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ActionAid Urges FG, States To Prioritise Girls’ Education

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ActionAid Nigeria has implored the federal and state governments to prioritise education for children, girls and people with special needs.
Its Country Director, Ene Obi, made the appeal, yesterday, in Abuja, during the Learning and Close-Out Meeting of Tax Justice and Gender Response Public Services Project (Breaking Barriers).
Obi, also, called on governments to institutionalise existing mechanisms to curb sexual and gender abuse-based violence in schools.
On what ActionAid Nigeria has done to tackle the high level of illiteracy, she said the organisation in partnership with ActionAid International, secured four-year funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development (NORAD) a project targeted at reducing illiteracy.
According to her, the project tagged: ‘Breaking Barriers’ was aimed at ensuring that children, especially girls and marginalised children, access free, quality, public-funded, inclusive public education in Lagos and Sokoto states, respectively.
She explained that within the lifespan of the project, “it addressed some barriers that prevent children, especially girls and children with disabilities from enjoying their rights to free, quality and inclusive public education.
“These barriers include discrimination, inadequate financing, and the proliferation of private schools as low-cost schools.”
She added that “in driving the agenda, two locations were selected for the execution in Nigeria: Lagos and Sokoto states.
“In Lagos, three local governments; Alimosho, Epe and Badagry, were selected. In Sokoto, 3 local governments; Tambuwal, Sokoto South and Bini were selected.
“The project was implemented in 30 schools in Sokoto and Lagos states. three primary schools, 12 secondary schools in Lagos and three primary schools and 12 secondary schools in Sokoto State.”
On the success achieved, she said, “the project has contributed to the fiscal policy changes in Sokoto State internal revenue law that have led to increased revenue generated in the state.
“Similarly, the project has supported the drafting of an inclusive education policy that will drive the education of children with disabilities and continuously advocate for increased allocation which has led to the two states progressively prioritising education in the annual budget.”
As part of the recommendations, she said: “We urge the Federal Government and other state governments to replicate the successes achieved through various ministries and agencies by prioritising inclusive education for children, especially girls and children with disabilities and addressing other barriers such as infrastructural gaps.
“Support the school-based management committee, and institutionalise or strengthen existing mechanisms to curb sexual and gender-based violence in schools.”

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Substance Abuse Becoming Thing Of Concern -Odu

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Rivers State Deputy Governor, Prof. Ngozi Nma Odu, has lauded the important role pharmacists play in the wellbeing of the society.
Odu gave this commendation while playing host to members of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Rivers State Branch at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The deputy governor said while others are sleeping, pharmacists work hard “to ensure we all live in a better society, especially when you talk about the dangers of substance abuse.”
Odu stressed that, “It is really becoming a thing of great concern because of the level of children getting involved in this thing. It is even coming down to primary schools which now increases the burden of what you are doing, so we appreciate you for what you are doing for the society which we all are living in.”
The deputy governor extolled the lady pharmacists for the scholarship scheme they were sponsoring, noting that it was “amazing because when you change the narrative of somebody’s life, you become what they call a destiny helper.”
The deputy governor added, “So, for me, it is something I would encourage. Even the Bible says when you do it for them you have done unto God. It is a thing we get a lot of blessings out off, you may not see it now but some day it will definitely come.”
She expressed gratitude to them for their support for the Fubara-led administration which according to her has continued to spur them into action.
“Let me thank you for upholding the governor and myself in prayers, because without prayers we won’t be here, many people have prayed and God has heard, please do not stop, even for good governance, we need God to grant us the wisdom and knowledge of what to do”, she said.
In her remarks, Chairman of the Rivers State Branch of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Ebelechukwu Odom, said they were at the Government House to identify with the Governor Fubara-led administration in the ongoing restructuring of the state, and pledged their allegiance and unflinching support to the administration.
She assured that they would utilize the competences of Lady Pharmacists in Rivers State and synergize with partners for improvement in health, education, research development and socio-economic wellbeing of humanity through relevant and appropriate interventions, projects and programmes.

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RSG Denies Rumours Of Cholera Outbreak In Soku

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The Rivers State Government says it is not aware of any cholera outbreak in Soku community in the Akuku Toru Local Government Area of the State.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt by the State Ministry of Health.
According to the statement signed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Chidinma Oreh, the clarification was necessary following numerous enquiries from the media over a purported outbreak of cholera in Soku community.
The statement read in part, “The Rivers State Ministry of Health has received numerous enquiries from the Press regarding an alleged outbreak of cholera in Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area.
“Public health teams dispatched to investigate these alleged cases and deaths have so far received no confirmation of such.”
While describing cholera as a waterborne infectious disease, the commissioner said that the disease is notifiable, warranting escalating reports from disease surveillance and notification officers at the community level.
The statement clarified that the ongoing medical outreach in Soku community is in no way related to any outbreak of cholera.
“Outreaches have always been a way of getting accessible health care to underserved and vulnerable population, however, all such outreach activities must be conducted with approval from and in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health and as such no entity should be conducting outreaches outside the coordination of the ministry”, it warned.
The ministry further said that all infectious diseases of this nature are reported, managed and escalated by the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
Dr. Oreh said the statement should serve as a strong warning to anyone conducting or planning health activities without due recourse to the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
She added that any such activities found to be carried out without the knowledge and clearance of the State Ministry of Health will be fully investigated and dealt with in order to ensure the protection of the lives of the people.
“Therefore, the general public and members of the Press are advised to disregard the rumours making the round on an ongoing outbreak of cholera and the death of some citizens of Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State as it is presently unfounded, misguided and capable of causing panic amongst citizens and residents.
“The general public is thus urged to remain calm and rest assured that the Rivers State Ministry of Health will continue to be a veritable source of public health information in the state”, the statement concluded.

John Bibor

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Bill On State Police Scales Second Reading

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The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed for second reading a bill to provide for the establishment of state police in the country.
Sponsored by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Benjamin Kalu and 14 others, the bill seeks to alter the relevant Sections of the 1999 Constitution to pave the way for states to establish their own policing outfits.
As lawmakers took turns to contribute to the debate on the floor of the House during yesterday’s plenary, Kalu who stood in for the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, urged members to look beyond political ambitions and think about the safety of Nigerians and Nigeria.
Also speaking, Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) said, “It is the job of the police to maintain law and order. We have a population of over 200m people but we have a police strength that is less than 400,000. State Police should be created to address the internal security challenges of Nigeria.”

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