Connect with us

Agriculture

Foster peace, harmony amongst your subjects, LASG urges Monarch

Harmony
By Raji Rasak
Badagry (Lagos State), Jan. 26, 2019 (NNN) The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Idiat Adebule, has urged Oba Oyekanmi Ajose, the Alapa of Apa Kingdom, near Badagry, to foster peace and harmony amongst his subjects.

Published

on

 

Harmony
By Raji Rasak
Badagry (Lagos State), Jan. 26, 2019 (NNN) The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Idiat Adebule, has urged Oba Oyekanmi Ajose, the Alapa of Apa Kingdom, near Badagry, to foster peace and harmony amongst his subjects.

Adebule gave the advice at the 10th Year Coronation Anniversary of the monarch on Saturday in Apa Town, Lagos.

The deputy governor encouraged the traditional ruler to continue to complement the efforts of the state government to ensure a safe society for all citizens.

“You should also continue to assist the government to maintain peace in your domain, because governance is a collective responsibility, particularly during a democratic dispensation.

“Apa Kingdom is one of the most peaceful communities in the state, with the increasing population and growth of other ethnic groups who have come to seek economic opportunities.

” The town has been so accommodating and hospitable to all and sundry because of the leadership role of our king,” she said.

Adebule, represented by Mrs Anike Adekanye, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, District V, also urged residents of Apa Town to continue to discharge their civic responsibilities.

“Please keep your environment clean, obey the law of the land and cooperate with his Royal Majesty in order to sustain the peaceful coexistence that Apa Kingdom is known for.

“I assure you that our administration led by our amiable Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode will not relent in providing able leadership.

“He will continue to execute programme of actions to better the lots of our citizens,” she said.

Also, Mr Babatunde Hunpe, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Environment, promised that all ongoing projects in the town would be completed by the coming APC-led government.

Hunpe, who is the APC candidate for the House of Representatives in the general elections, urged the residents to cast their votes for APC candidates.

Joseph Gbenu, the Executive Chairman, Badagry West, Local Council Development Area, said, “It is no doubt that our royal fathers are the true custodian of our history, traditions and cultural heritage.

Gbenu said that the reign of the king had brought peace, tranquility, harmony, transparency and justice to Apa Kingdom in particular and Badagry West in general.

Responding, the Alapa appealed to the state government to release the acquired land and properties in the area for the needed infrastructure and physical development of the area.

According to the monarch, we have suffered enough on this and the government should have compassion on us.

“Apa Kingdom has not made any significant progress in the areas of infrastructure development.

” Our towns and villages are not supplied with portable drinking water, roads, electricity and have no access to other basic amenities and services,” said the monarch. (NNN)
ROR/AOS/GOK
==========
Edited by Bayo Sekoni/Olagoke Olatoye

Foreign

Feature: Israel’s effort in digital diplomacy fosters new connections, reaching audiences in hostile countries

Published

on

By

Top Israeli foreign ministry officials say that increasing efforts in social media targeting countries and audiences usually hostile to the Jewish state are increasingly bearing fruit.

In a video briefing held on Wednesday by officials from the digital diplomacy department at the ministry, they described the efforts being made and the results they are increasingly seeing. The online platforms allow direct contact with citizens of neighboring countries which Israel does not have diplomatic relations with.

“Digital activities have become a core activity of the ministry,” said Yiftah Curiel, head of digital diplomacy department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The department was formed in 2011, when it was becoming increasingly evident that what was once a side task for a diplomat, online activity is now a major part of the job. Upon beginning their training, ministry cadets are immediately instructed to open and actively maintain Twitter accounts.

The office operates five channels on the different online platforms in six languages with 80 accounts in total, all run by 25 staffers. According to the officials, they reach 12 million people every week through the various outlets.

One of the concerted efforts undertaken by the ministry is the maintenance of a Persian language Instagram account targeted at bringing in Iranian audiences. Instagram is the only social media platform not banned in Iran. There is a concerted effort by diplomats to establish direct contact with Iranian citizens. The account has half a million followers, a milestone that was celebrated by the ministry earlier this week.

“Our goal is not only to interact directly but also try to break stereotypes about Israel,” said Mr. Yonathan Gonen, director of New Media in Arabic at the Israeli foreign ministry.

There have also been several online exchanges between Israeli and Iranian officials, the only arena in which the two interact.

Gonen and his staff also operate two virtual embassies, one for Iraq and one for the Gulf states. According to him, people are interested in the cultural and hi-tech scenes in Israel. The majority of comments on those pages are positive, Gonen said.

The pages focus on “mutual interests and common values,” with short movies being posted frequently. The recent hot topic is the global fight against the spread of COVID-19, which has further highlighted the commonalities between countries.

According to ministry data, the number of followers on all platforms combined doubles every year. Polls conducted by the department annually demonstrate changes in public opinion towards Israel. They have seen improvement especially in Gulf states and in Iraq, with a slight improvement in attitudes in northern African countries.

“It’s not always about numbers though. People tell us in comments that they have changed their mind. This is a sign of success,” said Gonen. But, he says, the change cannot be only attributed to social media activism. Other changes in the Arab world in recent years have also shifted opinions.

While the pages attract many positive responses, the officials acknowledge there are still many negative comments on the pages. They try to answer as many as possible, both favorable and the less sympathetic ones.

“It will take some years, perhaps not generations, before we see more positive than negative comments,” he added.

However, according to the ministry, the change is significant and must not be underestimated.

“Israel is no longer seen as the big problem for their local issues. This is a big change we see,” he said at the briefing, “We hope that we are planting the seeds for the future.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Economy

AfDB reduces poverty, fosters inclusive growth in Africa after transformative action

Published

on

The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it has delivered on its goals of reducing poverty and fostering inclusive growth on the continent.

The bank made the assertion on Tuesday in a document released as part of 2020 Annual Meetings Series by its Communications and External Relations Department.

The AfDB Annual Meetings is scheduled to take place in August at Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

The bank explained that it had scaled up development support for its 54 regional member countries and recorded remarkable successes in recent years in its renewed push to help deliver life-changing impact to livelihoods.

It stated that for the past five decades, the AfDB Group had been at the forefront of driving Africa’s economic transformation, leveraging its diverse resources and unique know-how as an indigenous development finance institution.

According to AfDB, in overall, the Bank’s investments have benefited millions of Africans through its 10-year strategy which it began implementing from 2013.

On landmark general capital increase, the bank noted that at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting in October 2019 in Abidjan, Governors of the Bank, representing shareholders from 80 countries, approved a landmark 115 billion dollars increase in capital for the continent’s foremost financial institution.

It said the increase was the largest in the history of the Bank since its establishment in 1964, more than doubled its capital from 93 billion dollars to 208 billion dollars.

The AfDB noted that this solidified the Bank’s leadership in development financing for the continent.

In December 2019, donors announced a remarkable 7.6 billion dollars to replenish the African Development Fund (ADF).

“The replenishment represented a 35 per cent increase in financing for low-income African countries at the end of the 15th replenishment of the African Development Fund, the concessional window of the Bank Group.

The ADF contributes to poverty reduction and economic and social development in the 38 least developed African countries by providing concessional funding for projects and programmes, as well as technical assistance for studies and capacity-building activities.

“In resource mobilization for Women-Owned Businesses at G7 summit, at the G7 summit of world leaders in Biarritz, France, in August 2019.

At summit, the President of the Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, successfully inaugurated a global campaign of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) to mobilize three billion dollars for women entrepreneurs in Africa, with strong support and resources from G7 leaders and nations.

During the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron announced France’s contribution of 135 million dollars to the AFAWA initiative to encourage women’s access to funding in Africa. The amount represents more than half the financial support of 251 million dollars promised by the G7 governments.

Also in 2019 Africa Investment Forum (AIF), following a highly successful inaugural event, the Bank secured more than 40 billion dollars worth of investment interest in less than 72 hours at the second edition of the Africa Investment Forum held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Forum, Africa’s largest marketplace for mobilizing capital, featured 56 boardroom deals valued at 67.6 billion dollars– a 44 per cent increase from the 2018 debut” it explained.

The bank disclosed that in transparent institution, the AfDB was ranked 4th globally in transparency among 45 multilateral and bilateral institutions by Publish What You Fund, an outfit that consisted 19 developed economies.


Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

Continue Reading

Features

Shuaibu Ibrahim: Fostering new reforms in the NYSC

Published

on

Shuaibu Ibrahim: Fostering new reforms in the NYSC

, News Agency of Nigeria
The National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) established on May 22, 1973 has served as a platform for national cohesion and offered young Nigerians opportunity to know and appreciate Nigeria’s diversities.

There is usually a lot of anticipation for youths preparing to participate in the one-year voluntary service, which offers many a first-time opportunity to leave home to confront the world.

Over time, the scheme has faced numerous challenges, which have led many to query its continued existence.

Among the challenges are decayed infrastructure, poor funding, crisis of deployment, lack of engagement during the service period and low expectations after service against the background of shrinking job opportunities.

All of these and more have compelled the managers of the scheme to introduce reforms to enable it deliver on its mandate of preparing Nigeria’s tertiary education young graduates for the world of work.

When Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, the Director-General of NYSC, was appointed on May, 10, 2019, he faced challenges that his predecessors had to deal with and more. The first challenge was the issue of mobilisation of unqualified persons with fake or questionable degree certificates.

First, he identified the sources of such certificates and convened a meeting with the registrars of some African Corps Producing Institutions to decide on strategies to deal with the problem. The meeting revealed that many of those with fake credentials were graduates of illegal institutions, mostly in the West African sub-region.

Sixty-five fake prospective NYSC members were apprehended during the 2019 Batch ‘B’ Stream Two Orientation Course and handed over to the security agencies for prosecution. Similarly, out of over 20,000 foreign-trained prospective corps members invited for verification of the documents they uploaded for the 2019 Batch ‘C’ mobilisation, only 3,321 appeared for the exercise.

Prior to the screening, Ibrahim had warned persons with dubious intentions of compromising the integrity of the NYSC mobilisation process to stay away to avoid the consequences.

“Under my watch, no unqualified person will be allowed to participate in the NYSC,” he warned.

As a way of boosting its funding base, NYSC over the years established projects but many of them remained inactive and instead drained the resources of the scheme. Determined to realise the goals of such projects, the Ibrahim-led management reinvigorated NYSC Ventures and Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development programme to improve the resources of the scheme and give corps members opportunity to harness their innate abilities.

The goals led to increased stakeholders’ involvement in the implementation of the programme through engagements with many existing collaborating partners and potential partners.

The effort has made some gains, including the collaboration with Unity Bank PLC on funding of Business Plan Development programmes for NYSC members, partnership. It also led to collaboration with British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation for empowerment of corps members with agricultural skills and business trainings, farm internship, mentoring and farm input supplies.

Also, there is a research-based collaboration between NYSC and National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM), OAU, Ile-Ife, (OAUNACETEM) sponsored by a Canadian agency, International Development Research Centre, which seeks to evaluate the impact of the Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development programme with a view to reinvigorating it for more results.

The Ibrahim Administration, determined to improve the financial base of NYSC, sought alternative ways of realising the goal by accelerating the upgrading and repositioning of NYSC Ventures initiatives.

It acquired new tractors and implements for the NYSC rice farm in Ezillo, Ebonyi, for mass production and processing of rice at the NYSC rice mill in the state. It also established a new rice mill for the NYSC rice farm in Saminaka, Kebbi State, and equipment for the mill are currently being installed. It also resuscitated the NYSC Bakery and Water Factory at the FCT Orientation Camp, Kubwa, with their products made available to consumers in the FCT and Nasarawa State.

The administration plans to replicate the ventures in NYSC Orientation Camps across the country to serve the needs of the camps and generate revenue for the scheme. The administration has also sustained the deployment of ICT solutions to drive the operations of the scheme for greater efficiency.

Recruited from an equally challenging role as Registrar at the newly-established Nigerian Army University, Biu, Borno, Ibrahim returned to the NYSC after 20 years when he served as Military Assistant to a former Chief Executive of the organisation.

On assumption of office as Director-General, Ibrahim had declared: “I see my second coming as a privilege and honour. I am determined to sustain what my predecessors started, improve on what they have also done and move the scheme to a higher pedestal.”

With enviable academic laurels and vast experience in administration, he brought to the job an impressive profile that put him in good stead to steer the NYSC to higher heights which exactly is what he has been doing. Ibrahim is a man of many parts; he is a teacher, researcher and author.

In spite of being a Brigadier-General in the Nigerian Army, Ibrahim holds a PhD in Philosophy and has been an astute administrator, which came as a result of his numerous postings in the military.

He displayed a rare ability to adapt and this made it possible for him to fit easily into the role of managing an organisation whose main clients are vibrant graduate youths of institutions of higher learning.

Ibrahim already had his job cut out before arriving at the NYSC headquarters, as he had to contend with the perennial widespread infrastructure deficits in many NYSC Orientation Camps, exponential explosion in corps population, paucity of funds, post service unemployment, among others.

With the knowledge of these challenges, Ibrahim realised he had to hit the ground running and so relied on his knowledge of the scheme in articulating his mission even before setting foot at the National Directorate Headquarters.

On the day he took over the mantle of leadership of the NYSC, Ibrahim unfolded his agenda which included: sustained effective utilisation of the potential of corps members for optimal benefit.

He also resolved to pursue a technologically driven organisation to deepen effective service delivery; improve the welfare and security of corps members and staff and strengthen existing collaboration with stakeholders. He also expressed a determinations to revive existing NYSC projects to achieve desired impacts.

In addition to harnessing the NYSC Integrated System online platform to enthrone a culture of integrity and efficiency in the Scheme’s operations, the administration is looking forward to leveraging on the gains from the advancement of ICT operations in order to raise the revenue of the organisation.

The administration has given priority attention to the security of corps members across the country; promoted communication among corps members and the society through the establishment of NYSC Radio; ensured that staff welfare was not compromised and maintained regular engagements with state governors on the need to develop NYSC facilities in their state as well as involved NYSC members in the fight against COVID-19.

#####If used please the News Agency of Niger and writer

Continue Reading

Foreign

Zambia commends Chinese firm for fostering economic cooperation

Published

on

By

The Zambian government has commended the China Nonferrous Metal Mining (Group) Co. Ltd (CNMC) for being a strong partner in fostering sustainable economic development.

The Chinese firm, which runs a number of companies in Zambia, has been promoting private sector development agenda as evidenced in its management of the firms under it and efforts in initiating other capital projects in various parts of the country.

Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Christopher Yaluma said the Chinese firm has also been active in attracting other investors from China to invest in Zambia, an initiative Zambia appreciates.

Speaking after a visit to Chambishi Multi-Facility Economic Zone under Zambia-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone (ZCCZ), and some of the projects of it, the Zambian minister urged the firm not to relent but to continue with its efforts.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu (C) cuts the ribbon during the Production Commencement Ceremony of the South East Ore Body (SEOB), Nonferrous China Africa (NFCA) in Zambia’s Chambishi town on Aug. 22, 2018. (Xinhua/Vincent Chen)

Zambian President Edgar Lungu (C) cuts the ribbon during the Production Commencement Ceremony of the South East Ore Body (SEOB), Nonferrous China Africa (NFCA) in Zambia’s Chambishi town on Aug. 22, 2018. (Xinhua/Vincent Chen)

Zambian President Edgar Lungu (C) cuts the ribbon during the Production Commencement Ceremony of the South East Ore Body (SEOB), Nonferrous China Africa (NFCA) in Zambia’s Chambishi town on Aug. 22, 2018. (Xinhua/Vincent Chen)

“As government, I want to assure you that we will continue supporting your efforts and continue to implement policies that are conscious to the private sector needs,” he said.

He further commended the strong cooperation that has existed between China and Zambia reflected in a number of thematic development cooperation including trade and business.

China, he said, has extended invitations to Zambia to participate in various trade and investment promotion events.

Liao Zibin, the ZCCZ’s managing director, said the firm has been keeping a mutual growth mindset in Zambia as demonstrated by its continued resolve to invest in the country.

The CNMC, he said, has in the past two decades invested more than two billion U.S. dollars in Zambia. “Therefore, we are determined to be part of Zambia’s social and economic development. We cherish the friendship of our two countries that has existed for more than 55 years,” he said.

The ZCCZ also donated 30,000 kg of mealie-meal to flood victims.

Continue Reading

Foreign

Zambia commends Chinese firm for fostering economic cooperation between two countries

Published

on

By

The Zambian government has commended the China Nonferrous Metal Mining (Group) Co. Ltd (CNMC) for being a strong partner in fostering economic sustainable development between Zambia and China.

The Chinese firm, which runs a number of companies in Zambia, has been promoting private sector development agenda as evidenced in its management of the firms under it and efforts in initiating other capital projects in various parts of the country.

Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Christopher Yaluma said the Chinese firm has also been active in attracting other investors from China to invest in Zambia, an initiative Zambia appreciates.

Speaking after a visit to Chambishi Multi-Facility Economic Zone under Zambia-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone (ZCCZ), and some of the projects of it, the Zambian minister urged the firm not to relent but to continue with its efforts.

“As government, I want to assure you that we will continue supporting your efforts and continue to implement policies that are conscious to the private sector needs,” he said.

He further commended the strong cooperation that has existed between China and Zambia reflected in a number of thematic development cooperation including trade and business.

China, he said, has extended invitations to Zambia to participate in various trade and investment promotion events.

Liao Zibin, the ZCCZ’s managing director, said the firm has been keeping a mutual growth mindset in Zambia as demonstrated by its continued resolve to invest in the country.

The CNMC, he said, has in the past two decades invested more than 2 billion U.S. dollars in Zambia and will continue to do so.

“Therefore, we are determined to be part of Zambia’s social and economic development. We cherish the friendship of our two countries that has existed for more than 55 years,” he said.

The ZCCZ also donated 30,000 kg of mealie-meal to flood victims.
(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

People wear face masks in Foster City, U.S.

Published

on

By

People wearing face masks are seen shopping at a supermarket in Foster City, the United States, April 22, 2020. Masks are required in some Bay Area counties. (Photo by Li Jianguo/Xinhua)

   1 2 3 4 Next   

Continue Reading

General news

USAID, IBEDC partner to foster gender equality in workplace

Published

on

Khumo Mokheti, the representative of the United State Agency for International Development (USAID), has underscored the importance of gender equality to increased productivity and efficiency in the workplace.

Mokheti, disclosed this at the 2020 D.I.S.C.O for Women Conference, organised by the agency, in partnership with Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC).

The event, Discussing Issues Surrounding Career Opportunities (D.I.S.C.O), was entitled ‘Gender Equality in IBEDC’.

Mokheti, who is also the Change Management Coach for USAID and Tetra-Tech, stated that gender equality and equity had been subjects of debate since the 50s without consensus on its universally-acceptable meaning.

She, however, noted that there was an agreement in terms of the basis, which, she said, was an absence of discrimination on the basis of gender.

Others, according to her, are provision of equal opportunities for both male and female, while she describes equity as a process, a means to an end in achieving gender parity and a stage of total transformation.

Mokheti said: “Equality is a very important aspect at this stage, as we are heading towards the fourth industrial revolution.

“We require a different set of skills; the revolution is going to require that we bring all our talents and work together, both men and women.

“In the past, there used to be barriers, but now, with advanced technology, the nature of the barriers has changed.

“There are now less barriers for women, and what that opens for us is an opportunity for talent; an opportunity to grow and thrive.

“So gender equality is really about bringing the two sex together to focus and build partnership to ensure that we flourish as a nation and companies.

“To be highly competitive, competent and thrive as a nation, we need to engage all possible talents, men and women alike.

“We need to start from training girls and boys from home to primary, high school, university and right after they start working. <

“This will ensure that in the pipeline, there is balance and empowerment of men and women to flourish and advance as a country.“

The USAID representative said that women formed 49 percent of the total population, and that if they were not included, the world would be missing 49 percent of the available talents.

In his address, Engr. John Ayodele, Chief Operating Officer, IBEDC, represented by Mr Deolu Ijose, the Chief Commercial Officer, said that the project had been incubated by USAID since 2016 in form of training and bearing the expenses to engender utilities of the company.

He said: “It was geared towards promotion of gender equality and at the same time, ensuring that our women have the sense of belonging within the entity to do better.

“For instance in IBEDC, there is a strong gender equality statement and that we will continue to keep.

“That is why USAID is in the forefront of pushing us and assisting us to foster harmony so that we can benchmark ourselves towards best practices worldwide.“

Also, Mrs Ehi Obaseki, the Chief Human Resources Officer, IBEDC, said that the company was moving from gender equality into gender transformation.

She said that the workplace was conducive and that everyone was being treated fairly and equally, regardless of gender.

According to Obaseki, efforts are being geared towards ensuring that women grow in their career paths.

“I really hope that we will have the support of the employees to see that we achieve all the aims and objectives of our gender programmes,“ she said.

NAN reports that the event featured the launch of Gender Mentoring Programme as well as a panel session, which addressed issues of productivity, sexual harassment, balancing as well as growth in the workplace.

NAN also reports that the conference was occasioned by the agreement signed in 2016, called Engendering Utilities Projects, which led to the first Disco Conference in that year.

Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq

Continue Reading

Science & Technology

SMW 2020: Emerging technologies in agriculture will foster youth inclusion – Experts

Published

on

Some experts at the ongoing Social Media Week (SMW) in Lagos, on Thursday, said the use of emerging technologies in agriculture would foster youth inclusion in the sector.

The experts made this assertion during a discussion on Agritech Youth Empowerment.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that SMW is one of the world’s foremost conferences and industry news platforms for marketers.

It provides brands, agencies and technology providers with the latest insights, trends and best practices together with access to a global community of marketing decision makers.

Angel Adelaja-Kuye, Consultant to Ogun State Governor on Agriculture, said that for many countries, the agriculture sector was a go-to sector for active youth engagement and onward investment, especially with the integration of emerging technologies.

“I am an Agritech promoter and will want to see more young people driving agriculture through technology,” she said.

Adelaja-Kuye said the sector was an area young people should key into, noting that Africa’s next billionaires were going to be from the agricultural sector.

The consultant said Agrictech was the fastest growing sector when it came to investment finance.

“The sector is a gold mine that our youths need to delve into as it offers a lot of career opportunities,” Adelaja-Kuye said.

According to her, small holder farmers can also buy into agribusiness using simpler technologies not necessarily high tech to boost their produce.

Talking on digital agriculture, Mr Segun Oworu, Digital Farming Project Lead at Bayer Middle Africa Ltd., said it was the frontier for human survival in the face of dwindling resources and increasing population.

According to Oworu, developed countries such as Brazil, U.S.  and Europe were spearheading the race for digital agriculture and data-driven agribusiness.

“Digital agriculture refers to tools that collect, store, analyse and share economic data or information along the agricultural value chain before and after farm production.

“In the race for digital agriculture, we as Nigerians and Africans need to know and identify our comparative advantage and focus rather than competing with developed economies.

“This is based on the fact that we have special needs and challenges that fraught our system and economies,” Oworu said.

He said that Nigeria’s food problem was not necessarily increased production but that of efficiency of the value chain distribution and marketing.

Oworu noted that by developing innovative solutions and technologies to support shortfalls, the country could be closer to attaining food self-sufficiency.

Mr Wole Oshin Head of AgriBusiness, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, said that Nigeria had potential and that what the nation needed to do was use the right tools to drive Agritech business.

“The government has started deploying technologies to support agricultural production.

“We are beginning to use emerging technologies such as satellite monitoring devices that enables farmers to check the progress of their crops without necessarily going to the farm.

“Other forms of technologies are also being developed to monitor and count the number of birds and eggs at the poultry,’’ he said.

He noted that farming was now moving away from the use of hoes and cutlass to the age of emerging technologies.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Adeleye Ajayi

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Health

States in North East, North West prefer child fostering to child adoption —  NAN survey

Published

on

States in North East, North West prefer child fostering to child adoption —  NAN survey

, Nigeria News Agency

Adoption is a legal process pursuant to state statute in which a child’s legal rights and duties toward its natural parents are terminated and similar rights and duties toward his adoptive parents are substituted. 

It is also an order vesting the parental rights and duties relating to a child in the adopters, made on their application by an authorised court.

However, child fostering is a form of adoption in which a child is placed into a home as a foster child, with the expectation that the child will become legally free and be adopted by the foster parents.

Following observations that adoption laws in the country are state-based and in most cases stringent and applicants complain that it takes 

years before they can adopt a child, observers feel the situation may be the reason 

behind the springing up of “baby factories” in some parts of the country.

Consequently, there is the general notion that baby factories are established to serve those

who want to have children but cannot go through the adoption laws.

In Nigeria, adoption may be effected under the statutory law. However, as with all adoption procedures, rules differ from state to state: adoptive parents must foster their children for at least three months in Lagos but must foster for at least one year in Akwa Ibom, while Abuja allows adoption if and only if one parent is a Nigerian.

Nigeria News Agency management, therefore, seeks to investigate the phenomenon, 

and to ascertain if couples “desperately’’ need children that 

they can call their own or there is more to it.

However, the NAN survey found that states in the North East sub-region of the country are yet to make provision for the adoption of children in their statute, as they prefer child fostering.

The survey conducted in Bauchi, Borno,Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe states show that whereas there are people in dire need of children to adopt, authorities in those states prefer allowing such applicants to serve as ‘Foster’ parents.

Adoptive parents are the child’s parents forever, just as if they have given birth to the children themselves.

A primary difference between adoption and foster care is the type of commitment, as “Adoptive”parents are the child’s parent for ever, just as if they are the child’s biological parents.

Foster care has no legal process and it is a temporary commitment, whereas adoption is a legal and a permanent arrangement.

Mr Audu Haruna, the Director, Social Welfare Department, Adamawa Ministry for Women Affairs, Youths and Social Development, said that the state has provision for Foster child and Parent policy as against Policy of Adoption of children.

He said “we do not have child adoption policy in Adamawa, in place of that, we encourage foster child policy.”

He added that the ministry has a Child Rights Protection Department responsible for the implementation of the child fostering policy.

He explained that couples who want to foster a child must write an application and physically appear before the department for interview to determine their suitability or otherwise in terms of their source of livelihood and character.

According to him, the state government has Children Home in Yola, where abandoned children are kept, and those interested in fostering a child must pass through various government agencies  and extensive investigations before approval.

He noted that “even after approval and release of the child to the couple, they must sign agreement letter that the child is not under any adoption.

“The child will still remain part of  government property and from time to time, officials will be visiting to ensure that he or she is being taken care of properly.

“Couples shall also make the child available to government at least twice in a year,” Haruna said.

On the Child Rights Act, Mr Titus Simon of UNWomen, said that a bill is before the state’s House of Assembly.

Simon said that various organisations have been calling on the House to pass the Bill into law.

On existence of “baby factory” in the state, Mr Sulaiman Nguroje, Spokesman of the Police Command in Adamawa, said there is no such factory in the state.

In Bauchi State, the State Orphans and Vulnerable Agency (BASOVA) says only  indigenes are eligible to foster babies in its custody.

Mr Adamu Abubakar, the Head, Child Protection and Rehabilitation Department, told NAN that

 part of the requirements include secure and conducive environment for the child.

Abubakar said that the agency often conducts investigation to ascertain the reputation, health  and state of mind of applicants, among others.

“The agency partners with security agencies to monitor and ensure the safety, health, education of the child after entrusting custody on applicants.

“For any person to get a child from the agency, he or she must not only apply, but must also present  an introductory letter endorsed by his or her community leader,” he said.

On where such babies are sourced, Abubakar says the agency receives orphans and vulnerable children from police, traditional leaders and Social Welfare office.

He said that in the event of non-compliance to guidelines and terms of agreement, the child would be  withdrawn immediately.

In Borno, however, where people of the state are still battling with deluge of children orphaned by insurgents, there is no specific policy on ownership of such children, hence the call by some residents for domestication of the Child Rights Act.

Muhammed Maigana, Chairman of  Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in the state and also a member of the Committee on the Domestication of Child Rights Act, said proposal for the domestication of the Act is pending before the state’s House of Assembly.

Maigana said that following the absence of the law, the traditional way of child fostering is considered as an option.

Similarly in Gombe, the state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Mrs Naomi Joel, says the state government only gives out children  for fostering and not adoption, after satisfying laid down requirements.

“We do not want a situation whereby a child will be molested or lack proper upbringing from foster parents,” she said.

She says presently, there are applications on ground but the agency does not have a single child at the orphanage.

Mrs Elizabeth Okotie, the Chairperson of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in the state, says “for now, there is no law on adoption in the state.”

According to her, the law will be in place when the state domesticates the Child Rights Act.

Also  in Yobe, Malam Musa Audu, the Social Welfare Officer, Ministry of Youths, Sport, Social and Community Development, says that the state has no provisions for child adoption but child fostering.

He said “there is no provision for adopting children in Yobe because Islamic injunction does not give room for adoption of child, rather, it allows one to foster a child.”

Audu explained that the requirements for fostering a child in the state include being an indigene of Yobe, economic ability to cater for the child, as well as being without a child.

“A foster parent must also be of sound character, must write a ‘Will’ to apportion part of his wealth to the child in case of death, as foster child cannot inherit anything from foster parent according to Islamic injunction.”

He adds that in a situation where the terms are violated, the ministry has the power to take over  the child and end the relationship.

Audu says most of the children being fostered are either abandoned or separated from their biological parents and relatives as a result of insurgency.

While stakeholders in the North West part of the country say the zone has not uncovered any baby factory, they said orphanages are being run under strict supervision.

Government officials and lawyers told NAN in separate interviews in Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto and Kebbi that adoption of child must go through the court and only granted after background checks of applicants by relevant officials.

In Kano, the state government has constituted a nine-member committee for fostering of children, especially orphans and those abandoned.

Hajiya Binta Nuraini, the Director, Child Development in the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development,  said “we don’t adopt in Kano State because it is a Muslim state, shari’a law is practiced and majority of the people in the state are Muslims, we only foster.

“We have a nine-member fostering committee which the state government constituted to take care of that.”

Nuraini says the committee include a retired Social Welfare officer as the Chairman, a Police Officer as the Secretary, Director of child development, an educationists from the Ministry of Education, Legal Officer, Medical practitioner and two social welfare officers as members.

According to her, when a child is abandoned, the person who picks the child will meet the Ward Head of the Area and report to the police before bringing the child to the Ministry, then to a medical unit at Muratala Muhammad Specialist Hospital, Kano.

“If someone is interested in fostering, we have Nasarawa Orphanage in Kano, he or she must first write an application to the Ministry, and if the foster-parent is a lady, she has to bring a consent letter from her husband and a guarantor.

“The home of the applicant will be visited by a Social welfare officer to find out the condition of the house.

“The social welfare officer will bring a report on whether the applicant will foster a child or not, a file will be open with pictures of the foster parents and the child”.

The director notes that the file will be taken to juvenile court in the process and temporary custody of the child will be given to the foster parents before the court order will be given.

“Frequent visits will be made by social officer to make sure that the foster child is being taken care of as the child grows, we back off so that the child will not know they are not his real parents.”

Also, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Hajiya Amina Yusuf-Yargaya, says that courts have the jurisdiction to make a fostering order in line with the state’s 1986 law on child fostering.

On the issue of “baby factory, ” the permanent secretary says there are no such factories in the state.

In Kaduna State, the government has taken census of orphanages and children in such homes, their source of income and developed strategies to monitor their operation.

According to Hafsat Baba, the Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, the government has uncovered cases of trafficking of children from such orphanages.

“We found out that there are many ophanges being established in Kaduna State without following due process and also the adoption and fostering process.

“We started having reports of child trafficking some in these facilities set up as orphanages as cover up.”

Baba says that the government initially banned fostering and adoption of children in the state for two years to sanitise operations in orphanages.

She adds that a new child protection law has been signed into law, while proprietors of  orphanages have been directed to form association for easier engagements with government.

Baba says that the ministry has adoption forms and certificates which have security, as such, before any child is given out, they have to follow the processes to ensure protection of the child.

She notes that the state also formed an adoption and fostering committee which include members from the ministry, security agencies and representations from NGOs.

“After application, you will be screened by the adoption committee and when eligible to have the child, then they approve, the certificate will go to court and will be processed and you get your certificate and the child.”

According to her, the adoption process normally takes a month for a couple to get a child for adoption.

She explains that under Kaduna State Orphanage Regulations, an orphan is not supposed to keep a child for more than three years.

The commissioner said that a recent case of children trafficking in Kano State being handled by NAPTIP was traced to an illegal orphanage in Kaduna.

“They don’t have any document to show that they are operating legally and then they were using that orphanage to actually traffic children.

“They were found to be associated with the Kano nine that were taken to Anambra. That orphanage has been shut and the children taken to Kano.”

Baba also said that another children home, Orphanage Rock of Ages in Nassarawa Kakuri, Kaduna has been closed down by the government when a woman who bought a child from the facility at N170,000 was caught in Abuja.

She says investigation is ongoing by a special police team from Abuja.

“As I speak to you, the child is with us with the ministry in the State Government orphanage and investigation is ongoing,

“NAPTIP is also part of those that are investigating and whoever has a hand in it will be proscuted.”

Meanwhile, a Magistrate, Umar Ibrahim, has explained the adoption process, saying when a couple wants to adopt a child, an application for adoption shall be made to a higher court in the state.

Ibrahim said the applicant, or in the case of joint application both or, at least, one of them and the child are resident in the state.

He stated that where the applicant is a married couple, their marriage certificate or a sworn declaration of marriage; the birth certificate or sworn declaration of age of each applicant must be made available.

Others are: two passport photographs of each applicant, a medical certificate of fitness of the applicant from a government hospital for the purpose of adoption.

Ibrahim also said that the court shall order an investigation to be conducted by a child development officer; a supervision officer and such other persons.

He said this is done by the court to be able to determine the suitability or otherwise of the applicant as an adopter and of the child to be adopted.

“The court shall in reaching a decision relating to the adoption of a child, consider the need to safeguard and promote the welfare and the best interest of the child throughout the childhood.

“The court shall not make an adoption order in respect of a child unless the parents of the child or, where there is no surviving parents and the guardian of the child consents to the adoption, or where the child is abandoned, neglected or persistently abused or ill-treated and there are compelling reasons in the interest of the child why he or she should be adopted.”

A lawyer, Stephen Moses, said the Kaduna State Adoption Law states that the applicant, or in the case of joint application, both or, at least, one of them and the child must be residents of the state.

He says the applicant has to be resident or in the case of a joint application, both of them have to be residents in which the application is made for a period of at least five years.

“The applicant has to have at least 12 months before making the order, inform the social welfare officer of his/her intention to adopt the child and also the religion, customs and traditions of the parties are considered.

“The chief registrar of the court shall keep and maintain a register to be called and known as the “Adopted Children’s Register” in which shall be made such entries as may be directed by an adoption order to be made therein.

“Where an adoption order is made in respect of a child who had been the

subject of a previous adoption order made by the court under this Law, the order shall contain a direction to the chief registrar and the commission to cause the previous entry in the Adopted Children’s Register in respect of that child to be marked”Re-adopted”, he stated.

Adamu Isah, another lawyer, said no adopter shall receive or agree to receive any payment or reward in consideration for adopting or facilitating the adoption of a child except with the sanction of the court.

He stated that no person shall make or give or agree to make or give to an adopter any payment or reward the receipt of which is prohibited.

“A person who contravenes this

commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N30,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.

“The commissioner of women affairs and social development shall, in granting a licence to the adopter after giving consideration to the wishes oft the child having regard to the age and

understanding of the child,” he said.

Isah further stated that marriage between an adopter and the child adopted is prohibited and any such marriage shall be considered a crime as an adopted who marries an adopted child in violation of commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

He said the commissioner shall keep his/ herself informed from time to time of the condition and welfare of a child adopted by any person in the State and arrange for officers of the Department to pay periodic visit at reasonable times, to every child adopted.

He also said that during any visit, the officer paying the visit may require production of the adopted child or that information be given regarding the condition of the child.

Isah noted that a person who without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with a requirement imposed by the officer or obstructs the officer in the exercise commits an offence, adding that the person is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N5,000 or imprisonment not exceeding three months or both.

In Kebbi, Hajiya Aisha Muhammad, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Services, says the state has never recorded any case of “baby factory.”

“We don’t have baby factories here. What we have are orphans and dumped babies in the orphanages.

“These are what we have, and we use the Federal Government’s Child Rights Act, 2003 as adoption law for prospective child adopters.”

Muhammad explained that prospective child adopters must first write an application for adoption to court as prerequisite for the adoption.

“Where the applicant is a married couple, a marriage certificate or sworn declaration of the marriage must be accompanied with the application.

“The birth certificate or sworn declaration of age of each applicant, two passport photographs of each applicant must also be provided.

“Medical certificate of the fitness of the applicant from the hospital and such other documents as requirements and information as the court may require for purpose of the adoption,” she said.

Muhammad added that the court, after reaching decision on acceptance of the application, might consider the need to safeguard and promote the welfare and the best interest of the child throughout childhood.

“The court may on the application of a person, make an order under the act referred to as an adoption order.

“An adoption order shall be made in respect of a child unless, other issues as specified in the acts,” the permanent secretary said.

The Director of Child Development and Welfare, Alhaji Atiku Alkali, said that the ministry prepares report to assist the court in determining the obligation and respect of the child to be adopted.

“We give consent subject to conditions with respect to the religious persuasion which the child is to be brought up.

“It may not be necessary for us to know the identity of the applicant for the adoption order, ” he said.

Malam Yusuf Buhari, who adopted a child, says he is highly glad and happy when he adopted his male child after several years of being childless.

“The procedures, if you are patient, are simple.

“Nowadays, thorough measures must be taken before an orphan is given out to those who want to adopt, owing to the change of time.

“When I came here, I thought I would just get a child and go, but with the procedures and routine checks of the child by the officials of the state ministry for women affairs, orphans would be happy to follow prospective adopters,” he said.

In Sokoto State, Mrs Ummu Usman, the Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Social Development, said the state has no “baby factory,” but runs just two orphanages under strict supervision.

She said the two orphanages are run by the state government which funds their services.

Continue Reading

Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

Read Also