As the world commemorates the International Day for Persons Living with Disabilities on Tuesday, an NGO, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), has described corruption as the major cause of poverty in Nigeria.
Mr David Anyaele, the CCD Executive Director, made the assertion on Tuesday at a symposium to commemorate the 2019 Disability Awareness Week/International Day for Persons with Disabilities in Lagos.
Anyaele called on persons with disabilities to participate in the current administration’s fight against corruption in Nigeria.
Theme for the Week is: “The Way Forward: Nigeria Disability Act as a Panacea to Corruption as it Relate to Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria.’’
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the International Day for Persons with Disabilities is marked annually on Dec. 3.
Speaking with NAN, Anyaele said that PWDs participation in the fight against corruption would reduce the incidence of poverty, because disability causes poverty and vice versa.
“The incidence of disability will reduce as some state institutions are using people with disabilities to misappropriate funds that are meant for PWDs.
“What that means is that, by reasons of not utilising what has been earmarked in the budget, they have succeeded in increasing their poverty, and other chances of getting more disability in their life.
“That is why persons with disabilities have to take the issue of corruption and fight against corruption very seriously.’’
Anyaele said that there was urgent need to institute the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities.
According to him, the none constitution of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities is increasing incidence of disability in the community.
“The reason is because persons with disabilities need government to implement the Disability Act and non implementation of the Act predisposes people with disabilities to negative impact of corruption.
“The implication is that resources that are ordinarily supposed to be used to support them will not be used because there is no commission or Board of Commission to take care of it.
“I want to use this opportunity to call on people in power to take appropriate steps to constitute the board to reduce the hardship of people living with disabilities in this country,’’ he said.
Similarly, the CCD Executive Director also called on the Lagos State Government to constitute a board for the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA).
“The LASODA Board expired with the last administration and it is important to constitute a board and appoint competent persons to head the establishment.
“The none constitution of LASODA Board is hindering the administrative activities of the agency; they cannot take any policy decisions or actions around people with disability in the state.
“It means that people with disabilities are not benefitting in the administration of this government,’’ Anyaele said.
Earlier at a panel session, the EFCC Assistant Director (Legal), Lagos State Office, Mr Kabir Elelu, commended the CCD for its efforts geared toward the enactment of the Disability Act 2018 of PWDs.
Elelu also said there was an urgent need for the establishment of the commission.
According to him, it is the body saddled with the implementation and overseeing the achievement of the act.
In his keynote address, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State, Moyosore Onigbanjo, said that disability was also a cause and consequence of poverty.
He said that causes of disability include trauma, genetic disorder, malnutrition, environmental hazards, natural disasters, traffic and industrial accidents, civil conflict and war.
Onigbanjo, represented by Ms Biola Oseni, Director, Citizens Right, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, said that PWDS deserve special attention.
“This is to enable them to participate in the mainstream of development and lead a life with dignity and self-esteem.
“People are disabled by society, not just by their bodies; these barriers can be overcome, if governments, NGOs, professionals and PWDs and their families work together.
“PWDs are not heroes, they are not victims; there is a thin line between ability and disability.
“An individual can be able-bodied today and disabled tomorrow; therefore, the issue of inclusion and protection of PWDs involves all and sundry,’’ he said.
Edited & Vetted By: Olagoke Olatoye
School feeding programme gulps over N500m during Lockdown – Minister
The Federal Government expended about N523.3 million on school feeding programme during the lockdown against the coronavirus pandemic.
Farouk made the revelation against the rumours and speculations going around one of our key interventions of the government – the Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
She said that the programmed was modified and implemented in three states following a March 29th, Presidential directive.
“It is critical at this juncture to provide details that will help puncture the tissue of lies being peddled in the public space.
“The provision of ‘Take Home Rations’, under the modified Home Grown School Feeding programme, was not a sole initiative of the MHADMSD.
“The ministry, in obeying the Presidential directive, went into consultations with state governments through the state Governor’s Forum, following which it was resolved that ‘take-home rations’, remained the most viable option for feeding children during the lockdown.
“So, it was a joint resolution of the ministry and the state governments to give out take-home rations.
“The stakeholders also resolved that we would start with the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states, as pilot cases,’’ the minister said.
According to her, each takes home ration was valued at N4,200 and that the figure was arrived at with proper consultation.
“So, each household is assumed to have three children.
“Based on the original design of the Home Grown School Feeding programme, long before it was domiciled in the ministry, every child on the programme receives a meal a day.
“The meal costs N70 per child.
“When you take 20 school days per month, it means a child eats food worth N1,400 per month.
“Three children would then eat food worth N4,200 per month and that was how we arrived at the cost of the ‘take-home ration’.
“The agreement was that the federal government will provide the funding while the states will implement.
“To ensure transparency in the process, we partnered with the World Food Programme (WFP) as technical partners.’’
“TrackaNG monitored and gave daily updates validating the programme.
“In the FCT, 29,609 households were impacted, 37,589 households in Lagos and 60,391 in Ogun, making a total of 124,589 households impacted between May 14, and July 6.
“If 124,589 households received take-home rations valued at N4,200, the amount will be N523,273,800.
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Stakeholders highlight advantages of exclusive breastfeeding
Health experts and other stakeholders on Monday, urged Nigerian mothers to practise a minimum of six months exclusive breastfeeding of infants to enable them to grow into strong and healthy adults.
Alive and Thrive is a global nutrition initiative to save lives, prevent illness and ensure healthy growth and development through improved maternal nutrition, breastfeeding and complementary feeding practice.
He said that there was the need for countries to promote exclusive and optimal breastfeeding as a way of protecting the planet.
“It is a great pleasure for the Gates Foundation, working with the government of Nigeria, to support, protect and promote breastfeeding in Nigeria as part of the commemoration of the WBW.
“Two things are remarkable and noteworthy about this year’s celebration. The first is the theme that is connected to sustainable development.
Ajieroh said that the present rate of exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria stood at 29 per cent, and expressed optimism that achieving the target of 50 per cent by 2025 was feasible.
He said that the theme of the 2020 commemoration “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet,’’ was relevant in highlighting those global challenges.
“The theme, “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet’’ is remarkable because it is coming at a time when the world faces two major challenges, climate change and the VOVID-19 pandemic.
“It shows the important role breastfeeding can play in solving these global challenges .
“It is cheering to note that Nigeria has made steady progress in exclusive breastfeeding, having moved from 17 per cent to 29 per cent in the last few years.
“The 50 per cent target for 2025 is achievable,’’ he said.
The Director of Family Health at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Salma Anas-Kolo, said that women that exclusively breastfed their children were contributing to a healthy environment.
She said that exclusive breastfeeding of infants for the first six months played a major role in raising a crop of intelligent youths that would provide purposeful leadership in future.
Anas-Kolo called on all women and men to continue to support and promote exclusive breastfeeding through advocacy and sensitisation.
Dr Uche Ralph-Opara of Alive and Thrive said that the organisation had, in the last few years, supported some states in Nigeria through survey to establish the status of exclusive breastfeeding.
She said that findings showed that many mothers believed that due to hot weather, their infants needed to supplement breast milk with some quantity of water.
“The breast milk contains 80 per cent water, so the infants can get all the water they require at any point in time from breast milk,’’ she said.
The webinar drew participants from the academia, NGOs, government and other stakeholders.
WBW is a global campaign to raise awareness and galvanise action on themes related to breastfeeding.
It is celebrated between August 1 and August 7 every year in commemoration of the 1990 Innocent Declaration.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ejike Obeta (NAN)
Eid-el-Kabir -NGO distributes palliatives to FCT residents
Ms Modupe Olatobosun, Head of the foundation told the News Agency of Nigeria during the distribution that the gesture was to put smile on faces of the needy.
Olatobosun said the foundation felt that as Muslims celebrated the Eid-el-Kabir, there could be people that would not have anything to eat, so it decided to reach out to them.
“We can not feed the whole nation but we are giving the little we can to sustain them in this festive period.
“We are also appealing to other well meaning Nigerians to reach out to those who are unable to feed, no matter how little,”she said.
Olatobosun said that so far, the foundation had reached out to 18 communities in the FCT and planned to visit other states soon.
She said that the foundation’s gesture was in three stages – empowerment, education where they give out scholarship and humanitarian services.
Some of the beneficiaries told NAN that they were grateful for the gesture as it would go a long way to ease their suffering.
Mr Samuel Luka, a beneficiary thanked the foundation, noting that efforts to reach out to them on such special day was impressive.
Luka appealed to the government and other Nigerians to do same by reaching out to the poor.
Also, Mrs Helen Eze, another beneficiary thanked the foundation for reaching out to them as the palliative would assist in feeding her family.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)
Group pledges to support law enforcement agencies in fight against trafficking
Mr Rafael-Rios Molina, Team leader of A-TIPSOM Nigeria, gave the pledged in a statement on Thursday in Abuja to mark the 2020 International Day for World Human Trafficking Day.
Molina said that the group would support the law enforcement agencies as first responders in the fight against human trafficking, which include the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons.
He also said the group would support other agencies like the Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Police Force and Civil Society Organisations to intensify the fight against trafficking of women and children.
According to him, human trafficking leaves no country untouched as it affects most parts of the world today particularly women, girls, children and youth, hence the need to give the support.
“It has made the fight against human trafficking more difficult, putting victims at greater risk of exploitation.
“The role of first responders in identifying, supporting, counseling, and seeking justice for victims is paramount in tackling human trafficking especially during this difficult times,” he said.
Molina, however, said that the first responders were great anti-human trafficking soldiers as they were sacrificing a lot to protect the vulnerable.
He therefore, said that there was urgent need to equip and support the people who were at the frontline of fighting the menace.
He also said that there was need to increase and improve their services while they also protect themselves from COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that, the organization was providing support to these government agencies to intensify the fight against trafficking.
The team leader also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has uttered the way the first responders work and that the group has continued to support them with palliatives to assist their work in providing quality services to trafficked persons.
“A-TIPSOM believes that a global problem like trafficking in persons needs a global solution, and first responders need to be equipped.
“For that goal, we will keep working together with key stakeholders and partners to support first responders, and increasing awareness on trafficking in persons,’’ he said.
He called on relevant stakeholders, private sectors, community groups and individuals to work together in the fight against the heinous crime of human trafficking.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the 2020 World Human Trafficking Day falls on July 30.
Edited By: Joan Nwagwu/Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)