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Cleric advises Nigerians to utilise advantages of border closure

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Cleric advises Nigerians to utilise advantages of border closure

A Cleric, Christopher Qwolabi, on Friday, advised Nigerians, especially youths, to utilise the advantages of the nation’s border closure to be self-productive and reliant.


Owolabi, the General Overseer, Christ Apostolic Church, Ori-Oke Irapada, Omu-Aran, gave the advice during the church’s special service tagged: “Toward a Prosperous 2020 and Beyond”, in Omu-Aran, Kwara.

He said the closing of the nation’s borders to curb banditry, insurgency, incessant dumping of contraband, fake and contaminated drugs, was long overdue.

According to him, the border closure no doubt has started yielding fruitful results and very glaring for the citizens to see.

“There are many things that are being imported that can be produced in large quantity locally.

“It’s an insult on our integrity and intelligence to continue to import toothpicks, food items, furniture products with our array of expertise and intellectual capacity.

“Production of local rice has increased and the commodity has flooded major markets across the length and breadth of the country.

“Patronage of other locally-produced items like beans, cassava, semovita, poultry products have also soared following the closure of the borders.

“It’s high time Nigerians, particularly the youth, utilise this positive development to engage in different aspects of agriculture for their own benefit and advantage.

“With the present high rate of unemployment and non-availability of white collar jobs, the closure of borders is, therefore, a veritable alternative for the youth to be self-productive,” he said.

Owolabi also urged practitioners of traditional medicine to come together and come up with locally-produced effective and well-packaged therapy for common ailments.

According to him, this will be a good replacement for such therapy being imported from neighbouring African countries.

“Alomo Bitters from Ghana is a good example of such highly -preferred imported stuffs being consumed by Nigerians.

“Our practitioners can also come up with such therapy for mass production and local consumption after necessary certification by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

“Our neighbours are just taking advantage of our large population and turned the country to a dumping ground for their products.

“Their recent reactions to the border closure have shown that Nigeria is a big market in the continent, especially in the ECOWAS sub-region.

“With the right attitude, conducive environment, most  essential needs of the citizens can sufficiently be produced locally,” he said.

Owolabi urged parents, community leaders and religious leaders to always use their parental ability, counselling and preaching to sensitise the youths on the need to be self-productive.

Edited by: Angela Okisor/Adeleye Ajayi

(NAN)

 

Yinusa Ishola: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

COVID-19

COVID-19: Nigeria donates PPEs worth N67m to Sao Tome and Principe

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The Federal Government has donated N67 million worth of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to aid the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic in Sao Tome and Principe.


The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed this on Monday during a briefing by the PTF in Abuja.

“I am happy to inform you that as ECOWAS champion in the containment of COVID-19 in the West African sub-region, Mr President made a donation of 67 million worth of PPEs and medical supplies to the government and people of Sao Tome and Principe,” Mustapha said.

The SGF said that the donation followed a request by the government of Sao Tome, seeking aid to help the country effectively manage the pandemic which was ravaging the world.

He said that medical equipment donated includes units of test kits, extraction kits, infrared thermometers, and other items of personal protective equipment to treat and test thousands in Sao Tome and Principe.

Meanwhile, the PTF Chairman appreciated the group of COVID-19 survivors that have added their voices to the campaign against stigmatization and urged others  to always remember that COVID-19 was not a death sentence, stressing that “Nigerians need to support  one another.

“Most importantly, let’s wear our masks properly, stay at home, especially for those above 60 years, maintain social distancing and continue to take personal responsibility while we encourage others to do same,” he said.

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Foreign

Nigeria contributed $1.17bn to ECOWAS in 16 years

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Nigeria has paid more than 1,177 billion dollars to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as its Community Levy contribution in the last 16 years.


According to documents from a presentation by the ECOWAS Commission to Parliament at Plenary during its Virtual Second Extraordinary Session, Nigeria paid 853,310,564 UA (West Africa Unit of Account) for the period under review.

The West African Unit of Account (WAUA) is the authorised currency used in ECOWAS. The exchange rate for July obtained from ECOWAS shows that one Unit of Account equals 1.3799633 dollars.

Nigeria’s payment represents 40.42 per cent of the total payment of 2,913,088,908 dollars payment made by all the 15 member states, and is higher than payments made by 12 other countries put together except Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

Ghana paid about 508,577 million dollars, Cote d’Ivoire 347,262 million dollars, while Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo paid a total of 879,711 million dollars.

Ghana’s payment represents 17.45 per cent of the total sum, Cote d’Ivoire 11.9 per cent, while the cumulative payment by the other 12 countries represents 30.1 per cent.

Within the period under review, Guinea Bissau paid the lowest amount of 6, 204 million dollars, representing 0.2 per cent of total community levy proceeds in the 16 years under review.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Community levy was adopted in 1996 by the Authority of Heads of State as the major funding for ECOWAS after the initial contribution regime seemed ineffective.

However, the Community Levy Protocol took effect in 2003 when all member states started its application.

The protocol stipulates that the taxable base shall be all goods originating from third countries (non-ECOWAS countries) imported into the community.

Also in the presentation to Parliament, there were certain exemptions to the tax on imported goods. These included aids and grants to support development projects and goods imported under a financial agreement with foreign partners.

A further look into the community levy data showed that many countries were yet to pay the total sum from their community levy assessments.

Based on the assessment, if all countries had paid in full, the sub-regional body would have gotten more than 3,710 billion dollars as against the 2,913 billion dollars paid, leaving a deficit of 797,215 million dollars.

Based on this assessment, Nigeria had paid 64 per cent of its payments, leaving an outstanding of 36 per cent.

Going by the above, if all countries had paid their complete levy, Nigeria alone would have paid more than 1,842 billion dollars, representing 49.64 per cent of the total Community Levy accrueable to ECOWAS.

Edited By: Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Health

Kaduna health facilities engage in promoting breast milk substitute –Report

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Save the Children International (SCI), an NGO, has alleged that some health facilities in Kaduna state are engaged in promoting infant formula also known as Breast Milk Substitute (BMS).


SCI stated this in a report entitled, “Periodic Monitoring and Reporting of Health Facilities Compliance on BMS Code and Nutrition Services in Kauru and Soba Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Kaduna State”.

According to the report made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Kaduna on Wednesday the practice contravened the International Code of marketing BMS.

The NGO said that the practice was also against the Nigeria’s Marketing of Infant and Young Children Food (IYCF) and other Designated Products Regulations 2019.

It explained that the BMS Code and the Nigeria’s IYCF marketing regulations were designed to end inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children.

SCI stressed that exclusive breastfeeding and adequate complementary feeding remained the healthiest, safest and nutritious feeding practices for infant and young children as against BMS.

“The Code and the IYCF marketing regulations directed manufacturers and markers of BMS not to provide free products or samples of BMS to families through health workers or health facilities.

“They also warned against donation, acceptance or distribution of equipment or services to health facilities; gifts or incentives to health care staff as well as use of health facilities to host events, contests, or marketing.

“The MBS Code and IYCF marketing regulation equally warned against creating awareness directly or indirectly to parents and caregivers, on infant formula in health facilities by BMS manufacturing companies.

“But in spite of these provisions, health facilities in Kaduna state have continued to be used as a major conduit for promoting BMS products,” SCI said.

According to the NGO, a recent survey indicates that pregnant women who visits health centres in Kauru and Soba LGAs were being asked to feed their babies with infant formula by health workers.

“A mother of a one-and-half-year-old baby interviewed at one of the rural health facilities in Soba LGA, said that she was asked by a doctor to feed her newborn with `NAN’ Milk.

“Another mother of a four-month old baby, a midwife at a health centre in Maigana, Soba LGA, said that all her children were fed with infant formula, including her newborn baby.

“All the mothers interviewed said that they had no idea about BMS Code or Nigeria’s IYCF marketing regulation on promotion of BMS.

“Similarly, a female health worker in one of the rural hospitals in Kauru LGA acknowledged that she had been recommending BMS for baby whose mother had complications during delivery or had multiple newborn babies.”

SCI added that three health professionals in some of the facilities equally admitted that they had attended a health professional conference in Kaduna that was supported by a company that sells baby foods.

It said that a health worker was equally found using a BMS promotional material donated by one of the BMS producing company.

SCI said that of the 16 health workers interviewed in the two LGAs, none had ever heard about the BMS Code and the Nigeria’s IYCF marketing regulations.

“There is, therefore, the need for the state Ministry of Health and the State Primary Health Care Development Agency to provide mothers with vital information on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Feeding practices.

NAFDAC should also extend its monitoring exercise to rural health facilities in the state, to ensure compliance on the BMS Code and Nigerian IYCF regulation.

“The state, LGAs, NAFDAC and development partners should also integrate BMS Code and the IYCF regulations into routine workshops, seminars, and sensitisation meetings being organised for health workers.

“This will enlighten the health workers on their roles in promoting compliance of BMS Code and IYCF regulations,” the NGO said.

Edited By: Johnson Eyiangho/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Foreign

UN Security Council voices concern over political unrest in Mali

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The Security Council on Monday expressed deep concern over the latest political tensions in Mali and called for restraint.


In “press elements” released after a closed video teleconference on the situation in Mali, the members of the Security Council expressed their strong support for the mediation efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and took note of the recommendations endorsed by ECOWAS heads of state at Monday’s extraordinary summit.

They urged the Malian parties to act on these recommendations without delay in order to resolve the tensions, to prioritize dialogue, and to refrain from any action likely to fuel further tensions and threaten the rule of law, according to the press elements read out in a virtual press encounter by Christoph Heusgen, the German UN ambassador, whose country holds the Security Council presidency for the month of July.

Mali has been in political turmoil since June 5, when massive protests first erupted in the capital city of Bamako. A coalition of opposition and civil society groups are calling for the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

The situation dramatically escalated when at least 11 protestors were killed and 150 people injured in Bamako between July 10 and 12.

(XINHUA)

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