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FG, UNICEF Mobilise Journalists For Covid-19 Vaccines

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The Child Rights Information Bureau, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is mobilizing journalists to create demand for Covid-19 vaccines.
UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Kano, Mr Maulid Warfa, stated this in Kano yesterday, at a two-day Media Dialogue on demand creation for Covid-19 vaccines.
Warfa, who was represented by UNICEF WASH Manager, Mr Rafid Salih, pointed out that the vaccines were being provided free but many people were not taking the vaccines due to misinformation.
He said that journalists should use their media channels to amplify the right information on the importance of taking the Covid-19 vaccines.
“There are reasons why people are not taking the vaccines even when people have continued to die from the virus, because critical information is not well communicated.
“People need to know that they can protect themselves from the virus by simply taking the vaccine that is being provided for free to all Nigerians,” Warfa said.
Earlier, the Communication Specialist, UNICEF Country Office, Mr Geoffrey Njoku, said that the objective of the media dialogue was for journalists to use their media platforms to promote uptake of the vaccines.
“The effort is for journalists to use their platforms to advocate to the federal and state governments to provide logistics and operation support for the delivery of the vaccines.
“We also want journalists to use their news stories, programmes, features stories and special reports to create demand for the uptake of the vaccines.
“We also want journalists to use their platforms to allay fears by anarchists and conspiracy theorists about the safety of the vaccines,” he said.
Prof. Umar Pate, Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Kashere, Gombe State, said that Covid-19 pandemic had affected every human endeavours and rendered various societies tense, challenged and insecure.
Pate said that the situation was heightened by uncertainties and boundless flow of information following developments in information technology that make information easily accessible.
“Truth is, under attack from factories of fake news, agents of disinformation and intense weaponisation of information characterised by intensification of disinformation, hate and dangerous speech.
“Our communities are highly vulnerable to believing fake information and even more on the sources and prevalence of the virus and its treatment,” he said.
The professor advised people to be critical consumers of information on Covid-19 in view of the loads of fake information about the vaccination.
He stressed that debunking the loads of fake information about the vaccination should be multifaceted, and not highly technical or politicised.
According to him, efforts should focus on active leadership involvement at all levels, community and informed media engagements, as well as intensive awareness campaigns to debunk rumours and negative theories.
Also, Dr Murtala Jibril of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Bayero University, Kano, said that vaccination had revolutionised public health by saving three million lives annually.
Jibril said that Covid-19 vaccines were safe, with 94 per cent potential to protect vaccinated persons from the virus.

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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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