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UNICEF Trains 50 Community Volunteers On Infant, Young Child Feeding

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has trained 50 Community Volunteers (CVs) on Community Infant and Young Child Feeding (C-IYCF) in Ikara Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Assistant State Nutrition Officer, Mr Adams George, explained at the beginning of the three-day training in Ikara yesterday, that the effort was to strengthen IYCF practices at community level.
George said that the volunteers comprised 45 CVs and five Ward Development Community (WDCs) Chairmen to promote adequate IYCF practices at community levels as an effective strategy of preventing malnutrition.
He explained that after equipping the volunteers with relevant skills, the CVs would be expected to establish 45 support groups, one by each of the CVs in their various communities.
“The support groups will have a maximum of 12 members, as such, each CV is expected to establish a maximum of three support groups once the members exceed 12 for effective management.
“Through support groups, the CVs will educate and enlighten mothers and caregivers on optimal IYCF practices for a strong growth and healthy development of infants and young children,” George said.
Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna, Mrs Chinwe Ezeife, told The Tide source that the C-IYFC was a proven preventive measure against malnutrition using locally available food items.
Ezeife said that IYCF comprises early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding for six months and appropriate complementary feeding after six months.
She said that UNICEF, in collaboration with the Kaduna State Primary Health Care Development Board was currently supporting the implementation of the C-IYCF programme in 17 local government areas of the state.
She added that mats would be distributed to the CVs after the training for use during support group’s meetings for convenience and comfort.
“This is in line with the tradition and cultural ways of convergence in communities to discuss issues, particularly IYCF practices and other social development and livelihood issues that affect them.
“This is a community-centred approach where members of the communities take the lead in sensitizing and mobilizing fellow community members on optimal IYCF practices,” she said.
One of the facilitators, Mrs Chinyere Ekwueme, said that the C-IYCF support group model was effective in reaching rural populations and improving IYCF practices.
Ekwueme said that the strategy would promote community ownership and sustainability of the programme in the fight against malnutrition.
Ward Development Committee Chairman, Sayasaya Ward, Malam Abdullahi Alhassan, thanked UNICEF and the Kaduna state government for mobilising them to promote IYCF practices in their communities.
Alhassan said that the training would equip them with the needed skills to sensitise their community members, particularly the men, mothers, and caregivers on adequate feeding of children.
”Many husbands in my community are abled youths. We will mobilise and sensitise them on the need to support their wives to optimally breastfeed their babies and provide adequate nutritious meals for the family,” he said.
One of the volunteers, Mrs Hauwa Sain, said that she volunteered for the self-help programme to promote adequate infant and young child feeding in her community using local food items.
According to her, the step will ensure healthy growth and development of children to their full potential and in the long run contribute to the development of their communities.

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Reps Urge FG To Revisit School Feeding Programme

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The House of Representatives, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to revisit the school feeding programme, suspended over sundry controversies.
The National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme was a pilot programme launched in 2004 targeting 12 states to provide a nutritious midday meal to public primary school pupils in the country:
In 2016, the programme was relaunched nationally, targeting public primary school children using locally sourced ingredients to improve health, stimulate agricultural production, and boost smallholder farmers’ income.
Recall that President Bola Tinubu, on January 12, 2024, suspended all programmes of the National Social Investment Programme Agency for six weeks.
The four programmes administered by NSIPA are N- the Power Programme, Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, and Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
Following the adoption of the motion, the House mandated its Committees on Special Duties and Finance to invite the Ministers of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Education, and Finance to revisit the program and propose solutions for its future success.”
The House, while adopting a motion on “Urgent call to revisit school feeding policy” moved by the member representing Tarauni Federal Constituency, Kano State, Mr Muktar Zakari, noted that the philosophy behind the NHGSFP is to encourage enrollment into the public primary schools, address childhood hunger pangs, and improve their ability to concentrate, learn, and increase school attendance.
The lawmaker, a member of the New Nigeria People’s Party, lamented that “The suspension of the NHGSFP by the current administration is unsettling for several reasons, namely reduced school enrollment and attendance, compromised health and cognitive development of the children, and disruption of the income of smallholder farmers.”
He also said “Addressing the programme’s challenges is crucial, but a complete suspension may cause more harm,” noting that “It is important to find alternative solutions or efficient implementation of the NHGSFP to ensure Nigerian children continue to benefit from this important initiative.”
In his words, “The cancellation of the programme is causing an upsurge in the number of out-of-school children, posing a threat to the country’s future and leading to a high rate of crimes, insecurity, and unemployment.”

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Kogi Lauds Appeal Court’s Verdict On Ododo’s Victory

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The Kogi State Government has hailed the verdict of the Appeal Court, Abuja that yesterday uAtiku hails Supreme Court judgment on LG autonomypheld the victory of the state governor, Usman Ododo.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, made the government’s position known in an interview with journalists shortly after the judgment was delivered in Abuja.
Fanwo described the judgment as “sound,” adding that the it represents “echoes of the indisputable victory” of the governor at the poll.
He said the governor remains unwavering in his faith in the judiciary.
The conmissioner said, “Today’s judgment represents echoes of our victory on November 11, 2023. We campaigned round the state and worked hard to reassure the people that our party is the most reliable to take the state forward.
“November 11 will continue to be remembered in Kogi as the day that Kogites across the senatorial districts united to speak with one voice, birthing a resounding victory for the incumbent governor.
“Today’s verdict has offered another great opportunity for those who lost at the poll and in the courts to join the governor in moving the state forward.”
Fanwo said the court case did not in any way slow governance down as the governor has continued to “roll up his sleeves and deliver democracy dividends to the great people of the state.
“The jubilation that greeted the verdict affirming the victory of the Chief Servant of Kogi is a demonstration of the triumph of the people’s will.”
He urged the people of the state to continue to support the governor to make the state the Confluence of Excellence.

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Insecurity: Reps Want Modern Technology Deployed In Nation’s Borders

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The House of Representatives has called on the Nigeria Customs Service to deploy modern technology to secure the nation’s borders with neighbouring countries.
The directive followed the adoption of a motion on “Need to employ the use of modern technology to secure the nation’s borders,” sponsored by the member representing Awka North/Awka South Federal Constituency, Anambra State, Obiageli Orogbu at Thursday’s plenary.
Consequently, the Reps mandated “The Nigeria Customs Service to beef up the nation’s border security with modern technological gadgets.”
It also directed its Committees on National Security and Intelligence and Customs and Excise to “Interface with the relevant agencies of the executive arm to ensure implementation and report back to the House within four weeks for further legislative action.”
Leading the debate, Orogbu said that there are over 320 illegal routes into Nigeria “That serves as horrendous channels for the influx of inadmissible aliens and goods.
“Nigeria at the moment lacks sufficient security personnel to safeguard the existing illegal routes across the borders. These unmanned routes provide avenues for insecurity, proliferation of arms, and dumping of unwholesome goods into the country;
“The porous borders have provided an impetus to the thriving drug and human trafficking routes all over the country.”
Justifying the significance of the motion, the Labour Party chieftain noted that, “Border policing has since shifted from the mundane use of only human beings to the deployment of sophisticated electronic based equipment for potency.
“The deployment of technologies like electronic sensors, video monitors, and night vision scopes to detect illegal entries has proved more effective in western countries than human security.
“Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, (drones) and dark fighter cameras are available to further enhance border controls,” she added.

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