The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has emphasised the importance of birth registration, saying it identifies a child as an entity, not just a statistic.
The UNICEF Country Representative to Nigeria, Mr Peter Hawkins, said this, yesterday, in Abuja, when he featured on the special flagship News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum.
The Multi-Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS 6) 2021 inaugurated in August revealed that 57per cent of Nigerian children under the age of five years had their births registered with civil authorities in 2021.
This, according to the survey, was an increase of 10per cent from what it was in 2016.
MICS is a household survey developed by UNICEF to assist countries in filling data gaps for monitoring human development indicators in general, and the situation of children and women in particular.
It has evolved over the years to respond to changing data needs, expanding from 28 indicators in the first round in 1999 to 200 in its current sixth edition.
Implemented by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), MICS provides data on child mortality, health, nutrition, education, child and social protection, women’s healthcare and empowerment, among others.
The UNICEF country representative, therefore, said that apart from giving a child an identity, birth registration also has an impact on the economy, health and education sectors of a nation.
He said, “I think it has an impact on all three, but fundamentally, it is the impact about the child being recognised by the state that they exist, their unique identity so that they know that they are there.
“Not just a statistic that a child was born, and then died, and that’s it.
“It allows the state or it puts the burden on the state to recognise them as an entity within their domain, and that they have the responsibility to provide that child with the services required to grow.
“So, if you want to know, from birth, that they exist, then it’s about survival in the first six months, and then, it’s about immunisation, then, it’s about going to school, and then, it’s about receiving the protection that the state has a responsibility to provide that child with.”
On the 2021 MICS 6, Hawkins said it was a very significant report, adding that it gives an indication of women and children in post COVID-19 pandemic, and allows for comparison with what the situation was in 2016 and 2018.
He said, “I think many of the indicators have increased in a margin of around 10per cent, for most of the indicators show the evolution that has taken place in Nigeria over a 20, 30 year period; service delivery at the state level showed progress.
“What is worrying about the progress that has been made is a differentiation state by state; some states’ progress is very, very low and very weak; other states showed dramatic improvement over the past 20 years.
“So, it is very different in different parts, but I think one of the things that we can take out of it is there is sustained improvement for many of the indicators that we saw in the MICS.”
He, however, said that to sustain the tempo and record more improvements, accountability should be strengthened, especially by state authorities in delivering services.
He also urged authorities to ensure that financing was commensurate to the population, while the needs of the people were prioritised.
Ensure No Terrorist Threatens Nigeria’s Sovereignty, Buhari Tells Soldiers
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the service chiefs to replicate the success recorded in the fight against insurgency in the North-East in other parts of the country, which he said was bolstered by the unprecedented acquisitions in military platforms and hardware in the past few years.
He also told the military to ensure that no terrorist threatens the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, going forward.
Speaking at the passing out parade and commissioning ceremony of Cadets of 69 Regular Course (Army, Navy, and Air Force) of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna, yesterday, Buhari listed comprehensive and systematic acquisitions by his administration within seven years, describing them as unprecedented in the past 38 years of the Nigerian military.
According to a statement, yesterday, by his spokesman, Garba Shahu, the President said it was an honour to serve as the Reviewing Officer of the Passing Out Parade of 69 Regular Course for the last time as “President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“When this government came in 2015, we inherited a country at crossroads, with bombs going off with frightening frequency even in our cities, and we came in to confront and manage the crisis.
“This administration has since coming on board procured over 550 naval platforms, out of which 319 have been delivered, as part of the aggressive fleet recapitalisation of the Nigerian Navy.
“We have also increased the number of Nigerian Air Force platforms by more than 38percent and enhanced the serviceability rate of aircraft in the NAF inventory by over 70percent.
“In pursuing this same objective, the Nigerian Army has received more than 2,000 units of various armoured fighting vehicles, guns, and equipment. These are in addition to improved funding of the three services along with other security and intelligence agencies.
“These comprehensive and systematic acquisitions within seven years are not only unprecedented in the past 38 years, but they also align with our pledge to safeguard and strengthen the security architecture of our country.
“Although this is not a forum to introduce you to the military hardware you are stepping out to inherit, it is imperative to identify the magnitude and complexities of conflicts surrounding us.
“While acknowledging that our measures have yielded results and we remain ever grateful for the sacrifices of members of the Armed Forces, we must brace up for the dimensions this conflict has taken,” Buhari said.
He said his administration has invested heavily in infrastructure, with the rail, roads, seaports, airports, and power sector revitalised through strategic rehabilitation and reconstruction.
“Let me begin by thanking the Commandant, staff, instructors, and gentlemen officer cadets for an outstanding parade this morning. Congratulations to you all and well done.”
“I came here today bearing the burden of a nation that counts on your valour, and to celebrate your willingness to offer yourself to serve your beloved country.
“What sets this academy apart is not just the primacy of discipline, but its first class training curricula designed to transform young cadets into professionals with extraordinary skill-set and knowledge to prevent, confront and neutralise the contemporary and emerging threats facing our country and West African sub-region.
“I am aware that you are perhaps the most highly-trained course since the establishment of this Academy in 1964, having completed our most methodical corporeal and academic training in line with the new capacity-building philosophy of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“You emerge in an era of expanding global security threats, and in the past seven years, we have set aside high-tech platforms and prioritised your needs to facilitate your training and commissioning.
“Although this is not a forum to introduce you to the military hardware you are stepping out to inherit, it is imperative to identify the magnitude and complexities of conflicts surrounding us. While acknowledging that our measures have yielded results and we remain ever grateful for the sacrifices of members of the Armed Forces, we must brace up for the dimensions this conflict has taken.
“In our bid to fulfil our promise to neutralise Boko Haram terrorism in the North-East, which had spread to other neighbouring countries when we took over, the Armed Forces liberated areas occupied by the terrorists and gave the residents a new lease of life, and our commitment to resettling and rehabilitating the victims of the tragedy has been unwavering.
“I want to seize this opportunity to appeal to Nigerians that, although we have recorded successes in the conflict inherited, especially in the North-East, the security challenges in the country have evolved and assumed other dimensions in some areas. We have devised both military and non-military methods to intervene, and even rolled out an amnesty programme to rehabilitate repentant terrorists who surrendered and laid down their arms unconditionally.
“Our tasks as the guardians of the nation are to prepare for the evolving and complex security situations and make sure that no terrorists can threaten Nigeria’s sovereign integrity.
“In this regard, I have instructed the Service Chiefs to replicate the successes in the North-East in other parts of the country, and I call on all Nigerians to continue to support our Armed Forces and security agencies.
“This administration has invested heavily in infrastructure, with our rail, roads, seaports, airports, and power sector revitalised through strategic rehabilitation and reconstruction.
“The same template has been applied in tackling the challenges in the housing, water resources, and health sectors, and, unsurprisingly, the first targets of attacks by the terrorists are our thriving infrastructure, which was intended to make life easier for Nigerians such as roads, railways and power installations.
“The necessity to protect these key national infrastructure from being vandalized and stay ahead of the enemies of the state, inspires our resolve to utilise Executive Orders to promote good governance.
“Furthermore, we have been allocating vast resources to support millions of farmers, traders and entrepreneurs through interventions like the Anchor Borrowers Programme, the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative, and Special-Agro Industrial Processing Zones. These have made our National Social Investment Programme the largest of such programmes in Africa.”
Speaking on the release of the remaining 23 abducted March 28, Abuja-Kaduna train passengers by terrorists last Wednesday, the President hailed the kinetic and non-kinetic approaches adopted by the military in tackling some of the country’s security challenges.
He said: “This feat was not achieved without our military, as the interventionist Chief of Defence Staff Action Committee set up by General Leo Irabor was at the centre of the development, along with sister security agencies. I say Bravo to our soldiers, officers and gentlemen.”
Restating the commitment of the Armed Forces, under his command, to fulfil the promise to neutralise Boko Haram terrorism in the North-East, Buhari pledged that they would not relent in resettling and rehabilitating the victims of the tragedy.
He added that although successes have been recorded in the conflict inherited, especially in the North-East, the security challenges in the country have evolved and assumed other dimensions in some areas.
The President, therefore, charged the military to continue the safeguard the economic and military capability of the nation and not to allow terrorists and insurgents to destroy the investments in key national infrastructure.
A total of 21 awards were presented to deserving cadets including the Sword of Honour and Gold Medal Award (Army) to Academy Senior Under Officer (ASUO) Nzubechukwu Nweze; Gold Medal Award (Navy) and Indian Shield (Navy) Award to Cadet Chinaecherem Anih; and Gold Medal Award (Air Force) and Indian Shield (Air Force) Award to Cadet Ayomide Ogunjemniyi.
AFCTA: Nigeria Makes First PAPSS Transaction
Nigeria has emerged as the first country in Africa to record the first successful transaction through the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS).
The payment gateway was conceptualised January, 2022, in a bid to promote and aid the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
PAPSS success in Africa was joint effort by the Africa Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in partnership with the African Union (AU) and the AfCFTA.
It was gathered that the first transaction on the PAPSS platform was made possible by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS) and the successful transaction occurred between the Ghana Commercial Bank and First Bank of Nigeria Plc.
PAPSS serves as cross-border payments and settlement platform for the African continent.
It is available leveraging the NIBSS Instant Payment platform for commercial banks, Fintechs, payment service providers, card schemes, and other payment industry players to integrate for Intra-African Trade and other economic activities among African countries.
The payment platform aims at simplifying transactions by transforming and facilitating payment, clearing and settlement for cross-border trade across Africa.
PAPSS recognises over 41 currencies and it enables instant, Diaspora payments in local currencies between African markets.
It avails an opportunity for a customer in one African country to pay in their own currency, while the beneficiary in another country receives value in their own local currency.
It was also designed to reduce transaction time and cost of cross-border financial services by curbing dependency on hard currency and major unknown transaction delays.
Banks at various stages of connection through NIBSS for the PAPSS integration, it was gathered that deposit money banks are currently undergoing certification, integration, and migration to the PAPSS will Go-live and also consummate live transactions in the coming weeks.
Giving Details Of 23 Abuja-Kaduna Victims’ll Subject Families To Fresh Trauma
The rescue of the 23 remaining victims of the Kaduna-Abuja train attack, last Wednesday, after six months in terrorist’s captivity has been described as a non-kinetic operation, with the Defence Headquarters’ stating that giving details of how they were rescued, would subject their families to a fresh trauma.
This is just as the DHQ said that though there was a lot of secrecy involved in the operation because of the high powered committee members involved, the terrorists involved would definitely be fished out and made to face the consequences of their criminal actions.
The Director, Defence Media Operations, Major General Musa Dan Madami, and the Director of Defence Information, Major General Jimmy Akpor, both made the disclosure, yesterday, at a media briefing.
Asked to tell Nigerians how Nigerian security agents secured the release of the victims and what happened to the terrorists, Major General Dan Madami said, “The most important thing is that those people (victims) had been held captive for about six months and have been rescued. It was part of the non-kinetic operation of the military. Giving details may subject their families to fresh trauma. So for now, we will wait for the appropriate time for the details to come out”.
On his part, Akpor said, “Operations such as this, involves elements of national power. These elements could be social, could be developmental. These elements can be deployed to achieve national objectives. There was a lot of secrecy in the operation to achieve the objective. As to what happened to the terrorists, that will be made known later. But it is a given that anybody that committed such a criminal offence against the nation will definitely, will be fished out and made to face the consequences of that act”.
On other military operations across the country, Madami said troops in the North-East Theatre of operation, neutralised 19 terrorists, arrested 42 suspected terrorist logistics suppliers, rescued three civilians while six suspected Boko Haram terrorist/Islamic State of West Africa Province informant and collaborators, including a foreigner were arrested at different locations.
Furthermore, Madami said troops of Guards Brigade have arrested 64 youths in black attires, armed with nine locally made guns during a raid on Karshi hill and surrounding villages in Abuja Municipal Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory following intelligence on plans by hoodlums to disrupt the Independence Day Celebration on October 1, 2022.
In the battle against economic sabotage, he said troops discovered and destroyed a combined total of 74 illegal refining sites, 67 wooden boats, six speed boats, 456 storage tanks, 274 cooking ovens and 89 dugout pits.
Troops recovered a total of over 3.76million litres of crude oil and 458,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil, thereby denying oil thieves a total of over N2.1billion worth of stolen crude oil and products.
Madami said, “Troops of Operation Hadin Kai in the North-East conducted ambushes, clearance operations, fighting patrols and cordon and search as well as other operations at different locations in Biu, Damboa, kaga, Kukawa and Gubio Local Government Area all in Borno State.
“During the operations troops arrested 29 Boko Haram terrorist/Islamic State of West Africa Province logistic suppliers. Items recovered from the Boko Haram include; 50 big bags of dry fish, two big sacks of fried meat, 55 jerry cans of Premium Motor Spirit, one big bag of coal, 13 bags of breads, one bag of salt, one bag of beans, five cartons of detergent, three packs of batteries, 50 leathers of mosquito coil, 10 mobile phones, four vehicles, one bicycle and a total sum of N2,479,740.00 as well as other sundry items.
“Equally, troops arrested a suspected Boko Haram terrorist/Islamic State of West Africa Province ammunition technician at Gorom village in Monguno Local Government Area of Born State, with 300 empty cases of ammo suspected to be used for fabricating 7.62mm specials while sixsuspected Boko Haram terrorist/Islamic State of West Africa Province informant and collaborators, including a foreigner were arrested at different locations.
“Troops also rescued two Chibok girls by name, Yana Pogu and Rejoice Senki on serial 19 and 70 of the abducted Chibok girls lists with their children at Bula Davo village in Bama Local Government Area and Kawur village in Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State with 12 others abductees.
“Consequently, troops within the period recovered six AK-47 rifles, 14 AK-47 magazines, one HK gun, one G3 rifle, 112 rounds of 7.62mm special, 285 rustled cattle and eight gallons of Premium Motor Spirit. Troops also neutralised 19 terrorists, arrested 42 suspected terrorist logistics suppliers, rescued three civilians while a total of 418 suspected Boko Haram terrorists/Islamic State of West Africa Province terrorists, who claimed to have lost interest in the ideology of Boko Haram terrorists surrendered to own troops at different locations with their families comprised of 44 adult’s males, 135 adult females and 239 children.
“Furthermore, between September 23 and 28, 2022, the air component of Operation Hadin Kai carried out air interdiction operation at identified terrorist’s enclaves at Kolaram and Bukar Meram both in the Southern Lake Chad region of Borno State. The air strikes resulted in the neutralisation of several terrorists with several of their structures destroyed.
“Troops of the Joint Task Force Operation Delta Safe in the conduct of Operation Octopus Grip conducted operational activities at creeks, waterways, communities, villages, town and cities within Delta, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers State, respectively.
“During the operations troops discovered and destroyed 60 illegal refining sites, 58 wooden boats, six speed boats, 384 storage tanks, 223 cooking ovens and 60 dugout pits. Troops also recovered 20 pumping machines, three motorcycle, one tricycle, 18 vehicles and arrested 34 pipeline vandals while a total of 3.76million litres of crude oil, 458,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil, 1,000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit and 13,000 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene were also recovered.
“In a related development, troops of Operation Dakatar Da Barawo discovered and destroyed a total of 14 illegal refineries, 72 metal storage tanks, nine wooden boats, 29 dugout pits, 51 ovens and 25 reservoirs. Cumulatively, within the period oil thieves were denied a total of N2,146,795,472.42 in the South-South region.
“Also, the air component of Operation Delta Safe conducted air interdiction operations at location observed to be carrying out illegal refining activities at Ahoada in Rivers State. The airstrike destroyed the illegal refining site with several criminals fleeing during the engagement. A similar air interdiction operation was carried out on a location observed to be an active illegal refining site with the boathouse accommodation and facilities destroyed while few criminals fled in disarray.
“Equally, troops conducted a snap road block and arrested a suspected criminal logistics supplier at Amana in Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River State. Items recovered from the suspect include 20 pairs of black boots, 20 pairs of special force uniforms, two mobile phones and the sum of N15,200 only.”
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