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About 25 Percent Nigerians Openly Defecate, Laments FG

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About 25 Percent Nigerians Openly Defecate, Laments FG

By: Michael Mike

The Federal Government has decried that about 25 percent of people living in the country still defecate openly, insisting that this has led to high rate of diarrhea that is the second highest killer of children in Nigeria.

Nigeria is populated by over 200 million people, and according to the Minister of Environment, Mallam Balarabe Abbas has about 48 million people still practicing open defecation.

Speaking at a joint press briefing of the Ministries of Environment, and Water Resources and Sanitation to highlight the activities scheduled for the World Toilet Day, Abbas said this year’s theme: ‘Accelerating Change’ “is quite apt as it inspires every individual to take personal action to help improve toilets and sanitation systems. It underscores the fact that every sector and every Nigerian can do something and has a role to play in tackling the sanitation crisis.”

He noted that “toilets are a foundation stone of public health and they play an important role in protecting the environment. They effectively and hygienically remove human waste away from the home, reducing the exposure our loved ones have to human waste and diseases.

“Unfortunately, toilets and the sanitation systems that support them are underfunded, poorly managed or neglected in many parts of the world including Nigeria with devastating consequences for health, economics and the environment particularly in the poorest and most marginalized communities. Right now, about 4.2 billion people in the world live without safe toilets and about 48 million Nigerians still practice open defecation, as many people still use the bush and water bodies as their regular means for excreta disposal.

“Many institutions, public and private, do not have sanitary facilities and where they exist they are either not functioning or misused. Most urban areas do not have sewerage systems and safe collection of sewage. Therefore, disposal becomes a huge challenge as many of the water bodies including rivers and streams become a repository for sewage and wastewater.”

He added that: “The sanitation crisis poses a threat to our natural environment and the health of citizens, particularly women, girls and other vulnerable groups. One of the major consequences of poor excreta and sewage disposal is the high rate of diarrhoea disease which is the second cause of high morbidity and mortality rates among children under the age of five. The persistent re-occurrence of annual incidences of cholera outbreaks in some of our states are also manifestations of inadequate toilet facilities. Yet this could also be prevented through safe excreta disposal by every individual.”

Abbas revealed that: “The Federal Government of Nigeria is committed to addressing the sanitation challenges in the country and ensuring proper management of excreta. This commitment is demonstrated by Mr. President’s declaration of a state of emergency on water, sanitation and hygiene in the country and the signing of Executive Order No. 009 on Open Defecation Free Nigeria by 2025. Equally, the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with critical stakeholders has reviewed and validated the 2005 National Environmental Sanitation Policy including its policy guidelines on safe excreta and sewage disposal, which will soon be presented to the Federal Executive Council for approval.

“The Federal Ministry of Environment is also continuing with its community-based intervention on the control of open defecation programme as well as the Clean and Green Programme aimed among others at promoting the provision of safe and adequate toilets across the country, particularly in public places and ensuring proper excreta management.”

He disclosed that modern public toilets have been provided in communities and markets across the Federation under these programmes. “To strengthen the capacity of our Environmental Health Officers, this year, the Ministry renewed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), India on technology transfer, technical assistance, capacity building and research development in areas of water, sanitation and environmental management. The CSE has conducted specialized training on affordable toilet designs and feacal sludge management and reuse for at least fifty (50) Environmental Health Officers and Sanitation Desk Officers across the 36 States’ Ministry of Environment including FCT.”

Abbas while highlighting the activities to mark the day which is scheduled for next Tuesday, said. “I am using this opportunity to appeal to all National, State and Local Government stakeholders in environmental sanitation not only to do the talking but take practical steps and actions individually and collectively as agents of change to ensure everyone has access to toilets in their domain. Likewise, all commercial entities such as petrol stations, shopping malls etc are encouraged to launch functional toilet facilities for the public as part of their corporate social responsibilities.”

On his part, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev said: “The Government recognizes that access to adequate Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services is a critical factor for the socio-economic development of any nation with implications for human capital outcomes such as early childhood survival, health and educational attainment.

“In addition, the practice of open defecation due to the dearth of sanitation facilities is directly correleated with sanitation-related diseases, poor educational outcomes and loss of productivity. This is beside such as other consequences such as the concomitant lack of dignity, inconvenience and violence experienced by women and girls, when practising open defecation.”

He said: “In recognition of the cross-cutting nature of the Government’s interventions, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation is collaborating with other partners under the auspices of the National Task Group on Sanitation (NTGS) in commemorating the 2023 World Toilet Day. The commemoration activities are targeted at mobilizing actions at all levels through building synergy to improve sustainable access to sanitation in the country. It is our target to reach every Nigerian with a message on safe toilets and sanitation systems in the course of these engagements. The modest achievements recorded through our interventions were made possible through the collaboration of partners. I will be remise without acknowledging their partnership and support for our initiatives in the Sanitation and Hygiene Sector.”

About 25 Percent Nigerians Openly Defecate, Laments FG

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NAPTIP Promises Improved Strategies to Tackle Evolving Trend of Human Trafficking

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NAPTIP Promises Improved Strategies to Tackle Evolving Trend of Human Trafficking

By: Michael Mike

The Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi has pledged that the Agency will continue to develop new strategies, expand cooperation, and foster more collaboration to keep pace with the evolving trends in human trafficking.

She gave the commitment in Abuja while unveiling the activities planned for the 2024 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, themed “Leave No Child Behind in the Fight Against Trafficking in Persons”.

The World Day Against Trafficking in Persons was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2013 to be observed annually on July 30th to promote comprehensive, coordinated, and consistent responses at national, regional, and international levels to counter trafficking in persons. It aims to promote a human rights-based, gender- and age-sensitive approach in addressing all factors that make people vulnerable to trafficking, and in strengthening the criminal justice response necessary to prevent trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute perpetrators.

According to the United Nations, the 2024 World Day Against Trafficking urges accelerated action to end child trafficking, recognizing that children represent a significant proportion of trafficking victims worldwide, with girls being disproportionately affected.

On the activities lined up for the 2024 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons in Nigeria, Waziri-Azi disclosed that it is in collaboration with UNODC, IOM, ICMPD, and OHCHR and would be commencing from Saturday, July 28 to Sunday, August 4, 2024. She noted that the programmes have been carefully selected to reflect the theme of the celebration, insisting that: “These activities aim to create the needed awareness and impactful sensitization to address the concerns of all and reduce the vulnerability of potential trafficking victims.”

Wazir-Azi said: “I am pleased to state that our activities and interventions in the fight against human trafficking in Nigeria are inclusive, involving various categories of stakeholders. For the first time, NAPTIP will commemorate the World Day together with the National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons (NAATIP), our counterpart agency that would be visiting from The Gambia.”

She disclosed that the celebration will kick off on Saturday, July 27, 2024, with a female novelty match to “Kick Against Human Trafficking” involving NAPTIP officers and partners at the Wakanda Games Arena, Accra Street, Wuse Zone 5, starting at 8:00 am. On Monday, July 29, 2024, a Community Town Hall Dialogue will provide a platform for community stakeholders to voice their opinions and concerns, fostering engagement, transparency, problem-solving, inclusivity, and community cohesion. The Dialogue would be aired live on Radio Nigeria from 10.30am.

“On Tuesday, July 30, 2024, at 7:30 am, there will be an Awareness Walk from the Old Parade Ground through major routes in the Central Business District of Abuja, ending at the Unity Fountain. State Task Forces on Human Trafficking from 23 states across Nigeria will participate. From Wednesday, July 31 to Friday, August 2, 2024, we have planned a Bootcamp for all State Task Force members,” Prof. Waziri-Azi added.

Other planned activities include the Survivor’s Got Talent Grand Finale, sensitization and awareness creation in places of worship and public spaces, and a robust online awareness campaign.

Waziri-Azi urged everyone to join hands with the Agency to ensure a successful 2024 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons celebration .“Let us amplify our efforts, fortify our resolve, and work tirelessly to create a world where every child can thrive in safety and dignity. Together, we can and must leave no child behind in this crucial fight” the Director-General stated.

NAPTIP Promises Improved Strategies to Tackle Evolving Trend of Human Trafficking

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UNESCO’s Readiness Assessment Methodology Launched to Promote Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence in Nigeria

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UNESCO’s Readiness Assessment Methodology Launched to Promote Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence in Nigeria

By: Michael Mike

Nigeria’s plan to embrace Artificial Intelligence (AI) took a great leap with the official launch of UNESCO’s Readiness Assessment Methodology (RAM) in the country.

Speaking at the launch in Abuja, the Head of Abuja Office and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Representative to Nigeria, Mr. Abdourahamane Diallo said the event signifies a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s journey towards embracing ethical artificial intelligence practices.

Diallo said: “As we gather here at the UN House, we are reminded of the transformative potential of AI in driving innovation and sustainable development across our nation. UNESCO’s Readiness Assessment Methodology (RAM) stands as a beacon of guidance, ensuring that our advancements in AI are not only groundbreaking but also aligned with global standards of ethics and responsibility.

“We are particularly proud that Nigeria is joining us as part of UNESCO’s custodial role in promoting the ethics of AI worldwide. UNESCO’s Recommendations on the Ethics of AI, adopted by 193 countries, provide a robust framework for the responsible and ethical development and deployment of AI technologies. These recommendations emphasize human rights, fairness, transparency, and accountability, and it is heartening to see Nigeria committing to these principles as we work together to build an inclusive and ethical AI ecosystem.”

He added that: “As we gather here today, we are reminded of the profound impact that artificial intelligence has on our society. AI permeates many aspects of our daily lives, and its ethical implications have become a focal point for all actors within the ecosystem. Recognizing this, in 2023, UNESCO launched the Readiness Assessment Methodology (RAM) as a pivotal tool for implementing its Recommendation on the Ethics of AI, which was adopted by 193 countries in 2021.

“The RAM, with its comprehensive framework consisting of five dimensions, serves as a vital instrument for assessing a country’s readiness to implement AI ethically and responsibly. It highlights strengths and identifies infrastructural, institutional, and regulatory gaps, enabling nations to address these challenges effectively and create an ethical AI ecosystem.”

On his part, the Secretary General, National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM-UNESCO), Dr. Idowu Olagunju said: “I firmly believe that today’s discussions will pave the way for significant advancements in our national AI strategy, aligning with UNESCO’s global mission of promoting ethical AI.”

He asked: “Let us embark on this journey together, as we work towards a future where AI is harnessed for the greater good, in alignment with our shared values and ethical principles.”

Speaking to journalists after inaugurating the Steering and Technical Working Committees and Launching the Project, the Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy: Dr Bosun Tijani expressed the country’s readiness to take advantage of the value addition of AI, noting that the youths have already been sensitized and mobilized to evolve the use of AI

He appreciated the support from UNESCO to ensure that AI is ethically embraced, noting that the government is working on making the country one of the top countries in Artificial Intelligence.

He noted that with the diversity of the committees constituted for the AI project, Nigeria is on an interesting ride to the very top.

UNESCO’s Readiness Assessment Methodology Launched to Promote Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence in Nigeria

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Dangote vs. NNPC: A Tale of Sabotage and Misrepresentation

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Dangote vs. NNPC: A Tale of Sabotage and Misrepresentation

By: Shina Adewoye

During major football events, every Nigerian acts like a football coach. Around the elections period, everyone becomes a lawyer analyzing both pre elections and post elections matters.

Throughout various discussions, Nigerians take on roles as journalists and economists. This active participation is the beauty of democracy. However, problems arise when uninformed individuals try to present their opinions as facts.

On the Dangote issue, it’s striking that Nigeria, a member of OPEC and the world’s 7th largest oil producer, lacks a functional refinery. The NNPC doesn’t even have a laboratory, yet it questions the quality of products from Dangote’s world-class refinery.

Elon Musk, a vocal critic of Joe Biden and a supporter of Donald Trump, faces no personal attacks from Biden. This makes it puzzling why Dangote, Africa’s richest man, faces sabotage in Nigeria. The U.S. embraces diverse talents like Elon Musk ( a South African) and late Steve Jobs ( a Syrian) emphasizing its reputation as a land of great opportunities.

President Tinubu, also serving as the Minister of Petroleum, oversees an NNPC that falsely claims a 20% stake in Dangote’s refinery, while Dangote maintains they only paid for 7%. No action has been taken against those responsible for this irresponsible misrepresentation and embarrassment.

Moreover, Dangote’s $100 million claim for land in Lagos raises questions about the use of US $ in Nigeria as a legal tender.

Nevertheless, as an entrepreneur, Dangote is prepared for challenges. He built his refinery in a free trade zone, constructed his own port, and he can thrive without the Nigerian market by focusing on exports.

Nigerians should identify their real adversaries. Dangote can source crude oil globally and export the by-products.

Time will reveal the truth, and history will vindicate the just.

Shina Adewoye
Public Policy Analyst

Dangote vs. NNPC: A Tale of Sabotage and Misrepresentation

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