NAPTIP nabs Sweden based Nigerian, 2 others

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has arrested a Nigerian based in Sweden for allegedly buying a two month old baby.

The NAPTIP’s Director of Investigation and Monitoring, Mr Josiah Emerole made this known in Abuja on Friday, explained that the case involved a 43-year=old Stephany Bassey who lives in Sweden.

He said that NAPTIP was notified of the case by the officers of the Intelligence and International Cooperation (IICU), adding that the suspect was nabbed after she was handed over by the Embassy of Sweden in Nigeria.

“The suspect went to the Embassy to procure travel documents for a two month old baby boy whom she claimed was her child.

”She claimed to have become pregnant for her husband in Sweden but that medical examinations could not detect the pregnancy over there.

“Then she was advised to return home to Uyo, Akwa Ibom state where the pregnancy will be detected and she will be assisted to deliver safely.

“According to her, on her return, the baby was detected by a midwife in Uyo and that due to too much fat in her body, scan and other medical examinations did not detect the baby therein,” he explained.

Emerole added that the suspect did not breastfeed the baby and the DNA conducted showed that there was no biological relationship between the suspect and the baby.

The spokesperson disclosed that another suspect, Mrs Ifeoma Obinwa was also nabbed for allegedly inflicting grievous body injury on her 14 year old house help in Dutse Alhaji, Abuja.

He said that the victim who had lived with her since 2015 was not enrolled into school and was always being physically and emotionally abused.

According to him, the victim is always being beaten by the suspect with sticks, wire and sharp objects and such treatment had left wounds and scars on her body including her head.

“The last incident that led to the suspect’s arrest happened on Sept. 12, 2018 when the suspect who accused the victim of beating her child allegedly placed a knife on fire until it became very hot and then placed it on the victim’s thigh and buttocks.

“And that caused grievous body injuries and the victim was also left untreated until operatives of the agency rescued her.

Emerole also told newsmen that one Mrs Sandra Obiosio from Rivers state, who lives in Jabi, Abuja was also arrested for maltreating her 14 year old house help who was brought from Nasarawa.

He said that the little girl who looked malnourished was allegedly subjected to all manner of abuse and ill treatment.

He added that the victim narrated that “she goes to bed 1am to 2am and wakes up at 4am daily” and the suspect did not enroll her in school as promised before she was engaged.

The director noted that all the cases were contrary to various sections of the trafficking in persons enforcement and administration act 2015.

He said that as soon as the investigation was concluded, the cases would be charged to court.

Speaking to newsmen, one of the suspects, who was allegedly involved in buying of baby, insisted she gave birth to the baby claiming that her pregnancy could not be detected in Sweden because it was ectopic until she came to Uyo.

On why she did not breastfeed the two month baby, the suspect claimed she had no breast milk to give to her child.

Another suspect, Obinwa admitted to the allegation of using hot object on her house help, saying that she did that out of anger.

The third suspect, Obiosio, however, vehemently denied maltreating her house help. (NAN)

– Sept. 21, 2018 @ 16:15 GMT |

CITAD trains 150 women in ICT, skills acquisition in FCT

The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) says it has trained 150 women in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Information Communication Technology and other skills acquisition.

Ms Kaltumi Abdulazeez, the Assistant Programe Officer, CITAD disclosed this on Friday in Abuja in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

She said that the women were picked from 14 rural communities in different Area Councils of the FCT.

“We have ICT centres in AMAC, Bwari, Kuje, Kwali, in all, we have about five centres and in each, we trained about 30 women.

“The training will be a continuous one because apart from ICT training, we are also going to train them in other skills.

“The idea behind the training is to continually support digital rural startup in Nigeria in providing education, training and information that will enhance business management skills,’’ he said.

According to Kaitumi, the training, which is in collaboration with Action Aid Nigeria is to help educate women in digital skills to give them a place in the ICT world.

She said that the idea of training was basically tailored toward producing new generations of entrepreneurs among the nation’s women population using ICT as a veritable yardstick.

NAN reports that CITAD is a capacity building civil society organisation whose activities covers research, advocacy, training and publicity in all areas of ICT.

Its vision is a knowledge-based democratic society free of hunger, while its mission is using ICT to empower citizens for a just and knowledge-based society that is anchored on sustainable development. (NAN)

 

 

Nigerians demand review of child adoption laws

Some Nigerians have called for a review of child adoption laws to discourage individuals or couples from patronising baby factories and other illegal outlets to adopt children.

The respondents from some north-central states made the appeal while fielding questions to a survey on child adoption and Child Rights Act conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

They described the current child adoption laws as tough, thus forcing desperate childless couples to patronise baby factories.

Some of them particularly frowned against the existence of baby factories, describing them as “morally absurd’’.

They urged governments to focus on the genuineness of the party or parties interested in adopting children and strive to limit the complex procedures associated with adoption so as to encourage those interested to do so.

“If we can review the law and make child adoption easier, there will be less desperation and owners of baby factories will not have much patronage,’’ Mrs Helen Adoga, a Director in the Plateau Social Development Ministry, told NAN.

She alleged that couples seeking to adopt a child were being forced to bribe some government officials, and described such situation as “bad and not in the interest of the child’’.

The director also urged government officials to bestow more confidence on the couples adopting the children, and cautioned against a situation where the officials constantly spy on the parents.

“Such checks and harassment show a lack of confidence. When that happens, the adopting parents usually feel that they are not being trusted to take care of the child or children,’’ she said.

Mrs Beatrice Bainta, who runs an NGO concerned with protecting vulnerable children, however said that such checks are necessary to protect and safeguard the adopted child against abuse.

“Some couples could pose as childless, but may just be interested in getting a child they want to use for evil activities.

“When people come seeking for children to adopt, it is difficult to know their motives. It is when you keep a constant eye on what is happening to such `government children’ that you can know those in good hands,’’ she said.

Bainta, however, endorsed the need to ease the process of adopting children so that couples with genuine interest would not be discouraged.

Mr Samuel Iorliam, a secondary school teacher in Makurdi, who also decried the tough conditions attached to child adoption, also urged government to relax the stringent measures attached to adopting babies.

“Most couples want to be given the sole right of looking after babies they have adopted, but, very often, social workers keep invading their residents to be sure the babies are being cared for.

“Normally, one has to sign that such checks will be allowed at any time. Most couples will not want that and would rather prefer a situation where there are no prying eyes `disturbing’ them,’’ he said.

He urged government to give more freedom to the adopting parents so as to make them “psychologically relaxed’’.

But, while other states worry about the law, the Niger State Government says it has no specific law permitting child adoption by individuals or childless couple in the state.

Malam Mustapha Yunusa, the Director, Child Development, Ministry of Women and Gender Affairs, told NAN in Minna that Islamic law does not promote child adoption in most states in the North, including Niger.

“Child adoption contravenes the tenets of Islam. It is not permissible,’’ he said.

Yunusa explained that individuals or childless couples were only allowed to apply to the ministry, through the orphanage, for fostering of a child.

“The procedure to follow, if anyone wants to apply for a child, is to first register his or her intention with the ministry.

“The applicant will fill a mandate form signed by a magistrate, before it is approved by the ministry.

“The form will contain a court report of the history of the child – where and when the child was picked and brought to the orphanage,” he said.

According to him, the ministry will, thereafter, carry out background checks of the person seeking to foster the child such as his or her income, social life and the kind of environment he or she lives in.

“These checks are necessary for the security of the child; government must be certified before handing over the child to the fostering parents,’’ the director said.

He said that a social worker would be assigned to visit the home where the child lives, from time to time, to ensure the welfare of the child, adding, however that the child must not be allowed to know he/she was being fostered.

The director said that once the child reaches 15 years of age, he completely belongs to his foster parents.

He however noted that major decisions concerning the child such as change of his/her school, travelling abroad and relocating the child to another state must be made known to the ministry before taking such decisions.

On whether the child has equal right as the biological children to inherit property of the foster parents, the director said that the law has mercy for the adopted child.

“The foster child is only entitled to some percentage of property willed on his/her name by the foster parents in the event of death, so that the child will have something to sustain him/her,’’ Yunusa said.

He however said that fostering of a child could be revoked if the ministry receives information that the child was being maltreated by the foster parents.

Meanwhile, the Niger Ministry of Justice has domesticated the Child Rights Act in 2010 to further protect the rights of children.

The law also protects children in the custody of foster parents or biological parents or relations.

According to Mr Nasara Dan-malam, the state Commissioner for Justice, the child rights law has helped the state to have its own child right law.

Similarly, stakeholders in Nasarawa State have called on the state government to implement the child right law to protect children from abuse by their biological or foster parents as well as relations.

NAPTIP, Benin Zonal command arrests child abuse suspect

The Benin Zonal Command of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons said it had arrested one person for alleged child abuse.

Mr Nduka Nwanwenne, Zonal Commander of the Agency comprising Edo and Delta, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria in Benin on Wednesday.

Nwanwenne said that the suspect, Joel Aiya, was arrested on Tuesday morning.

He also said that the suspect was a truck driver and hailed from Ewohimi, Esan South East Local Government Area in Edo.

He said that the suspect allegedly abused and impregnated a 14-year-old primary six pupil who hailed from Kafanchan in Kaduna State.

The zonal commander said the victim who resided with her guardian in the same premises as the suspect, was usually lured into the suspect’s one-room apartment and allegedly forced to have sex with the suspect.

He said the victim told the agency that the suspect usually gave her drug and salt to take after each love making to prevent her from getting pregnant.

He noted that the victim has been rescued and put into the NAPTIP Benin shelter, while the suspect had been detained at the Benin Command’s custody as investigation continued.

Nwanwenne, who disclosed that the Director-General, NAPTIP, Mrs Julie Okah-Donli, had been briefed on the development, restated the Agency’s commitment to the fight against human trafficking and child abuse. (NAN)

– Sept. 19, 2018 @ 16:05 GMT |

Women participation in internet governance key to development

Mary Uduma, the Chairperson, Internet Governance Forum (IGF) says active participation of women in the internet process is key to the development of any nation.

Uduma made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at the first Women Internet Governance Forum in Nigeria organised by the Centre for Information and Technology Development (CITAD).

The programme is supported by Association for Progressive Communication (APC).

She said that inclusiveness of women and acquisition of the knowledge of the Internet was key to their development.

“And these are the things the forum wants the women to be part of in the internet governance process.’’

She said that to bridge the gap, the forum drew up women focus programmes to enable them express themselves, participate fully and voice up their opinions.

“The essence of this meeting is for capacity building and for bringing information to the women and showing them the areas they have right and authority to speak out.

“And for them to participate in the development process, the internet is the platform as this is the enabler for everybody to be inclusive.

“This programme is the first step of involving women in internet governance.

“We have brought women together, spoken to them, stimulated them and educated them to know they have a platform to voice out their minds,’’ she said.

Prof. Amina Kaidal, a board member of CITAD said that the focus for the programme was to bring women together to identify problems hindering them from the internet process.

Kaidal, who is also a lecturer at University of Maiduguri said that the forum would strategise on how to improve internet accessibility for women.

Maryam Haruna Programme Officer, Gender and Internet CITAD said the over the years the organisation had been struggling for gender inclusion in Nigeria, especially in the northern part.

Haruna said that CITAD discovered that women participation in IGF was very low and this was what prompted the organisation to organise the forum to bring up issues concerning gender challenges in internet and online.

“The forum aimed at bridging gender gaps in accessing information and Internet policies, especially as it affects Nigerian women.

“So that is why we brought women from government, Civil Society Organisations (CSO), Academia, private sector to discuss the challenges and proffer solutions,’’ she said.

Ms Ene Ede, the Gender and Social Inclusion Adviser, Search for Common Ground, an NGO, a participant said that access to internet was like “having the world on your palm’’.

“If the women have the world on their palms, it would be a better place as internet is virtually everything and huge platform of engagement.

“If women are left out of this engagement, the world will not be good for development to take place and for everybody to participate equally, women need to be in the cyberspace.

Another participant, Miss Hassana Ibrahim of Women Will, an initiative of Google for Women said that the programme was apt as CITAD was trying to involve more women in decision making of how the internet should be used.

“You notice that decision making is about male and women are excluded so, bringing more women to participate in Internet is a very good idea,’’ she said. (NAN)

– Sept. 18, 2018 @ 17:37 GMT |

NGO empowers 86,885 vulnerable children with cash, skills in Nasarawa

An NGO, Sustainable Mechanism for Improved Livelihood and Household Empowerment (SMILE) said it has empowered 86,885 vulnerable children in Nasarawa State with cash and skill acquisition.

Mr Emeka Anoje, Head of the organisation made the disclosure at an event marking the closing of its project in the state on Tuesday in Lafia.

Anoje disclosed that the group commenced operation in the state in 2013, adding that the beneficiaries were drawn from 22,259 households in 10 local government areas of the state.

He listed the local governments areas as Lafia, Obi, Keanan, Doma, Nassarawa-Eggon, Akwanga, Keffi, Karu, Nasarawa and Toto.

“Our project has provided support for children in the areas of HIV care and support, cash support, child registration and they were trained on various vocational skills.

“We also worked tirelessly in increasing school enrolment especially for girl child and improved parents/children relationship among others,” he said.

Anoje added that the organisation also partnered the state government in ensuring the successful launch of a document to end violence against children in the state.

He urged beneficiaries of the various skills to make good use of the knowledge acquired to enrich themselves and others in the society.

Earlier, Ene Obi, Country Director of Action Aid Nigeria, commended United States Agency for International Development (USAID), for funding the programme.

Obi added that they would continue to empower vulnerable children by giving them hope in order to make their lives worthwhile.

On her part, Mrs Asibi Ogabo, Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Women Affairs, thanked the group for putting smile on the faces of the children.

She said government would partner any organisation engaged in activities that would improve the living condition of women and children in the state. (NAN)

– Sept. 18, 2018 @ 17:15 GMT |

Be conscious of your behaviour around children, don tells parents

A psychologist in the University of Abuja, Dr Hosea Apeh on Tuesday in Abuja advised parents to be conscious of the way they behaved around their children.

Apeh told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that parents as  as role model to children should be careful how they behaved in the home.

“When children are growing up there is the tendency of imitating others, most of them end up behaving like their parents,” he said.

According to him, when couples argue or fight in front of their children, the children are likely to develop behavioural issues.

“If in a situation where they see their parents fighting, especially for the male child, he will think that a real man needs to beat up your wife,” said Apeh.

Apeh said that conflicts were inevitable in any relationship but must be managed in such a way that the children were not affected.

“Parents should manage their differences, not to pretend before their children, but to see how to resolve the issues without having negative effects on the children,” he said. (NAN)

– Sept. 18, 2018 @ 17:05 GMT |

Mrs Buhari reiterates commitment to women issues

The Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari on Tuesday said she would support any issue that seeks to promote the development and well being of women in the country.
has reiterated her commitment in supporting women in the country
Mrs Buhari made the remarks in Kaduna at the 55th Anniversary of the formation of Jam’iyar Matan Arewa, a socio-political movement of women in Northern Nigeria that started in 1963.
The president’s wife, who was represented by wife of Nasarawa State Governor, Mairo Almakura, said women deserve every support to attain their potentials in life and to contribute to national growth and development.
According to her, the anniversary would galvanise the group to undertake programmes that would add value to the lives of women in the North.
Mrs Buhari pledged to support any laudable initiative by the group and other women organisations nationwide to promote women engagement in politics, economy, commerce, education and all other aspects of life.
Earlier, Aishatu Sadauki, chairperson of the committee set up to resuscitate the Jam’iyar Matan Arewa, said their aim was to come up with women-centered programmes that would meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She said that their focus would be in reducing poverty and hunger and ensuring universal health coverage and sustainable environment.
She explained that the aim of the group is to promote togetherness,
improve living standards of members and encourage self help.
“Our mission is to unite Northern Nigeria Women and make better their lives by encouraging poverty eradication, healthy life style through economic empowerment.”
Also speaking, wife of Niger state governor, Hajiya Amina Bello, who is also the vice chairperson of Northern governors wives forum, pledged support to the group and all women in the region “until their voices are heard.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that wives of the governors of Sokoto, Katsina, Taraba, Zamfara and Kebbi were also present at the event. (NAN)

Parents’ knowledge of children’s activities online promotes family relationships – Cyber Company

Kaspersky Lab Africa, a multinational cyber security and anti-virus provider, says parents’ knowledge of what their children do online can promote better family relationships.

Mr Riaan Badenhorst, the General Manager of Kaspersky Lab Africa made this known in statement made available in the company’s website on Tuesday in Abuja.

The assertion was made based on research of online activities of children across in Africa, including Nigeria and the statistics derived from the company’s Parental Control modules.

Badenhorst said that the knowledge of what children were doing online would also help to encourage open dialogue and prevent more serious threats to children in the region.

He said that the statistics were taken from Kaspersky Lab’s flagship products with Parental Control module and from Kaspersky Safe Kids, a standalone service installed for kids’ online protection.

According to him, globally, children are more likely to watch video content and listen to music, than spend time on social media.

“However, this is not true for children in Nigeria, who are most active across internet communication media referred to as social media or networks in the region as up to 35 per cent of them are active on social media platforms,’’ he said.

He said that the most popular platforms are Facebook, Google Mail, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram.

He said that only 29 per cent of Nigerian children watch video content and music.

The Kaspersky research also revealed that children in the region were also beginning to visit news sites more frequently, including sports.ndtv.com, accounting for 20 per cent of activities.

Badenhorst said that seven per cent of children showed their interest in exploring online stores for clothes and mobile devices “and with regards to online stores, children in Nigeria visited Amazon the most.’’

“It should be noted that alongside computer games put at just under one per cent, similar statistics where noted for children in Nigeria who also searched for adult-content web-sites.

“However, if their parents had blocked such sites for example with a Kaspersky Lab product, then the children’s attempts to visit these sites would be unsuccessful.

“The statistics we have obtained indicate the interests of children and teens in the region today.

”This is why we recommend using parental control products not only to block potentially dangerous content, but also to help parents stay informed about their children’s interests and passions.

”Many software programme, including those from Kaspersky Lab, allow parents to see reports about their children’s online activities.

”Naturally, reports like this do not disclose any private information.

”In our opinion, the parents’ knowledge of what their children do online should promote better family relationships, helping to encourage open dialogue and preventing more serious threats to children in the region,” he said.

Kaspersky Lab is a multinational cyber security and anti-virus provider headquartered in Moscow, Russia and operated by a holding company in the UK. (NAN)

– Sept. 18, 2018 @ 11:35 GMT |

NGO urges FG to enforce laws prohibiting human trafficking

Devatop Centre for African Development (DCAD), an NGO, has urged the Federal Government to enforce laws against trafficking and irregular migration to curb human trafficking in the country.

Mr Joseph Osuigwe, the Executive Director of the organisation, made the call at a news conference on Friday in Abuja.

Osuigwe said the briefing was aimed at addressing rising cases of human trafficking from Nigeria to Spain.

The executive director revealed that victims of human trafficking were often forced into prostitution, pornography, child labour, suicide bombing and ritual activities in other countries.

Osuigwe said human trafficking has contributed in great measures to the ongoing humanitarian crisis around the globe, hence the need to make laws to end the menace.

“There are many Nigerians trafficked to Spain for sexual and labour exploitation and more than 10,000 Nigerians have died within a year.

“More than 30,000 victims of human trafficking die every year as a result of torture, hunger, disease, neglect and abuse.

“Nigeria has become a fertile ground for human trafficking with the highest number of victims, due to lack of social protection for those living in poverty.

“Human trafficking seems to concern only civil society organisations, may be because political leaders feel it does not affect them directly

“So, I want to call on our government to put up good laws that will prohibit and if possible bring trafficking to a complete end,” he said.

The director urged government and civil society organisations to tackle the seemingly endless losses of Nigerian lives caused by irregular illicit migration, calling for a political commitment to end it.

“From what is happening, human trafficking has become an endemic problem in Nigeria, the rich are not totally exempted from the negative impact of this outbreak if not checked.

“It has become important to curb the activities of persons engaged in the illicit and irregular migration business.

“These set of people have lured many desperate youths into their untimely deaths,” Osuigwe said.

The director, however, advised youths in the country to desist from any act that would warrant them being trafficked or lured into prostitution and committing other crimes.

Osuigwe also urged the National Assembly to support the call enacting tougher laws against human trafficking in the country. (NAN)

– Sept. 14, 2018 @ 19:09 GMT |

Child birth: UNICEF, Kano Emirate Council partner on registration

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has pledged its readiness to partner with Kano Emirate Council to enhance birth registration across the 44 Local Government Areas of the state.

The UNICEF Media Director, Alhaji Rabi’u Musa, made the pledge at a stakeholders meeting on Strategic Planning for media campaign on Birth Registrationin Kano on Wednesday.

NAN reports that the meeting was organised by the National Population Commission (NPC) in collaboration with Unicef as part of effort to review success and challenges in the exercise.

He said the collaboration was necessary in view of the fact that traditional rulers had a key role to play to improve birth registration in the state.

He said that UNICEF was committed to providing moral, technical and financial support to improve birth registration in the state in view of its importance.

“We are looking at what we can do to improve our lives and collectively we can work to make a difference,”he said.

Earlier, the Head of Department, Vital Registration, NPC, Kano, Hajiya Raliya Gambo, said Act 69 of 1992 empowers the commission to establish vital registration systems across the country.

The Act stipulates the role of health sector to give information on births and deaths.

She said birth registration has a lot of benefits as it will enable people to obtain passports, credit facilities as well as basic services, such as immunisation, heath care and school enrolment at the right age, among others.

“Birth registration gives access to schools, hospitals, jobs and other social services,” she said.

Also speaking, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II represented by the District Head of Makoda, Alhaji Wada Waziri, expressed concern over the lukewarm attitude of people toward birth registration.

He called on all stakeholders to sensitise people in their various areas on the importance of the exercise.

He said the Emirate Council had already set up a committee to enlighten people of the state on need for them to always register their children in view of its importance to socio-economic development of the country.

NAN reports that the meeting was attended by traditional rulers, representatives of the ministry of health and various media organisations in Kano state. (NAN)

– Sept. 12, 2018 @ 17:35 GMT |

NGO tasks FG on laws to protect children

Sustainable Mechanism for Improving Livelihoods Mechanism (SMILE), an NGO, has called on the Federal Government to ensure the implementation of the Child Rights Act to protect children in the country.

Mr Joseph Inyang, the programme manager, made appeal in Kuje on Wednesday during the “End of project close-out and dissemination meeting’’ after five years of operation in the area.

According to Inyang, the organisation is saddled with the responsibility on advocacy for child protection and issues that would boost the rights of children in the country.

“Thank you Kuje Area Council after five years of partnership in improving the well-being of vulnerable children and strengthening the programme in the area.

“The SMILE project is for the orphans and vulnerable children in the country founded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“It is actually aimed to improve the vulnerability of children in the country and to assist their care givers to encourage people willing to assist them.

“We are calling on the government and other stakeholders to implement laws that would protect the less privileged and vulnerable children in the country,” he said.

However, he said that the organisation over the years had provided cash assistance and psychosocial support in terms of education to ensure that children were enrolled in school.

Besides, the coordinator called on the six Area Council Chairmen in FCT to create a budget line to help address malnutrition in rural communities.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme featured presentation of gift items to children from orphanages and rural communities in the area. (NAN)

– Sept. 12, 2018 @ 17:29 GMT |

70% of children in Kaduna state not registered – Agency

Hadiza Balarabe, the Executive Secretary, Kaduna State Primary Health Care Development Agency, said on Tuesday that 70 per cent of children born in Kaduna state were not registered.

Balarabe made this known at the opening of a One-day Stakeholders Meeting on Birth Registration in Kaduna state, organised by the National Population Commission (NPC) with support from UNICEF.

She explained that the development was responsible for the low coverage of children during routine immunisation exercise in the state, which, she said, stood at only 30 per cent.

“We have continued to record poor coverage of routine immunisation, with only 30 per cent of under-five children being covered in the state, because they were the only ones that were registered and planned for.

“But if we know how many children are being born in the state, it will help us capture every child with various interventions for their survival and development.

“Getting children registered gives them identity and will help government to provide needed interventions that will improve their health status and give them a chance in life,” she said.

According to her, the state has high indices of child and infant mortality from preventable diseases, stressing the need for massive awareness campaign to enlighten parents on the importance of birth registration.

“This is because, whenever a child is not covered by immunisation, it leaves room for vulnerability, which in the long run, puts every other child at risk.

“This meeting, therefore, provides a common ground for relevant stakeholders to understand what needs to be done in ensuring that no child is left behind on birth registration,” she said.

Earlier, Malam Umaru Adamu, Head of Vital Registration, NPC, Kaduna State Office, identified lack of awareness and inadequate registration centres as major challenges affecting birth registration in the state.

According to Adamu, not many people know what the commission does.

“Many people think we only carry out census, but we are doing other things like birth, death and still-birth registrations.

“There is also the problem of insufficient number of registration centres and registers in the state. While some local government areas have 10 centres, others have four.

“There are currently only 131 registration centres across the 23 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.

“We need at least 230 centres; 10 in each LGA to ensure effective birth, death and still-birth registrations,” Adamu said.

He explained that the objective of the meeting was to bring all stakeholders working on population related issues together to agree on possible solutions to problems affecting birth registration in the state.

“My expectation is that at the end of the meeting, relevant stakeholders will partner with the population commission to improve coverage of birth registration in Kaduna state,” he added. (NAN)

– Sept. 11, 2018 @ 16:42 GMT |

Ministry of Niger Delta empowers 150 women, youths in C/River

The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, on Tuesday, presented tricycles to150 women and youths in Calabar, Cross River, in the ongoing ‘Youth and Women’ Empowerment Scheme being implemented by the ministry.

Presenting the items to the beneficiaries, Mr Usani Uguru Usani, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, said the programme was designed to uplift the standard of living of the people.

Usani, represented by Mrs Lauren Braide, Director of Community Development and Education in the ministry, said the gesture was in continuation of empowerment through the provision of tricycles for women and youths in the Niger Delta region.

He explained that similar presentations had been done in Warri, Delta, and that with the commencement of the implementation of 2018 national budget, other states of the Niger Delta would soon be covered.

“May I emphasise here that this empowerment programme is aimed at achieving some cardinal objectives.

“These include the improvement of transportation access, enhancement of economic activities in the state, haulage of inputs to and from the farm and fulfilment of other ancillary activities such as mechanics, panel beaters and others.

“It is my hope and desire that this initiative of government will also translate into improved peace and development in the state, and indeed, the region.

“I wish to place on record that this effort by the federal government is only complimenting the commendable efforts by the state government in the provision of jobs for the teeming population of youths in the state.

“I wish to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari for his consistent interest in the welfare and development of the Niger Delta,” he said.

The Minister said the empowerment programme will perfectly fit into the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) clinic drive being run by the office of the Vice President, since it aimed at promoting SMEs in the region.

A beneficiary, Mrs Alice Henshaw, told NAN that the tricycle would go a long way in alleviating poverty and making them self-reliant.

Also, Mr Richard Etim-Edet, expressed happiness over the gift, saying that he was lucky to be among the beneficiaries.

“I am really happy for this gift. With this tricycle, I can now make some money to improve my life. I want to appreciate the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs for this great empowerment,” he said. (NAN)

– Sept. 11, 2018 @ 16:12 GMT |

Okei-Odumakin wants more participation of women in politics

An activist, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, on Monday called on women to aspire more for leadership positions through active participation in politics.

Okei-Odumakin, President, Women Arise for Change Initiative, an NGO, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Lagos.

She said women needed to make themselves visible in the political space in order to contribute more to nation-building.

The activist acknowledged that participation of women had improved over time, but pointed out that the level still left much to be desired.

She called for the liberalisation of the political space to encourage more women to be involved in the process.

The activist also decried the traditional, religious and cultural factors inhibiting the participation of women in politics.

“Although there has been an improvement over the past of couple of years, the participation of women in our political space is still far below average, compared to what obtains in other democracies both in Africa and in the west.

“There is the need to liberate the political space by increasing the number of positions that must be occupied by the women, starting with the observance of the 35 per cent affirmative action.

“Cost of seeking nomination and participation in party primaries must also be reduced to largely accommodate more women who have intention of going into politics and governance,” she said.

Okei-Odumakin said her NGO would continue to champion and invest in advocacy and educational programmes to liberate women politically.

On the Sept 22 elections in Osun State, Odumakin urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to do its best to ensure its successful conduct.

She, however, said INEC could not do it alone, and called on stakeholders, including security agencies and the political class, to collaborate with the commission to make the election free and fair.

The activist charged the civil society to play their role in educating the electorate to vote according to their conscience.

She described vote-buying as an aberration in a democracy, urging voters to shun such practice. (NAN)

– Sept. 10, 2018 @ 15:59 GMT