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NGO tasks communities on intercultural, interreligious harmony



NGO tasks communities on intercultural, interreligious harmony

A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), “ Zaman Tare”, has  emphasised the importance of intercultural and inter-religious harmony in Plateau communities.

The group made the remark on Tuesday in Jos at its one-day intercultural and interreligious conference entitled “The Role of Religious and Traditional Leaders in Promoting Inter-religious  and Inter-cultural Harmony in the Society.”

The project coordinator of the NGO, Mr Cletus  Aloke, said that the objective of the project was to see how people in the six communities  of Abattoir,  Mai-Adiko, Dadin-Kowa, Congo-Russia, Nassarawa and Fillin ball, in which they worked, could live in a more harmonious society .

Aloke said traditional and religious leaders had a role of sensitising their people and congregants to the importance of living in peace in spite of their cultural and religious differences.

Similarly, Mr Charles Dickson, who delivered a paper entitled ” The Effects of Inciting Preaching and Statements by Religious and Traditional Leaders”, said that no individual was born with hate, but that people were taught the act of hate.

Dickson said traditional and religious leaders were at the heart of teaching  their subjects and congregants the act of not hating, and as such, sought validation from their leaders.

He said there was need for a Code of Conduct for religious and traditional leaders to guard against inciting statements that could trigger violence  and cause division in the country.

Similarly, a Deputy Director with the National Human Rights Commission, Plateau office, Mrs Verocina Abe, urged religious and traditional leaders to shun various forms of stereotypes and advise their subjects and congregants on the need to conduct themselves with decorum.

Abe said that the leaders should not incite conflicts by spreading inflammatory messages, and should also not be biased in resolving issues.

Mr Innocent Sunu said the conference was timely and apt as it helped in fostering peace, in addition to ending the issue of polarisation where Muslims and Christians lived in different parts of Jos- Bukuru metropolis.

Alhaji Ahmed Yahaya, a participant from Mai-Adiko, said the conference taught him the act of cohabiting with people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Zaman Tare is a four-year programme  funded by the European Union (EU) going on in Plateau and Kaduna states.

Edited by Abdullahi Yusuf

Blessing Odega: 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]


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.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (MHADMSD), Sadiya Farouq, announced this at the Presidential Taskforce briefing on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja.

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.

The minister said that the figure generated from statistics provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN)

“According to statistics from the NBS and CBN, a typical household in Nigeria has 5.6 to six members in its household, with three to four dependents.

“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.’’

She said that her ministry invited government agencies like the EFCC, CCB, ICPC, DSS and some NGOs to monitor the process.

“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)

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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.

The experts made the call in a webinar organised by Alive and Thrive (A&T), an NGO, to commemorate the World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) 2020.

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.

Dr Victor Ajieroh of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said the 2020 world breastfeeding week was remarkable and dwelt on the importance of breastfeeding to the environment.

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.

“The COVID-19 pandemic with its associated disruptions and impact on life is another factor that necessitates us to support mothers with the right information on breastfeeding,’’ he said.

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.

Dr Simeon Nanama of UNICEF noted that the 2020 world breastfeeding week came at a time when the world faced the challenges of climate and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

In line with this year’s theme of the event, WHO and UNICEF have called on governments to protect and promote women’s access to skilled breastfeeding counseling.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ejike Obeta (NAN)


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Eid-el-Kabir -NGO distributes palliatives to FCT residents 



Rosula Foundation, an NGO, on Friday distributed palliatives to some residents of Lugbe community in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to mark Eid-el-Kabir celebration.

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.

NAN reports that items distributed by the NGO include rice, beans,  semovita, spaghetti amongst others.

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.

According to her, the foundation has been reaching out to the needy in the society, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic made them more prominent.

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)

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Group pledges to support law enforcement agencies in fight against trafficking



The Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Nigeria (A-TIPSOM) has pledged continuous support to the law enforcement agencies in the of fight against human trafficking in the country.

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.

“This year’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons focus is on first responders: law enforcement officers, NGO staff, social workers, advocates, counselors, healthcare professionals among others.

“As COVID-19 pandemic has put the world under enormous strain, affecting the lives of everyone, trafficked persons and first responders are among the most affected group of people.

“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.

Molina said that A-TIPSOM, was a project funded by the European Union and implemented by Spanish Public Foundation (FIIAPP) and had been working together with Nigeria.

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)

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