Cholera: Children facing substantial health risks – UNICEF

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) says recurrent cholera outbreaks in the Nigeria are critically affecting children and the population at large.

Celine Lafoucrier, Chief of Lagos UNICEF Field Office, on Saturday reacted in a statement in response to cholera outbreak in Lagos and other parts of the country.

Lafoucrier said that children faced substantial health risks, particularly those under five who were prone to severe dehydration and higher mortality rate.

She urged government to focus on the provision of clean and risk-free water to prevent the spread of cholera in the country.

According to her, despite the state government’s efforts to provide water to its population, the current outbreak demonstrates the need for an urgent government focus on ensuring the water provided to the population is clean and risk-free.

‘Addressing the challenges of cholera outbreaks requires a deliberate focus of state policies.

‘And this include provision of high-standard water and sanitation facilities as well
as strengthened healthcare systems capable of responding to the demand in times of outbreaks.

‘There should be campaigns on cholera prevention to protect children and the population at large’, she said.

Lafoucrier said that good water and sanitation infrastructure play a crucial role in reducing disease outbreaks, such as cholera, which causes an estimated 100,000 deaths annually.

‘Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions are fundamental in preventing and responding to cholera epidemics.

‘Safe water supplies, hygienic sanitation, and effective water management are key elements in this effort.

‘Ultimately, preventing cholera centers on good sanitation and hygiene practices.

See also Cholera: Improve nationwide access to WASH, gastroenterologist appeals to govts

‘Key actions include proper disposal of faeces, eliminating open defecation, and ensuring access to potable water.

‘Regular hand washing with clean, running water and soap is vital.

‘Additionally, avoiding the consumption of uncooked
vegetables, unwashed fruits, raw or undercooked seafood, and food from street vendors is important to reduce the risk of cholera infection’, she said.

According to her, safer water can annually prevent 1.4 million child deaths from diarrhoea, 500,000 deaths from malaria, and 860,000 child deaths from malnutrition.

She said that it could also protect 10 million people from serious illnesses like lymphatic filariasis and trachoma.

Lafoucrier, however, said that disease outbreaks ultimately hinder Nigeria’s progress in achieving health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 3, which focuses on ensuring healthy lives and well-being for all.

‘These outbreaks strain Nigeria’s health system, diverting limited resources from essential services like routine immunizations and maternal and child care, undermining universal health coverage.

‘However, outbreaks also present opportunities to strengthen Nigeria’s health system.

‘Prevention is more cost-effective than cure; thus, communities sho
uld establish systems that promote key hygiene practices, transforming them into a cultural norm,’ she said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Group inaugurates project empowering youths to address climate change in rural communities

The Network of Youth for Sustainable Initiative (NGYouthSDGs) has inaugurated project empowering youth organisations to build stronger communities by addressing climate issues in communities.

The project titled ‘Empowering Youth Civil Society to Build Stronger Communities in Nigeria’ also seek youth leadership in climate action policies and implementation to safeguard rural communities.

Speaking during the project launch in Enugu on Friday, Joshua Alade, Founder of NGYouthSDGs, emphasised that youths had to play critical role in shaping Nigeria’s future.

He said the project was to raise awareness among young people, their peers and the broader community about climate issues and the importance of taking action and support youth innovations that enhance climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Alade added that the idea would help to create a Local Climate Action Network of youth organisations and actors to mobilise local support and implementation of community-based climate solutions.

He said the organis
ation would work with at least 15 youth organisations from Delta, Enugu, Kaduna, Ondo and Nasarawa states to actualise the initiative.

According to him, the project represents a significant step towards inclusive climate action and sustainable development to tackle looming threat of climate change challenges in Nigeria and Africa that require urgent attention.

‘If young people are aware of their rights, and they can communicate and mobilise other young people as servant leaders in their communities, they can build alliances and sit with decision-makers to create programs and policies that will help youth to lead and thrive.

‘This project perfectly aligns with our mission to resource youth leaders and youth-led organisations to influence policies that enable young Nigerians to lead and thrive,’ Alade said.

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He explained that with support from the Germany Missions in Nigeria, the initiative aimed to equip youth-led civil soc
iety organisations (CSOs) in partnership with young people in their local communities to initiate, drive and transform policies.

This, he said, would lead to the implementation of Nigeria’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

‘Through carefully designed capacity development sessions, these youth organisations will learn how to support NAP and NDCs.

‘The trained CSOs will work together to mobilise young people and youth stakeholders in their states to facilitate the meaningful engagement of youth in the implementation of the NAP and NDCs.

‘This include a National Sustainable Futures Dialogue with at least two hundred young people, therefore, raising awareness about the NAPs and the NDCs across the country,’ Alade explained.

He added that the youth CSOs would be equipped with tools to work with their communities to create a Local Adaptation Plan of Action (LAPA) which would be shared with their state government ensuring young people were in the driver’s seat on po
licies that affect them.

According to him, the project will also provide technical support to not just the state government but other government agencies and ministries like the Federal Ministry of Environment on effective dialogue and meaningful youth engagement in the implementation of the NAP and NDCs.

The Founder stressed that Germany Government recognised that the youths were key stakeholders in the national adaptation process to climate change.

‘They are providing essential funding for this project, showing their commitment to walk the talk when it comes to climate action and resourcing young Nigerians to be at the forefront of action.

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This support will help NGYouthSDGs strengthen its youth leadership initiative and equip youth with the tools they need to take social action in communities across Nigeria,’ he added.

He, however, urged youth organisations leading climate action in Delta, Enugu, Ondo, Kaduna and Nasarawa States, to use https:
// to apply and participate in the project.

‘They should also reach out to Opeyemi Ogundeji Programmes Manager, NGYouthSDGs Email: About NGYouthSDGs,’ he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

‘Dragon Boat Races’ Music Video Blends Chinese and Western Music, Celebrating Guangdong’s Cultural Heritage

‘Dragon Boat Races’ Music Video Blends Chinese and Western Music, Celebrating Guangdong’s Cultural Heritage

On the occasion of the traditional Chinese Dragon Boat Festival, the International Communication Center of Guangdong Province and British musician Shaun Gibson co-created a new music video, ‘Dragon Boat Races,’ featuring both Chinese and English lyrics. This MV highlights the enduring and evolving culture of dragon boat racing.

This year’s dragon boat races across Guangdong have been exceptionally lively, attracting large crowds and becoming a top trend both online and offline. The music video captures this vibrant atmosphere, detailing traditional customs from the awakening of dragons and ancestral worship to village gatherings, competitions, and the dragon boat feast. The video is fast-paced, blending tradition with modernity, and embodies the spirit of unity, cooperation, courage, and the pursuit of dreams. It reflects the youthful vitality and cultural confidence of contemporary Guangdong.

on Boat Races’ is a unique blend of Chinese and British musical styles. The song is arranged in a Western folk music style and incorporates traditional Chinese instruments such as the Suona, Pipa, Guzheng, Flute, and Xiao, enhanced with electronic synthesizers. This fusion creates a contemporary sound that resonates with young audiences, showcasing a successful blend of Chinese and Western music.

Contact Person: Zhang Yan

Tel: 008610-68994660


Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Kanu rallies support for Attom foundation’s eye treatment project

Ex-International, Kanu Nwankwo has called for support for Attom Foundation’s awareness and fund raising charity geared towards eye treatment of over 10, 000 Nigerians.

The football legend told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the sidelines of a Charity Champions Cup match organised by the Foundation in Abuja on Saturday to raise funds for the project.

Kanu, who coached Team Attom to a 4-1 win over Team Celebrities in the well attended match at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, said he was proud to be part of such a noble cause.

‘It’s a football match to raise awareness for the Attom Foundation, which helps people with eye problems.

‘Because it’s a good cause, you can see all these big names and players are here today to support and make sure the foundation succeeds’ he said.

Kanu who is renowned for his charity work through his Kanu Heart Foundation, said there was need for more NGOs to support the needy in the society.

‘The Attom Foundation is just starting, so we need to encourage them, because
I love being involved in such initiatives,’ he said.

NAN reports that the carnival-like event at the Moshood Abiola national Stadium, had Super Eagles players, legends like Jay Jay Okocha, former Arsenal stars Robert Priest and Emmanuel Eboue.

Others included former Chelsea legend Claude Makelele, Mark Fish and comedians, such as AY, Sabinus and Broda Shaggy among others.

Other notable music stars like Tiwa Savage, Wande Cool and several other top celebrities also graced the event.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

I’ll turn around fortunes of FUT, Minna- Pro-chancellor

The new Pro-chancellor of the Federal University of Technology (FUT), Minna, Dr Mohammed Santuraki, has pledged to turn around the fortunes of the institution.

He said his wealth of experience as an education administrator would be deployed to ensure that the institution retains its pride of place.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Minna, Santuraki said FUT, Minna would also maintain its academic excellence.

”FUT, Minna is one institution that has been a rallying point for not only people of Niger or the North but for all Nigerians.

”It is a microcosm of the country where youths are engaged in inventions, innovations and technology development with one common cause of realising the dream of a better Nigeria.

‘Nigeria youth deserve to be encouraged to realise their full potential especially in a conducive educational environment,” he said.

NAN reports that President Bola Tinubu approved the appointment of Santuraki as the Pro Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing C
ouncil of FUT, Minna a fortnight ago.

He is a seasoned tertiary education administrator having served earlier in the same position at the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University (IBBU), the Niger University.

Santuraki also served as the Vice Chairman of the Committee of Pro-chancellors of State-owned Universities in Nigeria.

The new pro-chancellor said that the appointment of the new boards of tertiary institutions would accelerate the Renewed Hope Agenda of Tinubu in the education sector.

He said that the education sector of the country would be revitalised with a strong board comprising men and women with wealth of experience and passion to make positive changes.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Harmonising Nigeria’s public service retirement age discrepancies

Mr David Adebayo and Ms. Ngozi Chinedu were two hardworking Nigerians with divergent career paths.

Adebayo, a senior administrative officer in the public sector, dedicated his life to the civil service.

By the age of 60 which coincided with his 35 years in service he retired, according to government regulations.

In contrast, Chinedu, a senior marketing executive at a multinational corporation, continued working until the age of 65, benefiting from the stability and perks of her private sector job.

Upon retirement, Adebayo encountered several challenges. His pension, often delayed and not adjusted to inflation, was insufficient for a comfortable post-retirement life.

Losing his employer-sponsored health insurance forced him to rely on the National Health Insurance Scheme, which barely covered his basic healthcare needs.

Not having enough leisure time during his service years, post-retirement financial strain and inadequate healthcare support took a toll on his well-being.

Chinedu’s experience was howev
er markedly different. Working until 65 allowed her to amass a larger pension fund, ensuring financial security on her retirement.

Her private health insurance continued into her retirement years, providing comprehensive coverage.

The extended work period also meant that she enjoyed a better work-life balance and job satisfaction, marked by professional growth and substantial earnings.

In retirement, Adebayo and Chinedu’s lives further diverged.

Adebayo, without a solid post-retirement plan, struggled with social isolation and mental health issues.

Chinedu maintained her professional network and engaged in community activities, finding a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

This narrative reflects the impact of retirement age discrepancies in Nigeria.

It underscores the relentless call by stakeholders on the federal government to accede to the demand for the review and harmonization of the retirement age of all public servants across-the-board.

Many public analysts believe that harmonising Nigeria’s reti
rement age discrepancies by addressing the variations in retirement ages across all sectors in the country, is long overdue.

According to them, inconsistent policies that culminate in retirement age disparities in the workforce is discriminatory, counter-productive, and a morale killer.

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has, for instance, persistently demanded that the retirement age and length of service in the entire public service be reviewed upward to 65 years of age and 40 years of service, respectively.

Reinforcing this standpoint, NLC President, Joe Ajaero, during the 2023 and 2024 May Day celebrations, reiterated that the organised labour was resolutely committed to its demand for the upward review and harmonization of public servants’ retirement age.

He said that increasing the years of service should be done uniformly across all sectors, instead of being selectively done in favor of just a few sectors of the public servi
ce in the country.

‘Only a few establishments, including the core civil service, are now left out.

‘We are, therefore, demanding that the age of retirement and length of service in the entire public service, including the core civil service, be reviewed upward to 65 years of age and 40 years of service,’ Ajaero said.

Concurring with Ajaero, the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), an NGO that is committed to strengthening democratic governance in Nigeria, also called for the immediate upward review of the retirement age of civil servants.

PLAC argued that this would facilitate an efficient pension administration process for the welfare of core civil servants, be they judicial officers like retired judges or public servants in any sector.

It was against this backdrop that former President Muhammadu Buhari on May 12, 2021, approved the upward review of the retirement age of health sector workers from 60 to 65, and catapulted that of consultants from 65 to 70.

The former President also signed a Law in
2022 increasing the retirement age for primary school teachers to 65, with no fewer than 15 state governments currently implementing it already.

On June 8, 2023, President Bola Tinubu signed a Constitution Alteration Act to amend Section 291 of the Constitution, to ensure uniformity in the retirement age and pension rights of judicial officers of superior courts.

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This Act, the Fifth Alteration (No.37) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, eliminates disparity in the retirement age of judicial officers by harmonising it at 70 years.

It also reduces the period of service required to determine a judicial officer’s pension from fifteen to ten years.

Also, the Nigerian Senate recently passed a Bill to increase the retirement age for civil servants working in the National Assembly to 65 years or 40 years of service.

The Bill, which was initiated by the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), has set to
ngues wagging across socio-political and ethnic divides.

PASAN has argued that increasing the retirement age would help fill the vacuum caused by retiring experienced officers and better utilize their experience while building the capacity of younger employees.

According to Sunday Sabiyi, PASAN chairman, the Bill is expected to be signed into law by President Bola Tinubu soon, and when signed, national and state assembly workers will retire at the age of 65 years and 40 years of service, respectively.

Similarly, the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has been upbeat in its call for an upward review of the retirement age for employees in the core civil service.

Joshua Apebo, ASCSN Secretary-General, while reiterating the association’s position, urged the trade union movement to ensure uniformity in retirement age in the public service.

Apebo argued that since judicial officers, university lecturers, health workers, and primary school teachers now enjoy the new retirement age hike, and
with that of the legislature in view, it was only fair that it also benefitted other core civil servants.

Dr Gboyega Daniel, a public affairs analyst, picked holes in the discrepancies in retirement age in Nigeria, and called for immediate policy reforms to harmonise the benchmarks.

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Daniel said that these discrepancies create perceptions of inequality, favoritism, and strain the pension system, which affects service morale and productivity, culminating in imbalances and potential sustainability issues.

According to him, varied retirement ages complicate workforce planning and disrupt the systematic transfer of knowledge and experiences.

‘The civil service mandates retirement at 60 years or after 35 years of service, while the academia sees professors and other academic staff retiring at 70 years.

‘Judges and justices in the judiciary retire at ages ranging from 65 to 70, depending on their positions.

‘Ditto for teachers, who have sinc
e had their retirement age jacked up by the Buhari administration,’ he said.

He, therefore, suggested immediate legislative actions to amend existing laws and implement policy reforms that would establish unified retirement age across all sectors.

Dr Tunde Balogun, a UK-based Nigerian, said the current debate about reviewing the retirement age and length of service was not limited to Nigeria.

‘Recently, the UK Government said it was considering raising the retirement age of public servants from the current 60 years to 68 years.

‘At the moment, retirement at age 65 years is common in many EU member states. Many countries have already decided to raise the retirement age to 67 years,’ he said.

Experts say that reviewing the core civil servants’ retirement age to 65 years and 40 years of service as well as harmonising the discrepancies across the board, is a policy that is long overdue.

Although some critics argue that the policy would be inimical to the career progression of their younger colleagues and af
fect fresh employments, its proponents say the benefits far outweigh its demerits.

According to them, achieving uniformity in retirement age policy can leverage experience and expertise, enhance fairness, efficiency, and sustainability in workforce management and pension systems.

They believe government should demonstrate sincerity of purpose and apply a holistic approach to the issue.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria