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NAFDAC Seeks Collaboration With Journalists, Entertainers Against Bleaching Cream Use

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The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has urged journalists and entertainers within the South-East to join hands with the agency in its current war against use of bleaching cream.
The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, made the call recently in Enugu during the South-East Media Sensitisation Workshop on Dangers of Bleaching Creams and Regulatory Controls.
Adeyeye, who was represented by the Director of Chemical Evaluation and Research, Dr Leonard Omokpariola, noted that there was an imperative to warn people of South-East and Nigerians in general to the harmful effects of bleaching creams which give rise to cancer and damage to organs.
According to her, other dangers are skin irritation and allergy, skin burn and rashes, wrinkles, premature skin ageing and prolonged healing of wounds.
“Last year, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, acting on the resolutions of the Senate, wrote to NAFDAC, stressing the need to take stringent regulatory actions to stem the dangerous tide of rampant and pervasive cases of Nigerians using bleaching creams.
“We immediately took some decisive steps such as sensitisation of the public through different media outlets, enforcement through intelligence and raids in trade fair complexes that have resulted in large seizures and destruction of violative products.
“One of such sensitisation actions was the flag-off of Media Sensitization Workshops organised for journalists in Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Ibadan, Port-Harcourt and today in Enugu.
“Today’s sensitisation workshop is therefore a fulfillment of my promise to cascade it to the six geo-political zones in the country.
“This is a deliberate strategy of mobilising, educating, sensitising, and challenging Nigerian Health Journalists to play a frontline role in our concerted efforts to eradicate the menace of bleaching creams and needless waste of scarce resources in Nigeria”, she said.
Adeyeye noted that the sensitization workshop is a training the trainers’ programme with the great expectation that participants would assume the role of champions in the vanguard of the campaign against use of bleaching creams.
She disclosed that a World Health Organization (WHO), 2018, study revealed that use of skin bleaching creams was prevalent among 77 per cent of Nigerian women, which was highest in Africa compared to 59 per cent in Togo, 35 per cent in South Africa, and 27 per cent women in Senegal.

“This scary statistic has shown that the menace of bleaching creams in Nigeria has become a national health emergency that requires a multi-faced regulatory approach.

“Part of the multi-pronged approach is consultative/sensitisation meetings such as this and heightened raids on distribution outlets of bleaching creams”, she added.

In a goodwill message, the Enugu State Commissioner for Health, Dr Ikechukwu Obi, said the State Government and her institutions would continue to collaborate with NAFDAC in its mandate to safeguard the health of the nation.

Obi, who was represented by the Director of Pharmaceutical Services, Mr Monday Obetta, said “We want our people to join hands with NAFDAC to protect the skin, which is an important organ, protecting other organs in the body”.

Speaking, Dr Abubakar Jimoh, Director of Public Affair in NAFDAC, said NAFDAC wants to use human face to tackle the menace of bleaching cream by engaging media practitioners in order to get Nigerians rightly informed against bleaching cream.

Jimoh noted that the agency wanted individual Nigerians, who are in the demand side of bleaching cream, to know the serious danger and negative consequences of using bleaching cream.

By: Canice Amadi, Enugu

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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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