Connect with us

Health

Mental Health: Foundation harps on ending stigmatisation

Published

on

Teenz Global Foundation, an NGO, on Tuesday in Abuja, stressed the need to end  all forms of stigmatisation, discrimination and abuse against persons facing mental health challenge.

The Founder of the group, Mrs Ijeoma Sorochi, made the call during the third edition of the dialogue on the “Power of Your Mind Project (POYMP): An Effective Suicide Prevention Response Strategy for Young People in Nigeria.”

Sorochi identified stigmatisation, discrimination; substance abuse, financial challenges, depression and insecurity as some of the causes of mental health challenge, which she said had increased suicide rates in the society.

She said “mental health is described as the case of someone being mad, there is stigma attached to it, we need to change our mindset, perception and understand that people go through challenges that can be trying, and difficult to control.

“So, provide an avenue where people can speak up, a place where you can educate people and increase awareness on mental health challenge and preventive measures to help reduce suicide rates.

“Let’s increase awareness on mind management among young people, how to utilise minds to prevent negative thoughts and suicide prevention because of the increase cases of suicides and statistics.”

According to her, the programme aims to create awareness on mental health and how suicide can be prevented among young people in the country.

“I know this programme will be beneficial to everyone because the issue of mental health has become very important today and there is need to continue to raise awareness on the dangers of suicide and also prevent it.

“Each of us can contribute to ensure that people dealing with problems concerning mental health live better lives with dignity.”

Ms Evangeline Micheal, a motivational speaker and pastor at Christ Embassy Church, advised youths to digest materials that would be beneficial for their growth and development.

Micheal, who spoke on “Positive Mindset Reorientation and Character Development Among Young People in Nigeria,” encouraged youths to utilise their time wisely in empowering themselves.

He said “young people are limited by their mind and thought patterns in life, that’s why having a positive mindset remains critical to maximising one’s potential.

“It’s therefore very important for young people to build and maintain positive mindset as it energises them to make impact in life.

“As young persons, don’t keep quiet at the ills in the society, take action now because you’re the future of your society.”

The Nigeria News Agency reports that a quiz on mental health, positive mindset and change took place during the event.

Participants at the event include NYSC members, motivational speakers and students from GGSS Wuse Zone 1, Abuja; GSS Zone 2, Abuja; GSS Wuse Zone 3, Abuja; GGSS Appo Resettlement, Abuja.(NAN)

JAD/ESAN/HA

Edited by Abiodun Esan/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

 

 

 

Environment

World Environment Day: Oyetola warns Osun residents against environmental degradation

Published

on

Gov. Gboyega Oyetola of Osun has called on the people of the state to refrain from acts capable of undermining environmental sustainability.
Oyetola gave the warning at a tree planting programme, organised to commemorate this year’s World Environment Day, on Friday in Osogbo.
The
governor said that his administration would take proactive steps against those in the habit of encroaching into government’s forests for unlawful activities.
“We are prepared to invoke the full weight of the law on anyone caught engaging in illegal land clearing for farming, uncontrolled logging, gathering of firewood and deforestation,” he said.
The governor also said that anyone caught engaging in indiscriminate or ill-planned bush burning, high population rate, degradation of the environment occasioned by illegal mining and illegal hunting for bush meat would be dealt with.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration, “Biodiversity”, Oyetola said that biodiversity was essential to human development, because “it is the foundation that supports all the lives on land and below the waters.”
The governor, who decried the poor environmental management culture, noted that on a global scale, biodiversity was being lost at higher rate than that of natural extinction.
He said that illegal land clearing for farming, uncontrolled logging, deforestation, bush burning and high population rate were among the factors affecting biodiversity conservation in the state.
Oyetola expressed his administration’s commitment to tree planting in order to reverse the situation.
Earlier in his address, the state Commissioner for Environment and Sanitation, Mr Sola Oladepo, said that nonchalant attitude towards biodiversity conservation in the past had culminated in massive degradation of forest reserves in the state.
Oladepo said that the state government was ready to plant one million trees across the state.


Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

Continue Reading

Environment

NCF wants environmental considerations factored into post COVID-19 recovery plans

Published

on

Dr Joseph Onoja, Director, Technical Programmes, Nigerian Conservation Foundation(NCF), has advised that environmental considerations be factored into the nation’s recovery plans and strategies for post-COVID-19.

Onoja said in a statement issued by Mr Oladapo Soneye, the Head, Communications, NCF, in Abuja on Wednesday that any post-COVID-19 recovery plans that did not factor in environmental considerations might not have much impact.

He said that the environment served as a shock-absorber for many, especially the rural poor who were already the most vulnerable to climate change.

The post-COVID-19 recovery plans and strategies should be seen as an opportunity to tackle not only the immediate effect of the pandemic but the impact of climate change that had been hanging over them before the COVID-19 era.’’

The NCF boss said government at all levels had to ensure that policies that would promote nature conservation were put in place.

He said that corporate organisations had to support nature conservation because the environment was the number one factor of production without which these organisations would not be able to produce or offer whatever service they had to offer.

“Communities and individuals also play vital roles as direct custodians of these wildlife by ensuring that their activities and actions do not impact wildlife negatively,’’ he said.

Onoja said that nature had created a delicate balance where wildlife played a critical role to the overall conducive living of mankind in the world.

For instance, a Pangolin consumes over 70 million ants and termites in one year, saving a forest as large as 31 soccer fields. Imagine what will happen to mankind if 70 million ants and termites are unleashed on us.

“The critical role vultures play in ensuring that diseases do not spread by them cleaning up carcasses before they develop spores that will transmit infections such as Cholera, Botulism, etc.

“Or imagine how we will get our food if the incredible pollinators, bees disappear from nature.”

Speaking on strategies deployed to curb the spread of virus on nature conservation and biosafety, Onoja commended the government for banning the handling of wildlife and closing down illegal wildlife markets.

According to him, these are positive steps in the right direction, adding that the lockdown had tremendous impact on the environment.

“The level of air pollution has drastically reduced and the restricted movements is making wildlife reclaim areas where they were absent for a long time,’’ the NCF boss said.

He said that there was an ongoing global campaign tagged: “New Deal For Nature and People’’ .

According to him, the campaign is an opportunity to make ambitious global commitment to nature because it was the life-support system for humans and therefore, the component of people.

The year 2020 has been termed the ‘Super Year for Nature’. It gives us an opportunity to pause and have a rethink of how we have been relating with nature, which invariably has impact on people.

He said there must be a paradigm shift where instead of humans looking at ourselves as apart from nature, would see ourselves as a part of nature.

“This will help us know that whatever happens to nature and our life support system, we will be the first to be impacted and heavily.

“Humans, anatomically and physiologically are the least equipped to live on earth and the earlier we realise that the safer it will be for us.

“We do not have furs to cover our bare skin, no claws and no tails. So, if we do not protect nature to protect us, nature will protect itself but at our detriment.

“This is the message humans need to hear to re-calibrate their thinking,’’ Onoja said.


Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Grace Yussuf (NAN)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Britain has ‘colonial mentality’ toward Hong Kong, says China

Published

on

China on Wednesday accused Britain of having a “colonial mentality,” after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised Hong Kong residents a path to citizenship if China enacted planned national security laws.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Britain’s historical link to Hong Kong stemmed from “aggressive, colonial and unequal treaties.”

We urge the British side to retreat from the cliff, abandon the Cold War mentality and colonial mentality, recognise, and respect the fact that Hong Kong has returned” to China, Zhao said, or else Britain risked “smashing its own feet with the rock it is lifting”.

The statement came after Johnson pledged to change Britain’s immigration law to offer Hong Kong residents a path to citizenship if Beijing enacted the national security laws for the financial hub.

In an opinion piece published in the South China Morning Post, Johnson said Britain expected China to abide by international agreements, referring to the 1984 joint Sino-British declaration, which aimed to protect Hong Kong’s freedoms.

The former British colony of Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997.

China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, last week approved a plan to establish new laws in Hong Kong targeting subversion, secession and terrorism.

Critics say the laws will be the death of the “One Country, Two Systems” framework, which guarantees certain freedoms for Hong Kong until 2047.

On Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said China should “step back from the brink” regarding the law, which is expected to be rolled out as soon as August.

Meanwhile, protests have returned to Hong Kong, with police cracking down on anti-government demonstrators.

More disruption is expected on Thursday, when a bill that would outlaw mocking the national anthem will be decided in Hong Kong’s legislature.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

Continue Reading

Environment

Community seeks remediation on environmental impact of Agip’s Export Terminal

Published

on

The Brass Community in Bayelsa has demanded for remediation on the environmental and economic damages to the Brass Canal by the Brass Crude Export Terminal in the past 48 years.

The demand was contained in a letter dated May 25 by the community to the Managing Director of Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), via a law firm Ntephe, Smith and Wills for the Brass settlement.

NAOC, an affiliate of Italian Energy firm Eni, operates the offshore oil terminal along with some onshore oil block in the swamps of Bayelsa in addition to Joint Venture stakes in other fields operated by Shell in the state.

According to the letter, a copy of which was seen by the News Agency of Nigeria in Yenagoa on Wednesday, the remediation of the Brass Canal was overdue and being delayed by the oil firm.

The community recalled that despite a subsisting regulatory directive to conduct a Comprehensive Impact Assessment (CIA) to determine the effect of the facility and proffer remedy and compensation, the oil firm was foot-dragging.

According to them, the oil firm has also delayed the implementation of a joint inter-agency site visit to resolve the issue and commence remediation of the impacted areas.

“In furtherance of the human security, economic and environmental interests of your hosts, Brass Kingdom, touching also on Nigeria’s national interests and Bayelsa state’s strategic interest, we remind you to overdue obligation on the Brass Canal viz.

“Proper remediation of ecological damage caused by continuous discharge of toxic wastes at your Brass Terminal everyday for the past 48 years.

“Adequate compensation based on impartial impact assessment, a restoration and pollution prevention plan as per best practices.

“We put you on notice to stop desperate attempts by your officers to compromise or induce key interests, aimed at evading regulatory compliance, frustrating the Ministerial directive for an independent Comprehensive Impact Assessment as a basis for adequate remediation and compensation,” the letter read in art.

The community also wanted the oil firm to refrain from efforts to waive NAOC’s environmental obligations to the people of Brass Kingdom by inserting obnoxius clauses into draft Memorandum of Understanding with the people.

According to the letter, the community ascertained during a visit to the Brass Canal in 2015 by Environmental and Legal experts that daily discharge of some 150,000 barrels of toxic waste consisting of untreated produce water and sludge.

The community said that on a cumulative basis the volume of toxic discharge to the Brass Canal amounts to 54.8 million barrels annually and approximately 2.6 billion barrels for the past 48 years.

They said that it was also ascertained that contaminant rate in the Brass Canal ranged from 200 per cent to 1,000 per cent above regulatory limits as well as soil, ground water and air quality pollution are also adversely affecting public health.

The community therefore urged Agip to in the interest of justice and amicable resolution indicate interest to cooperate with the inter-agency regulatory team in the conduct of a credible assessment with equal representation by both parties.

However, when contacted for comments Eni, the parent company of NAOC, declined comments.

Cionni Marilia, the Media Relations Manager in charge of Sub-Saharan Africa, had pledged to look into the matter and revert to NAN, but is yet to do so.


Edited By: Celine-Damilola Oyewole/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

Continue Reading

Environment

Environmentalist raises concern about effects of climate change

Published

on

An Environmentalist, Mr Gafar Odubote, has called for urgency in tackling the effects of climate change in Nigeria.

Odubote, a climate change enthusiast, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Tuesday.

He appealed to government at all levels to treat the issue of climate change with utmost urgency and not with lip service.

“When we checked efforts in combating the effects of climate change in the country, we observed that government had embarked on a lot of advocacy efforts.

“Nothing is really being done to combat the growing effects of climate change. Government needs to view effects of climate change with an urgent necessity.

“The efforts government put and is putting to combat COVID-19 pandemic, should equally be put in addressing climate change. It should not wait till people start dying,” he said.

Odubote also called for a time-based action plan aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change in Nigeria as done in other African countries.

“We should not just stop at advocacy but we need to act. Government knows likely areas of greenhouse gas emissions and should provide a time plan to curb it.

“The cars release a lot of carbon into the atmosphere, while the industries that generate a lot of gas should be looked into.

“We need a sustainable plan to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we generate as a country to tackle climate change effects,” Odubote said.

The environmentalist called on other stakeholders to collaborate with government to educate Nigerians on the adverse effects of climate change on their health. NAN)


Edited By: Chidi Opara/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Commentary: Cold-War-style visa restriction detrimental to United States interests

Published

on

By

Under the pretext of national security, Washington has recently announced new restrictions on visas of certain Chinese graduate students over unwarranted “espionage” suspicions.

The decision has exposed once again the deep-seated zero-sum game mindset of some U.S. politicians who have been desperate to divert public attention at a time when the U.S. administration is grappling with the double crises of a raging coronavirus pandemic and fast-spreading protests against racial discrimination.

Over the last few years, Washington has been abusing background checks and additional vetting of Chinese students over ill-founded national security concerns, triggering doubts over the legitimacy of those measures, as well as worries over whether the age of McCarthyism is hovering back.

The New York Times pointed out that U.S. officials had acknowledged that there was “no direct evidence that pointed to wrongdoing by the (Chinese) students who are about to lose their visas.” U.S. universities are wary of a possible new “red scare” that “targets students of a specific national background and that could contribute to anti-Asian racism,” according to the newspaper.

Last year, Yale, Stanford, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) released several statements to support their faculty of Chinese descent and reaffirmed their commitments to global scientific collaboration. “An automatic suspicion of people based on their national origin can lead to terrible consequences,” UC Berkeley said in its statement.

Washington’s latest Cold-War mentality plot has reflected America’s profound lack of self-confidence in the areas of scientific research and development and talent competition. Those zero-sum gamers in Washington have based their decision on assumptions that China has stolen technologies from the United States, and seem to believe that as long as they shut the door to China, China will stop moving forward.

However, the United States not only has misread China‘s success, but also is poised to lose by rolling out those anti-China moves. One first loss for the country is in economic terms.

At present, about 360,000 Chinese students are studying or working in the United States, roughly a third of the total international student population. By accepting Chinese students, the U.S. educational institutions have been making substantial profits. The Wall Street Journal once commented that higher education has been “an especially successful United States export.” The new visa rules will inflict brain drain and economic losses on U.S. universities.

By disrupting the normal flow of personnel exchanges between the two countries, America’s global competitiveness will also take a hard hit.

Since World War II, the United States has been benefiting from the influx of talents thanks to its openness. Since China‘s reform and opening-up, a growing number of Chinese students went to the United States and some worked there after graduation, who later played an indispensible part in building and cementing America’s technological strength.

Chinese and Chinese-American researchers are not only “exemplary members of our community but exceptional contributors to American society,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif wrote in a letter.

United States China hawks’ idea of slamming the door on Chinese students would only attack “a major U.S. strategic and cultural advantage: the excellence of American science,” Bloomberg said in an opinion piece.

Technological innovation will only prosper in unimpeded exchanges and benign competition across borders. Decision-makers in Washington need to realize that lowering down a technological iron curtain will in no way deter China‘s determination to develop. Also, such an iron curtain will not help the United States preserve its technological edge.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Palestinians condemn Israel for killing mentally disabled Palestinian

Published

on

By

The Palestinians condemned on Saturday the Israeli police for killing a mentally disabled Palestinian man in East Jerusalem.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party said in a press statement that it holds Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fully responsible for the killing of the disabled Palestinian man in East Jerusalem.

“It is a real crime in the first place and those who committed it must be brought to justice, and be convicted by the International Criminal Court,” said the statement.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas‘ spokesman Hazem Qassem said in a press statement that the killing of the disabled Palestinian was committed in “cold blood.”

“These crimes against humanity will remain the fuel for the revolution of the Palestinian people, who will carry on with their struggle until the liberation of their occupied land,” said Qassem.

Earlier in the day, an Israeli police force shot dead a Palestinian man with “special needs” in the Old City of East Jerusalem after suspecting he was carrying an “object that looked like a pistol,” according to a police statement.

However, Israel Radio reported that the killed Palestinian man, identified as 32-year-old Iyad Hallak, was unarmed and mentally disabled.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Palestinians condemn Israel for killing mentally disabled Palestinian man

Published

on

By

The Palestinians condemned on Saturday the Israeli police for killing a mentally disabled Palestinian man in East Jerusalem.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party said in a press statement that it holds Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fully responsible for the killing of the disabled Palestinian man in East Jerusalem.

“It is a real crime in the first place and those who committed it must be brought to justice, and be convicted by the International Criminal Court,” said the statement.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas‘ spokesman Hazem Qassem said in a press statement that the killing of the disabled Palestinian was committed in “cold blood.”

“These crimes against humanity will remain the fuel for the revolution of the Palestinian people, who will carry on with their struggle until the liberation of their occupied land,” said Qassem.

Earlier in the day, an Israeli police force shot dead a Palestinian man with “special needs” in the Old City of East Jerusalem after suspecting he was carrying an “object that looked like a pistol,” according to a police statement.

However, Israel Radio reported that the killed Palestinian man, identified as 32-year-old Iyad Hallak, was unarmed and mentally disabled.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Environment

Environmentalists canvass enforcement of ecosystem laws

Published

on

Some environmentalists on Friday called on Federal and State Governments to enforce the environmental laws to sustain the ecosystem.

The environmental stakeholders made the call in a zoom programme on the sidelines of the World Biodiversity Day celebration in Lagos.

The programme, organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MOE&WR), is themed: “Our Solutions Are in The Nature”.

Ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the non-living components of their environment interacting as a system.

Dr Fisayo Jerome of the Nigerian Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) urged the Lagos State Government to enforce environmental laws to sustain the environment.

Jerome, who spoke on the topic: “Role of Nature in Ecosystems Sustainability”, called for the enforcement of environmental laws to protect endangered species in our oceans and rivers.

According to her, all sectors should maintain the sustainability of the ecosystem through continuous awareness.

She said there was need for man as a specie to consider the need for the sustainability of the ecosystem.

“Ocean covers about 97.5 per cent of the world, while the remaining percentage is covered by fresh water.

“Ocean is the primary regulator of the global climate, while the Nigeria’s maritime zone is also an ecosystem, as the country has a stretch of 80 kilometers of coastline totaling 200,000 nautical miles.

“In those areas, fishing has been permitted on a small scale, while beyond is the non-exclusive economic zone.

“Here is where we have the non-living resources such as crude oil and ad hoc,” Jerome said.

She described Nigeria as the highest exporter of crude oil and largest ad hoc of the ecosystem in Africa

 and third in the world.

Mr Adedamola Ogunsesan, Project Manager, Lekki Conservation Foundation (LCF), said that wetland had more value than a new building.

He spoke on the topic: “Conserving Wetland for Sustainability of Urban Livelihood”.

Ogunsesan said there was the need to integrate urban development, to ensure  that wetland provides solutions to people in the environment.

He urged the Federal and State Governments to develop a master plan for wetlands in the country.

Mrs Belinda Odeneye, Permanent Secretary, MOE&WR, said the state government was committed to achieving a Cleaner Lagos in terms of supporting ecotourism.

She said the state government was encouraging local tourism and biodiversification to ensure greener and healthier environment.

 “If we destroy our environment, we are destroying ourselves,” the permanent secretary said.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

{

Continue Reading

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

Read Also