UNICEF secures release of 23 boys, 2 girls with ties with illegal armed groups from Army custody



The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday that it had secured the release of  23 boys and two girls  from the Nigerian Army administrative custody.


UNICEF said this was after they had been cleared of suspected ties with some illegal  armed groups.


UNICEF’s Nigeria Acting Representative, Mr Pernille Ironside, disclosed this to newsmen in Lagos.


He said in a statement that this had brought the numbers of children released this year to 44.


“These are children taken away from their families and communities, deprived of their childhood, education, health-care, and of the chance to grow up in a safe and enabling environment.


UNICEF will continue working to ensure that all conflict affected children are reunited with their families, and given hope of fulfilling their dreams and their human rights,” he said.


Ironside said that the children had been handed over to the Borno State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.


He said that the children would be kept at a UNICEF supported transit centre while efforts to reunite them with their families and reintegrate them back to their communities were underway.


According to him, they will access medical and psycho-social supports, education, vocational training and informal apprenticeships, and opportunities to improve their livelihoods.


“We have made progress, but we will like to see all children suspected of involvement with armed groups, transferred out of military custody to the care of the relevant local authorities as quickly as possible.


“This is to facilitate their return to their families and communities, spending minimal, if any, time in detention.


“As we commemorate the 30th Anniversary for the Convention of the Rights of the Child this year, we must collectively commit to do more for the protection, well-being and development of children in Nigeria.


“This will include ensuring that they are not recruited or used in conflicts in the first place,” he said.


The representative said since 2016, a total of 2,499 people including 1,627 children had been cleared of association with non-state armed groups.


He said that UNICEF and its partners would continue to provide age and gender appropriate community-based reintegration support services to all affected children.


He also said that such support services would be extended to other vulnerable children in communities that were at the risk of being recruited by armed groups. (NAN)



Edited by Remi Koleoso/Peter Dada


Red Cross trains 40 professionals on “health care in danger’’




Abuja, Dec. 9, 2019 International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Nigeria delegation says 40 healthcare

professionals benefitted from its two-day training of trainer workshop toward introducing “Health Care in Danger” into

Medical Tertiary Institutes in the country.

ICRC Deputy Head of Delegation in Nigeria, Dr Jean-Francois Quéguiner, made this known in a statement by ICRC

Public Relations Officer, Aliyu Dawobe, on Monday in Abuja.

Dawobe quoted Quéguiner as saying “during this workshop, we initiated a discussion about specific risks

healthcare workers face in armed conflict areas and other situations of violence.

We hope these discussions would serve to introduce comprehensive training modules on medical ethics.

“We also hope it would help to introduce rights and responsibilities of healthcare personnel in medical school

to deepen the knowledge of medical students.”

Quéguiner said that the workshop, organised in partnership with Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria,

took place in Abuja on Dec. 5 and Dec. 6.

He noted that the aim of the training was to discuss challenges preventing the teaching of medical ethics and the legal

framework protecting the wounded, sick, healthcare personnel and facilities and to identify how these challenges could be tackled.

According to him, Nigeria has witnessed incidents of damage and looting of healthcare facilities, attacks on patients and

healthcare workers and prevention of access to healthcare.

He said migration of qualified healthcare personnel from areas affected by armed conflicts was another serious issue affecting

access to health in some parts of the country.

Also in the statement, the ICRC indicated that it supported 80,000 Displaced s) in Benue with food.

According to the statement, the organisation is also carrying out a livestock deworming campaign for over 100,000 cattle and

other small ruminants belonging to pastoralist communities affected by violence.

We provided this assistance to alleviate the sufferings of people in conflict areas.

The humanitarian situation here is difficult, and the ICRC helps the most vulnerable communities,” it quoted Majid Bakhtiary, the Head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Jos as saying.

Bakhtiary said that the six weeks of deworming campaign which started on Nov. 12 in Awe, Keana and Nasarawa local government areas of Nasarawa State,

aimed at improving the health of the livestock.

Simultaneously, he said, ICRC also concluded food distribution in collaboration with Cross to some 80,000 people in

displacement camps in Guma and Makurdi local government areas of Benue.

In addition, he said, the ICRC in partnership with Department of Livestock and Veterinary Services in Plateau, trained 1,600 people, among

them NRCS volunteers, community animal health workers and community leaders.

The training covered basic animal disease and treatment, enabling participants to assist livestock herders in remote areas where veterinary

services were not available.

Edited by: Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu






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Nasarawa Govt to boost fight against HIV with N1.8bn



The Nasarawa State Government says it will soon release N1.8 billion to boost the fight against in the state.

The state Commissioner for Health, Ahmed Yahaya, made this known on Monday at a five-day workshop on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Programme in Akwanga, Akwanga Local Government Area of the state.

Yahaya, represented by Ishaku Abari, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said that arrangement had been concluded for the release of funds to sustain the tempo of the fight against the scourge.

Yahaya said that the fight against in the state was still largely donor-driven, hence the government’s determination to increase funding toward its sustenance when the donors eventually pull out.

He said that the ministry would liaise with the state Assembly Committee on Health with a view to ensuring allocation of funds to tackle the scourge.

Also, Dr Peter Attah, the Coordinator, State AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Control Programme (SASCP), called for more government’s support to the programme for its sustenance beyond the donor funding.

Attah said that efforts of the team had yielded great results in reducing the prevalence rate of the disease in the state.

He added that as at June, no fewer than 60, 000 people were living with HIV and receiving treatments in various medical facilities across the state.

The commissioner expressed concern about the attitude of some people toward medical screening in order to know their health status and getting prompt treatment.

According to Attah, no fewer than 22, 000 people believed to be living with HIV have refused to make themselves available for testing so as to access treatment.

He appealed to members of the public to go for HIV testing to ascertain their health status, saying that those found to be positive would be place on treatment to prevent further spread of the virus.

Edited by: Joseph Edeh/Olagoke Olatoye

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HIV spread: Nasarawa health stakeholders call for enforcement of anti-stigma law



HIV spread: Nasarawa health stakeholders seek enforcement of anti-stigma law


Akwanga (Nasarawa State), Dec. 9, 2019 Stakeholders in Nasarawa State’s health sector have called on the state and local governments to curtail the spread of HIV and AIDS by enforcing anti-stigma law.

The stakeholders made the call at the opening of a five-day workshop on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) on Monday in Akwanga Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

Dr Ishaku Bako, a workshop facilitator, said the enforcement of the law would go a long way to end the spread and new HIV infections.

Bako explained that if stigmatisation against victims was eliminated, it would encourage those with the condition to avail themselves of the testing and treatment.

“One of the ways to stop the spread of HIV is for everybody who is yet to ascertain his/her status to avail himself/herself for testing and those found positive be placed on treatment.

“Efforts must be made to ensure that all pregnant women attend antenatal and deliver in the hospitals in order to prevent HIV infection through prevention of mother-to-child transmission,” he added.

On his parts, Alhassan Ibrahim, Director, Public Health, Ministry of Health, said the objective of the workshop was to review government’s performance in 2019 with the view to improving in the 2020 operational plan.

He said the prevalence of HIV scourge was reducing due to the supports from the various partners and efforts by the staff members of the health ministry.

He, therefore, expressed the determination of the medical team in the fight against HIV in the state to do their best to achieve the global target of eliminating the scourge by 2030.

Contributing, Mr Philip Lukoko, Nasarawa State Coordinator of the Network of People Living with HIV commanded the government and other development partners for assisting them to live a normal life in spite of their status.

He, however, noted that stigmatisation by medical personnel and the public was a serious impediment, saying many sufferers were shying away from testing and receiving treatment.

He, therefore, urged the public to help in curtailing the spread of HIV by desisting from discrimination against the sufferers.

Edited Shittu Obassa/Donald Ugwu

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Unilag College of Medicine inducts 138 medical, dental practitioners



Unilag College of Medicine inducts 138 medical, dental practitioners


Lagos,Dec. 9,2019College of Medicine, University Of Lagos (CMUL), Lagos State, on Monday inducted 138 newly qualified medical and dental practitioners into the profession.

, during its 2018 medical and dental induction ceremony.

Speaking at the induction ceremony of 2018 qualified medical and dental practitioners.Prof. Afolabi Lesi, Provost, CMUL urged them to change the narrative  and embrace their careers.

Lesi said that inductees should  be change agents of the  educational  and health sectors.

He said that the goal of their training  was not to fill them up with knowledge and send them into the world but for them to  continue to learn and constantly improve themselves.

“I therefore urge you to adopt this outlook as it will help you to adapt to the inevitable changes and challenges and opportunities ahead.

“Do not limit yourself to what you have learnt in school only,be ready to learn new things and trending approaches in clinical practice,”he said.

Lesi advised the inductees to give their best ,be honourable, tell new stories, and tell the world that the seemingly impossible was achievable.

“It is not news that Nigeria, as a nation, is in  aa challenging and  interesting times.

” We can blame our leaders, but the blame squarely rests on each and everyone of us who either has quiet not to rock the boat or cut corners in our quest to get ahead of the next person.

“This is compounded by the existential threat of brain drain at all levels of manpower and across all professional groups,” he said.

He urged the inductees to be ready to tell their story differently by doing something unique in their various fields of endeavors

Also speaking,Prof. Folasade Ogunsola,Deputy Vice- Chancellor (Development Services) University of Lagos urged the inductees to be a problem solver at the health sector.

Ogunsola said that they are ambassadors of the school and Nigeria, who should change the narratives of the health system.

“Quality of any medical school is by seeing their products, we are proud of our own products because they are smart and competent,” she said.

Dr Maxwell Ubah,the Chief Executive Officer of Strategy House advised the inducted medical and dental practitioners  to be competent doctors and not incompetent or criminal ones.

Ubah, who was the guest speaker said that they should know that  competent professionals were not static but dynamic at their profession.

“Competent doctors share empathy which makes them closer and pay attention to their patients and makes them successful at their job.

“The future of medicine has started but you are already late which means you should take responsibility of your position.

“Learn to listen to your patients and other health workers and be committed to excellence,” he said.

Edited by: Edith Bolokor

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NHA board approves new condition of service for staff




Abuja, Dec 9, 2019 Board of National Hospital, Abuja (NHA) on Monday said it approved a new condition

of service for members of staff in appreciation of their commitment and dedication to work.

The Chairman of the board, Ms Patricia Etteh, disclosed this in Abuja while presenting deep freezers to 315 members

of staff to mark the 20th anniversary of the hospital.

Etteh also promised special Christmas packages for members of staff, adding that it would go a long in boosting staff


She urged members of staff to cooperate with the management of the hospital “to provide quality service to the people.

“We do not have money to give all of you but the little we have in form of deep freezers is what we are presenting to you as a form of


“Some highly spirited Nigerians assisted us because we are not supposed to be using government money to buy this, but just to show that

hard work pays.”

She added that the hospital would continue in that gesture to sustain the spirit currently being exhibited by workers, stressing that

“to whom much is given, much is expected.”

Etteh said that the staff were the people keeping the hospital going in the past 20 years “so, the deep freezers were just

a token to beneficiaries who had given a lot to the service of the hospital.”

Dr Jef Momoh, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, commended the staff and urged them to redouble their efforts

to ensure quality service delivery to the citizenry.

Momoh said that one of the achievements of the hospital, from being a 200 bed hospital to 450 beds, was due to staff resilience

and dedication.

He added that “we are now a centre of excellence for cancer care and a as a centre of excellence for IVF, producing over 700

babies in the last 14 years and then we have a centre of excellence for trauma.”

He explained that “staff of the hospital would from December, start enjoying new condition of service; this would further boost their morale.”

Some of the beneficiaries commended the gesture, stressing that they would redouble their efforts toward providing quality service to the people.

Mrs Caroline Ogbodo, a staff of the hospital, stated that she had been with NHA for 20 years and had no cause to regret joining the service of the

health facility.

Ogbodo commended the board and management of the hospital for donating the deep freezer to staff, while also commending the board for approving the new condition of service.

Mr Loius Ozah Ozufele, Acting Chairman, Senior Staff Association of the hospital, said staff of the hospital had for 20 years sought for new condition of service to no avail.

He lauded the board for approving the new condition of service, saying it would boost the morale of staff.

Edited by: Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu


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Deworming campaign: Red Cross targets 140,000 livestock in Nasarawa



Dr James Moses, an official of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Nigeria Delegation, says the organisation targets to deworm 140, 000 livestock in  three local governments of Nasarawa State.

Moses, the Livestock Field Officer for ICRC Jos Sub Delegation, disclosed this in an interview with Nigeria News Agency at the on-going deworming for livestock at Loko District of Nasawara Local Government Area of the state.

The official said the organisation would deworm 100,000 cattle and 40,000 goats and sheep in Awe, Keana Local Government Areas as well as Loko district of Nasawara Local Government.

These livestock belong to pastoralist communities affected by violence in the state.

So far in Loko district, we have covered more than 20,000 livestock, in Awe, we have covered over 40,000 livestock and we are starting in Keana Local Government this week.

We started this exercise on Nov. 28 and we hope to finish on Dec.19,’’ he said.

He said the objective of the exercise was to protect the livelihood of the herders by achieving good health for livestock through administering of Albendazole drug to treat worms and flu.

According to him, the worms if not treated can bring decrease in productivity and wellbeing of the livestock, so by deworming them, we hope to achieve good health for them.

Moses said as part of the mandate of neutrality and partiality of ICRC, the organisation had supported farmers in Benue and needed to support Pastoralists in Nasarawa.

He said the organisation had assisted farmers with agro support and we have also given them cash to procure agro support, In Nasawara, we are not targeting the farmers but in Benue, in Agatu side, we have supported them,

As a result of communal violence, most of the pastoralists were displaced, migrated and spread along riverline of Loko, we have the resident pastoralists and those displaced from the other side.

During our assessment, we discovered that there were new diseases along the area which actually gave us framework to start this activity,’’ the official.

Moses said the initial challenge was acceptance from the pastoralists as it would be the first time they would be hearing about deworming for their livestock.

When they started hearing result from the first set of pastoralists that we dewormed their livestock and how the drug had helped their livestock, the acceptance has increased,’’ he said.

According to him, the pastoralists are demanding for more of the livestock to be dewormed.

He said the organisation would carry out vaccination on the dewormed livestock by 2020 to protect them from other deadly diseases.

Moses also said ICRC had trained 10 community animal health workers from the areas to serve as First Aiders to the livestock and they have their supervisor connected to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The official said the workers were trained in April at National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom and were supported by ICRC with Starter Kits which they would be using in the communities.

One of the trained Community Health Animal Workers, Yusuf Chindo, assisting in the exercise said the process of deworming started by sensitising the pastoralists on the benefits of deworming the livestock.

Chindo, a beneficiary of training at NVRI and ICRC’s Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) said the deworming had improved the health of the animals.

In fact, they didn’t know about it before. They are happy and cooperating now that the campaign has started.

We have received testimonies that they have seen diseases coming out of their animals, they see worms physically from the faeces,’’ he said.

News agency of Nigeria reports that ICRC has been working in Nigeria for more than 30 years, operating in 20 states to alleviate the suffering of people affected by conflicts and violence.

Edited by: Ese E. Ekama






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Nasarawa herders happy over de-worming of livestock



The de-worming of livestock carried out by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in Nasarawa State, has impacted positively on the health of their animals, some pastoralists said.

The benefiting pastoralists are from Nasawara Awe and Keana local government area (LGA)s of Nasarawa State.

Some of them who spoke with the Nigeria News Agency , at Loko District of Nasarawa LGA of the state, said they had started seeing the positive impact of the exercise.

Dere Umar, a pastoralist from Bakono Village of the district, said they saw worms in the faeces of the cattle that had been de-wormed just after 24 hours.

ICRC has de-wormed no fewer than 5,000 cattle in the village,’’ Umar said.

Similarly, Alhaji IIiyasu Yakubu, a pastoralist from Aisa community of Loko, said before the intervention by ICRC, they were challenges with de-worming their livestock.

Worms infested the liver of cows, we did not know how to solve that problem until the ICRC came to our rescue; they started the exercise in Gidan Bawa.

We thank God for the support, because before now, we have never received such assistance; I have been in this place since Shehu Shagari came to power in 1979,’’ Yakubu said.

In an interview with NAN, Mr Aliyu Dawobe, Public Relations Officer ICRC, said the organisation was targeting 140, 000 livestock in three local governments of the state for the exercise.

Dawobe said the organisation would de-worm 100,000 cattle and 40,000 goats and sheep in Awe Iga, Loko and Keana.

He said the exercise, which started on Nov. 28, to end Dec.19, had covered 60,000 livestock in two communities each in Awe Iga and Loko districts.

The aim of the exercise is to improve the health of herders’ animals affected by violence and conflict.

There is a gap between health workers that are providing veterinary services and livestock keepers.

Most of the time when conflict happens, you find out that livestock keepers are skeptical about going out, and animal health workers are also afraid to access the headers and give them support.

This is a challenge, this gap we try to breach, and also support them through the exercise,’’ the official said.

Dawobe said ICRC had been collaborating with the Nigeria Red Cross to de-worm livestock in those areas and other areas across the country.

According to him, the organisation has trained 1,600 veterinarians and animal community health workers from 20 states across the country for the purpose.

Some of these workers were trained mainly for this campaign since the community health workers are resident in those communities.

If ICRC is not there, the livestock owners are aware that they can provide the service and they can go to them.

Apart from the de-worming campaign, the first of its kind in Nigeria, we also organise training for communities on livestock keeping; and we do cash for food and cash for business.

We do not have resources to continue to give people food while conflict goes on, but while they stabilise and go back to their businesses, we support them,’’ he said.

According to Dawobe, ICRC started supporting farmers and herders in Nasarawa and Benue since 2012, in accordance with the mandate of the organisation to support people affected by crisis and violence.

We try to assess people affected by conflicts and see the assistance we can offer them; and most of the crises in the two states are related to farmers and herders fighting over grazing and farm lands.

“We just supported 8,000 farmers in Benue with foodstuff to give them some relieve; most of these people are living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.’’

Edited by: Nyisom Fiyigon Dore

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UNESCO task journalists on reportage of GBV, harmful practices




Lagos, Dec. 9, 2019 The UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on Monday

urged journalists to focus more attention to reportage of issues bordering on harmful practices and Gender Based Violence (GBV)

to end the scourge in the country.

Dr Stephen Onyukwelu, the UNESCO Manager for Spotlight Initiative, made the call during the opening of a four-day training on

Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Lagos with the theme “Sensitive Reporting and Investigative Journalism.”

Nigeria News Agency reports that Spotlight Initiative is a new, global, multi-year programme embarked upon by European

Union (EU) and the UN toward eliminating all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).

The Initiative is so named as it brings focused attention to the issue of VAWG, moving it into the spotlight and

placing it at the centre of efforts to achieve gender equality and women empowerment, in line with the 2030

Agenda for Sustainable Development around the globe.

Onyukwelu said that the initiative is an EU-UN joint venture that would benefit 25 countries, including eight African countries, comprising

Nigeria, Liberia, Niger, Malawi, Mozambique, Mali, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

He explained that six states, namely Sokoto, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Lagos, Cross-River and FCT, were selected in Nigeria to champion the implementation

of the programme in the country.

He, therefore, urged media practitioners to investigate and report issues aimed at reducing violence against women and girls, such as sexual harmful practices so as

to increase women and girls’ access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.

He said “UNESCO plays a vital role in eliminating GBV and we want the media to use their platforms toward ending this menace.

We want a Nigeria where all women and girls are free from violence and harmful practices.

We want to ensure gender equality, human rights, promote inclusiveness and leave no one behind.

Dr Qasim Akinreti, Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State chapter, who declared the workshop opened,

urged participants to focus on issues affecting the grassroots to aide in reducing all forms of abuse.

Akinreti also encouraged the media to use their platforms to educate the public on the effects, preventive measures and where victims of abuse could

seek for help.

Mrs Adeola Ekine, Chairperson, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Lagos State chapter, advised media to champion the fight against GBV and

encouraged good parental values “which would be reflected in the society, thereby reducing ills and negative tendencies.”

A total of 33 participants, drawn from each of the six geographical zones namely: Lagos, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Cross River, Sokoto, FCT are attending the workshop.

Edited by: Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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Nasarawa Govt. spends over N240m monthly to subsidise health services at specialist hospital- CMD



Dr Hassan Ikrama, the Chief Medical Director of Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, Lafia (DASH), says Nasarawa state government is spending over N240 million monthly to subsidise healthcare services at the hospital.

Ikrama disclosed this while addressing newsmen on Sunday in Lafia.

He said that the money was being utilised in subsidising free medical services, especially for pregnant women, children under five years as well as the aged.

Ikrama added that part of the money goes into emoluments and training of staff.

He commended  Gov. Abdullahi Sule for giving prority to the provision of quality healthcare to the people of the state by improving facilities at the hospital.

He said that the government had increased the number of surgery theatres from One to three to enable the hospital perform more surgeries at subsidised rates to the people.

“These two new operation theatres have been furnished with state-of-the-arts equipment and are ready for use.

“The state government has also provided four brand new ultra-sound machines to the hospital.

“This is to ease scanning, especially for pregnant women and it has significantly reduced waiting time for scanning at the hospital,” Ikrama said.

The CMD assured the people of the state quality healthcare services comparable to best in any part of the country given the improvement of facilities at the hospital.


Edited & Vetted By: Joseph Edeh/ Tukur Muntari.


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