because of its huge impact on human beings, animals, crops and the environment.

“We should focus on combine impact of climate change and serious conflict that we are having in different parts of Africa on EIDs and biosecurity.

“Climate change is becoming a big challenge to Africa, especially with an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather event.

“We are experiencing drought in parts of the continent ; in Nigeria, desertification is moving southwards with 350 hectares lost to desertification annually.

“Lake Chad, which used to be a source of water supply to about 30 million people, is drying up and we have lost 90 per cent of its water content within the last three decades. “This is having a serious impact on biosecurity.

“With the loss of such huge water volume, we have rebel groups rising up and killing thousands of people.’’

Bobadoye disclosed that the consortium, through the help of the Canadian Government and the Lagos State Government, had begun the construction of a biological laboratory in Lagos, where sensitive biological materials would be kept from getting into the wrong hands.

“We are collaborating with Lagos State Government to build a biosecurity laboratory, where highly pathogenic biological materials will be kept so that they do not get to the wrong hands.

“ It is sited in Lagos State and donated by the Canadian Government, it will start operation soon,” Bobadoye said.

As suggested by experts, African countries should strengthen their public health institutes in order to beef up their  preparedness to check outbreak of diseases. (NANFeatures)

 

 

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MFM FC 2019/2020 Season: Before the bubble bursts after exodus of players, coach

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It is obvious that things are not taking the right shape with the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church-owned club, as it the looks ahead of the campaign in the coming season.

MFM gained promotion into the elite football league giving Lagos fans something to cheer about after about 15 years wait and desert of professional league absenteeism after the last Lagos-based club, Julius Berger exited in 2000.

It is pertinent to know that Lagos which had previously been the home of football in the past with no state to match its fanaticism when it comes to supporting clubs could be thrown into the obscurity of elite football for that long.

Lagos being a cosmopolitan city stands out in terms of facilities for football clubs to excel, especially its economic and social endowment which could be the reagent for any club to succeed.

Lagos also the commercial hub of the country is officially the most populated state after Kano and it boasts of four readily available stadia with unquantifiable opportunities for clubs.

Such facilities include the newly reconstructed Onikan Stadium, upgraded Agege Stadium, Teslim Balogun Stadium and abandoned National Stadium all in great standard.

In the past, Lagos enjoyed topflight football from elite clubs such as Stationery Stores founded in 1958 and Julius Berger founded in 1970. Both clubs had rich history in football in Nigeria.

For MFM FC, they have a hole to fill in the hearts of Lagos fans and in no distance time, they have already joined the powerhouse of dictators in the league and within their second year, they are already contesting for a continental slot.

MFM struggled and they were almost regulated save the last day miracle against a title chasing Ifeanyi Ubah, a team they had to beat to stay afloat.

It was a tough chase until Jos-based Plateau United needed to win on the last Match Day 38 after about 45 years of wait, thus turning from the last seasons zero to hero.

Besides all these feats, it is no news that MFM in the last two to three years has been selling the team’s regulars without replacing them with competent hands that could fill in their shoes.

Over the past few years, the club has suffered mass exodus of players who left in search of greener pastures, mostly because of what many will term as unfavourable club policy.

In the past years, notable players such as the wonder kid, Stephen Odey, who once rocked the elite league with his eye catching goals for MFM left for FC Zurich, Switzerland.

Odey’s time with MFM, witnessed a deadly combination of the attacking duo of Sikiru Olatunbosun and Chukwuka Onuwa; the attacking trio got the team a continental slot for Nigeria back then.

However, last year’s transfer window saw the former BBC’s “Goal of the Month” recipient, Sikiru Olatunbosun, leave the club for league winners, Plateau United, while the mercurial midfielder, Chukwuka Onuwa ran to the arms of Enyimba International FC of Aba.

The mass exodus continued unabated as regular players such as Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Ospino Egbe left for Lobi Stars, Tchato Giscard, Jesse Akilla, Monsuru Bahiru, Adebayo Waheed and Wilfred Ammeh all left the club in the wild.

Things also continued in the downward spiral at the current transfer window as MFM’s longest serving captain, Austin Opara, joined the league of transferred players to Enyimba FC of Aba to pair with right full back Stanley Okorom.

Before Opara’s departure, the quartet of striker, Tunde Abisoye, highest goal scorer for last the team, Chijoke Akuneto, wing back, Julius Emiloju, and Jonathan Zikiye had all left for Sunshine Stars FC of Akure.

For Opara who is seen by many as a cult figure in the team, his departure is a misnomer because he was regarded as the Minister of Defence in the team; he is an exceptional leader with rare qualities.

As the purge continued, maybe the final straw that broke the camels back was the decision of the team’s coach Fidelis Ilechukwu to leave the house that he had helped to build and sustain for 13 years.

Ilechukwu was last week Wednesday unveiled as the Technical Adviser of Heartland FC of Owerri on a three-year contract.

Many followers of the Olukoya Boys were stunned with the decision of Ilechukwu to leave the club; albeit they also saw it coming.

It is an open secret that Ilechukwu who earned his name as a “Special One”, a name adopted by the former Manchester United Coach, Jose Mourinho because of his exceptional performance as a coach was the brain behind MFM’s years of unprecedented successes.

Under Ilechukwu, even the big team quivers, whenever they were to face the team, within a short period, the Olukoya Boys had become one of the most feared clubsides.

Ilechukwu nurtured the team right from the foundation 13 years ago from the Nigeria Nationwide League to the professional league.

Without doubt, MFM has been decimated and with the transfer window about to be shut and the club not making any buy from the available players, what fate lies ahead for it in the professional league campaign?

Pundits have argued that MFM lacks a professional football club outlook which is true because the players transfer policy suggests a lopsided one.

For Ilechukwu, he did not mince words in condemning the players transfer policy adopted by the club and often had taken time to take a swipe at them even in the face of the camera.

Ilechukwu, after he got the continental ticket, lambasted his club hierarchy for failing to employ the services of experienced players to play the continental football; the money-spinning CAF Champions League.

The decision of the club not to shore up the squad for CAF Champions League later backfired as the team struggled in the competition by suffering elimination in the preliminary stage.

To make the matter worse, the club was alleged to be selling players at reasonable prices without making any effort at replacing the departed legs.

Some who commented of MFM’s present debacle, however, did not mince word as they came harsh on the club for slipping into dangerous zone leaving them in distraught.

An ardent MFM FC fan, Sunday Agunbiade, told the Nigeria News Agency that things were not looking good for the Church Boys this season, adding that they might be toying with a relegation battle.

“I don’t know how they want to do it after selling most of their active squad members to rival clubs without buying replacements.

“I am sure MFM will struggle when the season starts because I don’t see any miracle ahead that can save the impending danger.

“The club is not run like a professionally at all, it should be run like one.

“This is the problem Nigeria’s football clubs have been facing because they don’t have professional football club outlook, he said.

An analyst and sports writer, Afolabi Oni, said that MFM was guilty of unprofessional conduct in the affairs of its football administration, adding that the club’s transfer policy was not friendly.

“When you have a club that holds such policy administratively, what do you expect? MFM is not run like a football club at all.

“Maybe we should not expect anything from them this season because players are not magicians,” he said.

However, to assuage the tension in the air, the Media Officer of MFM, Olawale Quadri, equally told NAN that the fans should refrain from the panic button.

“The fans should be patient with the team as we are trying to sort things out and we are ready to make our fans happy as usual.

“There is no need to panic yet because the club will engage the services of best hands to manage the team,” he said.

Recently, the Olukoya Boys announced a new gaffer to continue from where the now dubbed “Working One’’ in person of Temitope Bolus, former Coach of Giwa FC of Jos, who is acclaimed to be a grassroots coach.

Bolus was a former assistant to Imama Amakpakabo in Rangers International FC of Enugu, and has been touted to have capacity to carry on with the legacy Ilechukwu left behind.

In all these, the question on the lips of many fans now is “Will MFM FC join the league of great teams that have done Lagos State proud but went into oblivion?

The examples are rife with former great teams such as ECN of Lagos (NEPA), Julius Berger, Stationery Stores and recently Ikorodu United but now almost unseen.

What future lies ahead of MFM, the season opener at the tentative date of Sept. 2 will decide what will happen.

Will it be a doomsday or a glorious one, time will tell.

KOJE/PDE

(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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