The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has inaugurated the first batch of core responders to respond to emergencies within the first 24 to 48 hours of its occurrence.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the 82 core responders in Abuja, last Friday, Ehanire said at least 100 emergencies occur across Africa per week, causing damage to health and economic systems.
The core responders were trained under the theme “Capacity Building, Learning and Training to On-Board the AVoHC Strengthening and Utilising Response Groups for Emergencies (SURGE) Team”.
According to him, there are public health emergencies that are already running quietly in the country.
“So our responsibility and our mandate goes beyond public health emergencies, which we are fully in support of, but there are others.
“We are losing up to 50,000 women every year in childbirth and that is a huge emergency. We are losing over 900,000 children every year.
“According to reports, we have 6,000 people killed in road traffic accidents every year and 17,000 from accidents who are maimed, permanently disabled every year. All of these are serious emergencies,” he said.
He, however, said that the SURGE initiative promotes availability of equipment, well equipped teams with everything streamlined to respond to emergencies within the specified time frame.
He said they would also fully align with the concept of the resilient and sustainable health system for improved health outcomes and universal health coverage.
He referred to the initiative as a wealth of information that could turn around the detection and response time for emergencies within Nigeria and beyond.
The WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Walter Molumbo, said the organisation was committed to strengthening regional and sub national capacity to prepare and respond to public health emergencies in an increasingly globalised, unionised and connected world.
Molumbo added that people always being on the move was giving rise to an amplifying threat of multiple infectious hazards, in addition to natural disasters, conflict, climate change and other emergencies.
He said that the programme was aimed at providing national and subnational Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) with key knowledge and tools needed to detect and effectively respond to public health emergencies as they occur.
Molumbo explained that “the SURGE programme identified five countries among which Nigeria is being chosen and in Nigeria, we have six states that have been selected to kick-start this process.
“We will be able to scale up the SURGE in the six pilot states but also go beyond to make sure that the entire country benefits from this initiative.
“It is our hope that the country will truly build on this to make sure that we put in place the capacities that are truly needed to respond to future outbreak”.
NPC Assures Accurate Tech-Driven 2023 Census
The Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), Alhaji Nasir Kwarra, has said there is no going back on the conduct of the 2023 Population and Housing Census.
Kwarra assured that everything has been put in place to ensure the success of the exercise and called for the support of all stakeholders including the civil society organisations, development partners and governments at all levels for its success.
Speaking at the Benue State Stakeholders Summit on the Population and Housing Census organised by the NPC in collaboration with Benue State Government, Kwarra reiterated that the Commission would conduct an exercise that would be technology driven to achieve the best outcome.
He stated that, “preparation for the conduct of the 2023 census has reached a point of no return; we have reach a point where we cannot jettison the exercise.
“We have done the digital mapping and we have done the census pre-test and everything was successful. We therefore want to assure Nigerians that the figures that will come out at the end of the exercise will be the exact figures.
The Chairman commended President Muhammadu Buhari who despite the challenges facing the country was committed to having the country conduct a successful population census.
He also commended Governor Samuel Ortom for supporting the exercise stating that the commitment showed the Governor’s understanding of the importance of demographic data to the development of the state
“That is why I urge Benue people to present themselves to be counted”, he said.
Declaring the Summit open, Governor Ortom said the meeting availed traditional rulers and stakeholders necessary information that would help them support the exercise better.
While urging the people of the state to deemphasize politics and support the conduct of the exercise to ensure its success, Ortom said.”
Rising Insecurity In S’West Bothers Traditional Rulers, Experts
Security experts, traditional rulers and other professionals have raised alarm over the rising wave of insurgence in the South West region, attributing it to the non-commitment of the Federal Government and its agencies to the protection of lives and property of the citizenry.
The experts made the assertion at a workshop organized by “The Yoruba Leadership Peace and Initiatives” with the theme “Safety and Security in Yorubaland”, in Ibadan.
The Chairman, Western Security Network, Oyo State, Brigadier General Kunle Togun, (rtd), Rear Admiral Leye Jayeola, Orangun of Oke Ila, Oba Adedokun Abolarin and other speakers noted with dismay the rising waves of insecurity, its economic impact and threat to the lives of the people.
General Togun submitted that the government has failed in its constitutional responsibility of protecting the lives and property of its citizenry as there are daily reported cases of kidnapping, killings and other heinous acts nationwide
He said, “the way we are practising the adopted presidential system of government is not the same way it is being practised in the United States of America.
“Each state in America”, according to him, “operates under separate laws, which enable the establishment of state police. But in Nigeria, the reverse is the case”.
The former top military brass, who advocated for the establishment of State Police for effective policing, blamed the Federal Government for frustrating the efforts of the Western Security Networks, code-named Amotekun, to arm its men with sophisticated weapons to combat bandits, kidnappers and perpetrators of other heinous acts.
“Amotekun can only arrest and investigate but cannot prosecute offenders. But the sad aspect of it is that after arrest and investigation, the police authorities will release the suspect under the excuse that it is a bailable offence.
“Also, while local vigilantes and Neighbourhood watch from other regions are allowed to carry Ak-47, Amotekun is only licenced to carry Dane guns to combat criminals with sophisticated weapons.
“If truly, we are practising a presidential system of government, what is obtainable in the US should be obtainable in Nigeria as well”, he emphasized.
Speaking in the same vein, Rear Admiral Leye Jaiyeola (rtd) stated that Nigeria Police has the capability to curtail the activities of the kidnappers and bandits, if trained, equipped and motivated.
He added that the military is not trained to handle civil cases except in extreme situations but the police are trained in this aspect.
In her presentation, a University don, Dr Modupe Albert, called for synergy among the various security agencies.
According to her, we need synergy among the various security agencies to combat kidnapping, banditry and other vices in the region.
On his part, the Orangun of Oke-Ila, Osun State, Oba Adedokun Abolarinwa, blamed insurgence on poverty and unemployment.
He said insecurity would continue to persist once youth across the nation are not productive and engaged to contribute to the development of the country.
He, therefore, urged stakeholders in Yorubaland not to see the security of the region as the sole duty of the government, but as the duty of all, adding that democracy and stability cannot thrive without security.
According to him, Yoruba people should put aside their personal interests and differences and support the call for the security of the lives and property of people in the region.
In his words, “poverty in the land is caused by unemployment. Let’s attack the issue of poverty in the rural areas, let’s be our brother’s keepers and chart a pathway to unite and tackle insecurity in this region.
“Let us all get involved, we cannot afford to leave everything to the government, we traditional rulers have our role to play in the safety of Yorubaland and everybody also has to contribute their quota towards the security of our region.
“There can’t be development without security, all hands must be on deck.
FG Moves To Protect Children In Digital Environment
In a bid to protect children in today’s varied digital world, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the National Child Online Protection Policy and Strategy.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Malam Isah Pantami, disclosed this while speaking with newsmen at the end of the Cabinet Meeting in Abuja last Wednesday.
Pantami said the policy was in line with the International Telecommunication Union’s policy document for all its member countries and aimed at protecting children from the harmful side of the digital environment.
“There are many benefits of going online; the world population reached 10 billion on November 15, 2022.
“Today, we have around 6.3 billion people online and by implication, among this number, you will discover many children.
“They will not be able to differentiate what is beneficial and what is harmful.
“According to a report by the International Telecommunication Union, more than one billion children were online during COVID-19 lockdowns for their studies because schools were shut.
“Today, without any solicitation, you will discover that many things are coming into your device on-line and unsolicited,’’ the Minister said.
Pantami said children would not beable to avoid such unsolicited items online which would definitely affect their innocence morally and otherwise.
“The document has been titled: `keeping children safe in the digital environment’.
“All member countries have been urged to ensure they come up with a policy where children will be protected.
“It is because of this that we organised stakeholder engagement, where we invited around 37 institutions of government since it is multi-sector issue.
“The Ministry of Information and Culture, the National Broadcasting Commission and the National Orientation Agency, among others, have roles to play.
“The Office of the National Security Adviser and other security agencies have roles to play; the Ministry of Justice has a role to play to differentiate what is legal and what is illegal,’’ Pantami added.
He said the cabinet also approved the Nigeria Data Protection Bill to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of data being submitted to government and to other institutions.
The Minister said FEC also approved the National Duct One Policy aimed at institutionalising the provision of ducts during construction at federal, state a local government levels.
“This is the global best practice today.
“Before construction and even during the conceptualisation and design, there should be provision for ducts for road construction, bridges, rail lines, sea ports, and any important building,’’ Pantami said.
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