Human Resource for Health: NGO Urges Government to Give Females Priority

An Non Governmental Organisation, Population and Reproductive Health Initiative, has call on Kaduna State Government and Northern states to give priority to training of female human resources for health in order to close the gap that exists in the region.

Punshak Watle- Matawal the programme administrator/ programme officer Girls for Health (G4H) project gave the advice during a media chat on the girls for health project executed by the NGO in Kaduna.

Matawal said a lot of girls desire to pursue their dreams and aspirations but don’t have the opportunities due to lack of securing admissions or the girls marrying led to some stopping half way as husband’s couldn’t allow them to continue.

He commended the Kaduna State government for taking a step to starting a foundation year program.

“If we don’t have female health providers especially in the rural areas, they won’t be able to open up and access health delivery because most of them will not want to be attended by a male provider.

The Girls for Health (G4H) project as the name implies is a project conceived to close the gap of shortage of female human resources for health that exists in northern Nigeria.

The project is school-based – meaning it was implemented in schools not at community level.

“The project started in 2016 in four states of Northern Nigeria (Kebbi, Sokoto,Jigawa and Kaduna and is supported by Bill and Melinda gates Foundation.

He said the project supported three cohorts of girls totalling 375( 125 per cohort) and 113 of cohort girls are already admitted into various institutions of higher learning.

“Out of the 375 beneficiaries,113 are already admitted into various institutions of higher learning.

“42 we’re admitted into health related training institutions,22 into the university,28 into College of Education,10 in the polytechnic and 11 in other institutions.

“We selected five schools, one each from five LGAs in Kaduna State,we selected 25 girls from each school per cohort (total of 125 girls per cohort) and each state is led by the state team leader.

He said the selection of beneficiaries were girls who are largely from poor background and girls from SS2.

“We conducted baseline survey for the girls selected in order to ascertain their level of performance before intervention, conducted safe spaces for girls in order for them to acquire life skills, implemented vacation program and paid for WAEC and JAMB exams fees for the girls.

“We conducted inter-school debates and quiz for our project girls across the five schools,took them for excursion to hospitals where they learn from those practicing in the medical professional,bonded the girls with thier communities so they can give back at least two years of service to their communities after becoming trained health workers.

“We also conducted foundation science training to further groom them to be competitive during entrance exams or weeding exams and conducted end line survey to assess the impact of the project on students performance.

“With the support of the project, it help arouse zeal of parents to send their girls to schools as the girls have taken challenge to work hard and encourage their younger ones.

Matawal urge the girls not to give up but keep hope alive and work hard in order to accomplish their aspirations and also called on parents to give support to their girls to enable them achieve their aspirations of becoming health care providers.

He also called on development partners to continue the good work of supporting the government with special attention to training of female human resources for health.

“With this experience, we learnt that a project like this can be implemented at the community level too as the community leaders will be carried along from onset and more less advantaged girls will be reached.

​Edo APC, Deputy Governor at war over court case against Obaseki

Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Deputy Governor of the state, Rt. Hon Philip Shaibu has engaged in a war of words over a pre-election matter in the court as Shiabu alleged that the former National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole had recently said that the Supreme Court would give his party victory like the case of Imo state.

But in a statement yesterday by the State Publicity Secretary of the APC, Chris Azebanmwan, the allegation which he described as weighty was false and that Shaibu was engaging in a smear campaign against Oshiomhole.

He said, “The statement which he credited to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is a blatant falsehood as no such words emanated from the elder statesman. It is a smear campaign that is aimed at tarnishing the pristine image of the immediate past Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the vain hope it would pit the judiciary against the legal reliefs sought by the APC.

“I challenge Philip Shaibu to provide an audio or video clip of the occasion where Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is alleged to have made such a statement. Instead of this puerile and infantile attempt at diverting attention from the substance of the matter in court which centers on forgery and perjury, Philip Shaibu is well advised to address his mind to shoring up their defence.

“Philip Shaibu conveniently lost sight of the fact that the issue in contention borders on forgery and perjury. APC did not go to the Federal High Court to challenge the outcome of the September 2020 election.

“The Nigerian public is too informed and discerning to be hoodwinked with fake allegations and sensationalism. We totally agree with Philip Shaibu that the Nigerian judiciary ranks amongst the best and most diligent in the world and will not be swayed or distracted by antics such as being irresponsibly orchestrated by Philip Shaibu.”

Shaibu had through his Media aide, Benjamin Atu alleged that Oshiomhole was plotting to overturn Governor Godwin Obaseki’s victory at the September 2020 governorship election through the Judiciary.

Though he reaffirmed confidence in the judiciary and President Muhammadu Buhari to protect the nation’s democracy and the collective will of Edo people, Shaibu urged Edo people, especially the youths to take their destiny in their hands by securing Nigeria democracy and the political future of young people.

Northern Group Accuses Kukah of Using Christmas to Incite Hatred

Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), has accused the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah, of using the celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ as an avenue to incite hatred against a section of the country.

According to CNG’s Spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, in a statement on Monday “CNG finds it ironic that a Reverend would choose the revered occasion of the celebration of the birth of Christ to needlessly incite hatred against a section of the country.

“This statement by Kukah only goes to testify to the growing trend by bigots of selectively amplifying the perceived crimes of the Hausa/Fulani Muslims and downplaying those committed against them.

“With the utmost concern, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) notes the latest attempt by a Reverend Father Mathew Hassan Kukah of the Sokoto Diocese to destroy the quest for national integration by instigating violence through exploiting cleavages of religious nature to cause disharmony and facilitate the further emasculation of northern Nigerian Muslims.

“It testifies to how religious bodies and leaders such as Kukah in more ways than one, attempt to aid the deterioration of the situation in the country by stimulating a form of Islamophobia on the back of the most gratuitous false story of an Islamisation agenda.

“It also furthers the irresponsible and unacceptable practice of preachers using the pulpit to promote falsehood and incite their followers against certain sections of the society by labelling and earmarking them to be targeted irrespective of whether they are part of a crime committed or not.”

He added that, “history is being shamefully and blatantly reviewed, rewritten and falsified In the process, history is being shamefully and blatantly reviewed, rewritten and falsified. In the process, the consciousness eroded Kukah that the four most violent military insurrections in Nigeria’s history were schemed, spearheaded and executed by non-Muslims, and in most cases, non-Northerners. It is important therefore, to place on record, that the very first and most bloody January 1966 coup was carried out by mostly non-Muslim Igbo army officers including Major Kaduna Nzeogwu, and Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna.

“The casualties of the coup were mostly northern Muslims including the Prime Minister Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the Sardauna of Sokoto Sir Ahmadu Bello, Brigadier Abubakar Maimalari and others.

“This was followed by another bloody counter-coup same year led By Yakubu Gowon and Yakubu Danjuma (both non-Muslim northerners) which saw Major-General Gowon succeed Ironsi. In 1975, Gowon (northern Christian) was ousted in a peaceful palace coup by Brigadier Murtala Muhammed (a northern Muslim).In 1976, the bloody aborted coup by Lt Colonel Bukar Suka Dimka, a northern Christian, led to the assassination of General Murtala Muhammed, a northern Muslim.Then the relatively non-violent Coup of December 31, 1983 led by a group of senior army officers headed by Major General Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim, overthrew the government of President Shehu Shagari, another northern Muslim.

“A palace coup was then led by Major General Ibrahim Babangida, a northern Muslim who peacefully overthrew the administration of Buhari. In 1990, Major Gideon Orkar, a northern Christian, staged a violent attempt to overthrow the government of General Ibrahim Babangida. In 1993 in a bloodless palace coup, General Sani Abacha overthrew the interim government of Chief Ernest Shonekan. Kukah’s calumny is so glaring here in the mischievous way he deliberately distorted the Nigerian coup narratives to suit an agenda that tends to portray the North, the Hausa/ Fulani and Muslims in bad light and render them as the culprit and the guilty entity. We are thus worried that this attempt at singling out a certain religion and targeting its adherent for stereotyping and stigmatizing follows the same pattern employed just before the Rwandan massacre of 1996.

He further said, “we do not contend their claims of the current administrative lapses, nor do we intend to fault the right of people to criticise government’s inadequate, ineffective, exclusive and unfocused policies. The northern Muslims, contrary to the deliberate distortions by the Kukahs, happen to be the major casualty of this administration’s serial misgovernance in terms of security, economy, distribution of key federal appointments and essential goods and services, making it unacceptably irresponsible for Kukah and his ilk to hide behind the guise of criticism of government to attack a whole ethnic or religious group.

“We therefore emphatically repudiate any attempt at the vilification of one ethnic and religious group or the other for whatever reason or justification. In this light, we deem the Kukah’s persistent targeting of the entire northern Muslims for vilification, systematic dehumanization, profiling, alienation or any action that will render them object of attack and persecution, not only immoral and illegal, but also abhorrent to our sensibilities and ordinary decency and therefore unacceptable.

“We at CNG are quite aware that targeting of any ethnic or religious group and singling it out for any negative action for all intents and purposes, is against both our laws and international law.

“Such acts are the prelude to genocide and ethnic cleansing and therefore, are actionable under international human rights and humanitarian law, as well as international criminal law. We are also familiar with the provisions of the Rome Statute in this respect, as well as the processes and outcomes of the various international tribunals and courts from the Nuremberg Tribunal to the recent tribunals that tried cases related to genocide and ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia and other situations. We therefore give notice to Kukah and his fellow instigators and perpetrators of all hate crimes that the CNG is ready and willing to take matters to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for redress where local remedies could not be provided against their irresponsible actions.

“Meanwhile, we remind the Federal Government of the imperative of checkmating all religious groups and religious teachings that undermine Nigeria’s peace, security, and peaceful coexistence through unguarded utterances and deliberate actions aimed at fomenting unrest and engendering inter-religious and inter-communal conflicts. Individuals associated with such groups or actions that incite others to violations must be decisively dealt with.

“In that regard, we remind government of our earlier advice for the enactment of appropriate laws to deal with all manifestations of hate speech from any quarter.”

​South Africa becomes first African nation to record one million COVID-19 cases

South Africa has become the first African nation to record one million coronavirus cases, according to new data published by the country’s health ministry on Sunday.

Currently suffering a second wave of infections, of which the majority are a new variant of the coronavirus, South Africa is the hardest hit country in Africa, with 1,004,413 infections and 26,735 deaths, the data showed.

As of 1900 GMT, a total 2,658,646 cases were recorded in Africa and 62,649 fatalities, according to an AFP tally.

Last week, South Africa recorded a daily average of 11,700 new infections, up 39 per cent over the previous week.

For three consecutive days, from Wednesday until Friday, the daily number of new cases topped 14,000, but dropped sharply again on Saturday and Sunday.

Authorities are considering reimposing restrictions to rein in the spread of the virus, and president Cyril Ramaphosa could give a television address later this week.

Morocco is the second hardest hit African country, with 432,079 cases and 7,240 deaths, followed by Egypt with 131,315 cases and 7,352 fatalities, Tunisia with 130,230 infections and 4,426 deaths and Ethiopia with 122,413 and 1,901 respectively.

Africa has not been as hard hit by the coronavirus as other regions, such as Europe with more than 25 million infections, the United States with 19.5 million, Latin America and the Caribbean with 15 million, Asia with 13.7 million and the Middle East with close to four million.


​S-East governors, others plotting to incite vigilante groups against ESN —IPOB

Leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, yesterday, alleged that there are plots by South East governors to engage its newly established Eastern Security Network, ESN, with their respective vigilante groups in a battle.

Kanu, who said that self-defence is legal in Nigeria, in a statement through IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, further alleged that the game plan is to orchestrate crisis between the vigilante groups and ESN to pave the way for Nigeria soldiers to attack ESN personnel.

He, therefore urged vigilante groups in the five South East states, who had been contacted or being recruited by the masterminds of the alleged plan to have a rethink.

Mazi Kanu’s statement read in part: “Through intelligence gathering, it has come to the knowledge of the IPOB that the governors of the old Eastern Region, are now recruiting traditional rulers, president-generals and politicians to mobilize some local vigilantes to engage Eastern Security Network, ESN in their various localities.

“The game plan is to orchestrate crisis between the vigilante groups and ESN to pave the way for Nigeria soldiers to attack ESN personnel. We therefore, wish to warn all local vigilantes in every state of Biafra who have been/may be contacted or are being recruited by the masterminds of this evil agenda through the traditional rulers and President Generals, PGs of any community or town in Biafraland to attack ESN operatives to have a rethink. Embarking on such unholy mission is suicidal!

“Anyone, vigilante group, community, traditional ruler or President General, political elite or anybody under any guise who will connive with the enemy to expose or attack ESN in their locality will live in eternal regret of such satanic mission. It’s not a threat but a promise!

“We want to make it clear that leaders of any community in Biafra land where any ESN personnel is attacked will pay dearly for such attack. In the same way, the Governor of any state where the security outfit is attacked shall also be held responsible. Any traditional ruler, PG and vigilante group who collaborates with the Nigeria military to attack ESN operatives should be prepared to bear the bitter consequences of their treachery.”

In another statement he signed personally, Kanu said: ”In Nigeria, self-defence is legal. Section 59 of Penal Code states: “Nothing is an offence of which is done in the lawful exercise of the right of private defence”. Section 32, Criminal Code states ‘It is not a crime to resist actual and unlawful violence‘.

Group raises alarm over IPOB’s security network in Igboland

Meanwhile, a group, the Movement Against Dissidents in Nigeria, yesterday, warned Nnamdi Kanu over his armed Eastern Security Network.

The convener of the group, Obinna Osita, who gave this warning in Owerri, said that the continued showcasing of ammunition by IPOB would end up producing dangerous militia group against the Igbo people.

“IPOB has some set of reckless, gullible, ignorant and untrained minds called members. We must caution here that if these untrained and bigoted minds are encouraged by Nnamdi Kanu, to carry assault riffles and other weapons and unleash them on Nigerians, we are doomed in this country with a new set of dangerous militia group in Eastern Nigeria.”