The Programme Manager, National Homegrown School Feeding Scheme in Anambra state, Mrs Eriken Uzoamaka, has lamented that pupils across public primary schools in the state were rejecting promotion to senior classes.
Uzoamaka, who explained that the class 3 pupils in public primary schools usually kick against promotion to primary 4 due to the menu being served them while in classes 1 – 3 every school working day, noted that efforts were on ground to solve the challenge.
She disclosed this at Awka, the Anambra state capital, after a two-day capacity building workshop on Enhancing Social Protection Programme in Nigeria, organised by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ).
“We serve rich food to pupils in classes 1 to 3 as captured in the national homegrown school feeding scheme. That is why even those that agree to be promoted usually come to their junior class (primary 3) especially on Wednesdays to struggle for food with others. We serve beans and plantains (or with sweet potatoes) that day,” she noted.
Uzoamaka also listed other challenges facing the programme in the state to include hike in prices of commodities and death of 10 cooks, which according to her has made it impossible for affected schools to benefit because new cooks were yet to be employed by the federal government.
Following low visibility of nutrition stories in the Nigeria media space, journalists have been tasked to link nutrition to other relevant sectors, such as agric, WASH, education, etc to reverse the negative indices of malnutrition.
The call was contained in a communique issued at the end of a 3-day capacity building of journalists for improved nutrition reportage and visibility organized by Civil Society -Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN).
According to the communique, there is need for journalists to improve their skills in understanding the art of writing compelling and impact driven nutrition stories.
They noted that the media are partners in progress in addressing the menace of malnutrition and therefore charged journalists to understand their roles and powers in changing the malnutrition indices in Nigeria
“Media practitioners should embrace a paradigm shift from event-based reporting to solutions journalism in the context of nutrition research. Journalists should be creative and innovative in their reportage of nutrition issues.
“The media should drive discussions around nutrition with all relevant stakeholders, stories from media practitioners on nutrition should be compelling and solutions based with in-depth research. The communique said.
The added that the “media should not concentrate on health pages and programs alone but look into other non-health related issues and link nutrition to them. Journalists should explore collaborative story development, cross border reporting with adequate scientific research and data analysis for greater development impact.
“Journalists should develop skills to monitor, track, analyse and report budgetary allocations for nutrition.”
They encouraged journalists to embark on field investigations on Community-based related interventions such as Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) centres, etc and translate findings from the field to stories.
On issue of inadequate funding by the government which serves as a major driver of malnutrition the group urged government to improve investments for nutrition programs.
They task government to move from emergency treatment of malnutrition to preventive and provision of routine nutritional services.
The three-day media training was aimed at improving the understanding of the media on the impact of malnutrition, improving the media’s capacity for effective nutrition reporting and securing their commitment to write nutrition stories based on agreed nutrition themes.
The meeting was in line with CS-SUNN’s goal of building key partnerships with the media to magnify the voice for improved nutrition in Nigeria. It will ensure opportunities to raise awareness, build understanding, change perceptions, and motivate target audiences to act on nutrition issues to reverse the negative indices.
Participants were drawn from media platforms including; Television, Radio, Newspapers and Online from five (5) States of Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Kaduna and Kano including Abuja where CS-SUNN is currently implementing the Partnership for Improving Nigeria Nutrition Systems (PINNS) 2.0 project.
It was an event filled with excitement, joy and surprises, as an NGO, Hope for the Village Child Foundation (HVCF), hosted some rural children from different communities in Chikun and Igabi Local Government Areas in Kaduna State to a Funfair as part of activities to celebrate the 2022, Children’s Day.
Nigeria set aside 27th of May every year to celebrate children Nationwide, following the International Children’s Day, declaration on 1st June 1925 during the World Conference on the Welfare of Children adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on November 20th.
This day has been celebrated globally, but mostly in the urban centres without considering the rural children. This according to Salama Ibrahim, of HVCF, was the reason the NGO, decided to organized a funfair for their “Local Right Partners (LRP)” rural children to celebrate the 2022 Children’s Day, with the theme “A Better Future for Every Child”.
“Although children have been assigned this day to be celebrated, children in the rural communities are often left out in this celebration and thus unable to create the fun memories associated with the celebration of this day due to poverty and low level of education of their parents.
“It is for this reason that Hope for the Village Child Foundation an organization that has been working to better the lives of rural children with sponsorship from ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) organized the Funfair.” She said.
The children who could not hide their joy while expressing themselves at the Goshen Garden, thanked organisers of the Funfair for bringing them out of their local community into Kaduna city to an opportunity to mingle with other children from different background.
In his words, one of the children, 14 years old, Hassan Ishaku, a primary four pupil of UBE Rafin Kwarya, said “it is my first time of coming to a playground of this magnitude, where you have children of both the rich and the poor playing, dancing and jumping around together.
“I have made a lots of friends here today, I have learned so many things that I have never see in my life. I am so happy and I thank the people that brought us here today. I appeal that they bring us here again next year, I will so much more appreciate if I would have another opportunity to make more friends.”
Salama, also noted that the children; both Christians and Muslims, were able to learn to tolerate each other and to build team spirit during their participation in different team building games.
“Hosting this event at Alpha games of Goshen garden provided a first time fun experience for these rural children because they had opportunities to see and play in a recreational facility as well as mingle with other children from the city.” She added.
Apart from playing various games and partying with other children, gift items and refreshments were also lavished on the the children.
The children were selected from Rafin Kwarya, Panbawa, Rafin Kara, Kurmin Sara and Panzato communities respectively.
In celebration of the 2022 International Women’s Day and in line with its commitment to empower women in Nigeria, Keystone Bank Limited through the Keystone Bank Women Economic Empowerment Committee (KWEEC) partnered with Momas Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company Ltd. (MEMMCOL), to train and provide financial independence for young women.
Chairperson, KWEEC, Mrs. Helen Maiyegun, said the committee was set up in line with the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for commercial banks to support the empowerment of women in Nigeria.
According to her: “We have been training women on skills acquisition such as catering, bead making, fashion design among others, but this time we decided to think outside the box and this brought about the partnership with MEMMCOL.
“When you empower a woman, you are empowering the nation and that is why the Keystone Bank Women Economic Empowerment Committee monitoring and evaluation team will continue to monitor the progress of these women to ensure that they put into practice what they have learned.”
Mrs. Maiyegun further charged the trainees to be good ambassadors of Keystone Bank and Momas Metering School by utilizing the training to better their lives and encourage other women within their communities.
On his part, Mr. Kola Balogun, chairman, Momas Electrical Meters Manufacturing Company Ltd commended the bank for supporting these young women in their quest for financial independence and appealed to other corporate organizations as well as state and local governments to also key into this initiative to positively engage women.
Chairman of the Academic Board, Momas Metering School, Engr. Ademola Olorunfemi also lauded the bank for providing a unique opportunity for young women, stressing that the initiative will not only add value to their lives but to their families, community, and Nigeria at large.
Keystone Bank is committed to championing women empowerment initiatives with focus on information sharing, capacity building, and networking programmes, amongst others. The bank has continued to work with like-minded organizations to ensure women have access to the opportunities and resources they need to succeed.
Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen and the National Women Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Betta Edu, has called on party leaders, governors and other stakeholders to rally around all female aspirants in their different states and ensure they emerge candidates of the party in their different positions.
This was disclosed at the APC zonal and state women leaders strategy planning and capacity Building workshop held in Abuja.
At the workshop, Dr Edu announced that as part of her programmes for Nigerian women, she would embark on low cost housing scheme for less privileged women in the party, empowerment for women from polling unit to national.
According to Edu, the party’s decision to give out free forms to female aspirants and many other considerations should serve as incentives and motivations to the aspirants, noting that sales of forms begins on Tuesday .
Her words: ” I am.particullarly happy to have my fellow women here and other party leaders across board. This workshop is meant to prepare our Zonal and state women Leaders to be ready for the elections as the primary election is here.
“Am also using this opportunity to call on our Governors and other key stakeholders in their various states to ensure that all female aspirants win the tickets to represent the party at the polls.
” We are willing to partner and ensure that women occupied a good number of elective and appointive positions in line with the 35 percent affirmative action.
” I have also begun plans to initiate the door to door mobilization for INEC Registration, financial empowerment, a low cost housing scheme for the less privileged women amongst us.”
On her part, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, said that women are ready this time to work with one another under the leadership of the brand new Women Leader, promising that women would be Empowered going forward. She called on women to rise to the occasion asking state and zonal women leaders to unite with one voice to project female candidates while working for them to be successful. She encouraged women to shun violence and love one another. Furthermore she called on men to support women rather than beat or kill them.
Director of Organisation, All Progressives Congress (APC) in an interactive session with the Zonal and State Women Leaders of the APC, spoke on the Guideline and Processes of the Party Primaries and fielded questions on the forthcoming primaries.
The women further resolved to work together to increase female participation, across board, at the National and State Assemblies by ensuring that women have two (2) out of five (5) delegates (Adhoc) in every ward and one out of the three in the LGA.
Another resolution adopted was to demand for effective women representations in employment, in National and State, appointments and board levels.
The immediate past women leader , Hon Stella Okotete was also at the event.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, has charged wives of Senators and all other stakeholders to intensify advocacy on gender based issues, stressing that women cannot be silent over the increasing violence and discrimination against them across the country.
Tallen gave the charge Tuesday, while receiving the wives of Nigerian Senators who paid a courtesy visit on her office at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
According to Tallen, it was imperative to make the lives of women and those of children yet unborn better, stressing that the Senator wives have strategic roles in ensuring that this aim is achieved.
She called on the Senator wives to be assertive in making their husbands understand better the need to change the ugly treatment of women and girls, adding that if they didn’t achieve this children will not be proud of them in the future.
“We cannot afford to be silent even as ordinary women no one can ignore the ills against women. Look at the majority of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) are women and children, there are IDP camps everywhere because of insecurity, communal clash, unrest which is uncalled for.
“Imagine in this 21st century some communities still practice Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and just recently a beautiful woman was allegedly killed by her husband from domestic violence and we say we have laws?,” She queried.
“I commend you for starting this journey, it is not just for ourselves but for our children even yet unborn and if we do not work harder to ensure a better society for them they will not be happy with us so we need to strategize on better ways to addressing issues affecting us in the society.
“It is sad that Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, made her presence felt at the National Assembly (NASS) when the bill was read yet they refused to sign the bills.
“You are all representatives of the the larger society and you can see the low percentage of women representatives, we should all join hands to help push the women agenda forward,” the Minister stressed.
Earlier, the Chairperson, steering committee of the Senators Wives Association Barrister Hauwa Kabir Gaya, noted that Nigeria is currently suffering from different types of vices from gender based violence to insecurity which includes banditry, kidnapping amongst others.
Gaya disclosed that the association is praying fervently and calling on all Nigerians to pray daily for things to change for the better, while they use their influences as wives of the lawmakers to encourage their husbands to pass the gender bills into law.
“We intend to use our influence as wives on our husbands, we will encourage them to get certain things they are ignoring or feel is a threat done. We will explain to them more, the need for them to approve because it is for the good of all,” she said.
“We are praying and you all know that when a woman prays it goes directly to God so we urge all women to join us pray for the nation every day. Let’s all go down on our knees every day and seek God’s intervention,” she stressed.
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday called on the authorities in Nigeria to make schools safe and provide a secure learning environment for every child in Nigeria, especially for girls, to increase girls’ enrolment, retention, and completion of education.
This was contained in a statement released by its Communication Specialist, Samuel Kaalu, to mark the 8th Anniversary of the Abduction of 276 students at Government Girls’ Secondary School Chibok.
According to UNICEF, a total of 11, 536 schools were closed since December 2020 due to abductions and security issues and these school closures have impacted the education of approximately 1.3 million children in the 2020/21 academic year.
The statement said the interruption of learning contributes to gaps in children’s knowledge and skills and may lead to the loss of approximately 3.4 billion USD in these children’s lifetime earnings. This, risks to further perpetuate cycles of poverty and inequality.
It stated that “UNICEF, with generous funding from donors, is collaborating with the government of Nigeria to protect children’s right to education in a safe and inclusive learning environment. This involves building the capacity of School-based management committees (SBMCs) on school safety and security and strengthening community resilience”.
The UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, said unsafe schools, occasioned by attacks on schools and abduction of students and the brutal violation of the rights of the victims to education, are totally unacceptable.
He stressed that attacks on learning institutions render the learning environment insecure and discourage parents and caregivers from sending their wards to schools, while the learners themselves become fearful of the legitimate pursuit of learning, adding that the invisible harm school attacks inflict on the victims’ mental health is incalculable and irredeemable.
“Girls have particularly been targeted, exacerbating the figures of out-of-school children in Nigeria, 60 percent of whom are girls. It is a trajectory which must be halted, and every hand in Nigeria must be on deck to ensure that learning in Nigeria is not a dangerous enterprise for any child, particularly for girls,” said Hawkins.
Hawkins disclosed that in Katsina State, government and communities have fenced some schools, and that has encouraged girls to attend school, underscoring the reality that collaboration is required in addressing insecurity in schools and making schools safe, especially for girls.
The statement further reads; “Today marks eight years since the first known attack on a learning institution in Nigeria on 14 April 2014, in which 276 students at Government Girls Secondary School Chibok in north-east Nigeria were abducted by a Non-State Armed Group. Since then, a spate of attacks on schools and abductions of students – sometimes resulting in their deaths – has become recurrent in the last two years, especially in the north-west and north-central regions of Nigeria. Since December 2020, 1,436 school children and 17 teachers have been abducted from schools, and 16 school children lost their lives”.
“In Katsina State, 300 SBMC members have been trained, and schools, supported through the Girls’ Education Project (GEP3) funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK, have developed Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans to mitigate the impact of potential and actual threats.
“Multi-sectoral task teams on school safety have also been established across all the 34 LGAs of Katsina state to provide timely and efficient networking among actors on school security, with particular focus on the safety of girls. Additionally, 60 Junior Secondary Schools have developed emergency plans and tested the plans in evacuation drills”, said UNICEF.
UNICEF reiterated that althoughh Nigeria has ratified the Safe Schools Declaration, schools and learners are not sufficiently protected, hence the need to pay greater attention in protecting children, teachers and schools, else they will continue to come under attack. Urgent, coordinated action is needed to safeguard the right to learn for every child in Nigeria.
A coalition of women groups under the auspices of the 100 Women Lobby Group has appealed to the National Assembly to pass all gender sensitive bills into law, to enable more development in Nigeria.
National Coordinator of the group Felicia Onibon, made the call in a statement made available to the media in Abuja.
The bills include an Equal Opportunities Commission (Establishment) Bill, 2020; Gender and Equal Opportunities, Abuse and Administration Bill 2012; Affirmative Action (Equal Opportunities for Women) Bill 2012; Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill 2015; Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill 2015; Women Participation in Elections Support Bill, 2018.
“Note that this does not take into consideration, the number of proposals on affirmative action not considered by the National Assembly,” the statement said.
The statement also expressed concerns that the electoral System in Nigeria has not been fair to women, saying that this contributes to women’s underrepresentation in Nigeria’s legislature. “Nigeria is considered the worst performer in the West African Region when looking at the representation of women in parliament and the second-worst after Eritrea in the whole of the African Continent. This is sad and does not speak well of Nigeria as a Nation with Women occupying only 21 out of 469 seats in the National Assembly.
“The situation is worse at the State level with the national percentage of State seats being 4.5% with women occupying 45 of the 990 seats in all State Houses of Assemblies,” the statement noted.
It added that, “On a general note, Nigeria women have paid their dues in all sectors and human endeavors including politics. Nigeria Women have also shown integrity and capacity in governance.”
The statement lamented that despite women’s contributions, they were still excluded in mainstream politics and governance, stating that available records show that the presence of the few women in the National Assembly led to the proposition of critical actions to promote affirmative action and equal opportunities for women.
“This low number of women in the Assembly is a factor for the lack of support or push for these bills. In a space where voting numbers matter, the numerical presence of women is key.
“Today, we are asking the Additional Seats Bill and all other gender-sensitive bills that are receiving attention at the National Assembly to get the support of all members so that Nigeria can move forward in all aspects of life.
“Our prayer is for our legislators to consider working to effect change by creating enabling environment for Nigeria Women through the passage of these bills and the inclusion of women-focused issues in the constitution”, the statement added.
A Kenyan High Court judge, Teresia Matheka has declared that being a housewife is a full-time job that should attract some form of compensation, according to a report by TopNaija.
A housewife is a woman whose work is running or managing her family’s home—caring for her children; buying, cooking, and storing food for the family; buying goods that the family needs for everyday.
The judge who was presiding over a matrimonial property dispute, said that it is unfair for courts to rule that housewives do not contribute anything to the financial progress of the family.
The complainant is said to be a divorced lady who sought to have their family property sold and the money shared equally between her and her ex-husband.
The Judge stated that housewives should not say they don’t work since they provide services in the home that are otherwise outsourced and paid for. She added that it is unfair to only rely on seen income and the mindset that one has to contribute money to the marriage to find value.
Matheka said; “It is easy for the spouse working away from home and sending money to lay claim to the whole property purchased and developed with that money by the spouse staying at home and taking care of the children and the family. That spouse will be heard to say that the other one was not employed so they contributed nothing.
“Raising children is a full-time job that families pay a person to do. Cooking and cleaning as well. Hence, for a woman in employment who has to balance childbearing and rearing this contribution must be considered.”
The judge also urged her counterparts to consider the 9 months of pregnancy when presiding over cases of matrimonial disputes. She opined that carrying a pregnancy is equivalent to working, noting that some couples have lately resorted to hiring surrogate mothers to bear children for them.
Passing judgement on the case brought before her, Matheka ruled that the property be sold and money shared equally, or one of the spouses buy out the other party by paying half the value of the property that the party is entitled to.