One in five children in Nigeria reportedly dies before the age of five due to minor preventable ailments that have long been eradicated in other countries; while yet others have been orphaned due to AIDS-related diseases or inter-tribal wars, or as a result of activities of insurgents.
It is estimated that over two million girls are subjected to genital mutilation every year, a practice still rampant in some parts of Nigeria and all religious groups.
Intervention in the practice is considered as a violation of privacy, yet many girls face several health risks through this, including severe bleeding and contraction of HIV infection through the use of unhygienic methods in carrying out the procedure. Statistical data shows that adolescent girls have HIV rate up to five percent higher than their male counterparts.
According to a recent United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) report, one out of every five Nigerian children is out of school, topping the table of 12 other countries with which it accounts for 47 % of the global out-of-school population.
The other countries are: Pakistan, Ethiopia, India, Philippines, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. Others include Niger, Kenya, Yemen, Mali and South Africa.
Speaking on this segment of Sunrise, the Assistant Director, Children Services, Salford City Council, England, Gani Martins and Kendi Aig-Imoru share their thoughts.
Indian police on Friday arrested two of the suspects who allegedly gang-raped two teenage girls and hanged them from a tree in northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
The two cousins who were from a low-caste Dalit community, went missing from their village home in Uttar Pradesh’s Budaun district when they went out to go to the toilet on Tuesday evening. The following morning, villagers found the bodies of the two teenagers hanging from a mango tree in a nearby orchard.
Senior Superintendent of Police of Budaun, Atul Saxena, said two suspects had been arrested and the hunt for the third one was still on.
“Three men are accused of rape and murder. Two of them have been arrested. We have sent a force to nab the third accused. The search operation was also carried out last night and we also checked his hideouts but we could not find him,” said Saxena.
The post-mortem report confirmed the two minors were raped and died from the hanging.
The victim’s families say the girls were gang-raped and then hanged by five men from the village. They allege that local police were shielding the attackers as they refused to take action when the girls were first reported missing.
The father of one of the victims demanded an inquiry by federal police Crime Bureau of Investigation.
“The police constable came to my house and informed me that my daughter has been found hanging from a tree. I want the CBI to investigate the case. I do not trust the police,” he said.
Activists say sex crimes against young girls and women are widespread in India, adding that females from poor, marginalised, low-caste communities are often the victims.
Public outrage over the fatal gang rape of a woman in new Delhi in December 2012 pushed the government into passing a tougher new law to punish sex crimes. This includes sentences of up to two years’ jail for police and hospital authorities if they fail to register a complaint or treat a victim.
As initial results tipped Petro Poroshenko to win Ukraine’s election, Russia said that it was “open to dialogue” with the new president of the crisis-torn country.
Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, said that military action must end against separatists in the east.
Mr Poroshenko said that he would meet Russian leaders soon but vowed to take a tough line on any armed separatists.
Unrest continues in the east, with pro-Russia militiamen halting flights at Donetsk airport.
Meanwhile election observers said Sunday’s vote was a genuine one that largely met international standards.
The mission from the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) also said it gave the new President “legitimacy” to open a dialogue with separatists in the East.
Petro Poroshenko is a confectionery tycoon who backed the pro-European street protests that ousted Moscow ally Viktor Yanukovich from Presidency.
He was the only Ukrainian strongman to swiftly throw his weight behind the popular uprising that started late 2013, devoting his ‘5th Channel’ TV station to the coverage of the protests.
A seasoned politician who served as Foreign Minister and Economy Minister in previous administrations, Poroshenko’s chain of confectionery shops has put the billionaire on Ukraine’s top 10 rich list, earning him the nick-name “Chocolate King”.
Poroshenko, whose chocolate manufacturer, Roshen is one of the world’s top 20 confectionery firms, backs Ukraine’s integration with the west and his firm has been targeted in Russia.
Over the years the term land grabbing has been evolving, it is not only petroleum companies and home developers that grab lands, those in agric business have also joined the league, and it is becoming ever so difficult to be able to tell which activities of these companies affect the food supply.
Confusing laws on land, much of which is owned or claimed by government officials, also mean it is difficult to expand. That has left 60 percent of Nigeria’s arable land fallow.
The government wants to add 20 million tons of domestic food production by 2020 and rice, corn, sorghum, palm oil and cocoa have already increased.
Farmers have said that one backlash has been a rise in smuggling of rice and sugar from neighbouring countries and into ports.
Higher cassava output has been used to make flour, reducing wheat imports mostly from the United States by almost 9 percent
The world’s second-largest importer of rice, Nigeria aims to become self-sufficient by 2015 after introducing a 100% tax on polished rice imports, likely to mostly affect countries like India, Thailand and Brazil.
There are many policies being implemented in the Agriculture sector but question still remains, who is taking up the land and making the nation hungry?
This is our focus on this edition of Earthfile.
It features the Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina.
Fielding questions from journalists at a forum in Abuja, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala explained that the rating was based on the large number of poor people living in the country, a phenomenon she said was peculiar to middle income countries, including Nigeria.
“India is a middle income country, one of the largest in the world, like Nigeria, is a big economy but the largest number of poor people in the world resides in India and China and other places.
“Most middle income countries, even Brazil have large numbers of poor people. That is the reality of today, Nigeria is no exception”, she said.
She explained further, “Today, if you go to the Chinese, they will tell you ‘let us slow down about praising China’ because we still have a substantial number of poor people; Brazil the same, that is why they started the safety net programme in Brazil and that is what President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has asked four or five of his ministers to get together and try to build this platform.
“So we should not try to single Nigeria out. What we have to do is focus on what is the answer, what are other countries doing that we can also learn from and do. Nobody says that everything is fine but we are learning and where we make some progress like other countries, we should also acknowledge it.”
Other countries also rated by the World Bank group as extremely poor are India, China, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya.
A Budget Historian, Tunji Ogunyemi has stated that Nigeria is extremely poor, because most graduates do not have the opportunities to showcase their talents.
Referring to World’s Bank ratings which classified Nigeria amongst the world’s poorest countries, he stated that it was normal for World Bank to categorize the country with the likes Bangladesh, India, China, as they are “extremely populous” countries of the world with citizens living below poverty level.
Speaking on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr. Ogunyemi noted that the oil economy is an “enclave economy” which isolates the ordinary Nigerian, “No Nigerian owns an oil well except for the government”, he added.
He said, “Nigeria has not been able to achieve much through our budget system because most of the resources we have go on consumption”, adding that at the federal level, about 30% of the money gotten from votes, have gone into creation of wealth or the maintenance of infrastructure, “the Federal Government cannot be doing all and expect the lower level government to have the responsibility and ability to turn the situation around.”
Mr. Ogunyemi further criticized the Federal Government for covering all the fields in terms of assess, revenue, funds, amongst others. In terms of job creations, he noted that the government should provide the necessary infrastructures that would help the private sector create jobs for the unemployed, he maintained that there had been a disconnect between the private sector and the public sector and advised that both sectors should work together.
“Poverty can be reduced in the country with the conscious effort of the government creating jobs for the youth” he noted.
The World Bank Group has rated Nigeria among the world’s extremely poor countries, promising to assist in ending what it called ‘extreme poverty’ in the nations.
Other countries that were also rated as extremely poor are India, China, Bangladesh, DR Congo, Indonesia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya.
At the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington on Wednesday, in advance of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, World Bank President, Dr Jim Yong Kim, stated that the global bank would deal with the extreme poverty in Nigeria and its counterparts in the coming years.
Ending Extreme Poverty By 2030
He said: “The fact is that two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor are concentrated in just five countries: India, China, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. If you add another five countries, Indonesia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Kenya, the total grows to 80 per cent of the extreme poor.”
Dr Kim stressed that the World Bank Group would focus on Nigeria and other nine countries, but emphasised that the plan would not make other countries in the world to be ignored.
“We will have a strategy that ensures that no country is left behind, as we move toward the target of ending extreme poverty by 2030,″ he said.
The World Bank President also announced a series of measures aimed at strengthening the World Bank Group to better meet the evolving needs of clients, including a $100 billion increase in the lending capacity of the Bank’s lending arm for middle-income countries over the next decade.
According to Dr. Kim, this new innovations in financial management, and a boost in the institution’s ability to provide private sector support follows the record $52 billion replenishment of IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, in December 2013.
Kim also outlined how the Bank was positioning itself to better achieve its goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity for the lowest 40 per cent in developing countries.
“We now have the capacity to nearly double our annual lending to middle-income countries from $15 billion to $26 to $28 billion a year. This means that the World Bank’s lending capacity will increase by $100 billion to roughly $300 billion over the next ten years.
“This is in addition to the largest IDA replenishment in history, with $52 billion in grants and concessional loans to support the poorest countries,” he said.
The Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, has revealed plans to turn the State into Nigeria’s top destination for medical tourism as a means of attracting thousands of Nigerians who travel to other countries, including India, thereby boosting the economies of those countries.
“As part of our Delta Beyond Oil (agenda) we are looking at areas of tourism and one area of tourism is medical tourism,” the governor said while speaking on the State’s health sector on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.
Uduaghan, who said his administration is making efforts at ensuring the welfare of the people in regards to their health, stressed that the human capital development agenda under his administration’s 3 point agenda covers three sub sectors, health, education and empowerment.
“Being the former commissioner for health, I had a fair idea of the status of our health. When I left, I became the SSG but while still the SSG, I had my eyes on the health sector. Now that I became a governor, so I had a fair idea of what we intended to achieve.”
He further stated that his administration placed emphasis on “improving the primary healthcare, deal majorly with secondary healthcare and also lay some emphasis on tertiary healthcare.”
In dealing with the primary healthcare, focus was on killer diseases and maternal and children mortality
According to the governor, the two major challenges faced in the sector, at the grassroots level, are ignorance and poverty.
“A lot of our people do not take health as priority, so nobody keeps money in case you have a health challenge so that when the health challenge comes up, you see people running around for money. When they don’t have money, they easily resort to quacks.”
“We tried as much as possible to see how we can assist people at that level in dealing with their health issues by making sure that the cost of health at that level is not too much… That is why we had our free maternal healthcare services. that’s why we had our free under 5 healthcare service, a lot of immunization issues, a lot of our rural healthcare programme were free. That was also combined with education to deal with the issue of ignorance.”
He also spoke on tttempts made the government at encouraging Nigerians to patronise local hospitals for advanced health problems. In addressing issues of advanced health problems, “we needed to deal with infrastrusture, equipment and personnel to run those facilities,” he said.
“So far, we have tried to deal with the infrastructure in some of the hospitals” including 6 specialist hospitals.
“In the number of years that I’ve been the governor, we have tried to improve on the equipment in those hospitals and we are still dealing with the infrastructure.”
Asked about some abandoned projects, especially the Nkoyo Ibori Children’s Medical Centre located at Agbarho road, the governor explained that the centre “was built by the wife of my predecessor” and “was not a government project.”
“That was the pet project of Mrs Nkoyo Ibori which did not take off because the way the hospital was planned and its location affected its taking-off.
“It’s not a government hospital, it’s a private one but what we are trying to do as a state government is to take over the facility,” the governor stated, insisting that “I would not advise anybody to run it as a hospital because I don’t think it’s well located and the concept was not properly articulated.”
He highlighted challenges being faced in getting citizens in need of medical attention to visit the primary healthcare centres often instead of the tertiary hospitals.
“In those tertiary healthcare hospitals, you cannot prevent people generally going to them. So what you do in such places is to create a unit called the family healthcare unit as part of that tertiary hospital, where people go for first attendance in the hospital.”
Cricket officials in South Africa have announced that Jacques Kallis, who has been referred to as the greatest all-rounder of his era, will retire from test and first-class cricket after the Boxing Day match against India in Durban.
Kallis, cricket’s fourth highest test run-getter, would be available, however, for selection in the limited-over formats. The 38-year-old has amassed 13,174 runs and taken 292 wickets from 165 tests.
The broad-shouldered top-order batsman and medium-pace bowler has been a pillar for South African cricket since he made his debut as a 20-year-old against England in Durban.
His test batting average of more than 55 and his knack of picking up crucial wickets make him undoubtedly one of the greatest all-rounders to have played the game.
The right-handed batsman also has the second highest number of centuries (44) in tests, behind India’s Sachin Tendulkar, who retired from cricket last month.
Kallis, who has also made 11,574 runs in 325 one-day internationals, will give himself one last chance to win a World Cup for South Africa in 2015, when the tournament will be hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
With the first match ending in a draw, top-ranked South Africa take on India in the second and final test from Thursday (December 26).
The Proteas will also host Australia for three tests and as many Twenty20 internationals in a series that will begin in February 2014.
On this episode of Network Africa, the killing of the Nigerian in Goa, India came to the fore.
It will be recalled that a group of Nigerians clashed with the police in India after they allegedly attacked a police vehicle carrying the body of a Nigerian who was said to have been stabbed to death in India’s beach state, Goa.
In this phone interview, Nigerian High Commissioner to India, Ambassador Ndubuisi Amaku, shed more light on the issues. He vehemently denied allegations that the Nigerian killed in India was involved in a drug deal.
“This is not correct, the young man has been determined to be a very innocent, I repeat, innocent person… Even at that, if a Nigerian is involved in drugs, the proper punishment is not to hack him to death.”
Ambassador Amaku expressed Nigerians’ disappointment at the “seeming unwillingness of the local authorities to apprehend the culprit.” He promised that the Nigerian High Commission would handle the issue through the appropriate diplomatic channels.
About 30 students who won laurels for their states and the country have been rewarded with scholarships up to university level.
In separate ceremonies in Kogi and Abia states, the two governors promised to ensure the education of the pupils by providing adequate sports equipment and fully equipped laboratories and libraries.
In a reception held at the Kogi State Government House for the students who made the state proud in the just concluded sport festival in Port Harcourt and in India, the state’s Commissioner Of Education, Mrs Grace Elebiyo encouraged the students to focus on their studies.
In his remark, the obviously pleased Kogi State Governor, Captain Idris Wada reiterated his administration’s commitment to promoting holistic education and announced several scholarships and cash awards for the students.
The event had Government officials, journalists, parents and well-wishers in attendance.
In Abia state, it was an elated Governor Theordore Orji who watched some of the pupils as they displayed the talents that gave them victories.
Chairman Abia State Universal Basic Education Board, Micah Onyebuchi then went on to present the laurels won by the pupils to Governor Orji.
The governor responded by announcing scholarship awards to the pupils. He also gave cash gifts to the pupils and their teachers as well as promotion for those in the Ministry Of Education.
A group of Nigerians has clashed with the police in India after they allegedly attacked a police vehicle carrying the body of a Nigerian who was said to have been stabbed to death in India’s beach state, Goa.
The body of the man, whose name has not been revealed, was found with wounds in Mapusa town, triggering protests by angry Nigerians who removed the body from the van and kept it on the road, blocking traffic in the area
The Chief of India’s Goa State, Manohar Parrikar, said the murder would be investigated.
“We have detained 53 of them (Nigerians) and two of them are in the hospital,” he said.
Manohar Parrikar described the attack on the Police as illegal and said that the state had booked a case on the issue.