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Nigeria records 12,000 new cases of fistula yearly – UNFPA

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The United Nations (UN) Population Fund (UNFPA), says Nigeria records 12,000 new cases of Vesicovaginal Fistula (VVF), yearly.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that VVF is an abnormal fistulous tract extending between the bladder (vesica) and the vagina, that leads to continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault.

Mrs Ulla Muller, Country Representative of UNFPA, told NAN in an interview in Abuja, that with the figure, Nigeria was one of the countries with the highest number of VVF cases globally.

“Nigeria has about 148,000 cases of fistula, with about 12,000 new cases every year,” Muller said.

According to the UN representative, UNFPA has large imprint in Nigeria through preventive and curative interventions such as family planning, community engagement and training of healthcare workers.

She said these were key to preventing and reducing fistula, which had destroyed the lives of many young women and caused many families untold hardships.

Muller, who described Nigerian fistula surgeons as one of the best in the world, said it was advisable for women living with the condition to avoid getting pregnant for at least twelve months.

She emphasised UNFPA’s commitment to creating awareness on the disease through the use of local and social media platforms, targeting young women.

Muller advised young women with the condition to seek immediate medical help and not feel ashamed for fear of stigmatisation.

She attributed the prevalence of VVF on child marriage, which she said often exposed such young girls to the risk of the disease.

NAN reports that every May 23, has been set aside by the UN as World Fistula Day.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore (NAN)

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

General news

COVID-19: UK will continue to assist PEBEC in Nigeria — Envoy

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Mrs Harriet Thompson, British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, says the UK government will continue to provide technical assistance to the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in Nigeria.

The British envoy said this during a Webinar organised by the Nigerian-British Chambers of Commerce.

The theme of the Webinar was:  ‘Nigerian- British Bilateral Relationship Post COVID-19.”

She noted that UK was excited to see a set of very strong commitment from the Nigerian government through its letter of intent to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

She said the letter of intent revolved round removing fuel subsidy, taxing Forex regime and the power sector.

“The implementation of these reforms will help mitigate the impact of Coronavirus on the economy and enable a recovery that provides diversified and sustainable economy that is good for both British and Nigerian businesses.

“At this moment, the UK is highly active in supporting Nigeria to see through the reforms and that is why we will continue to provide  technical assistance  to PEBEC and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) and other key sectors in Nigeria.

“We have rolled out various programmes that support infrastructure, agriculture, market scale and the technology sector,” she said.

Talking on technology, Thompson said that it was a big focus of the Africa Investment Summit and hugely important in Nigeria where the sector was three times faster than the rest of the economy.

She, however, noted that  the growth of the sector had been slowed down due to  the Coronavirus pandemic.

“The fact is that we need technology now more than ever,  during this period and that is why we have rolled out programmes in the tech sector in spite of the current circumstances.

“We are trying to understand how we can support innovation and local production on TV that we need to fight Coronavirus.

“Also, we want to assist the technology sector in Nigeria to understand how we can support digital health care and those Nigerian companies in that sphere to do more,” she said.

Speaking on how Coronavirus had changed the economic outlook, Thompson said it had affected prospects for British businesses as well as the ones in Nigeria and any other.

She said to address the issues, they had been having quarterly meetings with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo and top executives of the biggest British companies here in Nigeria.

Thompson said the essence of the meeting was to give them an opportunity of some of the key issues that were affecting them and to hear the ministers views on how they could be addressed.

“The meeting gives an insight into  the  constraints of  government  and the way they can begin to work together to come up with solutions,” she said.

Also speaking, Mr Bimbo Olashore, Vice President, Nigerian-British Chambers of Commerce (NBCC), said that for the Nigerian environment in particular, COVID-19 had brought about challenges in the areas of infrastructure and  businesses, among others.

Olashore, however, said that a number of the challenges were being addressed, noting that Nigeria was already moving in the right direction in the scale of doing business.

“Clearly there are one or two things that have made the cost of doing business easier, this includes the harmonisation of the exchange rate, also some investment have been going on that has  made the business environment more competitive over the past few months.

“Also, we have been talking about budgetary allocation to the health sector and now COVID-19 has made it expedient for us to do more,” Olashore said.

He, however, said that more work needed to be done in the area of the cost of governance, noting that the government had been doing its best in that regard.

Olashore said that Nigeria needed to keep investing in infrastructure and also ensure that the cost of governance came down.

“We need to ensure that the Nigerian environment becomes more competitive and also build on the reforms that we have started.

“Nigeria also needs to seriously look into diversification,” Olashore said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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General news

Nestlé Nigeria restates commitment to helping children live healthier lives

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As Nigeria marks the 2020 Children’s Day, Nestle Nigeria restates its commitment to helping children live healthier lives.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that May 27 of every year is set aside to raise awareness of the problems faced by children, who make up about 42 per cent of Nigeria’s population.

The day is typically marked by parades and events to recognise, honour, celebrate and appreciate Nigerian children. However, it will be marked differently this year in view of the current situation.

Speaking in commemoration of Children’s Day, Nestlé Nigeria Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Mrs Victoria Uwadoka, said in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos: “I am delighted to wish all children a very Happy Children’s Day!

“We recognise that to ensure a healthier future, children need the right nourishment and an active lifestyle.

At Nestlé Nigeria, we remain committed to helping children imbibe healthy habits early while enabling their parents and caregivers with nutritious food products and the right information to make healthier nutrition choices.

“In the past three years, our company has launched unique products specifically adapted to the needs of children, including CERELAC Junior, GOLDEN MORN Maize and Soya, as well as MILO Ready to Drink.

“These products are fortified with micronutrients to meet the needs of pre-school and school age children.”

“Recognising the need for multi-sector interventions to address the challenges facing the Nigerian child, Nestlé Nigeria has been at the forefront of efforts to help Nigerian children live healthier and happier lives.

“This has been achieved through research, product innovation, food fortification, nutrition education and promotion of an active lifestyle in line with the company’s global ambition to help 50 million children globally, lead healthier lives by 2030.

Uwadoka said the ambition would be supported by its global flagship programme, Nestlé for Healthier Kids (N4HK) and would federate all of Nestlé’s efforts to support parents and caregivers on their journey to raise healthier kids.

She added that the company reached over 1.5 million children each year through the N4HK school-based programme and Milo School Sports Development Programme.

In Nigeria, Nestlé for Healthier Kids (N4HK) which is run in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education, Federal Ministry of Health, Universal Basic Education Board, Ogun State, FCT Universal Basic Education Board and the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, currently reaches 17,000 children every year.

N4HK also incorporates a school-based nutrition education programme, which seeks to teach children about nutrition from an early age to enable them to make better nutrition decisions and form healthier nutrition habits.

“To help children imbibe healthy habits including good nutrition, active lifestyles through adequate physical activity, good hygiene practices, and healthy hydration, over 200 teachers have been trained in Ogun and the FCT.

“The training was done in collaboration with the Nutrition Society of Nigeria and the Universal Basic Education Boards.

Nestlé Nigeria Plc also invested in enhancing the teaching and learning environment by renovating school facilities as well as by donating relevant education aid materials,’’ she said.

Receiving materials for the N4HK schools in Ogun on behalf of the Ogun SUBEB earlier in the academic year, the board’s Secretary, Mr Olalekan Kuye said: “Children are the future of Ogun, so investing in them is investing in the future.

“I commend Nestlé Nigeria for the consistent work they are doing through the Nestlé for Healthier Kids Initiative.”

In March 2020, Nestlé for Healthier Kids hosted a Nutrition Quiz and Essay competition for all 20 N4HK benefitting schools in Ogun to enhance recall and retention of the lessons learnt.

The Nutrition Quiz is a core part of the N4HK school-based programme. They were quizzed on topics curated by the Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) from the N4HK students’ manual covering nutrition, healthy hydration, hygiene and physical activities.

Wesley School 1 Sagamu emerged as the champions of the contest, winning educational and sports materials for the contestants as well as for their school.

Recall and retention is also enhanced through cooking demonstrations and sport activities in the participating schools.

It will be recalled that Nestlé had renovated school facilities including classrooms, libraries, offices, crèches, boreholes, toilets and playgrounds in some of the N4HK benefitting schools.

NAN reports that the 30 participating schools received posters, interactive boards, manuals as well as water bottles, stationery and camp gases for cooking demonstrations.

NAN recalls that Nestlé Nigeria Plc began simple trading operations in Nigeria in 1961 and has grown into a leading food manufacturing and marketing company.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Obike Ukoh (NAN)

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Politics

May 27: Senate President celebrates Nigerian children

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President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has felicitated Nigerian children on the occasion of the 2020 Children’s Day.

Lawan noted that the day was set aside to highlight the challenges children face, with a view to promoting their well-being and happiness.

Lawan in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi, said the surest route to a happy and fulfilling future for our children was to provide them quality education and healthcare.

He also identified their protection against all forms of abuse as other means to fulfill their future.

Lawan said it was this realisation that led the Federal Government in 1976 to introduce Universal Primary Education, which in 1999 was expanded to the Universal Basic Education.

He said the Federal Government enactment of the Child Right’s Act in 2003 was also to give children a sense of belonging.

The senate president, however, expressed concern that in spite of all such efforts, Nigeria was still heavily burdened with a high number of out-of-school children.

The situation, he said portends grave danger for the country and was unacceptable.

“I want to use the opportunity of this occasion to assure our children that the National Assembly is fully aware of the challenges that they face and will continue to work to guarantee a better future.

“I also call on the authorities at the sub-national level who have not done so, to domesticate the Child’s Rights Act for the sake of the future of our children,” Lawan said.

The senate president called for collaboration between the federal and state governments in comprehensively addressing issues relating to the plight of Nigerian children.

On the part of parents, Lawan urged them to dutifully play their own role in providing the immediate needs for their children, adding that the future peace of the country depended on it.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Obike Ukoh (NAN)

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Health

Nigeria records 276 new COVID-19 cases, total now 8,344

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Nigeria on Tuesday recorded 276 new cases of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in the country, bringing the total to 8,344.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on its official twitter handle, said that as at May 26, 16 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

It explained that most of the fatalities recorded from COVID-19 were cases with other underlying illnesses known as co-morbidities.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the health agency in its breakdown of the latest results, said Lagos reported 161 of the new cases.

Other states with new cases include Rivers with 36, Edo – 27, Kaduna – 19, Nasarawa – 10, and Oyo – six.

There were also four new cases found in Kano, three each in Delta and Ebonyi, two in Gombe and one each in Ogun, Ondo, Borno, Abia, and Bauchi.

The number of discharged cases rose from 2,311 on Monday to 2,385.

However, 16 more deaths were recorded, taking the nation’s fatality to 249.

The NCDC noted that no new state has reported a case in the last 24 hours.

The agency said that as at May 26, 8,344 cases have been confirmed, 5710 Active Cases, 2385 cases have been discharged and 249 deaths have been recorded in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The NCDC noted that no new state has reported a case in the last 24 hours.

NAN reports that the health agency announced the activation of two new laboratories for inclusion in the NCDC Molecular Laboratory Network.

Afriglobal Medicare Laboratory in Ogun state and the Sahel Centre for Molecular Diagnostics and  Research, Katsina state.

“This brings the total number of laboratories with COVID-19 testing capacity to 28 in the country,” the body stated.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Sport

Man United in talks with Ighalo’s club over Nigerian star’s future

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Manchester United Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the English Premiership team is in talks with Odion Ighalo’s Chinese League team, Shanghai Shenhua, over the future of the Nigerian international.

Solskjaer told United’s website on Tuesday that he hoped to keep hold of striker Odion Ighalo until the end of the English season.

Ighalo’s loan move from Shanghai Shenhua is set to end on May 31, and the Chinese Super League club are keen on bringing the striker back ahead of the resumption of their domestic season.

“We are in dialogue. They have been great toward us, his club, and allowed him to play for his dream club,” Solskjaer said.

“Hopefully,  he can finish off what he started;  hopefully, with a trophy for us.

“At the moment, nothing has been agreed. Their league is going to get started soon; so, we are just waiting to see,” the Norwegian-born coach said.

Meanwhile, Solskjaer  has revealed that Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford have recovered from their injuries.

He said the duo would be available for the restart of the Premier League season suspended since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pogba, who underwent foot surgery in January, and Rashford, who suffered a back injury during an FA Cup third-round clash against Wolverhampton Wanderers, were both expected to miss the remainder of the campaign.

“They are looking good, they have joined training now and they have done everything the other boys have been doing.

“When we get started, it looks like we can have a full squad to choose from,” he said.

Premier League players have returned to non-contact training in small groups with their clubs, and ‘Stage Two’ of government’s guidance will allow close quarters coaching and tackling in team sports.

The Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’ envisages a return to play in June.

“Hopefully now we have proved we can do this safely and we can move to the next step. It’s been really enjoyable being on the training ground again.

“Everyone is looking sharp. We’ve been splitting up in groups of fours and fives together and they’ve really done well.”

Manchester United were fifth in the Premier League, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, when the season was halted.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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Economy

ACCI calls for stronger Nigeria-India economic relations

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Mr Adetokunbo Kayode, President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), has called for a refocused and stronger economic ties between Nigeria and India.

Kayode made the call on Tuesday in Abuja while speaking as a panelist at the webinar meeting tagged: “India – Nigeria Business Promotion, Challenges and Opportunities – Post-COVID-19”.

Kayode, an economic expert, noted that in a rejigged relationship, win-win situation should be the watchword.

He said that it had been informally estimated that there would be around 10 billion dollars of investment by Indian companies in Nigeria.

“Maybe very substantial part of that amount has been loaned to Indian companies by Nigerian government owned banks like, Bank of Industry, Nigeria Exim Bank, Development Bank of Nigeria, NIRSAL FUND of the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as commercial banks.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on the relationship between the two countries, especially on medical tourism, which is one of the key areas.

“Some of us attended schools that Indians were teachers. For us to move forward, we need to rejig the already existing obsolete 1973 Trade Agreement between Nigeria and India.

“In doing so, we have to bear in mind that Nigeria has several areas where it can do business with India,” he said.

According to him, if Nigeria is ready to use Indian technology then, India should also help Nigeria to diversify its economy into agriculture, mining, manufacturing, amongst others.

He recalled that in Great Gujarat gathering in 2019, it was discovered that several Indian companies were rather using Indian firms in Nigeria to carry out activities in a manner that undermined local legislations, particularly in trading in retail and distribution services.

On the challenges in the trade relations, Kayode pointed out that the absence of Indian manufacturing hubs in Africa and Nigeria, in particular, as well as intrusion into local businesses needed to be addressed to strengthen the ties.

In a remark, the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Abbay Thakur, said Nigeria was one of Indian’s biggest trading partners for several years.

He highlighted on some of the activities of Indian companies in Nigeria in several sectors cutting across agriculture, power, technology, automobile, health and pharmaceuticals, among others.

Other participants at the event unanimously expressed the desire to actively participate in activities and programmes that would ensure the sustainability of the already existing cordial relationship.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Economy

Group urges govt to educate Nigerians on savings in post-COVID-19 economy

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Consumer Awareness and Financial Enlightenment Initiative (CAFEi) has urged government to take seriously the issue of financial literacy and inclusion during postCOVID-19 by educating Nigerians on importance of savings.

The President of CAFEi, Mrs Debola Osibogun made the call in Lagos on Tuesday.

Osibogun said that Financial Literacy was paid less attention to, than Financial Inclusion in the pre-COVID-19 era, hence, the need to take it seriously for sustainable growth and development.

According to her, the pandemic is generating an unprecedented global health crisis which in turn has critical implications on the financial system both in content and context.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought key financial literacy issues such as savings, taxation, access to credit and use of digital platforms back as topical and germane for debates and implementation.

“Somehow during the current pandemic, majority of households that were unable to save were lucky and able to rely on food banks and generous donors of palliatives to survive.

“The next emergency may be worse and so there is a need for proper re-orientation and education on the importance of savings.

“The COVID-19 experience has taught us that we must now prioritise our spending and save more for an uncertain future,” Osibogun said in a statement.

She said that the effect of the pandemic had put a strain on government sources of revenue as was evident in the decline in crude oil prices.

According to her, government is likely to take issues such as taxation more seriously as it seeks to diversify its revenue base from crude oil.

The CAFEi boss also advised government to give taxation as a financial literacy issue, a refocused postCOVID-19 to understand their obligations and expectations from government.

Osibogun also said that there was need for government to make credit easy and accessible to small businesses as the engine room of the economy but majority of them were struggling.

She said: “The directive given by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to increase Loan Deposit Ratio of Banks to 65 per cent has increased the opportunity to lend to SMEs and in turn save the economy.

“Small businesses therefore, need to understand terms and conditions on credit contracts and also when to and when not to borrow,” Osibogun said.

She called on government to create more awareness and educate them about their obligations, expectations and avenues for dispute resolution in loan agreements.

Osibogun also said that another key aspect of financial literacy that needed more consciousness was the importance of familiarising with alternative means of banking.

She said that the closure of banks during the pandemic and the hesitation to use cash because of its capacity to serve as a form of virus transmission brought to the fore the importance of using alternative mode of banking like online banking and mobile banking.

She recalled that First Bank recorded in the first week of the lockdown 38.5 million transactions from alternative modes of banking.

According to her, this is an indication that the future lies in alternative mode of banking.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Economy

Capital importation into Nigeria stood at $5.8bn in Q1–NBS

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The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), said the total value of capital importation into the country stood at 5.8 billion dollars in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020.

The NBS made this known in its latest report on  “Capital Importation” released on Tuesday.

It explained that the amount represented an increase of 53.97 per cent compared to Q4 2019 and -31.19 decrease compared to the first quarter of 2019.

The bureau noted that the largest amount of capital importation by type was received through portfolio investment, which accounted for 73.61 per cent which was 4.3 billion dollars of total capital importation.

According to the NBS, this is followed by other investments which accounted for 22.73 per cent of 1.3 billion dollars of total capital and the Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) which accounted for 3.66 per cent of 214.25 million dollars of capital imported in Q1 2020.

It, however, disclosed that by sector, capital importation by banking dominated Q1 2020, reaching 2.9 billion dollars of the total capital Importation in Q1.

“The United Kingdom emerged as the top source of capital investments in Nigeria in Q1, 2020,  with 2.9 billion dollars which accounted for 49.68 per cent of the total capital inflow in Q1 2020.

“By destination of investment, Lagos state emerged at the top destination of capital investment in the country in Q1 2019 with 5.1 billion dollars.

“This also accounted for 87.72 per cent of the total capital inflow in Q1 2020.

“By bank, Standard Chartered Bank of Nigeria emerged at the top of capital Investments in the country in Q1 2020 with 1.6 billion dollars and this accounted for 28.3 per cent of the total capital inflow in Q1, 2020” the bureau said.

Edited By: Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Metro

Eid-el-Fitr: FEC congratulates Buhari, Osinbajo, Nigerians

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Members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) have congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and all Nigerians on the occasion of the Eid celebrations.

A circular signed by Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), in Abuja, noted that the FEC members prayed the Almighty Allah accept the nation’s supplication in this holy month of Ramadan.

The members of the FEC also prayed that God should look upon Nigerians with His mercy, especially at a time like this when the entire world and Nigeria in particular was faced with COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is the prayer of members that the Almighty shall accept our supplication and look upon humanity with mercy, especially at a time like this when the nation and indeed the entire world is facing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is also the prayers of members that the nation shall experience peace, unity and economic growth even as the impact of the pandemic continues to disrupt global economy,” he said.

Members of the FEC also urged Nigerians to hold steadfastly to God, and continue to pray fervently for the restoration of normalcy in the country.

Meanwhile, members of the FEC had appealed to Nigerians to recognise COVID-19 as a potential danger and observe all guidelines for safety issued by the government.

“Nigerians are particularly encouraged to observe personal hygiene, wear face mask/coverings and please avoid non-essential outings,” SGF advised.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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